Tuesday, March 30, 1993 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will begin 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. Brewster: I have for tabling the Yukon Farm Survey 1991.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I have for tabling a report on regulations.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Introduction of Bills.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 56: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I move that Bill No. 56, entitled Public Sector Compensation Restraint Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 56, entitled Public Sector Compensation Restraint Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 56 agreed to
Speaker: Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Notices of Motion.
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Bright future for Yukon farming: Yukon farm survey 1991
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I rise today to bring to everyones attention a recently completed survey of the Yukon agricultural industry.
I am sure all Members will join me in agreeing that farming should now be seen as a serious business in the territory.
The survey was the first of its kind carried out in the Yukon and was done in cooperation with the Yukon Agricultural Association and the Bureau of Statistics.
A total of 137 farms, out of an estimated 200 farms operating in the Yukon, were surveyed for this report.
The survey estimated the total value of farm production for these farms at $2.3 million; farm sales averaged $12,500; the average farm size was 135 acres; each invested an average of $175,000 in capital and 15 percent of those surveyed considered their operation to be a full-time business.
The survey found that the majority of farmers made direct sales to wholesale food distributors, restaurants, retail outlets and individuals.
At the present time, meat sales from cattle, hogs, broilers, turkeys and rabbits are carried out at the farm gate and dairy production is limited to on-farm consumption.
There was $1.14 million in livestock sales in the Yukon in 1991, with $915,000 in sales attributed to domestic livestock and livestock for production.
Game farming, in which production was limited to elk raised for breeding stock and/or antler sales, accounted for the remaining $228,000 in reported sales.
Of the 18,300 acres of farmland in the Yukon, 13,000 acres were reported to be under production.
Field crops have been limited to grass, hay and greenfield oats and local livestock producers reported that they purchased 75 percent of their feed from local sources. At the same time, local producers managed to export $50,000 worth of hay to Alaska in 1991.
The farmers were asked for their comments on various development issues facing the industry.
The availability of land was viewed as the most important government service by 93 percent of the respondents, while the availability of government grants was rated the least important, with only 44 percent of the respondents stating that grants were important.
The need for a vegetable storage facility, available veterinary services and the desire for an abbatoir to process locally grown livestock repeatedly topped the needs list when it came to answering the question of what was required to support the continued growth of the Yukons agricultural industry.
The results of the survey are encouraging and they indicate that there is a future for Yukon agriculture. We believe agriculture is an important component of a diversified economy and I look forward to working with the industry so it can grow.
Mr. Harding: I would like to congratulate the farming industry on the results of the survey. I think that they are quite positive and indicate that there certainly is potential for growth in that area, in the Yukon. I am certainly pleased to see the contribution to the gross domestic product to be in the area of millions. I think that is important to the territorial economy; contributions of that size to our economy cannot be overlooked - they are very important.
Government initiatives are very important in this equation to try and promote markets for farm domestic products that are produced in this territory. Certainly the one item in this statement that is very positive is that the localized stock producers are purchasing 75 percent of their products within the territory; that is certainly commendable.
I would be remiss if I did not talk about land claims and the land claims statement as I think it will be critical for freeing land for further development. I know that there are some First Nations people who have some ideas about land development. They certainly have claims to a lot of land in the territory and we cannot forget the legitimate right to those claims that the First Nations people have. It is hoped that when land claims become settled, more First Nations people will partake in the growth of the farming industry in the Yukon.
I think that the territorial government should continue to work closely as it has in the past, and as it is now, with the agricultural industry and the rest of the people in the Yukon to look at the needs of the agricultural and farming industry and the needs of other Yukoners, so that there can be some meeting of the minds in determining what is good for the Yukon, for farmers in the Yukon and what is in the best interest of the First Nations and all residents of the Yukon.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I would like to thank the hon. Member for his kind remarks, and I can assure him that I agree with just about everything he said. That is rather strange, but I did.
Speaker: This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Taxation policy of government
Mr. Penikett: For several years now, the Yukons Department of Finance has argued that Yukoners tax burden was at, or above, the Canadian average, and that the perversity element in the federal formula financing arrangement was fundamentally unfair.
Who, exactly, persuaded the Government Leader that his Finance department was wrong and the federal bureaucracy was right about this question after all?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: All of the documents I have seen point out that Yukoners are at the bottom end of the taxation scale across Canada. I want to ask the Member opposite: if he was so adamant that the perversity factor was wrong, why did he sign the agreement?
Mr. Penikett: The Member for Riverdale North says, hear, hear. The obvious point is that it was not a negotiated agreement, but it was a take-it-or-leave-it agreement from his friend, Mr. Wilson.
In this budget speech, the Minister described a meeting with federal Conservative Minister Tom Siddon to negotiate the terms of Yukons surrender on the perversity-versus-tax fight. What, if anything, do Yukoners get for the government knuckling under to the feds on this question?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: If anybody knuckled under, it was the Member opposite in 1989, when he signed a perversity factor agreement.
The fact remains that Ottawa played a very small role in this; the government opposite spent $70 million more in two years than what they took in, and we had to come in with a balanced budget.
Mr. Penikett: So now it is $70 million, and the fact that the government opposite has collapsed its hand in negotiations with the feds on the perversity-versus-tax agreement is now the Oppositions fault.
Let me ask the Government Leader this: in this secret deal between two Tory politicians, did the federal government agree to remove any of the perversity element from the formula now, or is the Yukon government going to have to raise taxes again and again in order to achieve that?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I would just like to assure the Member opposite that we have a government in place now that is fiscally responsible and we have no intentions of raising taxes again and again, as the Member opposite has said.
Question re: Taxation policy of government
Mr. Penikett: I am not allowed to mention the budget in questions - the biggest budget ever with the biggest tax increases ever, from the fiscally responsible conservative Members opposite - but I would like to ask the Government Leader: is there any truth to the rumour that he has requested from the federal government a large, one-time balloon payment from the federal government in exchange for reduced formula payments downstream and higher and higher taxes for Yukoners in the years to come?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: No, that is not true.
Mr. Penikett: The Government Leader has wimped out in one of the most important federal-territorial disputes in years. Let me ask him how, as the democratically elected leader of the people of the Yukon, he can justify humiliating and punishing the taxpayers of the Yukon by taking the federal Conservative side in this struggle?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The Member opposite is totally wrong. We are not taking the federal governments side. What we are going to do is negotiate with the federal government in good faith to try and remove the perversity factor that he signed into the agreement in 1989.
Mr. Penikett: Until this year, no government had ever argued that Yukoners were not paying enough taxes. Everybody in this House, as far as we knew, was of the view that the perversity element was wrong, not the amount the Yukon taxpayers were paying was wrong. Let all of us ask the Government Leader: why did he collapse? Why did he sell Yukoners out on this? Why did he betray us in this arrangement?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Well, that is a very interesting question from the Leader of the Official Opposition. I guess I could go back and ask why the Members opposite spent $70 million more than they took in in the last two years and put the government in the critical financial position it was in when we took over. That is the question we should ask. Who caved in? That Member opposite, when he signed that agreement in 1989.
Question re: Forestry transfer
Mr. Cable: I have a question for the Minister of Renewable Resources. It is my understanding that an agreement has been signed by the negotiators on the transfer of forestry from the federal government to the Yukon government. Could the Minister confirm whether this is accurate?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, that is accurate.
Mr. Cable: I have been approached by constituents who work for the federal forestry department, and they advise me that one of the job classifications is entitled seasonal indeterminate. These constituents have some concern that when this job classification is translated into the job classifications of the territorial government, they will not receive equal compensation.
Can the Minister indicate if, in that agreement, the issue of seasonal indeterminate employees has been dealt with?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This is an agreement in principle; it has not gone through the Cabinet yet, and I am not prepared to discuss the issue publicly until it has gone through Cabinet.
Mr. Cable: For the sake of the employees, I gather that during the last sessions of this House, it was discussed that the forestry operations, when transferred, would be moved to Watson Lake. If that in fact is the case, will the Minister assure this House and the employees that they will be given reasonable notice if they are required to transfer?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I think the Member is jumping the gun. We have an agreement in principle signed; we have to go through Cabinet and we have to work through this and come to a final agreement, which will take approximately another year.
Question re: Whitehorse sewage facility land acquisition
Ms. Joe: I have a question for the Minister responsible for land claims.
It appears - according to an article in the Whitehorse Star yesterday - that Rick Van Loon, the Assistant Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs, said recently that the decision to remove the land from selection was made in Vancouver at a meeting between Indian Affairs Minister Tom Siddon and Government Leader John Ostashek. The Government Leader has stated in this House in the past that that information is not correct.
I would like to ask the Minister if he agrees that he is once again catering to the wishes of the federal government, such as he has done for the budget?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: That is not at all true. There is no doubt that the land for the Whitehorse sewage disposal system was discussed at our meeting in Vancouver. It has always been a concern that if the land is going to be leased, who would have to pay for the lease. There were discussions regarding the land, but it certainly was not a case of selling out to the federal government.
Ms. Joe: The Government Leader says that he was not selling out to the federal government, but according to a spokesperson for the federal government, he did agree with a decision to take that land out of the land claims selection area.
In this same article it mentions that the Mayor of Whitehorse had received assurances that the city would get use of the land. I would also like to find out from the Minister responsible for land claims if that decision was made at the same meeting he attended in Vancouver with the federal Minister.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: From my recollections of the meeting in Vancouver, there was no decision made. I stated my concerns to the federal Minister. It has always been the position of this government that land for Whitehorse sewage should be unencumbered lands.
Ms. Joe: I am getting contradictions to all the questions I am asking in regard to decisions that were made with the federal government. Does the Government Leader agree with the federal Minister that the land should be taken away from the selected area of the Taan Kwachan First Nation?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: If the Member opposite would read Hansard, I think she would see that I stated in this House, about a week ago, that the final dealings on land for the Whitehorse sewage treatment system would be completed at the land claims negotiating table. I have said that time and time again.
I have also said in this House that it has been the position of this administration - and, I understand, the previous administration also - that lands for Whitehorse sewage should be unencumbered lands.
Question re: Whitehorse sewage facility land acquisition
Ms. Joe: I agree that the Minister has said in the House that this land selection was going to be solved at the negotiating table. He has said that over and over again. What I am becoming confused about is the very fact that he says it is going to be solved at the negotiating table, but he also publicly states that he agrees that the land should not be an item at the negotiating table.
What direction is the Minister giving his negotiators, if he says one thing in public and another thing here in the House?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I do not believe I am saying anything different in the House than I am saying in public. The land claims negotiators are meeting with the Taan today, if I am not mistaken, and I am sure one of the topics that will be discussed is the lands for the Whitehorse sewage facility.
Again, as I stated, they are trying to come up with a resolution to the problem, either by finding some other lands that are acceptable to the Taan, or by working out some kind of arrangement where the city can get unencumbered lands for Whitehorse sewage treatment.
Ms. Joe: We have two governments at the negotiating table. We have the territorial government and the federal government, with both Ministers stating that the land that has been selected by the Taan Kwachan should not be a part of the selection. I am very concerned about the credibility of this Minister in dealing with land claims.
How can he assure not only the Taan Kwachan, but other First Nations groups in the Yukon, that he is very serious about the land claims negotiations and settlements of other First Nations, because of his contradictions in regard to the land that has been selected by the Taan Kwachan?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: If the Member opposite wants any assurances of our commitment, she only needs to look at the bills that were passed in the Legislature.
The lands that have been selected by the Taan Kwachan were never agreed to by either the federal or territorial governments. It was a negotiating position that was put on the table by the Taan. It is still there.
Ms. Joe: We all agree that passing legislation in the House was a marvelous thing and it was supported by the people on the other side, but what I am really concerned about is what is happening shortly after the passing of those two bills. I would like to ask the Minister if he feels that he is partially responsible for the Taan Kwachan seeking a legal opinion on the land that has been selected by them, which is the land that has been taken off the table by the federal government and agreed to by the Government Leader.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I do not at all feel responsible for the Taan seeking a legal opinion. That is their right and privilege. I have no problem with that.
I guess the question comes back to whether or not the taxpayers of the Yukon or of the City of Whitehorse should pay for a lease for the Whitehorse sewage facility for many years in the future. Who should pay the lease? That is what it is all boiling down to. The lands were selected. The same lands are selected for the Whitehorse sewage facility, and it is an issue that will have to be resolved at the land claims table.
Question re: Public Service Commissioner, appointment of
Ms. Moorcroft: The Public Service Commissioner is the only deputy minister who can expect a long-term contract, yet she is the only deputy minister who was appointed for a six-month term - a very short position. Why is the Government Leader trying to manipulate the workings of the Public Service Commission?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I am not certain what the Member opposite is so concerned about. The act very clearly states that a Public Service Commissioner may be appointed for a period of up to 10 years.
I do not see that any laws have been broken. It was an agreement between me and the Public Service Commissioner that the term be for six months.
Ms. Moorcroft: Surely, the Government Leader understands that for any public servant, a six-month position makes her extremely vulnerable to political pressure, particularly for a deputy minister who is responsible for the integrity of the government staffing process. What is the real reason why the Minister will not confirm a long-term appointment for the Public Service Commissioner?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Would the Member for McIntyre-Takhini like to speak to this question?
Speaker: Next question.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I have the utmost faith in the integrity of the Public Service Commissioner and I do not see any problem.
Ms. Moorcroft: We have heard all about the change in direction with the full time equivalency system, which I still maintain threatens job security, benefits and working conditions for the public service. I would like to know when the Minister will make an announcement confirming the continued employment status of the Public Service Commissioner.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I am not exactly certain when the position is up for reappointment, but I can assure the Member opposite that we have every intention to reappoint the Public Service Commissioner to a much longer term.
Question re: Property tax policy outside city limits
Ms. Moorcroft: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services regarding policy on property taxes.
The infamous city councillor, my friend Duke Connelly, is asking the Yukon government to hike property taxes outside city limits and send the cheque to Whitehorse City Council. Can the Minister indicate whether he has accepted or rejected the proposal, or whether this is a matter under discussion with the Whitehorse City Council?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: City council has not approached me on the question at all.
Ms. Moorcroft: The fact remains that I know the Minister is in receipt of correspondence on this matter, and I would like to ask him if the Association of Yukon Communities would be consulted about this proposed policy and, specifically, what consultations will take place before any policy is adopted with the hamlet councils at Mount Lorne and the Ibex Valley.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: Again, I reiterate that if there has been a letter I have not received it yet from city council. If, in fact, there is a letter, when I receive it I will certainly review it, and if such a move were to happen, which I am not contemplating at all, certainly all the people affected would be consulted.
Ms. Moorcroft: Perhaps I will try and clarify this question for the Minister. Given that the city already receives millions of Yukon tax dollars every year that are collected from all Yukoners, including residents outside city limits, will the Minister do the right thing and go on record today to say a very loud and clear no to the prospect of this outrageous tax grab by Whitehorse City Council? What is the Ministers position?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: It is difficult to actually put my position down when I have not been approached by anyone. I will deal with the situation when it is brought to my attention.
Question re: Alcohol and drug abuse strategy
Mrs Firth: I have a question regarding a policy matter for the Government Leader. Yukoners have heard some discouraging comments about this governments approach to the very serious problem of alcohol and drug abuse. We have heard the Minister responsible for the Yukon Liquor Corporation say at the opening of the Red Feather Saloon that they needed more money through liquor sales. We heard the Government Leader say that they did not raise alcohol taxes because retail outlets were going to be hurt and that there may be layoffs because Yukoners would not buy as much alcohol. I would like to ask the Government Leader exactly what his policy is regarding alcohol and drug abuse, and how his government plans to deal with this chronic problem?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I thank the Member opposite for the question. It breaks the monotony over here to be asked a question like that.
The Department of Health and Social Services is getting ready to take a new alcohol and drug strategy to Cabinet. That should happen within the next couple of weeks and I will be making an announcement as soon as Cabinet approves the strategy.
Mrs. Firth: This is the strategy that has been given to the public: the Minister of Health and Social Services is calling it a holistic approach, which involves changes to the justice system, as appropriate, to the correction system, as appropriate, to the alcohol and drug strategy, as appropriate, and to the family violence procedures, as appropriate. Now, that tells us nothing. I am quoting from comments that the Minister made on the radio.
I would like to ask the government if they could be specific and if they could tell us whether or not they have looked at the possibility of taking the $80,000 a year that is spent on labelling liquor bottles and redirecting it to the front line services for dealing with alcohol and drug abuse?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The issue of contributions made by the Yukon Liquor Corporation to the alcohol and drug strategy is under review, if that is what she means.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to ask the government if they have looked at redirecting the revenues from the Liquor Corporation to be put in a special fund to deal with the alcohol and drug abuse problems?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I can repeat my last answer, if she likes. Yes, the issue of revenues from the Liquor Corporation are under review as part of the strategy.
Question re: Curragh Inc., financial assistance
Mr. Harding: Yesterday in the Legislature the Government Leader said that he would be bringing a report back to the Legislature, after speaking to the Minister of Economic Development who has been meeting with the Burns Fry negotiators for the territorial government and Curragh Inc. I was wondering if today the Government Leader could bring a report to the Legislature as I have a lot of constituents who are extremely concerned about what is happening.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I thank the Member opposite for the question. I would love to be able to table a report here today, but I am not yet able to. I did speak to the Minister of Economic Development last night and he informed me that position papers had been exchanged between Curragh and Burns Fry. I also just received a fax from Burns Fry, prior to coming into the House, and I have not had a chance to read it yet.
I am sure that the Economic Development Minister will have a statement to make upon returning to the House.
Mr. Harding: I am disappointed to hear that. The people of my community are waiting on everything that is said by the government with regard to the situation and now they have to wait until the Minister returns - that is very unfortunate. Perhaps the Government Leader could talk about whether or not, in the negotiations, the demand for the first charge on security is still on the negotiating table, by the territorial government, and tell us whether or not the requirements upon the note holders are still on the negotiating table?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: As the Member opposite knows, we said that we would not get into the details of the negotiations. All the terms and conditions are on the table.
Mr. Harding: I find that very disturbing, after the government politicized the conditions they put on Curragh. They took out full-page ads in the newspapers, racked up the costs of those ads to the NDP and then they come to this Legislature and are not prepared to discuss whether or not the most critical of the 14 conditions are still on the table. As a matter of fact, the investors in the industry are telling us that this is an absolutely unprecedented request for first charge on security. Could the Government Leader tell us when he expects these negotiations to reach a favourable conclusion?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I wish I could tell the Member opposite that, but I cannot. I just know that negotiations are ongoing, and we hope that they will reach a favourable conclusion. That is about all I have to say on this subject, because we are respecting a request from Curragh Resources for a blackout.
Question re: Wickstrom Road guardrails
Mr. Cable: I gather that portion of Wickstrom Road, from Hospital Road up to the cliff and the turn, toward the lake, is owned by the Commissioner, as opposed to the City of Whitehorse. I have been told, and agree from my walking down the road, that the guardrails immediately below the extended care facility are dangerously inadequate. On one occasion, I drove by when the road was slippery, and it looked like it was an invitation for somebody to drive into the river.
Can the Minister of Community and Transportation Services confirm that that portion of Wickstrom Road is owned by the Commissioner?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I believe that the Member opposite is correct, but I will have to check that with the department and get back to him. I would expect that the other question would be: are we going to fix the guardrail, if it is ours? I will also get back to him on that.
Mr. Cable: I like to ask my own questions, but thank you for the assistance. That happened to be one of my supplementaries, and I would appreciate the answer.
Has the City of Whitehorse approached the Minister or his departmental officials with a view to having the Government of the Yukon replace the guardrails?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The city may very well have approached the department. I have not been made aware of it.
Question re: Waterfront historical landmarks
Mr. McDonald: The Minister of Tourism will remember the recently published book, Edge of the River, Heart of the City; A History of the Whitehorse Waterfront, which, among other things, identified the significant heritage properties still existing on the waterfront.
Can the Minister indicate whether, and how, the government intends to advance and protect those historical landmarks?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I am very pleased to respond to that question. Recently, I have had discussions with the Minister of Community and Transportation Services regarding the waterfront. As you know, it has been the responsibility of that department and the City of Whitehorse to look at waterfront development. The Minister of Community and Transportation Services agreed that the Department of Tourism will be a full partner in any negotiations regarding the development of the waterfront. I am pleased that the Tourism heritage branch will be involved in that, and we will have strong input on the heritage value of that waterfront.
Mr. McDonald: I assume that the Minister has said they will be intending to protect the historical landmarks on the waterfront. I take that from his answer.
Will the government engage in public discussions with residents and the Yukon Historical Museums Association to ensure that any government policies or plans reflect the interests of those people who live in the area and those people who are dedicated to preserving the Whitehorse waterfront?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Yes, of course we will. In fact, I met, a couple of weeks ago, with the Yukon Historical and Museums Association and gave them strong assurances that they will be involved. I encouraged them to get involved in any waterfront development proposal that came forward.
By having the Department of Tourism more heavily involved in the waterfront development - and they certainly were not involved with the previous government, it was just the City of Whitehorse and Community and Transportation Services - the heritage branch will play a major role. We will be consulting all the groups involved when it comes to deciding what happens to the waterfront.
Mr. McDonald: I think the Member has some of his facts wrong in that particular response. I want to ask the final supplementary to the Minister of Community and Transportation Services.
Many of the long-time residents of the shipyards and Sleepy Hollow area are residents who do not hold title to the property in which they live. Can the Minister indicate if he is pursuing a dialogue with those persons, or is prepared to, and the City of Whitehorse, to ensure that their interests are protected? Is it the governments position that the area residents have an interest in the land on which they live?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: Yes, I can certainly agree that the people living in those areas have an interest in the land. I believe that there have been some life leases already entered into on some of those properties.
Question re: Hazardous waste storage facility
Mr. Penikett: I have a constituency question for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services.
The Minister told us recently that some sort of construction will take place on the new hazardous waste facility. Will the Minister reconfirm to the House that the site for the facility previously selected has been reconfirmed, whether or not the facility is to be fenced or whether a proper, secure storage facility will be buily for dangerous and hazardous wastes?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The site that has been selected is, at this point in time, the preferred site.
Mr. Penikett: I am interested that the Minister said preferred and not final.
Yesterday, the Minister said, and I quote, he was not sure what the previous government did in terms of planning for a new facility. This is curious, since he was in the department at the time and may have been aware of some of the activities. Can the Minister indicate when he will familiarize himself in detail with all the hard work done by people in his department, other departments, local residents, hired consultants and members of the special waste management committee, and inform the House what led him to different conclusions than the ones reached by all the people previously involved in this issue?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: There seem to be quite a few questions there. I am certainly informed about the political interference that went on at that particular site. To answer in further detail, I am quite familiar with the work that the department went to, despite the interference.
Mr. Penikett: The government opposite seems to have a preference for consulting with Yukon Party members, rather than people directly affected, such as local residents, on matters such as this. Can I ask the Minister if it is his view - since he has made comments about political interference - that it is inappropriate for the MLA of the area, or people representing the residents, to be involved in decisions like this? Is that the Ministers view?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: It is not my view that it is inappropriate for the MLA or for the residents to be involved, at all.
Question re: Bison herd, privatization of
Mr. Harding: I have a question that I would like to have a go at again with the Minister of Renewable Resources. My question is regarding the bison.
Yesterday, CBC reported that the Yukon territorial government was privatizing the wood bison herd. This privatization is taking place while a moratorium exists on the game farming industry in the territory, which was supported in December by the government.
Could the Minister explain to this House precisely what consultation he undertook with Yukoners prior to making this decision?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am beginning to realize now why the First Nation chiefs all call me Buffalo Bill. I will probably have that name on my grave when I die.
We consulted with the Fish and Game Association, we consulted with the game farmers and we consulted with the agricultural committee. We also consulted with other committees and asked them for their suggestions.
Mr. Harding: It is amazing that the Minister consulted with so many special interest groups. I wonder where the consultation with ordinary and average Yukoners was held. I think perhaps the Minister should be called the Buffaloed Bill, because he was buffaloed by those groups.
Why would the Minister undertake this move to further promote an industry, under a moratorium that he supported, prior to the game farming regulations being completed?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It always seems as though I am looking after a problem that the previous government created.
In answer to the Members question, in a review that was conducted in 1992, there were nine responses from interested parties; there were absolutely no responses from the public. That is information from the former government.
Mr. Harding: The government opposite plays games constantly. This is their problem and they should be dealing with it in consultation with the people of the Yukon. New information has come to light with regard to the game-farming industry but they have chosen to avoid it rather than deal with the issue. When will the Minister undertake to consult with Yukoners regarding expansion of the game farming industry, which is currently supposed to be under a moratorium by the government, supported by the government in December, and when will the game farming regulations that were supposed to be here before this House come to fruition?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Here we go again - a bunch of questions, but if the Member will give me a few minutes I will try to answer them. First, we have been consulting for over a month and one-half with several organizations. Do I have to run around and invite the Member to all these meetings?
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Does everybody want to get into this conversation? I will answer the question if Members will shut up long enough so that I can answer it.
The game regulations are in the process right now of being prepared; they are before the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board and a number of organizations are going to appear in front of that board. Then they will go to the public. It is simply a set of basic regulations that can be changed at any time until we get regulations that suit the people.
Question re: Game farming moratorium
Mr. Harding: I think the term Buffalo Bill has more to do with the bull than the buffalo. I would like to ask what the governments position is with regard to the moratorium. In December they committed to it.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: First, let me point out something about the moratorium. It was never agreed to by the Cabinet of the former government; it was made by the Minister. We are still agreeing with it and have no problem with it. I said before that I used common sense to get some buffalo off the road that were being killed and I still think that common sense should stand up once in a while instead of - what was the stuff they were calling me a few minutes ago?
Mr. Harding: Again, the Minister of Renewable Resources comes up with a major contradiction. He says he has no problem with the moratorium but yet his actions clearly dictate a move away from the moratorium by offering tenders to people who are not now in the game farming industry to game farm the buffalo. Could he please explain that contradiction to the House?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There are two or three reasons - one is to get the burden off the taxpayer. I am really amazed; he must have an in with the government and my department to know that whomever gets this contract is not now a game farmer.
Mr. Harding: The issue of game farming has come under a lot of discussion in the national circle lately because a lot of concerns have come to light in the last little while. I should point out to the Minister that there is also a very big risk to the taxpayer because of the potential spread of harm to our indigenous wildlife here in the territory because there are some concerns about the industry. Could the Minister please explain why he is not considering those other aspects of harmful consequences that could result as a result of the game farming of buffalo and would, in effect, harm the taxpayer?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I can think of six without even trying.
Number one, I would like to inform the gentleman over there that even the Canadian Wildlife Federation admits that a buffalo is a domestic animal. The Department of Agriculture admits that they are for game farming. I could also throw the question back. If that government put them out there, how do they know they are not diseased out there. They are the same animals.
Mrs. Firth: When is a buffalo really a buffalo?
Speaker: I hope that was a preamble to the Members question.
Question re: FAS/FAE students, mainstreaming of
Mrs. Firth: I have a serious question for the Minister of Education. I have had parents of fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol effects children come to me with a great deal of concern regarding the lack of support they seem to be receiving from the government for their childrens education. The feeling is that other parents will no longer tolerate their children in the classrooms and that there is going to be a movement to remove FAS/FAE children from the classrooms. Can the Minister tell us what alternatives he is going to be offering to these children and to their parents for education.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: We are very concerned about the children with FAS/FAE and we will continue to provide adequate education for those children. The concern may be rising out of the possible review, and I do not want to prejudge the review in terms of what people will say or what people will not say. I can assure you that our support for children with FAS/FAE will not diminish.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister could be specific about it then and tell us what his governments position is regarding having FAS/FAE children in the classroom. That is really the question.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: One of the issues that is a question in the review is mainstreaming. I do not want to prejudge what the stakeholders are going to say or what the stakeholders are going to recommend. I would rather leave that up to the stakeholders to make those kinds of recommendations before we take action.
Mrs. Firth: The concern is that parents are no longer prepared to tolerate having FAS/FAE children in the classrooms. If that is the recommendation, I would like to ask the government if they will follow through and have those children removed and what alternatives will be provided to the children and the parents?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Like I said earlier, we are not going to neglect those children. Whatever decision is taken down the road regarding those children, we will address that problem then. There is a strong concern from people out there about mainstreaming and whether it went too far, or how far it is going, or whether we can improve the system. That is what I am hoping the educational review will do, and I hope we can address some of the concerns that teachers and parents have now. I hope that will happen with the educational review, and I do not want to prejudge that review.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed. We will now proceed to Orders of the Day.
Notice of Business
Mr. McDonald: Pursuant to Standing Order 14.2(3), I would like to identify the order in which the items standing in the name of the Official Opposition are to be called on Wednesday, March 31, 1993. Under Motions other than Government Motions, they are: Motion No. 32 and Motion No. 17, both standing in the name of the Leader of the Official Opposition.
Mr. Cable: Pursuant to Standing Order 14.2(3), I would like to identify the item to be called, standing in the name of the Liberal Party, on Wednesday, March 31, 1993. It is Motion No. 22, standing in the name of the Member for Riverside.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Speaker: Government Bills.
Bill No. 7: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 7, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Ostashek.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I move that Bill No. 7, entitled Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1993-94, be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 7, entitled Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1993-94, be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion for third reading of Bill No. 7 agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 7 has passed this House.
Is there unanimous consent to have a 10-minute recess before we receive the Administrator of the Yukon to give assent?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: This House will recess for 10 minutes.
Speaker: We are now prepared to receive the Administrator to grant assent to the bill that has passed this House.
Administrator enters the Chamber announced by the Sergeant-at-Arms
ASSENT TO BILLS
Administrator: Please be seated.
Speaker: Madam, the Assembly has, at its present session, passed a certain bill to which in the name of and on behalf of the Assembly, I respectfully request your assent.
Clerk: Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1993-94.
Administrator: I hereby assent to the bill as enumerated by the Clerk.
Ladies and gentlemen, if I may take a moment or two of your time, I would like to take a little historic interlude here.
I do not know if any of you will remember, but 17 years ago, in this Chamber, we hosted the first provincial Ministers conference in the Yukon. At that conference of Ministers of Health there were four ladies who had all been elected to their respective Legislatures and who had been given portfolios of health.
I would just like to point out to you today that the conference was held in this chamber, with the gracious consent of the Speaker at the time. It was the first conference that was completely bilingual held in the Yukon; we had a translation booth here in the corner.
Of those ladies who were present that day, you might be interested to know that one of them became the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, one of them was named to the Senate and the third has just been elected Premier of Prince Edward Island.
I do not know that we can take all the credit for their rapid rise, but I think most of us agree - and I know several Members here will agree with me - that the Cabinet position of Minister of Health and Social Services has always been considered something of a can of worms. Perhaps that is why they always used to give it to the women.
I would commend to you the thought that that experience certainly prepared these ladies for promotion in the political world. To the present incumbent of that post: good luck.
Administrator leaves the Chamber
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
We will proceed with Government Bills.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Bill No. 6: Second Reading - continued
Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 6, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Ostashek. Adjourned debate.
Mrs. Firth: I have 10 minutes left and I think I am probably going to use every minute of that time.
I was talking about taxes when we adjourned debate yesterday. It leads me to wonder whether or not the government even considered a cut to personal income tax rates for Yukoners. Cuts? The Government Leader is saying cuts? What is that? Obviously, personal income tax cuts were not a consideration.
This is what I have to bring forward to the government for consideration: what if there had been a cut of 25 percent to the personal income tax rate, rather than increasing the tax rate to 50 percent? From the governments numbers this would have injected $15 million into the economy. As well, the government could have cut government spending. There would have been an extra $15 million of disposable income that Yukoners would have had available. I know now that was not considered, because they were not thinking about Yukoners, they were listening to the Ottawa bureaucrats.
I want to make it clear to Yukoners that this tax increase is not just a one-time $9 million tax increase. Yukoners are going to have this tax increase forever. I have never seen a government take tax increases away, and there certainly has been no offer from this government to reduce taxes or remove the taxes next year. I think the reasoning for this is because this government wants to keep control of the money themselves.
I also have to ask this government if they looked at cutting what I call the political goodie programs - that is, the programs and grants that are handed out by the politicians.
Every government has millions of dollars of those kinds of expenditures. The community development fund is one that I have already made reference to. There has been some talk, from some people, about the home owners grant, and whether or not the money should be given to the municipalities directly as opposed to some politician being the good guy and saying, Here, we are giving you the home owner grant.
There are pet projects that other Ministers have had, like promotional funds for a number of concerns; for example, health and recreational concerns. These are projects where Ministers of the government have the liberty to go around and decide who gets this money and give out cheques to different groups or individuals.
Another program that people have brought to my attention is the home improvement program in the Housing Corporation. People talk about how generous this program is, that they get to do thousands of dollars worth of home repairs. The Housing Corporation spends millions of dollars on that every year.
Did they look at goodie programs that politicians had complete discretion over handing out? I do not think they did.
The attitude of this government is that they know better how to spend your money than you do. That surprises me as it is supposed to be a conservative government. The attitude that because they know how to better spend your money than you do, you have to pay increased taxes; that it is better to have the money flow through the government as opposed to having it flow through the private sector.
People have said to me that they could accept taxes if it was to pay our own way, to get rid of the deficit, but they cannot accept it just so the government can spend more money. What my constituents are telling me is that they want to be able to spend the money themselves.
Mr. Speaker, the Government Leader is motioning that the deficit is going to come down; he will have his chance. All I am asking him is to give me my time and listen to what I am saying. My constituents are saying to me, Let me spend the money the way I want to spend it. Do not take it away from me and then tell me how to spend it. That is a conservative principle that I have always felt very strongly about. Other Yukoners, as well as the people whom I represent, are saying that as well. With respect to the cost of the big government and this new government supporting big government - it is getting bigger. The cost of operating government has risen from a 1992-93 forecast of $314 million to $334 million. In this new budget, it is going to be raised to $353 million. That is a cost of $1 million a day for 30,000 people. That is more than $11,000 for every man, woman and child. That is more than some of these families have as incomes. It is costing more to operate government per every man, woman and child than some families annual incomes. Government is too big when that happens. Yet the government payroll is going up by an overall seven percent.
Then I find out today, from information that was given to me by the Government Leader, about the capital budget. This is just operation and maintenance we are talking about. We have not even touched on the personnel costs for capital and it is another $8.4 million. This is just not right.
I want to point something out when we talk about government spending, big government and increased taxes. We are pretending that this is an NDP budget and what the Members opposite would be saying if it were an NDP government bringing this budget in. I went back in Hansard and I read one of the budget debates from November 1991 when the then-NDP government brought their budget in. One of the Members who are now in the front benches of this government - the Member for Kluane - got up in the House and spoke to the governments proposed budget and he said this: I quote from Hansard, November 18, 1991, page 1278.
I find it very strange for us to be living off a surplus like we do, when the rest of the world, including all of the provinces - except for Ontario - are trying to cut their budget and get their spending in control, at the demand of the people. The people want the spending and the taxing stopped. We brag that we do not have many taxes. That is indirectly wrong, because we all pay federal tax, so we are all paying taxes.
Then he went on to say, when he was talking about running a business, If you cannot run a business and balance it, or come close to it - oh, but government says that that is no problem, we can just come in and supplement it; the taxpayer has got lots of money; we will get some more out of him. Well, it cannot continue; it just cannot.
Speaker: Order please. The Member has just under two minutes to complete her remarks.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to know where that Member was when this budget was prepared. Where was he when this tax-and-spend budget, which he obviously opposed back in 1991, was brought forward? Yesterday, he stood up in this House and supported all the things he was so against.
I have been consistent with my position. I have stood up for Yukoners and stood up for my constituents. We are now coming down to the crunch. We have to vote on second reading. We have to vote on the principles of this bill - not the details, not the line by line; just the principles.
I want to make some points very clear. First, I am not saying the same things as the NDP Opposition; I have my own approach. Two, I could support a real conservative budget; where are the conservative principles in this budget? Three, I could agree with raising taxes if it meant we would really be becoming more independent and saying to Ottawa, We do not need $9 million because we are raising it ourselves. Four, the attitude was not that the government knew how to spend the taxpayers money better than they did. Five, this government was not continuing spending on big government. And six, the most offensive, that the tax increase is a symbolic gesture to some Ottawa bureaucrat.
The message to the Yukon Party is: do not ask me to give up my principles, like the Member for Kluane has. These are my values and that is why I fight so hard for them; therefore, I cannot support this budget at second reading. The principles do not enunciate what I stand for.
Finally, I extend my hand to the Government Leader. We have two months to go through line-by-line, department by department debate. Perhaps he will meet me halfway. Perhaps there can be change and there can be amendments. It is up to him. It is my hope that he will not just pound me on the shoulder. It is my hope that there is room for common sense, logic and compromise.
Ms. Moorcroft: I rise to respond to the Yukon Partys budget speech of last Thursday. It is difficult to find a starting point to express my dismay at this budget.
It is not surprising that the federal government imposed a tax burden on the Yukon for failing to raise what the federal government considered adequate taxes, but since, in Question Period, we were talking about the perversity factor, I would like to talk about the 1989 formula package, which was not negotiated. It was a take-it-or-leave-it release from Michael Wilson. I would like to quote from some of the local media reports at the time.
From CHON-FM, on December 22, 1989, Ottawa, 1989. Ottawa has unilaterally announced the formula financing rate, which it says still gives the Yukon an increase of up to $7 million, but Yukon Finance Minister Piers McDonald calls it a disgrace and a breach of public faith.
From CBC, McDonald may refer to the latest federal statement as a proposal, but that does not seem to be the way Ottawa sees it. The news release states clearly that the new deal will come into effect at the start of the next fiscal year, and even the Minister of Finance admits that it is a case of a big government fighting a small one and, in the end, he is not confident the Yukon will get its way.
From December 27, The Yukon government gets money from Ottawa through an arrangement called formula financing. The last deal was negotiated in 1985. The two governments have been talking about a new five-year deal for months. Late last week, Ottawa announced that a new agreement would come into effect next April. The Yukons Minister of Finance reacted immediately by saying the new arrangement would mean severe cutbacks that would cripple the Yukon economy.
We hear from Rick Van Loon, who is still a senior official with Indian and Northern Affairs, Van Loon says the decision on how formula financing will work over the next five years is final, and he says the changes should not be that hard on the Yukon, anyway. He says the territory has run a tight ship over the last little while and, if it has to raise taxes to handle the cutbacks, they will not have to be that big. McDonald maintains, though, that there will be no tax increases in the Yukon.
We see that the previous NDP government refused to knuckle in to the federal government.
The Yukon tax burden, given the higher cost of living in the territory, is at or above the Canadian average. What I find surprising is that the Yukon government is proud that they are accepting orders from the federal government to raise taxes. That is what I would call the perversity factor. They are proud to raise taxes.
Here in the Yukon we talk about the magic and the mystery. When I stood for public office, I felt confident about working on legislation. As an advocate for people, I have had experience lobbying for changes to policies, improvements to legislation and interpreting legislation and regulations. As a librarian at Yukon College for many years, I worked with government documents, provided reference and I have developed good research skills. That part of the job was not a mystery to me. By comparison, in this budget session of the Yukon Legislature, I wonder if this government believes the magic and the mystery is what accountants are supposed to do for them.
As I have been scrutinizing this budget and learning about government accounting systems, I see that an item can be entered for $1.00, as has been done for an abbatoir to support agricultural infrastructure. I believe that an abbatoir would be a real benefit to all Yukoners. The agricultural community would be able to market meat and poultry products. Consumers would be able to buy locally produced meat. Given the ministerial statement on a bright future for Yukon farming, it seems inconsistent that they did not plan to build an abbatoir this year, in consultation with the Yukon Agricultural Association. Do they expect me to believe that they will build an abbatoir for $1.00 in the capital budget? That would be pretty magic. When will the Yukon Party government go ahead with this project?
In the Consulting and Audit Canada report, we really got into creative accounting. The Government Leader repeatedly stated that this report was commissioned for one purpose only: to come up with a projected deficit figure for March 31, 1993. The bigger, the better. Last night, in this House, the Government Leader triumphantly announced that they have been able to reduce the projected deficit by $3 million. If the Socred transition team had been able to encourage departments to spend just a little more money, he could have projected an $111 million deficit. Then, by coming in at only $58 million, the Yukon Party government would be everybodys hero by saving a whopping $53 million. Perhaps this is the magic part of the accounting equation.
Last week in this House, the Minister of Justice stated that he and his colleagues were committed to providing prudent government, reasonable budgets and a stern hand at the helm; one that would ensure this ship carries on in the future without worrying about the rocky shoals that so attracted New Democrats when they were in government.
I do not believe that the budget presented in this House is a prudent budget. The Government Leader tells us that he has controlled spending, improved government and streamlined operations over the last four and one-half months.
His metaphor was: we are now on the right road, rather than heading down the slippery slope.
Well, whether your metaphor is road or sea navigation, the route we are taking is not forward, but backward. We are shifting into reverse.
This budget raises taxes. Income taxes for businesses and individuals are going up, so are the taxes on cigarettes and gasoline. Increasing taxes takes money out of peoples pockets and reduces their disposable income.
Local businesses face increased costs, which may put more of them out of business.
This budget has huge tax increases and record spending. Talk about perversity. There is absolutely no justification for these tax increases. The increases will result in the death of more jobs, in the face of record unemployment since this government took office.
Even local business people say that this budget will hurt; it will cost more than the changes to the Employment Standards Act, which this government refuses to proclaim for the benefit of workers in this territory. Are these taxes being raised and applied to government programs that help people? No, programs in the health and social services area are being reduced.
This budget brings in the largest ever capital budget in the Yukon Territory. This is not holding the line on spending, or fiscal restraint, that the Yukon Party had pledged. While this government spends time trumpeting their capital growth plans, I maintain that they are being made at the expense of community-based, locally controlled programs.
The community development fund was created as part of the Yukon Economic Strategy, to assist groups, primarily volunteer agencies, to provide services in their communities. This fund has been trimmed by half a million dollars.
To speak of one example, in my own riding, community development funds allowed the Lorne Mountain Community Association to build a centre. At the time, the Carcross valley was represented by an Opposition Member, so the CDF was not a fund to benefit Ministers ridings under the previous government.
The Mount Lorne community centre has contributed greatly to the community in which I live. There are hockey games for all ages on the rink, which is maintained by volunteer labour. There are community dances and potluck suppers. Public meetings are held there. I see this budget cuts the community development fund by half a million dollars, which means fewer communities will be able to begin these kinds of projects.
I should say that the community development fund has made a difference to my community, as I am sure it has made to others. I know that there will be a void created in locally-controlled community development by this downsizing.
The capital budget does not demonstrate a large commitment to the problem of Whitehorse water and sewage treatment. This is a longstanding and serious problem. People in my riding, and all across the territory, are very concerned about the governments heel-dragging on this issue. During the election campaign, the Yukon Party committed itself to resolving the Whitehorse sewage problem quickly and expeditiously. We cannot be selling our clean environment as a tourist attraction to bring people and money into the territory while continuing to pump raw sewage into the Yukon river system. The Taan Kwachan people cannot eat fish from Lake Laberge because of contamination.
The Yukon Party promised that this was a big concern of theirs. Where is their concern reflected in spending priorities? The trend that is starting here is that this government is no longer referring to their campaign promise list. Has the document become obsolete? What else will this government be making up as they go along? As many Members opposite have said, their consultation with Yukoners happened on October 19, and the next one will be in another four years.
The government announced that $14 million will be spent on hospital construction. My concern is that people will not see jobs from this project for some time to come. There have been no tenders issued, and the design is still not complete. Where is the governments economic leadership? Meanwhile, the Minister responsible refuses to give Yukoners straight answers on when they can expect to have the jobs tendered and jobs to go to.
What I have to say next will not surprise the honourable gentlemen sitting opposite. This budget hurts women. This government has made drastic spending cuts to programs and agencies that assist women and children. The Department of Health and Social Services budget is increasing by $18 million. Yet, we see that funding to the Child Development Centre, which treats developmentally challenged children in a variety of programs, has been cut. The Child Development Centre provides important services that save money by early detection and treatment of learning disabilities. Their community outreach programs have just been expanding. As these services are needed in our rural communities, as well as in Whitehorse, they need to expand.
Funding to other non-profit agencies providing family, children and social services has also been cut. During the election campaign, the Yukon Party expressed support for community crime prevention. However, they have cut funding to youth services community crime prevention. They have cut funding to the Yukon Advisory Council on Indian Child Welfare. They have cut funding to the Yukon AIDS program.
I note that the child care operating grants are being significantly reduced. What does this mean? Does it mean that the Yukon Party government does not believe, as New Democrats believe, in public funding to support high quality, accessible, affordable non-profit child care programs? The operating grants are an essential means of ensuring the necessary stability of child care centres. The NDP government initiated direct payment of subsidies to the child care facility chosen by the parent. Any move to reverse this decision could undermine the ability of child care facilities to operate because they would not be able to rely on an assured source of funds. Increasing the child care subsidies will certainly benefit parents, but it must not be to the detriment of child care facilities. This money should continue to be paid to the care giver who provides the child care services.
I have heard from CBC that the budget document may have been misprinted. If there has been a typo that is giving me an error, I would like to know that from the Minister.
It has been a long, long struggle for child care in the Yukon to get to where it is, and it is still a long way from meeting community needs. Child care workers are not recognized for the valuable work they do. They have very low wages, and by those low wages they subsidize other working parents. We have a responsibility to work toward fair wages and increased training opportunities for child care workers, for the benefit of us all.
The advances made in child care over the last seven years were something to be proud of. The child care community is very concerned about the Yukon moving backwards in the child care field. While child care is an issue affecting us all, more so it is an issue that is an integral component of womens equality.
Another such issue is violence. This government is saying that violence against women is an important concern of theirs but they are not willing to spend any money or give any attention to ending violence against women. Ever hear the saying, You have to put your money where your mouth is? I wonder whether the Minister responsible for the Womens Directorate has any idea what it feels like to not be able to participate in volunteer work in a group one cares about because one cannot leave the home without permission. I wonder if the Minister has any understanding of what it feels like to be a woman leaving an abusive relationship, who moves 1,500 miles because she does not feel safe where she is, only to be followed and harassed and beaten up again.
I strongly believe we must do more than respond to a womans immediate need for protection from violence.
Advocacy work is a strategy favoured by the feminist movement. The Victoria Faulkner Womens Centre is a place for women to gather and measure their courage and, with the help of others, use it, test it, foster it and make it grow. Women need a lot of courage to face the problems they have in our society today.
The Victoria Faulkner Womens Centre does educational work, which includes the publication of information, organizing events such as International Womens Day celebrations and Take Back the Night, and maintenance of a print resource centre. The Womens Centre does referral to other social service agencies. The funds that were in place were scant, at best. This cut may force the centre to close its doors. This would be a move that would harm women in this community.
I hope the Minister can continue to look himself in the mirror, if this happens.
The Womens Centre has also been responsible for organizing the annual womens conference. Not surprisingly, this funding has also been gutted. Fundraising has always been a mainstay of any conference and, with this latest paring, the task of raising the necessary money, as well as coordinating a conference, may be too daunting.
The Womens Centre gives women an opportunity to express their experiences and feelings. It offers courses and lay counselling that aim at empowering women and freeing them of the paralysis women often feel. By taking a position on issues, the centre exercises a role as advocates working for change.
The budget cut reducing the core funding of the Womens Centre from $15,000 to $5,000 could paralyze the centre, forcing it to close its doors.
During the election campaign, this government repeatedly committed itself to meaningful equality for women, yet, in their very first opportunity to prove this, they failed miserably.
Funding for the Yukon Advisory Council on Womens Issues has been reduced by 77 percent. If this budget passes, the advisory council will have $5,000, compared to $22,000 last year. I guess they will not be filling any vacancies with that much money. To me, this demonstrates the extent of the Ministers commitment to consulting the women of this territory. The Minister seems to be encouraging women to give him advice on one hand but, with the other, he is busy taking away their funding, so they are not able to. I find that rather a perplexing strategy.
I am sure the womens strategy has been discussed in Cabinet. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that discussion.
When we enter departmental budget debates I would like the Minister responsible for the Womens Directorate to explain the rationale for cutting grants and contributions to womens groups by approximately $33,000, while proposing a 100 percent capital budget increase of $12,000 for the same department.
Funding to Kaushees Place, the Yukon womens transition home, has been reduced. Funding to the Dawson City and Watson Lake womens shelters has been reduced. If the Minister had taken a moment to examine the statistics, he may have noticed that these safe places for women are well used - a troubling but real situation. Had he visited with staff, he would have recognized a very committed, hard-working team of people who have enough on their plate without having to worry if they will have enough money to keep the doors open.
I would like the Minister to explain the $214,000 transition home revenue, recoverable from DIAND; an increase of $124,000 over last year and yet at the same time they are cutting funding to womens shelters.
Again, had the Minister bothered to consult the election promises of this government he would have realized that these cuts undermine what the Yukon Party, of which the Minister was formerly leader, committed to women of this territory. The Yukon Party took a stand on eliminating violence against women and children. They claimed to be socially responsible and concerned for the victims of this scourge on our society. I would also like to know from the Minister for Health and Social Services if the child abuse treatment service will continue to operate.
If only we had enough hours in the day to point out all the contradictions between Yukon Party election promises and this budget - so many contradictions and so little time. During the election we heard about the commitment to drug and alcohol treatment. How does this budget back up that promise? You guessed it; like all the others, cut it.
Crossroads, the only residential treatment centre in the territory, has had its budget reduced - on it goes.
The direction being given to the Public Service Commission is very troubling. There is good reason for the Public Service Commission to provide corporate personnel services and policy direction to the administration of public service. Some examples of policies that the PSC administers are the employment equity policy and the reintegration of disabled employees.
We know that women are chronically under-represented in the upper ranks of the public service. Integrating people with disabilities into the public service is an ideal way to sensitize those who are able bodied, to the challenges faced by those who are not. How will departments be held accountable to these progressive policies under the discretionary departmental funding favoured by the Government Leader?
The largest cut in the Public Service Commission is a reduction of $368,000 in staffing operations, which represents a 55-percent cut.
Objectives of the staffing program are to ensure the integrity of the staffing process and support the attainment of a workforce representative of the Yukon population. Will these objectives be compromised by this huge budget reduction?
I find the initiative to delegate decision making for hiring and personnel matters to departments raises many serious questions. Will departments now have the ability to maintain employee records separate from the Public Service Commission, where rules of confidentiality are strictly enforced? Will Ministers have access to confidential records from deputies and departments? Will Ministers be able to give direction to deputies about who to hire? Will working conditions and job security be eroded for the public service?
I cannot, in all conscience, support this budget. Yesterday, the Government Leader proudly referred to the governments PS 2000 model in developing new staffing initiatives, like the full-time equivalency program - a model which has decimated the federal public service and social programs for Canadians.
The Government Leader, himself, labelled tax increases obscene if the NDP were to bring them in. Post-election tax hikes are a necessary evil.
I am also concerned about the reduction in the amount of money being spent on a hazardous waste facility. Yukoners have said that they wanted to see a facility for secure storage of hazardous waste. What they did not want to see is a hazardous facility. If they are just going to stick a fence around a property and allow all the hazardous waste to pile up there, we are going to see more problems. Yukoners wanted to see a safe and secure storage facility for hazardous waste so that we do not have batteries, PCBs and other toxic chemicals in the landfill sites around the Yukon and abandoned where projects had started and ended and nobody had come around to follow up and make sure that there was no toxic waste left at them.
More and more groups are coming forward to oppose the measures contained in this budget. Child care workers are angry, women are angry and we are not going to take this lying down.
I encourage the minority Yukon Party government to listen to, and act upon, these concerns. As the Member for Mount Lorne, I will have many more questions as we move into departmental debates. My constituents have concerns about Community and Transportation Services, rural road maintenance, education, economic development, wildlife resource management - all the issues. I look forward to asking questions on these subjects and exposing this Conservative agenda for what it is.
I cannot support this budget. It is the biggest ever, introducing the biggest ever tax increases. I do not support this and, in all conscience, I will vote against the budget.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I rise today in support of the budget before us. I believe it is a responsible budget, considering the financial circumstances that we were left with.
Last October, Tony Penikett, the then-Government Leader, called a general election. The platform that he used was that the Yukon should have good government, and that the NDP had been providing good government for all Yukoners over the past seven years.
The previous administration told us they provided us with balanced budgets. Well, that statement was a bit misleading to say the least. In fact, over the past two years the budgets were not balanced.
Let us cast our minds back to that election and look at what NDP Members said during the election. Not one Member came forward during that election to tell us that there were financial problems in the Government of the Yukon. In fact, the first admission we heard of serious financial problems in government was from the Member for Faro a few weeks ago here in the House. The Member told us that they knew at that time that there were serious financial problems. Well, it is too bad they did not tell the general public about those financial problems.
It is obvious now why we did not go into a session before we had a election. Obviously, the results would have been a lot different. There probably would not have been any NDP Members sitting on that side opposite.
Mr. Speaker, can you recall any of the NDP Members telling us during the campaign that we would be facing problems in the future? I do not recall any Members saying that, not one. As I said, the Member for Faro reminded us recently.
I would like to suggest that promises were not made then, because the government knew they were broke. The previous government knew before the election that they were broke. We should have read between the lines at that time.
It was interesting to listen yesterday to the Member for Takhini-McIntyre, when he told us that we are not really broke until we reach the point the other provinces have. I do not think we want to reach that point. Right now, the government debt, as a percentage of gross provincial product in British Columbia, is 14 percent. It is 18 percent in Alberta, 39 percent in Saskatchewan, 22 percent in Manitoba, 22 percent in Ontario, 34 percent in Quebec, 37 percent in Nova Scotia, 28 percent in New Brunswick, 14 percent in P.E.I. and 49 percent in Newfoundland. If we continued on with the spending the way the NDP government was spending in the past year, we would be catching up to those provinces in a hurry, but there is no way Yukoners could afford that kind of deficit financing.
We are fortunate we caught it in time.
Those may be the debts of other provinces but they are also the debts of all Canadians, in addition to the Canadian deficit, which is over $450 billion as we speak, and rising hundreds of thousands of dollars a minute. It is almost as if the Members on the other side do not care about that and feel we should not worry about being in debt until we are truly in debt, until we are like every other province in Canada and then we should start to be concerned.
We should be concerned about the financial position of the government and this budget before us today is a budget that is responsible and one that is just in time. I shudder to think what would have happened if the NDP had been in for four more years and we had another $50 million deficit to deal with next year. Indications are that spending was totally out of the control by the side opposite.
The Member for Faro can laugh and smile about the financial position of the Yukon government, but I can tell him that if we had the $50 million in the bank, which the NDP government spent last year over and above their budget, the decision to help Faro would have been made a heck of a lot easier. But that government squandered that money in the past year.
It is obvious to me and to other Yukoners that the NDP was happy with a $58 million deficit and did not think there was any kind of a problem. The Opposition seems to have focused in on the statement in the election campaign by the current Government Leader that it would be inappropriate or obscene to raise taxes. It is interesting, as well, that at that time the Member for McIntyre-Takhini conveniently leaves out the fact that when this statement was made the NDP government was telling everybody in the Yukon that they had managed the purse strings of the government really well and that there were no problems.
It was the furthest thing from the truth. The financial position of the Government of Yukon was abysmal in October 1992, and they knew it.
I will just make a few comments on what some of the other speakers have said who have been here before us. The Member for Riverdale South spoke earlier today and yesterday afternoon, and it is obvious now that the Member for Riverdale South, who voted on two non-confidence motions with the NDP in the past and is sidling up to the NDP on a regular basis, is now committed to voting with the NDP in hopes of bringing down the Yukon Party government. That is an interesting scenario. In my wildest dreams, I never would have paired that particular Member and the New Democratic Party as bosom buddies. Obviously, it looks like that appears to be a marriage in the making, with a divorce not too far behind.
The Member for Riverdale South played the Lets pretend scenario. She said if the roles were reversed, what would we do? I agree with part of her argument. I think she made a fairly reasonable and sound argument about higher taxes and the higher operating budget of the Government of Yukon. We would have a great deal of difficulty tolerating that if we were on the other side, but, we have to realize what we were left with. We were left with no money in the bank, with commitments all over the place for spending in the future that we virtually have very little, or no control over.
We have a facility that was built across the way that cost twice as much as a similar facility in the Okanagan. The operation for that facility is going to cost twice as much the facility in the Okanagan that has one more bed.
The Member for Faro says this a broken record. It must be extremely painful for that Member to hear this, because it was his government that spent that money. It was his government that got us into this pickle that we are in today. Maybe it needs to be repeated if the Member is not aware of it. If it will not sink into his mind, maybe he has to hear it a few more times so he understands the dilemma that we are in.
There are light fixtures in that building that are worth over $100,000. There is a huge fireplace, and no one can criticize the workmanship that went into that beautiful fireplace, but one has to ask whether we have to build Taj Mahals, or whether we should be looking at functional facilities in the future that serve our purposes. The previous government seemed to have no control over these types of projects.
For example, in the Department of Education, we built several schools in the last few years. The schools were needed, and I commend the former Minister for building those schools. However, obviously the building of the schools got out of hand. When it came to one particular school - the Granger school, in the Leader of the Official Oppositions riding - it surpassed in elegance, or decadence, any other school in the whole territory. It probably cost one and one-half times as much as any other school in the territory. We could have built a school in the Granger subdivision, and the Grey Mountain school, or the Mayo school, or the Dawson school, or in several other of these areas that need new classrooms, in the same year if they had built a decent school in the Granger subdivision. It is absolutely ridiculous what happened up there, and the government should be ashamed of that kind of record.
The school was needed, granted; but it did not need 30-foot hallways, it did not need 30-foot ceilings, and it did not need $30,000 worth of butterflies and planetarium mobiles in the middle of the hallways. I know this is painful for the Member for Faro, but he will just have to bear with me for a while yet.
The other problem we are faced with in the huge buildings we have built is the operation and maintenance cost for them, which we have to pay for in the future. If we look at the overall budget, the operation and maintenance expenditures are $19 million over the 1992-93 forecast. I was not happy with that figure, either. I really wanted to bring this governments budget in under the operation and maintenance costs of the previous government.
Let us look at where some of the costs are in the $19 million.
The continuing care facility will be opened this year, and the operation and maintenance cost for that is $3.2 million. That had to be in this budget if we were going to open up that facility. We had no control over that. It was built by the previous government.
Other health care services, including the additional cost of the hospital transfer from the federal government, are $9.9 million. Additional costs for social services - legislated costs that we have no control over - are I$2.5 million. Children and family services are another $1 million, which is virtually all legislated. Training trusts for First Nations could have been left out of the budget and put into a supplementary, the way the previous government did - pretend what the real budget is, tell them they have a balanced budget and, later on in the year, bring in a huge supplementary. We decided to put it in the budget this year, and there is $2.4 million for that.
There is a fish and wildlife trust fund in the budget, again related to land claims, for $270,000.
Because we are broke, for the first time the Government of the Yukon has banking services and interest on its borrowed money, to the tune of $400,000.
There is a requirement under the Workers Compensation premium that is now due and has to be paid to the government, to the tune of $858,000. It is almost another million bucks. The cost of operating the new Teslin correction centre is $700,000. These are all O&M costs that we have built into the budget, but have no control over. The full-year costs of teachers hired last year was over $3 million.
In the last NDP budget that they said was balanced, the 1992-93 budget, there was no cost in there for the extra teachers that they knew they would need throughout the year. They knew they needed to come in with a supplementary. These 10 items I have listed here add up to about $24 million - that is $24 million over and above the 1992-93 budget. That means about $6 million has been taken out of the O&M budget of the Government of the Yukon. That is a great feat considering it was done without any major layoffs of people within the government service.
The Member for Riverdale South was concerned about the managers and people working for the government. She said we should be reducing all personnel in the management area. At the same time, that Member says we should be giving civil servants some kind of assurance that their jobs are secure. One cannot have it both ways.
I have talked to that Member. I have communicated to her that if she wants to sit down with me and the Department of Education officials, I would be happy to give her a briefing about what we are doing in the department to reduce the overall spending in the government. I can assure the Member that we are leaving the public school system alone. We are looking at reductions in the management side and doing that through attrition and moving people around at the present time. We hope to see some major savings in that department in the future. It will not happen overnight. If the Member wants it to happen overnight, it would mean significant layoffs and there would be fairly significant disruptions to families in the territory. I do not think that is fair to people working in the department or any department of the Government of the Yukon. I think it can be done through better management, and that is how we intend to do it.
If the Member is genuinely interested, I will sit down with her and discuss options. Perhaps that Member could make some suggestions to me and my officials about how we could do that more efficiently in the future. I would be happy to do that.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible).
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The Member says as long as I do not pound her on the shoulder. I promise the Member I will not pound her on the shoulder. If I can give her that assurance, perhaps she will take me up on my offer to brief her further on the department.
The Member talked about taxes and about some of the programs that are in place: the community development fund and others like the SEAL program. I commend the previous government for the SEAL program and the home improvement programs. I think some of them have been very good and have reduced the future dependency of Yukoners on fossil fuels.
Their home improvement programs are federal programs; they are not all necessarily territorial.
The Member for Mount Lorne spoke a few moments about a few issues that she was concerned about. The Member mentioned the abattoir. She said that we needed the abattoir right now, that there was nothing in the budget for the abattoir; it was only a $1.00 item and it would be magic or mystery if we built the abattoir immediately.
I guess it is out of habit, but for seven years I sat on the other side of the House, where that Member is sitting now. We asked questions about the abattoir. For seven years the NDP government dilly-dallied around about making a decision as to whether or not they were going to build an abattoir, where they were going to build and how they were going to build.
I had seven years of patience waiting for the previous government to build an abattoir. That was seven years when they had millions and millions of dollars in the bank. We now have no money in the bank, because her party broke the bank.
We have only had five months. I know that the Member is anxious to have an abattoir built, but I ask the Member to have a little more than five months patience, considering all of the circumstances that we are dealing with.
The Member also mentioned the hazardous waste facility. Again, I go back to her government. The previous government had seven years to develop the hazardous waste facility. In seven years they did nothing but run all over the territory and form committees at a great deal of cost. I supported the consultative process, it was a good process, but do you know what happened? The previous government did not listen to the recommendations of that committee. That was not the only committee it did not listen to.
The previous government, the NDP government, carried out all kinds of consultation, but it never listened to what the people were saying. The hazardous waste facility is one example.
Another example is the Aishihik caribou herd; the previous government spent hundreds of thousands of dollars consulting. The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, which the Member for Kluane was on years ago, travelled around the territory asking people how they felt about wildlife management. There were hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on consultation, but a decision was never made. They never made the decision; they kept putting the decision off. When they received a recommendation to go ahead, they formed another committee to do another study.
Again, that was at a cost of thousands and thousands of dollars, like it did not matter, like there was no tomorrow, like there was tons of money in the bank, like we did not have to worry about it.
The Member spoke about the Employment Standards Act and how these taxes would have much more of an effect than the Employment Standards Act. I doubt it. I doubt it. She stood in her spot in the House today and pretended to speak for the business community. If her party had one inkling of what the business community was thinking about a year ago, they would never have brought the Employment Standards Act into this House the way it was written. It was disgraceful. They did not listen to the business community.
The Member has a lot of gall to talk about consultation. I could not agree more but, when one consults, there is an obligation and the obligation is to listen and not to just, when one finds a recommendation one does not agree with, go back and form another committee. That is what the Members government did over the past seven years, at great expense to the Yukon taxpayer.
The Member for Mount Lorne said that, with these tax increases, the government is shifting into reverse. I can tell the Member what shifting into reverse is; shifting into reverse is deficit financing, and that is what the previous government was doing - shifting into reverse with deficit financing. That is the route we were going.
The Member also spoke about drastic cuts to the womens programs. I would like to take a few minutes and talk about that because I think it is important. I take my responsibility for the Womens Directorate very seriously and I take exception to the comments made by some of the Members opposite. The Womens Directorate budget is cut by some $20,000, but that is because a federal-provincial conference was held in the Yukon last summer and it will not be held in the Yukon this year; it will be held in another jurisdiction. That is the only reason for the reduction; otherwise, the budget is exactly the same as it was in the past.
I would like to turn now to the Victoria Faulkner Womens Centre, because it seems to be an area of concern for the Member for Mount Lorne. The Victoria Faulkner Womens Centre knew two years ago that they were receiving core funding for two years only. The Member for Whitehorse Centre says that is not true. Well, I have a letter here dated May 8, 1992, that says, It is presently the policy of this government not to provide core funding. It happens to be signed by Margaret Joe, Minister responsible for the Status of Women.
The Member told them then that it was not the policy of this government to core fund that organization and that it would be two-year core funding, which would end in 1992. There was a response to that letter from the Victoria Faulkner Womens Centre, which says: Your letter of May 8 informed us of the fact that the policy of your present government does not allow for core funding of the Womens Centre.
They knew, in July of 1992, that they were not going to receive core funding. I met with the individuals working at the Victoria Faulkner Womens Centre a few weeks ago and discussed the core funding issue with them. At that time, I reassured them that there was no way that we could core fund that particular centre. I did go one step further than the former Minister did. I told them, in this budget, that I would give them $5,000 for core funding. I also told them that I would provide another $5,000 for projects. In fact, I would suggest to the Member opposite that there is more than $5,000 that went into the Womens Directorate budget for specific projects. In fact, I indicated to the individuals I met with at that time that the money would be there.
There is another $5,000 in the budget from the Department of Health and Social Services for programs. That is $15,000, with a commitment from my department, the Womens Directorate, that, if they come forward with more projects, we would consider them on a project-by-project basis. That is not a decrease; that is a commitment of an increase for that particular facility.
I also gave the individuals a commitment that I would have the Womens Directorate assist them in obtaining any other funding from any other agency we could, including private and federal. The Victoria Faulkner Womens Centre is providing a valuable service to the residents of Yukon. I would think that groups such as the Womens Business Network, and other groups, may be very interested in the projects they are doing, and may be interested in assisting them, or getting involved. They should approach these groups, and I would assist them in that endeavour. However, to say that they are not getting any more funding is stretching it a bit.
I have met with several womens groups in the past and given them assurances of my concerns over issues affecting women. We are presently working on issues of safety in the workplace and violence against women. I am seeking the advice and support of all womens groups in the territory on these issues. From the groups that I have talked to, I think we have a lot of support for the programs that we have ongoing.
The Member raised the issue of one area of the budget where there seemed to be a transfer of dollars from one area to another, and I will explain that a little further when we get into the budget. Evidently, in the past, with the way the previous Minister was doing it, we were advised by the Auditor General that we were exceeding the limit and the process was illegal. Therefore, we now have to do it through another process. The same amount of funding is there, but it just cannot be an outright grant.
The funding was just moved around to comply with the law, because we certainly would not want to be breaking the law like the previous government.
The Leader of the Official Opposition spoke yesterday and he raised a few issues that I would like to comment on. He seemed to be concerned about Mr. Dale Drown and the people we brought in from outside of Yukon and the high cost involved. I would be interested in having that debate with the Leader of the Official Opposition in the future. Mr. Speaker, the list of people he imported from outside Yukon is longer than your arm. I would be more than happy to debate that with the Leader of the Official Opposition in the future. He talks about Dale Drown, but we could talk about Terry Sargeant, Doug McArthur, John Crump and John Walsh. Some of the new Members may not remember these people because they left right after the election. They left the Yukon. They were real, committed Yukoners. They arrived up here, got paid megadollars, hundreds of thousands of dollars over a period of a few years, and then as soon as the NDP lost the election they were gone. That is commitment: leave us the legacy of the deficit, the problems, and then disappear and leave the Yukon.
Dale Drown has worked in the Yukon, off and on for over eight years, and has more of a commitment to the Yukon than any of the individuals I mentioned before.
They also went after Merv Miller. Some of the Members on the other side talk about Merv Miller as being an outsider. He probably has more years in the Yukon than most of the Members on the other side. I think Merv spent 18 years in the Yukon, serving the people and the government of Yukon as an administrator, as well as operating his own business - a well-respected businessman in this territory. Merv Miller has earned his stripes as a Yukoner. The Members opposite should be careful when they are criticizing that gentleman.
The Leader of the Official Opposition made some other comments yesterday that I would like to comment on. He went on at great lengths criticizing the government for putting up with the perversity factor. He seemed to be quite concerned about how we had caved in, had no guts; we had caved into the federal bureaucrats and bowed down to their every wish. He was right about the perversity factor being a bad deal for all Yukoners.
However, he should remember something. When he is pointing his finger, he should remember that he has three of his own fingers pointing back at himself. He was the leader of the government, and he knuckled under, he blinked, he folded his cards, he gave in to the feds in 1989, when his party agreed to the perversity factor.
It is beyond belief. The side opposite said today that the perversity factor was imposed on us, that we had no choice; however, today, he is asking our Government Leader to say no. When they could not say no, now it is our responsibility to say no. It does not work that way. The Minister of Finance at the time, the Member for McIntyre-Takhini, should have said no then, and he did not. He caved in to the federal government.
It was the previous government that spent billions of Yukon taxpayers dollars and did not diversify the Yukons economy. It was the previous government that signed the perversity factor. The Members on the other side can holler and squeal all they want, but their government signed that deal, and it was their government that spent $58 million more last year than they took in.
The Yukon people are left with their legacy of a negative perversity factor and a huge deficit. I do not think too many Yukoners would thank the NDP for that.
I want to touch on some of the areas in the budget that I am responsible for. I already talked about the Womens Directorate. I would now like to speak briefly on the Department of Tourism.
The Department of Tourism budget is up about two percent. It is one of the few budgets in the Government of the Yukon that has shown a small increase. Tourism is a priority of our government; unfortunately, we were not left a lot of money to do a lot of things we would have liked to do. However, we have rearranged some of the priorities in the Department of Tourism, and I think, with the budget we have this year, we can do some very positive things for tourism in the territory.
The indications already are that the tourism for this year will be at least as good as last year, and possibly better. It appears the spinoff from the Yukon Anniversaries Commission is going to pay off for the Yukon. As well, the Anniversaries Commission, which did an outstanding job of putting together the celebration last year, is going to be guaranteed some core funding in the future. It is something the Anniversaries Commission has been concerned about for some time. Under the previous regime, they spent about four or five years, running around from pillar to post, trying to make sure they had enough money for their day-to-day operation and maintenance costs.
We hope the core funding we will be dealing with in the Tourism budget will allow the Anniversaries Commission to pursue the projects and concentrate more on them and the celebration of 1995, 1996 and 1998. We are hoping that that will allow them to do that.
As I said before, we are very optimistic. We have a new promotional program that we embarked upon this winter: the adventure tourism program. All indications are that this program is being very well received and is receiving more inquiries than we projected. In the near future, I will be making a statement in the House regarding that particular program.
Another area I have a responsibility for is the arts. I am pleased to see that the overall arts budget has shown an increase. Some out there might have been a bit surprised with this government. There were some accusations that our party is not concerned with the arts. When one looks at the overall budget, one will see that the arts budget has maintained its status. There are some positive things happening in the arts. I will elaborate more on those when we get into the actual budget of the Department of Tourism.
In the Department of Education, the budget is up some five percent from last year. Included in that is the $2.4 million for the land claims training trust fund. This year, we have included what we feel will be sufficient funding for the hiring of additional teachers as needed, based on the formula for teachers.
The grant to the college appears to be decreased in the budget; when one looks at all the other programs that are involved, the college will actually see a small increase in its grants.
I think the budget shows clearly that our party is committed to education and a strong education system in the Yukon. I would be remiss if I did not comment on the previous administration in education. I think there were some very positive things done under the previous administration in education. Many of those initiatives will be carried forward and expanded on in the near future.
One of the areas I want to pursue that had its early beginnings in the past administration is the area of partnerships between business and education. I attended the prosperity initiatives in Whitehorse a few months ago and the department is now working on prosperity initiatives recommendations to see how we could improve in that area.
I only have a few minutes remaining to wrap up. I would like to go back for a minute to one last, important item in education: the education review.
The education review will take place, I hope, over this year. I am looking forward to the participation of all stakeholders. I have been talking to many of the stakeholders recently, and it appears that they are willing to participate in the review process. I wanted to be driven by the stakeholders and I am looking forward to the recommendations that will come from that review. None of us should be afraid of an education review to improve our education system in Yukon.
In closing, I would like to suggest again to all Members that this is a good budget, considering the legacy that the previous government left us: a $58 million deficit.
I think that this particular budget is responsible and I think the tax increases in the budget are necessary at this time so that we can not only balance the budget, but show some initiative so that Yukon will one day be self-sufficient.
I would recommend to all Members that they support this budget.
Ms. Joe: It gives me pleasure to speak to this budget. Before the budget was tabled in the House, there was a lot of talk about what would be included in it. When it was tabled in the House, the introduction, second reading and the speech generally shocked everyone. Based on the kind of things we saw in the budget, we would have to go back to the October 1992 election promises; the Member for Riverdale North suggested we cast our minds back to the election and I would like to do that as well.
The commitments by the Yukon Party were very extensive. I mentioned before that one of the people who was working in my part of the campaign office questioned the fact that if they cannot even read a budget book, how are they going to run a government? I look back on the commitments that were made by the Yukon Party and one of the things they said was that they expected to save $96 million over four years - $24 million per year, starting this year, I presume - and they were going to do that by better planning and control of capital budgets, resulting in a 15-percent reduction in cost overruns and reducing contracts by 20 percent and reducing ECO by 10 percent. From all of the savings that they were going to be able to effect, they were going to give $24 million to the City of Whitehorse for the sewage system; they were going to give $17 million to the mining industry; they were going to give $13 million to tourism; they were going to give $5 million to drug and alcohol treatment; they were going to give $4.5 million for programs for senior citizens and $3.6 million for child care. They were going to eliminate the Yukon Development Corporation; they were going to improve consultation with the general public. In education, they were going to reassess mainstream policies in schools; they were going to be providing more money for training; they were going to increase the students grants fund; they favoured a two-tier grant system, one for high school students and one for adults; they were going to expand the Robert Service School. They were going to release new lots for housing and mobile homes; they were going to increase family counselling; they were going to develop educational programs and family violence programs - and it is interesting here that they only had three promises in family violence.
They were going to encourage community development and sponsor a public forum on vandalism. They were convincing parents to be more responsible for the conduct of their children and I agreed with that. They were going to education people in crime prevention. They were going to increase the security at the young offenders facility, initiate programs to help street people and I go on and on. I want the public to remember how expensive those promises were and the manner in which they put their budget together today.
Speaker: As there does not appear to the Speaker to be a quorum in the House, pursuant to Standing Order 3(2), I am going to ring the bell for four minutes and then I will do a count.
Bill No. 6: Second Reading - continued
Speaker: I believe a quorum has been established; I will stop the bells ringing.
Ms. Joe: I can only assume that they got very bored with the last speech and they probably will do the same with mine.
The other promise, in terms of money, was in tourism, for which the Member for Riverdale North is now responsible. There was a commitment of $13 million over four years, which would be used to develop the Whitehorse waterfront, establish new attractions like a historic character museum, a First Nations cultural museum, reconstruct the SS Tutshi, provide more access to Kluane National Park with limited touring by bus and appoint an ombudsperson to assist people who had problems with government.
Now they may not even do it.
In social assistance, training is to be encouraged by providing financial assistance over and above the living allowance. For seniors, there is a financial commitment of $4.5 million in four years. For special needs people, they are to improve the bus services - it is interesting to note that has gone down.
They are to provide money for First Nations people for the prevention and treatment of alcohol and drug addiction, in the amount of $5 million over four years, and more help for FAS/FAE children. They plan to encourage opportunities for private sector child care centres in government buildings and in business. Financial commitment for child care is $3.6 million over four years.
In mining, the financial commitment is $17 million over four years. They plan the development of multi-use national parks that may permit mining, subject to more stringent regulations; revise and revive the flow-through share program and other tax incentives to mining.
They plan to redirect Yukon Energy Corporation revenue to lower electrical rates and develop small and medium-sized hydro electric sites; link excess power from the Mayo dam to Whitehorse-Aishihik-Faro grid, rather than Dawson; and support the North Fork hydro project to supply Dawson.
There is a financial commitment to the Whitehorse sewage system of $25 million. They are going to move government offices from Whitehorse to the communities.
In the arts, they plan to work closely with volunteer groups, establish an arts marketing council with government funding to promote Yukon arts, and help establish a First Nations cultural centre.
They plan to convert the Robert Campbell Bridge to three lanes. In Dawson City, they need a new recreational facility. They plan to contribute more money to the Dawson City sewer and water system. Action is promised for 1993-94, and there is $1.00 in the budget for that expenditure.
They plan to upgrade the Campbell Highway and the Nahanni Range Road. There is a lobby for road paving for Seventh and Eighth avenues.
I read all of those commitments, because I think it ties in with the kind of things that the government was doing in our budget.
When the government realized the commitments they had made for millions and millions of dollars, I think the government had to look again at what they could and could not do.
In the end, the government presented a budget in this House that is so outrageous that almost every single person I have talked to since the day the budget was introduced is opposed to the budget. I think the government should be ashamed of the budget.
We have a budget here with Yukon Party colours on it. If I were a member of that party, I would be ashamed to claim that colour and that budget.
On the night of the election, a person spoke at our campaign headquarters about what was going to happen to this new government. She talked about going back into the past and that we were dealing with a bunch of dinosaurs. The first indication that we were taking a step backwards was when the Government Leader chose to call himself Government Leader - that was a step back right off the bat.
After studying the budget and listening to some of the great ideas these people had, I realized some of the things that were lost and how we were taking a step backwards in some of the programs that we had implemented and improved. I would suggest to this House that Bill Vander Zalm is alive and well in the Yukon through that party over there.
One of the problems I had was in trying to figure out why they came to the conclusions that they did in this budget and with whom they met. I wondered if they met with the child care workers and, if so, what did they tell them. It does appear, according to what I heard on the radio, that they did call in the Chamber of Commerce. According to the Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes, the sun rises and sets on that group and they play an important role in the kinds of decisions he makes.
It is not very difficult to understand the kinds of things we are looking at in this budget. There is less commitment to the real problems of the Yukon, in terms of alcohol and drugs, family violence and equality for women. I really am concerned about that, because there were a number of initiatives that I thought were helping to build a better Yukon through the programs that were implemented by the former government.
The morning that the budget was tabled in the House, I was talking to a supporter of that party. She was going to come in and listen to the budget, so that she would know what was in it. She asked me if I thought they were going to raise taxes. I told her I could not imagine that they would want to do that, because, as we have all said in this House, they had described the raising of any taxes as obscene and I told her that.
I said, if they do anything at all, they will probably look at raising licence fees, and things like that. It was with great shock that all of us on this side of the House found out that they were going to raise taxes on many things. For a government that declared, at one time, that the raising of taxes was obscene, there was a quick turnaround. It is no longer obscene, but it is the thing to do. They are trying to make up for all those election promises they made. There were millions of dollars of election promises, and they know they will never be able to fulfill those commitments. They have a four-year plan; they have other plans that keep changing with the wind. As we sit here day after day, I wonder where it is all going to end and who is going to suffer as a result of it. Not only are they cutting back on social programs, but they are also cutting back on economic development programs.
On the radio, the Government Leader said, during a talkback show, that there were going to be 700 new man years developed. He was literally speaking the truth, because that is exactly what it is going to be. There will be man years there, because the women are suffering and because there is not a heck of a lot in this budget for women. There are even cutbacks in family violence and in the Womens Directorate.
The Member for Riverdale North, the Minister responsible for the Womens Directorate, talked about the cutbacks and why they were doing it. I knew that I would be able to stand up here and get my chance. The Member is absolutely right when he said that I wrote a letter to them saying that the core funding will end. What he failed to mention in this House is that we recognized that if we were to provide core funding for one organization and other people were asking us for core funding, it would be impossible to meet all those needs. What they were offered - and the commitment was made to them - was that the $15,000 would continue. That is exactly what they were told: the $15,000 would continue through special projects. There are letters on file, and I still have the copies in my office, that indicated to the Womens Centre that they should present proposals.
What was offered to them was the very same thing the Minister was talking about. They would present us with a proposal for a certain amount of money, not to exceed $15,000 over the year, and they would get it. They were to report back to us on the success of those proposals. There was never any suggestion that the money would be cut.
I want that gentleman over there to know that. They knew it, and we knew it. There is a difference between taking the funding away and not taking it away. We did not propose that it be taken away, and that is the truth. When I looked at the Womens Directorate, although I am not the critic any more, it brought me back in history to 1985, when we assumed the government. When the former government thought that they were spending too much money, the very first thing they did was to discontinue the Advisory Council on the Status of Women. That was the very first thing to go. They had no explanation for why they did it - they just did it. They had one person working in the Womens Bureau, which was under Labour Services, under Justice, who was working two days a week - that was their commitment.
When I assumed the responsibilities of the Minister responsible for the Womens Directorate, it was my commitment that we would take that out of Justice, and it would be a stand-alone unit that would have certain responsibilities; and that is exactly what happened. The Womens Directorate was going in the right direction, but I am not entirely sure how the advisory council is going to be getting funding to hold the meetings that they have each year. I do not know what is going to happen with the legislation that would give them the powers that they should have. That is still sitting on a shelf, somewhere. I really worry about where the Womens Directorate is going.
The government has made a commitment to improve the programs on family violence. In their election promises, they did make some small commitments on the kind of things that they are doing, but I do not see any indication, in this budget, that anything is going to improve. I am waiting for the Member responsible for the family violence prevention unit, because I know he does have a small part of that as his responsibility, as well as Health and Social Services. I do look forward to finding out how he is going to improve the programs for victims of family violence and what new initiatives he has in regard to that, because the budget has decreased in these areas.
There has been mention that there are cuts to Kaushees Place. It is absolutely outrageous and absolutely insane that they would cut funding for a transition home for battered women. More than anything else in the budget, I think they should be ashamed of that, absolutely and completely ashamed.
I wonder where the real commitment is from this government. They stood for a month or six weeks and made these elaborate promises - millions of dollars worth of promises to the electorate. It is no wonder that 37 percent of the people voted for them - 37 percent actually believed what they were saying.
There are other cuts in the budget that I disagree with, and we all disagree with on this side of the House; there is the Child Development Centre that started from a small unit beside Selkirk School. I was the Minister when they were looking to increase the available programs; they were looking at upgrading the services that they had available to those children who sorely needed them. They were given the kind of opportunities that every single one of those children deserve - every single opportunity to help them through their young life, to develop them and get them into the public schools, but what do we have now from this government? We have a cut of, I believe, $34,000. How do they justify that? I would like the Minister responsible for Health and Social Services to answer that when he gets up to make his speech. How does he justify cutting $34,000 from the Child Development Centre? He should be ashamed of himself.
There have been other cuts - in youth services and community crime prevention - a cut of $15,000, yet every single person I heard during the election said, We have to do something about the crime. It is rampant and we have to do something about it. But what do we see? A cut of $15,000. Is it not important any more? I think it is. I look forward to the explanation on that.
There is a cut of $108,000 in Crossroads. The Minister responsible for Health and Social Services may have a good plan for what he is going to do and I would really like to believe that he does, because I know that he knows the importance of trying to do something about the alcohol and drug problem in the Yukon. It has to be dealt with.
There have been other cuts - the Handybus, as I mentioned. There was a commitment to improve the services for seniors, including the Handybus, but there has been a cut in the Handybus.
I do not know exactly what is happening with their commitments and what they are hoping to achieve through this budget. I can only say that I have talked to people in my riding; I have talked to supporters of their party and supporters of the Liberal party in my riding, but I have not spoken to one single person in my riding - not one single person - who agrees that we should be raising taxes.
On behalf of the people in my riding - Liberals, Tories and whatever else; I think I even ran into someone who belongs to the Reform Party - I have committed to them that I will not vote for this budget; I cannot, in good conscience, vote for this budget.
They stood here so smugly saying that it is all the fault of the former government, but I believe that it is the fault of their elaborate election promises, knowing that they could not keep them and that they used them to get themselves elected. This list of election promises is almost as obscene as raising taxes. I really believe that the high budget we are looking at and the increase in taxes Yukoners are going to have to suffer as a result of these people not knowing what they are doing or what the electorate was asking for is a problem.
I would like to make mention again, as the Member for McIntyre-Takhini did, about pocket money. It might be small change for the people on the other side, but as the Member for McIntyre-Takhini mentioned, it is not small change for many people who live in my riding. I have seniors living in my riding. I have seniors complexes and elderly people in my riding. I have to tell this House that that it is not small change for them.
I have a lot of apartment buildings in my riding with a lot of single parents. There are many mothers trying to live from day to day on minimum wages with the high cost of rent and food. To them, five cents is not even pocket change. They need every single penny they get. For the people on the other side to believe that what they were doing was a good thing for Yukoners - I disagree and those people in my riding disagree.
There may be some people in the riding who do agree with what these gentlemen are doing in this budget. I have people in my riding who probably think it is a great thing, but I have not spoken to them. They have not phoned my home or office and they all know the phone numbers. I have not had one single person phone me, come to me or tap me on the shoulder - as happened to the Member for Riverdale South - saying that I should vote for the budget because it is a good one and that they are going to happily pay those taxes, or whatever.
The policy on taxation was something that was really quite interesting in this House because the Member for Riverdale South was asking about the policy of taxation. What is this governments policy on taxation? Do we raise taxes just for the sake of raising taxes? Do we raise taxes because we want Yukoners to be poor or do we raise taxes because we want to live up to our election promises? It was really interesting to know that they did not have a policy. They deliberately put in the budget the increase in taxes for many things, but they do not have a policy. That is quite disturbing because we do not know what they are going to do next. We do not know, if they make it through this budget, what is going to happen in the next budget that may be introduced in this House. I think that Yukoners, after hearing what has been included in this budget, are going to be very disturbed that things are not getting better under this party - that they are in fact getting worse.
I would like to go on and on, and I would like to make many criticisms of this budget, but I only have to say that it is not only the New Democrats in my riding who are opposed to this budget. It is not only the New Democrats who are opposed to raising taxes - people from the Yukon Party, Independents, and many Liberals in my riding. I think 168 people voted for the Liberals and every single Liberal I have talked to is opposed to this budget.
I will vote against this budget. There are some good things in it and we will not take that away from these people. I cannot vote for the increasing of taxes. I think it would be absolutely obscene to vote for this budget - more than that.
I look forward to finding out a little bit more about what the Minister of Justice has in his budget. I do not think the Member responsible for women over there has much more in his budget because he has already indicated where he is coming from and the direction he is going in regard to women in the workforce. I would certainly hope that they can convince me, maybe some time down the road, that there are good things in here because I am sure there are, but I am not going to be voting for this budget.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I really did not think that I would have to speak very long today in defence of this budget. I think it is an excellent budget, so well-crafted and sensitive to the needs of the people in the Yukon that it would speak for itself.
However, I have had to suffer through some speeches, and because of that I am now convinced that, alas, I am going to have to say a few words in defence of what seems to me to be such an eminently fair piece of workmanship that is before us.
The previous speaker, the Member for Whitehorse Centre, said as she concluded her remarks that it would be obscene for her to support this budget. The Member does not want to be obscene. Let me assure her that I doubt anyone in this House wants her to be obscene. In her case, I understand and support her position.
What is interesting about the arguments that the Official Opposition are attempting to mount here is that there is a good deal of disparity in the line of attack that each Member seems to want to take. That is partly due to the contradictory nature of what they have to say.
On the one hand, they are lamenting any cuts at all in the budget on the spending side, and on the other hand they are being absolutely outraged by any modest tax increases that have found their way into this important document.
At the same time, they have tried to side-step the obvious, the deficit financing that their government got us into. The rapid way that we were eating up the accumulated surpluses of the government and the year-to-year deficit was growing in leaps and bounds.
Of course, if they were opposed, as they say they were, to tax increases or to any of the cuts that they have pointed to, no matter how modest in fact, it is clearly obvious that they lacked the will to govern in a prudent manner and that is why the taxpayers, the people of the Yukon, turfed them out. They turfed them out, Mr. Speaker. It was clearly the voters of the Yukon being upset and fed up with the NDP, who had been in power for over seven years. That was really the the determining factor in the election; not promises made by other parties. People realized that this government had wasted money time and time again.
Remember the cups of coffee, the handbooks passed around the territory that showed the scandalous waste? People snickered and then got mad, as it was their money that was being wasted.
When I entered the election, rather late, as an independent, I was amazed to find out what the mood of the electorate was. I was heartened to find, in those new parts of my riding, to which I had not travelled as often, that residents in those communities felt they were not being represented by this government, that the government was paying lip service to them and taking them for granted. That was the clear message in places like Ross River and Teslin; that was the clear message that came through time and time again from all communities in the Yukon.
It is interesting that the critic for Finance, and the Leader of the Official Opposition, chose, as their main theme - they went a little easy on the spending cuts - how outrageous it was that this side would dare to raise taxes at all. It was their thesis that they stood up to the federal government, time and time again, and we, on this side, lacked the intestinal fortitude and knuckled under.
This is the same party, when we fought against the COPE agreement in principle and brought a motion forward in this House, that voted against it the first time. This is the same party that was in power and knuckled under when the federal government gave away thousands of square kilometres of land to the Tetlit Gwichin. This is the same party that, in 1989, accepted the new Formula Financing Agreement with the perversity factor.
They said that they did not accept it. We thought we strategized and fought a good, valiant fight. What were the results? Well, we did not accept it, they said.
When the federal government said anything to these people that was against the interests of the Yukon, I submit to you that the line they took was the very same line that was taken so many centuries ago by Cleopatra. While on a barge in the middle of the Nile, she said to Mark Anthony, Mark Anthony, I am not prone to argue. That is what they said time and time again when it came to getting into a good fight on behalf of Yukoners with the federal government.
When the federal government was taking liberties with the Yukon in the COPE claim, in the agreement in principle, what did the side opposite say? They told them they were not prone to argue - and they were not. When the federal government intruded on the land that is properly the land of Yukon residents in the land claims that was just passed in the Northwest Territories - they took liberties with the land in the Yukons jurisdiction - what did the Members opposite say? They told them they were not prone to argue.
In 1989, they completely misjudged the federal government. They were penalized by what is now known as the perversity factor. What did they say when the federal government once again took liberties with the Yukon taxpayer? They said to the federal government, like Cleopatra on the barge those many centuries ago, those very words, Federal government, we are not prone to argue.
It is an interesting argument, but one that I doubt would find much credibility among Yukoners on the street at all.
Mr. Penikett: Mr. Speaker, I am going to ask if the Member will permit a question. That is perfectly legal under our rules.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I sat through land claims and I developed a lot of patience in that. It went on for years and years while we tried to seek solutions to complex problems. I have developed a certain patience, but now I sit through Question Period, and I do not get any questions from the hon. Member. Now he wants to question me. Tomorrow or the day after, in Question Period, he can feel free. I look forward to these exchanges in the House. I will not ask him to wait until the gallery is empty and the press have gone home to ask a question. He can ask me questions in the full glare of Question Period.
The interesting thing about this budget is that there has been a lot of half-hearted criticism from Members on the side opposite and from some members of the public who perhaps did not really agree with the outcome of the election that occurred just a few short months ago. Some of the criticisms are from a general lack of understanding about what the figures in the budget mean and what is being conveyed there, and I suspect that some of the criticisms are mischievous ones - political ones - but one gets used to that in this game. We come here sincerely, trying to straighten out the awful mess that was left us by the party that ruled for a little over seven years.
It is interesting because our officials have taken the time to analyze the budget and, comparing apples to apples, the O&M has gone down. It has gone down substantially. There have been savings by this government. The gross figures are higher because we have taken over new programs and, of course, as many people know, the vast majority of the dollars in the capital budget are direct transfers from the federal government.
I know that the side opposite fully supports the capital budget; I know that because I listened very carefully to them when they used to ask questions of me on the other side, when they begged me to proceed with the hospital transfer and the transfer of the new building. I listened to them and said, By golly, even they want us to spend some money. I know that I can start that project and not get any criticism from the side opposite.
It was the side opposite who wanted us to open up that building that I sometimes refer to as the Taj Mahal - the building that has cost us over $11 million so far and will probably cost, when it is fully operational, in excess of $7 million a year, no matter what steps we take to cut costs and run it in an efficient manner.
They asked time and time again, not only in this House but through the media: when will we comply? We are committing over $3 million this year to opening that facility, but what do we get from the Members opposite? We are wasting money. We are spending too much money. Some of these things, unfortunately we cannot cut. When you take over a government, you are saddled with the mistakes of the people who went before you. These are grandiose buildings, which are not practical, which cost far too much too run, and we are saddled with them. We are not going to close them down unnecessarily.
We would advise people of the Yukon at every opportunity that those mistakes - the wasteful spending in particular that came through time, and time again in those three cups of coffee, those magazines that were being passed around all over - did not just cost Yukoners far too much money, it was wasted money. It was not a one-time shot for each project, it is an ongoing expense and it shows up in the operations and maintenance. That is just a fact of life.
The side opposite would say that these very modest tax increases are going to cost jobs. That is their position. I am looking forward to the debate about that issue, because this budget represents the highest capital budget in the history of Yukon. That budget will translate into jobs, at a time when the economy needs jobs. Under the side opposite, the mines shut down: Ketza - gone; Mt. Skukum - gone; United Keno Hill/Elsa - gone. We would like to be able to throw a rope around the brand new $1 million-plus curling rink and drag it down somewhere where it could be used at least once, but maybe it is going to make history as being the only $1 million-plus curling rink in the world - erected at a cost that has dumbfounded most people, given the size of Elsa at the time - that was built and never used.
These are some of the problems that we faced when we came into government and inherited this mess. Not only that of course, but the deficit started growing in leaps and bounds - by $19 million. This year it is $58 million. If they kept on going the way they were going with no cuts to any programs - even two percent is terrible and they were refusing to raise any taxes - that debt would have grown and grown and grown.
It is an interesting thing these days to try and get an handle on what is happening in places like Ontario, Saskatchewan, and today, in B.C. In those jurisdictions the residents are facing rough times, very bad times. Taxes are going way up, the civil service is being hacked to pieces. Those provinces are in terrible trouble. There is genuine concern among bankers and financial experts across Canada that those provinces may not be able to raise money in the bond market because people look at them as a bad credit risk. What we are talking about is provinces that are facing bankruptcy. Guess who is in power there? Bob Rae has the biggest deficit in the history of Ontario; there are also Roy Romanow and Mike Harcourt.
Reference was made to a speech that I made earlier in this House, using the analogy of Yukon being a large ship headed straight for the shoals. The pilot at the helm was headed straight for this rocky reef and one wonders why they headed in that direction. Why were they headed in that direction? Why were they off course? Was it the siren on the reef? Who was the siren on the reef? Was it Bob Rae dressed up in funny clothes, while the good ship Ontario flounders and sinks before our very eyes - or Mike Harcourt and Roy Romanow in some kind of friendly embrace, beckoning the mariners on from the good ship Yukon while part of the superstructure of the good ship B.C. and the pieces of the wreckage of the good ship Saskatchewan swirl around in the turbulent waters? Who was the siren that beckoned to them and took them off course to such an alarming degree? We came along, we grabbed that tiller, we turned it hard and we certainly did not pursue those sirens. Whether it was their dress, their gestures or some of the claptrap that they often speak about - the economics of Broadbent, we did not pursue them.
New, good sense prevailed and we averted what could be not only a disaster, but a rather embarrassing situation.
I would like to talk about some of the unsubstantiated attacks made on this government by the side opposite. I do not know what they have had to do to work themselves into a rage before they walk into this House and give a speech. Perhaps they have learned to orate in front of a mirror before they come into the House, clenching their fists and pounding the table.
There is a new Member who has inherited part of my old riding: Mount Lorne. She is doing a great job in this House. I only worry from time to time when she gets off on the wrong track. When that happens I do not attribute it to a lack of research on her part, or a lack of judgment - except that perhaps she is listening to some of the other Members on that side; that could cause her to be led astray from time to time.
When the Member stands in this House and says there is something wrong with child care saying, I heard on CBC that there was a typographical error and that two lines were mixed-up, I can only hope that is right, I wonder where she gets that depth of feeling. She can ask me; there is a typo; two lines were mixed up. Take it easy, take a Tylenol, have a little rest and perhaps she will feel much better in the morning.
On the subject of family violence and violence against women, sometimes in the heat of the moment, when one listens to the other side and reads the transcripts, one is not exactly sure of the position being taken on the other side of the House. We hear that we are bad because we are somehow against family violence. I admit we are against family violence. I am not going to defend that; we are against family violence and we are doing everything that we can to fight the battle, educate people and to ensure that the limited dollars we have are being spent in the wisest possible way to combat some of these terrible, dreadful, social problems that we face in the Yukon.
I want to say to the side opposite: one thing that I am concerned about as a general observation, is that we have Cadillac support groups, systems and programs in Whitehorse and nothing in the small towns. What is there in Pelly? What is there in Ross River? What is there in Teslin?
I am quite happy to stand up to some of the interest groups and people in Whitehorse and tell them that there is another Yukon out there that has terrible social problems. People in those communities, despite all those terrible social problems, have finally decided that they want to do something about those problems, and I will try to reallocate some money to help them to help themselves. I will defend that decision any time I am asked to. I am happy to take them on about the neglect those communities faced under the glorious NDP government.
Let us talk about family violence for a little bit, and let us run through some numbers. I get a little concerned when people think the sky is falling because they have been forced to take a two-percent cut in their operation and maintenance budget for one year, while this government is striving to balance the budget and reallocate money so it will do the most good for the people who need that money, not for the government or the politicians.
For example, look at the family violence budget in Justice. In 1991, the actual was $242,000. The 1991-92 forecast was $311,000. The 1992-92 main estimate was $368,000. The 1992-93 forecast was $381,000. This years main estimate is $408,000.
Look at Kaushees Place. When the Member was busy worrying about that two percent, did she know that Kaushees Place, in the 1991-92 forecast, got $387,000, and it is just under $500,000 in this main estimate? Did the Member know that they got a capital grant from this government, in the fall, before the election, of $224,000, and that this government put in an additional $200,000 for the building of the safe house just over here?
Are they seriously saying that a two-percent cut is going to be that difficult for Kaushees Place to overcome? Are they seriously saying that the people there cannot even go out and raise some money? They did in the past. I have donated to Kaushees Place.
What has happened to us that those people would worry about a very minute cut, while the rest of us worry about what is happening in such places as Pelly, Ross River and Carmacks?
What is going on? Shame on the side opposite.
The side opposite, in their wisdom, decided to take an unprecedented attack on individuals in this House over the course of debate in the last few days. They wanted to name, and did name, individuals who came here and worked for this government on the transition team. Some of them are still here.
I was asking myself as I was listening, sometimes hoping it was just a bad dream, how these people can stand in their places and talk about carpet-baggers. They are the ones who brought in the carpet-baggers. The list goes on and on: John Walsh, Doug McArther, John Crump, Terry Sargeant and so on. Where are they now? They are down helping Harcourt raise taxes in B.C. or they are over in Saskatchewan with Roy Romanow, wondering what the heck is happening just around the reef. A lot of them have gone to help Bob Rae sing his siren song on that particular shoal. It is laughable.
The same people, in discussing the budget, are talking about the new contract for court reporters. Somehow or other, we are busy trying to utilize outside contractors and they never did. Oh, no, ask Harvey and Associates what happened to their advertising contract for over $1 million. What happened to the printing for all those Yukon 2000 documents in the fancy colours of the NDP? Where did they go? Their cronies in Manitoba got millions of dollars, because at that time, Manitoba was, you guessed it, NDP.
The no-development party over there is finding itself in a very uncomfortable situation right now. They are looking at a budget that makes a lot of sense. This is a budget that makes a lot of sense. They are wondering just how they can possibly cast aspersions on it. What can they say is wrong? It is kind of tough, because some people are angry at cuts - some of their best supporters, it turns out. Others are angry at tax increases. One thing is for sure, each and every Yukoner has seen what has happened to their comrades in arms in Saskatchewan, Ontario and British Columbia. Today, in British Columbia, there is an Opposition there that does have something to cry about. There are some very real concerns because they are in trouble. When the Ontario budget comes out, let us watch the scrambling.
The rats leave the ship at the last minute and there will be a lot of them on those ropes heading down to the pier.
I want to speak very briefly about the budget; I had to spend a lot of time getting my very rational points across over the noise and consternation of those on the other side. I did want to take a little time to tell them some of the good news they can look forward to in the months to come as we implement this most eminently sensible and well-crafted piece of work known as the 1993-94 mains and capital budget.
There will be a hospital transfer, and I hope I will be able to make that announcement tomorrow some time, because we expect it to be approved by Treasury Board very shortly. We will be opening the extended care facility, and we will do it in the most cost-effective way we can, understanding the need for such a facility and understanding the hardship its closure means to those who need that facility.
The jail in Teslin is proceeding on schedule. It is going to cost less, of course, than it would under the side opposite because we have delayed the commencement of construction for one and one-half months. There was $200,000 in there for a winter works project, but we thought we could just wait for a few weeks and save $200,000 - it is tough to do that, but we did. That jail will be opening. We will be in both those departments reviewing each and every program to look at the cost effectiveness of each program. We have proceeded with and made a top priority of this government the interdepartmental review of the social assistance program as it currently is utilized in government. I will be making a Ministerial Statement on that very shortly.
We will be reviewing in detail each and every program in Justice with a view to enhancing community-based justice, with a view to making some sense of the corrections policy - not only in that department but in social services as well, ensuring, in other words, that these social programs will be delivered in the best way possible and in a way that is compatible with the goals and aspirations and true needs of the communities.
With respect to the Energy Corporation, it is going to take time to turn it around, but we have taken some important steps. We are making sure that the Yukon Development Corporation will no longer be used as a political tool to spill money all over the territory for political gain and avoid votes in the House.
We will be doing a complete inventory of energy potential in the Yukon, to the best of our ability. We will be trying to find the most cost-effective way of producing the energy that Yukoners will need in the future. We will be doing that in an arms-length fashion - something that may be utterly alien to those on the side opposite.
Let me conclude by saying that this piece of work before us represents a good deal of work and craftsmanship by all the Members on this side. This is a document that is responsible, and this is a document that has targeted many of the real needs in our society. I, for one, am proud to stand here and defend it, and I certainly will be more than pleased to vote for it.
Mr. Harding: I am so pleased to enter into this debate at this time. There is an old adage that, in debate when you do not have to spend much time rebutting the comments of your opposition, you know that you are winning, so I will not be spending much time on rebuttal of the Member opposites speech, because it really does not deserve much rebuttal.
We have heard a number of things from the other side of the House today. I want to spend just a couple of minutes talking about some of the ridiculous comments we have heard from the other side. The talk from the Member opposite regarding the governments in Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, and somehow trying to draw some kind of a parallel between the situation there and the situation here, and the fact that NDP governments are in power there, does not cut the mustard. The problems in those jurisdictions were what those NDP governments inherited from Bill Vander Zalm and from Grant Devine - who did such a wonderful job of raising the debt in Saskatchewan - and from David Peterson, the Liberal in Ontario, as well as from federal government policies, under a tremendously damaging restructuring period under Free Trade, high interest rates, and high-dollar policies. These things have damaged all provinces of all political stripes almost beyond repair. Still, those governments are making attempts to do it.
The Member opposite was making some innuendo about the tax increases. The budget was announced in British Columbia today and, yes, there were some tax increases. They amounted to about $60 million. I am not sure that the Minister opposite realizes that British Columbia has 1,000 times the population of the Yukon. If you were to put that $60 million on the same relative base as the Yukon, it would represent $60,000 in tax increases, not $9 million, and that is what we have facing us here.
Once again, we heard from the Minister of Health and Social Services that the tax increases were modest. The Government Leader has referred to them as pocket change. This is absolutely insulting to the people of this territory, who have to watch and scrape for every dollar. I am sure for some people, perhaps the Members opposite, it is pocket change. However, for a lot of people, including the people in my riding of Faro, it is extremely important that every dollar is counted, especially now, since the government has been dragging its heels since November when the request came for them to fund the loan guarantee request.
I want to talk a bit about the rural community investment that the Minister of Health and Social Services talked about. In the budget, I have the line item for womens shelters in Dawson and Watson Lake. The 1992-93 forecast is $217,000; the 1993-94 estimate is $212,000, which is a cut of $5,000 to the womens shelters in the rural communities, and he has the audacity to stand here and tell us he is committed to the rural communities. It is absolute poppycock. We will find out, because I will soon be making a request for a safe house in Faro. We need one there, and we will see if he delivers on his promises to the rural communities.
I can remember, before I was a Member of this House, the Members opposite, when they were in Opposition, criticizing the curling rink in Elsa. It was an investment by the territorial government in a community that badly needed recreational opportunities. What do they do? They now criticize it. For years, those people paid taxes into the coffers of this territory. The NDP government makes an investment in that community, and what happens? It is amazing: they criticize it.
There are social problems in rural communities, and recreational facilities are a very important way to deal with social problems. Obviously, however, those Members do not realize it. They think it is a big waste of money. They laugh and jeer. By their commitment in the budget to social problems in the territory, they think it is really funny.
I do not think it is funny to mock child care, child development, or the Member for Mount Lorne, when she talked about the concerns she had on behalf of her constituents and all Yukoners. I think it is disgusting, not funny. The Minister of Health and Social Services should be ashamed of what he did.
Some of his speech was quite hilarious. It is obvious he knows he is navigating a sinking ship, so he turned it into a barrel of laughter. I thought it was quite funny, but I did not think the parts about mocking child development, child care and violence against women were funny.
That is enough rebuttal of that ridiculous speech. I really do not have to go into it, because there were no points scored by the government on that section of the debate, by any means.
We are facing the biggest budget in Yukon history, from the fiscal Conservatives who were going to take this ship off the reef. There is the Government Leader standing there, to use the terms of the Minister of Health and Social Services, up on the reef, waving it away.
He is not waving it away, he is guiding it in. These tax increases are absolutely ludicrous. The increases are huge. I want to read them into the record: personal income tax, 11-percent increase; corporate income tax - another minor increase - 50 percent. If there was a union in the Yukon negotiating and they received a 50-percent increase, resulting in a 50-percent increase in labour costs, I know what the government would be saying, those unions are going to put that company out of business. I say to you, this corporate tax is going to put people out of business and what that is going to do is kill jobs.
Small business will incur a 20-percent increase - another minor increase; heating oil and diesel, 28 percent; 33-percent increase in gasoline; cigarettes, five cents per cigarette; aviation fuel will cost an additional four cents per litre. I know some of those aviation companies in the Yukon are struggling. This is not going to help them.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Harding: I hear from the Member for Klondike that they have to teach me how ... I will not even say any more.
The government said during the election campaign - they said a lot of things - that raising taxes would be obscene. The NDP said, yes, we took on the federal government. We refused to raise our taxes. The Government Leader said it would be obscene to raise taxes. He told the former Government Leader that he should not score any points on that basis.
I know a politician who once said something like that during an election campaign. What he said was, read my lips, and you know where that politician is now? That politician is probably going to be heading up some arms committee or something like that, because he is no longer the President of the United States.
There is one thing that the public will not tolerate: misleading them. It will come back to haunt politicians, time and time again. Unfortunately, the Government Leader was vociferous in his attempts to become Government Leader, because he thought he had all the answers. The Yukon Party and the Independent opposite thought they were going to climb right into power. They thought they could do everything that they had promised and talked about in opposition for years. Well, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The eating is very sour and bitter for Yukoners.
We have the biggest budget in history - we have tax increases. The point that has to be made about the tax increases is that over and above all else, the tax increases have absolutely no justification.
The Government Leader said that they are a symbolic gesture. They are not a symbolic gesture; they were major tax increases. Now that the precedent has been broken, and the wimps on the other side of the House have caved in to the federal bureaucrats, of all people, they have set a precedent, and we are going to be facing these requests every year.
They did not cave in to the federal bureaucrats because they wanted to become less dependent on Ottawa. It was so that they could become more dependent. I will read to you the proof of that from Hansard. On March 23, 1993, the Government Leader said, We can hear the jeers and hoots from the other side that they never had a vision for the Yukon. They were quite prepared to continue to take the handout from Ottawa, even after being warned in 1987, and again in 1988, that if they did not pull up their socks and raise some money under their taxation system that they were going to be penalized. That penalty has cost Yukoners $120 million in this five-year period.
The man has his hands out. He wants more from the federal government. The next day, after we picked up on that little ditty - which seemed so contradictory in light of the election promises about how it would be obscene for the NDP to raise taxes - the Leader of the Official Opposition said, The Minister did not answer the question, but his exact words were, Even after being warned in 1987 and, again, in 1988 that, if they did not pull up their socks and raise some money under their taxation system, they were going to be penalized." That is what the Government Leader said.
Who said that? It certainly was not the Yukon Party, who opposed every fee increase and every tax increase that was contemplated under the previous government.
Who was it?
The Government Leaders reply was, I can just tell the Member opposite that it was in discussion with the bureaucracy in Ottawa. It is right there. End of story. We know what happened. The Government Leader caved in on his first test with the federal government, and it is despicable.
There was no agreement. There was no happy little signing in 1989, or a little handshake deal with the Minister of Finance at the time, the Member for McIntyre-Takhini, and the federal government. There was a unilateral announcement that the Formula Financing Agreement would now contain this perversity factor. There was outrage expressed by the then-Minister of Finance. It was called a disgrace by him and a breach of public faith. The news report from Friday, December 2, 1989, goes on to say that the Minister of Finance, Piers McDonald, heard about it and was furious, and it goes on to say why he was furious.
Piers McDonald says that wrong, and I quote,"From what he can tell, the Yukon will get a bit more than last year, but they will still be about $4 million less than they should have received compared to what the provinces are getting from Ottawa." This document goes on and on including quotes and objections from the Finance Minister, who fought very hard.
I will quote again: McDonald may refer to the latest federal statement as a proposal, but that does not seem to be the way Ottawa sees it. The news release states clearly that the new deal will come into effect at the start of the fiscal year. Maybe the Members opposite think it is just easy to bulldoze the federal government into something. I suggest that the federal government thinks it is easy to bulldoze the Yukon territorial government into things. They certainly have not delivered on their promise for flow-through shares yet, which they have to do by law. We will be anxious to see what happens in that regard.
As the Member for Whitehorse Centre pointed out, that was an election promise, as if somehow the NDP just did not want it. I would like to read the comment, again from Mr. Van Loon, a federal bureaucrat, First of all the word negotiations has not really been used by the federal government in this exercise; what we have talked about is consultations with territorial governments about the nature of the formula and the impact the changes might have and we have had very substantial consultations.
There are no negotiations; there is no happy handshake on this. The Yukon never signed on. There was no happy handshake picture session like there would have been with the Government Leader and Chief Paul Birckel; for example, at a Taga Ku opening. There was none of that, because this was not a happy exercise. This was rammed down our throats and there was tremendous objection in the territory - tremendous objection by the territorial Finance Minister.
Mr. Speaker, on and on it goes; it talks about how the territorial government fought this and will continue to fight to this and object to it. What is strangely lacking from this news document is comments from the Opposition expressing outrage, comments from the Opposition expressing their objections to this. No, they did not, because all they kept saying was that the territorial government was getting too much money from Ottawa in the first place. That is why there is nothing here from the Opposition politicians.
The tax increases are going to account for $9 million out of $483 million. I find it absolutely pathetic that they could not have done a little bit of shaving to come up with the $9 million. I think of the analogy of the $483 grocery bill, where the average Yukoner goes in and buys $483 worth of groceries and finds he is $9 over $483. What does that average Yukoner do? Does he ask the clerk for $9? Does he go to the bank for $9? Does she ask the store manager for $9? No, she or he puts something back on the shelf. But the Yukon Party cannot do that because they promised everything to everybody. By the way, they also promised they would not raise taxes, but they had to very carefully pick which promises they were going to break; unfortunately, they picked the wrong one because they are not going to fool the Yukon people about it. In this budget, they have computer expenditures of $1.9 million and office equipment and other computers $1.3 million, for a total of $3.2 million. They told us last night what they paid Dale Drown, the communications advisor, almost $100,000. Merv Miller - same thing - they paid all his expenses. Dale Drown was getting paid $6,500 a month, plus all expenses. That is just outrageous; outrageous.
But what do they do? They totally absolve themselves of responsibility for the five months they were in power this fiscal year. They racked the bills up on the NDP and blamed it on their communications advisor having worked with Bill Vander Zalm and the Social Credit Party in B.C. and he told them, Repeat, repeat, repeat. Keep repeating the deficit line even if you know it is not true. Keep repeating it. And they did that. I have to confess - they did get that message through to the people. Unfortunately, it is unreliable and misleading and I think it is very, very bad government.
Even they have admitted that we are probably going to have some lapsed capital this year. Even they have admitted that the $58 million figure is probably not presenting a true picture of what is going to happen. Even they have admitted that but, they do not go around and say that because, I guess the British Columbia Social Credit Vander Zalm crony has told them what to say, so they keep saying it over and over again. They put out letters to people and they talk about it every time they get a radio clip.
It is really quite disheartening because it is so misleading. We will have, and they have admitted this, an accumulated surplus. To suggest in any way that we are in the same boat as some of the other provinces is absolutely not credible. I think people in the Yukon recognize this. I know what my constituents have said. I have canvassed some of the other people who sit on this side, and their constituents are not favourable on this either.
The Government Leader told the people of the Yukon that tax increases were obscene. These tax increases will kill jobs. Why will they kill jobs? I will tell you. They will kill jobs because they are going to drive up costs. They are going to drive up transportation costs because diesel is going up and because gasoline is going up.
I think about the employer who employs so many people in Faro: Curragh Inc. What is it going to cost them now for the Yukon Alaska contract with the effect of these tax increases on their transportation costs? It is absolutely incredible. I could not believe my ears when I heard this budget. The corporate income tax is going up 50 percent. They have, in effect, removed the one competitive advantage that we had as Yukoners here for business. They did it, and I do not think they are sorry about it. I cannot understand, for the life of me, where they are coming from. A 50-percent increase is unprecedented in corporate tax.
It removes the competitive advantage that we had in that area, but we no longer have that advantage.
The Member for Riverdale South pointed out - as she spoke up for her constituents - that corporate tax removes the competitive advantage that we once shared with the Northwest Territories. They now have the competitive advantage for corporate tax, and I think that is bad news for Yukoners and working people. I think we are going to feel the effects of the tax increases very strongly.
What these tax increases also do is take away disposable income. When people have less purchasing power, they buy less. Spin-offs are reduced and spin-offs are critical for an economy to work. It is critical for an economy to be bolstered.
That is not what we have here in the Yukon. We have an economy that, since October 19, has been hit time and time again. First with the gloom and doom, then the cooked-up, bloated, 1992-93 estimates, and I am convinced that they have been set up since day one by the Merv Millers, the Dale Drowns and the Members opposite to preface and prepare people for this speech on the budget.
It is not going to work with Yukoners for one simple reason: for all they have said, no one in the Yukon can forget what was said at election time by the Members opposite. No one is going to forget the undisputable proof in Hansard, that I just read aloud, of what happened at those negotiations. There is no doubt that we have a government in power now that could not stand up to the federal bureaucrats. It is incredible. I am absolutely disgusted.
For years, the NDP resisted bureaucrats requests to raise taxes. What did the Government Leader say? He says he can tell the Member opposite that it was discussed with the bureaucracy in Ottawa. It is amazing.
The Members opposite are supposed to be so tough, but they wimped out to the bureaucrats in Ottawa. It is incredible. I cannot believe it. This budget, dressed in the Yukon Party racing stripes which, as the Member for Whitehorse Centre said, if I were a Member of that party, I would be ashamed of. It is the biggest budget in the history of the Yukon and has the biggest tax increases. It is deplorable.
Businesses in the territory are going to face power rates going up if the government does nothing. They will face rising municipal taxes and we have the reduced competitive factor now that our corporate income taxes have risen. Transportation costs are going up. We are going to lose jobs here. The unemployment rate has gone to 14 percent in this territory since this government took office.
The Government Leader opposite has brought back the figure that a year ago it was 12 percent. If he does not, for a second, think that a two-percent increase in unemployment is nothing to worry about, then he has to re-evaluate his ability to be Government Leader in this territory.
This budget will make us more dependent on Ottawa. It does absolutely nothing to reduce dependency. There has been so much talk about the Toward Self-Sufficiency in the 21st Century document; then we are attacked, when we ask questions about it, because they somehow convinced some Yukoners that it was realistic. Maybe they could convince Bill Hickel in Alaska, but I do not know.
They convinced Yukoners that it was realistic. They convinced them on the flow-through shares. We will be asking them to deliver and that is why we are asking those questions. But when we get answers, we find that we are not just poking little holes through the document, we are blowing great big craters through it, without even trying, because they have no substance; they have no answers.
They talk about vision - they do not know how to climb a ladder to get to that vision. It is easy to see something but one has to know how to get there. One has to know how to implement it. It is just like a land claims. We have our limitations. Sure, we have signed the bills. That was a very important step and I am very proud of being involved in it, but unfortunately implementation is still outstanding.
The Toward Self-Sufficiency in the 21st Century document, as we hear the answers from the Members opposite, from the Minister of Economic Development, is looking more and more like Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 22nd Century, because they do not have a clue when it is all going to come about - not a clue. My constituents want to know what is going to happen today. Yukoners want to know what is going to happen today. They want to know what the government is going to do to get that 14-percent unemployment rate down.
Their answer to that is this, in Yukon Party racing stripes, the biggest spending budget of operation and maintenance and capital, and this incredibly political budget address that is full of some of the most misleading and unreliable statements I have ever encountered during my short time in this House, and my time reading Hansard.
I want to read to the Minister of Tourism a short little quote from Hansard, dated March 22, 1993, because he keeps making reference to what I said. What I said, as the Member for Faro, was The NDP knew things were tight and they knew there were significant financial restraints upon them. That is all I said. I do not think that is an admittance of dire, financial straits in any way, shape or form. What I think that statement says is the NDP were concerned about the territorial budget and knew there were restraints upon them. They knew revenues and expenditures were tight.
I do not know how the Member for Riverdale North - it is more of that Dale-Drown-rhetoric stuff - came up with his conclusions from that little sentence I made, but the Member has gone on and on about them in the Legislature.
The Member for Kluane said this was a tough budget. You are right, it is a tough budget. It is a tough budget, but it is absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary.
Let us talk about balanced budgets for a second. This budget is not going to balance because we have got these clever little games in here with these $1.00 votes. The Dawson City sewage system is part of all that. When the real figures come in, we are going to see that they could not even balance a budget. This budget, that they are so proud of, is going to be $483 million, which represents $16,100 for every Yukoner in this territory, every man, woman and child. If they cannot balance the budget, they do not belong in government. What is the challenge there? We did not spend $483 million.
This is the biggest tax increase in the history of the Yukon. It is a sad, sad day. People in the Yukon cannot afford this. They were not looking for this. They were looking for change. Unfortunately, what they got was smoke and mirrors. They knew what they had with the NDP and some people were not thrilled about it. In the election, we lost 35 percent of the vote. The Members opposite swarmed in and came up with a huge majority of 37 percent of the popular vote. They just destroyed us, they wiped us out because we were so hated after seven years. What they got was smoke and mirrors. As we ask questions about their policies, the tax policy for example, as we ask questions about their ability to stand up to federal bureaucrats, as we ask questions about their Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document, it becomes readily apparent to Yukoners that what we have is smoke and mirrors. They have absolutely no sustainable vision. We have a government that is devoid of ideas.
In its short time in power, we have a government that is going to tax and spend and tax and spend. In classic political descriptions, this budget would be described, in American terms, as a Democrat tax-and-spend budget. I was absolutely shocked when I heard it. I could not have imagined for one second that the Members opposite could come up with such a diatribe of idiocy for a budget. It is absolutely incredible.
I will have to get into more discussion tomorrow. The Members opposite will be happy to know that I have a few more minutes to speak to them.
Speaker: Order please. The time being 5:30 p.m., this House stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.
The House adjourned at 5:30 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled March 30, 1993:
Yukon Farm Survey 1991 (Brewster)
Report on Regulations for the period Nov. 6, 1991 to Dec. 23, 1992 (Phelps)