Monday, May 3, 1993 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will begin with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I have the Government of the Yukon Annual Report, 1991-92.
I also have some legislative returns.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I have a legislative return for tabling.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I have a legislative return for tabling.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have a news release agreement to move the buffalo away from the Alaska Highway.
Speaker: Are there any further Returns or Documents for tabling?
Are there any Reports of Committees?
Introduction of Bills.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 24: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I move the Bill No. 24, entitled An Act to Amend the Municipal Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Community and Transportation Services that Bill No. 24, entitled An Act to Amend the Municipal Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 24 agreed to
Bill No. 92: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I move that Bill No. 92, entitled An Act to Amend the Assessment and Taxation Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Community and Transportation Services that Bill No. 92, entitled An Act to Amend the Assessment and Taxation Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 92 agreed to
Speaker: Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Notices of Motion.
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Land claims, land selection within Whitehorse
Ms. Joe: My question is for the Minister responsible for land claims.
The Minister is aware that there is a great deal of discontent among the Kwanlin Dun First Nation with regard to land selection and development. The Government Leader has stated that their land selection is not balanced; therefore, he chooses not to negotiate. My question - and Kwanlin Dun is waiting for an answer so that they can get on with negotiations - is how does the Government Leader determine what is or is not balanced land selection?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Chapter 9 of the umbrella final agreement deals with what is considered to be a balanced land selection.
Ms. Joe: I wonder if the Minister would table that section in this House so that all First Nations will know what his definition is of a balanced land selection?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I have no problem doing that and I will do that tomorrow.
Ms. Joe: During the last two decades we have heard some horror stories of how the land was taken away from the Kwanlin Dun First Nation, and it appears from the First Nations point of view, under this government, that history is repeating itself.
Can the Government Leader tell this House when he intends to start negotiating with the Kwanlin Dun First Nation in a manner that is finally fair to them?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: My negotiators are continuing to meet with the Kwanlin Dun First Nation and they are trying to resolve the problem. The negotiators will continue to meet with them and I hope that we can work something out so that we can get on with the process of land selections in the Whitehorse area.
Question re: Land claims, land selection within Whitehorse
Mr. McDonald: The Kwanlin Dun First Nation members have faced a history of being shunted around to places where non-native persons did not want to live. Consequently, they have expressed the serious concern that what is transpiring at this time may be history repeating itself.
The Kwanlin Dun First Nation wanted a chance to explain to the Government Leader and to Members of the Legislative Assembly in the Yukon Party; they invited the Yukon Party, by facsimile, on April 22, to a meeting to be held on April 30. Would the Government Leader indicate why members of the Yukon Party did not attend to listen to Kwanlin Dun, Council for Yukon Indians and other First Nations who were present at the meeting?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: By the time I had been notified of the meeting, I had other engagements that I could not break; and when the request came a few days later for any Cabinet Minister to attend, I indicated to Kwanlin Dun that I was prepared to send our chief land claims negotiator but they responded that that was not acceptable. I am prepared to meet with Kwanlin Dun at any point to discuss this issue further.
Mr. McDonald: That demonstrates some very serious problems with communications in the Ministers office, given that the Minister had notice eight days in advance. Is the Minister saying that there was no MLA available for such a meeting on last Friday afternoon?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I am not sure whether or not an MLA was available; to my knowledge, there was not.
Mr. McDonald: Quite frankly, this is a terrible situation, given the importance of the subject matter and the desire of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation to simply indicate in person what their concerns were.
I would like to ask the Government Leader, based on answers to questions he gave to the Member for Whitehorse Centre, if he can tell us when negotiations are scheduled to take place to discuss land selections that have been put forward by the Kwanlin Dun First Nation.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: My understanding is that there are ongoing negotiations dealing with the process. They are trying to get it resolved so that they can continue with land selections in the Whitehorse area.
Question re: Land claims, land selection within Whitehorse
Mr. Cable: I have some further questions on the Kwanlin Dun land claim negotiations. I understand that there was a mandate given to the land claim negotiators by the previous administration. Would the Government Leader indicate whether that mandate has been changed?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: No, it has not been changed.
Mr. Cable: One of the questions that was put to me at this meeting up at Kwanlin Dun on Friday was whether I was supportive of a First Nations land subdivision development, presumably as sales to private purchasers. What is the governments position on that question - that is, the Kwanlin Dun First Nation taking their lands, if I understand their position correctly, and subdividing and using the land sales for economic development.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: After the lands have been selected and finalized in the property of Kwanlin Dun, I believe that it will be up to them to do what they see fit with the land.
Mr. Cable: Another question that was put to me, and it is one of the most material questions, was in regard to the proposed land freeze for a period of three or four months. Would the Government Leader indicate what, if any, ramifications that land freeze would have on subdivision development?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I believe that question has already been addressed by the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. We have tried to refrain from large block transfers, in hopes of getting the land selection completed with Kwanlin Dun. We know that it is going to be difficult, probably more difficult here than in any other jurisdiction or municipality in the Yukon. By the same token, we cannot have a land freeze on forever. What we are trying to do now is to finalize the process, get some time lines set down, and to work within those time lines.
Question re: Land claims, land selection within Whitehorse
Mr. McDonald: I would like to address those time lines for a moment, particularly the commitments by the government to deal with land use conflicts that may arise as a result of land selections being made by the Kwanlin Dun First Nation.
The Kwanlin Dun First Nation has made it very, very clear that they are not looking for a land freeze, but that they are looking for a slowing down of land development projects in the City of Whitehorse.
Is the government prepared to commit itself to slow down those projects so that negotiations can take place to resolve those conflicts?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I believe that we have already made that commitment. The only development that I know of within the City of Whitehorse is development that has been underway for three or four years.
Mr. McDonald: I would like to ask the Minister this question: given the fact that the Department of Community and Transportation Services has indicated that it is proceeding with land development in the City of Whitehorse, and that it is prepared to tender the construction of that land development, could the Minister indicate whether or not they are prepared to slow down that land development in order to give time to the land negotiators to resolve the conflicts that have been communicated to the government?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The Department of Community and Transportation Services, as the Member opposite is well aware, planned for a great number of lots in the Hillcrest/Granger subdivisions. It may not be necessary to continue development of all of the lots that were initially planned; we are reviewing that right now.
Mr. McDonald: I appreciate the fact that the Minister has indicated that a market analysis may not justify record spending in land development at this time.
I am asking the question from a different direction: is the government prepared to slow land development projects so that they do not run a confrontation course with the Kwanlin Dun Band during its land selection process?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: As I said earlier, the negotiators are meeting with Kwanlin Dun to try and get the process moving. They are consulting with Kwanlin Dun to try and get time lines. If we can get some time lines set so that we will not be negotiating land selections forever, we will do whatever is necessary to speed up that procedure.
Question re: Curragh Inc., financial assistance
Mr. Harding: I have a question for the Government Leader. Today, the court granted a 30-day extension of creditor protection for Curragh Inc. This opens a window of hope. Will the Government Leader now seize the day and invite all players to a mine summit in Whitehorse to discuss and negotiate what each could contribute to the reopening of the mines, or at least the stripping of the Grum ore body?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The Member is correct. The courts have awarded Curragh another 30 days to see if they can restructure their debt and come out of it as a viable corporation. We will do whatever is within our power to assist in that procedure.
Mr. Harding: In the Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document, touted as the governments vision, the Grum ore body is identified as an infrastructure investment. Could the Government Leader tell the House if there was any other project in that document that has the potential to create economic activity of a comparable scale to the Grum ore body for the Yukon in the next three years?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Surely, the Member opposite knows that the stripping of the Grum ore body could conceivably put people back to work, but there is no assurance that they will go back to work just because we strip the Grum ore body. Further, we do not own that ore body.
Mr. Harding: I feel much more confident that the Grum ore body would put people back to work before the railroad to Carmacks.
I would like to ask the Government Leader what their next move is regarding the negotiations and what their position is on the outstanding $5 million loan to YTG?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: That sounds like a shotgun question to me, from all over the map. We are prepared to sit down and negotiate with Curragh whenever they are ready.
Question re: Faro contingency plan
Mr. Harding: Because it seems the government is not prepared to do anything on this matter I will have to move to another line of questioning regarding the contingency plan for Faro
I have a question for the Minister of Economic Development. On Thursday of last week the Minister said that he would be discussing the Faro contingency planning in Cabinet on Friday. Could the Minister say what Cabinet has decided regarding their commitment to the contingency plan?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, there was a Cabinet discussion and we are prepared to review any proposals that came from Faro.
Mr. Harding: I was hoping for something much more concrete. I do not know if the Minister was aware of it, but the Industrial Adjustment Services committee in Faro still has no commitment for a budget from the federal government, and there are severe problems with the rest of the contingency plan regarding YTGs commitment. Will the Minister travel to Faro - if he likes, with me - to meet with community groups and organizations to determine the needs and objectives that the community has and come up with a workable contingency plan for the community?
Hon. Mr. Devries: At this point, I have not made any definite plans to travel to Faro, although it is under consideration.
As for the IAS problems, I have today sent a fax to Bernard Valcourt concerning some of these problems and hope to have them resolved in the next couple of days.
Mr. Harding: The first thing on the Cabinet meeting agenda regarding the contingency plan was - I had hoped - a budget. Again I will ask - for about the fifteenth time - what is the budget for the Faro contingency plan regarding career counselling, retraining, capital works community projects, relocation and social assistance?
Hon. Mr. Devries: As I have already indicated, there is no firm budget because everything in all those areas seems to change from day to day and it is very difficult to put a firm budget in place. If, for instance, the Grum stripping goes ahead, that will change things. It is very difficult to put a firm figure to it.
Question re: Yukon Energy Corporation, rate of return
Mr. Penikett: I have a policy question for the Government Leader in his capacity of Chair of Cabinet and Leader of the Yukon Party. My question concerns the rates of return sought by the Yukon Energy Corporation from the Public Utilities Board. Since the rate of returns sought for the Energy Corporation can be established by order-in-council, can the Government Leader advise the House what rate of return his Cabinet has instructed the corporation to seek?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The policy has not changed since the Leader of the Official Opposition was in power. The rate of return remains a return that is going to be set slightly less than the YECL.
Mr. Penikett: I am gratified to see that the policies that were in operation when we were in government are being continued. Since, when the Minister of Justice was in Opposition, he argued a radically different policy - namely, that the Yukon Energy Corporation should not make a profit, unless it was contemplating new investments - is the policy of the previous government, which he has now adopted, under review or likely to change in the near future?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The Member is completely misinterpreting the position we took when we were on the side opposite. That position was that any profits made by the Yukon Energy Corporation should not be used for investment in such ludicrous enterprises as the Watson Lake sawmill, thereby jeopardizing power rates for the ratepayers of the Yukon and wasting the profits of the organization.
Mr. Penikett: I direct this question to the leader of the coalition. We have the Member on record as arguing that the rates were too high under the Yukon Energy Corporation and that they should be lowered. That was his position when he was over here.
Given that the rate of return now being sought by the Yukon Energy Corporation may have an additional dampening effect on our economy - in view of the increases in other areas, namely municipal taxes, territorial taxes, telephone rates, and so forth - will he be reviewing the rate of return or will the Cabinet be reviewing the rate of return with a view to providing some relief to power consumers here?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The issue of the rate of return is one thing, and the issue of providing relief is quite another. Changing the proposed rate of return is one mechanism that could be put into play, I presume. The Cabinet will be reviewing the situation, which is changing, it seems, week to week because of what is happening with Curragh and making a decision based on recommendations that I, as Minister, am able to take forward to them, once we have a complete understanding of where the Yukon is going with respect to that mine.
Question re: Economic forecast
Mr. Penikett: Given that the Minister responsible is not advancing the position he took when he was in Opposition, can I ask the Government Leader a question about where Yukon is going. Last week, the Government Leader advised the House that increases such as those in electrical rates, municipal taxes, territorial taxes and the effects of the shutdown at Faro had been, analyzed and considered by his government. Apart from the economic forecast for winter 1993, which he tabled in this House, that talks about Yukon experiencing serious recessionary conditions for the first time in several years but publishes his economic indicators that predict increases in population, workforce and employment plus decreases in mineral production and retail trade as well as a zero growth rate in the gross domestic product, could I ask the Government Leader what current analysis the Government Leader is able to present to the House to reassure people that the consequences of more recent events such as tax, electrical rate increases, the territorial budget and rising unemployment are being considered as factors in government decision making?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: That is quite a speech for Question Period. I will see what I can get back for the Member opposite but I want to say right now, for the record, we brought forth a budget that is going to create over 700 jobs in the Yukon.
Mr. Penikett: The Yukon economy appears to have lost well over 1,000 jobs since the government opposite took power. I was asking about the analysis the Government Leader said he had done, and I would like to ask the Government Leader now if he can tell us whether any computer modelling of the Yukons economy has been attempted by his government since he came into office, to assist in the development of accurate forecasts for the territorys economic future? Those forecasts are not contained in the document he tabled last week.
Hon. Mr. Devries: As was clearly indicated in the document that was tabled last week, they did not really consider the fact that Curragh was going down because at that time there was no indication of where Curragh Inc. stood. At that time, the shutdowns were temporary and Curragh had stated its intention to reopen. From the court decision today, we can see that Curragh is still very much in the picture.
Mr. Penikett: I am forced to wonder if the Minister has actually read the document, which, in its words, talks with great alarm about what happens if Curragh goes down; but all the charts project flat-line predictions about what is going to happen to employment and everything else.
Let me ask the Minister this question: in years past, the statistics branch of the Executive Council Office worked with a computer model on the Yukons economy, which was developed by Professor Reaume of Alaska. Can the Minister of Economic Development, or the Government Leader, tell this House whether or not this tool was employed by this government in developing its budget or forecasting the effects of a Curragh shutdown and the tax increases they have introduced.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I know the economist in Economic Development showed me a paper, but I am not sure whether it was developed using the process that the Leader of the Official Opposition is talking about.
Question re: Economic forecast
Mr. Penikett: The Minister of Economic Development says the economist in the Department of Economic Development showed him a paper. Could he tell the House what this paper was?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It is an internal Cabinet document. It shows various figures of revenues, anticipated lost revenues, et cetera. and also some of the economic indicators such as employment, loss of employment, et cetera. Most of the indications are that, at this point, we do not anticipate that there is going to be a great loss of population.
Mr. Penikett: Could the Minister of Economic Development tell us if this Cabinet document, which projects impacts on employment, taxation, revenues, population, and so forth, is the same document that the Government Leader indicated that he might be prepared to table in the House?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I am not certain of that, but I can get back to the Member on it.
Mr. Penikett: Since the Minister of Economic Development has not told us whether this document is a product of Professor Reaumes computer model, and he has not indicated whether it is indeed even at all a product of any expert analysis, can he tell this House if his budgets or his plans for negotiations with Curragh have been driven by the analysis provided in this secret paper that he has referred to?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I will have to get back to the Member on that.
Question re: Financial year-end printouts
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister for Finance. The government is on very shaky ground regarding the credibility of the supplementary budget that has been tabled in this House. Members of the Opposition have been requesting the year-end financial statements, which the Government Leader indicated would be ready after April 20.
I have asked the Minister to table this information in the House and he said that he would take it under advisement. I would like to ask the Minister this: could he tell us whether he has sought permission from the appropriate officials yet, and are they going to allow him to table this information in the House and make it public?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I thank the Member opposite for her question. The figures that we have at this time are very preliminary. There are a lot of figures to be put into the equation yet. If we were to table those figures now, they would be very misleading. I would not want to mislead this House. It is the Member opposite who says that the supplementaries are on shaky ground. I will stand by our $58 million deficit projection.
Mrs. Firth: May I remind the Minister of Finance that his supplementaries look like preliminary figures and his supplementaries can also be perceived to be somewhat misleading.
I would again like to ask the Minister: will he provide the information to Members of this Assembly and the public so that we can make a comparison and do an accurate, thorough investigation of this governments supplementary budget?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: There is not a corporation in the world that can put out final figures within a month of the companys year-end.
Most companies have a year-end of December 31, and it is usually the end of March before they can produce any kind of a balance sheet. As soon as we have accurate figures to table in this Legislature, we will certainly do so.
Mrs. Firth: Will the Minister make a more definitive commitment to provide the information? He has indicated that he does not want the figures to be misleading; could he tell us what he is going to do so that the figures are not misleading and when he will be tabling the information in the Legislature?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I will be tabling the information in this House when all of the figures have been tabulated and when I have an accurate accounting.
You only have to look at our bank account, which is $17 million overdrawn, to see the financial health of this government.
Question re: Yukon Energy Corporation, power rates
Mr. Cable: The Friday issue of the Yukon News carried a report on the projected rate increases for the balance of this year. I think the figure that was quoted was a projected increase of 40 percent if Curragh remained inoperable.
Could the Minister responsible for the Yukon Energy Corporation advise the House whether or not this assessment of an increase of 40 percent to make up for the effect of the Curragh shutdown is accurate?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: There is one variable that makes any definitive figures hypothetical, and that is the issue of how much money that is owed to the Yukon Energy Corporation by Curragh can and will be collected. As the Member is aware, that is a fairly large figure.
Aside from that issue, the projections that we have been given are in the range of a 15 percent to 20 percent one-time additional cost, should Curragh remain shut down.
Mr. Cable: It is my recollection and understanding that there is some protection against rate increases in the agreement that was signed between the federal government and the territorial government with respect to the turnover of the Northern Canada Power Commission assets; is this the Ministers understanding?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Our view, at this point in time, is that we are looking at a potential increase that is not nearly as alarming as the one that was quoted by the Member earlier.
Once we have a true picture of where we stand, particularly with the debt issue and whether or not Curragh will be restructured and will be opening again, we will be looking at the various scenarios open to us.
I would be very much surprised if we have to go back to the original agreements and try and find some relief in that.
Mr. Cable: It is my understanding that the agreements set up both include principal payment deferral and, in some circumstances, principal payment relief. Is the Minister prepared to table that portion of the agreement that relates to the relief that was worked out for the Curragh shutdown?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I believe it was a public document; however, I will go back and check on that.
Question re: Land claims, director position vacancy
Ms. Joe: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. Can the Minister confirm that the position of director of departmental land claims in his department is currently vacant and that there has been no advertising to fill this critical position?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The position is currently vacant. It was advertised as an internal competition.
Ms. Joe: Can the Minister confirm or deny that a former departmental colleague, and a committed member of the Yukon Party, has been asked by someone at the political level to submit a resume for this position?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I have no knowledge of that accusation whatsoever.
Ms. Joe: Can the Minister assure this House that recruitment for this position will be handled in an open and above-board manner to assure that there will be absolutely no political interference in the hiring for this public service position?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: Certainly, I can provide that assurance.
Question re: Whitehorse General Hospital, site preparation
Ms. Moorcroft: I have a question for the Minister of Health and Social Services, who has told us that the tendering documents for the hospital will be ready in November, but that site preparation work will begin this summer. Will the Minister confirm that site preparation will begin before prints or complete tendering documents are finished?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The intention is to proceed with some of the site preparation and other work prior to the final documents being completed.
Ms. Moorcroft: Since the Minister has stated that the tender documents will not be ready before November, can the Minister tell the House what site preparation work will be done this summer? Will work begin on digging holes and framing the building before winter is upon us and the ground freezes?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Depending on which question she wants answered, the answer to question number two is no.
Ms. Moorcroft: Although the tender documents will not be ready until November, and it will not be possible to spend all the money allocated in the budget on hospital construction, will money be spent on the energy centre for the hospital complex this year?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I am not sure if the Member is making a submission to me, a request, or asking what the site preparation work entails. I will be happy to bring her back a list of what is viewed as site preparation work. The present intention is that this will proceed prior to the tender documents being completed and the main project put out to tender, if that is what she would like.
Question re: Policy and intergovernmental relations officer position
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission about an employment opportunity that is being advertised for a policy and intergovernmental relations officer. I see that the original advertisement that went out, stating the salary was $53,000 to $69,900, has been amended since the question was raised in the House last week.
The Minister has also tabled a legislative return, which still does not answer my question regarding the position. When his policy is to cut down the size of government through attrition, why do they need this position in the Executive Council Office, when there are already two other people who deal with this kind of issue and are paid almost $70,000 a year?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The Member must have trouble reading the document put in front of her. It simply states that one of the people is quitting. They are going to another department in government. There has been an in-house competition to refill that position. We feel it is required, or it would have been downsized before this.
Mrs. Firth: Why does the government feel they need three $70,000 a year policy intergovernmental relations officers in the Executive Council Office?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The Member just said a few moments ago that these people made between $58,000 and $68,000; now she says that they make $70,000.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister not answer the question? He is the individual standing up telling Yukoners that by attrition they are going to cut down the size of government. Why do we need this position and why can it not be eliminated?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The Executive Council Office has already been cut by over $1 million. If we felt that we could eliminate that position we would do so.
Question re: McLean Lake zoning
Mr. Penikett: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services about recent changes to the designated land use in the citys official community plan in the McLean Lake area. The Minister stated on April 20 that he would consult with the residents of McLean Lake, and his words were before I proceed with any changes to the city bylaws that will affect their lifestyle. The Minister said this three days before he approved a plan that makes those changes.
What made the Minister change his mind about approving the bylaw and about consulting the residents personally - as he said he would? Why did he not immediately inform the House about the change of position he announced in this House just a couple of days previously?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The amendment to the OCP includes an area development scheme that includes all of the things and more than what the previous Minister has committed to; for instance, the geotechnical information that the previous Minister had committed to having done before there could be a change in zoning. All of that has been included in the area development scheme.
Mr. Penikett: If the City Council of Whitehorse will not listen to the McLean Lake area residents and if the Minister will not listen to them, what hope can the residents have, in a public review under the Area Development Act, that they will be dealt with any more justly then?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: With the inclusion of an area development scheme there is a whole process for obtaining public input into any changes that council wishes to implement in the zoning bylaw. I think that this particular area development scheme enhances anything that the previous Minister had established for the protection for the people of McLean Lake.
Mr. Penikett: The Minister stood in his place in this House and promised the residents that he would consult with them personally if there was a material change. He also indicated a position with respect to a level of zoning - residential - that appears to have changed as soon as he met with city council. Let me ask the Minister this: does he not recognize that a change from country residential to urban residential is highly significant, and will he admit the obvious - that my constituents will suffer a real change in their lifestyle as a result of his decision, which he made contrary to his promises in this House?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: There has been no change to zoning. This is merely a change to the official community plan, which is a long-term plan for the City of Whitehorse. Prior to doing any development, where there would be a change of zoning for the residents of McLean Lake, there would be a double set of consultation and public input. The City of Whitehorse cannot arbitrarily change those peoples zoning from country residential to urban residential. It is merely a long-term plan.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed. We will proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
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?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will take a brief recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Bill No. 4 - Second Appropriation Act, 1992-93 - continued
Department of Economic Development - continued
Mr. Harding: I have a question for the Minister of Economic Development regarding the Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document. I would like to ask the Minister to identify potential opening dates for production for mines such as Casino, near Carmacks, as well as Western Copper. What would be the employment levels predicted for those two mines?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, these are only predictions, as with any mining company that we run into in these situations. My understanding is that, for instance, Williams Creek will be doing mine development work this summer, once they get the go-ahead. Construction would begin in the spring of next year.
Also, along with that would be the infrastructure requirements, such as a road, power lines and so on. Presumably, that work would also begin in the spring of next year. As I understand it, Williams Creek will have a workforce of just over 100.
If Casinos predictions of going into production in 1998 are correct, there would be a three-year lead construction time, with stripping as well as building of the mill, the infrastructure of the road and so on, starting as early as 1995. My understanding is that Casino would have a workforce of somewhere between 500 and 700. It could be up to 1,000 during the construction phase.
Mr. Harding: For the Casino, we are looking at a 1998 production at best. For Western Copper, we are looking at 1994. At best, there would be 100 people employed at Western Copper and 500 to 700 at Casino. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, but there would be substantially more people employed during the construction phase, for both infrastructure, in terms of roads, and possible power lines. There is a major construction program, especially at Casino, where I believe stripping would begin two or three years prior to the mine actually going into production.
Mr. Harding: What major assurances are there that these mining companies are serious about it? It is an old game on the stock market to make a few positive recommendations, get a few positive media clippings, do some exploration work and watch the stock market prices soar. A lot of people make a lot of money, but very few mines are developed.
What concrete assurances does the Minister have that these mines are indeed mines and not just deposits in the bush?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The assurances would be very similar to the assurances that if we strip the Grum deposit, Curragh will get up and running. These companies are not starting out with a major debt problem. Right now there are 200 people working up there. It is a 200-man camp, but I am not sure how many people are on the site. There are presently five drills drilling around the clock. My understanding is that two more drills will be going to work very shortly.
Mr. Harding: There is a big difference. The Faro mines infrastructure is all in place. If I understand the philosophy of this government, they consider that kind of infrastructure investment that the government would make. Technically, if you want to take a purely philosophical approach to it, in the free enterprise system the government would not be involved in that type of enterprise, or infrastructure development.
I get confused when I try to establish what your government is prepared to invest in and what they are not. If a mining company had the reserves, in a pure market free enterprise system, then they would be required to develop their own infrastructure if it was indeed feasible.
The government kind of goes back and forth between a pure free enterprise philosophy and one of investment in private enterprise - to one degree or another. I believe that there is a major difference between these two. One is the Faro mine, which is a bird in the hand and which is operating. The other two are, at present, deposits in the bush. That is what they are, quite simply put. The intensive capital investment that is required to develop projects of the scope of these two potential mines is very large. Are you aware if the companies have arranged financing for the construction and the development of the mines?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I have not had any discussions with Western Copper. During the last month they were in the process of doing some of that work in Casino. Naturally, until the final drilling - which they are doing this year - is done, it is like the Member says, a bird in the bush.
Mr. Harding: The Minister is quite correct. That is why I called for the concentration on what is real, what is here and what is now, and what is a bird in the hand. I believe the assurances that the Grum ore body would go ahead are much better than the copper business, at this point, because you do not have the capital intensive work of infrastructure development - building a mill, building all those roads for Faro. It is all right there. There is a huge difference.
It takes months of construction time, major capital, intensive labour and work to develop a mine, and that is all in place for Faro. I think that is very important.
In the 21st century document, there are some 31 projects identified. I realize the government is holding Casino - and there were some comments made by the Minister of Justice regarding this - and Western Copper as the saviours of the territory. However, I feel very skeptical about it and until I know that financing is arranged and drilling leads somewhere, and I see more commitment, I will continue to be skeptical. I would be interested in seeing any documentation the Minister could provide regarding the development of these mines and where they are.
We had some discussion regarding the Grew Creek area near Faro, and putting in an underground shaft, which, when the owners change, quickly turned to smoke and mirrors and disappeared. It can happen very quickly in the mining business. Mining promoters are constantly going to be telling you what a wonderful reserve they have, and how they are so prepared to invest in these projects. Every time the government agrees, and every time they put out a statement saying this will go ahead, the stock prices usually rise. You are seeing that with diamonds in the Northwest Territories right now, as those prices have gone through the roof on the stock exchange, although very little has been produced there yet.
I caution the government on that old game. I would be pleased to see more mining activity going ahead, but to sacrifice a bird in the hand, because you believe the other two are possible, would be a bad decision for this territory. The government has to concentrate on what is here and what is now.
In the 21st century document, there are some 31 projects identified. Which project, if any, has the potential to create the kind of economic activity the Grum ore body could for the Yukon in the next couple of years? Is there any?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, we have to get back to the Grum ore body in Faro, and again there is not a great degree of certainty there either, so I would not want to play one against the other. In the overall picture, as we see gold prices climbing in the last month or two, we also see the opportunity for increased activity in the Dawson area and that also brings into question two other major projects - Dublin Gulch and Brewery Creek. It is like mining - it is all a big gamble out there, but I do see some very interesting opportunities for the Yukon and this is why we have been trying to get the message out that we would like to see mining activity in the Yukon. The mining community has been very receptive to that message and that is where we are going.
Mr. Harding: The Yukon is teetering on the brink of private sector economic collapse. We are having trouble getting the facts and figures and forecasts from the government, based on the prospects of both shutdowns at Faro and Watson Lake continuing, but I think it is fair to say, based on unemployment rates that we now have and the other economic indicators that we are picking up on and that we know about, that we are in serious trouble in the Yukon.
While the Minister is correct that there is some certainty with the Grum, when Ia government is facing this kind of situation and establishing priorities it would make sense to take a look at what is the best shot. I believe the best shot is the property, with the infrastructure in place, with the workforce, with the community, with everything in place. Our economy is so dependent on the public sector, not the private, and when there are ripples in the economy, it has a tremendous effect on the private sector. So it is important that the government try and make it a priority to make sure that what one has in the hand continues to be there, before putting all the eggs in the basket of uncertain and undeveloped and unproven ore bodies, which, once the bird in the hand is operating again, can be looked at as further development, and this would be great for the territory.
Based on those last comments, I would say that I am uncertain about gold prices. I know the two projects that were just mentioned are, at best, just hopes at this point. I think the government should be working on what is real and what is here and what is today. Today we received a press release that said there were some positive indicators regarding the potential for development of the Grum ore body, but it is going to need some support from this government.
I will leave with this message on this issue: rather than looking at possible, uncertain properties right now, the government should be trying to get their bird in the hand going that we have in this territory right now. Once Curragh is going, they can generate some cashflow and prices will go up. It certainly looks good for Sa Dena Hes also operating, and I think our private sector economic base would be in a better position to begin looking at some real help for other mining companies that are serious - and I repeat serious - about developing here in the Yukon.
Hon. Mr. Devries: There definitely is renewed activity in the forestry sector in the Watson Lake area as a result of the increase in lumber prices. I am not going to get into that at this time because it is hoped that we can get into the line by line.
Ms. Moorcroft: I have to jump into this debate with a question about the Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document. Did I really hear the Government Leader saying, last week, that he deliberately tried to pull one over on the federal government to get Economic Development Agreement funding for Grum stripping, by not referring to Faro and to Curragh, even though Faro is mentioned in the governments so-called economic development plan? I am not surprised that it did not work if that is what he was telling us.
I have to wonder if the Government Leader is also trying to pull one over on the people of Faro and Yukon. The government released a document, Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century, sent it to the Minister for DIAND and the Deputy Prime Minister, which calls for infrastructure investment in Grum stripping. At the same time, the Ministers are having trouble defining what is and what is not infrastructure and what the government should or should not invest in. I will not call it infrastructure since the government does not seem to have a clear idea what infrastructure is, but I will ask this: since on some days they say yes and on other days they say no, does the government support investment in stripping the Grum ore deposit? If todays answer is yes, how will the government demonstrate their support for stripping the Grum ore body?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I will get back to what I said last week. If it can be demonstrated that the stripping of the Grum ore body is in the long-term interest of the Yukon, we will definitely be stripping it. We need a degree of certainty that the long-term viability of Curragh exists or the long-term viability of the mine exists - if one wants to get rid of the Curragh name.
The Member went on about the self-sufficiency strategy and what was in there - there were a bunch of ideas in there. If the federal people chose to erase some of those, that was fine, there were lots of them there. It was used to set an opening negotiating situation and we got $10 million through that document. If Members have a problem with that, please say so.
Mr. Harding: I think that it has been clearly established that the $10 million did not come through that document but rather an announcement that every jurisdiction in the country would receive some infrastructure funding from the federal government. I really do not think the government should be so foolish to believe that that particular document produced that $10 million, of which we are still trying to figure out all the details - where it is going to go, how much is committed from the feds, how much we have to commit and all those other questions regarding it.
I want to ask the Minister of Economic Development - since he raised another point about certainty on the Grum - if he has those certainties and unconditional guaranteed assurances from either the people at the Western Copper or Casino projects that those copper deposits are feasible, as he likes to call it, for all time. Does he have those concrete assurances?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The answer is no and that is why the Member does not see us running around building roads and power lines. We expect to get some word about the certainty of the mine by this fall, but we are not going to run out there and construct all of these things right now.
Mr. Penikett: I am ready to move on to the line items if the Minister is ready.
Mr. Cable: I have a few general questions that relate, in part, to the economic programs, but also in part to the governments general philosophy.
Would it be fair to say that in the Ministers opinion one of the main purposes of the Department of Economic Development is the creation of jobs?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, that is one of the areas where our priorities should lie and, through that, diversify the economy. We have got to get all of our eggs out of one basket.
Mr. Cable: The Minister was kind enough to give me a return on some fairly extensive questions relating to job creation by the economic programs.
If my calculations are right, there is something in the order of $38 million spent on three economic development programs over the last four fiscal years. It appears that 400 jobs were created, from records being kept of the job creation.
In the Ministers view, is the expenditure of $38 million, or $190,000 per job, a successful way to spend the taxpayers money?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I would say that it is far from successful and the Member must remember that some of this spending took place under the previous administration.
I hope that we can do better in future and get more bang for our dollar, as far as jobs go, because I feel that 216 jobs being created for $38 million is unacceptable.
Mr. Cable: In view of that observation, what specifically is the Minister prepared to do, in reviewing the overall departmental expenditures, and, in particular, the economic program expenditures, to make the return on the taxpayers money much greater than what it would appear to be from the numbers that were just quoted?
Hon. Mr. Devries: With regard to the business development fund, there are some changes in policy and the way that we are doing things being contemplated. I would prefer to talk about them in the mains because it is not really pertinent to the supplementaries to a great degree. We are currently reviewing all the programs under the Economic Development Agreement with the objective of improving the success ratio for funded projects. There have been some projects that have been a real failure.
We must bear in mind that the EDA, to a large extent, previously has been for improving economic knowledge. It seems it has been geared more toward producing economic knowledge, rather than direct employment. For instance, much of the EDA, such as in the area of forestry, has been made up of things like doing inventories of forests and giving forest companies the opportunity to know that the forests are there and that there are economic opportunities there. Also, in the Geoscience Office we have a geologist producing maps, which in turn could have tremendous economic spin-offs. They permit prospectors and geologists an understanding of the rock structures and formations and give them an idea of where they should go to look for various minerals et cetera. You also have to look at it in the context of long-range economic planning. There could be some tremendous spin-offs as a result of some of these initiatives.
Chair: If there are no further questions, shall we go to the line items?
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Mr. Penikett: Could we have a breakdown of the $80,000 and an indication from the Minister as to whether there will be any additional lapses?
Hon. Mr. Devries: There was a vacant deputy minister position. The acting incumbent was paid from the economic programs, which led to a reduction of $90,000. There was a consulting contract to convert to a computerized loan system to enhance other programs, which was an overexpenditure of $24,000. There was a reduction in travel, due to the freeze, of $7,000. There were various miscellaneous reductions as a result of a discretionary spending freeze, for $7,000. This leads to a total reduction of $80,000.
Mr. Penikett: Were there any other lapses in that line, in addition to the $80,000, that became apparent between the time the supplementary was prepared and the year-end?
Hon. Mr. Devries: To the best of my knowledge we are operating under a very tight budget in Economic Development.
Administration in the amount of $80,000 agreed to
On Energy and Mines
Mr. Penikett: Could the Minister explain the $40,000 overpenditure in that item?
Hon. Mr. Devries: A mineral policy analyst position was vacant. Communications increased by $4,000 for the Mines Ministers Conference. There was a decrease of $38,000 for the mineral policy analyst. The Implementation Review Committee representation contract was increased by $39,000. A contribution to the Klondike Placer Miners Association was increased by $15,000 and a contribution to the Yukon Chamber of Mines was increased by $20,000, for a total of increase of $40,000.
Mr. Penikett: The Minister said that there were increases in contributions to the KPMA and the Chamber of Mines. Were these contributions over the months that were budgeted?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, the Implementation Review Sommittee was an extra expenditure. The contribution of $10,000 to the Klondike Placer Miners Association, I believe, was extra. Through the Implementation Review Committee process they had substantially increased costs.
Mr. Penikett: These extra monies were a decision of the Minister during this period of restraint; is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, I would say that is correct.
Mr. Penikett: When did the Minister change his policy on this question? When the Yukon Party was on this side of the House they strongly objected to some of these grants to these organizations and argued that the contributions should be cut.
Hon. Mr. Devries: We had a $50 million industry at stake here and it was very important to see that the Implementation Review Committee hearings went well.
We have reached an agreement in principle that is acceptable to the placer mining community and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. I think that is a very important accomplishment and I do not think that anyone could deny that this was not money well spent. If I were sitting on the side opposite I certainly would not be complaining about the expenditure.
Mr. Penikett: I do not think that I need a lecture from the Member opposite. He is the one who argued that we do not need money spent on economic knowledge. The Minister is an argument for expenditures in that area.
Is the Minister then committed to continuing the contribution agreements with these economic organizations, as they have been provided in the past?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, we have them in our main estimates budget for next year.
Mr. Penikett: Will contributions continue to be made available for employee organizations, the Yukon Conservation Society and other economic organizations, or just for organizations that support the Yukon Party?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I have never seen a line item where there was a regular contribution made to the Yukon Conservation Society. I know contributions were made through the recycling program and to various things the YCS administered. However, looking at last years main estimates, I do not recall seeing a direct contribution to the Yukon Conservation Society.
Mr. Penikett: The Member must not have been paying attention while we discussed this in the House. In the past, the Department of Economic Development has made contributions to a number of Yukon organizations, not just conservative ones, but all across the spectrum, including the Yukon Conservation Society, the Yukon Federation of Labour, the Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Mines, in order to assist the government in its consultations on a number of economic policies.
Is the Minister now saying that this money will only be available to conservative organizations in the future, like the Chamber of Mines and the Chamber of Commerce? Is that what he is saying?
Hon. Mr. Devries: In the first place, I did not know that they were conservative organizations, because I do not necessarily ask them to show me their membership cards. I do not even consider that. However, if they are, there is nothing I can do about it.
I know we are contemplating contributing to the Chamber of Commerce. The Member mentioned the Federation of Labour, but I do not know what we have done with them in the past. I would have to get back to the Member on that.
Mr. Penikett: The Minister keeps consulting with his deputy, but I want to know his policy. When I said they were conservative organizations, the Minister himself was the one who told us that he consulted with the Chamber of Mines and the Yukon Party on the 21st century document, but they did not consult with anybody over here or anyone else - the Council for Yukon Indians, the Yukon Conservation Society, or any of the other stakeholders. They only consulted with those they thought were politically acceptable to them.
Consistent with that policy, is it the Ministers intention only to provide those contribution agreements to chambers of commerce and chambers of mines, or will he, as the previous government did, make the monies available to all organizations, whether or not they supported the government-of-the-day?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I do not recall ever considering the political affiliation of people, or whether they supported us. Therefore, in that respect, I would say it would be business as usual.
Mr. Penikett: In a sense, it may be business as usual, but I have in mind that the two organizations support the budget of the Yukon Party, even though they said there was nothing in it for them: the Chamber of Mines and the Chamber of Commerce. The Minister said he consulted with the Chamber of Mines. He has just said that whether or not they support the government will have no bearing. I do not want to spend a lot of time this afternoon asking why he only consulted with some organizations in the past and not others. He has been criticized for that by, among others, the Council for Yukon Indians.
I want to ask a very simple question: does he intend to make economic support money only available to the business organizations he has mentioned - the Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Mines, the KPMA - or does he intend to make it available to other economic organizations in the community that have something to contribute on matters of economic policy - namely the Federation of Labour, the Yukon Conservation Society, or others?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I do not have the list of people we will be contributing to at my fingertips. I will be prepared to discuss that further in the main estimates.
Mr. Penikett: I am not asking him for a list. I am asking him for the policy he made in the period covered by this supplementary, in which contributions were made only to some organizations. In fact, they were increased to some organizations, for reasons that may be perfectly good. Is it his policy that contributions should only be made available to the organizations he has listed, or will they also be available to other organizations, whose advice on the economy the government ought to be interested in, such as the Council for Yukon Indians, the Yukon Conservation Society, the Federation of Labour and the womens community, all of whom have received funding in the past from the government?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I am not prepared to comment on that because I feel that, because of the way the Member worded the question, I would have to make the presumption that these groups did not support us, and I am not prepared to make that presumption. I know many people from within those groups who did support us.
Mr. Penikett: I asked the Member that question some minutes ago. I asked him a direct question, and I am prepared to ask it again until I get an answer.
Is the Minister saying that he is going to continue to provide money only to the organizations he has provided money to in this past year - namely the Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Mines and the KPMA - or is he willing, in principle, to provide economic support to other organizations that have an interest in the economy, such as the Yukon Conservation Society, the Federation of Labour, the Council for Yukon Indians, and the womens movement, or not?
It is a simple question of policy.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I still feel that there is a war of words going on here. The majority of this is the previous governments budget. We increased contributions to two groups because of some problems with the IRNC.
If the previous government gave contributions to other organizations, I did not discontinue them. I do not know what we are arguing about here.
Mr. Penikett: The Minister embarrassed everyone in this House the other day by saying that his two new policies were: one, to appoint a new person to a committee and; and two, to buy drinks for miners. This is something that no one else in this House would regard as policy.
Can I ask him now this policy question: as a matter of policy, is the Minister and the Department of Economic Development prepared to provide contribution funds to any other organizations other than the Chamber of Mines, the KPMA and the Chambers of Commerce for the purpose of assisting this government in consultations about economic policy?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I would prefer to answer that question in the mains. I am not prepared to stand here and answer policy questions. I do not think that is what I should be doing.
Mr. Penikett: The Minister has just made the most astonishing statement in the legislative history of parliamentary life for hundreds of years.
Let me explain to the Minister that the one thing for which he is responsible for is to stand and answer policy questions. Does he not understand that?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, and that is what I said. I will answer the questions when we get to the mains. There could be policies under development or being considered. I will answer them then.
Mr. Penikett: If it is a policy matter that is under development, is it a policy that has been decided by the Minister in the period up to March 31, or something the Minister has never thought about before?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, I have thought about it. The Member has given me a whole list of various groups. I do not have at my fingertips what is in the mains for them. I will have to discuss it then.
Mr. Penikett: I am not asking the Minister to go by memory and tell me what contributions are available for any groups in the mains. I am asking the Minister a very simple policy question: is he or the Department of Economic Development prepared, as a matter of policy, determined during the period of this supplementary, to make funds available for the purposes of assisting this government on economic consultations to any groups other than those provided for in the Ministers statement a moment ago - the Chamber of Mines, the Chamber of Commerce and the KPMA?
Hon. Mr. Devries: If it relates to the period of this supplementary, I have not given any instructions to the contrary. I suppose the answer is yes.
Mr. Penikett: Let me leave the Minister with notice of a question that I am going to ask in the mains, which is: to what organizations will funding be made available under this line in the 1993-94 budget?
I will then ask the Minister, if I have had note taken of that question, another question. The Minister has described how much money was spent under this line. He did indicate that some of it was for the expenses in connection with the miners conference. Is the Minister prepared to tell the House now how much he spent on alcohol for miners in Vancouver?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I do not have it at my fingertips, but I believe it was $9,000 for our assistance in hosting the hospitality suite and things associated with the Cordilleran Roundup.
Mr. Penikett: Is that $9,000 for the hospitality suite, or $9,000 for something else? Could the Minister tell us?
Hon. Mr. Devries: My understanding is that our contribution toward the Cordilleran Roundup was $9,000.
Mr. Penikett: Forgive me, but we are not clear; $9,000, even for Yukoners, is an astonishing amount of booze. Could the Minister come back to us with a breakdown of the expenditures under the $9,000?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, I will do that. I still assure the Member that it was money well spent.
Mr. Penikett: I guess, a year or two from now, we will know whether that is the case. There is certainly no evidence so far.
I want to make it clear that, in respect to the question on which I gave notice about economic contribution agreements, that would apply to contributions from the whole department, and not just the Energy and Mines line. If that is understood, I will be prepared to move on to the next line.
Just before we clear the line, can I have the Ministers understanding that there are, in addition to the expenditures that he detailed for the overage, no lapses, to the Ministers knowledge, of the $429,000, as of March 31?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I can assure the Member that, to the best of my knowledge, there are no lapses.
Energy and Mines agreed to in the amount of $40,000
On Economic Policy, Planning and Research
Mr. Penikett: I would like to have a breakdown for the reduction of $178,000, please.
Hon. Mr. Devries: Personnel for the Northern Accord was under budgeted in the amount of $11,000. There was additional casual help, vacation pay out and miscellaneous increases.
Additional casual help was an increase of $19,000. There was another area of the Northern Accord where there were reduced Northern Accord expenditures, which was a decrease of $64,000; energy strategy expenditures less than budget was a decrease of $64,000; the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment, a decrease of $62,000; miscellaneous spending was reduced through the discretionary spending memorandum, for a decrease of $18,000 and a total decrease of $178,000.
Mr. Penikett: Could I have a further breakdown of the underexpenditure of the Yukon Council for the Economy and the Environment?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The activities of the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment were placed on hold while the new government reviewed the councils mandate.
The budget for the research contracts and for the annual economic strategy conference were not expended.
Mr. Penikett: Would the Minister agree to the fact that, as he has increased the funding to the Klondike Placer Miners Association and the Chamber of Mines, and decreased the funding for the Yukon Council on the Economy and Environment, which includes representatives of the environmental, aboriginal, labour, small business and womens points of view, this is a good reflection of the Ministers priorities?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment also has a Chamber of Mines point of view and a Chamber of Commerce point of view, so I think the Leader of the Official Opposition is incorrect on that.
Mr. Penikett: Forgive me, but the Minister is being very silly. He has underfunded the organization that gives the point of view of those other organizations. He has increased the funding to the Chamber of Commerce and the Klondike Placer Miners Association point of view. That is his right and may have been necessary to achieve the objective that he mentioned, but he has underfunded the input of all of those other organizations.
I am asking the Minister a very simple question: in the period under review, is that a fair reflection of this Ministers priorities?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I do not agree with the Leader of the Official Opposition. There was an impending crisis with the placer mining industry. Basically, if the Implementation Review Committee hearings had continued along the course they were going, we would have seen placer mining substantially reduced next year. I feel that, as a result of our increased emphasis on the placer mining industry here, and assuring that placer mining can be done in both an environmental and economic manner, these things can work together toward the betterment of the Yukon, and it is very important.
I am not saying that the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment is any different, but we were caught in a budget squeeze. It was essential for us to try and get the total cost of government reduced.
We knew we were looking at a potential deficit of between $40 million and $60 million, and we made that choice.
Mr. Penikett: For the record, can the Minister tell us, in preparation of the document Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century, if any one of the following organizations were consulted: the Council for Yukon Indians, the Status of Women council; the Federation of Labour; the Yukon Conservation Society; the Contractors Association; or the Tourism Industry Association?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I am not certain of the various groups that we talked to. I do know that many people belonging those various groups were involved in the discussions. I would say that it would be improper to say that they were not contacted.
Mr. Penikett: The Minister has previously told us that the Yukon Party and the Chamber of Mines were consulted. He has never indicated that anybody else outside of the government was consulted. For the record, was the Council for Yukon Indians, as an organization, consulted about the document? Was the Conservation Society, as an organization, consulted about the document? Was the Federation of Labour, as an organization, consulted about the document? Was the Status of Women council, as an organization, consulted about the document? Was the tourism industry, as an association, consulted about the document?
Hon. Mr. Devries: One of the reasons why the Chamber of Mines was consulted was because we wanted to know the future prospects in that area. There was a big rush to get this document together because the Mazankowski statement was made in January and within a week we had to come up with a draft of some type. We spoke with anyone we could. I do not think the majority of those groups that the Member mentioned were consulted for direct input into the document.
Mr. Penikett: Can the Minister explain why they could not have been consulted at the same time that the Minister was consulting with the Chamber of Mines?
Hon. Mr. Devries: As I mentioned earlier, the Chamber of Mines was consulted so that we would get a better handle on what their understanding was of prospective projects within the Yukon.
Mr. Penikett: A few minutes ago the Minister corrected me by pointing out - in very stern terms - that I should know that the Chamber of Mines was represented on the Council on the Economy and the Environment - in fact, I did know that. What I do not know is why the Council on the Economy and the Environment - on which the Chamber of Mines and the Chamber of Commerce are represented - were were not consulted about this document.
Hon. Mr. Devries: As I mentioned, there was a very short time frame. At the same time, we were dealing with budgetary matters and trying to get our offices established. There was not time to go through a proper consultation.
Mr. Penikett: Perhaps the Minister could explain why it takes longer to consult the Council on the Economy and the Environment, on which the Chamber of Mines is represented, than it does to consult the Chamber of Mines directly?
Hon. Mr. Devries: My understanding is that it is a much broader segment. Many of the people who are on the council have other things to do. It normally takes about two weeks to call a meeting. We did not have that kind of time.
Mr. Penikett: The record will show that they came together a lot faster than that to deal with the Employment Standards Act, which was not even initially part of their mandate. They were happy to do so.
Can I ask the Minister if he could give me, as I asked, a breakdown of the underexpenditures of the Council on the Economy and the Environment?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I do not have it at my fingertips. I will have to get back to the Member on that.
Mr. Penikett: Could he get back to us tomorrow with that information?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes.
Mr. Penikett: May I ask the Minister if, as far as he knows, at March 31, 1991, there were any lapses of dollars in the Economic Policy Planning and Research line?
Hon. Mr. Devries: My understanding is that we are right on target on this one.
Mr. Penikett: I am prepared to move on to the next line item.
Economic Policy, Planning and Research in the amount of an underexpenditre of $178,000 agreed to
On Economic Programs
Mr. Penikett: Can the Minister break down the overexpenditure in this area?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, there was higher pay for the acting assignment, as I believe I mentioned earlier. The acting assignment was for the DM, ADM and a manager. A bunch of people got moved up for the short term.
Mr. Penikett: Is this an offset for some of the underexpenditures in the first line?
Hon. Mr. Devries: That is correct.
Mr. Penikett: Let me ask the Minister if, to the best of his knowledge, there is any lapsing money as of March 31 on the $650,000 amount in this line?
Hon. Mr. Devries: To the best of my knowledge, there will be no lapses.
Economic Programs in the amount of $41,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of an underexpenditure of $177,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On Equipment Replacement
Equipment Replacement in the amount of $5,000 agreed to
Administration in the amount of $5,000 agreed to
On Energy and Mines
On Energy Conservation Fund (SEAL)
Mr. Penikett: This has always been an over-subscribed program. Can I ask the Minister if, as far as he knows, this $637,000 item is on target as at March 31?
Hon. Mr. Devries: We are on target.
Energy Conservation Fund (SEAL) in the amount of $20,000 agreed to
On Yukon Energy Alternatives (YEAP)
Mr. Penikett: This is a line that has traditionally been underexpended in the past. I would, therefore, not only like to have a breakdown of the overexpenditures, but could the Minister undertake to provide a breakdown of all the main expenditures during the year?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The major increase in this program is setting up a $200,000 allowance for doubtful accounts for Champagne Aishihik Enterprises. This project involved the construction of the wood-chip boiler heater in Haines Junction. Due to a lack of repayments and the uncertain financial position of the corporation, the allowance of bad debt has been established. That is basically where the $200,000 overexpenditure is.
Mr. Penikett: Would I be right in assuming that that default situation is a by-product of the governments killing of the Taga Ku project?
Hon. Mr. Devries: No. This project was in default prior to that and has nothing whatsoever to do with the Taga Ku - to the best of my knowledge.
Mr. Penikett: Could I ask the Minister, before we get to the mains, if he could give us a breakdown of the major expenditures of the $347,000 item here. I have mentioned in the past that this has been a program that has been underexpended, and I would be interested in a list of major projects that were done under the program. I am not asking for it now; I just ask that the Minister be prepared to provide us with a list by the time we get to the mains.
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, Mr. Chair.
Yukon Energy Alternatives (YEAP) in the amount of $99,000 agreed to
On Internal Energy Management
Mr. Penikett: Could the Minister detail this lapse?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Basically, this was due to staff vacancies.
Mr. Penikett: To the best of the Ministers knowledge, is the $30,000 the actual expenditure for the year?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, to the best of my knowledge, it is. If there is any difference there, I will get back to him.
Internal Energy Management in the amount of an underexpenditure of $70,000 agreed to
Energy and Mines in the amount of $49,000 agreed to
On Economic Policy, Planning and Research
Mr. Penikett: I have two questions here. I would be curious to know if the Minister intends to have the Economic Policy, Planning and Research line here under capital in the same place. Some of my constituents have been confused by the fact that there is another line higher up, on the O&M line, under operation and maintenance expenditures. That is the less important of the two questions.
Was the $317,000 all spent by the year-end, to the best of the Ministers knowledge?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The economic policy people are the ones who administer the program. This money was all spent.
NOGAP in the amount of $317,000 agreed to
On Economic Programs
On Community Development Fund
Mr. Penikett: For all three of these lines, because I know that it is notoriously difficult to predict at period 8 what is going to happen by the year-end, I would like to know whether the revised votes are accurate, whether there were further lapsing funds, or whether additional funds are going to be required. Can I have a breakdown there?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I must apologize. Up in my office, I have a file folder with all the various projects that were funded, but I forgot to bring it down with me.
Mr. Penikett: I would be quite prepared to take a short recess now to allow the Minister time to get his notes.
Mrs. Firth: For the community development fund, the previous Member asked whether or not this money was going to be spent. Could the Minister tell us whether or not this full amount is going to be spent?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I can assure the Member that, yes, it will be spent.
Mrs. Firth: Then, why does the legislative return that the Minister tabled today give the figures for the total amounts of money dispersed by the business development fund and the community development fund for the 1992-93 year? Why is the figure in the budget asking for $351,000 more than the figure the Minister tabled in the House this afternoon, which says that the amount that would be spent was $3,582,003.
There is quite a discrepancy between the legislative return that is saying there is less money spent than what he is actually asking for in this supplementary budget.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I will have to get back to the Member after recess. I will try to explain it.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps he could get an explanation made up during the break. The business development fund - in the budget the Minister is asking for $2,219,000; the legislative return he tabled this afternoon said that the actual amount of money spent was $1.861 million - a difference of $358,000. I am sure the Minister can see that there is some $700,000-plus difference between what he is saying in the legislative return what was actually spent compared to what they are asking for in the supplementary budget.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I will get back to the Member. I would assume it is for some projects that did not proceed as quickly as anticipated. It could be in the form of a revote or something. I do not know; I will have to get back to the Member.
Mr. Penikett: As the Minister has been following, I have been asking about the lapses on the votes where I have been hoping to get to the same line that Mrs. Firth has been asking about, which is the numbers here for revised votes of $3,933,000 for CDF; BDF $2,219,000; for EDA $5,024,000. A few moments ago, before Mrs. Firths question, the Minister said he thought those numbers were accurate but, as Mrs. Firth pointed out, we have tabled in the House only today, from the Minister, numbers that say total amounts allocated are significantly different from the numbers we have in respect of the BDF. I do not know about the EDA - that probably is an aggregate of numbers in a number of departments including Tourism and Renewable Resources.
Can the Minister, when he goes upstairs and gets the detail, come back to us, based on the lists of projects approved and money spent in this year, with the actual numbers for those three programs. It is very important because that is where most of the budget is in this department.
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, I think most of the information would be in those lists.
Mr. Penikett: If you will agree, Mr. Chair, we could take a recess.
Chair: Is it the wish of the Committee to take a brief recess?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: I call Committee back to order.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I have a lot of information here.
Mr. Penikett: Before the break, we were discussing the differences between the numbers on page 26 of the supplementary estimates for the economic programs - Community Development Fund, Business Development fund and the Economic Development Agreement - and the numbers obtained in the legislative return filed today by the Minister for those very same programs. For the record - I know the Minister has just tabled the document - could he tell us what the projected actual expenditures for the Community Development Fund, Business Development Fund and Economic Development Agreement, are for the year 1992-93?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The actual amount for the community development fund is $3,880,000 with a lapse of $53,000.
For the Business Development Fund, it is $2,205,000, with a lapse of $10,000.
Under the Economic Development Agreement, $4,292,000 was budgeted, with a lapse of $732,000. If I may, I will carry on.
The legislative return that I handed out today did not include the built-in administration fees in the community and business development funds. That is the reason for the difference in the figures.
Members will notice some difference between the figures of the handouts now. Basically, those figures change hourly, from day to day, depending on the uptake. Sometimes, things are approved and people do not pick it up and, at other times, there are things that are in the process and we have to budget for them.
Mr. Penikett: I was writing down the numbers as quickly as I could, but I am not sure that I wrote them down correctly.
Would that mean that approximately $850,000, or $800,000, would lapse of the $11,176,000 recorded on the supplementary?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It is very close to $800,000.
Mrs. Firth: I have asked the Minister for information regarding all the grant and loan programs - the community development fund, the business development fund, and all the economic development agreements. Is the Economic Development Agreement part of the package that is being handed out? So, all of this information will be coming forward this afternoon, including the prospectors assistance.
I see the Minister nodding his head yes, so I will wait until I receive the information.
Hon. Mr. Devries: That is correct.
Mr. Cable: I do not know if this is more appropriately asked on the specific line of the Business Development Fund, but there are statutory and contractual terms and references for these various programs. For the business development fund, in any event, there are statutory terms and references. Section 4 of the Business Development Assistance Act states that an Executive Council Member shall not approve an application unless that Member is under the opinion that a direct result of the carrying out of the project will be a net increase in the number of opportunities for long-term employment in the Yukon or the prevention of a decrease in the number of such opportunities.
I was going through the response the Minister had made, in a general sense, as it related to the various programs. In paragraph two of the response, it says, Figures on jobs maintained or saved are not generally kept because the linkage or the degree of credit for maintaining or saving the job is too judgmental, resulting in inflated and misleading information. If I am reading this in context, perhaps the Minister would explain how the Executive Council Member could have that opinion, under section 4(b) of the act, if the linkage is so judgmental.
Hon. Mr. Devries: If someone should give a loan to a particular hotel for some renovations or an expansion, or something of that nature, it is very difficult to determine exactly how many new jobs are being created; for instance, if the hotel expanded and put in a dozen new suites, or something, yes, during the summer, it is going to take an extra chambermaid or things like that. During the winter, they may not use those 12 rooms, so it can fluctuate so much back and forth every day that when we tried to actually attach the person years to the dollar amount, it was impossible.
Mr. Cable: Is the Member saying that the mandatory requirement under section 4(b) of the Business Development Assistance Act is very difficult or impossible to comply with?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It is one of the many things that the Business Development Advisory Board would look at before it approved a project. First, the applications go to the department and are screened, making sure that adequate information is available; then the particular application would go before the Business Development Advisory Board. One of the criteria in the application that they have to look at is exactly what the Member referred to there. If they are not satisfied that that criteria is being met, then that application would be rejected.
Mr. Cable: Perhaps I am not explaining the question very well. The act requires the Executive Council Member to form an opinion, not just the advisory board. It would appear from the response that was given to me in paragraph 2 of the Ministers return that the degree of credit for maintaining or saving jobs is too judgmental, resulting in inflated and misleading information. I am wondering how we can reconcile that with the terms of act and whether or not the act should be amended.
Hon. Mr. Devries: With the applications that I have reviewed thus far, I basically look at them and at the recommendations made by the Business Development Advisory Board, and I approve them on their recommendation. I would feel that ground is adequately covered. First, the Business Development Advisory Board looks at that concept and, then, I look at that concept. Therefore, I feel it is adequately addressed in that respect.
Again, it is very difficult to attach a firm figure to the person years that will develop. If the business expands somewhere down the road, how much of that is attributable to our involvement in assisting and getting that business started, et cetera?
Mr. Cable: One of the main terms of reference for the business development fund is the creation of jobs. That is fairly clear in the act. The Minister is saying that he puts the issue to the advisory board and accepts the boards opinion, as I understand it. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Devries: That is correct. The Minister does have the option of overruling that decision, which is one of the options that exists. Basically, up to this point, I have accepted the recommendations of the board.
Mr. Cable: I do not want to belabour this, and I will ask further questions when we get to the main budget. However, it would appear that the main term of reference, at least for this particular program, perhaps not the community development program, is job creation. We are saying that the analysis of job creation is pretty fuzzy. Are there any terms of reference given to the Business Development Advisory Board that would allow them to be fairly determinative in their decision as to whether jobs are created?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Naturally, in the proposal that the applicant puts forward, they normally would indicate the number of positions that they anticipate this loan would create if it proceeds. This is then considered in the evaluation process by the department. After that, the Business Development Advisory Board looks at that plus, for instance, in a large centre, it looks at whether it could create undue competition with other businesses, and a whole broad range of things. In smaller communities, it tends to be more focused on job creation and the long-term economic benefits that would be created within the community.
Mr. Cable: Let me just ask this question on the follow-up care of the taxpayers money. Many millions of dollars are referred to here in the business development fund, and the act specifically sets out that job creation appears to be the criterion. Yet, in response to my written question, at paragraph 3 of the written response, I am told that businesses are informally monitored on an ongoing basis by Economic Development staff. Could the Minister describe that type of informal monitoring?
Hon. Mr. Devries: My understanding is that businesses are telephoned and surveyed, and samples are created from this information. Through the collection process and various other things, businesses are approached on a fairly regular and consistent basis to see how they are doing. At that time, the businesses normally inform the person who does the survey how many employees they have working for them, and things like that. Also, in the normal process of the Bureau of Statistics, they do the various statistical analyses of businesses, and the department has access to those records to determine how successful the project is.
Mr. Cable: I have one more question. Is the Minister saying that all businesses are monitored on a regular ongoing basis after the funds are disbursed, or are we talking about some sort of spot-check at irregular intervals?
Hon. Mr. Devries: At some point, every business is checked. The ones that would be regularly monitored would be the ones experiencing financial problems. Basically, people within the department would assist them in developing business plans and things like that to help them resolve some of their business problems, or if it comes to a situation where the loan has to be restructured, et cetera.
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister tell me what his position is regarding the community development fund? I have requested that the government look at deleting this fund - $3.3 million was spent last year - and, instead of raising Yukoners taxes, to look at either reducing this fund or getting rid of it altogether. What is the Ministers position regarding that?
Hon. Mr. Devries: During the main estimates debate, I can discuss the business development fund at greater length. We have looked at the business development fund and assessed some of the parameters, some of which will be changed. Basically, my feeling is that it is a very important fund to the communities in developing other structures.
There was a very successful project in Carmacks that went toward a band office, in conjunction with other money from the federal government. Basically, that is the way a community development fund is set up. It has contributed toward the training of carpenters and providing various people in the community with skills that will make them more employable. I have heard nothing but good about the project.
There were some problems when we originally took over, but those have been resolved, and I hear a lot of very good reports about that particular project.
There are many other projects. In Watson Lake, for instance, they received some assistance on the Watson Lake park. Prior to that, it was a LEOP - local employment opportunities program. Many of the recreational facilities have received assistance in getting on their feet through the community development fund, and I think that it would be a real shame to discontinue this fund. In Whitehorse, many groups rely on the community development fund for projects.
Mrs. Firth: The issue here is not whether the projects were good or not. The issue is whether we, as Canadians, can afford to be handing out this kind of money any more. We probably could not afford it years ago, when they first started handing out the money.
Yukoners have been asked to pay increased taxes, over which they have no control as to where the money is going to go. The Ministers are at liberty to hand out money to various projects that they see fit to support. I have no doubt that the same thing will happen with this government as happened with the previous government: certain projects will be supported and others will not.
As a taxpayer, I think it is time that all of us looked at getting off the public support of projects, generally, and grants, in particular. We do not have this kind of money to give away - obviously not, if we are having to raise taxpayers taxes.
We keep hearing that we are still in debt, and the Government Leader keeps standing up and saying that we are $17 million in the hole today, and there is overspending everywhere.
I would like to ask the Minister if his department is considering looking at reducing this fund, or at eliminating it, or are they just going to carry on so that they will have a chance to give out $3.5 million like the previous government did?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It has been reduced in the next mains. I do not really want to get into the new guidelines that have been established, because it is more pertinent to the mains. I assure the Member that some of the very concerns that she is talking about, I feel are being addressed in the new guidelines that are being established.
As she perhaps knows, the committee consists of several of the Ministers and various deputy ministers. There is a board that makes decisions about the projects. Also, I think it would be very bad if we discontinued some of those projects, because we are also hoping to try to gear them toward employment creation in the communities during times of low employment. Perhaps it is costing some money up front, but when the CDF is used to train people for various skills, that, in the long term, could create a net saving. These people will have acquired skills and will be able to get off social assistance and unemployment insurance and things like that. If the program is run properly, I think it will have a net benefit for the taxpayer.
Mrs. Firth: First of all, the program has not been reduced significantly in the main budget, because there is still $3 million of grant money. The key word here is grant. If the Minister is interested in training people, and giving people new skills, we have a perfectly good Department of Education and Yukon College to do that. My preference would be that it be done through the educational system as opposed to a grant program that is just a form of ministerial handouts.
This government criticized the previous government for this program, but now that they are the government there does not seem to be any willingness, or any desire, on their part to look at removing the program.
My preference would be to see them get rid of the community development fund and use the saving to eliminate the tax increases; $3 million is a lot of money.
We could remove the fuel tax, which I think would be of much greater benefit to all Yukoners, rather than the few who would benefit from the community development fund.
This government talks about the principle of fairness and how they did not want to re-establish medicare premiums because everyone did not benefit from it, so they raised personal income tax instead.
I am making a suggestion that they get rid of this program, which is not fair to all Yukoners, and delete one of the tax initiatives, which would be. They do not want to do that.
I guess I have my answer: the government is not going to look at the community development fund. I will have to wait to see how these Ministers hand out money. I will certainly be following up on that.
The business development fund also gives away money in the form of grants. There is another $205,000 grant program from the information that the Minister has tabled. There is almost $206,000 worth of contributions, which are grants, and $1.6 million worth of loans. I would like to ask the Minister some questions about this loan fund.
When the previous government was in power, I wrote to ask how the government collected on outstanding loans. I was told at the time that they really did not keep track of that in the department, and that a consultant had to be hired and was going to do up a report to give me the information I was seeking. I never did get any further information from the government.
I would like to ask the Minister what his policy is regarding the loan portion of the business development fund, what the criteria are to get loans, how the government monitors the program, whether or not they follow up on delinquent loans, how many are delinquent right now, how much money is owed to government that has never been paid back and, if people who have delinquent loans apply for other programs, do they keep giving them more money? What is this Ministers policy with respect to the business development loan program?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The procedure that is in place now is that if a repayment is not received within 10 days of the due date a reminder letter is sent to the client. If the payment is not received within twenty days after the due date a second reminder is sent to the client. If repayment is not received in 35 days after the due date a review is held with the client to determine the clients financial situation.
Loans may be rescheduled at that time to better fit the cashflow of the client. If that does not work, legal collection attempts are made. If the client has financial resources or equity, a demand letter will be sent, assets will be evaluated and a lien or seizure action will be taken.
If the client is financially insolvent, assets will be liquidated and a claim filed with the receiver. There is a procedure in place. During the last year, the situation improved somewhat. Perhaps I could provide the Member with some of the statistics and a listing of the collection procedures.
Mrs. Firth: The information that the Minister just read into the record is what he tabled today. That is just a procedure. I would like to know how many outstanding loans there are and how many people the government has had to take to court for legal action, how many assets have had to be seized and how rigidly the government is monitoring the loan program. When the Minister brings the figures back I would like to know how much money is still outstanding and if government is proceeding to collect on that money. I would appreciate it if he could provide that information as well.
When the government approves through this loan program, if the money is approved but not spent by March 31, is that money still available to the clients or do they have to turn that money back at year-end?
Hon. Mr. Devries: That is not the way it works. Basically, if a client does not spend the money, they do not get it. For instance, if the project that they are working on should go by the fiscal year-end for government, which would be March 31, they would apply for an extension. Let us say that the project goes beyond the deadline that was established when the loan was given out. They then have the option of applying for an extension, if there is some problem.
Mrs. Firth: I could not follow what the Minister was saying. How can I word this? If someone comes to the government and applies for a loan, and they are granted a loan for $200,000, they get the money to apply toward their project. The year-end comes, and they have not spent the whole $200,000. Does that person still get that money, or do they have to turn it back to the government? Say they had been given $100,000 for a particular phase of their project, the year ended, and they still had $50,000. Do they get to keep that, or do they have to give it back to the government?
Hon. Mr. Devries: They do not get it until they spend it. What I was trying to say was, for instance, they had a $150,000 loan that they had received in February, they had only spent $100,000, and we had shown $150,000 on our books. We would show a $50,000 lapse into the following fiscal year. That is why we always have those lapses in the business development fund and some of these other funds. It is because we have to show what is available to them in any given year. If they do not spend it all, it becomes a lapse.
Community Development Fund in the amount of an underexpenditure of $67,000 agreed to
On Business Development Fund
Business Development Fund in the amount of an underexpenditure of $1,781,000 agreed to
On Economic Development Agreement
Economic Development Agreement in the amount of an underexpenditure of $1,228,000 agreed to
Economic Programs in the amount of an underexpenditure of $3,076,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures in the amount of an underexpenditure of $2,705,000 agreed to
Department of Economic Development agreed to
Department of Education
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I have an official who will be joining us in a moment, Mr. Gary Hewitt from the Department of Education, in the finance area, but while he is making his way down here I just have a few comments I would like to make.
I do not expect an awful lot of objection from the Official Opposition to these supplementary estimates from the Department of Education because most of the overexpenditures were authorized and approved by the previous government. On the O&M side, the major item is $2.7 million in additional salary dollars for teachers and paraprofessionals, approved by the previous governments Management Board. These staffing levels will be maintained by this government. We also have a $600,000 shortfall in funding for post-secondary student financial assistance and this is a chronic situation that we hope will be corrected in the new budget.
I must add that if this supplementary estimate were to be an accurate reflection of the real situation, the supplementary request would be $1.4 million higher than it is. When this government took office, the Department of Education officials were estimating a $1 million shortfall by March 31, 1993. With the imposition of a freeze and discretionary spending and recruitment, we have managed to reduce this anticipated overexpenditure to $1.4 million. We will be going forward to that supplementary request in this amount for period 12.
In the previous two years, the Department of Education was also overexpended $1.26 million in 1990-91 and $362,000 the year before last, 1991-92. This government is not going to tolerate the continuously rolling forward of expenditures from one fiscal year to the next and I have, I hope, put a stop to this now. I have directed my officials to prepare a plan for continually monitoring expenditures and ensure fiscal accountability.
On the capital side, the department has been very busy with capital projects in the last several years, building several schools and buildings throughout the territory. In some of these projects, there have been some cost overruns, from major construction of the Arts Centre, to the Elijah Smith school and to minor alteration and renovation projects. The worthiness of these projects is unquestioned by this side, although we have remarked many times that some of the buildings could have been scaled down to be more functional and to be more practical places for teachers to work.
We also have very few arguments with the quality of work. They have been undertaken with great professionalism by the Yukon contractors, labourers and craftspeople who have completed the projects.
The Arts Centre, for example, has been praised by artists and audiences alike as a wonderful facility. I agree with that assessment. The Yukon architects, contractors and workers have done a great job and deserved to be paid for their work. The cost overruns are seldom their fault.
With that, I would be prepared to answer any general questions that the Members may have and then proceed through the line by line.
Mr. McDonald: I do have every intention of going over the numbers. I think that is important. I will be spending some time on the capital projects and some of the Members assessment of the past couple of projects.
What I would like to do is begin by starting on some general matters that have been raised in the last few months and new directions that have apparently been set by the Minister. I would also like to get the Ministers impressions of a number of the major issues facing the Yukon public school system, so that we get some sense of direction that the government is taking.
I will be giving the Minister some indication of the sorts of issues we will be raising in the main estimates review, so that the Member can investigate them and be prepared to answer questions. There may be 30 or 40 items in the main estimates that we can discuss with a little more detail, but we will restrict our comments now to perhaps a dozen issues that seem to have been most currently prominent and are worth some discussion.
One of the things the Minister said in his opening remarks was interesting and I would like to deal with it up front before we get on to other things. He indicated that he would not tolerate any more rolling forward from one year to the next of so many expenditures. I wonder if the Minister could explain precisely what it is he is referring to, then we can get into the other subjects that I mentioned.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: A few weeks ago, I discovered that the Department of Education, in this past year and two previous years, had been consistent in rolling over expenditures. I believe teachers salaries is one area where this has been happening. In fact, the figure that we were shown in the supplementaries today is not an accurate figure. As I said in my opening remarks, that figure should be $1.4 million higher.
I was a little shocked when I heard about this three weeks ago. Since that time, I have spoken to my officials in the department, and we have taken some corrective action. We have a detailed charting of the personnel full-time equivalents and payroll expenditures, which was implemented in November. This detailed charting is continuing with ongoing forecasts and payroll targets. These will be closely monitored to ensure that we are not creeping into an overexpenditure pattern.
Senior management in the department has reviewed budget accountability and has established a clear responsibility for each budget area. A detailed analysis of the 1992-93 object-level expenditures by program activity is being done and will be used as the basis for estimating monthly cashflows. These will be used as the basis of monitoring O&M expenditures month by month, with formal variance reports required from the branch heads on a quarterly basis.
A review of the 1993-94 budget is being undertaken to identify areas where program managers have under budgeted expenditures such as utility and busing costs. These areas will be clearly identified and addressed in a particular analysis of previous years expenditures and anticipated requirements with an overall budget proposal.
I will also review each revised branch budget with each branch head and director. I have already informed them that there will be no tolerance for overexpenditures at the branch level during the 1993-94 fiscal year. They have also been directed that fiscal management will be included as a key element in all their managerial performance appraisals.
I was a little shocked and astounded that this has been going on for some three years, and I am not sure whether or not the previous Minister was aware of it and what was done to correct it, but we have taken some steps in the Department of Education, which I hope will reduce this type of rolling over of expenditures in future years. It is a fairly serious problem, but I hope that we now have a handle on the problem.
Mr. McDonald: I am not sure of the Members terminology here. The Member makes reference to rolling over expenditures. Is he talking about teacher-leave accruals that have been overexpended in the past?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: They are deferring payment in subsequent fiscal years. It is not teacher-leave accrual. It is O&M expenditures that they are deferring to future fiscal years.
Mr. McDonald: I am puzzled. I am not sure I understand at all what the Minister is saying. Given that the Minister has made the charge, I think we need to explore this a little bit.
Certainly, if there was an expenditure committed for a particular year, the Auditor General would have noted that in his audit. There would be a special note, and I do not recall such a note. Exclusively speaking, when one commits in one particular fiscal year, one has to expend in that year. Perhaps the Minister could explain it further, so that we can understand it better.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I would be more than happy to get back to the Member with the specifics. I will bring it back to him. Like I said, I just discovered this a couple of weeks ago, and I was as surprised as the former Minister is. I would have thought that that would have been picked up on as well. We are investigating that now, and I will get back to the Member with the information. It is quite surprising, when you prepare a supplementary that is worth almost $7 million, to find out that there is another $1.4 million that was not in the supplementary. I can tell you that I was not very happy when I found out this was done. I am looking into it now, and I am trying to correct the matter.
Mr. McDonald: It has been the case in the past that Department of Education officials have not always been perfectly precise in their estimates for year-end accounting. I am not going to suggest for one second that we operate on the basis of perfection - far from it.
I am still not clear as to what the problem is, but there appears to be some allegation that the Department of Education is trying to make expenditures for the 1992-93 fiscal year, but make them in the following fiscal year. I know, for example, in the last year or two, there was a dispute between the Department of Education and the Public Service Commission as to who was accounting for teacher-leave accruals and who was budgeting the leave-accrual account. I am really puzzled as to the nature of the problem. Obviously, if there is the promise to expend another $1 million-plus, that is an object of some concern. The problem has not been described clearly enough, for me at least. If the Minister can get back, I would appreciate that.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I will bring back a written document for the Member clearly explaining what happened. I am not particularly happy with this either and I have asked the department to take corrective measures now, so that it will not happen this year and to clearly explain to me what has happened in the past so I can make all Members aware.
Mr. McDonald: In the context of the discussion, if the Member is going to return with a document before the mains, and he is talking about taking corrective measures, we will have understand what the problem is before we can assess the corrective measures, then we will get a better appreciation for the issues. I am glad to hear that the Member is not going to tolerate overexpenditures in any particular departmental or branch vote. I think the Member may regret the seeming finality of those words. I am always intrigued by enthusiastic newcomers to the post and I wish the Member well in his campaign.
I guess we will talk some other time about under budgeting, busing and utilities. Those are important issues but perhaps not as important as the general philosophical directions that the government wants to take, and that is where I want to spend a little bit of time. I think, given that we want to move the supplementaries through with some speed, we should try and focus our minds on a few essentials.
The Minister and his party in the last few years did not raise issues about education very often in the Legislature, particularly those with respect to the direction the education system was taking. I am regarding the discussion we are having now as the first step in filling in what is for me a blank slate.
In the past few months we have been able to glean from a few of the Ministers statements to various persons some sense of his philosophy, but we have not been able to clarify what the Minister has meant by a number of statements. I would like to ask the Minister what he meant when he went to the Chamber of Commerce and announced that, in his view, the education system in the Yukon was suffering as it had expended a lot of effort in the areas of multiculturism, physical education and lifeskills and should instead be going back to the three Rs.
I wonder if the Member could just clarify those points for us. I think that if we can get a clearer appreciation of this subject, I am sure that it will bode well for the educational review, which I am going to be asking the Minister about for a clearer understanding by the people of the governments direction.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: If there is probably one thing that I wish I could do in my political career, it would be to go back to that day and change one paragraph in that speech. It has certainly been a topic of conversation in the past few months. I guess if I were to do that all over again, I would have worded it a little differently.
Our party certainly supports the goals set out in the Education Act and has no intention of making major changes to that act. There will be an opportunity, I would think probably next spring, to bring in some amendments to the act. I have already talked to the previous Minister about that. Most of the amendments are housekeeping in nature and are concerns that have arisen after having the act in place for two or three years. Our party certainly supports the goals set out in the Education Act.
Like I said, if I could do it all over again, I would have softened that particular part of my speech. I have said that publicly, and I am saying it here again publicly today. The hope that I have for the education system in the Yukon is that the children who come out of Yukon schools and out of Yukon College can compete in the 21st century, and that they can go to any school or any university after leaving our high schools and get in with acceptable marks and grades and compete with the other students who are there. That is what I want to ensure.
Some of the highest costs per capita for education in Canada are in the Yukon. We should be receiving a quality product. I think that we can do that and that we can always be improving our system. That is the purpose of the review. It is to find out what we are doing right, and what we are not doing as well and improve those that we are not doing well. I hope that in doing that we will improve the education system as a whole.
Mr. McDonald: I thank the Minister for that. Certainly, there will be no dispute with me if he wants to improve the education system. What we mean by improving the education system may be in dispute, but we will not know until the Minister flushes out his policy statements in this respect.
We all see the dangers of clipping articles from Macleans magazine. In the past, I have been tempted and have appreciated the advice from various and sundry about not taking what sounds like a good idea and simply repeating it in public without giving some care and attention to what precisely it is that I am saying.
Can the Minister indicate whether or not he meant anything in particular about going back to the three Rs? Does he have anything else in mind? Has he formulated an opinion? I presume what he means is an approach to improve certain skill developments. Is there something that he is referring to specifically there, or does he only mean it in a general rhetorical context - background noise that one gives in a speech to the Chamber of Commerce? What does he mean by it?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I can speak as a parent, and as an Education Minister who has listened to an awful lot of parents out there who have contacted me in the last few months and talked about our education system, or written me letters about our education system. There seems to be a real concern out there about the maths, the sciences, the languages, and whether we are up to speed on those in the elementary and high school grades. Those are areas we could possibly improve upon, speaking as a parent. I think there are some areas for improvement there but I hope that, with the education review, we are going to hear about the pluses and minuses of those systems, whether we should or should not have testing, or other things such as that. When we hear from the steering committee with their recommendations, then we will be able to more clearly point out to the Members where we hope to make changes for the better in the system.
In general, I have just heard from a lot of parents and business people and others. Parents have called me up and said they have a real concern about whether that side of the ledger needs a little more emphasis. There is a lot of concern about that. Those are just issues that are raised by many parents who are out there.
Mr. McDonald: If one were to speak to any thinking parent, they would always advocate that the system should be improved - even those who are, in some respect, boosters of the way the system is working now; they would see that improvements are possible and should be pursued. What they mean by that sometimes varies from one person to the next, so, at some point, we will have to pursue the direction itself to determine whether or not what the Minister is talking about is at significant variance to the direction the system is going in now.
Recognizing that the system can always be improved, is the Minister satisfied that the performance of the Yukon education system in the maths, sciences and languages is well short of the mark and that there are significant or special efforts that must be applied in these areas?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: My own personal opinion is that we could probably do better, but I am coming from the same place the Member just spoke about: parents. Parents always think we can do better in the education system.
I would have been severely criticized on this side of the House if I had bowled my way in to the Department of Education and insisted that we make massive changes to the maths, sciences and languages in high school and elementary school without asking the public if we needed to make changes. I thought I was doing the right thing by putting together a steering group of the stakeholders in the education system. The steering group is very similar to the one that formed the Education Act itself by asking the stakeholders what they thought was right, what was wrong and how it could be fixed. If we were going to make any changes, and people always say that changes are good, I thought we should take this approach, rather than the Minister making changes alone.
I decided to go the route of the education review. As I have said in this House before, I would be very nervous about prejudging what the review would come out with. I can relate my own personal view. My child is terrible at spelling, but perhaps all grade 11 children are. I will probably get into trouble for that, because it is in Hansard now. His friends will show it to him and I will be in big trouble.
As a parent, I watch what he is doing in school. I ask him on a regular basis what his homework is like and what the work is like in school. As a parent, I have some concerns.
I have had many parents come up to me and say the same thing. My colleagues and I decided that the best way to approach this is to get the stakeholders together and let them make the recommendations. I hope, by next spring, we can come with up some positive recommendations on what we are doing right, and what we can improve upon, so that we have a good education system for the 21st century. That is all we are trying to do with this.
Mr. McDonald: I am not saying, and I do not think that I have heard anyone say, that there should not be some continuous efforts to improve the system.
Particularly in the field of education, one has to accept that there should be continual efforts at improvements. We have to be honest with ourselves, and we have to be prepared to consider the positions taken by others, who may take opposing views. The old dialectic sometimes does produce better results. I do not take issue with that, and no one has ever taken issue with that, to my knowledge.
The concern that has been expressed to me by a number of people is simply that they want to know how much those personal biases may affect the outcome. The Minister has indicated that, while he has personal feelings about these subjects, the review process will be a stakeholder-driven review. The results will be owned by those stakeholders, and they will feel confident that they can support the results - to the extent that they have achieved consensus.
The problem that some of those stakeholders have expressed - the same stakeholders that are going to be helping to drive this process - is that, in the opening comments about the education review, there seemed to be comments - particularly of the Chamber of Commerce, for example - that, had they been made in a province, they would have signalled major new directions and the potential for great controversy.
Clearly, while no one wants to read too much into what was said, they want to be reassured about the governments intentions with respect to the review, that it is not going to carry a severe bias before the review gets started and public input is received.
I think the Minister should be aware, too, that there are certain limitations to what the government can do with respect to developing a new curriculum. To make massive changes, even in one subject area in one grade, can cost a lot of money if one wants to do the job thoroughly.
I would not mind hearing the Ministers comments on that, but I wonder how ambitious the Minister feels. I do not want him to be limited by anything I have to say; I want him to spread his wings and let us see how far he goes.
Is there any document or any special evidence - other than the anecdotal concerns that he has with respect to his own childrens performances in school and those of those of various other parents - is there any research documentation that suggests that the system could be improved in a certain way, or is severely lacking. If there is such research available, we can both share it, and I can get an appreciation of where the concerns are.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The main reason for announcing the review in the first place was the concern expressed at the door during the election and prior to the election by hundreds and hundreds of parents who were concerned about the education system and whether we are meeting the grade. I think it was partly brought about by the concern being expressed all across the country, not just in the Yukon. In every province and territory in this country, people are questioning our education system, so I think that is where it began.
There are some concerns being expressed by teachers and parents and others who feel that we can do better in the system. If, when the recommendations come forward, they are minor in nature, that is fine. If they are major, that is another thing we are going to have to deal with.
The Member wanted me to talk about how we are going to implement them because they can be very costly. I would look at the recommendations made by the task force. In fact, the mandate of the task force, or steering committee, is to provide a report to me, including an analysis of the cost effectiveness of putting in the recommended changes. I would suggest to the Member that I can see some of the changes being implemented fairly quickly, and some of them may take a couple of years or maybe longer to develop and change a curriculum.
I am certainly not going to take the task force report, if I get it in February or March of this year, and implement the whole thing on September 1. That is not the plan. The plan is to listen to what the people on the task force have to say.
In the beginning, the Member talked about the concern that people have over the approach that I took, or the speech that I made, to the Chamber of Commerce in Whitehorse. For the second time today, I will tell the Member that I wish that I had worded it differently at the time. I do not think those people have much to fear. We do believe in the goals of the Education Act, and we are going to use that as our guideline. The Education Act is not under review. We are not going to change the Education Act with this particular review. We are going to look at the curriculum we have, and we are going to look at the area of mainstreaming. We hope to get some good recommendations from the key stakeholders and, over a period of time, in a cost-effective way, implement those recommendations.
I understand more every day how sensitive this issue is to people. I do not know what else I can do but to apologize for that statement that I made that day and say that I wish I had worded it differently. I have said it publicly. I have said it in the House a couple of times. I really, sincerely mean it. I am concerned about the physical and cultural areas of our education system. I want to see them maintained and, possibly in some areas, they may be enhanced, depending on what the recommendations are of the steering committee. I do not want to prejudge that particular committee.
Mr. McDonald: The Minister does not have to continue to apologize for his announcement. Let us be constructive and go past that. Think to the future. I asked the Minister whether or not there was any particular research about the Yukons education system that he knew of that would help focus peoples thoughts with respect to concerns about the education system. As the Minister - if he has not found out already - will find out very shortly, people will come at improvements from very, very different directions. While one person on one doorstep will think that certain actions can be taken that will improve the system, those actions may be diametrically opposed in terms of philosophy and in terms of theme with those that are promoted by somebody else. What I am trying to do is see whether or not there is anything so far the Minister has come across, besides the Hepner report, that might help us philosophically understand where peoples concerns are with the system, officially, at the ministerial level.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: There is some data on the B.C. exams and we are well below the B.C. average in some math and sciences. We are on or above average in English and French and communications, but with the math and sciences, we are falling behind in some areas there.
Mr. McDonald: The Minister does believe quite sincerely then that, even in considering the sample size that the Yukon represents a comparison of the departmental exams is sufficient to indicate a serious concern in math and sciences, particularly.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: That is one indication but, as the Member says, with a small sample size it is difficult to draw a final conclusion. I have had concerns expressed to me by parents.
I have been spoken to by parents whose children go off to university and have all kinds of problems in some of these areas. These are concerns that are expressed verbally or in writing. I think we should be concerned about that. We may find out in the review - because we are involving students - that the students themselves feel that there are some improvements that we can make in these areas.
Even if the review says we are fine in the area of math and sciences, I do not think the Members opposite should be afraid of that. The recommendations that come out of the report should be looked at at that time. I do not know why the Member is concerned about a review that may or may not suggest that we are doing the right thing or that we can improve the system. I do not think anyone in this House should be afraid of a review.
Mr. McDonald: Is the Minister talking to me? - to quote a phrase from Taxi. I have not indicated a fear of reviews. If I have concerns or questions about the methodology of the review or the Ministers assessment of the education system, it does not mean that I am being defensive about the system or fearful of reviews. I am simply doing what I think a reasonable critic would do and that is to try to assess what the Ministers thinking is, given the fact that we have not discussed education policy in the Legislature and that the issue is a relatively clean slate, nor have I had the opportunity to sit down and discuss education with him. These are legitimate questions and it has nothing to do with fear. It has everything to do with inquiring minds wanting to know - to recoin a corny phrase.
The fact that we have more students going to post-secondary institutions than in the past - as compared to 10 years ago - should be some kind of an indicator as to how well the students are doing.
Can the Minister provide for us some research on the number of students - as a percentage of school population - who are going through post-secondary education now as compared to 10 years ago and how many of those students, once they get to post-secondary education, proceed through those schools and preform well enough to graduate?
That might be a start. If the Minister, or his department, can think of other indicators that could help us understand how well students are doing, I would be more than happy to hear about them. I am certain that the public would be interested in that kind of information. I do not think there is a single parent in this territory who does not have some concerns about what their child is doing. I can feel very confident about the performance of my childrens teacher, the curriculum guide, the resources, the atmosphere in the schools, the learning environment, the length of the school year and busing, and still have concerns about a childs performance. It is important to have good baseline information, and that is the kind of information I am referring to. Consequently, we will be able to get a better appreciation of, at least, the direction we are going.
I can talk to all my neighbors on my street, and they may all express that they have some concerns about the education system. They could be satisfied with it and still have concerns. The concerns may be vastly different from each other. I am trying to think about the thing in a more coordinated, coherent way, so that we can understand the character of the problems better.
If the Minister can provide that information, I would appreciate it.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I will try and provide that information for the Member.
Mr. McDonald: We had a brief discussion about mainstreaming during Question Period, but I find Question Period a very difficult vehicle through which to explore some of the issues about mainstreaming. I have had some discussions with a number of people over the last few years about mainstreaming, what it means, and about what improvements may be made to make the system better.
Could I ask the Minister what his thoughts are about mainstreaming? I am not asking him to prejudge the education review, but I am asking for his position and feelings about mainstreaming and where the concerns lie.
The Minister did indicate that he had some particular concerns about children with behavioral problems being in the classroom. I have indicated that I share with him that there is a concern there, but I would like to get a more sophisticated understanding of what the Minister means by the problems in mainstreaming and what direction he sees the department taking in the next year.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: First of all, before we talk about mainstreaming, I want to assure the Member that this party supports the goal of the Education Act, which is to provide an adequate education to all children in the territory.
There have been some concerns raised by some parents and teachers about mainstreaming. I do not know how much more I can add to what I said to the Member before. Our party is asking for a review to look at the mainstreaming issue. The current policy has been in place for two or three years, and there are some areas where teachers, parents and others feel that there can be improvements. All we are asking them to do is to look at those areas where there could be improvements. They may be significant or insignificant. Again, I know that the Member does not want me to prejudge the review, and I will not do that.
I am mainly concerned about the students with behavioral problems and whether or not, in some cases, these children should be in a classroom.
There is a concern from parents that it is creating more problems than it is solving with these students in the classroom. Maybe there is another avenue that we can look at. We have to provide an education for those children. It is a very difficult thing to balance. On the other hand, we have to make sure that in providing an education for every child, we are not denying an education to others in the same classroom. I think that is a concern that some parents have.
I hope the education review can look at the suggestions that the teachers have been working on in regard to mainstreaming for some time and the concerns they have over mainstreaming. I would hope that they would be making some strong recommendations to the committee on ways to improve the mainstreaming situation that exists today.
Mr. McDonald: Of course, the Education Act does balance the collective rights of the group versus the individual rights of a particular student. Clearly, the response should not necessarily be found through a change in law, but through a change in programming. The Minister indicated that there are various alternatives that should be explored to ensure that the rights of the group, of the classroom as a whole, are not compromised by the experience of one or more children the system has difficulty controlling.
Can he indicate what some of the alternatives are that the department would be exploring now that would help the department and the Minister address the issues we have identified with respect to children with behavioural problems?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I do not think we are exploring any alternatives now. I think we have asked for a review of the system. When we get recommendations from the review committee, we will look at the recommendations and explore them to see whether or not we can make changes. I do not see any change being made in this school year. We may make minor changes, which would be recommended by the teacher and the various individuals who work with the child. I do not see any change in the policy until such time as we have some good, strong recommendations from the review committee on how to improve that system.
Mr. McDonald: Even though I think it is fair to say that there was some concern expressed about mainstreaming, and children with behavioral problems, in particular, a year or more ago - at least expressed to me by parents, and perhaps to a lesser degree by the department - there were still attempts to make some changes and to allow the schools to pursue some alternatives themselves. The specialized treatment centre was one concept that was developed. That treatment centre ended up in Jack Hulland school for a time I believe. The Member will remember time-out rooms in some of the schools, with the philosophy being that students would be removed from the classroom for short periods of time, not streamed out permanently, and given some intensive support from the department.
Those were a couple of alternatives being explored even while there was longer term thinking taking place, as were discussions with the public, the Education Council and others.
Is the Minister exploring any other alternatives or is he simply going to maintain those options or change them while we are waiting for the education review to take place.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: As I said to the Member before, I have not directed the department to make any major changes in the mainstreaming area. I suppose, as professionals, they are always looking at ways to make the system work better within the policy parameters that are set for them. We have not changed the policy as of yet. I would expect that they would continue in that mode until such a time as we have some concrete recommendations from the review committee concerning this issue.
I do not see a major change in any way, but I can see them adjusting, in a minor way, to meet the special needs of individual children and to do no more or no less than they have been doing for the last several years on the program.
I think it would be inappropriate, now that we have announced a review, to actually have them go in and make wholesale changes to the mainstreaming program prior to hearing from the review committee. That could be very disruptive and upset an awful lot of people. It could upset an awful lot of people out there. I think it would be inappropriate to do that.
Chair: The time being 5:30 p.m., I would like to call a recess until 7:30 p.m.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. We will continue with general debate on the Department of Education.
Mr. McDonald: When we left off, we were discussing policy and programming respecting special needs students. The Minister indicated that he had not directed the department with respect to any changes in policy in this area, but indicated that, as good professional public servants, they would be looking for alternatives themselves, in the absence of policy change, in terms of programming.
Could the Minister commit to providing me with some more information on the alternatives the special education branch is considering and is enacting respecting programming for the coming year?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I can assure the Member opposite that there is nothing more or nothing less going on than what was going on when he was the Minister. We have made no changes whatsoever in the policy direction we have given the people in the special needs area. There have been no changes. Other than the fact that we have announced that the review is going to take place, I have not given any instructions to those individuals to do anything different from what they have been doing over the past couple of years.
Mr. McDonald: I thought I covered that in the premise to my question, because I reiterated that the Minister had not provided any changes in policy direction. I had asked the Minister whether or not he could provide me with information that could be supplied by the department with respect to programming alternatives.
Programming is separate from policy. These are programming alternatives that they are considering implementing in the coming year in the area of special education particularly, with respect to the handling of students with behavioral problems.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: That question is more relevant to the mains. I will be more than happy to bring that back to the Member then. There has been no change to the budget that we are discussing now. I will bring back the information that the Member is seeking when we get to the mains.
Mr. McDonald: There is an enormous amount that can be discussed, both in the supplementaries and in the main estimates, with respect to a whole range of public policy in education. I am not trying to filibuster. This is a big and important subject area. We could be here a long time. I am not trying to do anything other than acquire some information. It does not have to be for the mains. It can be for after the mains. It does not matter. I would like the information. That is all.
We touched on the question of the education review and some of the reasons behind it. I do not think I got much by way of information respecting the organization of some of the input to cause the review to take place in the first place. What I would like to do now perhaps is simply ask what the status of the review is.
We have not had any announcement. It does not seem to have been finalized, even though it was my impression that we were on the verge of an announcement virtually the first week of the session. Could the Minister give me an update as to what the status is, whether the stakeholders are committed, whether or not any more information is available other than the draft terms of reference that they tabled. I would appreciate that.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I am prepared to discuss aspects of the review, if the Member wants to do that now. That is also in the mains, not in the supplementaries.
If I can, I would like to avoid going over the same ground twice. If the Member would like, I can give him a brief update of where we are at with the review. The letters have gone out to all stakeholders, asking them to submit names. I believe that several groups have submitted names - the Yukon Teachers Association, the Association of School Administrators and there is one other group that has submitted names, and the rest of the groups are considering names and will be submitting them shortly.
That is as far as it has gone, and the indications are that all groups who were asked to participate in the review will be participating. It is just a matter of their contacting other people involved in their organizations; for instance, school councils have to receive input from all school councils before they can submit names, and that is the holdup.
Mr. McDonald: So, the stakeholder groups that the Minister mentioned are committed to and satisfied with the draft terms of reference?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I have had no indication otherwise, and I have not received any response from any of the groups saying that they will not participate. As far as I know, some have indicated their participation by way of submitting names, and other groups have told us that names will be forthcoming shortly.
Mr. McDonald: Has the government received endorsement from any of the groups? I am trying to get at whether or not the reaction has been more passive than active. Are these groups endorsing the process? Do they feel comfortable about the process? Have they given the Minister encouragement?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I suppose encouragement by the way that they have not written to us to say that they are not going to participate. They have not said publicly that they think the review is wrong and disagree with it.
I think that many of the groups want to sit down with the steering committee and, once they do that, they will see that it will be driven by the stakeholders and will be their review, once it gets going.
I hope that all of the groups will participate, but I have not had any of the groups react in a strong negative fashion to the review.
If the Member is asking if any of them have written me glowing letters, saying that they are really happy with the review and that they are more than happy to participate, I do not think I have received that, either, but I am assuming that it takes time for them to respond, as with most of these things. I think that we sent out a reminder letter last week to those groups that have not responded yet to come forward and nominate their individuals for the committee.
Mr. McDonald: I am not so foolish as to expect that the Minister is receiving glowing letters of support, particularly at this stage of the game. Some letters of agreement in principle and anything of that nature would be more encouraging than a passive approach and no response. Is the process, as the Minister understands it for the whole education review, outlined in the terms of reference? What else has to be developed by the steering committee in an effort to arrive at a final report? What is going to be left to the steering committee to decide?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: We have asked the steering committee to set some of its own parameters. We have given them some broad parameters to go by; they have to focus on curriculum, to define what we are doing right or wrong and to look at the issue of mainstreaming. I have made it very clear in the letter I sent to the individuals that this is not a review of the Education Act. I would not like to see the review get into problems in fields that are already in the act; I would rather see them deal in a more focussed way with this subject rather than deal with the act itself. There may come a time in the future when we may discuss amendments to the act, but this review is more for looking at curriculum and mainstreaming.
Mr. McDonald: So the Minister is going to establish a separate process. Do I understand this correctly? The Minister is going to establish a separate consultative process for review of the Education Act. It will not be done through the vehicle of the education review committee, or whatever he calls it?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Yes, it will be a separate process. It will probably involve the same stakeholders. I would be willing to listen to suggestions from the Member opposite. He has been through the process and there is no point in my reinventing the wheel. I know that the process worked very well before. I would not like to see a review of the act that spent as much money or took as long as that review did, but I think it certainly has to be some kind of a public process with input from the stakeholders.
Some stakeholders had already made representation to the Department of Education when the Member was the Minister on suggested amendments to the act. I am not opposed to any process that sees public input into making those changes. I had hoped we could do that in the near future.
Mr. McDonald: I would like to go on to the Ministers position respecting Year 2000 curriculum initiatives that were sponsored by the B.C. Department of Education.
Can the Minister give us an update on what is happening and give us his impressions of the changes and whether he feels that they are useful for the Yukon education system?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I can get back to the Member on the status of the Curriculum 2000. In January, I believe, we sent one individual from the Department of Education out to a conference in B.C. dealing with the Curriculum 2000. That individual is the person who does most of the work on that for the department.
I will be honest with the Member about how I feel about Curriculum 2000. I have not had much time to fully grasp an understanding of the system. The main priority has been dealing with the budget in the short time we have had. Therefore, I have not spent a great deal of time examining that particular system in any way.
Mr. McDonald: I do want to talk about this, at least in a rudimentary way at some point. I will just indicate to the Minister that I would like to talk about the Curriculum 2000 - the B.C. curriculum changes. I would like to talk about the whole language and child-centred approach to education. These are education jargon terms, but the department people will know what it is I am referring to.
I would like to have a brief discussion about that in the main estimates, because it is a fairly important subject. That is one area where we did actually discuss some education issues in the Legislature. When Mr. Lang was here, he took some interest in this area.
I would like to talk briefly about the Ministers impressions of testing. He will know that other jurisdictions in the country have gone through great upheavals over this one issue, particularly as it relates to the whole language and child-centred approach to education, the Year 2000 initiative, and so on. As he knows, we have engaged in the student achievement indicators project nationwide.
How far does the Minister want to go with testing? Has he formulated any thoughts in this area, because it is a major issue for a lot of teachers and parents. If he has formulated any thoughts, I would be happy to hear them now.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: We just completed a round of national testing in the Yukon, the last week of April; I believe it was math testing for grade 9 students. I do not think we get those results until October, I understand - it is a few months before we receive those results. As for my feeling on testing, I am one who somewhat supports testing. My sense of it is that life itself is a series of tests and I do not share the thoughts some do that it creates all kinds of anxiety in children and is not a proper benchmark of where they are going or how well they are achieving their level. Someone mentioned to me a while ago that to not have testing is to hold a high jump competition without a bar; how do you ever determine how high people are jumping or what level they are reaching? I am one who does support some kind of a national test. If we have a national or provincial or interprovincial program, there should be some way to measure whether the standards are being met. I, for one, am one who does support some kind of limited testing to have some kind of benchmarks so that we can determine where the children are at any given time.
Mr. McDonald: That gives me a fair appreciation of the Ministers basic direction. I do not think there are many people who suggest that the system should not be accountable to anyone. There are, however, a variety of opinions about to what extent testing can achieve the objectives that are stated for it. If one wants to test for physical fitness, one does not necessarily have to have a javelin or a baseball bat and ball, or any other particular tool. If a person is not proficient in hitting a ball, it does not necessarily mean they are not physically fit. So one has to be very careful about what they are testing for and what the results demonstrate.
I would like to talk about that in the context of the main estimates as well because it is a fairly big issue, certainly in most jurisdictions, and it should be here.
There is another point to be made here. I notice the Minister in his remarks to the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce did draw comparisons between Canadian students and students in other countries, and seemed to show some faith in the international testing instruments that were used to make those comparisons. There is a body of opinion that believes that those testing instruments are not particularly fair, especially as the countries with whom we are competing and who seem to be high up on the scale have streamed their students quite extensively at the junior high level, whereas we do not do that as much here. Consequently, the group of students who are being tested in some of the other countries are considered to be elite in those subject areas. Consequently, the group of students that is being tested in some of the other countries are students who are considered to be the elite in those subject areas, whereas in Canada, and certainly in the Yukon, we do try not to stream students out of having any chance of academic success quite late in the public school system. One has to also be careful of the testing instruments. That is one of the reasons that the standard achievement indicators project took so long to develop.
In any case, I will not go on at great length about that. I will indicate that I am interested in that subject area. I will also be interested in the Ministers impressions of the need for teacher upgrading, particularly whether or not the Minister feels that it is desirable for teachers to keep current in their field by taking professional development courses as a condition of employment. It is no secret that that is a very controversial subject, but I am interested in the Ministers opinion. I am also going to be asking him about he Yukon native teacher education programs future.
I would also like to ask a fairly general question, but I think a very important one, and that is in regard to the degree to which the Minister supports school-based decision making and school-based budgeting - how much control for administrative decision making is going to be held within the department, and how much is going to be delegated to field personnel, or people in the classroom and administrators in the schools. I would like to get a thoughtful response on that, and a well-researched one. I do know something about the subject. I do feel that it is one of the more important ones that we should be addressing.
I am also going to be asking the Minister about the First Nations Education Commission, financial support for the Education Council, support for the school councils, and the role of the school councils. I would like to ask questions about the student-teacher ratios and the staffing formula. The Minister has indicated, quite rightly, that the growth in this budget on the operations side is largely due to the increasing number of teachers. While there is expected to be a possible drop in the student population next year, or at least a flattening out, I would like to know what steps or measures the Minister is taking to recraft the staffing formula to ensure that major new costs in this particular area are not going to be borne by the department.
I have a number of other questions. Perhaps I will go down the list by way of notice, and the Minister can prepare to his hearts content.
I would like a sense of the departments reorganization. I want to know precisely what the changes being made are, such as the planned reduction in staff for the coming year, where that reduction is taking place and how the department is being reorganized. I want to know the details.
I am going to test the Ministers and the governments commitment and obligations under the Education Act. There are a number of things that the Minister is obligated to do. I would like to touch on many of those briefly.
For example, in curriculum development, there are some projected reductions in that area, and I would like to know how the Minister feels about locally developed curriculum and the curriculum advisory committee, which is currently operative.
There are a lot of questions about special education. It has typically been one of the more controversial areas in the department. Even when the department was quite clearly meeting many public needs, special education remained controversial. I would like to talk about the energies being put there.
I would like to touch briefly on the scheduling of school years. I would like to get the Ministers impressions of what has happened in the last while and what will happen next year with respect to scheduling.
I am interested in the future of high school programming in the rural areas. There has been some discussion about wanting to tighten expenditures, whether or not that means reducing the level of programming or options available to students from rural communities - including the options of continuing on in grade 11 and 12 in some of the schools. I would like to know what the Minister has in mind.
There was a lot of discussion over the last year about grade reorganization and, in particular, the future of junior high schools. I know that there was a discussion paper drafted, and I have a number of questions about the drafting. I want to ask the Minister if he has a plain English version of that grade reorganization paper, because it takes a very experienced year in education jargon to make heads or tails of it. I would like to ask the Minister a number of questions about that paper.
I would also like to ask the Minister about the capital program and what type of consultation is going to be taking place to help establish priorities, not only with the schools that are being planned but also in the area of repairs.
I have a number of questions about the challenge, and the PASS and teen-parents programs. I would like to get the Ministers position with respect to what the educators call experiential education. A good example of this program is the ACES program, with which I know the Minister is familiar. I am a booster of that program and I would like to know the Ministers priorities.
I would like to have more information about the work experience initiatives, particularly in the rural areas - although I know one of the more dynamic programs happens to be at F. H. Collins.
I would like to ask about programming for First Nations students, particularly in the native language area. I would like to ask how the Minister is handling the issue of guaranteed representation on school councils - I know that is an ongoing issue.
I would like to know about the future of the stay-in-school program, and I also have some questions on some controversial policy issues, such as AIDS education and the distribution of condoms in the schools - we can be very brief; I think I have offended the Ministers sensibilities now.
I have a couple of questions about the support for lEcole Emilie Tremblay and the French bilateral program - some of the requests have been made by lAssociation des Franco-Yukonnais respecting French-speaking personnel in the department.
I have a lot of questions about advanced education. I also have a few more questions about the public schools; for example, the busing policy. I would like to know the Ministers position with respect to the national anthem being sung in the schools. I know that was an issue in the Legislature before - it was not an issue with me, but it was for someone else - and I would like to know the Ministers position on it.
There were some issues respecting after-school care that I will touch on very briefly.
The Educational Appeal Tribunal, I understand, is not particularly active, and I know some of the reasons why that might be the case. I would like to know the Ministers position on that. It has a potential of being a fairly significant issue in the territory.
I have a few questions that could be characterized as constituency questions, both in my constituency as well as in others. Keeksadunka School in Burwash is one. The role of some of the small schools has always been an issue - how small can a school become before the government turns off the tap? I know the Minister will know that I am a very strong supporter of even very small schools, because the population does fluctuate from year to year. I will ask the Minister his position on that subject.
There are also a number of school issues around the territory, and there are even some school issues I would like to address for Elijah Smith Elementary.
I have some questions respecting the labour force development agreement and the Yukon training strategy when we get to advanced education. We tabled the strategy, as the Minister will know, last spring. There are a number of policy issues that I would like to raise to see whether or not there is continued commitment in those areas and, if not, what alternatives are being proposed.
I would like to get an update on the literacy strategy that is being worked on by advanced education and the literacy advocacy groups, which are based, particularly, in the City of Whitehorse, as well as the strategy for delivering the program in rural areas.
Student financial assistance was a fairly big issue for some people during the election campaign. They wanted a whole lot more of the same plus a lot more, and I want to know how the Minister assessed priorities as a result of that. I will be a very interested bystander.
A college endowment lands act was to be proposed. I know that the idea caught on in some circles, and there were even proposals for expansion of the idea. I will spend some time with that.
II have some interest in wilderness guide training and Television Northern Canada. I know that the college board is discussing the future of that particular program, and I would like to know the Ministers feelings about that. There are, obviously, issues about college funding that I will raise, and the concept and status of trust funds that exist today. I would like to know the Ministers position with respect to co-op education, not only in terms of moral support, but also in terms of financial support, both at the college and high school level.
I would also like to know about research and development, particularly in the context of what the college does through the Northern Research Institute. I have a number of minor questions with regard to some of the small training programs that I know are of interest to some departments. An example is the corrections officer training - how it would be delivered, when and where.
Those are some of the areas I would like to touch on. I would like to ask whether or not all the schools are free of litter, as I know that will be close to the Ministers heart. I have a personal interest in the Education Act and regulations. I did not mention it before, but I will raise that issue. I will explain more about what I mean when we get to it. The department does have a status report on the drafting of regulations for the Education Act. They will be able to pull that for the Minister very easily, I am sure.
Those are some of the areas I will touch on. If other Members have other areas, they can express their priorities.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I thank the Member for providing that list. I was prepared to go into it tonight and answer all those questions, but I see the Member does not have the rest of his notes or is not ready for that, so I will defer it. We can wait until the main estimates, and I can come back then with all the answers to the Members questions.
I think it is very useful when the Member can provide that kind of lead time for us to get that information. I do have the answers right now for some of the questions he asks, but many of them are related to the main estimates. I can give the Member assurances that I will do all I can to have all that information available for the Member, so that, when we get to the main estimates, we can expedite them fairly quickly.
Mr. McDonald: We can leave these subjects for when I am more prepared to ask the questions. Perhaps the Minister can help me out and provide some general information about the capital program when we get to those line items, particularly which ones are revotes, whether or not we can get some general information about which items may lapse in the budget, and whether or not the Minister is aware of lapsing funds on the operations side.
Perhaps, to expedite matters, the Minister would just run down a list of the changes for each line item, and we can proceed on from there. There are only three on the operations side.
There may be other questions that other Members have. I do not know.
Chair: Are we prepared to go line by line?
On Operation and Maintenance
On Public Schools
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is approved additional salary dollars for teachers and para-professionals, as per the staffing formula, $2,104,000, and for special needs teachers, $599,000. This was approved by the previous Cabinet.
Public Schools in the amount of $2,703,000 agreed to
On Advanced Education
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This consists of approved funding for Television Northern Canada, $142,000, and a vote transfer from capital to establish four training trust funds; Yukon Tourism Industry Association, $200,000; Association of Yukon Communities, $200,000; Yukon Plumbers and Sheet Metal Workers, $120,000; and Northern Carpenters and Allied Workers, $280,000. There is a shortfall in post-secondary grants and allowances of $600,000, and the funds are required to cover a budgetary shortfall that has been chronic since 1988.
Advanced Education in the amount of $1,042,000 agreed to
On Libraries and Archives
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is an extension of 100 percent recoverable sums for the Beaufort Sea position to August 31, 1993.
Libraries and Archives in the amount of $140,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of $3,885,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On Finance and Administration
On Yukon Place Arts Centre
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is the contract for supply and installation of the sound and lighting equipment that was not substantially complete until June 1992. The 1992-93 component for this contract was approximately $500,000. The remainder of expenditures went to cover the cost of furniture, tools and equipment, and the gala opening for the Arts Centre. The majority of this funding, $547,000, had been anticipated as a revote.
Yukon Place Arts Centre in the amount of $747,000 agreed to
On Staff Support and Equipment
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This item has been identified to cover the salary costs of certain employees involved exclusively in capital works.
Mr. McDonald: As a matter of policy, can the Minister indicate what the situation is with respect to funding personnel directly in this manner? I noticed that the main estimates had not identified any money for this particular area. Perhaps the Minister can explain that.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: There was no change in this particular budget with the policy with respect to what the previous government had done.
Mr. McDonald: Maybe it is a question of degree. We seem to have moved from zero to $100,000. The policy may be the same, but we seem to have a fairly increased level of activity here. If that is the way that the government is going to do it, I presume that there would have been offsets from the capital works in each of the line items that had anticipated some charge-backs for this particular service.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I understand that there was one person allocated to that in the past. Evidently there are now two. That is why there is an increase of $100,000.
Staff Support and Equipment in the amount of $100,000 agreed to
Finance and Administration in the amount of $847,000 agreed to
On Public Schools
On Facility Construction and Maintenance
On G.A. Jeckell - Expansion/Renovation
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The original budget for this item was $600,000; $100,000 was deferred in the 1991-92 budget and requested for revote. Since revotes were never approved, we were forced to request additional funding in this supplementary.
Two additional projects for funding under this line item are a new public address system and the first phase of a new security system. Both of these projects were of an emergency nature. The current year actual expenditures for this line item are anticipated to be the following: school addition, $501,000; public address system, $23,600; security system, $6,100; totalling $530,700. Our projected lapse is approximately $10,000.
G.A. Jeckell - Expansion/Renovation in the amount of $40,000 agreed to
On Granger - Construct Elementary School
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The final construction cost and the cost of equipping the school were substantially higher than the current year vote. The anticipated revote, $1,988,000, would have covered the majority of the overexpenditure.
The major portion of the overrun came in the area of furniture, equipment and program materials for a total of $582,000 spent, and this is approximately $150,000 more than budgeted.
Although the paperwork had not changed hands at the time of this writing, we anticipate approximately $100,000 of our commitment to Government Services to cover the construction of the school will not be expended between the 1992-93 year. This will lower our projected overrun, previously noted, to approximately $2,150,000.
A significant amount of artwork was included in the project. The hanging mobiles were $15,000, the carving was $10,000 and a painting was $2,000.
The project budget was $8,864,000, and the anticipated final costs of this project is $9,172,600, for a total projected cost overrun of $308,600.
Mr. McDonald: I would like the Minister to provide a legislative return on this project and to outline not only the projections as they were originally issued in the main estimates budgets, but also the projections as they evolved over time.
Finally, I would like a breakdown of the construction price between the general contractor and other contractors who may have been working on the site. I would also like a breakdown of the costs associated with equipment on this project and the projected overruns, as well as the total cost.
If the Minister could provide that information in a legislative return, I would appreciate that.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The Member will note that almost all of this particular project was completed under the previous government before the new government came into power in November. There was information that was available when that Member was the Minister. However, I will ask my department to pull together all that information and make it available to him.
Mr. McDonald: The point of the question, first of all, is that there have been some grand claims made about the cost overruns in this particular area, making it seem as if this is the first of a kind and that a project like this would never sully the hands of a Progressive Conservative government. I know that not to be the case. I would like the information laid out with some precision. I would like some sense of the costs. The final tally was not available for me when I was Minister of Education because the project was still under construction. I would like the information. I think it would be useful for us.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I will make that available for the Member. I was under the impression that he could have had that information. I apologize to him is he does not have it and I will make sure that he gets a legislative return.
Granger - Construct Elementary School in the amount of $2,250,000 agreed to
On Mayo Community School
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This project was delayed last year. It was not done. As a result, there are no current expenditures on this line item.
Mr. McDonald: The project did not go ahead largely because the community could not get the scope of the project under control before the detailed design work was scheduled to be done. Obviously, at some point the decision was made not to go ahead with the project, period.
Can the Minister indicate whether or not this project is in the official capital plan at all at this stage and, if so, for when?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I do not have the mains in front of me, but I do believe there are some funds in the capital expenditure line to do some work on the roof this year.
Mr. McDonald: In the course of the period under review, some decision was made about the future of the J.V. Clark School, in terms of its replacement. Can the Minister indicate whether or not the replacement of the school - not just the roof repair - figures at all in the capital plan?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It is still in the overall capital plan, but it has been delayed.
Mr. McDonald: I do not know if there is a line item in the main estimates but, when we get to capital expenditures in Education in the main estimates, can the Minister indicate when, in the capital plan, the replacement of the J.V. Clark School is slated?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I can do that.
Mr. Joe: Can the Minister tell me what the $500,000 is being used for?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: These were funds that would have been used for planning.
Mr. Joe: I would like to know where that money went. What is it being used for?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The money lapses and goes back into the overall budget of the Department of Education.
Mayo Community School in the amount of an underexpenditure of $500,000 agreed to
On F.H. Collins Upgrade
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is for a number of planned projects that came in substantially over budget. There was a seminar room and school store that was budgeted at $20,000 and came in at $48,000. There was a physics lab that was budgeted at $20,000 and came in at $55,000. There was a wheelchair ramp that was budgeted at $7,000, and it came in at $12,000. The cost overruns in the first two projects resulted from a general lack of definition in the original project scope and a substantial increase in the scope of each project. Appropriate approvals of the changes were granted in each case. The lab project just simply came in over budget.
Mr. McDonald: That accounts for $150,000 of the $200,000. Is the $150,000 a revote, or is that a brand-new project?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I was not quite finished; I thought I was. A number of unplanned projects were completed under this line item. They were generally of an emergency nature and were not foreseeable. There was computer replacement from a theft for $54,680. There was a security system installed as a result of the theft that was $9,590. There was a re-keying of the entire school for $8,000 and, in the 1991-92 project, the installation of new basketball backboards was completed so late that approximately 75 percent of the costs had to be carried over to 1992-93. These costs were not anticipated when the allotment for this line item was set up. The basketball backboards cost $28,748. The total of these three cost overruns is, in anticipated costs, $169,018. All of these overruns were approved under the previous government.
F.H. Collins Upgrade in the amount of $150,000 agreed to
On Watson Lake Secondary - Upgrade/Expansion
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The total cost of the new school, playing field, track and furnishings were less than what was allowed for in the mains.
Watson Lake Secondary - Upgrade/Expansion in the amount of an underexpenditure of $200,000 agreed to
On Grounds Improvement
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The cost and number of projects came in higher than anticipated, which included the F.H. Collins soccer field and track and the Whitehorse Elementary big toy. The cost of the miscellaneous repairs to the playground equipment and other grounds-related expenses were higher than anticipated. With regard to the F.H. Collins track and field project, the original contribution to the project by Education was to have been $25,000. As the project scope crystallized and the budget got larger, Education agreed to increase its commitment to $37,500 to match the contribution from CDF. A later problem with the design required a significant widening of the leveled area of the field, which entailed a substantial increase in the earth works. Education absorbed one-half of the subsequent increase of $7,500. Educations other expense pertaining to this project included design cost, at $2,500, and the installation of the irrigation hydrant, at a cost of $8,800. The departments total cost pertaining to this project was $56,300. Both the track and field are anticipated to be complete by mid-June of 1993; however, it is not recommended that the field be used until 1994. All of these expenditures were approved by the previous government.
Grounds Improvement in the amount of $66,000 agreed to
On Install Computer Labs
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The cost of installing and equipping the computer lab at Christ the King Elementary was higher than anticipated. In past years much of the carpentry and electrical in the computer labs was carried out by Education staff - which has been at a very low cost. With the loss of these personnel to Government Services it has become necessary to tender all lab work conventionally, which has led to significantly higher capital cost. Due to budget restraints, it has been difficult to effect an increase in this line item to cover these higher costs. The response has been to absorb the overrun from other sources.
Install Computer Labs in the amount of $15,000 agreed to
On Gymnasium Floor Upgrading
Hon. Mr. Phillips: When the old floor was ripped up in the F. H. Collins gym it was discovered that the floor support structure was badly deteriorated in spots and needed upgrading. The cost overrun of $72,000 was caused by this situation.
Gymnasium Floor Upgrading in the amount of $72,000 agreed to
On Miscellaneous School Facilities Alterations
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The majority of the cost expenditure can be tied to two projects: LEcole Emile Tremblay portable classrooms and the Takhini Elementary School portable classroom relocation. The former cost approximately $70,000 more than the expected budget of $180,000. The latter cost approximately $63,000 more than the estimated $100,000. This was principally due to a last-minute change, which saw one of the units shipped to Pelly Crossing.
This change in school program was made to accommodate the new grade 12 program at Pelly school. Takhini Elementary School no longer needed the portable, due to a reduction in attendance resulting in the transfer of students to Elijah Smith Elementary. The remainder of the overexpenditure is comprised of small overruns in a number of projects, and the inclusion of several emergency projects.
The principal reason for the cost overrun regarding the EET portables was the tight time frame resulting from the indecision over the ultimate location of the portables. By the time the final decision was made, it had become necessary to pull out all stops to get the work done in a reasonably timely fashion. Factors contributing to the high costs were difficult delivery schedules imposed on the portable manufacturer. His costs reflected this schedule. The site work involved in the project was split from the supply of the portable in order to speed up the project. This no doubt increased the total cost. One of the rooms in the trailer was a science lab with special nail work and other fittings. Two separate washrooms had to be provided in the portable. The sewer and water connections for the portable were much more complex and expensive than first budgeted. All these items were approved by the previous government.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps I could ask the Minister a question. In a general sense, we are going down the whole list of projects that have been tendered. I would like to ask the Minister why his department is having so many problems in estimating the costs of the capital projects. Why are they so underestimated?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: That is the very question that I asked the department when I looked at all these areas of cost overruns. I think the Member can see by my explanation that in some cases it was an unfortunate circumstance, like the gym floor at F.H. Collins; no one could foresee that when the gym floor was torn up, the boards underneath it would be rotten. That is something that cost extra money. There were possibly some untimely decisions made, and decisions not being made, that lead to the added cost of various projects. By going through this now, I hope to explain to the Member the reasons that I have been given for the cost overruns.
I would not say that we are never going to have any cost overruns again, but I have certainly asked the department to be much more vigilant in keeping track of these kinds of matters so that they do not get out of hand, as they appeared to have gotten out of hand this year.
Mrs. Firth: This is my point - if the department and even the Minister do not know what the problems are, why does the department have such a bad track record at doing estimates? They do not know what the problem is, except for some rotten boards under a gym floor that they did not anticipate, because that is really the only example that starts bordering on something they could not predict. Every answer the Minister has given regarding cost overruns seems to come back to the fact that the department has no ability to estimate these particular projects. We cannot keep having the department just coming back and asking for more money. If we already know that the department is having horrendous problems with estimating the cost of capital projects, what is the Minister doing to see that this does not happen with future projects? What direction is he giving and what concrete steps is he taking to see that this bad habit is broken?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It is not just a problem of the Department of Education, because the Department of Education works a lot with Government Services in its estimates, as well. I will admit freely to the Member that it is a serious problem, but the message we sent to the department is that we are not going to tolerate huge supplementaries. So, the department is going to have to try and live within its means. They will have to sharpen their pencils and be a little more accurate in their estimating in the future. I hope they have clearly got that message, because there just will not be approval for some of these projects if they keep getting out of hand the way they are.
Mrs. Firth: That sounds great in theory. It sounds great to say to the department that their track record has been abysmal, you are not going to tolerate this in the future, and do not let it happen again, but it is like telling a kid that you will not tolerate misbehaviour any more. There has to be some identification of the problem, and that problem has to be addressed.
Obviously, the Department of Education, and perhaps the Department of Government Services, has some problems estimating capital projects. I identified that as a concern in the supplementary budget. I brought it forward. The Minister of Justice said they had recognized, as a government, that was a big problem with several government departments. So, it is fine for the Ministers to say to the government departments that they are not going to tolerate this any more, but there has to be some identification of the problem. Where is the problem? Do they not have people with the proper skills to do it? Are they just not doing it accurately enough? What is the problem?
If the problem is not identified, it cannot be corrected by just telling them you are not going to tolerate this any more and you will not be identifying money for it.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: There is no one single answer to cost overruns. Not every cost overrun is attributable to the same thing. There are many different reasons why we have cost overruns. One of the tasks I have asked the new deputy minister to do is to get a handle on this underestimating of the budget. That is something he is doing right now, and we are looking at reviewing our procedures to find out where we are going wrong, but I cannot stand over the department with a big stick. I can ask the department to try and be more accurate in their projections.
I am as frustrated as the Member across the floor is. I sat on that side of the House for seven years and watched it happen. Now, I am on this side of the House, and faced with trying to defend it.
During the past seven months, we have been trying to get a handle on it. I have asked the deputy minister to look into the problem and see if there is a better way we can do it, so that our estimates are more accurate.
I can only hope that, this time next year, I will not have a whole pile of projects that are over budget. I cannot give the Member any more assurances than that, other than that I hope we have tighter budget controls on projects this year and most of the projects will come in more on budget. If they do not, I will have to give the Member reasons for the overexpenditure at that time. I am going to do my best to bring it in in a more reasonable fashion than was done in the past.
Mrs. Firth: I am not frustrated with it. I am trying to figure out where the government is going and how they are going to make things operate more efficiently and effectively, as the Minister is saying.
The problem has been identified that the department cannot accurately estimate the cost of capital projects. The Minister has said that his deputy minister is looking at the problem. What exactly is he doing, and how is he looking at it? He has to be doing something specific. I would like to see what the government is going to do to try to tidy this up.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The deputy minister is going through the department and looking at programs where overexpenditures occurred and looking at the reasons why. Then, he will come back to me with recommendations on how we can implement measures to prevent this from happening in future. Until I get the recommendations, I cannot tell you what they will be.
The deputy minister is looking at the department now. Most of the people in the department in the last four or five months were preoccupied with putting the budget together. They now have the opportunity to look at these types of things and get more control over the budget, and that is what they are trying to do.
The previous government - as you can see by the list of projects that have run over for various reasons - did not have a very good handle on that. We are trying to get a better handle on it.
I do not think that anyone would ever claim that we will have every single project come in on budget or under budget, but that certainly is a goal that one should strive to meet.
Mrs. Firth: I would like to ask the Minister if, after this review is completed by the deputy minister and the recommendations come forward to him, will he provide me with a copy of those recommendations?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: That is an internal document, and I do not know if I am prepared to give that information to the Member. However, I can tell the Member that if she has concerns about why the department is over budget and has some suggestions, I would be happy to listen to her suggestions on what measures she feels that we could implement that would help get a handle on this situation.
Mrs. Firth: I cannot make any suggestions unless I see the recommendations. I am not going to do the deputy ministers review for him.
I want to know what the deputy minister identifies as problems within the department. The Minister said that they are going to do a review. When he gets recommendations from the deputy minister, I want to know if he would make those available to us. I have identified as a shortfall in the government the difficulty with correctly estimating capital projects.
I want to know what the government is doing about that and how they propose to do the estimates on how they are going to be efficient and more cost effective. I do not know why the recommendations would be any big secret or a document that we would not be able to have access to. I would just like to get some idea from the Minister when that will be available and whether or not I could have a copy of it. I am quite prepared to look at the suggestions or recommendations, and offer some as well.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: When we get the recommendations and implement the measures that will see more or tighter controls put on the estimating to make it more accurate and when I get the recommendations from the deputy minister, I would be more than happy to tell the Member opposite what we have done to get a handle on more accurate cost estimates for the department of Education and its projects. I would be more than happy to do that.
Mr. McDonald: I would like to see those recommendations, as well. I am becoming increasingly interested in this subject, based on some of the comments the Member opposite has made just now, and the broad swipes that he has taken. He has made criticisms about not only the department, but also of the previous government.
I think the Minister is going to have to have virtually a perfect record next year. He has led us to believe that there was gross mismanagement in the department and has suggested that now that he is in charge, things will be a whole lot better. He is going to have one hell of a tough critic now in me. I will be expecting it to be a whole lot better - perhaps not perfect - but a whole lot better.
I would ask the Minister not to try to defend these estimates. As a defender, he has put the poorest possible spin anyone could put on any one of these projects. I am certain that he has done that for a particular reason. Even from my shaky memory of these projects, I could put up a better spirit of defence than the Minister has. I would not want him to think that he has won the good fight and has to come in and suffer the slings and arrows of all the tough questions in the Legislature. As defences go, it is pathetic.
The Minister has indicated that there are a variety of different reasons for many of these projects for what he terms cost overruns. He has been very loose with the term cost overruns. He has not identified the revotes. As a matter of fact, he has only identified two of the line items so far that show any revotes at all.
I understood the situation to be different, but I will ask some general questions about the total revotes when we get to the end of the list.
Clearly, some of the projects that are here show some increases over what was originally estimated, and he has also shown some projects that show a cost increase because of unforeseen circumstances. Yet, there are also some projects that are here because they are revotes. These revotes are as a result of expenditures that could not take place in the previous fiscal year but have to be incurred in the 1992-93 fiscal year. There are at least three different categories, and I would like to ask the Minister to separate all these capital expenditures into the three categories so we can get a better impression of where the problems lie.
With respect to some poor estimates by the department, some of the projects the Minister has mentioned are a result of estimates that would have been given to it by Government Services. Some of the projects are small in nature and would have been estimated by the department officials themselves. Of the projects with overruns that the Minister has referred to, which projects were estimated by Government Services and which were estimated by the Department of Education? That will help us with a slightly more spirited defence of the estimates, it will also give us a better understanding of where the problems are. I do not want to get carried away with political rhetoric about creating a problem for wanting to solve it. I want to find out precisely where the problem areas are. I will be interested to see the new measures that the Minister has taken to resolve this problem.
I would point out that when the estimates are developed, they are developed fully 12 or 14 months before the expected delivery. Student populations change in that period. The demographics change from school to school, and consequently, in some cases the department does not even know where the changes are going to take place until such time as the students show up at school. Some of those problems cannot be overcome unless the department is perfectly clairvoyant about what is going to happen 14 months in advance.
On a more friendly note, I would encourage the Minister not to make claims about making massive reforms that are going to produce wonderful results - like the Minister of Justice, who suggested at one point there would not be any change orders at the hospital because he was making sure it was being planned so carefully. I think somebody set him straight in a real hurry.
We could not believe our good fortune when we heard that claim. We could only hope that that particular Minister would be around a year from now, so that we could talk to him about his perfect record.
I would like to ask the Minister when we get to the end of the list, how much of the total is revotes?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I know that the former Minister of Education is quite sensitive about this area, and so he should be. It is an awful lot of money to be revoting. It is an awful lot of money in overexpenditures. I would be sensitive, too. He came to the defence, a moment ago, of some of those expenditures. I would wish for a brief, fleeting moment, as short as it might be, that he might be over here defending this budget. It is not my budget, it is his budget that I am trying to defend.
If I am not adequately defending the budget to his standards, I apologize for that. This is the job that I have received as a result of the October 19 election. It is the job that I have to do. I know that there are a lot of overexpenditures here. Most of them are the previous governments doing. I cannot change that now. It is too late to do that now.
The Member also talked about coming in next year with a perfect record. I do not expect that for a moment. What I am hoping to do here is get some tighter or better controls on various items, so that we do not have the underestimating or the overexpending on them. Now, I am not guaranteeing that it will happen. It is a difficult thing to do. The Member for Faro laughs, but maybe one of the things that he does not know is that government is a pretty big machine. It would take a pretty good person to have total control and have every single item come in under budget. I would hope that we could do that. I am not overly optimistic that it will happen. I would hope that we would be a little more accurate in our estimates, and a little more accurate in our expenditures in the next year.
Chair: Is it the wish of the Committee to take a brief recess?
We will recess briefly.
Chair: I will call Committee back to order.
Mr. McDonald: I would like to reciprocate the Ministers sentiment with respect to his desire for one fleeting moment for me to be on that side of the Legislature so that I could defend the estimates. I know that I could do a much better job, but I would like to reciprocate that by saying that for one fleeting moment I actually hope that the Minister is in his position next year, so that we can question him on the results of his statements that he would not tolerate overexpenditures in the department.
I would ask him to be more careful about characterizing some of the items that are revotes as overexpenditures, because that is not what they are at all. I did ask the Minister a question with respect to what constitutes lapsed dollars, how much of each item is lapsing, and which ones are revotes. The last one that he mentioned was Granger elementary school, showing a portion of that to be a revote. From then on, we are down to Miscellaneous School Facilities Alterations. I can take it from his comments that there are no revotes in F.H.Collins, or in grounds improvements, or the installation of computer labs or gymnasium floor upgrading. In this particular item, there are no revotes.
Did he expect any of these items to lapse?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I will have to bring that information back, if the Member wants lapsed funds on a project-by-project basis.
Mr. McDonald: Perhaps he could bring it back before the main estimates.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I will do that.
Miscellaneous School Facilities Alterations in the amount of $268,000 agreed to
On St. Elias Community School - Upgrade
St. Elias Community School - Upgrade in the amount of an underexpenditure of $25,000 agreed to
On New Catholic School
New Catholic School in the amount of an underexpenditure of $550,000 agreed to
On New Urban Elementary - Riverdale
Mr. McDonald: This item is the Grey Mountain Primary School. Can the Minister indicate how far along by the end of the fiscal year the planning was? What stage of design was the school at?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The design was almost complete and, with a little more work this year, it could go to tender very shortly.
Mr. McDonald: How far from tender-ready specifications are we? If the department was to have sufficient resources for this sort of project, how soon would they be ready for tender-ready specifications?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I would have to get back to the Member on that. I would not know that status right now.
Mr. McDonald: Okay, I will expect that information later.
New Urban Elementary - Riverdale in the amount of an underexpenditure of $85,000 agreed to
On Capital Maintenance Repairs
Capital Maintenance Repairs in the amount of $110,000 agreed to
On Air Quality
Air Quality in the amount of an underexpenditure of $20,000 agreed to
On North Highway School
North Highway School in the amount of $1,185,000 agreed to
On Teacherage Furnishings
Teacherage Furnishings in the amount of $3,000 agreed to
On Building Maintenance
Building Maintenance in the amount of $560,000 agreed to
On Instructional Equipment
On Public Schools Miscellaneous Equipment
Public Schools Miscellaneous Equipment in the amount of $15,000 agreed to
On Instructional Computers
Instructional Computers in the amount of $27,000 agreed to
On Special Education
Special Education in the amount of an underexpenditure of $7,000 agreed to
On French Language Facilities and Equipment
On Materials - French Language Program
Mr. McDonald: The reduction of $10,000 would not mean much except that this is 100 percent of the line item. Could the Minister indicate what the reason for that reduction is?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: As a result of the expenditure restraint program imposed by the department this section eliminated all purchases in this department.
Materials - French Language Program in the amount of an underexpenditure of $10,000 agreed to
Public Schools in the amount of $3,364,000 agreed to
On Advanced Education
On Yukon College
Yukon College in the amount of $232,000 agreed to
On Yukon College Community Campus - Construction
Mr. McDonald: Can the Minister indicate what this expenditure is for?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This was to complete the Old Crow community campus.
Yukon College Community Campus - Construction in the amount of $255,000 agreed to
On Yukon Place - Landscaping and Commissioning
Yukon Place - Landscaping and Commissioning in the amount of an underexpenditure of $127,000 agreed to
On College Residence Contribution
College Residence Contribution in the amount of $150,000 agreed to
Advanced Education in the amount of $510,000 agreed to
On Libraries and Archives
On Library Facilities
On Community Library Development
Mr. McDonald: Could the Minister please explain this expenditure?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This line was used to cover the cost of furniture and materials for the newly renovated Whitehorse Public Library. These items were never identified in the Whitehorse Public Library development project. It was understood that the required funds would be found elsewhere within Libraries and Archives overall budget. It was not put in the original plan, so they had to find it elsewhere.
Mr. McDonald: Was all $219,000 for library furnishings?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It was to include the cost of the furniture and materials to the newly renovated public library. There were some materials, as well as the cost of the furniture.
Mr. McDonald: Maybe the Minister could give us a breakdown of the $219,000. It does not seem right that it would be this expensive. Perhaps the Minister could just give us a breakdown.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I will bring that back.
Community Library Development in the amount of $219,000 agreed to
On Whitehorse Library Development
Whitehorse Library Development in the amount of an underexpenditure of $19,000 agreed to
On Library Equipment
On Audio Visual Equipment
Audio Visual Equipment in the amount of an underexpenditure of $19,000 agreed to
On Technical Services Equipment
Technical Services Equipment in the amount of $22,000 agreed to
On Archival Facilities
Archives Facilities in the amount of $12,000 agreed to
On Archives Equipment
On Display Preparation and Maintenance
Display Preparation and Maintenance in the amount of $5,000 agreed to
Libraries and Archives in the amount of $220,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures in the amount of $4,941,000 agree to
Mr. McDonald: I would ask the Minister for a total amount of lapsing funds that he expects will take place in the capital vote, and the total amount of revotes from the previous year that contribute to the supplementary vote here. Does the Minister have those figures and total in front of him? Can he give us an indication of what they are?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The total capital revote is $5,740,000, less $800,000 for the training trust funds, I believe. That results in a figure of $4,940,000.
Mr. McDonald: I do not understand that explanation. In fact, it has made it more confusing for me, because the trust funds are listed as an operation and maintenance expenditure, not as a capital expenditure. Can the Minister indicate what part of the $4,941,000 is a revote? How many dollars are revotes?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The $800,000 was transferred out of the capital to the O&M. The revote is $4,940,000.
Mr. McDonald: I do not think so. It cannot be that way, because the Minister has indicated there are least some overexpenditures. Let me make this clear: I am talking about expenditures from the previous fiscal year, the year immediately previous to 1992-93, that were not undertaken but rolled over into this year. Those votes are called revotes. I want to know what portion of the $4,941,000 is technically considered to be revotes.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I am not really clear on this. I will have the department do up a legislative return for the Member, and I will bring it to him in the next couple of days.
Mr. McDonald: The $800,000 in trust funds are voted here as an operation and maintenance expenditure. Were they, at some point, coded in the capital vote?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I will get back to the Member on that.
Mr. McDonald: The information that I would like from the Member is simply this: of the total capital supplementary vote, I want to know how much of those monies, by line item and total, are characterized as a revote? It is a very simple thing, I know Finance has the information and that one could get it with a proper request. What I want to know, precisely, is how much money rolled over into the last fiscal year and how much money was projected to lapse for the capital vote in its entirety.
The Minister mentioned a couple of line items, but then stopped giving me information on that subject, back up around the G. A. Jeckell - Expansion/Renovation. I would like to know how much money is expected to lapse in the capital vote.
Could the Minister provide that information along with the revote information?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Yes, I will try to provide that information for the Member.
On Capital Recoveries
On Yukon Arts Centre
Yukon Arts Centre in the amount of $250,000 agreed to
Department of Education agreed to
Department of Finance
Chair: Is there any general debate in the Finance department?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The Department of Finance is not requesting any new funds and is projecting a lapse of $65,000 in O&M spending.
The variance is largely a result of vacancies within the department and the deliberate policy of keeping vacant positions empty as long as operational requirements permit it.
The variance would have been larger except for the fact that the department has had to bear the cost of the Burns Fry study of Curraghs finances.
Although this report is cost-shared with Canada, the contract was let by our government and the total cost is being voted in the department.
Members will note that an additional $65,000 in recoveries is also being projected by Finance. This represents a portion of the studys cost that will be collected by the federal government.
There is little else that needs to be said about the department at this time, but I am prepared to answer questions that the Members may have.
Mr. McDonald: I do not have a lot of questions of the Minister with respect to the Finance estimate. I have a couple of brief comments, but I am going to be reserving questions in the Finance area for the main estimates general debate. There is probably more flexibility and more room for action there than there is in the Finance supplementaries per se.
I will be asking some general questions, however, in the main estimates with respect to some wrap-up questions about the supplementary. I would like to get those on the record now.
What I would particularly like to know is what proportion of the capital budget itself constitutes revotes. I would like to ask if the Minister could give me the assurance that he will provide that information for us in the main estimates. I know that is awkward, but if we do not discuss it in the main estimates, we will have to discuss it right here, right now.
I would also like to get some information on when we can expect to receive the final year-end accounts of the government for the supplementaries and what the process is for determining those year-end accounts - not that it has to be in the precision of the Auditor-General - but when we can get some general sense of the total required amounts for the supplementaries.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: We will get that information for the Member when we get into the main estimates, if that is agreeable with him.
Mr. McDonald: That is. We can have a discussion about all of that there. I realize that some of it poaches on supplementary turf, but I think that I will be fair to the Minister and give him notice.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Treasury in the amount of an underexpenditure of $65,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of an underexpenditure of $65,000 agreed to
Department of Finance agreed to
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I move that you 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, Second Appropriation Act, 1992-93, and directed me to report progress on it.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Ms. Joe: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Member for Whitehorse Centre that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.
The House adjourned at 9:25 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled on May 3, 1993:
Government of the Yukon Annual Report, 1991-92 (Ostashek)
Agreement reached to move bison off the Alaska Highway (Brewster)
The following Legislative Returns were tabled May 3, 1993:
Liquor licence fee increases reflected in the 1993-94 Main Estimates (Ostashek)
Oral, Hansard, p. 484
Policy and Intergovernmental Relations Officer, Executive Council Office: justification of position, salary range (Ostashek)
Oral, Hansard, p. 736
Government-financed travel between November 9, 1992, and March 31, 1993, by Department showing a breakdown by category of official: Ministers, Deputy Ministers, political staff, other Yukon Government officials and representatives (Ostashek)
Written Question No. 7, dated April 6, 1993, by Mr. McDonald
Outside travel costs for Community and Transportation Services for November 10, 1992, to March 31, 1993, compared to April 1, 1992, to November 9, 1992 (Fisher)
Discussion, Hansard, p. 571
Business Development Fund, Community Development Fund and the Economic Development Agreement: amounts allocated, jobs created by funded businesses or projects, monitoring of businesses to determine the operational status of the business and employment situation (Devries)
Written Question No. 12, dated April 15, 1993, by Mr. Cable