Thursday, May 20, 1993 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will begin with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Mr. Penikett: Under introduction of visitors, I would like to congratulate Anne Williams, on the birth of her baby, Macmillan Donald Potter. Anne had her baby last Friday evening, and we should all marvel at the fact that she was back to work in the Hansard Office on Monday.
Mr. Cable: I would like to introduce the Mayor of Inuvik, Paul Komaromi. Mr. Komaromi was scheduled to be here yesterday but ran into heavy weather.
Speaker: Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have two legislative returns and a news release for tabling.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I have a legislative return.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I have for tabling a report on social assistance and a readers guide of the same.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I have a letter for tabling.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Introduction of Bills.
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Are there any Notices of Motion?
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Social assistance reform initiatives
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I rise today to inform this House of the reform initiatives that this government is taking to address the dramatically increasing costs of the social assistance program.
Since 1989-90, the expenditures for social assistance have risen from $2,841,000 to about $9 million. The number of people assisted by the social assistance program has gone from 1,797 to a projected 5,220 individuals in 1992-93. Not only has the volume of social assistance cases increased, but the length of time that people remain on social assistance is also increasing.
The report on social assistance, tabled in the Legislature, analyzes in detail the nature of this problem in the Yukon. This report provides valuable insights into understanding the recent social assistance trend and identifies areas where changes are possible that will have a positive impact upon this program.
Both of these trends are disturbing, and while these trends are being experienced in every jurisdiction across Canada, the solutions needed to curb these trends must be developed and implemented here in the Yukon. That is what this government has undertaken in a vigorous manner.
Over the next few months, I will be announcing numerous changes to the social assistance program that will increase efficiencies, increase employability and reduce peoples dependency on social assistance as a form of income support. To guide these changes, this government has taken the necessary step of examining what this program is about and what we want the program to do. This government has agreed upon a statement of purpose and a framework within which these changes will occur.
Simply put, this government views the purpose of the social assistance program to be: one, to provide adequate assistance to meet the basic needs of those in need; two, to help people achieve self-sufficiency; and, three, to provide responsive and caring services while respecting the dignity of individuals.
This government has also developed principles and goals that will further define the parameters within which changes and reforms to the social assistance program will take place.
Today, I am pleased to outline some of the immediate changes to the social assistance program that this government is undertaking. In cooperation with the federal government, the Yukon government Departments of Health and Social Services and Education will be initiating new programs and services to enhance the employability of social assistance recipients.
We are nearing a final agreement which provides matching funds between the Yukon and federal governments and will assist in increasing skills, training and job experience for people caught in the cycle of dependency on welfare. This new programming will help those individuals overcome barriers to employment and increase their ability to enter the labour market.
Close scrutiny of the social assistance program has revealed that substantial costs related to the unemployment insurance program have been offloaded by the federal government onto Yukon taxpayers. To remedy this situation, administrative systems are being put in place, pursuant to further agreements with the federal government, which will ensure that social assistance advances are automatically offset by UI benefits when they become available. Other arrangements that promote cooperation between the federal and territorial government programs are also being pursued.
In addition to these major cooperative efforts, work is underway to increase incentives for social assistance recipients to earn income while receiving benefits. We will also be exploring new and effective services for our clients that will assist integration into the workforce and provide opportunities that promote independence and self-sufficiency.
These are a few of the major reform initiatives this government is immediately taking to address weaknesses in our social assistance program. Over the next several months these and other reforms will be announced as details are finalized. The social assistance program provides a valuable and necessary service when it is required by persons in need. These reforms will assist in getting this program back on track and providing the service for which it was originally designed.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Ms. Moorcroft: I appreciate the opportunity to respond to the Minister of Health and Social Services statement on social assistance reform. I understand the problems faced by the Minister as his colleagues in Ottawa shift some of the responsibility for the unemployed from the Unemployment Insurance Commission to the Yukon social assistance program, as the made-in-Yukon recession continues under the policies adopted by this government.
I might point out that the disturbing trend toward more social assistance cases and the increased length of time on assistance are disturbing to the individuals who are affected, not only to the government attempting to respond to them. I have no argument with the purposes that the Minister expresses for the social assistance program, so long as he can assure me that adequate assistance means income assistance, which assures that people have the ability to secure adequate nutrition and safe housing.
The Minister and his government must also recognize that achieving self-sufficiency requires not only training and counselling to help people become more employable, but also jobs for people to do and adequate, affordable child care to allow people to leave the home to work. Perhaps the Minister could tell me exactly what his department is doing in order to get the people on social assistance back to work?
I am delighted to hear that we are nearing a final agreement with the federal government, which will help provide training to overcome barriers to employment. I would like to caution the Minister that some of my colleagues, when they were in government, found that there could be many a slip twixt cup and lip in negotiations on this program.
I wish the Minister better luck than we had in finalizing the agreement, since I believe it would be a very useful program.
In regard to the possibility of social assistance advances being automatically offset by UI benefits, I am curious about how this will work and concerned that, if social assistance advances are deducted all at once, recipients may still find themselves in need if their entire unemployment insurance cheque goes to the Yukon government.
I find it interesting that the Minister expresses concern about the Yukon government facing rising social assistance costs due to the federal unemployment insurance program. Under the federal Tory government, the UI program has been gutted. Workers who quit or are fired will no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits. Workers should not be denied their rightful insurance benefits as a means of forcing them to take low-paying or part-time jobs with poor working conditions. In December, I tabled a motion that, in the opinion of this House, the proposed federal government amendments to the Unemployment Insurance Act will cause undue hardship to working people in the Yukon. These changes were made by the federal government invoking closure and we are already reaping the results.
I hope, now that the Minister realizes that job losses and cuts to the federal unemployment program costs Yukon taxpayers in increased social assistance costs, that this government will protest those unemployment insurance cutbacks.
I look forward to reading the report on social assistance, which his office was apparently unable to provide to the critic in advance; and I will be looking with interest to see the specifics of the changes proposed by the Minister over the next few months.
I want to assure him that I will be speaking up on every occasion to represent the interests of those who are forced to resort to social assistance.
In closing, the major reform initiatives in the ministerial statement are not very clear to me from this statement. Could the Minister tell us, in plain English, how he is going to reduce what he described as a social assistance spending program that is out of control?
Mr. Cable: Skyrocketing social assistance means the government not only needs solid social policy, but it also needs solid economic policy; to date, this is not evident. I look forward to the debate on the Ministers portion of the budget to explore the various changes that he is contemplating in the social assistance program and the principles and goals referred to in his statement and how these changes in principles and goals mesh with the minimum standards set out under the Canada assistance plan.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I thank both Members opposite for their generally supportive statements. They both raise some good points and questions, and I know that I will be asked about details in the weeks to come and in the next session as well.
Speaker: This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Social assistance, child support payment deductions from
Ms. Moorcroft: I have a question for the Minister of Health and Social Services about social assistance. The Yukon News reported a story about a young single mother of two children, on social assistance. She received child support from the childrens father and it was deducted from her monthly social assistance cheque, which ensures that woman and her children continue to live in poverty. An appeal of this decision will be heard in June.
During the election, Yukon Party candidates said they would not allow child support to be deducted from social assistance. Will the Minister take the necessary steps to allow child support as a non-deductible income for the purposes of social assistance before this case comes to appeal?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I am aware of the issue, of course, and of the case in question. The issue of whether or not maintenance payments should be deducted and taken into account is a fairly technical one and one that is under review by the department. The issue is technical because it has to do with the CAP payments from the federal government and what their policy is with respect to their support of social assistance in each jurisdiction in Canada, so I do not have an answer at this time for the Member.
Ms. Moorcroft: I have a question in response to that; it is not a very technical question. Perhaps the Minister can answer it. Can the independent Minister tell me why the Yukon Party spouted one policy during the election and are now acting on another?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The Member has quoted, in a partial way, from the four-year plan. Her statement is not an accurate statement, and I suggest that she look at the four-year plan and read it out as it is contained in that document.
Ms. Moorcroft: It seems that the independent Minister is trying to backtrack on what the Yukon Party platform was during the election, and I suppose we should not be too surprised by that.
I believe this is discrimination based on gender and marital status. Has the Minister considered that the actions of the department may be in contravention of the Human Rights Act?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Well of course, and we are aware that there is a pending lawsuit on that very issue, so we will be watching the progress of that lawsuit with great interest.
Question re: Vocational rehabilitation services
Ms. Moorcroft: I have a question for the Minister of Health and Social Services concerning vocational rehabilitation. Vocational rehabilitation is a social services program that helps clients with disabilities live independently, develop essential lifeskills and find jobs. Vocational rehabilitation has recently dumped some of its most vulnerable clients - people who have been treated in institutions for psychiatric illness and are trying to re-enter our communities as contributing members. These clients have been told that, due to budget cuts, they can no longer receive service.
My question for the Minister is: recoveries for vocational rehabilitation in the O&M budget have remained constant this year. Why are these people being dropped from the program?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I will have to take that question under advisement and get back to the Member.
Ms. Moorcroft: What does the Minister suggest that these people do without a psychiatrist in the Yukon and with all the other counselling services, like the Yukon Family Services Association, suffering from cutbacks and five- to six-month waiting lists?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The situation has not changed very much since her party was in power, as the Member well knows. On the one hand, the side opposite loves to criticize us for having to raise taxes and criticizes us for spending too much; then, the next day, they stand in their place and say we should pay more and more and more into each and every program that the government offers. I wish that the side opposite, and that party in particular, would get its act together and decide exactly what its priorities are and what it is recommending to government.
Ms. Moorcroft: I beg to differ with those comments, if that is not argumentative on my part, Mr. Speaker. The situation has changed.
Clients who have been treated in institutions for psychiatric illness have been dumped from the vocational rehabilitation program. Why is it that this government continues to burden the most disadvantaged people with the most difficulties?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The services and the programs being offered at this time are funded at least to the level they were when the Members government was in power.
The lineup and delays in obtaining counselling services in places like Yukon Family Services has not changed very much in the last six months.
Question re: Wolf control progam
Mr. Cable: I have a question for the Minister of Renewable Resources on the wolf management plan.
Yesterday, the Minister tabled a letter from the Council for Yukon Indians to the government, in which the Council for Yukon Indians outlines First Nation concerns with the proposed wolf conservation and management plan.
The Minister has advised that the letter was passed along to the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board for review, as CYI suggested.
Could the Minister tell the House if the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board has dealt with the matter and when he expects to hear from the board on this issue?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I do not think that they have dealt with the matter yet, but it should be coming up in June when they hold their next meeting.
Mr. Cable: In the CYI letter to the Minister, the chair suggested that the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Board should assess the plan and incorporate the First Nations concerns and return the plan to the CYI leadership and the Yukon government for approval.
Given what appears to be obvious friction between the government and the board, can the Minister assure this House that the boards recommendations will be given full consideration?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes.
Mr. Cable: That is fairly definitive.
In the letter of March 18 from the CYI to the Minister, there is reference to a meeting to be held on March 26; could the Minister advise the House of the outcome of that meeting with respect to the wolf management plan?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That letter was sent to us on March 18. Surely, he does not think that in eight days government would get it to a committee - that fast. They were dealing particularly with the regulations for game hunting and such things that we are now having some problems with so that they can get them in the licences for the fall. This will undoubtedly come up in their next agenda, which will be in June.
Question re: Maintenance payments, collection
Mr. Penikett: The longstanding problem of custodial parents successfully and consistently collecting maintenance payments for children has been difficult and financially straining for many people in my constituency. Other jurisdictions in the country have initiated quick collection methods of enforcing maintenance payments. I would like to ask the Minister of Health and Social Services if he has had occasion to consider this problem since entering office, and exactly what he plans to ensure that custodial parents pay their fair share of maintenance?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: We have certainly been reviewing the program in Justice. I am advised that our success ratio in Yukon ranks among the highest in Canada. There has been some upgrading required and introduced by way of computers and things such as that. I think that the people in that program are doing an excellent job.
Mr. Penikett: The Minister may well be right, but unfortunately a 60- or 70-percent success rate is not good enough for the people who are not receiving those payments. On behalf of my constituents who are in that group, I would like to ask if the Minister will be looking at ways to improve maintenance payments collection in this territory in order to ensure that all custodial parents are not in a position where they are forced away unnecessarily to collect child support.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I am sure it was a priority of the previous government and it remains a priority of this government to ensure that we do the best job possible. As the Member well knows, one of the largest difficulties has to do with those who are supposed to pay maintenance payments leaving the jurisdiction, and having to track them down and collect monies from them.
Mr. Penikett: One of the things the previous government was considering was automatic registration of court decisions with respect to those payments, allowing them to be deducted by employers. Another area that has been controversial is the question of federal tax legislation, which is unfair because support payments are taxable for the recipient but deductible by the payor. I ask the Minister: will the government commit to lobbying the federal government for tax reform to ensure that single parents are not further penalized through the income tax system?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I will have to take that under review and bring back an answer to the Member.
Question re: Playcare Centre
Ms. Joe: I have a follow-up question to the Minister responsible for Education, regarding the downtown Playcare Centre. Many parents have either written or phoned Members and our caucus regarding the Playcare Centre downtown. On April 26, the Minister responsible for Health and Social Services said that he would talk to the people from the centre about the use of the old St. Elias School. On May 5, the Minister for Education, in response to a question from the Member for Riverside, said that those talks are ongoing.
I would like to ask the Minister responsible for Education if any decision has been made in regard to that building?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Yes, a decision has been made with respect to that building and arrangements are being made now to work out an agreement with the Playcare association to take over the facility.
Ms. Joe: I understand that the building is in need of repairs and that there possibly needs to be some upgrading before they can use it for their purpose and that the Minister has indicated that he had no money in his department for that purpose. I would like to ask the Minister responsible for Community and Transportation Services whether or not money in the community development fund could be available for that purpose.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Maybe I can answer that question instead. The indication we have received from the Playcare association is that they are going to fund the upgrading of that facility and I suppose, like any other organization, they could probably apply to the community development fund for funding for it - I do not see any reason why they could not.
Ms. Joe: I know that they can apply for funding from that program, but I was asking whether or not the funding in that program would meet the criteria for upgrading that facility.
Hon. Mr. Devries: As far as CDF funding for that project, it would fit within the program guidelines, but the final decision would have to be made by the board. I am not sure in what area our priorities will be.
Question re: Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, recommendations
Mr. Harding: According to the Fish and Wildlife Management Board, government biologists told the board that they strongly recommended that there be no moose hunting in the Aishihik area since numbers were the second lowest in the territory. I would like to ask the Minister this: who told the Minister that it would not matter if 10 permits for moose were issued?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: If he will read the information we just gave him, which of course he did not have time to do, it explains that there is not an emergency in that area; therefore, taking one percent would not bother them.
While I am on my feet, I would like to point out that in 1987 the Hon. Dave Porter did exactly the same thing as I did in zone 7. He closed it because one years notice was not given and also because of the economic factors.
Mr. Harding: I do not know if the Minister realizes it yet, but he is now in government; he is now responsible for Renewable Resources - no one else.
Yesterday the Minister said, I went with the recommendations of the people in the rural communities. The killing of the Taga Ku proves that the Minister does not listen to the Champagne/Aishihik Band; what people in rural communities did he talk to?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is all in the information we give in the press release.
Mr. Harding: Maybe the Minister does not realize that we are Members elected by the people to ask questions. Perhaps he could communicate with us in Question Period, as is the tradition of this House.
Both the Chief of the Champagne-Aishihik Band and the Fish and Wildlife Management Board member from that area have indicated that they strongly support a ban on moose hunting in the Aishihik area. What people - I will ask him again - provided him with the advice that he followed?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: My officials in the Department of Renewable Resources.
Question re: Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, recommendations
Mr. Harding: This is really amazing, because the board says one thing and the Minister says another. Somehow we have a major communication problem.
I heard on the radio today the Minister accusing the board of playing politics because they were speaking openly to the public. The board has said that the previous government encouraged the board to make things known to the public. Why is the Minister now trying to muzzle the Fish and Wildlife Management Board?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am not trying to muzzle the board at all. The agreement under the umbrella final agreement is that they have 30 days in which to bring back their recommendations.
I also know that there are members on this board who have never seen these, because they were not passed on by the chairman of the board.
Mr. Harding: I do not why there should be an appeal; the Yukon Party promised to implement the recommendations as is.
The Minister has said that the board is playing politics. He has publicly berated and insulted this board.
The previous government encouraged the board to make things public. Why is the Minister now muzzling the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am not muzzling the board. I thought that, out of common courtesy, they would bring back their arguments. They had 30 days in which to do this, and they have not done that.
Mr. Harding: Maybe the board does not know who they are dealing with - the straight-shooting Member for Kluane when he was in Opposition, or the flip-flopping flounder who is now the Minister.
What we have now -.
Speaker: Order please. To the Government House Leader, my calling the House to order applies to him also.
I do not want the Member to get into name calling, and I would ask him to continue his question.
Mr. Harding: My apologies to the Minister, but I am trying to get a handle on his position and he keeps flip-flopping around.
The previous government made it a point to encourage the board to make public comments, whether they were critical or supportive. Since the Minister has referred to the board members as King Tuts and said that they are pushing the government around and has accused them of playing politics, what is he trying to hide and why is he muzzling the board?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am not trying to muzzle the board; I never have. For the first time in their history, they meet with me one day every month, together with CYI. We sit down and talk any time they want, and I have met with the chair several times.
I am doing my best to cooperate, and I think if they would have sent the recommendations back, or at least notified the rest of the members of that board, then we may not have been in this position.
Question re: Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, recommendations
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister of Renewable Resources has suggested that he has some kind of obligation to outfitters to give them a long period of notice if changes are proposed to harvest regulations in their areas. Is it the Ministers position that his obligation to outfitters should take precedence over his legal responsibility and commitments under the Yukon land claim agreement, and the Yukon Act, to manage Yukon wildlife to ensure their conservation?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have two commitments: number one is to try to help the economic situation in the Yukon, which is not good right now; the other one is to manage and look after game. I have been assured by biologists, who have 14 to 20 years of experience here, that taking one percent of the animals will not harm the situation.
Ms. Moorcroft: We have correspondence here from the Minister acknowledging the relatively low abundance of moose populations in the area as a cause for concern, in May of this year. Is the policy of the Minister responsible for wildlife management that the economic interests of outfitters are superior to the conservation interests of the wildlife that the Minister is charged with managing?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There has been agreement for years and years up here that you will give one years notice before you stop the outfitters. I can refer back to Dave Porter, who in 1987 did exactly the same thing as I have done, because possibly we could otherwise end up in court. There are several lawyers around here; why do you not ask them?
Ms. Moorcroft: My questions are for the Minister of Renewable Resources. Biologists indicated to the Fish and Wildlife Management Board that moose in the Aishihik area are almost as threatened as the caribou in that area and that continued hunting will threaten the survival of the local population. I would also point out to the Minister that, in 1991, outfitters were served notice about the concern over the declining moose. Since caribou hunting in the area was banned without affected outfitters enjoying a long period of notice, why is the Minister not prepared to do the same to protect the moose population?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Number one, the caribou was an emergency situation, which everybody accepted. With the moose, the people in my department tell me that it is not an emergency and that one percent will not hurt for this year. I have also pointed out to you that we have made it plain to the outfitters that if things do not improve, moose will be closed off completely next year.
Question re: Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, recommendations
Mr. Penikett: As I understand it, the mandate of the Fish and Wildlife Management Board, in both the Yukon Wildlife Act and in the land claims agreement, is designed to limit the authority of the Minister and to allow the board to publicly articulate its advice to the Minister.
I would like to ask the Minister if, as a matter of policy, the Minister shares this understanding of the boards role?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, I do, except that I think, out of courtesy, when you gives recommendations to them, and they have 30 days to get them back to you, that they would at least come back to you and the CYI before they go to the press.
Mr. Penikett: The Yukon land claim agreement, ratified by this Legislature and the Ministers government, now makes co-management and conservation of wildlife the primary responsibility of our administration and, indeed, Parliament will make it a constitutional obligation.
I want to ask the Minister this: for the record, is the Minister prepared to honour the trust placed in him by this land claim legislation and to respectfully consider all of the Fish and Wildlife Management Boards recommendations?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I did respectfully consider all recommendations; however, I would like to point out that chapter 16 of the umbrella agreement makes it very plain that the Minister and the government has the final say.
Mr. Penikett: The agreement, which I know well, also makes it a requirement that the Minister must listen to the advice before making a decision and effective management of wildlife, under the Yukon land claims agreement, depends upon cooperative working relationships between the Minister and the Fish and Wildlife Management Board. Now, I do not know if the Minister believes that personal attacks on the board or its chair will help foster cooperative wildlife management but I would like to ask him: what steps he will be taking to avoid such public battles in the future about the recommendations of the board?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have made three attempts, at three different meetings, and we are meeting again on June 4 with the CYI representative and with the Fish and Wildlife Management Board.
Question re: Canadas Yukon booklet
Mr. Cable: I have a question for the Minister of Tourism. This week, the Minister tabled a document, a booklet entitled Canadas Yukon: Your Guide to the Road Not Taken. Will the Minister inform the House what the purpose of the booklet is and to whom it was to be distributed?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: That publication is the newest publication that has been done by our agency, McKim Baker Lovick, and it is in response to surveys they did on attracting the adventure travel market type of people. They have done extensive marketing in the types of people who do that kind of travelling and the type of thing they like to see in brochures and booklets. The booklet was modelled after that and, in fact, the response to that particular campaign has been 50 percent above our expectations - that is quite overwhelming. In fact, they told me a couple of weeks ago we had over 2,000 enquiries in one day for that particular ad campaign. There are several ad slicks from major magazines that go with it, if the Member would like to see those as well.
Mr. Cable: Would it be fair to say that one of the purposes of preparing the booklet, presumably with Yukon taxpayers dollars, would be the promotion of the Yukon-based tourist industry?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Yes, that would be real fair to say. That is the reason we prepare tourism literature - so that we can attract people to Yukon. In fact, as I said earlier, we did a survey to find out what type of people like adventure type travel; we found out what types of magazines they read; we advertised in those kinds of magazines and we are getting a tremendous response. It will be the end of the year before we find out how many of these people actually do travel to the territory. Right now, the indications are very positive that a great many of them will come here.
Mr. Cable: Perhaps I can encourage the Minister to go through some of these ads. There appear to be a number of ads put in by Atlin tourist operators, which, of course, is a B.C. business area, and one from Minnesota. Could the Minister review with his officials whether these ads are promoting Yukon-based industry, Atlin- or perhaps Minnesota-based industry?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I would be willing to sit down with the Member and talk to him about some of those ads, but many of the Atlin-based tour operators work out of Whitehorse, their people have to come through Whitehorse, they spend time in Whitehorse, they work with other tour groups and individuals when they come through here and, when they put packages together, they actually work together in various programs. That was probably the reason for those particular ads being in that magazine.
Question re: Infrastructure funding from the federal government
Mrs. Firth: I have some policy questions for the Minister responsible for Economic Development.
I have had an opportunity to read a document called the Yukon Resource Infrastructure Initiative, Becoming Self-Sufficient Through Infrastructure-Driven Investment in the Yukon. The document is dated April 16, 1993.
This is essentially a new program that is being announced. It is a $10 million grant/loan program, predominantly for the mining industry for transportation, energy and mining development activities.
I would like to ask the Minister if this document is a reflection and statement of government policy?
Hon. Mr. Devries: That particular document is still in draft form. While it was given to Mr. Siddon and some of his colleagues, it also has confidential stamped all over it. That is not the completed document as far as the policy goes.
Mrs. Firth: The document has one confidential stamp; it does not have confidential stamped all over it. It does not say draft anywhere on it.
I want to know from the Minister if this $10 million grant program, predominantly for the mining industry, is a statement of government policy?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, the document is being used in policy development, but it is strictly a draft document. It lays out the direction of government policy, but it is not government policy.
Mrs. Firth: Why did the Minister send this to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, if it is not a statement of government policy?
What was the purpose of sending this to the Minister?
Hon. Mr. Devries: This was the best that we had available when the Minister visited the Yukon for the infrastructure meeting - the joint meeting between the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, and that is the reason the document was given to the Minister at that time.
The Minister was aware that it was a draft document for discussion and negotiation purposes.
Question re: Infrastructure funding from the federal government
Mrs. Firth: My question is to the same Minister about the same document. Do I understand correctly what the Minister is saying? This document does not really mean anything; it is not a statement of government policy; it is some hastily, shoddily, quickly-prepared document to give to the Minister when he was here, because the government had nothing else to give him. Is that what this document is?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, that is not true. It is basically the direction in which Economic Development wants to go, but it is not necessarily the final text. If the Member has some problems with what is in there, she should bring them forward.
Mrs. Firth: I am simply trying to assess what the governments policy is and what this government stands for - whether they are conservatives, whether they are socialists, where they are coming from. The principle of this document is that there is going to be a $10 million grant/loan program for, predominantly, the mining industry. Is it the position of this government that they are going to have a $10 million grant program for the mining industry?
Hon. Mr. Devries: As the Member knows from discussions that we have had here, it is basically geared toward infrastructure. Some of that money could go into the Campbell Highway, or the Top of the World Highway or the Freegold Road or the Casino Trail. I would not call that a grant/loan program for the mining industry. I would say it is an infrastructure development program for the development of the Yukon.
Mrs. Firth: In the document it says that this policy, which is a draft policy that was pulled together very quickly, will have an emphasis on the mining industry. I am simply trying to assess what the governments policy is. Am I accurate in saying that the policy of this government is that they are going to have a $10 million grant/loan program for infrastructure development with an emphasis on the mining industry?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, the emphasis is on the mining industry. The funding, which is still under negotiation, has to be matched by YTG. If there is $5 million spent by the feds on something, $5 million of YTG money has to go into it.
Question re: Infrastructure funding from the federal government
Mrs. Firth: My question is to the same Minister, regarding the same topic. This paper very clearly says $10 million annually. I would like to ask the Minister where the $10 million annually is going to come from to pay for this grant program?
Hon. Mr. Devries: As I indicated earlier, that is a draft document. The final negotiations have not been concluded yet. Basically, we have been assured that we will get $10 million from the federal government. That is basically where it is at right now.
Mrs. Firth: This is the $10 million that is going to pay for about four different projects so far.
If the Minister cannot tell us how much money he is going to have - we know he is going to have some money - perhaps he could answer some questions about the details. Can he tell us who is going to hand this money out - whatever amount it is going to be? Who is going to make the decision about who gets the money and who is going to hand it out?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Those matters are still under negotiation and I am not prepared to answer now.
Mrs. Firth: This document was given to the Minister of Northern Affairs. We have established now that there is some slim glimmer of government policy. Who is the Minister negotiating with, what is he negotiating, and could he say who is going to hand the money out, because that will be a decision this government will be making?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It is a draft. It is being negotiated with the Minister of Transport in Ottawa. The finer details are still under negotiation.
Question re: Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, recommendations
Mr. Harding: The resource councils in the umbrella final agreement are based on cooperative resource management, especially our wildlife. I would like to ask the Minister of Renewable Resources how he can expect the Champagne/Aishihik First Nation to keep volunteering to put aside subsistence hunting rights when he gives out permits to outfitters and residents?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I believe subsistence hunting is still going on in the area for moose.
Mr. Harding: There is a member of the Fish and Wildlife Management Board and counsellor for Champagne/Aishihik who is extremely concerned about that, and they have made efforts to encourage the band to voluntarily limit their harvest of ungulates in the area. But the Minister is inconsistent in that request, because he is now saying that even though moose numbers are low he will continue to issue permits and to ignore the recommendation of the Fish and Wildlife Management Board. How can the Minister expect the Champagne/Aishihik First Nation to cooperate when he overrules the advice of the Fish and Wildlife Management Board?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That is one of the hard decisions I had to make, and I have made it.
Mr. Harding: I have researched what the Minister used to say about this when he was in Opposition and he has changed more than 360 degrees, if that is possible.
The Champagne/Aishihik Band has agreed to voluntarily curtail ungulate harvests in that area, to protect the populations. How can the Minister expect them to continue to do that when he betrays the spirit and intent of that move by the band and continues to offer permits for residents and outfitters?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: My understanding is that the band only agreed to curtail hunting of caribou.
Question re: Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, recommendations
Mr. Harding: I am extremely concerned about what is going to happen in the future to these resource councils and the spirit and intent of the umbrella final agreement.
We have seen potentially irreparable damage done to the board and to the spirit and intent of the agreement. How does the Minister propose to remedy this terrible situation?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Number one, I would like to point out that it has been done before. The Hon. Dave Porter and the Hon. Art Webster both turned down a recommendation to implement a bounty for wolves. Also in 1992, he turned down several recommendations and turned down the wolf management program.
I do not think that I have done any worse than any other Minister in this department. We are trying to walk down the middle. I am not trying to criticize either one of those Ministers, but we are doing the best we can to keep economics going and healthy game populations for the people.
Mr. Harding: On the wolf kill issue, the former Member of the Opposition got up and sanctimoniously disrobed the previous Minister for betraying one recommendation. Now the Minister proves that he cares more about politics than critters, and I think this is very bad.
How will the Minister attempt to remedy this damage to the relationship and to the spirit and the intent of the umbrella final agreement and the relationship with the Fish and Wildlife Management Board?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I will do as I have always done. I will talk to them and try to get them to understand the situation that I am in, and I will try to understand their situation.
The world has to go around and if the controls had been implemented many years ago, as they should have been, we would not be in this position right now.
Mr. Harding: I find this very interesting coming from the Minister who says that he could continue to offer permits because the moose population is not in an emergency situation yet.
Is the Minister going to wait until we have an emergency in the moose numbers before he acts and does something sensible and respects the spirit and intent of the umbrella final agreement?
There was no walking down the middle when the Minister was in Opposition.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have worked very closely with my fish and wildlife management people and I have a great deal of respect for them. They have a good deal of experience and they tell me that the eight moose that we will take out of there will not do any harm.
Speaker: Time for Question Period has now elapsed.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will call Committee of the Whole to order.
We are debating Bill No. 6, Department of Economic Development.
Bill No. 6 - First Appropriation Act, 1993-94 - continued
Department of Economic Development - continued
Mr. Penikett: First of all, I understand that the Member opposite and the Minister may have felt that we were being mean to him last night and that perhaps he was being repaid for the some of the negativity expressed by him and his colleagues when they were in Opposition. I want to emphasize that that is not the case and I want to say that I am sorry if he has suffered any grievance under our questions.
I want to try and explain to him some of our perceptions about what is going on and ask him for a minute to listen to me - he clearly was not doing that yesterday; he was alleging that I was saying things that I had not said at all - and try to see if he can see things for a moment from my point of view. I will try in a non-combative way to articulate some of the incredible frustration and anger that my constituents are now expressing toward this government.
We have seen the unemployment rate double since the new government came into office. In fact, we have seen the unemployment rate - contrary to what the Minister said last night - go up every month. We have seen Faro shut down and stay shut. We have seen Sa Dena Hes close with no immediate prospect of it opening. We have seen the most appalling situation in respect to the Faro contingency plan, where, from the point of view of people in the community, nothing of consequence has happened to deal with their situation, the crisis that they face as individuals and families and indeed as a community.
We have an increasing number of layoffs in Whitehorse, contrary to what the Government Leader said and the Minister of Economic Development said. We have a situation where every day we have small business people - not traditionally supporters of the New Democratic Party - phoning us and saying, For Gods sake, is someone going to do something? I am having to lay off more people at a time when I am normally hiring. At the same time, we have taxes going up, power bills going up, phone bills going up and fees and services increases promised.
What they see is that absolutely nothing is being done. They see no leadership. They see no effort from the government to consult. They see that, as far as they know, the Council on the Economy and the Environment has not been assembled. There has not been any kind of formal public review of the economic strategy. There has been no crisis management. There has been no consensus building.
There has been no real consultation with anybody. There has been no new policy, only a couple of documents - which the Minister said today were in draft form - about very expensive infrastructure initiatives to facilitate very uncertain projects, many of which are quite a long way in the future. I want to ask the Minister - who is a reasonable person - what would he have me do as a representative of my constituents?
What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to ignore the situation? Am I supposed to moderate the feelings, which they feel, of anger and frustration so that I suffocate every bit of emotion that people are feeling about this into perfectly neutral, anemic enquiries? I really do not know. If the economy was okay, if it was ticking along, if it was a normal situation, we could perhaps afford to be not doing much, taking our time being involved in very careful deliberations about new policy directions, but that is not the situation.
This community, which has a very narrowly based economy, is sliding irrevocably into a recession. That is not a political statement; that is an argument borne out by the numbers - economic data - and supported by anecdotal information from every quarter in this community.
I would argue, as a result of, in part, decisions of this government, we have no Faro mine, no Grum stripping program, no Taga Ku, no hospital construction this year and, in the Ministers own words, no major policy initiative. He described the April 16 Yukon version of the Yukon Resource Infrastructure Initiative document today, as the best available.
He also described it as draft policy, and that is fairly disturbing in and of itself because here we have a situation where the Government of Yukon - a government of which I would like to be proud, at least when I go outside our borders - has provided a first draft of a very shoddy document on the same subject, infrastructure, to Mr. Mazankowski - something that I think is very unprofessional. Then they apparently provided a second draft of this document, somewhat improved but still a very dubious statement, economically, and one that I genuinely believe is completely contrary to the principles expressed in the economic strategy and the conservation strategy; they provided that second draft to Mr. Siddon. They did not, in any sense of accountability, because this House was sitting then, provide copies here. In fact, they labelled it confidential, gave it to a federal Minister, and now they tell us it is only in draft. I have a genuinely deep concern about who is going to get the third draft.
My colleagues and I are, this afternoon, going to ask more questions about this strategy, which is premised on $10 million additional expenditures. We assumed this was an extra $10 million the government was going to find internally but, according to the Ministers statement today, it is premised on the $10 million they are hoping to get from the Minister of Transport - $10 million, which, according to announcements by the Ministers colleagues, has already been spent several times. In any case, we thought this funding was conditional on matching money from YTG and, further, we thought it was a one-time expenditure. Yet, this document seems to indicate, on some projects, expenditures in the order of magnitude of $100 million - and there are many of them. There are multi-year expenditures of many times the $10 million amount talked about here.
This document, as the Member for Riverdale South indicated today, seems to imply $10 million each year, but we understand that what is promised or indicated from the federal government is only a one-time contribution of $10 million; indeed, the Minister for Community and Transportation Services stated something the other day that we all believe, and that is that he will believe it when he sees it.
Today, during Question Period, the Minister also indicated that he was negotiating a policy direction, as he called it, with the federal Minister. That troubles me deeply, because we have an economic strategy right now that was negotiated with anyone in the Yukon who wanted to participate in the process. That was the way the previous government operated and we now have a policy direction that has not being negotiated with Members of this Legislature, or people of the Yukon, but with a federal Minister.
I do not want to be any of the things that the Minister was accusing me of last night. I do not want to be condescending, insulting, aggressive or offensive, but I want the Minister to help me. Tell me something that makes sense to the people who are unemployed. We had people in our office this morning screaming at us because they have no jobs.
Tell me something the Minister is doing to create jobs in 1993 in the Yukon Territory; I think that is what the Ministers job is and that is what the budget before us should be designed to do.
Tell us something about his diversification initiatives that are going to see this economy substantially diversified in the 1990s.
Finally, I would respectfully request - we have asked this now for the third time - if the Minister could table the written information for the House that he indicated he would table yesterday and some time before that.
Hon. Mr. Devries: First I would like to cover the questions from Question Period. I got side-tracked a little bit. Is that the document that the Members have been waving around as a draft document, which is geared toward the Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document. Is that the one that they are waving around? That is what I want to be certain of first.
Mr. Penikett: Just on a point of order, the document seems to be a direct descendent of the previous Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document, which has been much discussed in this House. It seems to be an evolved form of that document. It is entitled Yukon Resource Infrastructure Initiative: Becoming Self-Sufficient Through Infrastructure-Driven Investment in the Yukon, Yukon Government, April 16, 1993.
Hon. Mr. Devries: Basically, that document was developed after we were in Yellowknife. Mr. Siddon had asked for some northern vision from the government. This was basically a draft. It does not have Cabinet approval as a final text, or anything like that. It has Cabinet approval as a draft.
When I spoke about the $10 million, this document was used as a tool to present to Mr. Siddon, who acted on our behalf to get this $10 million from the Minister of Transport, as anounced by the Hon. Mr. Mazankowski back in January. It was very successful in doing that. Regardless of whether the Members tend to criticize the two documents, it has been successful in getting the $10 million. We are now in the final stages of negotiating how we are going to get the $10 million. Once that is completed, we would start the consultation process on the various projects that are mentioned in it.
On the economic issue, I, myself, am very disturbed by the higher unemployment numbers. I have members of my own family in Watson Lake who are caught in this situation, too, but that does not make it any more serious because it affects my own family. I have been in this situation myself several times in the Watson Lake area. The magnitude of the layoffs that are created by the Curragh shutdown are very difficult to address by a government with the limited funding we have to come up with substitute jobs, et cetera. It is certainly essential that we come up with these make-work projects to employ some people, but there is no chance that we will ever be able to employ the full 1,000 or so people who have been laid off as a result of Curragh.
As the Members on the side opposite very well know but tend to disagree, we have been working very hard to attempt to resolve the matter of the Grum stripping. I know we have been criticized for it but we have been doing everything we possibly can to see something develop there.
I feel the company did have to prove its financial viability and it is hoped that it is in the process of doing that now. The fact that the Government Leader is in Korea speaks to the fact that we are hoping something will develop.
Meanwhile, if the company proves viable, this government still has a commitment for the stripping of the Grum, provided we are certain that it is going to lead to the long-term viability of the mine and provided that we have some way of getting repaid for this investment.
Another initiative that we have taken - and we have mentioned it again and again - is that we have a substantial capital budget and there are somewhere in the neighbourhood of 700 potential jobs associated with this capital budget.
I do not want to go into great detail. Part of the hospital has been set back a few months so possibly 50 of the jobs that we anticipated for this year will not be going ahead, but that still leaves approximately 650 jobs.
In the short term, there are many of these projects that are going to go forward, but another unanticipated problem that we have run into is the Kwanlin Dun Band claim, which has set back some projects that were planned there. This exacerbated what I feel is already a serious situation.
We are hoping to have several meetings on various topics during the month of June. A brain-storming session will be held. I hope that next week I will be able to provide the Members with conclusive positions on the one or two make-work projects in Faro.
Every time we come up with a project it seems like there is all kinds of red tape that we have to overcome in order to be able to go ahead with the project. Some of the projects could not have gone ahead two or three weeks ago because we had to wait for the ground to thaw and other things like that. Part of it was due to weather, but we are very fortunate that it is an early spring, and I hope that we can get something going by the middle of next month.
Mr. Penikett: The Minister still has not indicated what he is going to do about the written information. I was promised certain written replies back when we were doing the supplementaries. Yesterday, the Minister said we would have it yesterday morning; by yesterday afternoon he said we would have it last night; last night he said we would have it today and I would like to see the written responses if I could.
Let me ask the Minister to explain something to us about the process that he is describing in the Yukon Resource Infrastructure Initiative, because we have never seen quite the like of it before in this Legislature.
First of all, the $10 million was announced in January in a press release from the Government Leader. Following that announcement, I pointed out that was extremely unusual, because usually when there is an agreement about money, whether it is a grant or contribution, there is a carefully negotiated announcement or communication by the federal government and the territorial government, and it is issued as a joint announcement from both the governments. That was not the case here.
We asked questions about that and we were told it was not final, it was in negotiations. We asked questions about whether the money was a one-time contribution or an annual contribution and the water has been muddied on that question today. We asked if it were required to match the $10 million and I think the Minister of Community and Transportation Services seemed to confirm that that was his impression. We have had at least a half dozen announcements, in passing, over the last several weeks about where different Ministers saw that money being spent.
This document lists several hundred million dollars worth of potential infrastructure expenditures and the Minister has told us today that this is the basis for negotiations and that it was given to Mr. Siddon in April with that in mind.
What I do not understand is how we could have an agreement from Mr. Mazankowski in January to give us $10 million - and have no joint announcement from the federal government - yet Mr. Siddon would require a document that the Minister says is only in draft in April to begin negotiations. We have subsequently heard, I think, Jean Corbeil, the Minister of Transport, give some indication about the terms for the money for the North west Territories and we have had some doubt expressed by the Minister Community and Transportation Services about whether we will get the money.
Could the Minister explain something about the process; we really do not understand what is going on here.
Are we talking about a grant? Are we talking about a contribution? Are we talking about matching funds? Are we talking about conditional funding? If it is going for anything other than transportation, why is it coming from the Minister of Transport? If it is going for transportation - that is, mainly roads - why is it so unlike all the negotiations that my party has experienced with the federal government about transport agreements over the last few years? Could the Minister just explain something about that for us?
Hon. Mr. Devries: First of all, the Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document is geared toward assistance for much more than that $10 million. You would not call it an installment because the only thing that we have been assured of is the $10 million, which brings with it the condition that we come up with matching funds for the various projects it is used for. Again, much of it is under negotiation so I am not really in a position to talk in any great detail about that. If we can leave the $10 million at that for now, I would prefer to do that.
To get back to the Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document, the majority of the projects in there are mining projects that have been known about for a considerable number of years, and the transportation infrastructure that would lead to the development of those project, et cettera. It is completely unrealistic to think that every one of those is going to happen, as I mentioned yesterday. By the same token, to encourage mining companies to develop these projects, it is important that the government indicates that it would be willing to assist in the development of the infrastructure, which would be the roads, power lines, et cettera.
That is basically the crux of what that document is all about. We were asked by the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs to give a list of some projects that this government felt could be viable, whether it is next year or 10 years Idown the road, or whatever. That is basically what you have there.
I had handed out the answers to the questions the Member had asked, but I did not indicate that I tabled them; for the record I would like to indicate that I have tabled those documents.
Mr. Penikett: Let me accept the Ministers suggestion that I do not spend time on the $10 million that was announced in January but is still up in the air and instead ask about the governments - and this Ministers - intentions about the other installments or further monies that are coming from the federal government, because it is not clear to me what the Minister is trying to negotiate.
Are we talking about some form of new economic development agreement, some form of regional development agreement, some additional bilateral transportation agreements, because I do not think there are any roads left in the territory for which we do not already have federal money, or are we talking about something else entirely?
I ask that question in all seriousness, because every indication that we had from the federal government over the last few years - they may smile more kindly upon their philosophical brethren opposite - but, with free trade, instruments that amounted to certain kinds of regional economic development pools were going to become less and less available to the regions of Canada - not only because of free trade with Mexico and the United States, but also because of free trade between the provinces.
Secondly, the federal government was increasingly inclined, except in the case of bilaterial agreements on things like transportation - where we might be removing a financial burden from them and taking over the management of a program at the local level, which had economies both for us and the federal government - the federal government was greatly disinclined to provide money over and above negotiated agreements and over and above the transfers that they were already providing us in the formula.
Given the fiscal orientation of the federal government and given the experience of the last few years, some of which is mentioned by the Minister of Health and Social Services today, the federal government is cutting back on and off-loading programs onto the provincial and territorial jurisdictions and on to First Nations.
What is it the Minister is looking for? What form of agreement? What kinds of funding, from what sources, is the Minister looking for? He mentions DIAND, for example. I know DIAND well enough to know that their agenda, in the big picture, is to reduce the expenditures in the department, to get out of certain kinds of programs, to see that First Nations have self-government, to reduce the Department of Indian Affairs branch, to wind down many of their northern development activities in favour of the territorial government taking over - that is what the Northern Accord negotiations, for example, are supposed to be about.
So, could the Minister say something about what kind of agreement he is looking for? What federal program is he looking to tap into? And, if I may ask, what federal pot of money is he looking to access?
Hon. Mr. Devries: First of all, I should clarify what took place in Question Period. The Member for Riverdale South was asking about this particular paper. I believe there are only supposed to be four copies in circulation, or something; I do not even have one myself right now. As much as I knew it referred to the self-sufficiency infrastructure paper, I went beyond that and indicated that we had received $10 million as a result of this and negotiations were going on. The negotiations were not about that particular paper. I would like to clarify that. They were about the $10 million - just so that is clear in everybodys mind.
Basically, there are no negotiations going on pertaining to that particular paper, other than that it was asked for by Ottawa. They indicated that they were willing to work with the north toward a more self-sufficient strategy. That is what that paper is all about.
Mr. Penikett: I am afraid I am even less clear about it now. Perhaps the Minister could explain what Mr. Siddon wanted to do with this document. I understand that the marching orders for federal Ministers are to cut their budgets. Cut transfers, get out of programs that mean devolved money for the government and not to acquire any new responsibilities in the region. If I were Mr. Siddon - I am not and I am never likely to be him or even be in his position - and I were asked to help a provincial or territorial jurisdiction to become more self-sufficient, I would take that to mean that I am being invited to find a way to spend less federal money in a jurisdiction, not more. Perhaps the Minister has a different impression.
When this was given to Mr. Siddon, was it done with the view that it might help Mr. Siddon get more money for the Yukon from some pot of money available to Mr. Siddon?
Hon. Mr. Devries: That is what I understand was behind Mr. Siddon asking us to come up with some kind of a self-sufficiency paper and strategy. He would use that to try to access funding for us. He is thinking in the long term. By improving our infrastructure and making the territory self-sufficient, in the long term, there would be considerable savings to the Government of Canada.
Mr. Penikett: Was the federal Minister inviting this Minister to submit this document with the view to Mr. Siddon getting, from some program, - the Finance Minister, Treasury Board, or some other program - more money now for the territorial government? If so, was he inviting the territorial government to ask for more money under formula financing, or some other arrangement?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I do not think I am really at liberty to get into the nitty gritty of how the money was supposed to get here. I am not the Minister of Finance. Economic Development has been asked to prepare this paper. As far as how the money would flow into the Yukon, I would prefer to leave that up to the Finance department.
Mr. Penikett: Let me keep it at the level of Economic Development. The Minister will understand that I had a number of meetings with Mr. Siddon and his counterpart, Mr. Mazankowski, over the years. It is my understanding that formula financing was negotiated on the basis that not just infrastructure, but the capital plant of the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories, did not meet national standards. We were to receive money under a formula recommended originally by a nice Liberal MP from Westmount, on the basis that we would be guaranteed a certain amount of money every year, whatever the condition of our economy, whether it went up or down. We were to use that money to build a capital plant - not as some Members across the way have suggested, only on infrastructure for the mining industry. It was intended that we bring our schools up to national standards, our sewer and water systems up to national standards and our roads up to national standards. Yukoners, because they were Canadians, were entitled to enjoy the same quality of life as other Canadians. The Members may differ, but it is my belief that that is how the previous government tried to spend the money.
It is a fact that the Northwest Territories decided to spend their formula money on programs - operating costs. They got into big problems as a result. The federal government, when I was in office over there, would have almost certainly said to us, if we had gone to them for more money for infrastructure, Look, you have got the formula financing thing. You are spending... and they did say this to us .... are spending a larger percentage of your budget on capital than any other jurisdiction in the country. In fact, you are spending more than twice as much the Northwest Territories is on capital. In fact, you are spending four, or five, or six times as much as the provinces. You get to decide how you spend your capital budget. If you want to put it into infrastructure in the mining industry, you use the formula for that purpose.
Without asking the Minister to betray any confidences about his negotiations with the federal Minister, could he tell me this: has the position of the federal government, and specifically of Mr. Siddon, changed in this respect?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I am not involved in the day-to-day discussions with Mr. Siddon, but from information that I have received he has indicated a real interest in seeing further development of the north. We also know that Mr. Siddon is anxious to see the settlement of the land claim. My understanding is that he feels that all of these things would work together in reducing the First Nations and Yukoners dependency on the federal government in the long term.
I also agree with that policy or philosophy, or whatever you want to call it.
Mr. Penikett: The Minister is not going to get an argument from me on that score. I know that there are federal Ministers who recognize that this jurisdiction is further ahead on land claims and self-government agreements than any other territory or province in the country. There were federal Ministers, and certainly federal bureaucrats, who regarded the Yukon economic strategy and the conservation strategy as models of sustainable development, and saw the Yukon Territory as leading the nation in that respect. I believe that the Yukon economic strategy, the conservation Strategy and the land claims, all together, were going to contribute to diversification and growth.
I recently talked to a very senior federal Minister who was very complimentary about what we had done, to the point of pointing out that the federal government is officially in support of sustainable economics and what we were doing here, in practical terms, was very commendable.
What I am asking the Minister is whether he had any reason to believe, since the Member for Watson Lake came to power, that there had been any substantial change in the policy of the federal government with respect to these matters.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I feel that there has been a slight change in federal policies toward these matters. Perhaps some of it is as a result of the situation with Curragh and the fact that they were not particularly keen on being involved in anything that would involve the stripping of the Grum.
This is basically where this whole concept got started. Then they started to recognize that the Yukon could not afford to be entirely dependent on one or two types of minerals, that we have to diversify and perhaps get into some other minerals and have another mine or two, at least, and, it is hoped, develop some smaller properties to stabilize our economy in the event that one of them did happen to go down.
The other policy initiatives that we hope to embark upon very shortly, pending the transfer of forestry, and we would do this in conjunction with Renewable Resources, would be to develop policies - and this will be starting within the next year - with regard to tenure for tracks of timber, silviculture policies and various things in that area. I do not think that forestry will ever be of the magnitude of mining, but there is some tremendous potential there, as we have seen in 1988-89. There was definitely a tremendous demand for the product. It is unfortunate that things did not go the way we had hoped they would go at that time.
Presently there are two sawmills operating in the Watson Lake area employing approximately 50 people, but much of their future planning is restricted due to the fact that the forestry transfer has not taken place and they do not have the opportunity to establishing long-term tenures. This also reduces their ability to raise financing to modernize their facilities or to look at the development of new products. One of them has accessed some EDA money to do some research, but that is basically as far as that has gone.
Mr. Penikett: Let me stay on mining for a minute. The Minister has indicated the federal government was not keen to help Curragh and did not want to do anything to participate in the Grum stripping program. That does not surprise us, and we have had trouble trying to understand the behaviour, frankly, of the territorial government with respect to some of these things.
I will be frank with this Minister. The government says they are broke, but they can find $5 million for Dawson and they are not willing to find $5 million to do the Grum stripping - at least, that is how it seems to the ordinary people on the street here. We do not understand that, given that there are a lot more jobs and a lot more economic potential in stripping Grum than there is in doing something as worthwhile as fixing up the sewer and water system in Dawson.
Let me ask the Minister this: since the federal government was not keen to help Curragh and did not want to be seen to be contributing anything to Grum stripping, has the federal government given the Yukon government any encouragement or any incentive to let Curragh go down the tube? Is the federal government that strongly anti-Curragh these days?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I do not know. I cannot speak for the federal government, but I can assure the Member that I would like nothing better than to be able to start stripping the Grum tomorrow. I do not feel this government is going to want to start stripping the Grum until at least they are certain that the matter of the economic viability of the company has been resolved and that they have some way of recovering their investment in the Grum rather than the investment going to the Bank of Nova Scotia or note holders.
Mr. Penikett: I am going to leave this issue to be pursued by my colleague for Faro but let me just say to the Minister that I disagree. I think he is asking the wrong questions. I think the issue here is the economic viability of the Yukon Territory - not just the recovery of the company but the recovery of our economy. The two things are linked and once you have decided that you absolutely must get Grum stripped in order to turn things around, then you move on to the next question, which is how you do that. There are a dozen different ways of doing it - they just have to be negotiated. You have to get to the table and do that.
Let me not be diverted right now. Let me ask the Minister this: can he at least explain - not in terms of political philosophy but just rational, economic behaviour - why the federal government would be willing to put $10 million into capital projects around the territory, but not Grum, given that if Curragh stays down, under the formula financing, it is going to cost the federal government an awful lot of money - millions and millions and millions of dollars.
If they were to get Grum started and Faro and Sa Dena Hes up and running again, the financial implications to the federal government are much more positive.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I think that question would be better directed to the federal government. I cannot speak for the federal government. I do not know why they have made that decision, but I appreciate the fact that they are willing to contribute $10 million to our infrastructure.
Mr. Penikett: My problem is that the Minister says he cannot speak for the federal government, but he is willing to let the federal government speak for us by negotiating territorial government economic development policy with the federal government. Believe me, the federal government was not elected to do that, I do not think.
It seems to me that the Minister cannot get off the hook that way. I am not asking him to trade confidences, but why the federal government would be willing to put $10 million into other infrastructure, but not Grum, mystifies me, because it does not make any financial sense for the federal government, and in my view, it does not make any economic sense for us.
The projects that the Minister is talking about in his documents here are other mines - he talked about opening other mines and other minerals - that are all some years off. Even if you had an absolutely dynamic Minister of Economic Development here, you could not change the most important variables, which are to do with price.
If you wanted to sum up the philosophy of both the Toward Self-Sufficiency By the 21st Century and this document, essentially, it is the Field of Dreams philosophy: if you build it, they will come.
There is no one in this House who knows better how futile this approach can be. My colleague, the Member for McIntyre-Takhini, who in his former constituency in Mayo-Elsa saw the federal government put in millions and millions of dollars in flow-through shares to develop silver mines - mines that were excellent ore bodies, very accessible - and saw the territorial government, under criticism from the Opposition, improve the roads to the property and saw the territorial government, under the Yukon Development Corporation, rebuild a dam there. There were new ore bodies developed with federal money, new transportation and energy systems developed with territorial money, but it is a matter of obvious fact that several years later there are no mines operating there. Why not? The price of silver does not permit those mines to come back into production.
There is nothing that we can do about the price of silver, even if we wanted to. The fact of the matter is that we can want to see copper mines develop, or tungsten mines develop, or platinum mines develop, or uranium mines develop, or asbestos mines develop. Of course nobody is going to open those mines if they cannot sell the product and if the costs of producing it are going to be more than the returns from the sales - in other words, if there is really no market for it. That is why my colleagues are going to ask about it. We have not understood why we would be, as Stephen Leacock, the great Canadian economist used to say, riding off in all directions at once, while ignoring what is right in front of us, the obvious, which is the need to put Faro and Sa Dena Hes back into production. Initially, the pivotal event there is stripping Grum.
Let me just go back to this question of capital for a little bit. I want to think through what the Minister said because it seems to me that I am now beginning to understand better the behaviour of the federal government. The federal government is politically resistant to the idea of helping Curragh or Grum. They are prepared to put $10 million in here for other things that may not happen for some time. The territorial government may have to comply with federal wishes, or, as the Minister says, is negotiating policy with the federal government there. There may be another line of inquiry, which I may want to pursue later.
Let me ask the question arising out of the money formula for infrastructure from the federal government. Several times, the Minister has talked about the number of jobs that will be created by the capital budget. As the Minister knows, expenditures on some kinds of capital projects create more jobs than others. Some capital projects are relatively capital intensive; others are more labour intensive. What I want to ask is: when Management Board, of which the Minister is a member, I think, was considering the capital budget, did the Department of Economic Development provide any analysis of the competing alternatives on the list of capital projects, and give the government some advice as to which potential capital projects would create the most jobs? Can the Minister tell me that?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The economist came up with some figures. The general understanding is that for every $130,000 spent on road building there is one person year created, and for every $160,000 spent in building construction there is one person year created.
Mr. Penikett: Did the economist mention any other kinds of capital projects that create more jobs than that, because I know myself some that have a greater job spinoff than that, but did they consider any other options among capital budgets?
Hon. Mr. Devries: No, the only ones I received statistics on were buildings and roads. I would like to go back to what the Member was referring to earlier. I find that at times the Member appears a little short of vision, specifically when he was referring to Mayo. I have had discussion with the people at Dublin Gulch who would like to develop that property and they have indicated that they would need approximately 30 megawatts of power. We realize the road is almost there and that is their primary concern.
I believe there is seven or eight megawatts available at the Mayo dam. I believe the Member for McIntyre-Takhini indicated the other day that the road and the dam are there and yet nothing is happening there. If the Mayo dam, through capital projects, was interlinked with the main grid, that power could possibly be available and that project could go ahead.
Often, many infrastructure capital projects require thinking in the long term and a doing away of the nearsighted vision of going year by year.
Mr. Penikett: The Minister is running the risk of provoking me. I do not think that anybody accused us of having a year-by-year vision until now. In fact, I think in the mid-1980s we were talking about to the year 2000. Most people with any training in economics would look at the Ministers vision and decide that this is a very antique and a very old-fashioned way of looking at the economy. He will think that I am mean if I start to say that.
He said that there is one job for every $130,000 expenditure, versus one job for every $160,000 expenditure in buildings. Is that the reason that the government chose to put so much of the capital budget into road building?
Hon. Mr. Devries: If the Member is asking me that question, that just proves to me that he has obviously not been studying the mains a great deal. The mains clearly indicate that much of the money in road building is recoverable money for the Shakwak and the Alaska Highway projects. If it were not for those two projects, then it would be a fairly balanced budget, as far as road building and construction go.
Mr. Penikett: I have been sparing the Minister cheap shots this afternoon. I hope he is not going to start in on it himself, because he is not very good at it. The fact of the matter is that I know the capital budget better than he does, and I know that you do not have to spend all the road money this year on roads. You have alternatives. The question that I was asking was a very straightforward question. It did not require any cheap shots or any Mickey Mouse comments.
I will ask him again a very simple question. Is the fact that the economist advised him that you get one job for every $130,000 expenditure on roads, versus one job for every $160,000 expenditure on buildings, the reason why, recoverable or not, his government chose to put so much of its capital program into roads this year? It is a yes or no question.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I am not certain, because I do not have the data here on the spinoffs from the person years that are created. For instance, there may be more spinoffs in building construction than there are in road construction. I am not certain of that. I do not want to jump to a conclusion and give false information.
Mr. Penikett: There may be a number of people who believe that, especially in the construction industry, because there is a real fear that a lot of money put into road construction, at a time when there is not much going on in western Canada, may see most of that work go to outside companies, the result of which will be very few benefits in employment for local people.
Let me try and deal with another canard offered by the Minister, which is the question of Dublin Gulch. He talked about having to have vision and to recognize that that outfit might require 30 megawatts of power and that is why this document talks about linking up the Mayo dam to the Carmacks proposition, to the main grid, as he said. Is the Minister aware that every bit of risk analysis done by Yukon Electrical and by the Yukon Energy Corporation argues that it would be absolutely insane to do what the Minister is proposing because what it would do, in effect, is put all of our energy eggs into the Faro basket. Then we would have the total hydro supply of this territory committed to one industrial user and, if that mine goes down as is the case now, we would have a very unsatisfactory situation, given the alternative option, which was also rejected for economic reasons by the Energy Corporation, of taking the Mayo power north to Dawson and taking Dawson off diesel - which the experts, the economists, the people who know what they are doing, recommend was the more sensible solution. I know there was a different political view when the Members opposite were in Opposition, but they now have professional advice available to them. Is the Minister aware of that advice?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, it is one of the things that would be looked at once we start to priorize the things that are in the 21st century document, but I am looking at it from my own personal, practical point of view. That was the way I was looking at it, and I feel it is very essential that, at some point, we get Dawson and Mayo hooked onto the main grid and have a Yukon main grid so that if, for instance, one mine goes down, there are other mines ready to take up some of the slack, rather than be in the existing situation where one mine goes down and we are faced with potentially huge power rate increases.
Mr. Penikett: Well, that is the point: whether we can afford to do it. When the Minister talks about us providing 30 megawatts of power to someone like Dublin Gulch, the real problem is that if we are building a new supply to do that but asking the existing electrical consumers of Whitehorse to pay for it, we are talking about massive power rate increases, because even the Ministers own document talks about what we know to be true, which is that installed megawatt capacity comes at $10 million a megawatt. We are talking about $300 million. We are talking about financing a $300-million project for a company that is only worth $100 million. Now, we do not know if he could borrow that; we do not know if the territorial government could borrow that; but, whoever is borrowing it - probably the ratepayers or the taxpayers - would have to pay a pretty penny to do so.
We would be massively in debt. You want to talk about a deficit? We would have a huge one.
Let me just ask the Minister this, to go back to the main line of enquiry that I wanted to pursue before the break: the Minister says that the economists in Economic Development analyzed the alternative expenditures in the capital budget, at least to the extent of looking at the employment impacts of capital expenditures in buildings or roads. The Minister then qualified his answer by saying that he was not aware of what the spinoffs were and, in fact, that the spinoffs might be greater building buildings. In fact, what many people suspect is true is that if the government had chosen to spend a little less money on some of the roads and a little more on schools, there might have been more employment or a better economic bang for the buck, but let me ask the Minister this: did the same economist, or did the economitritian, or someone else in the department, using any analytical tools available to the department, do any analyses of the impact on regional employment in the territory of the capital budget that the government has brought forward?
Hon. Mr. Devries: As the Member knows, in the impact analysis that was tabled in this House, which was basically the impact of Faro going down versus doing a road construction job, or something like that, which was all dependent, again, on the long-term survival of the company, the suggestion was there that we would be further ahead to spend the money on road construction than we would on the Grum, without the assurances that the mine was viable in the long term. So, I guess, in a sense, you could consider that a bit of a regional analysis, but as far as a different analysis for Watson Lake or a different analysis for Faro or a different analysis for Dawson City, or wherever, I am not aware of it.
Mr. Penikett: You would have to call me a skeptic about the analyses the Minister referred to, because I doubt very much if exposing an asset like the Grum ore body would have less of an employment impact than spending the same money on roads. In fact - well, I will say that I am a skeptic.
I would like to ask the Minister if the computer model that we were talking about the other day, which I understand is not Dr. Reaumes original model, but a refined version, was used to run the employment impacts of different capital budget scenarios?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I am not certain of that, but my notes talk about the econo-metric model that has been used. As much as it is used by the department to a certain extent, the reliability of the data that is produced has proven to be very erroneous in the past, in many instances. It is almost like the best guess.
Mr. Penikett: It has been alleged by some people that the data that comes from some Ministers mouths - I do not mean present Ministers, I mean all Ministers - is sometimes erroneous, but of course, we are like computer programs, we can only depend upon our briefing notes and the advice that we get and we are often very dependent on that.
For the record, I understand that the Department of Finance had more faith in this model than the Department of Economic Development. Like all tools, the real skill is in the analysis of the data, not just the raw data.
Some time ago, in discussion about the supplementaries, the Minister indicated that he would be able to provide a list of the jobs, by project, that would be produced as a result of the capital budget. Is the Minister ready to table that information in the House?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I will have to take that under advisement.
Mr. Penikett: This is perhaps the most fundamental question that we have asked. We asked for the information in the supplementaries and it was indicated to us that we could have the information. I am asking for that information again now, and I do not think that we can clear this department until we have this information.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I may be able to provide the Member with the information, after coffee break.
Mr. Penikett: I would suggest that we take a break now.
Chair: We will take a brief recess.
Chair: I will call the Committee back to order.
Mr. Harding: I have a question for the Minister, and I am not going to ask him to produce something here. I have asked questions regarding the Faro contingency plan many, many times during the Legislature and the Minister knows I am frustrated with the action by the government thus far, but I would like to ask the Minister to table a report for me next week in the Legislature - or, if he does not want to table it in the Legislature, at least give me a report as to how many jobs have been created through community works in Faro thus far, what projects are being considered, how many jobs will be created by each project, what planning has been done for each project thus far, and what are the expected start dates of the projects.
It certainly would be of benefit to my community if I could announce that to them. Forecasts would certainly be acceptable to me. I would ask the Minister to endeavour to make them as accurate as possible because I know there are a number of people who are in need of something to do; they feel very adrift. There are a lot of people in need of further weeks to try to qualify for some benefits under the unemployment insurance program, so there is a lot of hardship in the community and I am quite upset with the fact that a lot of people have been forced to leave Faro to search for other work. There are still a lot left and a lot are going to stick it out, but it is becoming quite a dismal situation.
Of course, the Minister knows very well that my favourite community works project in Faro is the Grum stripping, but we have had that debate many times and I do not intend to go through it again today. I have made enough representations to the government in the Committee of the Whole forum regarding that. I know they have heard my point. They choose to pursue it in a different manner, which is disappointing, but nonetheless that is their choice as government.
If the Minister could give me a report outlining the things that I have asked, I would appreciate that.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I would be happy to do that next week; also, if the Member has time I would like to meet with him on Tuesday and Wednesday and discuss a couple of the projects.
Mr. Harding: I would like the Minister to follow up on that commitment and I certainly would make time to meet with the Minister. He should give me a call when he wants to set up a meeting. Our caucus usually meets at 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. every day, and this is a major priority so I would be happy to meet with the Minister later.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I will aim for 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday.
Mr. McDonald: I have a few things to say regarding the Ministers budget. I would like to point out that the Minister, before the break, had indicated that if we had the break he would be able to come back to the House with some information about jobs associated with the budget.
I would like to allow the Minister to give us that information now and I will get on with my questions.
Hon. Mr. Devries: One of the problems we have run into is the model that we used was on the mainframe computer and they are in the process of transferring it to a desktop computer. Therefore, they have been having to do the calculations by hand, which is taking much longer than anticipated. We also want to feed the multiplier effects in to it so I am not going to be able to give it to them for at least another week.
Mr. Penikett: Just for the record, the Official Opposition will not want to clear the Economic Development mains until we have seen that. We are quite willing to complete todays debate on the lines, but we will not want to give final clearance of the department. I will give notice that we will ask to have that final line of the department set aside.
Hon. Mr. Devries: The other problem that we have been having is with the $1.7 million cut; some of this money was deducted from capital projects. With the problems, such as with Kwanlin Dun and the problems with the architect at the hospital, things have changed on a day-to-day basis and it has been very difficult to get a real grip of exactly where we are.
Mr. Penikett: From time to time, numbers have been put out, and even after we have found errors in the so-called $58 million deficit, they have continued to be used. Several Ministers have used the numbers of 700-some jobs resulting from the capital budget and we want to see some evidence of it. Just for the record, Mr. Chair, it would be my request that you take notice that we ask that the Economic, Planning and Research line be stood, when we get to it, after we have completed discussion on it, until we get that information.
Hon. Mr. Devries: That is satisfactory with me.
Mr. McDonald: Just by way of a brief opening remark, I would only like to say that I think that the Minister should be reasonably careful about citing Kwanlin Dun as the major factor for limiting the land development activity in the budget. I think the Minister of Community and Transportation Services has already made it very clear, based on the downturn in the economy, that there is less justification for a record amount of land development work in Whitehorse than ever before. That had come to our attention long before there was any kind of debate in the Legislature about Kwanlin Duns requirements as a First Nation making land selection. To cite Kwanlin Dun as being primarily responsible for reducing land development activity would be not only inflammatory but, in my view, a mistake in fact.
What I would like to do is talk a little bit about the Yukon Resource Infrastructure Initiative: Becoming Self-Sufficient through Infrastructure-Driven Investment in the Yukon document. I am puzzled as to its origin and purpose. So far, we have heard that this document is a draft document for the purpose of negotiations with the federal government. We then heard that it is perhaps not used for negotiations, but it has still been sent to the federal government, or been given to the federal Minister. It helped justify an expenditure of $10 million, but at the same time, the $10 million is coming from the Minister of Transport.
We were told previously that the Minister of Transport was giving out a one-time $500 million for infrastructure across Canada and the $10 million was simply Yukons share.
We were then given to believe that the $10 million is really compensation to the Yukon for the fact that the federal government was not going to help Curragh.
We then heard, through discussions in the Legislature, that perhaps the $10 million will be a contribution toward infrastructure - the infrastructure that is outlined in this document Yukon Resource Infrastructure-Driven Initiative: Becoming Self-Sufficient through Infrastructure Investment in the Yukon. We then discovered that this document is absolutely dependent upon $10 million worth of annual funding - not a one-time $10 million grant.
We hear signals from the federal government that, despite the problems in various regions of the country, they are cutting back on economic development initiatives and grant programs to these regions; therefore, there should be even less hope that we will be receiving repeat funding for infrastructure.
We have been told over the years that the federal government - even from the Members opposite - already gave us enormous amounts of money and that we should be developing our own infrastructure.
Yesterday, and even today, Members opposite have clearly stated that had we put more money into infrastructure from the money that we were receiving through the base transfer, we would be better off. The suggestion that we now need supplementary funding is a position that is inconsistent. We have a budget and a budget speech that talks about new infrastructure but with no tell-tale sign of how that is going to be accomplished in the budget.
As the Member for Whitehorse West has indicated, I have a lot of experience with a riding that has surplus power, good transportation systems - it has been the beneficiary of $20 million worth of flow-through share funding - but the economy is flatter than a pancake.
The Ministers only stated prescription for economic development does not mean a lot to me under those circumstances.
I think that we are at the point now that we have not gone beyond the rhetoric stage and into the actual what-are-you-going-to-do stage, in detail, with people on the ground. We are going to have to wait and see how the Minister and the government perform over the next four or five months to see if there is any real potential for real action.
My major concern, and I will just tell this to the Minister, with respect to the document itself and the strategy is that it seems to be a very limited one. It seems to be focused, not on the near term where the citizenry is living, but on the long term, and only really with one sector, with maybe a little bit of the tourism sector thrown in. There are so many people who are involved in forestry - something the Minister I know cares about - the trapping industry, the agricultural industry, the fishing industry and in light manufacturing - there are even some developments taking place there in the last few years, either in furniture building or by companies like Northerm. There is nothing in this that specifically affects their industry other than what they might get through spinoffs from some megadevelopment that will take place in the distant future.
So, we have a vision that may have some legitimate elements to it, but it is long term and covers only one or two sectors. Meanwhile, all the constituents I have talked to, all the people on the street I have talked to, are living in the here and now and they are worried about next winter and next year and the year after.
That is why our whole approach in the Legislature in the last few weeks and months has been reasonably critical. We are living with our constituents who are pounding on us to try to get something moving in the here and now and our focus is on something in the distant future. There is a problem. It is one thing to be able to have a vision and to work toward a vision in the long term, but you have to have your so-called eye on the puck right now. You can be looking toward the net but you have to know where the puck is, if I can use that analogy.
We have heard many different signals from so many different people - and different signals from different Ministers in this government. In terms of the relationship with the federal government, we have heard that the federal government is going to be a major participant. Meanwhile, everything that they are saying and everything that they are doing shows that they are not, in financial terms. Then, when the federal Minister comes to the Yukon to talk about mining, et cetera, he comes away with a very unsatisfactory response from the perspective of the mining industry and talks about a pan-northern strategy, which means that somehow we are going to have to develop an economic plan that is somehow in sync with what is happening a few thousand miles away in the eastern Arctic.
That is basically the message that we are left with. One other concern that I have with the economic planning that the government is doing, is that it is doing it internally. I have grave concerns. People come to me and ask me what the government is doing. We see some potential for some bleak signals coming. Who is leading the debate? We get the Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document, which was developed internally, with the exception of the Yukon mining industry. We have got the updates, which were developed internally and are technically confidential. The people are saying, We want to participate in the discussion. We have got something to contribute. We have Mr. McCaffrey, who is filling in, as he sees it, some of the void in terms of economic leadership and is suggesting that he facilitate some discussion about the future of the territorial economy. He has all kinds of people phoning him and asking him if they can participate because they are desperate to talk.
Typically, that kind of role is the role that the government should be playing. It should be the Department of Economic Development. It should be the Minister who is playing that kind of role. We do not have any sense that the Minister has any desire to play that role. One prime objective of the department talks about a comprehensive economic planning process. There is no Isense that the comprehensive economic planning process is going to involve anybody outside of the Department of Economic Development.
The Minister has said nothing to suggest that it is going to be inclusive of the public, rather than simply a departmentally run initiative. We have a lot of problems with the vision. We have a lot of problems with the practice. We are a little nervous about simply letting the whole initiative go for the Minister to run with. We do not feel comfortable that the government has any aggressive sense that they have got a role to play, that they know what it is going to be, and they are going to do it.
I would just like to make that point and ask if the Minister has a few remarks in reply. I would like to ask the Minister as well, because it covers both the capital and 0&M, if he would explain to us the future of the Economic Development Agreement.
His opening remarks indicated that the Economic Development Agreement spending was going to go up this year. The answer that he tabled in the House this afternoon to questions about the Economic Development Agreement showed that the funding was going remain approximately the same as last years funding. The budget, of course, shows the funding going down by $400,000. We are left wondering, given that the Minister has covered all the bases, what is going to be the reality for the coming year. Perhaps he could also indicate to us what his thoughts are with respect to the EDA re-negotiations and the potential for cutbacks in this area - obviously the federal government has been sending out the clearest signals that we should not be expecting too much.
Hon. Mr. Devries: My understanding is that we are still having a real problem finding out from the federal government what they really mean by cutting the EDA. At one time it seems to be the EDRA - regional - and the next time we get the signal that it is the EDA. So, we are having a hard time determining exactly how that is going to affect us, but basically they were talking about a 10-percent cut and then a 15-percent cut. We have not yet received the first 10-percent, so we are assuming that the 15-percent cut does not apply to us either, at this point - although I would not guarantee it.
Meanwhile, existing agreements will stand, I believe, until 1996, and it is hoped that negotiations will develop on them. Meanwhile, there is the devolution of forests, the signing of the Northern Accord, and, we hope to get the devolution of the federal geologists in the MDA office. I think that is a good direction to go and we will be more responsible for our own autonomy. We can do more long-range planning in that respect.
The Member spoke about the Roland McCaffrey meeting. I would prefer to discuss that with him personally, rather than on the floor. Prior to that, there is also the Community Futures conference that has occurred. It is not as though we are just sitting around doing nothing. We have been very preoccupied with the situation at Curragh, I will admit, but we are doing the best we can with what limited staff we have.
Also, with the long session, it is very difficult to organize and have these meetings with a lot of participation from the Ministers. This is made more difficult when many of us are from rural ridings and we have to visit our ridings.
Many of the people that I know in Economic Development have been working around the clock on matters pertaining to Curragh and other various initiatives that have been taking place.
The mineral development agreement office will be operating the way it did last year, with geoscience mapping. There is a slight increase in their budget this year.
Again, as I mentioned earlier, we understand that this will be able to continue until 1996. If we are fortunate and some devolution takes place in that area, perhaps through that devolution and funding from the federal government and some reorganization of our funding priorities, I think we will see geoscience mapping continued, which seems to be very popular with the mining community.
The Member talked about the business community. We have the economic development agreements, the business and planning, the business development fund and there are many opportunities for business to access money from government for feasibility studies and various things like that, as well as expansions that also lead to employment.
As far as mining is concerned, we are still very hopeful that the Williams Creek property will begin construction as early as next year and be in production by next fall and there will be spinoffs from that.
I felt that the Member ate his own words when he said there are going to be spinoffs in the business community from the mining infrastructure and that is what we should be aiming for. I do not think that we should be stepping into the business community - I would not call it interfering - and getting people to implement projects that could compete, to a great extent, with existing businesses.
We have to create an atmosphere where the business community will naturally expand on its own and that is the direction in which we are heading.
Mr. McDonald: The Minister has a very unfortunate way of putting things sometimes that provokes one to want to engage him very aggressively, but at this point I will be restrained by choice.
I would like to point out to the Minister that there are sectors of the business community that feel they are as legitimate a business activity as is the mining community. If the government feels that they want to have an economic strategy to promote the mining industry, as they pretend to want to do with the Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document, then to leave all other sectors of the business community to simply suck the trail, so to speak, of the mining industry and accept some spinoffs from that activity and expect that the government will only be responding to that one economic sector - I know a lot of people in the business community find that extraordinarily irritating. They feel that they do have, and there is the potential for, some future in those other sectors without the government necessarily giving attention only to mining and big mines and megaprojects.
If the Minister is saying he only has time for one sector and will have to ignore the others, then I think he is going to be in more trouble than he understands. A lot of what the Minister said was going to be the governments response to the downturn in the community are programs that were developed some considerable time ago. Based on activities and responses to Faro, in that one crisis situation, we do not have, frankly, a great deal of faith in the governments ability to respond in terms of action - certainly not as much as we would like to see.
I personally have real concerns with the fact that the community has been down flat on its back for six months now and we are still at the consultation stage on community works in the community of Faro. The fact that we have the department working overtime, as the Minister puts it, and really sweating it out trying to provide a response, yet nobody is working in Faro, speaks volumes to me. After all, we are politicians. People respond to action on the ground, on the street, and not to public servants working overtime. I make that point.
With respect to providing economic leadership and being seen to lead the debate on the future of the economy, I would only recommend to the Minister that this ought to be a high priority for them. Certainly if they have not put much energy into it so far, they should be thinking about putting a lot of energy into that, once we leave the sitting. As valuable as the Community Futures Committee discussions may have been in the Ministers eyes, as a federally funded and organized initiative, it does not cover all the bases in this territory. It is not comprehensive enough. People who participated were happy, but there are many people who did not. Certainly, by any standard, one would expect a more thorough process. There has been a lot to discuss.
I think with respect to the Economic Development Agreement, the Minister might remind the federal government, if they are thinking about cutting back, that we are already well into cost-sharing old federal A-based programs. The whole geological mapping program that we are so proud of now used to be a federal A-based activity. The fact the Yukon government is now cost-sharing this program, is a major step in taking over responsibility for something without the funding being transferred to the Yukon government. For them to reduce activity even further in this area only exacerbates things. I will mention that and then perhaps I will just have a few more questions that I can put to the Minister.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I find the Members comments interesting. It is not like we have not been working on the other sectors. In fact, on Friday, I travelled to Skagway and met with the Convention Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce as well as several other people involved in the tourism trade. We talked about how we could work together to enhance various aspects of tourism, industrial development and business in the Yukon. They had never - unless they have had a change of their boards in the last two or three years - met the previous Minister of Economic Development. I found that an interesting comment.
Meanwhile, this government is very supportive of the waterfront development and things like that. It is hoped that next year we will see more monies designated toward some of those projects, although I would prefer to leave that to the Minister of Tourism since that is definitely his pet project.
There is also the Whitehorse sewer project that we will be starting next year and the pre-feasibility work will be done on that this year.
I have had numerous meetings with the Chamber of Commerce and various business agencies around the community. I have been attending their luncheons and listening to their various concerns.
In Watson Lake, the situation is similar. I have met with the business community there and discussed various ways to come up with different initiatives for the community. From that, we have had many discussions pertaining to forestry and economic development in that area. As soon as we get out of the Legislature, I hope to go on a trip around to the communities to discuss various initiatives that they would like to see us undertake.
Mr. Penikett: I have four quick questions to put to the Minister and then I might recommend that we go into line-by-line debate.
The Minister has changed the objectives of his department so that the third point in the objective is now developing and implementing a comprehensive economic planning process and conducting research analysis of the Yukon economy.
Some of us thought that we had a comprehensive, economic planning process, and in fact we had adopted an economic strategy and a conservation strategy.
Clearly, the April 16 document and the Self-Sufficiency Toward the 21st Century document take a different direction, but I would like to ask the Minister point blank: is he planning a new economic planning process to replace the economic strategy and the conservation strategy?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I would not go so far as to say that we are not following it but we are certainly going to create a new strategy, using the basis of those two documents for the development of the strategy. I realize that some of these strategies are legislated, so we recognize all of those things.
Mr. Penikett: The question was designed to elicit a yes or no response but I guess the answer is, yes, the Minister is planning to replace the existing strategy with a new one. I guess, then, I have to ask him - since the old one was a product of wide-spread consultation and nothing the Minister has done so far has involved consultation with any groups other than a very close circle - is the new economic strategy that he is going to be developing going to be developed in the same way that the Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document was developed?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, the Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document is in its draft stage and we will be starting on the consultation process very shortly about which projects are going ahead and which are not. I found it interesting when I read through Hansard this morning what the previous administration did in their first year in office. It was not as if everything was all done in the first seven months, either.
Mr. Penikett: I was hoping this would be quick. I am sorry, but the Minister is probably deliberately trying to provoke us. The Yukon economic strategy and the Yukon conservation strategy took several years to develop. They were sustainable development strategies. They involved hundreds of meetings with thousands of people. They were supposed to provide a strategy for the rest of this century and, in fact, up until October we were doing very well, economically, in terms of diversification, expansion, employment and other indicators under the strategy.
Let me ask the Minister point blank: is he planning to replace those strategies with a new policy along the lines of the Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document and the April 16 document, and is he going to develop those documents the same way - keeping in mind that he has already shown them to the federal government, for Gods sake, before he has even talked about them with the Yukon people?
The strategies he is proposing are old-fashioned, right-wing, megaproject strategies. Is he proposing to go that route rather than the consensus approach, which was represented in the economic strategy and the conservation strategy? Just yes or no, that is all I want to know.
Hon. Mr. Devries: It is not that simple. We are going to look at those strategies; they may be updated; we may leave them as they are. Those decisions have not been made yet. It is under review.
Mr. Penikett: The Minister does not understand. The strategies themselves provide for an annual review. The Minister has already broken the requirements of those strategies - the policy and the law. There is supposed to be an annual meeting on an agenda developed by the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment.
Let me ask him this question: has the Minister considered having an annual review of the economic strategy, calling together all the stakeholders in the Yukon Territory, to discuss the current economic crisis we are experiencing?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I must first relate to the Members preamble. We have not broken the law. The economic development agreement does not specify a process or a timetable on how the YCEE must do their work or when.
Mr. Penikett: The umbrella final agreement legislation passed through this House provides there will be an annual review of the economic strategy and the conservation strategy. First Nations will have a quarter of the seats in that annual review. The government has not had that annual review.
The government has been in office for seven months. The review is for the fall. Oh, the bill was passed a month ago - oh, so even though the bill was passed a month ago, even though the agreement has been in effect, the Minister is now going to hang his hat on the legalism that, because the bill only passed a month ago, he does not have to have the annual review. Is that the Ministers position?
Hon. Mr. Devries: We will have a review of that as soon as we have the opportunity to get the YCEE set up - my understanding is that the chair has resigned. I understand the Government Leader had a meeting with some members of the YCEE just prior to him going to Korea, and they have not got back to me on what those discussions pertained to. Once he gets back from Korea, we will address this situation.
Mr. Penikett: Does the Minister intend, with his Government Leaders consent, to meet with the Council on the Economy and Environment - the vacancies talked about have been there for a couple of months now - for the purposes of discussing the current economic crisis?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I hope to meet with them as soon as we can find a day where a group of us are available.
Mr. Penikett: Some concern has been expressed by First Nation groups that the government opposite may rush into a signing ceremony on the Northern Accord without proper consultation with the First Nations.
Will the Minister of Economic Development commit his government to prior consultation with the First Nations, consistent with the requirements of the umbrella final agreement, before signing a Northern Accord agreement with the federal government?
Hon. Mr. Devries: My understanding is that meetings have been held and those matters have been resolved.
Mr. Penikett: Let me repeat the question, because the Minister did not answer the question.
Will the Minister commit the Government of Yukon to prior consultation with Yukon First Nations, consistent with the consultation requirements of the umbrella final agreement, before a Northern Accord agreement is signed between the federal and territorial governments?
Hon. Mr. Devries: My understanding is that that matter has been resolved.
Mr. Penikett: It is my understanding, and the understanding of First Nations people I have talked to, that consultation consistent with the umbrella final agreement has not taken place.
Hon. Mr. Devries: The advice that I have received is that the matter has been resolved.
Mr. Penikett: Allow me to ask the Minister a blunt question: is the Minister telling the House that the Government of Yukon believes that First Nations have been consulted on the subject of the Northern Accord and that the consultation conducted by the Yukon government satisfies the requirements of the umbrella final agreement, which was legislated in this House a few weeks ago?
Hon. Mr. Devries: That is what I have been told.
Mr. Penikett: Would the Minister care to tell us who told him that?
Hon. Mr. Devries: My understanding is that meetings were held, and I have been told that the consultations and the briefing have taken place and any concerns have been resolved.
Mr. Penikett: Is the Minister telling this House that the Government of Yukon has received communications from the Council for Yukon Indians that they are satisfied that the consultation on the Northern Accord question satisfies the requirements for consultation laid out in the umbrella final agreement? Is he saying that?
Hon. Mr. Devries: All I know is that I have been told that we are satisfied that the requirements of the UFA have been met.
Mr. Penikett: I will repeat my previous question: who told the Minister that?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I believe it was the Government Leader.
Mr. Penikett: I am prepared to go line-by-line now.
Mr. Cable: I have a few questions for the Minister. I would like to sort of test the Ministers view and the governments view on the governments role in the economy.
The departmental objectives, which were discussed yesterday, include this one phrase, developing and implementing a comprehensive economic planning process and conducting research and analysis of the Yukons economy. The first phrase has the air of a five-year plan about it - something out of the Comintern. It has a sort of active posture about it.
Whereas the Minister, in explaining the objective, said yesterday, This will include activities such as monitoring, forecasting and accessing the economy and analyzing the effects of policies and structural changes to the economy - which has a very passive air about it. I know this is a question like, describe the universe and give three examples - could the Minister, in a nutshell, explain what he sees as legitimate intervention in the economy, by his government?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I think that one of the priorities now is for the Department of Economic Development to work very closely with the Yukon Energy Corporation to develop an energy policy. That is a very critical problem in the Yukon right now, and seems to have been neglected, to a certain extent, in the past. There is just no way that I feel that businesses can afford the type of power rates that we could be seeing in the foreseeable future if this is allowed to continue. As the Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation has mentioned, we will be working very closely with them to develop an energy policy in the next three or four years.
Another area is streamlining the environmental regime for industries to get started. Other areas include marketing. My understanding is that the Mayor of Whitehorse has just been to Japan, where there is a new Canadian trade building. As you walk into it, the first thing that you see is a huge Northwest Territories statue and all kinds of Northwest Territory paintings and various things like that. Yet Yukon only has one very small representation there. This is something that has really been neglected. I want to see things like that changed. I think that the Asian market, both for tourism and industrial development, is very important to the Yukon, both in the short term and the long term. We will be working very closely with the Department of Tourism on this as well.
I feel that many of the initiatives that are being taken by the community development fund - in healing centres and trying to encourage the communities to become much healthier - are also going to lead to economic expansion in the communities, as First Nations take greater charge of their own affairs. This is going to lead to more tourism in the communities, as well as economic development. All these things are going to work together. It is not something that is going to happen overnight. We certainly see much potential for the economy of the territory to be much more diversified and much healthier than it is today.
Mr. Cable: The departmental objectives also talk about promoting and encouraging development of the Yukons economy through diversification, strengthening and growth within all sectors. That is the preamble to the four objectives.
Does the Minister, speaking on behalf of his government, see that as licensing the government to take an active role in interventions in the market?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I am not a great fan of Crown corporations and intervention in markets, but I certainly feel that it is governments mandate to create an atmosphere to encourage these markets to develop, rather than take direct intervention in the markets.
Mr. Cable: I have a few specific questions and I would like to learn the Ministers thinking, because I do not know the Minister very well and I do not know where the government is going, but I would like to discuss diversification for a moment.
If you are going to have the economy diversified, what would the Minister propose to his government; would it be active intervention - actually creating industries - or would it be passive intervention, where certain infrastructure is built up and market research is done for a potential entrance into certain markets?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I certainly feel that market research should be done to try to determine what is in the best interest of particular communities. For instance, as the Members know, we had the debate on a small sawmill for Old Crow. This makes the community more self-sufficient and also creates some economic opportunities for individuals there. Whether it is going to be a community-run operation or run by some private individuals has not been worked out, but we hope to be able to get down to those nitty-gritties in the next month or so.
I feel that if, for instance, we can get some economic activity going again in Ross River at the Ketza mine, or at Faro, the training may be made available through Economic Development, with assistance from the Department of Education, to increase the ability of the people in Ross River to meet the employment needs of those various industries. This is going to lead to real net cost savings in that people will be going off social assistance and becoming a productive part of the workforce, and will be able to contribute to the wellbeing of the Yukon, rather than being in a situation where they are a drain on the economy due to neglect in the past.
Mr. Cable: There has been an exchange between the Leader of the Official Opposition and the Minister on the economic strategy. I wonder if the Minister would advise what his thinking is on such things as industrial strategies. Does he see the government actually programming the economy to have an emphasis in certain areas, or would he let the economy run by itself and simply provide infrastructure in certain areas?
Hon. Mr. Devries: There are certain ways one can inject some encouragement into certain types of industries. For instance, I know that, several years ago, there was talk of a snowmobile assembly plant here someplace. This was, I believe, 10 or 15 years ago.
That is why we have to also make these contacts in the Asian community to see if there is any interest in them pursuing these types of activities. I do not think we are ever going to see the Yukon turn into a huge industrial assembly plant or anything, but we should certainly be able to improve in the industrial area to where we have Yukon-made products; some of this could be in the technical and the mechanical specialty markets for specialized northern equipment as we would have the testing ground here and things like that. Those are some things to look at, but they are all long-term goals and objectives.
Mr. Cable: I have a couple of general questions, and then I would like to ask a couple of specific questions.
What is the Ministers view on government intervention into areas of the economy where there are competitive participants in the economy already present?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I think we in Watson Lake learned some very important lessons about direct intervention into the economy and it did not work.
It has been very difficult to put a finger on why it did not work out, but much of it seemed to be that government normally cannot operate these types of businesses in an efficient manner.
The other example I am thinking of is Totem Oil. I do not agree with that and I think that demand should control the competitive environment. I do not think that direct government intervention into situations like that is wise spending of taxpayers money.
Mr. Cable: Speaking of the BDF and the EDA and all those other funny little numbers, the Minister gave a return to the Member for Tatchun. The Member had asked for the list of loans, grants and financial assistance given to Mr. Tracey, and Mr. Traceys business interests. The legislative return had about 20 entries on assistance given to hotels. I am just looking at Dawson, by way of example. Three of the major hotels were given non-interest bearing loans and interest bearing loans, totalling about $576,000 over several years. It is my recollection that the BDF statute anyway, clearly indicates that those monies are to be dispersed for job creation, or to retain jobs. Could the Minister indicate how this sort of dispersement of funds to three major competitors would in any way increase the jobs in Dawson?
Hon. Mr. Devries: For instance, for most of those hotels in Dawson, it was for expansion and upgrades. There are thousands more tourists staying there, so there are definitely many more people employed there that may - and again it is a call - or may not have been there without the government giving out those loans. It is very difficult for hotels, with very short seasons, to get funding through conventional sources. We have been very fortunate that, in the Dawson instance, those loans have been very successful. They are being repaid on a fairly consistent basis.
Mr. Cable: I think that the Minister indicated a few moments ago that he did not believe in intervention into competitive segments of the economy. Why would putting that sort of money into a sector that obviously was competitive create more jobs? Why would the entrant into the market not simply go to the bank and borrow money? Or are you telling us that the government is a lender of last resort, under these funds?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, the government is a lender of last resort. There is also interest attached to such monies.
Mr. Cable: So the Minister is saying that there is selective government intervention and that as a matter of philosophy this government will accept that - is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I am not sure what the Member means by selective, but in a small community, if it can be shown that a project is not going to adversely affect another existing business, in its last-resort financing that is one of the criteria the business development fund looks at. It is a very important criterion.
We do not want to get involved in projects where we could be putting someone out of business, but we are willing to assist people to enhance tourist attractions for the community, provided it does not create adverse competition within the community.
Mr. Penikett: When we were in supplementaries, I asked the Minister a question about the complaints that had been levelled to the department about the handling of an application for funding for a hotel in Watson Lake and the Minister indicated he might have something to say about that at the mains. Has he anything to share with the House at this time?
Hon. Mr. Devries: When I reviewed Hansard, it basically said he had asked me some specific questions about the Big Horn. We do not want to get into personality issues or anything, but the Big Horn is going to be opening in June. It is almost completed.
Mr. Penikett: There were two specifics. There was a complaint that the department, while funding other hotels in the past, as the Member for Riverside said, had declined to provide what was requested to the proponent. There was also a complaint - how can I put this; there was a perception of bias on the part of a departmental staff member, which was a complaint that was certainly registered in correspondence to me, and I would just be interested in knowing how the Minister handled both the complaint about the lack of support from the department and the question of the allegation of bias.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I am not going to comment on the allegation of bias as we would be getting into a personnel matter. Basically, the client got a loan through the bank. We are last-resort financing. My understanding is that the project went ahead and is nearing completion.
Mr. Penikett: I do not want to get into the personnel matter either. I want to ask the Minister, since it involved his constituency and an employee of the department and the project was in his constituency, how did the Minister handle the complaint about the employee? What steps did he follow to dispose of the matter?
Hon. Mr. Devries: That is a personnel matter and I have left it up to the department to deal with.
Mr. Penikett: I am not asking about the personnel matter, I am asking about the Ministers process. What steps did he take? Was it left up to the department or the deputy minister to deal with? Was there any investigation or an inquiry? What was done?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It was checked out, and the project was handed over to one of our other people to ensure that there would be no bias toward the particular project.
Mr. Penikett: The specific complaint was that the officer involved had spoken publicly to third parties about the project and indicated a bias and some views on the matter. Was that complaint investigated and, as a result, was there any policy directive administered by the deputy or the Minister, in respect to the appropriate communications by officers in the department?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It was checked out by the department and it was found that there was no need for any change in the policy.
Mr. Penikett: I have just one last question. Was that checked out by the department and there was seen to be no need for a change in policy because the allegation was found to be groundless?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I believe that is the case.
Mr. Cable: We were talking about government intervention in the economy. The Minister expressed his general reservation about that sort of thing. There do appear to be exceptions. Other than the hotel business, what sort of sectors of the economy does the Minister feel are appropriate for active government intervention, by way of loans and grants and other forms of financial assistance?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I do not think there should be any particular restriction placed on what sector should not be considered.
If, for instance, through economic planning, there are forgivable loans available for feasibility studies, beyond that any other loans that are put forward, no matter what, the businesses go through a very careful screening process to ensure that there will be economic benefits to the Yukon and that employment will be generated.
Mr. Cable: Does the Minister foresee some sort of strategy that would indicate that certain segments of the economy should be emphasized and that those segments would be the ones to get the prime benefit of government intervention?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I want to make it clear that it depends upon how intervention is interpreted. When the Member first referred to intervention it meant the government forming a Crown corporation or something and being fully hedged in there. This is intervention in terms of loans of last resort.
If it is proven, through feasibility studies, that a particular area should be enhanced, and there would be potential benefits to the Yukon if certain sectors of the economy are enhanced, yes, I think we could place some priority upon that.
Mr. Cable: I am wondering if the government has a view as to which of those segments should be enhanced, or does the government act in a passive posture and simply respond to whomever walks in the door?
Is there a policy on the part of the government to enhance certain sectors such as tourism, mining and energy?
Hon. Mr. Devries: At this point, I would say, as much as the infrastructure proposals seem to be geared toward the mining sector, we have not picked on a particular sector. Perhaps during the next month or two, as we get more into economic planning and have meetings, we will see where the needs are and it will be geared toward where the most needs are and where the most benefits would be for the spending of those dollars.
Mr. Cable: I have a few more questions, but it appears to be getting late. Is it an appropriate time to stop?
Chair: Do you want to report progress?
Mr. Cable: Okay. May we report progress - are those the magic words?
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. 6 and directed me to report progress on it.
Speaker: You have heard the report of the Chair of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Tuesday next.
The House adjourned at 5:28 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled May 20, 1993:
Government responds to Fish and Wildlife Management Board recommendations (News Release dated May 20, 1993, and attachments) (Brewster)
Report on Social Assistance prepared by Analysis Sub-Committee of Interdepartmental Committee (January, 1993) (Phelps)
Report on Social Assistance - A Readers Guide (Phelps)
Letter dated May 17, 1993, to Lena Johns, Chief, Kwanlin Dun First Nation from Hon. Mr. Fisher, Minister of Community and Transportation Services, re First Nations concerns with development projects in the area and establishment of working group to deal with those concerns (Fisher)
The following Legislative Returns were tabled May 2, 1993:
Sluice Box: Public Service Commissioner makes final decisions on contents (Brewster)
Oral, Hansard, p. 957
Beverage container regulations: status of development of regulations, including initiatives (Brewster)
Oral, Hansard, p. 982
Department of Education: responses to several questions asked by the Member for McIntyre-Takhini (Mr. McDonald) on May 3, 1993 (Phillips)
Oral, Hansard , p. 769-770
Department of Economic Development: answers to questions raised during debate of Bill No. 4, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1992-93 (Devries)