Thursday, April 29, 1993 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will begin with Prayers.
Recognition of death of Gordon Armstrong
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I rise to inform this House that a gentleman many of us knew, the very first Mayor of Whitehorse, passed away in Kelowna yesterday at the age of 88. The late Herbert Gordon Armstrong was born in 1905 in Whitewood, Saskatchewan. Gordon, as he is known to everyone, arrived in the Yukon in 1929 and was immediately employed by Burns and Company. In 1954, he and his partner established Yukon Sales, which is now operated by his nephew, Bob Armstrong, who is in the House with us today.
Gordon served as mayor for four terms, starting in 1950. At that time, there was no city hall, no offices and no money. Everyone volunteered and the mayor and council scrounged to borrow meeting rooms. He was a real municipal pioneer. Both Gordon and his wife, Peg, were very active in the community and he was a former Kiwanian, honorary member of the Whitehorse Lodge No. 46 and a member of Landmark No. 128 A.F.&A.M. and other concordant Masonic orders.
In 1962, the Armstrongs left the Yukon to reside in Vancouver. Gordon Armstrong will be long remembered, and will go down in our history as a dedicated Yukoner - a man we can all be proud of.
Mr. Penikett: Our side of the House would like to join in the tribute to Gordon Armstrong. As the Member opposite said, he first came to Whitehorse in 1929 and served four terms as mayor, from 1950 to 1958. It is worth noting that, in 1987, he was made mayor emeritus of the City of Whitehorse during his last visit to this town, on the occasion of our 35th anniversary.
I would like to extend our condolences to the family, including Mr. Bob Armstrong, who is in the gallery today.
Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Speaker: Under Tabling Returns and Documents, I have for tabling the report of the Chief Electoral Officer of the Yukon on the 1992 general election.
Are there any other Returns or Documents for tabling?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I have two legislative returns for tabling.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I have three legislative returns for tabling.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I have two legislative returns with attached documents.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Introduction of Bills.
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Are there any Notices of Motions?
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Sexual Assault Prevention Month
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I rise today to advise Members that May is Sexual Assault Prevention Month. The theme this year is womens personal safety in public and work places.
When physical spaces are designed with personal safety in mind, opportunities for sexual assault, as well as crimes such as theft or vandalism, can be reduced. When public and work spaces are made safer for women they are made safer for everyone.
In March, I met with the Women in Government Committee. Personal safety in the workplace has been an item on their agenda for quite some time. It is a concern that has been raised by many working women.
Sexual Assault Prevention Month has truly been a collaborative effort. The ad hoc steering committee is composed of women employees of the Yukon and federal governments, and community volunteers. Community groups and local businesses have been very supportive.
Connie Guberman, a university lecturer and a consultant on designing physical spaces that are safer for women, will be coming to Whitehorse from May 11 to 14. Ms. Guberman has designed and taught the concept of personal safety audits. She teaches people to identify and take positive action to reduce specific risks in work and public spaces.
Ms. Guberman will be conducting several personal safety audits in Whitehorse buildings. A personal safety audit involves looking at the physical details of a work or public space. Some high-risk areas may require simple adjustments, such as improving signage or lighting or ensuring that a phone is near at hand in case of an emergency.
Employers who pay attention to these details can significantly reduce the risk to which their employees are exposed. There are a number of side benefits as well. Often, measures taken to protect female employees from assault are effective in preventing other sorts of crime as well, such as vandalism or break and enter.
Ms. Guberman will also be facilitating an information session for planners, designers, architects and individuals who are responsible for renting or leasing space. This information session will outline the key considerations regarding personal safety when designing work or public spaces.
There will also be a one-day, intensive workshop for rural women.
I would like to thank all the government departments and the community groups that are participating in this months activities. I hope that many employers will take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about protecting their employees and that many employees will take the opportunity to inform themselves by attending these workshops.
The move to eliminate violence against women is being recognized nationally and internationally. In March, the United Nations adopted the Canadian Status of Women Ministers Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This endorsement sends a strong message to governments throughout the world that violence against women will not be tolerated.
I would also like, at this time, to offer my support to the federal governments anti-stalking bill, which was introduced in the House of Commons this week. I believe this is an important step in better protecting women and children from stalkers and sex offenders. Generally, victims are women who are being stalked by estranged boyfriends or husbands. This obsessive behaviour may include following women to and from their places of work, watching them in their homes, phoning repeatedly and threatening them with violence. In some cases, the stalking can end in murder. It is hard to imagine the psychological terror that this deviant behavior must instill in its victims. Normal living would be an impossibility.
Fear, in some form or another, is a barrier that most women face throughout their lifetimes. It is a barrier that must be removed so that women can achieve their goal of equality. I am hopeful that, as individuals, communities, governments, and society, we can work together to eradicate the violence that is at the root of the fear.
Ms. Moorcroft: I am pleased to be able to respond to this ministerial statement on Sexual Assault Prevention Month. As the critic for the Womens Directorate, I am very interested in what programs are happening, and how they relate to achieving the goal of equality for women.
I am happy that the government has responded to community calls for a sexual assault prevention month, and I was quite interested to hear about it for the first time this morning. However, I must confess that I am disappointed that the ministerial statement did not have more teeth.
What the Minister was announcing to us was not a new government policy or a plan of action against abuse of women, but rather a lecture series.
I have no doubt that the ad hoc steering committee planning the months activities has worked very hard to organize Ms. Connie Gubermans visit to Whitehorse. I look forward to hearing the results of her safety audit, and I will be watching closely to see what the government does with this information about the personal safety audit of Whitehorse buildings.
I am concerned that this ministerial statement is more talk than action. The ministerial statement is missing any meaningful, active ways to prevent sexual assault. There is nothing concrete in this announcement to suggest that the government is putting any real commitment into eradicating the violence that is the root of the fear that women feel.
This statement makes me wonder if the Yukon Party government has completely abandoned its four-year plan, and its commitment to eliminating family violence; I do not see any of the Yukon Party election commitments reflected here.
During the election the Yukon Party promised, to urge the courts to give stricter sentences for cases involving violence against women and child abuse and ensure that men who are guilty of this take proper counselling.
Looking at the abysmal record of suspended sentences for offenders, the hostile cross-examination of victims in our courts and numerous complaints about the lack of awareness and sensitivity on the part of the people who are called to respond to victims of violence, I hope that the Minister is working on some concrete plans for improving the response of the system and education programs in this area.
The Yukon Party plan also promised to work with community organizations and First Nations on educational programs to communicate that violence against women and children would not be tolerated.
As the Minister responsible for the Womens Directorate is also the Minister of Education, I hope that he is going to take advantage of the publication of numerous violence prevention materials developed for elementary and secondary schools in other Canadian jurisdictions, to start programs for educating our youth.
What better opportunity is the Minister waiting for than Sexual Assault Prevention Month, to announce substantive education programs in Yukon elementary and secondary school classrooms?
I seriously question whether or not this government is committed to womens concerns at all, or whether they will continue to pay only lip service to issues that are pivotal to women being treated as equals.
The Minister stated his support for the federal anti-stalking bill introduced in the House of Commons. Without embarrassing the Minister, I would like to give him some background on the anti-stalking bill and tell him that it was the NDP Member of Parliament for New Westminster/Burnaby, Don Black, the critic for womens issues, who introduced the bill in February.
When the Mulroney government reintroduced the bill this week, they watered it down, making it harder to convict offenders and reducing the penalties for stalking.
I was disappointed to hear that the Minister was endorsing this severely weakened federal bill, and I hope that he supports effective deterrence of this barrier of fear.
I truly hope that the ad hoc steering committee for Sexual Assault Prevention Month continues to meet and work with womens groups in the community to design substantial sexual assault prevention initiatives in the Yukon, starting next week and continuing through the month of May.
Mr. Cable: Men such as me, in my age group, who grew up in a male-dominated society and spent most of our working lives in a male-dominated environment, need to be constantly reminded of the fears women experience both in their work environment and in society in general, and I would like to personally and on behalf of the Liberal Party endorse the initiatives and the changes in the law referred to in the ministerial statement.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I thank the Member for Riverside for his support and the Member for Mount Lorne for her qualified support. It seems one is damned if one does and damned if one does not, in here. I am not embarrassed by supporting the federal legislation. We on this side will support any legislation that will prevent violence against women in the future, no matter what government brings it forward. We can always strengthen these types of legislation but we will always support any moves that any government makes to provide better protection for women.
In the case of this governments actions, we are making a lot of positive moves, especially in the area of violence against women. In fact, we are funding, to some extent, all the activities that are taking place over the next month, and the Womens Directorate has been very actively involved in helping organize these events, and we will continue to do so in the future.
Continuing care/rehabilitation facility
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I rise today to inform Members that the continuing care/rehabilitation facility will officially open on September 1, 1993.
In announcing this date, I want to take a few moments to explain the challenges we are confronting in opening this facility. Some people, no doubt, would like to have us open it earlier. Many of these people fail to realize that we cannot just open the doors and provide service. As a department, we have come up against some extremely difficult decisions. We face the challenge of having to be all things to all people and of meeting multiple demands within this one facility. We have had to make some very conscious decisions about what services we could provide and how.
I believe that we now have a program that will serve the maximum number of people through the six programs that will be offered at the facility. These will include extended care, dementia care, palliative and respite care, and in- and out-patient rehabilitation.
The facility will open in three stages, with 24 beds opening in the first stage. This will include four beds in the rehabilitation wing, eight in extended care, 10 dementia-care beds and one each for respite and palliative care beds.
This year, we anticipate the O&M cost for this facility to be approximately $3.2 million.
To enable us to meet the September 1 date, we will begin staffing action immediately and we anticipate we will be able to fill most of the positions locally. Some of the positions will be moved over from Macaulay Lodge, with the remainder being advertised locally.
We have developed what we believe is a unique local-hire recruiting plan. Obviously, there are some very specialized positions that we will have to advertise outside. Occupational therapists, recreational therapists and physiotherapists are not abundant in the Yukon. They are not abundant anywhere in Canada. Like most other jurisdictions in our position, we will, in all likelihood, have to go beyond our own borders to fill these positions. However, we anticipate being able to hire registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, nursing home attendants, administrative and maintenance staff locally. As an employer, we hope to be as flexible as possible and will explore the possibilities of part-time work and job-sharing options for Yukon residents interested in working at the facility. We plan to hold a series of information sessions and tours of the facility to attract workers. I would expect that the majority of the positions will be filled by Yukon residents.
Another role that Yukoners can take on is that of the volunteer. Any facility like this needs a cadre of volunteers in order to provide the little extra touches. Consider the volunteers at Whitehorse General Hospital, those at Macaulay Lodge and the services they provide. The continuing care facility is no different; it will require those little extra services that only volunteers can provide.
We have established the eligibility requirements for admission to the facility. These include a one-year residency requirement that means priority will be given to Yukon residents. There was a valid concern that, without this restriction, we faced a potential influx of people from outside the territory, who could have impacted the availability of extended care beds for Yukon people. There will be limited repatriation of Yukon residents presently in outside institutions, on a priorized access basis. This will address repatriation concerns while maintaining priority access for current Yukon residents. Admission will not be based on a first-come, first-served basis, but rather on assessed need and age. Priority will be given to people 17 years and older. The additional age criteria will encourage the provision of alternative community-based arrangements for younger age groups.
This government is committed to meeting the needs of our elders, seniors and disabled citizens through community programs and services that respect their independence and individuality.
Ms. Moorcroft: We are very pleased to hear the Minister inform the Members of this House that the continuing care rehabilitation facility will finally open on September 1, 1993. This is welcome relief for the scores of people who have been waiting for this announcement.
In his preamble, the Minister noted that they have had to face the challenge of being all things to all people. Indeed it strikes me that this is what government is all about. In the first stage, 24 beds will be available. I would like to ask the Minister to give further details on the phased-in operation of the facility. What is included in the second and third stages, and when will that occur? Will the initial phase include all six programs of extended care, dementia care, palliative care, respite care, and in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation? I would also like the Minister to explain how the relationship between the new extended care facility administration will work with the hospital administration, and the new hospital board. Who will be the governing authority for the extended care facility? Who will make the decisions about who is eligible for admission?
The Minister anticipates the O&M costs for this facility to be approximately $3.2 million this year. In order to scrutinize operations, I would ask the Minister to bring a breakdown of these O&M costs to the House. Constituents who live in my riding are very interested in the employment opportunities at the extended care facility. Would the Minister have one of his officials bring to the House this afternoon the governments unique local-hire recruiting plan, which he referred to, and provide us with a list of all the jobs and job descriptions for the positions that will be advertised for immediate staffing action?
The Minister also talked about having to go outside for some specialty positions. I have to wonder whether these are the kinds of jobs for Yukoners in the 21st century, which the Minister of Education wanted to create when he announced his education review. Perhaps the Minister could also table in the House this afternoon the eligibility requirement policy, which he referred to in his statement. Many of my constituents are interested in the admission criteria, and have expressed concern about being able to repatriate some of our Yukon citizens, who have had to be admitted to facilities outside the Yukon, far from their homes, families, and friends.
Again, I am pleased that the extended care facility will be opening soon to meet the needs of Yukon elders, our seniors, and people with disabilities, through community programs and services that respect their independence and individuality.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The critic has already had a busy day and I will certainly endeavour to provide her with all the information she has asked for in her response as soon as possible - whenever I can this afternoon.
Speaker: This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Economic forecast
Mr. Harding: I have a question for the Government Leader today about the mines in Faro and Watson Lake and their importance to the Yukon economy.
We all know that they generate a lot of jobs and revenue for governments - federal, territorial and municipal - and the government has at its disposal a computer analysis program, a computer model of the Yukon economy. Has the Government Leader directed the governments own econometrician to run the computer analysis of the impact on the Yukon economy so that we can all know, in no uncertain terms, the exact extent of the cost of permanent or extended shutdown of the two Curragh mines in job losses, government revenue, reductions, et cetera, and, if so, when will we see the results of that analysis in the House?
Hon. Mr. Devries: That type of analysis has been done and it is presently a Cabinet document. I would have to go to Cabinet to see if it could be released.
Mr. Harding: That is very critical information for the decision-making process and I hope it will be tabled.
A Curragh shutdown would have severe ramifications to the entire territory and the public is expecting this government to look at the overall impact of a complete Curragh failure and realize what is at stake, and then weigh the costs and benefits of doing nothing or doing something - of being creative in terms of economic alternatives. Given that the deadline is Monday for a restructuring plan and given that the workers at the mine, the people of Faro, are eager to be part of the solution, what new initiatives is the government taking to find a creative solution to an extremely serious economic problem for the entire Yukon? For example, will they take up the suggestion of an all-party committee to work together on possible solutions and to share any potential political blame for decisions made by this House, and will he look at some new ideas?
Speaker: Before the Government Leader answers, I would just like to remind the Member that a supplementary should be a one-sentence preamble relevant to the question.
For the Hon. Government Leader, the answer should be as brief as possible, despite the long preamble.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I am not sure Mr. Speaker is dealing with me fairly there, but I will accept that ruling.
As I said in the debate yesterday, this government has worked very, very hard all winter to try to find a solution to the Faro problem. We know how much it means to the economy of the Yukon and we are doing everything we possibly can at this point.
The only thing I would like to add to that is that May 3 is not the deadline. It is not the deadline at all - it is just when Curragh has to appear in front of the court again.
Mr. Harding: There is a certain amount of anxiety created as a result of the bank-imposed deadline of May 3.
During debate yesterday - a very important debate - regarding the job situation in Faro and Watson Lake, the Government Leader appeared to be rejecting, out of hand, the specific suggestion of government stripping the Grum deposit as infrastructure.
My question is this: is the Government Leader willing to put that idea to the company, or to the courts, who he said had to give permission to the idea, to find out what the response is? Will the Government Leader take a hard look at some new, creative ideas to solve these pressing problems?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I said it yesterday and I will say it again today for the record: this government offered $5 million in early April for the Grum stripping, and that money is still on the table for any time the company or the banks are ready to move ahead.
Question re: Tax and energy rate increases, impact of
Mr. Penikett: As the Government Leader knows, the Yukon Energy Corporation and the Yukon Electrical Company seeks to impose a 12-percent increase in power rates on customers, effective May 1, on an interim basis. Company officials have also indicated that a continuing Faro shutdown might necessitate additional rate increases of 20 to 40 percent.
Since these rate increases come on top of increases in municipal taxes and an additional $7 million territorial tax increase, could the Government Leader advise what efforts have been made by his government to assess the cumulative impact of these rate and tax increases on Yukons economy and small business sector?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: As I said before, each and every one of these situations has been analyzed and considered. There is no doubt that if the Faro mine does not survive or if some new operation does not start up, it is going to affect electrical rates.
Mr. Penikett: My question was about the impact on the employment and small business sector of an additional tax and rate burden of many millions of dollars, at a time when the mines are shut down.
During the last Faro mine shutdown, the Yukon economy shrunk dramatically, and many people in the Whitehorse service sector who had never associated their jobs with the mine found themselves unemployed.
Since power rate and tax rate increases will mean even less private sector spending during this mine shutdown, can the Government Leader provide the House with any available information - for example, an economic forecast - so that people can know what to expect in terms of lost jobs, small business layoffs and reduction in disposal income?
Has that research been done and is that information available?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I will see what I can do to make that information available for the Member opposite. The side opposite keeps accusing us of doom and gloom, but they are the ones who are spreading the message of doom and gloom. I am optimistic that either Curragh is going to get back to work or something else will start up. The Yukon has gone through these cycles before. We are going to get through this one and survive it.
Mr. Penikett: I think that everyone in the territory knows that it is not we who are raising power rates; it is not we who are raising taxes, and most people know that if we could we would reopen the mine at Faro.
I asked the Government Leader to undertake to provide Members of this House with any Department of Finance or Department of Economic Development projections of the further impacts on the economy and jobs that will result from the anticipated power rate increases of 20 to 40 percent so that that can assist us on the deliberations on the budgets that we are going to be considering in this House.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: If we could get Faro back to work we would. I will see what I can do to get that information for the Member opposite.
Question re: Economic data, release to Members
Mr. Cable: I have some further questions on the Curragh negotiations for the Government Leader. As the Government Leader can appreciate, it has been somewhat frustrating on this side of the House trying to come to grips with the Curragh problem because of the lack of information. Is the Government Leader prepared to approach Burns Fry Limited and Curragh with a view to releasing to this side of the House the information that they have accumulated, with the confidential information excluded from the reports?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I believe we have made most of that information available to the Members opposite - those that are public documents and are not bound by confidentiality. If there are some that we have not, I have no problem tabling them in this House.
Mr. Cable: It was my understanding that the principals of those two organizations may be prepared to consider releasing other reports with black lines through the confidential information - perhaps the Minister could look into that.
I have some questions on the negotiations and the parties. Has the Government Leader, personally, through his officials or Burns Fry Limited had any conversations with the Bank of Nova Scotia in relation to the charging of the Faro assets?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Yes, Burns Fry has talked to the Bank of Nova Scotia directly.
Mr. Cable: Has the Minister, either directly or personally or through his officials or Burns Fry, had contact with the noteholders?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: No, I have not. To the best of my knowledge, we have still been unable to get the names of the noteholders.
Question re: Faro contingency plan
Mr. Harding: I have a question for the Minister of Economic Development.
Try as I might, I cannot see how the Yukon government can claim that they have a solid contingency plan in place when they have no territorial funding in place for re-education, social assistance, capital projects or employment search, which are going to be expensive but very much needed on behalf of the people in Faro, Watson Lake and Whitehorse.
Could the Minister of Economic Development tell me what the budget for this undertaking is going to be for the people in Faro, Watson Lake and Whitehorse who are affected by these mine shutdowns?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Each department has various funds available to them to put toward aspects of the contingency plan. That is the way they will be working. There is not a firm dollar figure attached to it, as it is very difficult to do since the picture seems to change on a daily basis. That is where we are at this point.
Mr. Harding: The government claims to have done all these studies, so they should have some figures. I do not know why it is so difficult to put a figure to it.
The government has stated that the proposed 1993-94 budget that is before this House is based on the very important premise that Curragh is operating in the Yukon. This morning, on the radio, the Minister of Health and Social Services stated that the Faro relocation money is already built into the proposed budget, indicating that the budget was not based on the premise of the mine operating. Can the Minister explain this obvious contradiction?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I assume I am the Minister he is referring to. Yes, I can. Essentially, the Health and Social Services budget has increased dramatically this year. There were various scenarios worked into trying to forecast what the cost might be. It is anticipated that the additional costs we may be facing with Curragh would probably be covered by the projected cost that is seen in the mains.
Mr. Harding: That is very inconsistent with what the Minister of Finance said when the budget was introduced. If the social assistance policy is indeed unchanged, in terms of budgeting for Faro, on the basis of whether or not the mine stays open, then it is obviously not taking into account the serious problems that people are having with rent, food, power bills, and all of the high costs of subsistence in the Yukon. Will the Minister commit to the development of a new policy for Faro designed to deal with the unique and numerous hardships that the mine situation is causing in my community?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The policies that we provide in Health and Social Services are basically those provided in virtually every other jurisdiction in Canada. There are certain limits placed upon the flexibility that we have in designing policies.
The Member opposite seems to continuously suggest that everything should be changed for one community in the Yukon. This did not occur when they were in office. It did not occur when Elsa went down. The programs that we are offering are the same programs and the same policies that were offered when they were in power. One of the Members opposite was the Member responsible for Mayo and Elsa. With respect to Health and Social Services policy, that is a fact.
Question re: Grum stripping
Mr. McDonald: I have a question for the Minister of Economic Development. Yesterday, the Minister indicated that the Grum stripping project was not, in his opinion, infrastructure, even though his governments own vision paper, Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century indicated that it was. The Government Leader went on to say that if it was infrastructure, it was not the kind that government should be involved with. Can the Minister say why they tried to encourage the federal government to consider it as infrastructure in order to convince that government to fund the Grum stripping?
Hon. Mr. Devries: As the Member is aware, the Mazankowski statement in January indicated that there was government funding available for infrastructure. At that time, we were becoming more and more aware that the federal government was very hesitant to cooperate in the stripping of the Grum deposit, which was mostly due to the problems in Nova Scotia with Curragh. We felt that by putting it in the infrastructure plan under Grum stripping for Faro, we felt that possibly we could get something out of the federal government to assist us in stripping the Grum deposit, which is something that we really want to do.
Mr. McDonald: The Minister stated that they carefully camouflaged the request to the federal government in their vision paper by making no reference to Faro, Curragh or to Grum stripping. They were hiding it so that the government would fund the stripping project. Why were there indeed prominent references made to Faro and Grum stripping in the document delivered to the Deputy Prime Minister?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I do not quite understand the question.
Speaker: I will allow the Member for McIntyre-Takhini to repeat the question without charging him with a supplementary.
Mr. McDonald: I have some money to pay for it, if I have to.
I was asking the question of why were there prominent references to Faro and to the Grum stripping project in the document Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, with the financial situation we were in and the fact that we are also very enthusiastic about seeing the Grum stripped, et cetera, we were seeking federal assistance in doing it; we were aware at that time already that the federal government would be very reluctant to assist in anything with Curraghs name attached to it.
Mr. McDonald: That does not answer the question. The question was that, if they were trying to camouflage the request about the Grum stripping project, why did they draw prominent reference to the request in the document they tabled with the Deputy Prime Minister?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Because our instructions were to be fairly specific on some of the requests we were putting forward. For instance, Grew Creek was in there. Grew Creek was underground mining - not infrastructure. If the worst case scenario developed at Faro, we wanted to try and get some assistance in getting some work projects going for the Faro people. If the Member disagrees with that, he should say so; if he does not agree with the stripping of the Grum and does not want the feds to help us, he should say so.
Question re: Government policy on access to Ministers
Ms. Moorcroft: The Yukon Party plan says, The government has a special duty to be open, accountable, responsible and representative of the Yukon public it serves. But when citizens of Faro travelled to Whitehorse to talk to the government in December and again this week, the doors to the executive offices were locked in their faces.
My question for the Government Leader is this: what is the government policy on public access to the executive offices?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: When we have advance notice that there are going to be demonstrations or that people are going to be coming to put undue pressure on the government, we have to take precautions. If we did not, we would be criticized severely by the Members opposite.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister responsible for Economic Development said in this House that there were no complaints about the Faro contingency plan, but when I was in Faro on Tuesday night, I met several concerned citizens of that town who complained that the Minister did not return their numerous phone calls.
Yesterday, when Faroites were trying to talk to the Minister in person, in this building, his executive assistant whisked him away behind the security of a locked door. Does the Minister think that honest questions from the citizens of Faro constitute a risk to Cabinet?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I have checked with my office, and every call that I have received from people in Faro has been answered by my assistants and I have returned several calls personally.
We have approached the appropriate people to call them back and we have been assured that this has been done.
Speaker: Order please. I would like to ask the members in the gallery not to interrupt; this is not a public meeting. You have representatives on the floor to speak for you and that is what they are trying to do.
Hon. Mr. Devries: If people have evidence that phone calls were not returned to them, I would like to know about it.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Ministers answer is consistent with the actions of the Government Leader, who refused to attend the public meeting held in Faro on Tuesday night, and only agreed to meet with a couple of representatives of the Faro Spotlight Committee after being put on the spot during Question Period yesterday by the Member for Faro.
Since the Government Leader promised to be open, accountable and responsible to all of the citizens of the Yukon, why did he refuse to go to Faro this week, when he promised in January to come back to Faro to talk about the mine situation?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I did attend a meeting in Faro oinJanuary of this year. I went to Faro and spoke to the people there. There was nothing to be gained by me going back to Faro on Tuesday night to be a target for the people of Faro to voice their dissension and say that the government is responsible for everything.
I met with a representative from the Spotlight Committee this morning and I will continue to meet with people from Faro.
Question re: Government year-end purchases
Mrs. Firth: The computer list that the government has tabled contains only computers and not all of the peripheral equipment that goes with computers, which I would anticipate could double the cost of the spending spree.
On March 31, the Minister said that there was no spending spree and we have shown that there was. Yesterday, he said that he was not aware that the computers had been purchased.
Management Board approves these expenditures, particularly in times of restraint, and I would like to ask the Minister why he said that there had been no spending spree and that he did not know that the computers had been purchased, when he is a member of Management Board and would have had to approve the purchase?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: There was no spending spree and we proved that by the documents that we tabled in this House - spending did not rise dramatically in the third quarter of the year.
The expenditure for the computers was approved in early January and I was not aware that they were not purchased until March.
Mrs. Firth: The Management Board would have had to authorize it. We were in a time of restraint in this government. We were broke.
My constituents in the private sector lost business because this person stood up and said we were broke. Then he went out and authorized an expenditure of close to $1 million - in a spending spree. I want to ask him why he authorized it and stood up in this House to say that he knew nothing about it.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The Member opposite has a vivid imagination and throws around very extravagant numbers when she does not know what she is talking about. We tabled a legislative return - it was nowhere near $1 million.
Mrs. Firth: There was a spending spree. All we have to determine is how much it was and why the Minister authorized it and then stood up in this House and said it did not happen and that he was unaware of any computers being purchased. Why did he say that?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: There are many things that go through Management Board. We cannot remember each and every detail. When the question was asked by the Leader of the Official Opposition, I said I would check on it and get back to him. The money was authorized in January by Management Board. It was one of the many things, as the Members opposite know and the Member for Riverside knows, that go through Management Board for approval.
We tabled documents in the House to show that there had not been excessive spending in the last two months of the year.
Question re: Budget, changes to
Mr. Penikett: I have a question for the Government Leader about his ministerial statement on Monday, in which he announced significant changes to both the revenue and expenditure side of his first budget - in effect, withdrawing one budget in favour of another proposal that he hopes will prove more politically saleable.
Will the Government Leader now stop complaining about Opposition questions about his budget and let us see the new one?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The budget is in front of the House. There will be amendments made to it as we start debate. I have said that in the House. The revenue side will be amended and the expenditure side will be amended as we carry out the line-by-line debate.
Mr. Penikett: Mondays ministerial statement postponed some tax hikes and then promised cuts in at least 10 government departments. By every parliamentary tradition, that makes this a new budget.
I want to ask the Government Leader when he is going to withdraw the first 1993 budget that he tabled in this House and replace it with the new and improved version, which he has negotiated with some people on this side.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: We have no intention of withdrawing the budget that is in front of this House today.
Mr. Penikett: The Government Leader is complaining about us not discussing a budget, but most Members on this side of the House do not even know what it is.
Can I ask him, for the record, what agreement, and with which MLAs, does the Government Leader have to guarantee support for the new budget that the House is yet to see. Will he table a written version of his back-room deal as an appendix when he tables the new budget?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: It seems to be bothering the Leader of the Official Opposition that he fears our budget is probably going to pass - he wants an election. We will deal with them when we start discussing the budget.
Question re: Conflict-of-interest guidelines
Mr. Penikett: I have another question for the Government Leader on another topic. I received a complaint to the effect that a Yukon Party organizer in Dawson City has solicited a donation from a local group, in consideration of the fact that this group has in the past received grants from the territorial government. Has he received a similar complaint and what has he done about it?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: No, I have not received a similar complaint. This is the first I have heard of it.
Mr. Penikett: I am sure the Government Leader would agree that for a party bag man to try and extract contributions from anyone, simply on the basis that that person or group has received public funds would be considered an extremely unethical and corrupt practice, here and in most jurisdictions. Will the Government Leader make clear, to all Members of his party and the general public, that such activities will not ever be tolerated in this territory?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I certainly have no problem making that type of commitment. I will check into this to see exactly what happened. If the Member opposite would share his information with me, I will get on it immediately.
Mr. Penikett: I would be happy to do that, but I will do everybody a favour by not making the details public at this time. Last year, all parties in this House voted to pass the Public Government Act that was designed to limit the possibility of conflicts between politicians public responsibility and their private activities and to protect the public from any incidents of this kind. To address any fears citizens may hold that the Yukon Party might try to weaken conflict provisions in this law, will the government now proclaim, at least, the conflict-of-interest provisions of the Public Government Act?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: We believe that the conflict-of-interest guidelines in the Public Government Act can be strengthened, and we are going to be reviewing that before we bring it back to this House.
Question re: Top of the World Highway
Mr. Cable: A week ago Wednesday, this House debated Motion No. 29, that it is the opinion of this House that the Top of the World Highway should be upgraded and that the Government of Yukon should consider upgrading the existing ferry service and should investigate the feasibility of building a bridge across the Yukon River at Dawson City in order to promote tourism and economic development in the region. Could the Minister of Community and Transportation Services tell the House the purpose of bringing this motion before the House?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I did not bring the motion before the House.
Mr. Cable: I would have to assume that the government caucus discussed the motion. Let me ask this question: what did the Minister do as a consequence of the motion being passed, in relation to the Top of the World Highway?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I have had the department research the plans that have been made for the Top of the World Highway. They are getting back with information for me on exact costs and so on for upgrading it to a standard equal to the Klondike Highway.
Mr. Cable: We spent two hours of this Houses valuable time debating this motion. Would the Minister tell this House what instructions were given to his officials as a consequence of this motion, on investigating the feasibility of the bridge?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: Again, I asked the department to provide me with figures. The department has, in the past, researched costs for a bridge, and alternate plans, like a second ferry and so on for the Yukon River at Dawson.
Question re: Ross River school security
Mr. McDonald: We have learned that the Ross River school is operating under a 24-hour security watch to prevent it from being harmed by a student who has threatened to vandalize it. Was the decision to proceed with this course of action recommended, or encouraged, by either the RCMP or the Ross River school council?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I do not know the answer to that question. The sequence of events as they were is that a child was observed on the roof of the school lighting some grass and trying to set fire to the school. A day or so later, he was observed at the corner of the school trying to set fire to the school a second time. There was a feeling then that we had to take emergency measures. What happened is that Health and Social Services were contacted and they are dealing with the child. It was felt by everyone concerned that, with the history of the individual, something should be done immediately to protect the assets of the school.
The Minister can remember a year ago there was a fire in that school that cost $80,000. We could not afford to lose that school at this time.
Mr. McDonald: I understand that there were different individuals involved in both cases.
Is it the policy that the Department of Education would place its facilities under a security watch whenever there is an impending perceived threat instead of referring these criminal matters to the RCMP, as has been the policy in the past?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The RCMP were contacted immediately about the incident. Social Services was contacted immediately about the child. Whether the RCMP recommended the watch or not, I am not sure. I do not have that information, but I know they were contacted immediately upon the incident happening.
Mr. McDonald: This has the potential of being a scandalous situation, if the policy of the Department of Education is to provide security watches whenever a student threatens a school in this territory.
Can the Minister indicate what the security service will cost, who has the contract, and how long the service is expected to last?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The security watch, as far as I am concerned, is a temporary measure until we can work something out with Health and Social Services with the child. It was an emergency measure and a temporary measure, one hopes, and I hope we will not have to resort to it again.
The costs and who has the contract - I can get back to the Member with that.
Question re: Ross River school security
Mr. McDonald: I understand that the contract was sole-sourced to Mr. Don McKay in the community of Ross River. Can the Minister indicate what the policy is of the Department of Education with respect to sole-sourcing contracts to individuals in the community, and whether or not this situation conforms to that policy?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I will get back to the Member on that. I can tell the Member what I know of the situation. When the situation arose, an official in the Department of Education decided that we had to protect the school immediately and called up this individual to ask if he would provide the services to protect the school on an interim basis. That is the information I have; it was right from an official in the department who decided that that facility had to be protected, knowing the history of this particular child.
Mr. McDonald: No doubt whoever the individual is is doing a competent job. The question I am asking is about sole-sourcing and the policy of the department to secure a bid from only one person in the community of Ross River. Is it not the case that there are a number of persons in Ross River who could provide this service - irrespective of what one thinks about it - and could provide the service competently?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I am sure that is the case. My preference, if I had known about the incident before it happened, would have been to get several people to bid on the particular project; but, as I said, it was an emergency and a decision was made by an official who felt he had to make the decision right away. It was not as if we could put it out to tender and wait a couple of weeks for the tenders to come in.
Mr. McDonald: Obviously, that is not the way that it happens at any time when there is an emergency contract and when there is a survey of bidders in a community.
Could the Minister indicate what sort of corrective action he plans to take with the Department of Education to ensure that available bidders, people who are competent and capable of doing this work, are surveyed to determine whether or not they can provide the service at a cheaper cost?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I have advised officials in the department that I would like to see this kind of thing go to tender. I do not like the idea of it being given to one particular person. I think that even in this case there could have possibly been an invitational tender in a small community like Ross River and I would have hoped that is what they would have done, but they did not do that. I was not there when it happened, but I am asking the department to follow that procedure in the future.
Question re: Public service, downsizing of
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Government Leader about a job that has been advertised as a $70,000 position by the Ministers department for a policy and intergovernmental relations officer in the Executive Council Office.
In that branch there is a director of policy and intergovernmental affairs and three other $70,000 per year positions, one of which is vacant.
Since the Government Leader claims that he is downsizing government through attrition, can he explain to us why it is necessary to fill this position and why he is not leaving it vacant?
I would like to ask the Government Leader not to do his usual thing and just make up an answer on the spot. Could he give us the facts?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: If she does not want me to make up an answer on the spot, I will have to get the information and bring it back to her.
Mrs. Firth: Does the Government Leader not have any idea of what I am talking about?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I know that there is one position vacant in land claims, but I am not certain what it is and since I would not want to misinform the Member opposite, I will get the information and bring it back to her.
Mrs. Firth: This is an employment opportunity in the Executive Council Office advertized by the Public Service Commission, which the Minister is responsible for. The policy of the government is attrition. Why are they advertising for this position when it is his policy that he is going to downsize government by attrition?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: As I said, I will bring that information back to the Member, but if we are advertising for the position we must feel that it needs to be filled. It is as simple as that.
Speaker: The time for Question Period is now elapsed.
We will proceed to Orders of the Day and Government Bills.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Bill No. 8: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 8, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Ostashek.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I move that Bill No. 8, entitled Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1993-94 (No. 2), be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 8, entitled Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1993-94 (No. 2), be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion for third reading of Bill No. 8 agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 8 has passed this House.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Is it the wish of the Committee to take a brief recess at this time?
We will have a brief recess.
Chair: I will now call the Committee of the Whole to order.
Bill No. 4 - Second Appropriation Act, 1992-93 - continued
Department of Economic Development - continued
Chair: Is there further general debate on the Department of Economic Development?
Mr. Harding: It is probably not going to come as much of a surprise to the Minister of Economic Development but the first subject that I want to get back to is the discussion that we were engaged in last evening on the Grum stripping and its identification by the Yukon government as an infrastructure investment by the territory.
Why, when they identified it as an infrastructure investment, would they now take the position that it could not be used as an infrastructure investment by the Government of the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Devries: As I indicated to the Member last night and again in Question Period, we feel it is a mining operation. The reason it was put in the infrastructure document was to try to get some money from the federal government to assist us in stripping the Grum.
Mr. Harding: Would it be fair to say that the Yukon government felt that they should take a subtle, quiet approach to getting some help from the federal government in the Grum stripping project because of the fallout from Westray?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, it is fair to say that with the federal government being unfavourable toward anything with Curragh and Westray attached to it, they more than likely would not be interested in investing in anything those companies attached to the investment at that time.
Mr. Harding: Could the Minister explain why the Government of Yukon took such a vicious approach to attacking the Member of Parliament, who claimed to be meeting with Ministers, taking a back-room approach, sending letters to the Prime Minister and speaking with the Yukon government about the issue. The Yukon government took the position that she should be asking questions in Question Period and debating to pump the federal government into helping the mine situation in the Yukon.
Why would the Government of Yukon approach the issue quietly and expect the Member for Parliament to do something other than that?
Hon. Mr. Devries: She also had the choice of seeking assistance from the federal government for the Grum stripping. She does not necessarily have to use the name of Curragh. She has the same options that we have.
Mr. Harding: She did. The government took the position that because they did not want to publicize the issue of the Grum stripping they put out a document identifying - this is the governments position - the Grum ore body and waste stripping of that ore body as an infrastructure project and identified the location as Faro. Yet, the government said it was shameful that the Member of Parliament did not take a more vocal approach to try to get some funding from the federal government for the project.
Why would the Government of Yukon be so vicious in their attacks when they thought the best approach be to try to get federal help was a quiet one?
Hon. Mr. Devries: We attempted the other route several times and have yet heard very little from our Member of Parliament in bringing the matter up in the House of Commons.
Mr. Harding: The Government of the Yukon made the decision that they should not do just what they are asking the Member of Parliament to do. They should camouflage it subtly in their Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document so that the federal government, who was concerned about the fallout of Westray, would not be politically worried about getting involved in this project. Yet, they called the Member of Parliaments performance shameful. I was at a meeting with the concerned parties in this Legislature when she laid out what she had done. They say she should take a more vocal approach and stand up in Question Period and debate and raise the issue, even though the Government of the Yukon knew the political problems that that would have created in getting what was best for Yukoners - federal government help.
Why would the Government of the Yukon make those attacks, when they did the same thing?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It is her responsibility to stick up for Yukoners in that matter; we have been doing that. We have been working night and day on this. For the last four months, I can assure the Members that officials from the Department of Economic Development have burned the midnight oil working on this thing. Sure, we have hired Burns Fry to represent us, but there is a lot of work that goes on in the background. If the Member does not appreciate that, he should say so.
We are working to get the Grum stripped and to assist in seeing Curragh survive. What else can we do?
Mr. Harding: I have made many suggestions about what else the government could do. So far, none of my suggestions have been adopted by the government. I do not appreciate the direction and the efforts thus far, because I do not think they have been full enough.
The Minister just said that the Member of Parliament has the responsibility to the Yukon. They also said that she should have been raising the issue publicly. Somehow they equate the fact that she did not do that with shirking her responsibilities.
The Government of the Yukon very quietly and subtly camouflaged, to use their words, the request in order to avoid the same thing - public discussion. Does this mean that the Yukon government shirked their responsibilities? They just made the accusation that the Member of Parliament did, for just that reason.
Hon. Mr. Devries: No. What I said is that the MP for the Yukon could have stood up in the House of Commons and indicated that there was a great deal of unemployment in Faro and that they would like to see assistance in the stripping of the Grum ore body, just to make sure that the other MPs were aware of this.
Mr. Penikett: Could the Minister of Economic Development tell me how many references there were to Curragh Inc. in the throne speech of the Government of the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I do not know. I would have to get back to the Member on that. I do not have it at my fingertips. If he wants to know and if I said there were seven and there were six, he would complain about it.
Mr. Penikett: Would the Minister confirm for the House that there were absolutely zero references to Curragh Inc. or Faro in the governments throne speech?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, I do not know. I would have to get hold of it and have a look. I did not memorize it.
Mr. Penikett: Would the Minister agree that if it was an important enough issue, it would have been included in the throne speech?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I can assure the Member that it is a very important issue. Again, I do not have the throne speech at my fingertips and I do not have it memorized. I would have to get back to him about it.
Mr. Harding: I take great offence at the accusations that our Member of Parliament was not doing anything on the Yukons behalf in accessing some kind of help from the federal government. I know that the Government Leader received a copy of the letter to the Prime Minister. I know that the Government Leader had many discussions with the Member of Parliament regarding what she was doing. I know that the Government Leader knew that she was having meetings with federal Ministers. I think it is absolutely scandalous, when they themselves take the position that they should camouflage the issue and take a subtle approach, that they should think that somehow it is the Member of Parliaments responsibility, or it is in the best interest of the Yukon, for her to take a candid approach.
I do not think that is fair, and I do not think that is consistent, but I think I have made my point and I will move on.
The 21st century document most certainly identified the Grum stripping as an infrastructure investment. In the article written in the Watson Lake newspaper by the Minister of Economic Development, MLA for Watson Lake, he talks about the $10 million that will be forthcoming to the Yukon as a result of a meeting between the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Canada, Don Mazankowski, and the Government Leader, and he writes, It was what I would call a reasonably successful meeting because he responded by making $10 million available to us for infrastructure development. That is his start. Is he telling this Legislature that that money was forthcoming as a result of that meeting and the presentation of the self-sufficiency document, or is it as a result of the Finance Ministers announcement that he will be providing infrastructure funding to all the provinces and territories?
Hon. Mr. Devries: My understanding is that the $10 million was a combined result of the meeting we had in Yellowknife and the lobbying by Minister Siddon and lobbying by many of our Members here and the work of the Government Leader. My understanding was that it was not necessarily divided up in that way originally.
Mr. Penikett: Is the Minister aware that every single jurisdiction in the country got money from this infrastructure fund?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes. I am not certain that every province did, but I understand most provinces did. I also understand that, for the north, it was originally earmarked strictly for airport infrastructure but, due to our 21st century document and the lobbying of the Department of Economic Development, the Government Leader and various Ministers, we now have the opportunity to spend it on roads where it is needed much more than in airport infrastructure at this time.
Mr. Penikett: Is the Minister aware of when the federal government was first persuaded that they should put some money into infrastructure in this country?
I will not give the Minister a long lecture, but it happened long before he came into government. It was because the provincial premiers ganged up on the federal government and persuaded them that it was absolutely necessary.
In fact, the decision to make money available to the Yukon and Northwest Territories was made long before anyone in Ottawa had ever heard about the Member for Watson Lake.
Hon. Mr. Devries: Is the Leader of the Official Opposition saying that he was one of those premiers?
Mr. Penikett: All that I am saying is that the premiers conference more than a year and a half ago began to lobby the federal government for infrastructure money. The federal government agreed to it at a First Ministers Conference some time ago. It is not something that was done since the Members opposite came into government.
I want to ask some general questions of the Economic Development Minister. I was trying to find out how many references were made to the major problem of Curragh and Faro in the budget speech, but I have not found any yet.
I know that there were none in the throne speech, but I want to ask about the Ministers priorities.
First of all, in the supplementary, I want to ask the Minister if he could tell us, beyond the rather facile document entitled Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century, what other new policies and new programs has the Minister announced in the period covered in the supplementary?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Most of the new programs and policies would pertain to the main estimates.
Mr. Penikett: I will look forward to hearing about them at that time, but since the Member said most, what policies? Were any new policies and programs announced by the Minister during the period of the supplementary?
Hon. Mr. Devries: One of the things changed was that, shortly after we came to power, we hired a new person to represent us on the Implementation Review Committee, because it seemed to be going nowhere under the previous administration; that lobbying effort has been very successful.
Mr. Penikett: Hiring a new person to represent us on the Implementation Review Committee is the Ministers major new policy, is that it?
Hon. Mr. Devries: That is one of the many things that we have done.
Mr. Penikett: Perhaps the Minister could give us a second example of some of the wonderful things that he has done since he became Minister, up until the period of March 31.
Hon. Mr. Devries: We also participated in the Cordilleran Roundup and hosted the Yukon hospitality night, which was very successful. Our department is still receiving many enquiries from various mining people across North America. Much of it can be credited to the wonderful response we got from this endeavour.
Mr. Penikett: Surely the Minister does not imagine that this is the first time the Government of the Yukon was represented at a mining conference - or perhaps he does.
Hon. Mr. Devries: No, I know we have been represented at mining conferences before but my understanding is this is the first time the Yukon government put on a hospitality night and made itself very visible to the mining community, showing that we truly do believe that mining is the Yukons number one industry.
Mr. Penikett: We have proof of that as there are no mines now.
The Minister says he has had lots of thank you notes as a result of the hospitality suite. Canadians are usually very polite people; they are usually very grateful if you buy them drinks. Can the Minister show us any other definite results from his hospitality suite other than the thank you notes?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I am aware of several, although I do not have them at my fingertips. If I come up with some kind of list, then perhaps I can show the amount of drilling and exploration that is going on in Yukon. It is my understanding that most of that information will be compiled by the end of May.
Mr. Penikett: Is the Minister seriously suggesting to this House that because he bought someone drinks they decided to come drilling in the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I know the Member is just fooling around. I can assure the Member that the message - that under this administration we want to see mining development in the Yukon - got out to the Yukon people. I can assure the Member that I have talked to drilling companies - people who were there representing the Yukon - and different business people and they were overwhelmed by the response that they were getting from various people in North America. These people came to the booths and were impressed to see that the Yukon government is now getting the message out that we want to see mining continue here.
Mr. Penikett: I am not fooling around; I am deadly serious. When the Conservatives left office, mineral production in this territory was $56 million a year. Last year in the territory, when the NDP were in government, it was $500 million a year. This year, under the Conservatives, it is back to probably less than $50 million. I do not think the Minister has anything to brag about at all.
Let me ask the Minister again, since he says he cannot remember on his fingertips what came out of his buying drinks - if it was anything bigger than his hand, surely he would remember it - what specific investments or expenditures resulted from his buying drinks for the mining industry at the conference in Vancouver?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I am not going to get into the specifics. I know for a fact that it was a wise investment. If the Members opposite decide that it was not a wise investment, that is their choice. If they want to go on public record and say that we should not have had that hospitality night in Vancouver, they should say that. If they want to go on record to say that hospitality night had no effect whatsoever on mining exploration, they should say that. I say that it had an effect.
Mr. Penikett: The previous NDP government attended conferences and even hosted mining conferences. We probably had hospitality suites and perhaps even bought meals for people, but I do not think that we were ever so silly as to suggest that new mines or major new exploration programs happened as a result.
The Minister has told us that his major new policies, announced in the period under the supplementary, were to get a new person on the committee and to buy drinks for some mining people in Vancouver. Is there anything else that he has done that represents major new directions for the department?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I think one of the major initiatives is the development of the self-sufficiency strategy. We have a great degree of certainty that we will be getting $10 million. I agree that the Leader of the Official Opposition is trying to take credit for this whole thing, even though they have done nothing but argue about the fact that we got it.
We have also followed up on the Whitehorse mining initiative. We just recently had another meeting in Toronto. It is something that was started by the previous administration. We are following up on that.
Mr. Penikett: For the record, neither I nor my party want to take any responsibility whatsoever for this document entitled Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century. It is an embarrassment.
Let me ask the Minister about the list of projects in here - the 31 major potential projects. How many of these projects have new private sector money coming to them as a result of activities of this government in the fiscal year we are reviewing?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, actually that is very easy to answer. We do not have the $10 million at this point, but it has been committed to us. Once we have the projects onstream, there definitely will be some major investments. There will be major employment created in the Yukon. Some of that employment will go to some of the people in Faro. Is he now saying that we should not go ahead with the projects associated with that, and create a worse situation than we already have in the Yukon?
Mr. Penikett: What I am saying is that the $10 million that the Member keeps talking about is in fact federal government money - public funds. I am saying that we have seen absolutely nothing, during the time that the Member has been Minister, to indicate that they have done a single darned thing to make any one of these projects on this list go ahead. In fact, the only one of major consequence that we know about, which is the hotel-convention facility, they killed - dead.
I was going to go through them one by one and ask the Minister what he had done to move each one of these projects on, but in view of the Ministers answers, it seems to me that would be an entirely fruitless exercise. I do not want to be accused by the Government Leader of either wasting time or embarrassing his Minister.
Let me ask the Minister this: can I refer the Minister to the departmental objectives on page 25 of the supplementaries? This is the Ministers supplementary budget presented before this House. The number one objective of the department is, To encourage the development of Yukons economy in an environmentally and socially sensitive manner. Can the Minister tell me if he supports that number one objective of his department?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes. As the Member very well knows, as much as pertains to the mains more than the supplementaries, Cabinet has just recently developed a log export policy. I would anticipate that it fits into this. I believe that there is something going on with the litter campaign. I have had discussions with the Yukon Conservation Society - not formal discussions, but I have had several discussions with Alan Young, since I have come in here. We are definitely working toward that.
Mr. Penikett: Can I just establish what the Minister just said? Could I have the Ministers attention? The Minister just said that he supported the number one objective of the department in the supplementary. Is that correct? The Minister indicated yes. Perhaps, when we get to the mains, he might indicate to us why he has totally deleted it from the main budget.
Hon. Mr. Devries: My personal feeling is that, in this day and age, when we talk about sustainable development and doing things in an environmentally conscious way - or the accepted way - a big deal does not have to be made out of it any more. Everybody is aware that that is Canadians number one priority. We do not have to harp on it every chance we get because we know that it is Canadians number one priority, it is Yukoners number one priority and it is also the Yukon Partys number one priority.
Mr. Penikett: Could the Member opposite indicate to us how many times the words sustainable development occur in either the throne speech or the governments budget?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Several people have spoken to me about that and, again, I used the same reply as I have just made. I also found it very interesting that, at the various meetings I have attended recently, it is just an accepted way of doing things. It is not something we have to say - sustainable development, sustainable development, sustainable development - people accept that premise as being the objective of governments in this day and age.
Mr. Penikett: The Minister of Economic Development and his government have been criticized by the Council for Yukon Indians because their favourite document, Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century, does not mention the word sustainable. The budget and throne speech also do not mention it. In fact, this document, which is the Ministers favourite, has been criticized for being the very opposite of a sustainable development project; it is an old-fashioned, right-wing megaproject strategy.
How can he claim, then, that sustainable development is so well accepted by him and his government, as it is with the public, that he can claim to be a champion of it when the only document he has put out is not a sustainable development approach. In fact, he has deleted the reference to environmentally and socially sensitive development from the main budget, after having them in the supplementaries.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I have just told him twice. If the Member would listen, he would have heard me loud and clear. Read my lips.
Mr. Penikett: Actually, I am a fairly good listener. I can remember most of the things that the Member said in this House, including the things that he said when he was over here. I do not think I will go into those now, but I may want to ask the Minister questions about some of the things that he said in the past later.
May I again refer the Member to page 25 in his supplementary budget, the list of departmental objectives, and ask him if he would agree with the fourth objective, which is about the obligation of the Department of Economic Development to promote investment in the Yukon, particularly where significant benefits from the investment remain in the Yukon. Could I ask the Minister if he supports that objective?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The Member knows my position on log exports, and I feel that definitely fits within the parameters of that statement.
Mr. Penikett: May I give the Minister notice of a question that I want to ask him when we get to the main estimates: why has that objective been deleted from the main budget?
Hon. Mr. Devries: We just changed the wording of it. I believe the main budget now says to promote and encourage development of the Yukons economy through diversification, strengthening and growth within all sectors....
What is the big deal here?
Mr. Penikett: The line that the Member just quoted is the mirror of another objective on this list, number six, which is about diversification and growth. I will have a chance to explore these again when we come to the main estimates. At that time, I will want to explore the Ministers thinking on these questions at some length.
Objective number seven says, To promote the replacement of imports with Yukon alternatives. I have heard that the Government of Yukon Members are strong supporters of free trade, so perhaps they will no longer support this objective, and I know that the Minister has changed the policies of Government Services so that the low bidder will supply many goods and services, rather than local suppliers - something that I regret and I am going to ask him about that when we get to the Government Services estimate.
Could I ask the Minister if there are any other reasons, other than their commitment to free trade - which will move jobs out of the territory - for deleting the commitment to replace imports from the departments objectives from the time they had it in the supplementary to the time they removed it in the main estimates?
Hon. Mr. Devries: As the Member knows, we still have the same policies in place in Government Services. There is the business incentive program, which is used to encourage people to purchase locally. It is used to hire locally. Was that what the Member was referring to, or was he going beyond that?
Mr. Penikett: I am going to ask him about the business incentive program at another time. It is the same program the Members opposite attacked when we developed it, and which I am now naturally pleased to see that they support.
I am asking something else. I am asking when the government changed its policies, because between the time they developed this supplementary and the time they developed the mains, they deleted the commitment of this government to a strategy of import replacement. I want to know when they did that and why. Was it simply because of their commitment to free trade?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I can assure the Member that we are not going to be promoting Totem Oil.
If the Member goes to the mains again, I can explain that. In our departmental objectives in the mains, that is addressed.
Mr. Penikett: May I compliment the Minister about an extremely witty remark about Totem Oil. I was just splitting a gut. Does the Minister understand what is meant by import replacement?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes; if we can produce a shingle in the Yukon and use it here, rather that get it from down south, that is import replacement.
Mr. Penikett: It is said in some quarters that one can support import replacement or one can support free trade, but one cannot support both. I am not sure I agree with that. Let us use the example of the shingles. Given a choice between a locally produced shingle at price x and an imported shingle at price x, which would he choose as a matter of policy?
Hon. Mr. Devries: If it was within reason, I would use the locally made shingle.
Mr. Penikett: If the locally made shingle were just a little bit more expensive than the imported shingle, would he still use the imported one?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Like I said before, if the price were within reason, I would use the locally produced shingle. There is a point where a line has to be drawn.
Mr. Penikett: I think that we would agree with that. I think we will certainly want to know from the Minister later what his point is, and where he would draw the line. There is some evidence already of local companies, which have previously supplied this government, losing out to outside suppliers when the difference in price is almost negligible. We will ask him those questions when we get to the Department of Government Services.
The Minister has still not explained why he removed import replacement as a departmental objective in the mains, since he says he agrees with it. I want to serve notice that we will come back to that.
Can I ask the Minister about the final objective on that page, which is about subsistence economy, non-wage activities, and to promote their role in the Yukon economy. As the Minister may remember, during the Yukon 2000 exercise, we not only had an overwhelming expression of opinion on this question from the aboriginal community, who wanted respect shown for the subsistence economy, but also very well-articulated presentations from the womens movement about the value of unpaid work done in the home to the economy. Also, many people from the volunteer sector expressed the importance of volunteer work to our economy, not just our social and recreational life. People I respect, such as Marilyn Waring, believe that one of the fundamental problems of economic analysis in this day and age is the complete failure to attribute any proper value to this kind of work in our national economic accounts.
I would like to ask the Minister for his views on the subject, in light of the fact that this objective has been removed from the main budget, which I think is very disrespectful, not only to women, but also to the aboriginal community and the volunteer sector.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I would say that it is captured in there. It may not be quite as specific, but I can assure the Member that I feel very strongly about the homemaker contributing toward the non-wage economy. I also support the subsistence lifestyles that many natives have chosen to live by.
Mr. Penikett: I am a fair reader. I have read the departmental objectives in both the supplementaries and the mains several times. I do not think I have missed anything. Perhaps I could give the Minister notice of this question: where on page 71 in the mains, where the departmental objectives are laid out, is there any recognition whatsoever of the non-wage economy or the departments commitment to it?
Hon. Mr. Devries: When we get to the mains I will attempt to do that.
Mr. Penikett: One of the things the Minister has done in his time in office is to publish an annotated bibliography of the Yukon economic planning studies from 1986 to 1992. I assume his deputy has played a large hand in this and I would like to compliment her on this work. I want to ask the Minister how many of these studies he has read or taken time to acquaint himself with?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I have probably reviewed some of those studies when I was in Opposition and I am aware of some of them, but I have definitely not read all of them - I can assure you of that.
Mr. Penikett: Would the Minister be prepared, when we get to the mains, to describe the extent to which this government supports the recommendations contained in some of the major studies commissioned by this government and referenced in this document?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I am certain that I will not have adequate time to read too many of them at great length. If he would like to pick a particular one I could attempt to read that.
Mr. Penikett: Let me give notice now of the question and then the Minister can be warned. In Question Period, the Minister has been asked a number of times about the relationship of the document Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century and the Yukon Economic Strategy. Most people who have any background in economics find there is no relationship between the two at all, intellectually or philosophically. Yet the Minister has said that the Economic Strategy is still policy. We know it is the law; we know that it is referenced in land claims agreements, which give the right of First Nations to one-quarter of the seats at annual conferences to review the strategy. We know that since coming into office there has not been a review of the strategy as required and this is all the more problematic because the mains - which the Minister is going to be debating soon - refer to developing and implementing a comprehensive planning process and conducting research and analysis of the Yukons economy, which implies that some new process is going to be undertaken to replace the Economic Strategy - which is the Ministers right. If the same kind of consultation goes into that process as went into the Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document, I think people who participated in the development of the Yukon 2000 document are going to bitterly disappointed as no one had any input into the Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document, other than the Yukon Party, the Yukon Chamber of Mines and maybe some people from Economic Development.
Perhaps the Minister might indicate - if not now, later - whether he would be prepared to answer questions about the recommendations about economic development of the major studies in here, including those dealing with the Economic Strategy, and explain why his departmental objectives seem to be taking us into an entirely different direction. All I am asking now is if he will be prepared to answer a line of questions on that subject when we get to it in the mains.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I would take a great deal of pleasure in answering those questions during the mains.
Mr. Penikett: I can see the Ministers tongue was firmly planted in his cheek when he answered the last question.
Could I ask the Minister if he has read the letter from Judy Gingell, chairperson of the Council for Yukon Indians, addressed to the Hon. John Ostashek, dated April 15, which is a criticism of the Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, I am aware of their disappointment in the amount of consultation that went on in the preparation of that document, and we have assured them that this will not happen in the future. I hope that this will rectify the problem.
Mr. Penikett: The criticism was not just about consultation; it is about the fact that this is not a sustainable economy strategy; it is about the attitude toward aboriginal economic development and their lands; it is about the new Ministers disinterest in the community economic development point of view; it is about the complete and flagrant disregard for land use planning and development assessment processes, which have been negotiated in good faith and by First Nations people; and it is, as the Council for Yukon Indians says, a major break for the economic strategy in the northern political and economic framework of the federal government and that it was done without any public Idebate.
Was the Minister involved in drafting a reply to this letter, in his capacity as Minister of Economic Development?
Hon. Mr. Devries: To the best of my knowledge, I have not seen the reply to the letter, but I will try to get a copy of it and reply to it personally.
Mr. Penikett: Obviously, I would be interested in seeing a reply from the government and I appreciate the Ministers offer to provide us with a reply, but my question was a more modest one asking if the Minister and his department were involved in drafting a reply, and I take it from his answer that they were not. Could the Minister confirm that?
Hon. Mr. Devries: That is right.
Mr. Penikett: I wonder if I could use the occasion of the supplementary debate to give the Minister notice of a detailed line of questions that I want to ask when we get to the main estimates.
I am particularly interested in pursuing a number of inquiries on some subjects of potential controversy. I wonder if I could ask the Minister if he might prepare himself to debate or answer some questions.
One of the questions is about a project in his constituency, the Big Horn Hotel, and I think that a number of Opposition Members have had complaints about the departments handling of this file. Without getting into detailed, private information, I would like to ask a number of questions about the departments policy in handling applications such as this one.
At that time, I also want to ask the Minister about the Economic Development departments view of the proposed Juneau-to-Atlin road link.
I want to ask the Minister about the departments knowledge of federal intentions with respect to Economic Development Agreement funding.
Supplementary to that, I want to ask the Minister if he will be able to provide us with some information about the pattern of spending under the economic development agreements, because we are beginning to receive complaints from some communities that have expressed a fear about cutbacks or drawing down of the commitment in that area.
I want to ask about this governments implied commitment to the proposed gas pipeline to be built across Vuntut Gwichin land through the northern Yukon.
It may be that we could expedite matters quite a lot at that time if the Minister has some decisions, views or policies on that matter that he might want to commit in writing in legislative returns. It may be that that would address all my concerns and I will be able to deal with them very quickly.
I will leave the Minister a note so there will be no surprises.
We are having trouble, as the Minister will understand from my questions today, trying to get a handle on exactly what the economic development philosophy of the Minister is. I wonder if he might just share with the House, in a very personal way if he feels like it, something of his own views or economic theories. Might he tell us, for example, what economists he has read, what economic theories he favours? Has he, for example, read Keynes, or Schumacher, or Friedman, or Buchanan, or any of the major well-known economic thinkers in this century? Does he have any particular preferences in terms of economic theory, or methods of economic development?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Basically my economic theories are on a very practical basis. I must admit that a lot of those names that were thrown out at me, I have never heard of. I have read abbreviated things in various business magazines and get the majority of my information from that type of literature. I am not a great reader of theory.
Mr. Penikett: I thank the Minister for his answer. I cannot remember which economist it was; it may have been John Kenneth Galbraith who said something about most people who express their favouring of a practical point of view are usually expressing the theories of an economist who died 100 years ago or so before. There is nothing wrong with that; I just wanted to ask the Minister.
I do not know, other Members may have general questions, but if you wanted to take a break now, I would be more than happy to come to the lines after the break.
Chair: Would Members like to take a break?
Mr. Harding: I have some more questions that I would like to ask.
I would like to know, since the new government took over in 1992-93, if there has been anything done to examine industrial alternatives for the community of Faro?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Some limited discussions have gone on about that and, as the Member knows, in northern communities, the number of alternatives is very limited. We have not gone much beyond the exploratory stage of looking at alternatives.
Mr. Harding: Could the Minister indicate what exactly fits within the parameters of the exploratory stage that he just identified?
Hon. Mr. Devries: As the Member knows, Faro is basically a mining community, so the discussions would relate to mining projects. Much hinges on the success of Curragh restructuring. Once we get into that stage, we would try and diversify the economy.
Mr. Harding: The government was aware in November that Curragh was in trouble. They made a request for a substantial undertaking by the territorial government to give them some financial support. The government stated many times to me, and also in public in January, that they were working on a contingency plan. My question is, if the government is working on a contingency plan when they know the major employer may not be there any more, why would they not be undertaking a more thorough examination of industrial alternatives?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, the reality of the situation is that in one-industry towns, there are not a great many alternatives that make sense. We have several communities like Ross River and Pelly Crossing where several small projects have taken place, which have assisted in developing some employment. For instance, in Pelly Crossing, by having the wood-chip heating in the school, it has created some local employment opportunities. They are looking at several other small business opportunities.
I would like to see those requests come from the community, rather than having them come from me. We could come up with some suggestions for them, but I would really like to see the requests come from the community. The community is the one that knows best what its economic opportunities could be.
Mr. Harding: Perhaps the Minister could tell me how many public meetings there have been, and how many times his Economic Development officials have been to Faro to explore with the people and the leaders of the community economic development diversification initiatives since they took over government?
Hon. Mr. Devries: As the Member knows, the Economic Development officer has been on full-time recently, and anyone who has some ideas is welcome to talk to him. As well, he was on half-time prior to that. Anyone who had suggestions or comments on anything that would make economic sense would find us open to those types of ideas.
Mr. Harding: In the development of a contingency plan, one would think - or the way I would see it work - is that the government would identify some broad objectives. One of those would certainly be to provide alternate employment in the event of a closure of the mine, which is the single industry there right now. That would probably be the focal point, or, if it were not the focal point, one of the top two priorities.
I do not understand why a more aggressive approach to developing industrial alternatives would not have been taken. Just saying, as has been the case with everything in the contingency plan, If someone comes to us, if someone comes to us, if someone comes to us, is not the aggressive, responsible approach to this. For example, why would the government not undertake the initiative to hold public meetings and have consultations in the community in a broad, open sense and explore some of the ideas en masse, rather than just sit back and wait for ideas to come forward from people who really do not know what the government is prepared to commit or what is realistic.
Hon. Mr. Devries: My understanding is that some of the recent meetings regarding the contingency plan among the IAS, Economic Development and various agencies have been open, public meetings. Some of them have been committee meetings. That is what we have been doing.
Mr. Harding: I asked today in Question Period what projects they were going to commit to and what budget there was for it. Now, the Minister has told me that he has some of those projects. Perhaps he could tell me which of those projects they are going to fund and how much they are prepared to commit to it.
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, we have not had the final input from the community about which projects they give priority to. Some of the tourism-related projects have been tossed about, but no one has come forward with a firm request at this point. Some of the projects are dependent on weather. That should change very shortly.
Mr. Harding: The Minister just told me that these ideas have come forward at these meetings. Now he is saying that there have been no firm requests. Have there been projects identified or have there been no firm requests.
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, there have been projects identified but not priorized by the community at this point, as far as I know.
Mr. Harding: What is the community supposed to do? There are 1,500 people who live in that community. Are they all supposed to take the initiative - when they do not know what the other hand is doing in the community - to get together with people that they may or may not know to discuss items to priorize? How are they going to priorize? The economic development officer is in charge of it in the community and if an idea comes forward, it goes to the economic development officer. Why and how would you expect the community to priorize them?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The projects that are being proposed are being run through the IAS committee. We want to ensure that there will not be duplications between the federal and YTG program. Once they go beyond that, then funding would be through CDF or BDF and they would go before those review committees. The latter process could probably be fast-tracked.
Mr. Harding: The Minister is telling me that he is worried about the IAS committee and the territorial people building two Chateau Jominis. Is that what he is saying? There should be a little bit more fast-tracking on this.
Hon. Mr. Devries: We have not received an official request to do anything with Chateau Jomini in the last three months.
Mr. Harding: First of all, the Minister told people in the Yukon that there were ongoing discussions with the mayor of the community regarding Chateau Jomini, and they were taking it over in some capacity as a project. How can the Minister now stand here and say that they were not?
Secondly, when is the government going to take some responsibility for making a conscious decision not to put money into the mine, and, as a result the community is suffering.
When is the government going to take some responsibility and leadership, go into the community and try and bring the people together to work with the government to come up with some ideas? I have a lot of ideas and I am going to talk about those ideas this afternoon.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I would be happy to sit down with the Member at any time and discuss some of those ideas.
With respect to Chateau Jomini, I have had discussions with the mayor, but I have never received the official application or the official description of what they would like to do with it.
Mr. Harding: Could I ask the Minister if the Member for Faro has stood up in this Legislature and asked, as representative of the community, that a construction project be undertaken on Chateau Jomini, to be run by the town to provide jobs in the local economy during troubled times?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I wish the request was that simple, but we need to know what the plans are and whether or not we have the financial means to accommodate those plans.
Mr. Harding: The Government of the Yukon has a Department of Economic Development to work on these projects when they are identified. That project was identified to the Minister. Why did the department not move on it when it was identified? Exactly what has been done to move on the development of that project to provide for some jobs for the community?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I will find out exactly where it is at and I will get back to the Member.
Mr. Harding: I have stood in this Legislature and I have talked about contingency. I really dislike talking about contingency because it is talking in the past tense about the major industry in my community. I feel I have to do it because of what I have seen from the governments position regarding the mine at Faro. I have got to say that I am absolutely flabbergasted with the responses that I have gotten from the Members opposite and the government regarding the contingency plan in Faro.
It is extremely disturbing. What I get from the Members opposite is that I am going on and on about nothing, and that it is actually wonderful. Surely, the visual and the vocal representations that were made to the government by Faroites here, were very indicative - and the entire Opposition that went to Faro should be able to confirm that - of the feelings of the people in Faro about what is going on with contingency.
There cannot be a contingency plan to deal with the serious problems in that community without taking leadership and direction and looking at general, broad objectives. The government should then meet with people in the community to discuss aspects of how to implement some of those plans and objectives. In order to know what the government will do, and in order for the people to have some idea of what is within the realm of possibility, there has to be a budget.
I spoke with the economic development officer Tuesday night in Faro, and he has yet to receive a budget. The Minister, who is an honest man, promised the community on January 21 that he was working diligently on a contingency plan and it was pretty much ready to be put in place. How can he stand here and defend himself on the contingency plan, when, for every question I ask, I get no response regarding any real commitment. The Minister should really think about it. I know his community is being affected, too. Thankfully Watson Lake has tourism and is a more long-term community, which is helping it through these times. It is going to suffer, too.
Unfortunately, mine does not have that, so I would ask the Minister to tell me what kind of a commitment he will give me to really put the resources that the department has to work in the community. The people will come out, if it is organized, to talk about these things. However, they will only come out if they know it is worth something. They have to know there is a real commitment from the government and that they are prepared to do some things to take care of the people there. I believe that they have to take some ownership and responsibility for what has happened.
Will the Minister give me the commitment that he will sit down, determine a budget and some objectives and that his officials in the department will go to Faro to undertake to find out what the people from the community have for ideas - they have a lot - and put people to work, rather than keep them on social assistance? I think that is quality work.
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, there is money available through CDF, BDF and other programs. If the Member looks in the budget he can see what is there. It is not necessarily designated for Faro, but it is available to Faro under certain circumstances.
There have been several projects suggested to us. However, as the Member himself said, Watson Lake is a long-term community; Faro may not be. We also have to consider that type of situation. We do not want to spend major dollars and then find out that it is no longer needed.
Chair: Are the Members prepared for a brief recess at this time?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will take a brief break.
Chair: Is there is any further debate on Bill No. 4, Economic Development?
Mr. Penikett: I just want to pursue, in a quiet, non-combative way, the very serious matter that the Member for Faro is raising, which is about the contingency plan for Faro, and what any fair-minded person would have to concede is the total inadequacy of that plan in terms of looking at the employment needs, job prospects, project ideas and so forth that would bring some hope or life to that community.
I want to make this point to the Member. The Town of Faro - as is true of the Town of Watson Lake - does not have a department of economic development. They do not have anyone in their employ who can do this work, nor does local 1051 of the local union. Whatever resources that Curragh has are tied up elsewhere at the moment. The Chamber of Commerce does not have a department of economic development. All of these people would like to work on generating some activity or some program of work in the town.
The Minister has absolutely astonished us with his answers today, indicating that he is just going to passively wait for everybody else to act when we had always assumed that everybody understood that it was the job of the Department of Economic Development, and the job of the Minister specifically, to take a leadership role in this.
I want to ask the Minister if he would give an undertaking now to go at the first opportunity, with his deputy and with other senior officials of his department, and sit down at perhaps, initially, a day-long meeting with all the key players in Faro - the town, the chamber, the union, other people who may be interested and his own economic development officer - and hammer out a plan to get something going there by way of work and economic activity that can be implemented immediately up to the limit of whatever resources are available in his department and in other departments - because he has indicated there are resources available in other departments, although they have not been, in any sense, quantified in this House. Is he prepared to do that?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I will take that under advisement. There are some discussions in Cabinet tomorrow regarding Faro and I will discuss it at that time with my colleagues.
Mr. Penikett: I do not know why the Minister would want a Cabinet decision on this, but let me respect his wish to discuss it with his Cabinet colleagues.
Can I ask him this: does he see anything wrong, notionally or practically or in terms of his time commitments, with committing a day or two over a weekend for him and his senior officials in the department to sit down with the leadership of the community - not just the mayor, but the chamber and the union and the other people who are grappling with this problem - to try to knock together some proposals with the help of his expert officials?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I have been meeting with some of the leaders of the community, and I have other meetings scheduled. I also invite the MLA to come to my office and talk to me any time. He still has never been there; I invited him before.
Mr. Penikett: I fear that the Minister does not understand his own responsibilities, or his own duties as Minister in this respect. I asked him, in my previous question, whether he saw anything wrong with playing this role. Being a Minister is not sitting in an office waiting for people to come to see you. This case cries out for some initiative and somebody with some power or resources. The Minister is the only one in this House with that duty and that responsibility. It is not a paper exercise, but it involves sitting down with the people to knock together some plan to use whatever resources are available to get some people working, to get some economic activity, to get some projects going and some socially useful work. It is needed now. Does the Minister see anything wrong with that?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I appreciate the Members comments. As I said, I will take them under advisement and bring it up in Cabinet. The Leader of the Official Opposition pointed out several things here. When I had problems with the sawmill I went to see him, and I went to see the Minister of Economic Development. Maybe this goes both ways.
Mr. Penikett: I do not know how much time I want to spend on the problems of the sawmill. I seem to have devoted a large portion of my life to that already. It is an exactly analogous situation. I went to the Town of Watson Lake, I met with the Chamber of Commerce and the mayor during the time that I was Minister for Economic Development. They begged and pleaded with me to get the sawmill running. Of course, within a year all of the people who were begging me previously were abusing me for everything that we had done that we were asked to do, but that is another subject.
If the Minister is nervous about, or afraid of, going to Faro, would it help if I, who have been a Minister of Economic Development in the past, went along with him, the Member for Faro and the senior officials to meet with the townspeople and play a helpful role in using whatever resources are available to the government to help get people working? I am being sincere in making this offer, because I have spent a lot of time in Faro; I know some of the limitations on the governments expenditures, but I also appreciate and respect some of the ideas that the town people have about the potential of the community.
Hon. Mr. Devries: As I mentioned before, I will discuss this with my colleagues and take it under advisement.
Mr. Penikett: Would the Minister give an undertaking, if he is going to discuss it with his colleagues tomorrow, to come back to Committee on Monday with some kind of a preliminary response - not about details, but about his willingness to do what has been suggested: go to Faro, meet with the townspeople, take a leadership role and knock out a plan that has some concrete dimensions. The contingency plan is now an empty vessel, in terms of being able to do anything for the people of Faro.
Hon. Mr. Devries: As much as I disagree with the Members last comments, I feel that much of what he is suggesting is already being done. As I said, I will take it under advisement.
Mr. Penikett: The Minister has just said that much of what I suggested is already being done. Could he tell us who is doing it and when it was done. We do not see any evidence of it.
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, a committee has been formed that is very aware of some of the suggestions from the community. That committee is prepared to meet with any of the individuals in Faro at any time. It is a combination of YTG people and federal people. Next week, the IAS committee will be in full swing, and we will be able to discuss any suggestions that come forward with them. They will have a budget to work with and so on. We will be in a much better position next week to make decisions.
Mr. Penikett: I am trying to appeal to the Ministers good sense. We have asked what monies are available and have been given no information. We have been told about committee exercises. Committees, as a rule, unless they are given some resources, can only produce paper and recommendations.
Ultimately, a Minister, politicians and governments are going to be judged on the basis of results - products, jobs and economic activity. We do not have any results - I beg the Minister - nothing is happening that people can see, touch, taste or feel. No one has a job. No work is being done. The Minister can say that there are committees and so on, but there are no results. Perhaps this is because there is no budget or because there are no ministerial decisions - I do not know.
Why can the Minister not make a commitment to go there, get involved and make sure something happens? Why can he not tell us how much money might be available in his department? He mentioned CDF and BDF. We know those programs are there; they were developed by the former government. We know how much is in the CDF budget. I would assume, from some of the public statements we have had, that some of it is committed already. BDF is a business loan program, so I do not know how useful a tool it would be in this situation. It may be useful, but I do not know.
Are there any other tools that the Minister is prepared to use or develop, beyond those that are standard programs of the department?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I appreciate the Members comments. I will consider them and discuss them tomorrow with my colleagues.
Mr. Harding: I want to say a few more things regarding this. I do not know why the Minister does not think that the information I am giving is correct. That community is my home; I know the people there; I talk to them and I know what is going on there. It has nothing to do with politics. A lot of the stuff said in this House does.
I have talked to the economic development officer and he is in a real quandary because people are coming to him. I talked to one person - who is a good friend of mine - who went to see the economic development officer about a project and he told me, in a restaurant last weekend when I was home, that he could put together a project that would provide meaningful work for at least 200 people - if he knew that was within the realm of possibilities.
What he told me was that he did not know what kind of plan to propose because he did not know what the available resources were. He has great ideas; he has ideas to build sheep-viewing stations to increase tourism, to provide enriched habitat for the sheep by clearing the deadfalls as a result of the old burn, which would produce firewood. There is a campground on the highway that was abandoned and a new one was put in the community, which was never used - he could come up with plans to revamp that whole place and make a much nicer area out of it. He could put a lot of people to work with that, but he does not know what resources or what kind of proposal would be acceptable.
I spoke with the economic development officer about it - who, incidentally, is not a supporter of mine - and he said to me that he does not know; as all he has is old CDF money. He does not have a budget. He does not have the kind of budget that is going to help.
These are community projects, but the people who would more than likely be on them are people who are already on UI or social assistance. At least it would create some self-esteem and activity for people in the community who are sitting around - some of them for six months now as some of them were laid off on December 18, and there was a 21-day shutdown before that. All winter, there has been no fishing, no hunting, no recreation, sitting in a bar crying the blues as they watch what has unfolded here. I know a lot of them would like nothing better than to get out and cut firewood, clear sheep trails, build platforms or work on a construction project for the community.
There are other ideas, too. That is not just where it stops. But there has to be some major leadership so that the people of the community know the scope of their ideas that will even be considered. Right now, we do not have that because he is working with finite resources and finite policies. Until the Minister gives his department some idea about what they can deliver on, the people of Faro will never know what to even ask for, so it will go round and round and nothing will ever happen; that is the problem.
He mentioned the IAS committee and I think it is a great thing. It is a federal program but at least the Department of Education is working with it. The one concrete thing is the heavy duty mechanics course, which I worked with the committee to put together. But they have been told that their funding is also delayed and they do not know what kind of budget they are going to have to work with in all those areas. I have talked to five members on that committee - the chair, two of the labour representatives, one of the representatives who worked on staff for the mine and the business representative of the Faro Chamber of Commerce. They are very confused because they do not know what resources they have so they do not know where to go.
The committee is a good idea, but they have also been told, by the way, that all they can put forth is recommendations. Somewhere in that equation has to be directives from the Minister and the government as to what resources can be talked about here. We may argue about the amount, and at present we are, but the government has to make some serious commitment to it. I will go to Faro with the Minister and sit down and meet with anyone in the community to talk about some of these projects and the scope of them.
If the Minister wants to take that back to Cabinet to get approval for some funding, that is great, but I do not know what is left in the CDF for the community and neither does the community. I do not know if these are the types of projects that would work under the BDF, so those are not really adequate resource areas to use to try to get to work on some of those things.
This is the situation in the community. It is very real and very true. Those are some of the problems that are happening with the committee. Everybody seems to be spinning around. There are a lot of good people involved but there is no real idea of the resources they have to work with. Therefore, it is kind of spinning its wheels. Things are getting in place, but without the resources they can only sit around and talk about all the good things. It would be nice, for example, if my friend could go to the economic development officer and say, listen, I have a proposal to put 200 people to work; do you have the resources? Well, I think, yeah, I do, if you can come up with the plan. I have been told that I have that kind of authority to work on that project.
Right now, that is not what is happening. It is going round and round. It is very, very discouraging.
I also have a philosophical outlook on this that differs from the Minister. One talks about Elsa and the fact that one does not want to see another situation like what happened at Elsa. I do speak in defence of what went on at Elsa, in terms of investment in that community. It was a different situation in one way, because it was a company community, whereas Faro used to be and is now in the control of the government as a municipality - it is funded under block funding and is somewhat different.
When the government decided to make an investment in Elsa, it was under construction when the mine shut down. The point is that those people paid taxes for years and years as Yukoners. Therefore, should they not be entitled to some of the benefits? I believe that they should be. If the government takes the philosophy all the time that we better not do anything in that community because at some point it may shut down, is that fair to the taxpayers of that community? Sure there is risk, but they are entitled to some of it because they paid their taxes. They are Yukoners, whether you are talking about Faro, or Elsa, or any other mining community. I just wanted to make those points to the Minister.
He has committed to the Leader of the Official Opposition that he would take that to Cabinet. I am extremely sincere in what I have just told him about the situation in Faro. I know it to be true. I hope that he hears what I am saying. I believe that the Minister thinks that things are working well. I am trying to tell him that they are not. I think it is going to take more of a directive from him to make things move. I am asking him to take that to Cabinet as he wanted, and then I will meet with him next week and we can talk about it, or we can talk about it in here, or wherever he would like.
Hon. Mr. Devries: The Member has basically talked about a lot of the very things that we are doing with these projects, such as the sheep-viewing area and some trails, et cetera. I have been aware of them. I have not been given a cost. These are all things that are being considered. My understanding at the present time is that the spring thaw still has to occur before some of those can take place.
Some of those items are being considered and we are trying to establish a budget for them.
Mr. Harding: Let me make one more point. The Minister said that he is not aware of what the funding will be. I think a more pro-active way to approach this would be to take a look at the collective scope of issues that have been put forward and give some kind of directive to the department, which has the resources, to put things together with the people of Faro. This will give the people of Faro some idea of what they have to work with.
As I have said, my friend who is trying to put together that sheep viewing and habitat clearing, does not really know the scope of what he has to work with, nor does the economic development officer, with whom I have also spoken. That is what I have been told. If they had more of an idea of what is going on, a better, concrete idea could be formed that would be more productive.
Yesterday we discussed government involvement in the Grum stripping as an infrastructure investment. I will not get into the debate about whether or not it is infrastructure because I really do not know at this point what the governments definition of infrastructure is.
This project is one of the few projects that has the potential of delivering jobs to Yukoners in the near future. If the government takes the direction that the project is a priority because of that fact, we could possibly decrease the unemployment rate in a real hurry.
In terms of that infrastructure - or whatever the government wants to call it, I do not want to have that debate right now - does the government not believe that even if Curragh was not around that it would be a good asset for the territory to have the Grum exposed, and that it would probably yield a larger payback than road development now on the Robert Campbell Highway or the Top of the World Highway.
Hon. Mr. Devries: The only problem we have is that we cannot go ahead and strip the Grum without the permission of the courts and the bank. The bank has to be willing to let us do it. The other problem we have is that there are many lien holders, through the Miners Lien Act, that have a first charge on the Grum now. All of this has to be dealt with by the court. Our hands are tied until that matter is resolved. The court is aware that we have the $5 million available. Something may develop, but I cannot say at this point.
Mr. Harding: Has the government investigated the potential of taking it on as a government project? I understand the concerns about the lien holders, banks and courts; however, has the government made any requests to do it on that basis, or is this option not under consideration by the government?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, Curragh and the Bank of Nova Scotia were made aware of it. At this point, they have refused. Again, part of the problem are the lien holders, the first charge and the floating charge that the Bank of Nova Scotia has on the Grum deposit.
Mr. Harding: I just want to make sure I have this correctly; the government proposed that they would take on the Grum stripping outright, not in the form of a loan, but as an infrastructure investment? Was that the request made?
Hon. Mr. Devries: No, we indicated that we would need some form of security and that we did not want to be enriching the pockets of the Bank of Nova Scotia or whatever. We wanted to ensure that the investment we made stayed with Yukoners for the long term.
Mr. Harding: The problem is that the banks have a different agenda from the Yukon government. The banks want to realize whatever they can realize, as a creditor, on the dollar, and if that includes selling off any infrastructure that is in place, they will do it. Once that is done, it becomes so much more difficult to get a mine reopened. The Yukon government has a major interest that the bank does not have in seeing everything stay there. Has the government considered looking at the Grum stripping as an isolated investment, working things out with the bank so that they can gain some protection? On the bank point, although I recognize it and I have said so before, if we can get the Grum stripping done - even if the banks assets are that much more enhanced - the Yukon has the opportunity, because more investors will be looking at the mine to create more economic activity because the cost of getting to the ore, which will spur that economic activity, will be reduced.
Hon. Mr. Devries: The Member puts something interesting forward, but under that premise we have no assurances whatsoever that, if we went ahead and did some of the stripping, an investor is going to come along and get the mine up and going. We have to try and tie the two together if we possibly can.
Mr. Harding: Does that not go against the philosophy that I have heard espoused by the Yukon Party - their belief in the roads to resources. Let us talk about the Dempster Highway; the Members opposite have said that Diefenbaker was laughed at - the road from igloo to igloo.
I look at this in the same context, but I think it is more tangible and concrete because the Yukon will benefit from the exposed asset, whether or not another mining company comes in or not - at least it is prepared. I believe that no, there is no guarantee, but there would certainly be some economic spinoffs right away in the Grum stripping activity - you would get the benefit in the economy.
I realize that, under our federal financing provisions, we do not have the pressure on us, because the government full well knows that, if our revenue decreases on the taxation side, we have a Formula Financing Agreement that will pick up the government coffers, but it certainly will not pick up the state of the people in the Yukon, as far as unemployment goes. That is a big problem - the government will be okay.
I believe that if the Grum ore body is exposed, there is certainly a more tangible and greater opportunity for delivering jobs than some of the road development we have planned.
Hon. Mr. Devries: The Member has to realize that Curragh still owns Grum. Curragh has not agreed to anything whereby we could put the $5 million up and start stripping the Grum.
Through the Miners Lien Act various people have a first charge against the Grum deposit. The Bank of Nova Scotia has a floating charge against the deposit.
At this point - and we have checked into it - there is nothing that we can do without the other three parties all being in agreement.
Mr. Harding: I agree, and that is why I have asked that there be a meeting of all parties to talk about solutions, but I have not received much of a positive response from the Members opposite.
The Miners Lien Act and the liens filed are a problem, but I believe that Curragh would allow the Yukon government to do some work to expose that asset, put people to work, stimulate activity on the mine site and take a risk; I cannot see Curragh or any other investor having a problem with that.
Even if the bank has first right, would you not say that irrespective of whether the mine was sold to another investor the government will realize an economic return?
Hon. Mr. Devries: We have no assurances that if another investor should pick up the mine that the mine will reopen. If a major mining company buys the mine they may sit on the mine for 10 to 12 years, so what would we gain?
In that scenario, with no assurance that the mine is going to reopen, we are much better off spending money on the Campbell Highway or somewhere we know there are long-term, immediate benefits for the Yukon.
Mr. Harding: There has been some work on that. Perhaps the Minister could provide to this House what specific tangible benefits the proposed investment on the Robert Campbell and the Top of the World highways will concretely provide? I have to beg to differ on that.
I guess if you take the worst case scenario, and zinc prices went to 20 cents and the mine never opened again, you could possibly make the case that some of your money went by the wayside. Some of it will come back regardless, because the money that you invest will be turned back into the economy as a result of wages and procurements of suppliers and that type of thing here in the Yukon. In even the worst case scenario, not all of your money is going to disappear. Could the Minister table some work done by the department regarding the potential/estimated/realized benefits of the infrastructure investment in the Robert Campbell and the Top of the World highways?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I will take that under advisement. Something like that is fairly complex. It is a review that would have to be done. I will not be able to get back to the Member quickly, but we will see what we can do. I will take it under advisement.
Mr. Harding: I realize this is complex. If it has not been done, that is fine. I am glad the Minister is willing to take it under advisement; however, I would just like to say to him that, in weighing out a government decision of this magnitude for the territory, I would have liked to have seen those infrastructure investments based on an analysis of that nature. In a worst case scenario of no one coming in and opening it up for 12 years, there is a potential that some of the money put into it by the government would not be returned.
I am not sure that is not worth some risk, based on what is expected of metal prices, based on past history and on the fact that the net return or benefit as a result of infrastructure investment in the Top of the World and Robert Campbell highways is hard to determine at best, as the Minister said. I do not think that, in terms of real return - jobs and economy-stimulating activity - the two are comparable.
I understand the Ministers point that simply because the Grum is stripped, it does not mean that the ore trucks are going to run right away.
Yesterday, the point was made that Vangorda could be mined right now. I believe that there is a conscious decision not to mine the Vangorda right now, because if it is mined out, there would be nothing to mine when the Grum stripping is being undertaken; there will be nothing to mill until the ore is exposed and there would be an ore gap. Also, when the first pockets are reached in the Grum, it would be good to have other ore - and I know this from experience from where I worked in the mine - as there has to be blending capabilities. The Vangorda must be blended with the Grum until the flotations circle is learned. I do not believe that the Vangorda ore could be milled right now. It is not that simple to say that if the company wanted to, it could be milled right now. That would be a very bad decision, because they would be running out of blending capability and into an ore gap.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I do not really want to get into an argument about that, but my understanding is that the Grum requires a different process and maybe some major changes have to be made to the flotation system. If the Vangorda was mined out and the mill had to be shut down to make those changes, it would be to the advantage of the company to finish the Vangorda ore now and make those changes prior to the Grum coming on stream. There will be an ore gap anyway, with the time frame we are in now, the way I understand it.
Mr. Harding: That is a problem. We have some very confusing information. That is where I worked for six years and I know what is proposed for changes; it does not entail an entire shutdown to adjust to it. That is why the blending with the Vangorda ore is so important. They already know how to mill the Vangorda ore but they do not know how to mill the Grum ore, specifically. There have been samples and whatnot but they do not know how to do it specifically yet. If there is the option to blend, then they can learn how to mill the Grum ore, which is not that much different, and come up with a decent product. If the Vangorda ore is milled now and we run out of that ore, there will be an ore gap while the Grum ore is being exposed and then that is all there will be to mill until the process is learned. I understand they need some regrinding circuits but they can be put in while the mill is on line, so that is not so big a problem as perhaps the Minister thinks.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I do not think we want to get into that in the House here. We can discuss that over a cup of coffee some time. I would like to get on with the supplementaries if we could.
Mr. Harding: I am trying to get on with the supplementaries because we are talking about the last fiscal year, we are talking about economic development, we are in general debate; we are talking about projects identified as infrastructure investment and the 21st century document. We have spoken about one of those projects and whether or not it is feasible. I think that makes it relevant. To me, when the number of stumbling blocks that have been put forward by the government in terms of looking at the feasibility of the ore deposit at Grum, it concerns me.
That is why I wish to point them out in examining the feasibility of the proposal that the government made in the Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document. I believe that it is very easy to throw stumbling blocks in the way of any mine. By virtue of the very nature of the business, the word feasibility is basically a crap shoot, because it is simply tied to price fluctuation forecasts. The Minister knows, and he has told me before, and he knows that I know, that these are anybodys guesses by most peoples view of it. Even the experts do not know. You can never determine the feasibility solely on this. There are no guarantees. One expert may predict one thing. One expert may predict another. The point is that any one who wants to find a way to declare an ore body not feasible can do it, simply by taking one, or several of the many speculative price forecasts and basing their decision on that. Would the Minister agree with that?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, I would agree with that. I thought that I had made that very clear yesterday when I said that with present ore prices Grum is not feasible. It is my understanding that if it was somewhere in the 55- to 60-cent range, Grum could become feasible.
Mr. Harding: Is the Minister aware that there is some dispute about those projections. I am assuming that is taken from the Micon study, which we have asked for under production of papers. There is some dispute within the industry as to whether or not that is an accurate feasibility projection for Grum.
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, it also depends on the debt load of the company. With the companys present debt load, my understanding is that the amount is in the neighbourhood of the 55- to 65-cent range. Naturally, if they restructure their debt and get further investments, their debt load is actually going to increase, although they may have a longer time to pay it off; they are still going to need prices in that range to make the company profitable. That is what I was referring to yesterday.
Mr. Harding: The 55- to 60-cent range would not be specific to the Grum ore body. The Minister is talking about the Grum ore body, plus the cost of servicing the existing debt of Curragh as a company, rather than looking at the Grum ore body and the cost per pound to mill and produce that product?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I do not know if this is where we want to get into the technicalities of the way Curragh operates, but there is the Grum ore deposit and the smelter charges, and it all depends upon how much money you are going to make in the end.
If you are not making a profit in the end, even though the company might start up three or four months from now, but if the price did not go up, we would probably see them in the same situation a year from now. Again, that is a gamble. There is no easy answer to that type of question.
Mr. Harding: In the document, Toward Self-Sufficiency in the 21st Century, 30 or 31 projects are identified. Is there any other potential project in that document, which is any closer at this point to having the potential to produce the kinds of jobs that the Grum would?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The owners of the Williams Creek property suspect that by this fall, they will be able to announce their plans.
We have almost 200 people drilling in the Casino area, and they also hope to be able to give us a better assessment of their plans by this fall. That project is as big, if not bigger, than Curragh.
Mr. Harding: With all due respect to the Minister, I do not, for one minute, want to criticize his attempts to create a more diverse mining economy in this territory, but I am reading from the Yukon Economic Forecast - Winter of 1993 and the projections by the governments own hand, which I believe are optimistic, say that we can look at production there by 1998 - that is if everything stays good. I suggest that that is as big a crap shoot as the Grum ore body, by anyones calculations.
Is there any other project among those 31 projects that will be close, in the next few years, to producing the kind of jobs that the Grum potentially could?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I will have to get back to the Member. The Commissioner is here.
I would move that the Chair report progress on Bill No. 4.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Abel: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 4 and directed me to report progress on it.
Speaker: You have heard the report of the Chair of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
I would like to inform the House that we are now prepared to receive the Commissioner, in his capacity as Lieutenant Governor, to give assent to certain bills that have passed this House.
Commissioner enters the Chamber announced by the Sergeant-at-Arms
ASSENT TO BILLS
Commissioner: Please be seated.
Speaker: The Assembly has, at its present session, passed certain bills to which, in the name and on behalf of the Assembly, I respectfully request your assent.
Clerk: An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act (No. 2), 1992; Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1993-94 (No. 2).
Commissioner: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker and Mr. Clerk. I hereby assent to the bills as enumerated by the Clerk.
Commissioner leaves the Chamber
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Monday next.
The House adjourned at 5:20 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled April 29, 1993:
Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of the Yukon on the 1992 General Election (Speaker)
Yukon Economic Forecast, Winter 1993 (prepared by Department of Economic Development, January 19, 1993) (Devries)
Government Contracts 1992-93 by Department (Devries)
Government Contracts 1992-93 by type (Devries)
The following Legislative Returns were tabled April 29, 1993:
Essential outside travel: guidelines, approval (Ostashek)
Oral, Hansard, p. 681
Comparison of women to men in management positions in Yukon government between March 18, 1992 and March 31, 1993 (Ostashek)
Oral, Hansard, p. 302
List of contracts issued by the Department of Community and Transportation Services between November 1, 1992 and March 30, 1993 (Fisher)
Oral, Hansard, p. 563
Golden Horn Area Development Regulations: may be necessary to amend them
Written Question No. 15 dated April 15, 1993 by Ms. Moorcroft
Yukon Government involvement in controlling subdivision development within the City of Whitehorse (Fisher)
Discussion, Hansard, p. 632 and 635
Yukon Economic Forecast - Winter 1993, dated January 19, 1993 (Devries)
Oral, Hansard, p. 471
Annual Report of the governments contracting activities for the 1992-93 fiscal year, titled: Government Contracts 1992-93 by Department and Government Contracts 1992-93 by type (Devries)
Oral, Hansard, p. 420