Tuesday, June 1, 1993 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will begin with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Ms. Moorcroft: National Access Awareness Week is a community-based initiative aimed at creating access for persons with disabilities. I would like to welcome Joan Stanton who, as the chair of the Yukon National Access Awareness Week, is working to encourage Yukoners to make year-round improvements in accessibility.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I would like to introduce my wife, Marjorie, and my daughter, Adrian. They came to see if I really do work.
Eulogy to Tommy McGinty
Mr. Joe: I am very sad today because one of our respected elders has passed away. Tommy McGinty was the man to whom everybody turned for help; he always shared his wisdom. Yesterday in this House people talked about the good changes that are happening in my community. Tommy McGinty was one of the reasons why the people have come so far in such a short period of time. Today, Yukon has lost a great man - a wise and respected elder and a very good friend. He was my brother-in-law, and he will be greatly missed.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I, too, would like to add my condolences to Tommy McGintys family and the people of Pelly Crossing.
Although I did not know Mr. McGinty personally, I was in Pelly last Friday when he spoke to the graduates at that ceremony. I could sense the respect that the community had for Mr. McGinty and his vision of where he wanted his people to be.
I know that there is a great deal of sorrow and sadness in Pelly Crossing today, and I would like to express our condolences from this side of the House to the McGinty family and all of the people of Pelly.
Speaker: Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I have a press release for tabling.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I have for tabling three legislative returns relating to the Department of Justice.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I have for tabling three legislative returns for Community and Transportation Services.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I have two legislative returns, one from the Department of Economic Development and one from Government Services.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Introduction of Bills.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 37: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I move that Bill No. 37, entitled An Act to Repeal the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Justice that Bill No. 37, entitled An Act to Repeal the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 37 agreed to
Speaker: Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Are there any Notices of Motions?
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
This then bring us to the Question Period.
Question re: Placer mining committee, representation on
Mr. Penikett: I would like to ask a question of the Government Leader. According to CHON/FM news reports, the Yukon Conservtion Society and the Yukon First Nations will be denied seats on the new placer mining committee, which succeeds the Implementation Review Committee that recently established new standards for the placer industry. Can the Government Leader confirm that this is the case?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The decision about who sits on that committee is basically a decision made by the federal government There were indications that the Council for Yukon Indians desired a seat. I am not aware if that decision has yet been made.
Mr. Penikett: I will put this supplementary to the Minister of Economic Development. The former president of the Yukon Conservation Society, in commenting on the decision yesterday, expressed the view that this may be a result of the new territorial governments wishes and the wish for a new direction on this body.
Can the Government Leader or the Minister of Economic Development indicate whether or not they were consulted on who should be included on this body?
Hon. Mr. Devries: There were some discussions pertaining to that, but the basic feeling among the federal and YTG people was that we should try and keep the committee as small and compact as possible. That way, they could come to a consensus on various issues. They did indicate that they would keep some of the other players, who were interested in positions on the committee, fully informed.
Mr. Penikett: Since the election of the Yukon Party, a great number of people, including Members of this House, have expressed some concern about this government narrowing the range of interests that it consults on major economic policy decisions. The Minister of Economic Development seemed to say, just now, that his government had consented to an arrangement where neither conservation interests nor First Nations interests would be represented on this new placer mining committee. Can he confirm that and explain why his government did not fight, consistent with the economic strategy and the legislation in the UFA, to ensure that First Nations and conservation interests would be represented on that body?
Hon. Mr. Devries: As the Member knows, mines are not our jurisdiction. This is a federal committee, and we are a representative on this committee. It is the federal government that decides who is and is not on the committee. It is also the federal government that foots the bill for some of the players. That is what the decision was based on, I would assume.
Question re: Organizations, government funding of
Mr. McDonald: The Minister of Economic Development announced that $36,000 in core funding would be provided to the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, and more operational funds to the Yukon Chamber of Mines, but did not plan to provide any funding to the Yukon Federation of Labour or other significant organizations with an interest in the economy.
At the time, the Minister could not say how an application for funding would be received from these organizations. Could he tell us now?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I believe the Member was in this department when the decision was made that core funding would no longer be made to any groups, and the funding would be based on a fee-for-services premise. It is my understanding that the Yukon Federation of Labour, as many as three or four years ago, declined money from the previous administration, because they wanted to remain independent. They felt that by taking funds from government, they would no longer have the ability to be totally independent.
Mr. McDonald: I would like to ask the Minister a very simple question. What is the policy of the government regarding fee for services, as he characterizes it, or core funding, as everybody else characterizes it, for organizations that make application to the government - organizations that have a significant interest in the economy? Will he consider those applications favourably, as he already has for the Yukon Chamber of Mines and the Yukon Chamber of Commerce for the same purposes?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Each one of those would be looked at one at a time.
Mr. McDonald: There are many significant organizations with an interest in the economy. How is the government going to demonstrate that it is prepared to treat all these organizations fairly if they only financially support a select few? Can I ask the Minister this direct question: what is the policy of the government for providing funds to organizations - on a fee-for-service basis or core funding - when those organizations come forward to seek financial support? What is the policy of the government?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Basically, if the organization can show that it is doing a service that is of benefit to the Yukon government to help achieve its economic goals. For instance, the Chamber of Mines is represented on YMAC and the Whitehorse mining initiative, et cetera. They are very important players in the economic goals of the government. If another organization can show that they can provide a service to the government then they would be considered.
Question re: Whitehorse sewage facility, land acquisition
Mr. Cable: I have some questions for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services on the Whitehorse sewage disposal system.
It is my understanding that the City of Whitehorse was to submit an application to the Yukon Water Board by the end of last month relating to the proposed sewage disposal system. It is my understanding also that this was not done because the city was unwilling to proceed with the application until there was certainty on the key elements of the project. One of these major elements is the acquisition of land for the facility. Would the Minister inform the House as to the status of the acquisition of land for the facility.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The acquisition of land for the new Whitehorse sewage lagoon is currently at the land claims table; it is being dealt with that forum.
Mr. Cable: Before proceeding with the application, the city also wanted some certainty on the financial commitment, in relation to the funding of the project. As I understand that the type of system has now been chosen, what is the governments position, definitively, on the funding of the system? What proportion is it prepared to fund?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The City of Whitehorse officials and the Department of Community and Transportation Services officials are in the process of negotiating the funding arrangement now. From what I understand, it is very close to completion. I expect that within the next week or so I will be dealing with the city council to finalize the funding negotiations.
Mr. Cable: As it would appear that the territorial government is in the drivers seat on both of those issues, would the Minister indicate when he anticipates both of those issues will be cleared up and the application can be forwarded on to the Yukon Water Board?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I cannot give a definitive answer as to exact dates. I would hope, from all indications that I have received so far, that it would be quite soon.
Question re: Northern Accord, First Nations involvement
Ms. Joe: My question is for the Government Leader. The Minister of Economic Development and the Government Leader, in comments in the House and in the media, have alleged that they have met obligations to consult with Yukon First Nations on the Northern Accord, and have offered documentary evidence in an effort to show that opportunities were offered. Can the Government Leader confirm that the document tabled yesterday documents many meetings on the subject with the previous government over a period of four years, but not one single discussion with the Yukon Party government since it took office in October, until a last minute briefing in Ottawa at the request of CYI on May 14, less than two weeks before the accord was signed?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I can certainly confirm that. The legislative return that was provided to the Member yesterday outlines the date.
I said in this House last week that there was very little that this party had to negotiate on the Northern Accord, except the final amount of money that would be transferred to the Yukon territorial government. All of the negotiations took place under the previous administration.
Ms. Joe: The negotiations with regard to the Northern Accord were ongoing. The last meeting we had, on September 4, was in regard to negotiations and to offer assistance to them regarding their ongoing participation. There was not a darn thing done until May 14, when they finally met with them.
Could the Government Leader confirm that, during his seven-month term in office in which the accord was finalized, CYI was not involved in discussions or consultations on this accord?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: During our time in office we were trying to involve CYI in talking about the Northern Accord, the forestry transfer and devolution of other responsibilities from Ottawa to the Yukon territorial government. There is no doubt that we were not very successful in that regard, but getting back to the Northern Accord, our legal people tell us that we have fulfilled our obligations under the umbrella final agreement and the Hon. Tom Siddon, the Minister of DIAND, feels that the federal government has fulfilled their obligations, so the accord was signed in Dawson City last Friday.
Ms. Joe: I find it outrageous that this government has no concept at all about the seriousness of what is happening with regard to negotiations. The government received legal advice about this and they still have a political obligation to do things according to the UFA.
I would like to ask the Minister whether or not one briefing offered in the course of a lobbying trip to Ottawa constitutes the degree of consultation and involvement called for by the umbrella final agreement. Is this the Yukon Party definition of consultation, despite the advice that they are getting from the legal people in their department?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I do not understand the Members great concern now. The previous administration negotiated from 1988 to the fall of 1992.
There is a list of the consultations that they were supposed to have carried out; now she says there was no consultation done, expecting us to do it all in a short period of time.
We tried to fulfill what we had to do in the time in which we had to do it. We started in early December right through to that meeting, which we finally got CYI to attend. There were several requests for meetings in the interim, but they were busy with land claims.
Mr. Speaker, you can look at the record and all of the negotiations. When I took office, I was told that the Northern Accord was negotiated except for the final amount that the territory would receive.
Question re: Northern Accord, First Nations involvement
Mr. Harding: There are two things at issue here: one, our government consulted with the CYI and, two, the Ministers government signed it.
I want to ask the Government Leader another question. I want to ask the Government Leader a question regarding the speech -
Speaker: Order. Order please. Move on to the next question then, because the preamble was in regard to the Northern Accord. That is what the question should be about, so if the Member wants to ask a question on that, he can; if he prefers to stand up and ask a new question, I will accept it.
Question re: Government Leader, comments made in Dawson City
Mr. Harding: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I certainly accept your ruling on that. I would like to ask the Government Leader a question regarding the speech he gave in Dawson City. The Government Leader gave a speech in Dawson that I asked the Minister of Economic Development about yesterday but did not get much of a response. In the speech, the Government Leader talked about the head of a mining company who, does very well mining governments. I would like to ask the Government Leader what he meant by those comments, and what government policy or direction do they represent?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I believe the comments as reported in the paper were taken out of context of what I was talking to him about at the meeting.
Mr. Harding: I asked what he meant by them, and he had ample opportunity there to give me an explanation, so I can only assume, from what I was just told by the Government Leader and from what I heard in the past, that the reporting accurately represents what I think it does. In that case, I will ask the Minister this: what is the point of continuing to Frame-bash and produce such negativity in the midst of a territorial economic crisis where the Faro mine is the best hope in the immediate future for economic recovery in this territory?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: It is the Member opposite now who is making assumptions, and I do not think I will comment on the assumptions.
Mr. Harding: Maybe I will ask a simple question to the Government Leader, which he might be able to answer. I am asking him now to tell me what he meant by the comments; what do they represent; what government policy and direction do they represent? It is a simple question.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The comments I made were in relation to an exchange the Mayor of Dawson and I were having, and they had nothing to do with government policy.
Question re: National Access Awareness Week
Ms. Moorcroft: I have a question for the Minister of Health and Social Services regarding National Access Awareness Week. Over 4.2 million Canadians have a disability, which represents more than one in seven people. People with disabilities are among the poorest members of our society. In 1986, nearly three out of five people with disabilities made less than $10,000 a year.
I would like to ask the Minister what concrete steps his department is taking to participate in National Access Awareness Week.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I do not have a list at my fingertips. I will be happy to come back with it.
Ms. Moorcroft: Participation in National Access Awareness Week encourages communities to assess their level of accessibility, raise public awareness of existing barriers and take action to remove these barriers. I would like to ask the Minister if he would be prepared to lobby his colleagues responsible for Government Services and Education to increase accessibility to public buildings and integrate educational and recreational activities.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Certainly. In fact, that is our policy.
Ms. Moorcroft: Only 40 percent of adults with disabilities are in the paid labour force, compared to 70 percent of the general population. Barriers to education contribute to a low literacy rate among Canadians with disabilities.
In his review of social assistance, will the Minister look at ways to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities, so they do not have to resort to social assistance?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Again, that is also government policy.
Question re: Job creation
Mr. McDonald: The government has made the continued claim that the capital budget, once approved, will generate 700 direct jobs in the economy. It has even suggested this might be a fair trade for the loss of jobs at the Curragh operation.
Given that the government tabled information yesterday that the projected 700 jobs include the hospital construction, which will not proceed, and half the land development budget, which will also not proceed, can the Minister of Economic Development indicate whether or not the projected numbers of jobs will be substantially fewer than previously claimed?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I can say that the jobs will be slightly fewer; I would not say substantially. The Member has to remember that, although there are 700 jobs listed there, many of these jobs take place during the summer months. For instance, where one person year is listed as $160,000 for building construction, that could very well employ half a dozen people at any given time. In a sense you could double those numbers to determine how many people could be working during the months of July, August and September.
Mr. McDonald: There is no point in fooling around with the numbers. We have always talked about direct jobs created by the capital budget and person years. The Ministers have made the claim that there are 700 direct jobs resulting from the budget. Using the statistics that the Minister tabled yesterday, the loss of the actual hospital construction and half the land development would result in the loss of better than 146 person-year jobs. Does the Minister not agree that this is a substantial number of jobs?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I do not have the exact number at my fingertips, but I know that $3 million worth of construction that is still going to happen on the hospital will be during a three- or four-month time frame and the indications are that there will be 19 person years work on that job. Again I stand by the figure. There could very well be 40 to 45 people working on that job, during those four months.
Mr. McDonald: The government has already indicated that $11 million of the $14 million slated for the hospital construction will not proceed. Using the multiplier analysis in the Ministers document, that translate into 69 jobs. The Minister has also indicated that roughly half of the land development projects will not proceed. That translates into 77 jobs. Does the Minister not agree that these are a substantial number of jobs and will he indicate to us why the government continually made the claim that there will be 700 jobs, even when they knew that the hospital construction would not proceed and that a substantial amount of land development would not proceed?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I will stand by the fact that there are a fair number of these jobs that have not started yet. Once these jobs start, there will be doubling up of the person years to try to squeeze the job into the allocated time frame. I agree that there will be fewer jobs due to the hospital not going ahead at the scale that we had anticipated - land development is still up in the air.
Question re: Downsizing government through layoffs
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission, regarding his employees.
I would like to ask the Minister what instructions he has given department heads regarding downsizing government through the laying off of term and auxiliary employees before their terms expire.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The departments are looking at all areas of containing the cost of government. Laying off people is the last place we are looking. We are hoping to accomplish our downsizing by attrition. Those are the directions that are given to the departments.
Mrs. Firth: There are employees who have told me that they were informed by their supervisors that as soon as the Legislative Assembly sitting is finished, they will be receiving their layoff notices. I would like to ask the Minister what direction he gave to individual supervisors and department heads who are passing this message on to the employees.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: As I said, we are going through a period of downsizing the government. Instructions given are that we hope to accomplish this, as much as possible, by attrition.
Mrs. Firth: I have heard from three government departments, from the business community and through phone calls and letters that this is happening. I would like to ask the Minister why this is happening if he says that they are not going to be downsizing through layoffs but, rather, through attrition. Why is this happening if that is the direction he has given?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: We have said all along that there may be some term positions that would not be renewed, but we were not going to go into massive layoffs. I do not know how many people the Member opposite is talking about at this point, but if she would care to share that with me, I will investigate it further.
Question re: Downsizing government through layoffs
Mrs. Firth: I am very concerned about the way this government treats people and the way things are being done. There are actions being taken by the government that are affecting peoples lives and their ability to earn a living.
I would like to ask the Minister exactly what his policy is regarding laying off the auxiliary and term employees, and whether or not he directed the department heads to make the announcement after the Legislature finished its sitting.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I have stood here and answered that question twice for the Member opposite. I told her what was going to happen; I said most of the downsizing would be done through attrition and there is a possibility that some terms will not be renewed when they expire; there is always that possibility.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister has not answered the question.
There is obviously going to be massive layoffs of auxiliary and term employees.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mrs. Firth: If the Members scoff at that, why does the Minister not stand up and tell us exactly what is going on, instead of us having to hear that-
Speaker: Order please. I would ask the Member to ask her supplementary question.
Mrs. Firth: I was right in the middle of it, Mr. Speaker. Why-
Speaker: I would ask the Member to ask her supplementary question.
Mrs. Firth: Why does the Minister not stand up and tell us what is going on with these employees instead of us having to hear about it through these avenues?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I have already given the Member the government policy on what was being done.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister has given us nothing, just like he has given nothing to the employees.
Could the Minister table in the House this afternoon his policy regarding laying off auxiliary and term employees and could he also bring forward - when he tables that information - how many term and how many auxiliary employees are going to be affected.
We would like that information this afternoon.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I will not commit to bringing that information for the Member this afternoon. I am not sure that is possible, but I will provide the information as soon as possible.
Question re: Yukon Liquor Corporation objectives
Ms. Joe: My question is for the Minister responsible for the Yukon Liquor Corporation.
During my term as Minister responsible for the corporation, Cabinet approved a change in corporate objectives for the Liquor Corporation that would allow expenditures to provide support for the responsible drinking of alcoholic beverages in the Yukon. Since this corporate objective was included in the 1993-94 budget, can I assume that the Minister supports the expenditure of some Liquor Corporation funds for purposes other than the marketing of alcoholic beverages?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, we have already put $60,000 into a radio program. It was ready to go, but the doctors wanted to revise it. I must point out that the profits that we make go back into general revenue and at least of third of the revenue is allocated to programs devoted to welfare and drugs.
Ms. Joe: In recent comments made on the radio, and I heard them myself, the Minister indicated that he did not want to see any revenues diverted into alcohol treatment programs. I would like him to tell this House what he means by no money from the corporation going back into programs, when he just stated that he was doing that.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: In the context of what she said, I pointed out that all the revenues go back into general revenues and they are distributed from there. This year we started the program and put $60,000 into it for advertising. The rest of the money goes back into general revenues and is distributed from there.
Ms. Joe: The Minister also stated that the new brand from the Red Feather Saloon was going to bring in a lot of extra revenue. I would like to ask him if it is the policy of his department to further promote the sale of new products, despite the serious problem that we have in the Yukon as a result of alcohol and drug abuse?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I find that really quite a statement. During the anniversary, that government brought in a wine from Germany. Nobody raised any trouble. This product we are bringing in now will probably replace another liquor. It is the same standard as Crown Royal. The only extra money that we are going to make on this is that we do have a royalty - probably one of the only ones in Canada - that will be turned back into this government when it is sold in other countries.
Question re: Whitehorse waterfront development
Mr. Cable: I have some further questions for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. This is not to show that the Minister is in fact working. They relate to the Whitehorse waterfront development.
I understand that the previous government had drafted legislation regarding a Capital City Commission. This legislation was discussed with City of Whitehorse representatives on a few occasions. Would the Minister advise as to the status of this legislation?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I am not aware that there was actual legislation drafted. I knew that someone was working on a Capital City Commission. I am not sure if the City of Whitehorse actually is looking for a capital city commissioner. I believe that the City of Whitehorse wants to put together an executive committee to deal with the whole waterfront question.
Mr. Cable: That leads me into the second question. I believe this Capital City Commission contemplated a role for waterfront development under the legislation. Could the Minister advise as to the status of the body he just referred to, this committee?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The city and the Yukon government, probably the Minister of Tourism and I, will be meeting with the city to establish this commission - I would expect probably early in July.
Mr. Cable: I understand the government has purchased nine acres along the waterfront of the City of Whitehorse and, if I have my facts correct, the city is expecting that there will be a 50 percent ownership in the city. Is this the Ministers present thinking?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The ownership of the waterfront land will be one of the questions that we deal with through this executive committee. I am not sure exactly how much control or ownership the Government of Yukon should or needs to have, but that is something that will be discussed at these meetings.
Question re: Game farming
Mr. Harding: I have a question for the Minister of Renewable Resources, and I hope he will not be too defensive.
In the game farming regulation proposals and specifically proposal no. 2, a differentiation is made between animals kept as viewing animals and animals kept as game farm animals. The proposals identify species defined as game farm animals but it is unclear as to what species can be kept as viewing animals. Is the Minister proposing that exotic or non-indigenous or non-native Yukon species can be kept as viewing animals?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: At the present time, they can be kept because we do not have any regulation to prevent it. I am very interested to hear what people have to say about that proposal when it comes through. I will not comment on my own personal opinion on it.
Mr. Harding: I am pretty surprised about this, because the Minister was prepared to dynamite or electrocute gold fish for the simple reason that they were not native species to the Yukon, so I am concerned about the way this is being addressed.
I would like to ask the Minister this: is he also proposing that viewing animals offspring can be sold? This gives the owners of viewing animals the opportunity to keep wildlife and breed and sell them. Could the Minister explain what the difference is between this practice and the practice of game farming?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As I pointed out, at the present time we have no regulations to control that, which is why we are trying to get regulations in. We do have good regulations controlling game farming, which were put in by your government, but they did not control exotic species.
Speaker: I would remind the Minister that it is not my government, and remarks should be addressed to the Member through the Speaker, not directly to him.
Mr. Harding: I feel very sorry for the owners of viewing animals who, at some later date, may have the Minister come with an electrocuting stick, or some dynamite, to try and get rid of the problem.
I would like to ask the Minister when the regulations for viewing animals will be prepared, because we are really not addressing the serious problem we have and concerns we have for escape and cross-breeding of game farm animals, as well as the spreading of disease.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I apologize, Mr. Speaker.
The game regulations will protect the animals and see that game farming animals stay inside their pens because of the criteria we put up to hold them in there.
Question re: McLean Lake gravel pit
Mr. Penikett: Because McLean Lake, in my constituency, is well known for its stock of rainbow trout, interested persons were assured, some time ago, that the new gravel pit being developed by the government in the area would be located at least 700 metres from the lake.
Can the Minister of Community and Transportation Services explain why this commitment has apparently not been met?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I am not aware of a 700-foot buffer. I know that there is a 150-metre buffer strip between the lake and the body of water, and I expect the Member opposites next question would be in respect to why they would clear down to the lake. My information on that is that, when they transposed the conceptual plan from the map to an actual survey, they made an error. There was a line drawn very near to upper McLean Lake. That has since been rectified.
Mr. Penikett: Mr. Speaker, you can get wet making a mistake like that.
The Minister did very well anticipating my first supplementary, but he did not explain why there are people in this town, interested in fish and game questions, who believe they were assured by the department that the buffer between the gravel pit and the lake would be 700 metres, not 700 feet. I would appreciate his getting back to me on that.
Can he now indicate who was consulted about a 150-foot buffer?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: It is not 150 feet. I am sorry if I misled the Member opposite; it is 150 metres. There is a list of approximately 35 people or groups who were consulted, including the Yukon Fish and Game Association, the water resources branch and residents of McLean Lake.
Mr. Penikett: Notably, not the MLA.
Can I ask a supplementary to the same question to the Minister of Renewable Resources? Given the concerns about McLean Lake and other stocked lakes, can the Minister explain why he has dropped the rainbow trout stocking program, which was initiated by the previous government?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That is the third time I have heard that today. I have checked with the department and they have not cancelled it. I do not know who is spreading this rumour, but the department is carrying on with it as usual.
Question re: Downsizing government through layoffs
Mrs. Firth: I want to follow up with the Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission on the questions I have been asking him this afternoon. Did he tell his department heads to wait until after the session was finished before layoff notices were issued to term and auxiliary employees?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I have told the Member opposite what our policy is on employees. I have told her how it will be handled and I have told her that I will bring back a return to this Legislature.
Mrs. Firth: I want the Minister just to answer this question: did he tell the department heads or anyone to wait until after the Legislative Assembly had finished sitting before they were to issue layoff notices to term and auxiliary employees?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Before departments issue any layoff notices, they generally come back and check with us to see if we are in agreement with it. That has not happened to date.
Mrs. Firth: By not answering the question - yes or no - the Minister leaves us no other conclusion to draw than that he is refusing to deny having done that. We must therefore draw the conclusion that he did it.
I would like to ask the Minister to whom he said not to issue the layoff notices until after the session was finished.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: To be truthful with the Member opposite, I do not recall any such instructions being given.
I said that we would table a return to let the Member know how we are dealing with all employees, not only term and auxiliary employees.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed.
Question of Privilege - Speakers Ruling
Speaker: I will now rule on the question of privilege raised by the Member for Riverdale South yesterday.
When a question of privilege is raised by a Member, the responsibility of the Speaker is set out in Standing Order 7(3), which states, The Speaker may allow such debate as is necessary to assist in the determination of whether there appears to be a prima facie case of breach of privilege and whether the matter is being raised at the earliest opportunity.
The Member for Riverdale South, pursuant to the requirements of Standing Order 7(1), provided written notice of the question of privilege which she has raised.
Her oral remarks did not cover all the points identified in the written notice, so I will now table a copy of that notice.
The written notice provides the reasoning behind the Member for Riverdale Souths submission that there was a breach of privilege.
To determine whether there is a prima facie breach of privilege I have considered the written notice, the oral remarks of the Members when the question of privilege was raised, and I have reviewed the comments made by the Leader of the Official Opposition, at page 1077 of Hansard, and also remarks by other Members who spoke immediately after the Leader of the Official Opposition.
The Member for Riverdale South, in a portion of her written notice, said the following, and I quote, On Wednesday, May 26, the Leader of the Official Opposition, in his speech on second reading of Bill No. 89, made some very serious allegations concerning the Speaker. Later on she concludes, It is my feeling that the statements of the Official Opposition on May 26 were in the nature of a breach of privilege, because they contained reflections upon the character and actions of the Speaker. According to parliamentary practice, the Leader of the Official Opposition should have brought forward a substantive motion if he has a specific charge to level.
In support of her position, the Member for Riverdale South cites a portion of annotation 168 in Beauchesnes sixth edition, which states: Reflections upon the character or actions of the Speaker may be punished as breaches of privilege. The actions of the Speaker cannot be criticized incidentally in debate or upon any form of proceeding except by way of a substantive motion.
During the second reading debate on the bill, entitled An Act to Amend the Fuel Oil Tax Act, the Leader of the Official Opposition at one point stated, We have learned today one dimension of an understanding that obviously exists to secure passage of this legislation. Members in this party, the Official Opposition, are quite appalled and scandalized by those arrangements.
He then went on to discuss the selection of the Speaker as the Yukon branch delegate to the annual conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. He then concluded that portion of his speech with the following remarks: The Government Leader told us today that there were no deals to guarantee the passage of his budget and I am going to stand here on my feet in this House and say that I find that statement incredible. What has transpired, Mr. Speaker, I want to say frankly, dishonours this House, dishonours all Members of this House and demeans the budget debate.
It is apparent, upon reflection, that not only was the Leader of the Official Opposition in breach of our Standing Order 57(2), which requires that the debate on a motion for second reading must be limited to the object, expediency, principles and merits of the bill, or to alternative methods of obtaining its purpose, but the remarks were, in my determination, clearly reflections upon the character and actions of the Speaker.
From the speeches on the tax bill that followed the Leader of the Official Oppositions remarks, it is apparent that other Members also interpreted the remarks made by the Leader of the Official Opposition as an attack on the Speaker.
The Member for Riverside spoke immediately after the Leader of the Official Opposition. He said, I had not intended to speak, but I cannot believe my ears. The word scandalous was used. The suggestion that a Member of this House would trade off some travel budget for support of a bill, I think is in fact scandalous. If in fact I have appreciated those allegations correctly, they should either be proven or withdrawn in order that the Speakers position can be protected.
The Minister of Justice, in his remarks, said, Let us look at the attack on the Speaker by the Leader of the Official Opposition. In my view, that was unparliamentary. Attacking the Chair, as he has during this session, is unparliamentary. Attacking the officials of this Legislature is unparliamentary. There are other forums in which to discuss these things. They should not be brought out here in the first instance. That is simply my position.
The Government House Leader, in his speech, stated, The issue has also come up where one Member attacked the Speaker today in the House. I am disappointed about that. I am not going to say much more than that. That particular Member has taken leave of the standard rules of this House and consistently attacked the Speaker, Table officials, government officials and others in here. That is sad for our House, and it really lowers the level of debate in our Legislature.
The Government House Leader went on to say, I know that, if I were taking that approach, that particular Member would be the first Member to stand in his place and chastise me for attacking people who cannot defend themselves.
I, therefore, find that the remarks made by the Leader of the Official Opposition constitute a prima facie breach of privilege; however, the Member, in bringing a question of privilege, must also clear two further hurdles. The matter must be raised at the earliest opportunity and, quoting from annotation 118 in Beauchesnes sixth edition: A complaint of a breach of privilege must conclude with a motion providing the House an opportunity to take some action. That action is normally the reference of the matter to the Standing Committee on Elections, Privileges, and Procedure for examination. It may, however, be a statement of condemnation for a breach of privilege or an order for an individual to appear at the Bar.
Maingot, in Parliamentary Privilege in Canada, states that one of the facets of an acceptable motion on a question of privilege is that the motion should refer to the complaint raised by the Member.
The motion proposed in the written notice reads as follows: THAT this House finds that the Leader of the Official Opposition, in his remarks about the Speaker on May 26, 1993, as found on page 1077 of Hansard, has committed a breach of privilege; and
THAT this House continues to support the longstanding parliamentary principle that the actions of the Speaker cannot be criticized incidentally in debate or upon any form of proceeding except by way of a substantive motion.
The motion that the Member for Riverdale South informed the House that she wished to debate included only the second paragraph of the motion found in her written notice. Obviously, the motion intended by the Member must be taken to be the one she provided to the House in her oral presentation. By dropping the first paragraph of the motion, the Member for Riverdale South has eliminated any reference to her specific complaint. She therefore has not brought forward a motion that could be considered to be an order.
On that point, though, issues as important as questions of privilege ought not to fail based on form alone. I have therefore considered whether the matter is being raised at the earliest opportunity. In the absence of extenuating circumstances, the matter should be raised either at the time of the alleged breach or on the next sitting day.
Extenuating circumstances were not argued by the Member and are not obvious to me.
Based on the fact that the Member is asking the House to debate a very general motion, which does not refer to a specific complaint or give specific direction for action to be taken, and also the fact that no argument was made with respect to the delay in bringing the question, I cannot justify setting aside all other business of the House to debate this motion. I would suggest that if Members wish to proceed with the motion, that it be brought forward again in the normal course of business.
We will now proceed to Orders of the Day.
Government Private Members Business
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Pursuant to Standing Order 14.2(7), I would like to inform the House that the government private Members do not wish to identify any items under the heading Government Private Members Business to be called on Wednesday, June 2, 1993.
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 Hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call the Committee of the Whole to order. Is it the wish of the Members to take a brief recess at this time?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will take a brief recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Bill No. 6 - First Appropriation Act, 1993-94 - continued
On Advanced Education - continued
Chair: Is there further general debate on advanced education?
Ms. Moorcroft: The economy with the mine closure is dictating more education needs. I would argue that what we need are more services for students, not less, and I think that we should be improving college offerings and training opportunities for Yukoners.
I would like to ask the Minister of Education what his justification is for a cut in funding to Yukon College.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I can provide some information to the Member that will show that, although the core funding is reduced, there was some money moved around in some different areas and the college is receiving 1.3 percent more money this year than it did last year. It is not a cut and that is why the college, after their meetings, have decided not to make too many major cuts. In fact, we have held the line with the college with a minor increase.
Mr. McDonald: If the Minister would share that information that would be fine. I do know from some discussions with college board members that they do take issue with those figures, and I would be more than happy to study the figures a little further and perhaps discuss the figures with the Minister at a future date.
As I understand it, there are such things as the Television Northern Canada appropriation that is now considered to be part of the base funding for the college, in the amount of $142,000. That is no longer a special grant, but the basic grant has not been raised to accommodate the funding.
In common parlance, that is considered the same as telling the college to eat it. In a sense that is a cut, unless there is no intention to proceed with the Television Northern Canada services.
In any case, I will have the opportunity to discuss that further with the Minister.
Let me ask a general question. Is the land claims training fund incorporated into the advanced education branch? Can the Minister indicate, once that trust fund is removed - because it is a special, one-time investment - whether or not that represents a cut to normal advanced education programming and not an increase?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Yes, in a sense it does. We are also, at this time, not putting in the $800,000 that was put in last year for training trust funds.
Mr. McDonald: If one removes the $800,000 from last years appropriation, there would be something less than $16,000,000 and, if the $2 million and some were removed, there would be a fairly substantial cut there of at least $500,000.
Can the Minister indicate, in priority terms, where that cut would manifest itself? In simple terms, could the Minister indicate what areas were reduced in order to accommodate this cut in advanced education?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Five hundred and thirty-one thousand dollars of it is in the reduced grant to the college.
Mr. McDonald: I am sure we will have a discussion about the grant to the college. The Minister indicated that, depending on how one looked at it, the college grant was increased by $1.3 million and we understand the Minister to have just said that the cut is in the grant to the college. I am not sure how to reconcile that, but perhaps a further discussion with the Minister and the Ministers department will make it clearer.
I would like to ask the Minister a few brief questions about the statistics on page 97. The Ministers book shows the average amount for each post-secondary education grant in the Yukon to decrease, yet the number of grants is shown to increase rather substantially. Can the Minister indicate why that might be?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It is because more students are attending Yukon College and they do not get the $900 for the Yukon travel.
Mr. McDonald: What is it about what the government is doing in the coming year, or what projections are there to suggest that there is going to be that significant a difference from last year to this coming year? What factors are affecting the Ministers thinking in that regard?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It is the same as in the past. They are based on historical trends, as predicted by the department.
Mr. McDonald: So, even though the college is restricting its programming and doing such things as cutting back on the watering of plants, et cetera, the Minister still expects that historical trends for fairly significant growth in the student population at the college will transpire - is that his view?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Yes; in terms of the people on grants, that is correct.
Mr. McDonald: We will wait and see on that question. The Minister has also indicated the average amount of the Canada student loans is reducing. Can the Minister indicate why that is taking place?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: We are dealing with the federal government on Canada student loans, and that is just a projected amount under the agreement with the federal government.
Mr. McDonald: Has the Department of Education made an agreement with the federal government that the amount would go down? What does he mean by having struck an agreement?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I misspoke myself. It is just anticipating what the federal government program will have in it this year. It is not an agreement, as such.
Mr. McDonald: I will have some questions later about the federal governments plans with respect to providing for student financial assistance. I know that has been a watching brief by the department for some time. I will ask whether or not the Minister would be prepared to give us an update, sometime this summer, as to what the federal government is proposing to do. Is he prepared to do that?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Yes, I will do that. There was a meeting of Ministers of Education held earlier this year. Because we were in the House, I was unable to attend that particular meeting. I believe that was one of the issues that was raised at that meeting. I will provide an update for the Member as soon as I can.
Mr. McDonald: The Minister presented a ministerial statement this sitting that referred to a survey of employers. Employers all wanted as many skilled employees as possible. They wanted to improve the skill level of employees. I would like to ask the Minister what the rationale is for the downsizing, as they call it on page 99, of the apprentice incentive marketing program. There is a clear intention here to reduce activity in this program. I would like to try to understand the Ministers reasons for that.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: There are two reasons for that. One is that the demand has decreased. Secondly, there has been more responsibility put on the private sector employers.
Mr. McDonald: Clearly there is still a fairly substantial responsibility for private sector employers to provide financial and administrative support to apprentices within their operation. Quite clearly, the rationale for a financial incentive like this is to encourage employers to do something that they may not otherwise do over the normal course of events. When the economy is slipping somewhat, one would assume that activity in areas such as this might be even increased rather than decreased. Certainly incentives should be increased in order to encourage employers to provide for ongoing training.
I know this is a program that has been supported in the Legislature in the past. The Minister may know that the government itself has a fairly poor track record as an employer of bringing on apprentices. Certainly the fact that the in-house apprenticeship program is no longer in effect leaves the governments role in encouraging the private sector to promote apprenticeship reduced to the normal services that the branch personnel provide in advanced education, plus this particular financial incentive.
Does the Minister feel that the incentive is not working? Are they philosophically opposed to providing the incentive, or do they feel that, no matter what, there will not be enough applicants to justify the same level of activity as last year? What are the reasons for downsizing the program?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I mentioned a couple of the reasons earlier. One other reason is that the program this year will be a little more focused on equity groups, such as women, First Nations and the disabled.
Mr. McDonald: To focus the program on minorities groups or groups that are traditionally under represented in the trades is not necessarily a rationale to reduce funding for those who are not under represented. The Minister indicated that there was going to be less of a takeup. Is that less of a takeup a result of fewer dollars or is the department projecting that there will be fewer people interested in trades training?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: My understanding is that there are fewer apprentices moving into the program.
Mr. McDonald: I understand why that might be; if there are fewer dollars, there are fewer apprentices. What I am asking about is the branchs assessment of the number of persons who would be interested in taking on a trade. Is the Minister saying that there will be fewer candidates who would be interested in taking trades training at this time? Is he saying that there are fewer employers who would be interested and they would require a higher subsidy, or is he saying that there are fewer positions available and consequently there will be fewer apprentices? That is a truism and I understand that clearly.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It is my understanding that there has been a bit of a decline in apprenticeship application, and I can get the details of the reasons for this decline in this area and provide that information in a legislative return, or if we are out of session, in the next several weeks.
Mr. McDonald: I will accept that, but I would like to point out that, traditionally in this territory where there has been decline in private sector activity, the PC government that was in office from 1978 to 1985 made a very significant point of not only increasing the amount of activity that they provided as an employer, initiating an in-house apprenticeship program that took on up to 20 people per year, in order to encourage training during periods of time when the economy was flat. They also tried to provide incentives and, in part, developed the branch of advanced education in order to spur on apprenticeship activity.
I have always accepted the rationale that government activity should be heightened at a time when the economy is flatter. Perhaps the Ministers explanations of why this is taking place now might have a good rationale that I had not thought of, but if that is not the case, of course we will have the opportunity to raise the matter in the fall.
Chair: Are we prepared to proceed with line-by-line debate?
Administration in the amount of $12,691,000 agreed to
On Planning and Support Services
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move
THAT the estimates pertaining to Bill No. 6, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1993-94, be amended in vote 03, Education, by reducing the line item Planning and Support Services on page 96 in the operation and maintenance estimates by $30,000; and
THAT the clauses and schedules of the bill be amended accordingly.
Chair: Is there any debate on the amendment?
Mr. McDonald: I would like an explanation of the reduction and also the general reduction in this area.
If the Minister could give us a simple explanation to describe the 22-percent reduction and tell us what is being excised from the budget as a result of the $30,000 reduction in this most recent amendment.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The initial decrease in that particular program is the $800,000 for the training trust fund. The $30,000 is for planning and support services in a formal agreement reached between the Bureau of Statistics and advanced education to share information on how to use the bureaus expertise in survey research, which reduces duplication of activity.
The survey that was originally planned to be done in house will now be done through the Bureau of Statistics for a lower contract services cost this fiscal year.
In Training Programs there is a $7,000 reduction in honoraria for apprenticeship and trades advisory committees due to few meetings being planned and required.
Mr. McDonald: That answers the second question. The first question was about the general reduction in this area. Can he give us a simple explanation for that?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: That is the $800,000 for the training trust fund, which is not in the budget this year.
Mr. McDonald: The Minister indicated support for training trust funds and answered it in the context of the land claims training trust. He did not respond to new questions about new training trust funds and whether or not he is interested in pursuing any such vehicle to provide for training funding, matched presumably - or, it is hoped - by federal money to the private sector, so that they can help guide training activities in significant sectorial areas. Has the Minister given that any thought? Obviously no thought has translated into budgetary action, but what are the Ministers general thoughts about it?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Last night, I indicated that we support the concept of training trust funds. Unfortunately, with the tighter dollars out there, we felt we could not go ahead with any. We concentrated on other areas of the budget. It is certainly something we will look at in the future.
It is a little early to determine how successful the training funds we have in place now have been. I know that TIA is working actively with the Department of Education on various programs. They seem to be moving in a good direction, but it is a little early yet to determine the positive results of the particular programs.
Mr. McDonald: That, in some respects, may be true.
I would just like the Minister to think one thing the next time he is sitting at the Cabinet table with his Cabinet colleagues - he should think about the potential impact of, say, $100,000 worth of training trust fund, which would provide training opportunities for people, as opposed to just another $100,000 in $35 million worth of road construction.
When one makes the obvious comparison about the impact on the local community and what that might mean, it sometimes leads people to think about the priorities a bit differently. I would encourage the Ministers colleagues to think about that, too. This is, in my view, not a frill, but a fundamental feature of economic development and human resource development, which is what we are supposed to be all about.
I trust that the Ministers will consider that in the future budgeting processes.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I can assure the Member that we will and I thank him for his advice. I can also add that I feel that the training trust funds, since they are specific to certain sectors, are an excellent way to involve the sectors in planning and training for the future. It allows them to have more direct involvement in the training and planning for the future. I think they serve several purposes. For that reason, I will be encouraging my Cabinet colleagues to support them in the future when funds are available.
Amendment agreed to
Planning and Support Services in the amount of 3,404,000 agreed to as amended
On Training Programs
Hon. Mr. Phillips: In this particular area, I would like to make another amendment:
THAT the estimates pertaining to Bill No. 6, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1993-94, be amended in vote 03, Education, by reducing the line item Training Programs on page 96 in the operation and maintenance estimates by $7,000; and
THAT the clauses and schedules of the bill be amended accordingly.
The reason for these reductions are the reduction in honoraria for apprenticeship and trades advisory committees due to fewer meetings being planned and required.
Mr. McDonald: On this specific amendment, perhaps in the fall sitting we could have a more thorough discussion about the role apprenticeship is playing in the government and perhaps the Minister will take the trouble to bone up in this particular area and we will be able to have a useful discussion about where this sector is going. Could the Minister give us an explanation of the reasons for the overall reduction of 10 percent?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The decrease is mainly due to discontinuing the wilderness guide training program, $73,000, because it did not provide enough specific job training to enable the students to meet industry requirements, and the termination of funding for corrections officer training of $40,000, as it is the responsibility of another government department, and the reduction in the apprenticeship incentive marketing program of $118,600 - part of the reduction transferred to other programs. We are now working with the Tourism Industry Association to establish industry standards for a guide training program so that when guides come out of such a program they can go to work anywhere in the country.
Mr. McDonald: With respect to the guide training program, what industry associations is the Minister talking about - the outfitting industry or the wilderness guiding industry?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I understand they are working with the Tourism Industry Association and I believe they are working with both, looking at industry standards for the outfitting industry as well as the wilderness guides industry.
Mr. McDonald: As I have had considerable experience trying to get agreement between the outfitting industry and wilderness guiding industry, may I just point out to the Minister that finding a common cause in terms of similar training programs is an extraordinarily difficult prospect - difficult to the point that, in the past, we have had different programs in order to meet the very specific needs of each industry. In some respects, the needs of the industries were irreconcilable when it came to trying to put forward a common approach to training. I will be interested to learn of the departments success in the particular area of trying to get a program that will satisfy both industries.
I will only make one pitch that the Minister may want to consider in future planning, and that is simply this: one of the initial reasons for initiating a wilderness guide program, as it was originally conceived, was that there were a lot of people, particularly First Nations young men, who were rather footloose in their communities and this was one area where they showed a lot of self-confidence and could provide a useful role in economic activity and for which they were paid. Many attempts by the college, from 1983 onwards, to provide training programs produced the result that was quite unfriendly to the interests of those same clients. Simply put, they wanted to have something that was very academically based and run through a classroom rather than the wilderness itself.
Every time a program of that sort was put on - and, even while I was Minister, there were many attempts to put on a program that would help capture that specific clientele - we quite routinely lost all that clientele. They produced no First Nations graduates, but did offer an opportunity for others who had had a better experience in academic work.
I would ask the Minister to consider that element of this particular field and, if he is going to do a service to the rural communities, and particularly to First Nations rural communities, then they are going to have to design programs that may not be perfectly acceptable to the traditional programming planner, who understands the classroom better than he understands the wilderness. If he wants to get some results with that particular clientele, they are going to have to be more innovative than many who have tried in the past.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: To respond to the Members first comments about the outfitting industry, and how difficult it can be to work out an agreement with individuals in that industry - they are fairly independent - I have some experience in that field, as I work on a regular basis with a couple of old outfitters, so I know what the Member is talking about.
I realize it will be difficult to get a program in place that will be acceptable to all, but I think there is a need out there for such a program.
With respect to the comments the Member made, I think there is a need for the type of program the Member is talking about. I have been discussing that with the Minister of Health and Social Services - the wilderness camp aspect, and some of the areas he is looking at - to see if there might be some way of working something in there with some kind of training in the future. I think that is less academic and more oriented toward the bush and the type of lifestyle that many of these people lead. It may be something that is a little more valuable to them to do it that way, rather than to head into the classroom.
I would also suggest to the Member that the new industry standards will, in some cases, not necessarily all be centred in the classroom. Many of the industry standards, especially the wilderness guiding type of standards that have been adopted across the country by wilderness guides, are more oriented in the bush and may be more acceptable to First Nations. I am looking forward to seeing what the Tourism Industry Association and the Department of Education come up with, as far as programming in the future.
Mr. Cable: I am not sure whether this is the right peg or not, but it is the only one I could find in which to discuss the recovery at page 106 on the Canada Employment and Immigration Commission course purchases. Could I refer the Minister to that $991,000? To what program is that money accruing to?
Chair: Order please. That line of questioning was not on the amendment. We should try to carry the amendment first, before we proceed with your question.
Amendment agreed to
Mr. Cable: Could the Minister indicate what that $991,000 is attributed to? Could the Minister indicate what program that money accrues from?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The federal government purchases courses from us and we transfer the money to the college.
Mr. Cable: Who actually puts the courses on? Is it the college itself, or is it some government agency other than the college?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The college designs the courses and puts them on.
Mr. Cable: Is the whole $991,000 transferred, dollar for dollar, up to the college?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Yes, it is included in the base grant.
Mr. Cable: By the base grant, we are talking about the $10,099,000 referred to on page 107. Is that number of $991,000 part of, or in any way related to the line item that we were just talking about - $1,348,000?
Mr. McDonald: Could the Minister indicate why CEIC course purchases are dropping, when the federal government has indicated that they are going to increase spending on training under the labour force development agreement?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is the final year of the labour force development agreement, and that is the final amount for the final year that the feds are purchasing. It is direct purchasing.
Mr. McDonald: I understand it to be direct purchasing, but the federal government, as I understood their mandate, was intending to increase funding. Perhaps the Minister could give us a list of projects funded by the federal government. I believe it was in the $5 million range per year. Where is the money going and how much was directed last year into the college and how much is the government projecting will be directed in the coming year toward direct purchasing?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: If the federal government will provide that to us, I will provide that to the Member.
Mr. McDonald: Given the fact that the agreement itself states that the relationship between the Government of the Yukon and the Government of Canada will be nothing but open and honest, I cannot see any reason why the federal government would refuse to give that information. I will thank the Minister when it comes.
Training Programs in the amount of $1,341,000 agreed to as amended
Advanced Education in the amount of $17,436,000 agreed to as amended
On Libraries and Archives
Mr. McDonald: Can the Minister give us an explanation?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The budget reflects the actual expenditures and reclassification of the acquisitions clerk.
Administration in the amount of $268,000 agreed to
On Technical Services
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The increase covers allocation for wage increases.
Technical Services in the amount of $170,000 agreed to
On Public Library Services
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Cuts were made to bring the budget in on target. Permanent positions were maintained along with community library grants that provided salary dollars for community librarians.
Program cuts include youth and children services, $30,000; library book and audio-visual materials, $39,200; and incidental decreases in travel, communications and freight.
Cuts were based upon maintaining public service by keeping staff and cutting program materials since there had been a $100,000 one-time expenditure, in 1991-92, in materials to renovate the Whitehorse Public Library, and a $20,000 special literacy material grant is available from the Secretary of State for 1993-94.
Mr. McDonald: Could the Minister explain the cut of $30,000 in youth and childrens services?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: There was a youth program and a childrens services program and the youth program did not get off the ground. The childrens services program, I believe, was the rent-a-toy program. We are currently looking at various non-profit groups, such as the Rotary Club, and even businesses such as Mr. Submarine and other groups, that might be interested in sponsoring such a program like that for some of the community libraries.
Public Library Services in the amount of $955,000 agreed to
On Yukon Archives
Yukon Archives in the amount of $664,000 agreed to
Libraries and Archives in the amount of $2,057,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures agreed to as amended
On Finance and Administration
Mr. McDonald: I gave the Minister some notice that I would be asking him a question with respect to school facility planning. The department has in the past tried to foster some public debate as to the proper method of setting priorities for capital expenditures. In 1985-86, the Minister will remember that there was an engineering analysis done of urban and rural schools, followed by a public discussion of priorities that were, at that time, established by the department for the ensuing five years and even into the early 1990s.
Many people have indicated that they feel that the process was a good one and an open one, but feel that it has been outdated and needs to be refreshed.
Could he indicate what process he has for determining school facility alterations requirements, new facilities, and whether or not he is prepared to incorporate any engineering analysis of schools, and to what extent there will be public consultation of a general, territory-wide nature, and not simply on a bilateral basis with individual school councils or organizations and groups?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I do believe strongly in consultation when we are doing any capital works projects, especially for our schools, and I would support a strong consultative process that we could involve everyone in, including the school councils. There has been no change in the previous policy on that process, as yet, and I am reviewing the suggestion the Member has made now. We will probably update the process of consultation, but there has been no decision made, as yet.
On Staff Support and Equipment
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The Member gave me notice that he would like me to go through the various areas, and I will do that as we come to them. This one is Staff Support and Equipment, $225,000, to accommodate the transfer of purchases of office equipment, furnishings and computers to the Department of Education from Government Services.
Mr. McDonald: That is a fairly large amount. Is this for the departmental administration alone? It is not for schools, I take it. If it is for departmental administration, could the Minister indicate what priorities for funding there are here, and what the money will be spent on?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I did not mean to shock the Member opposite, but there was another line I forgot to read. It is also to cover the salaries for the manager of facilities, the capital cost analyst and accounts payable clerk, which are funded under Educational Capital Projects. That makes it a little better.
Mr. McDonald: That sure does help a whole lot, but there is an increase, of course, of $125,000, which is 125 percent. That is the transfer of responsibility from Government Services to the Department of Education for, I presume, equipment and computers for the administration branch. Perhaps the Minister could outline what the $125,000 - not the $100,000 - will be spent on?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It is to cover the cost of a facilities manager as well as $60,000 for the computer, $10,000 for desks, $1,500 for calculators and $3,500 for bookshelves.
Mr. McDonald: Is another position added here to that, which was there in the 1992-93 fiscal year?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: That is correct - a facilities manager.
Mr. McDonald: Was that position contained in some other budget prior to this? This is not a new position, I take it. Where was that position?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It was in facilities and transportation, public schools.
Mr. McDonald: Perhaps the Minister can come back and tell me the rationale for the transfer.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I will bring that back for the Member.
Staff Support and Equipment in the amount of $225,000 agreed to
Finance and Administration in the amount of $225,000 agreed to
On Public Schools
On Facility Construction and Maintenance
On Porter Creek Catholic Elementary School
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is for the Porter Creek Catholic Elementary School, $1,350,000. This is year three of a three-year construction project to provide a school, approximately 2,200 square metres, to accommodate 190 students; the school is scheduled for occupancy on July 1, 1993. The kids are not going to be there, but the school will be ready for occupancy.
Porter Creek Catholic Elementary School in the amount of $1,350,000 agreed to
On Capital Maintenance Repairs
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is to complete the pro-active repairs to all Yukon schools, such as repainting, recarpeting, and replacing some aging equipment. The school-by-school work plan for this item is currently being established and will consist of 50 to 75 items. Phase 1 is scheduled for completion by next spring.
Mr. McDonald: For both the Capital Maintenance Repairs and Miscellaneous School Facilities Alterations, could the Minister provide the Members with a list of anticipated expenditures in this area at some future point before the end of June?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The plan is still being developed, but yes, I can do that.
Capital Maintenance Repairs in the amount of $850,000 agreed to
On St. Elias Community School - Upgrade
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is a revote from 1992-93 of $11,000. Scheduled for construction are the school library, washrooms, two new classrooms and storage. This is phase 1 of a two-phase project and includes renovations to the library and offices next year.
Mr. McDonald: I know that, in the heat of debate, the Minister has, on a couple of occasions, indicated that the previous government was remiss in handling some fairly obvious needs in the territory, including the need for more classroom space at St. Elias Community School. The Minister, in his rhetorical excess, did not always mention the fact that the planning for this, including the design work, was done in the last fiscal year, which allows us to go to tender this year.
I am obviously supportive of this expenditure, given that it was in our capital plan, and given that we provided the planning money so that it can go to tender in this capital year. I suggest that this is a three-phase project, including a planning phase and two years worth of delivery.
Given that this is a fairly significant project, can the Minister indicate when the project will be tendered and when they expect construction to begin and end?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I believe that it is going to tender very shortly. I can get back to the Member on that. I saw a list the other day of all the capital projects. I do not recall the exact date. I think that most of them are going to tender before the end of June, or the early part of July at the latest. I can get back to the Member on that.
St. Elias Community School - Upgrade in the amount of $600,000 agreed to
On F.H. Collins School - Upgrading
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is a revote from 1992-93 in the amount of $28,000. The work plan for 1993-94 includes the first phase of construction of the food services lab, to be completed in 1994-95.
F.H. Collins School - Upgrading in the amount of $320,000 agreed to
On Miscellaneous School Facilities Alterations
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I would like to move
THAT the estimates pertaining to Bill No. 6, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1993-94, be amended in vote 03, Education, by reducing the line item Miscellaneous School Facilities Alterations on page 43 in the capital estimates by $100,000; and
THAT the clauses and schedules of the bill be amended accordingly.
Chair: Is there any debate on the amendment?
Mr. McDonald: The Minister has indicated that he will come back with a list of both the capital maintenance repairs and the miscellaneous school facilities alterations - those they intend to proceed with. What is the Minister proposing to remove through this amendment?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Projects that will require priorization in terms of their impact on students and projects that are required for instructional purposes will receive first priority, while projects dealing with administrative or simply nice-to-have alterations may have to be deferred.
Amendment agreed to
Ms. Moorcroft: I understand that the Minister is planning to attend the lEcole Emilie Tremblay school council meeting later this week, for which I applaud him. I suppose this question could be asked under Miscellaneous School Facilities Alterations or Air Quality. I would like to ask the Minister if he would undertake to have a tour of the school facility when he is there, and if he would also note the learning assistance room and see if a window could be put back in the opening in that room, to provide some light and air.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I thank the Member for that representation. I will do that, but I have to tell the Member that every time I go to school council meetings or visit a school, I take the opportunity to tour the school and facilities. I will do that.
Miscellaneous School Facilities Alterations in the amount of $200,000 agreed to as amended
On Grounds Improvement and Landscaping
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is to construct new ground facilities and provide capital maintenance on existing facilities, including annual ground maintenance contracts. There are three major projects for 1993-94: the Golden Horn School, $30,000 for a Big Toy; the Selkirk Street School, $40,000 for a Big Toy; and the Robert Service School, $40,000 for the removal of some hazardous pilings.
The first two expenditures are commitments that have been outstanding for a few years, and the latter expenditure represents a safety hazard.
Ms. Moorcroft: Could the Minister provide a date for when the tendering will be done for the Golden Horn School Big Toy?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I will provide the Member with a date.
Grounds Improvement and Landscaping in the amount of $200,000 agreed to
On Air Quality
Hon. Mr. Phillips: A revote from 1992-93, in the amount of $12,000, is to allow the upgrading of ventilation systems in various Yukon schools in response to concerns by occupational Health and Safety. The projects scheduled are the Tantalus School, $100,000 for a new ventilation system; and Whitehorse Elementary, $100,000 for phase 2.
Air Quality in the amount of $200,000 agreed to
On New Urban Secondary School
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move
THAT the estimates pertaining to Bill No. 6, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1993-94, be amended in vote 03, Education, by reducing the line item New Urban Secondary School on page 43 in the capital estimates by $50,000; and
THAT the clauses and schedules of the bill be amended accordingly.
The form and location of a proposed secondary school has yet to be determined. It is premature to commence any design work until the results of the grade reorganization study and the governments response to the recommendations are determined.
The earliest likely date for design of the school to be initiated is January 1994, and it would certainly be impossible to expend the full allotment of $150,000 in the 1993-94 fiscal year. The impact of this particular cut will be minimal.
Amendment agreed to
New Urban Secondary School in the amount of $100,000 agreed to as amended
On Christ the King Elementary School
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is to carry out an overall upgrade of the aging facility, including ventilation, windows and furnishings.
This is to be year one of a three-year project, with the total cost anticipated to be $550,000.
Christ the King Elementary School in the amount of $100,000 agreed to
On Grey Mountain Elementary School
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move
THAT the estimates pertaining to Bill No. 6, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1993-94, be amended in vote 03, Education, by reducing the line item Grey Mountain Elementary School on page 43 in the capital estimates by $25,000; and
THAT the clauses and schedules of the bill be amended accordingly.
Chair: Is there any debate on the amendment?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Less money was expended in 1992-93 than was projected, and revotes of the capital balance from the 1992-93 and 1993-94 will be sufficient to cover the reduction in the 1993-94 budget.
Amendment agreed to
Grey Mountain Elementary School in the amount of $75,000 agreed to as amended
On Golden Horn Elementary School - Expansion
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is to complete the design of the gymnasium and four classrooms scheduled for construction in 1994-95.
Ms. Moorcroft: I note that the multi-year capital estimates show $4,114,000 for the complete Golden Horn Elementary School expansion. I would like the Minister to give me the capital construction schedule, if he could bring it back.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I will do that as soon as it is completed. The Member has to understand that it is very preliminary at this time because we still have not had the opportunity of sitting down with the school council, and others, to do the planning that has to be done.
Ms. Moorcroft: Did the Minister not just indicate that construction would start in September of 1994?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Yes. I will bring the plan forward and give a copy of it to the Member.
Ms. Moorcroft: On the contract being tendered for the Big Toy, I would also like to make the representation to the Minister that, as it is outstanding, I would hope it could be completed by next September.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It is the plan to have the facility in place by September.
Golden Horn Elementary School - Expansion in the amount of $100,000 agreed to
On Robert Service School Land Purchase
Mr. McDonald: I understand this is planning for an expansion of the school.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is to provide for the funding of the purchase of two lots to relocate the parking and extend the playing field and provide space for the proposed school addition. This is phase 1. The second phase will include possible purchase of three additional lots.
Robert Service School Land Purchase in the amount of $60,000 agreed to
On Robert Service School Expansion
Mr. McDonald: I wonder if the Minister can give us some indication of how much of an expansion they are planning. They do not have it in the multi-year projects. Could he give us some sense of size or scope?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is for the design and construction of an additional three or four classrooms. This years budget is for planning and construction to begin in the 1994-95 year at an estimated overall cost of $800,000.
Mr. McDonald: I want the Minister to remember this moment when he indicated that he felt the construction of the four classrooms was going to cost $800,000. I want us all to remember this one moment today.
Robert Service School Expansion in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
On North Highway School (Hidden Valley)
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is a revote to 1992-93 of $25,000 for the planning and design and tentative addition to the north end of the school - the size to be determined through consultation and a demographic study - probably three or four classrooms and a computer lab.
Mr. McDonald: What is the total cost of the expansion project?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I can get back to the Member on the estimated total cost of that.
North Highway School (Hidden Valley) in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
On G. A. Jeckell School - Expansion/Renovation
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is a project that is funded by Education and Economic Development - $300,000 from the community development fund and a loan from the Business Development Bank of $75,000 to the Polarettes Gymnastic Club for a gymnastic training facility.
G.A. Jeckell School - Expansion/Renovation in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
On Install Computer Labs
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is to renovate a classroom at Takhini Elementary School and accommodate computer sciences curriculum teaching.
Install Computer Labs in the amount of $40,000 agreed to
On Instructional Equipment
On Public Schools Miscellaneous Equipment
Public Schools Miscellaneous Equipment in the amount of $400,000 agreed to
On Instructional Computers
Mr. McDonald: May I ask the Minister if the department anticipates any change to the computer policy, particularly with respect to the allocation of computers and does he expect there will be any change in the student/computer ratios that currently exist in Yukon schools?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I would like to tell the Member that it is going to be better but we are going to maintain the ratio as it is now. I think that we can be very proud in the Yukon of the ratio that we do have. I think a lot of credit has to go to the previous Minister for the initiative in purchasing the number of computers that we have in our schools and I think that it is going to pay off in spades for our students in the long term.
Mr. Penikett: On a point of order, I wonder if I could call the attention of Members of the Committee to the presence in the gallery of a constituent of mine, Miss Sarah Penikett, age 11, from Whitehorse Elementary School.
Instructional Computers in the amount of $125,000 agreed to
On Special Education
Special Education in the amount of $20,000 agreed to
On Custodial Equipment
Custodial Equipment in the amount of $35,000 agreed to
Public Schools in the amount of $4,725,000 agreed to
On Advanced Education
On Yukon College
On Community Campus - Construction
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is to provide for upgrading of community campus facilities. It is expected that there will be limited campus construction this fiscal year and the money will be used for maintenance and upgrading of the current facilities.
Mr. McDonald: Is this money provided to the college in the form of a grant, along with furniture and equipment?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I think it is. It is the same process that was used in previous years.
Mr. McDonald: It is the same process on a slightly reduced scale. The Minister and his colleagues, when they were in Opposition, argued that this was a paltry sum. I take it from the $150,000 here that the Ministers have reconsidered or something. Can the Minister indicate what the governments thoughts are about the college requirements, in terms of space, at the Ayamdigut campus, and the Haines Junction community campus facility in particular? What is their policy with respect to support for community campus development? Does it go beyond this one capital grant, or are they going to limit it to this particular expenditure?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I think that we will have to look at the requirements of the college as they come in. Right now, there is no specific requirement from the college for any new facilities there. If there were, we would have to address it at that time. With this particular reduction in this line item, the Member should note that it is a lot less than the reduction that the whole capital budget of the Department of Education took. This is a very small amount compared to the overall budget of the college before.
Mr. McDonald: I distinctly remember an argument that the budget should grow in relation to the overall capital budget. I will not raise that argument now, because I did not accept it before. Certainly, it was something that seemed to appeal to some Members in the Opposition in the last Legislature.
The Minister indicated that there was no request for development of the community campuses coming from the college, or capital requirements for community campuses, nor requests to the government. Can the Minister indicate what is anticipated to happen in Haines Junction, where there has been a longstanding request to move the community campus facility and perhaps make it part of the school, but to certainly move it out of the basement of the Jim Smith Administration Building?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: As the Minister knows, there is a $200,000 trust fund set up of money for a capital expenditure in the Haines Junction area for a community campus. Unfortunately, I was not able to reach an agreement with the school council on joining it to the school. Our policy is to, in the future, combine facilities in remote communities and thereby reduce the O&M costs.
I know the Member opposite has some sympathy for that concept. I am still going to attempt to do that. We are talking to individuals in Haines Junction and others. Right now, for this year, it looks like the community campus will be status quo. We are not going to give up trying to convince the school council that it will be better for the education system in Haines Junction if the new community campus is attached to the school, rather than having it stand alone.
I do not know how successful we are going to be. I know it has been a very successful project in Watson Lake and Mayo. I know it would be in Haines Junction over the long term. There are some people who have concerns of one kind or another, but we are going to be talking to those people in the near future. We hope we can convince them that this would be a good move.
Community Campus - Construction in the amount of $150,000 agreed to
On Furniture and Equipment
Furniture and Equipment in the amount of 150,000 agreed to
Advanced Education in the amount of $300,000 agreed to
On Libraries and Archives
On Library Facilities
On Community Library Development
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is to fund upgrading projects in the various community libraries and to upgrade existing libraries to meet basic library standards.
Mr. McDonald: There is usually a priority project here. What is the priority?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Improvements are planned for Old Crow, Beaver Creek, Pelly Crossing, Burwash and Watson Lake.
Community Library Development in the amount of $25,000 agreed to
On Library Equipment
On Branch Library Equipment
Branch Library Equipment in the amount of $35,000 agreed to
On Audio Visual Equipment
Audio Visual Equipment in the amount of $20,000 agreed to
On Technical Services Equipment
Technical Services Equipment in the amount of $30,000 agreed to
On Archives Equipment
On Conservation Assessment
Conservation Assessment in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
On Archives Equipment Automation
Archives Equipment Automation in the amount of $30,000 agreed to
On Display Preparation and Maintenance
Display Preparation and Maintenance in the amount of $25,000 agreed to
On Conversion of Film to Video
Conversion of Film to Video in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
Libraries and Archives in the amount of 185,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures agreed to
Department of Education agreed to
Chair: Is it the wish of the Members to take a brief recess at this time?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: I will call Committee of the Whole to order. We are dealing with vote 12, Finance.
Department of Finance continued
Chair: Is there further general debate?
Mr. McDonald: I have taken the opportunity to speak with the deputy minister about a number of questions on both the revenue and expenditure sides, and I feel reasonably confident that I have a better understanding of some of the facts and figures as presented by the Department of Finance.
I may have other questions that I will put to the deputy minister at some point in the future, perhaps out of session, but at this time I feel fairly confident that I have a clear enough understanding of the issues. If any of the Member on the Opposition side would like to ask a couple of questions right now, that would be fine with me, otherwise we can go to line-by-line debate.
On Operation and Administration Expenditures
Administration in the amount of $405,000 agreed to
On Financial Operations and Revenue Services
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: We are going to have an amendment to that item.
THAT the estimates pertaining to Bill No. 6, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1993-94, be amended in vote 12, Finance, by reducing the line item Financial Operations and Revenue Services on page 114, in the operation and maintenance estimates by $40,000; and
THAT the clause and schedules of the bill be amended accordingly.
Chair: Is there any debate on the amendment?
Mr. McDonald: I would ask the Minister to explain not only that reduction, but the other increase that is still represented in this line.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The reason for the increase is that we did not have full staffing there last year. Where the savings will come in now will be from staffing some of the positions later, but we do intend to fill them this year.
Mr. McDonald: Can the Minister indicate whether or not there has been any change in the personnel complement in the department?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Yes, it has gone down by one. We have eliminated a researcher.
Mr. McDonald: It has gone down one, but there is a projection of it going up by over $100,000 in the personnel allotment. Can the Minister explain that?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: It is my understanding that there were some positions last year that were not filled, but which we have to fill this year. The actual overall number will still have gone down by one because we have eliminated one position.
Mr. McDonald: Clearly, the forecast figure is obviously out of sync. Is that correct? The forecast figure does not reflect their actual forecast, as the Members know it now, obviously; is that right?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Yes, it would be out of sync and that is why we were able to reduce it by $40,000; the positions have not been filled yet in this fiscal year.
Amendment agreed to
Financial Operations and Revenue Services in the amount of $2,019,000 agreed to as amended
On Fiscal Relations and Management Board Secretariat
Fiscal Relations and Management Board Secretariat in the amount of $1,071,000 agreed to
On Banking Services
Banking Services in the amount of $600,000 agreed to
On Public Utilities Transfer
Mr. McDonald: Could the Minister explain the reduction?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: As I understand it, it is simply due to the fact that we get estimates from the federal government. This is their estimate.
Mr. McDonald: Perhaps if the Minister does not mind, I will phone the deputy. I have some technical questions about the transfer. If he has no objections, I will just phone the deputy directly and ask him.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I have no problem at all with the Member getting his answers from the deputy minister on technical matters.
Public Utilities Transfer in the amount of $826,000 agreed to
Treasury in the amount of $4,921,000 agreed to as amended
On Workers Compensation Supplementary Benefits
Chair: Is there any general debate?
On Supplementary Pensions
Supplementary Pensions in the amount of $374,000 agreed to
Workers Compensation Supplementary Benefits in the amount of $374,000 agreed to
On Allowance for Bad Debts
Chair: Is there any general debate?
Allowance for Bad Debts in the amount of $67,000 agreed to
On Prior Period Adjustments
Prior Period Adjustments in the amount of $1.00 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures agreed to as amended
On Capital Expenditures
Chair: We will move to capital estimates, treasury at page 50. Is there any debate?
On Office Furniture, Equipment and Systems
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The capital for office equipment and work stations is $9,000. Systems development for study and upgrade of MSA payroll system in the amount $25,000. The current payroll system is over 10 years old and needs to be updated.
There is $3,000 for furniture and equipment and for filing cabinets, replacement of broken furniture and calculators; for photocopiers there is an expenditure of $7,000. The present machines are five years old and at least one will have to be replaced this year. The computer workstations are nearing the end of their useful life and will require replacement.
Office Furniture, Equipment and Systems in the amount of $44,000 agreed to
Treasury in the amount of $44,000 agreed to
Capital agreed to
Department of Finance agreed to
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Could we do the Loan Capital and Loan Amortization debate now for this act?
Loan Capital and Loan Amortization
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The purpose of this note is to grant appropriation authority for loans we make to municipalities in 1993-94. The figure of $6 million in potential borrowing is based upon the survey of municipalities carried out by the Department of Community and Transportation Services. The bulk of the funds identified are for the City of Whitehorse.
The equivalent sum, shown as a recovery, merely indicates that the loan is not a charge against our surplus/deficit position, because loans are carried as assets on our balance sheet. The loan amortization item will be merely repayment of the principal and interest of previous loans to municipalities.
The expenditure of $1,628,000 under the loan amortization refers to payments to outside lenders for monies we have borrowed in the past to reloan to municipalities. These borrowings are from three sources - the federal government, the Canada Pension Plan fund and private lenders. The loan amortization recovery of the $2.9 million is the money we receive as principal and interest payments on loans to municipalities. This sum is larger than what the government pays to outside lenders, largely because we have financed many loans to municipalities ourselves.
In addition, for some reason, many of the old schedules for loans to municipalities do not match the schedules for loans the government received from the federal government.
If Members have any questions, I will be happy to try and answer them.
Mr. McDonald: I would like to ask the Minister if he could return with a list of the debt that the municipalities currently carry, by community and that which will be increased with the loans that are projected to be provided for in this year, and if he could also indicate what the City of Whitehorse is intending to borrow the money for in this current year. I am looking for the cumulative debt, by community, for the totals that are outstanding.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I will get those figures for the Member opposite so that there is a complete tally. The accumulated debt for the City of Whitehorse, as of March 31, was $8,933,250.30; the City of Dawsons is $918,088.72; and the Town of Faro was $1,724,778.33 - I will get the Member an up-to-date list.
On Loan Capital
On Loans to Third Parties
Loans to Third Parties in the amount of $6,000,000 agreed to
On Loan Amortization
Interest in the amount of $751,000 agreed to
Principal in the amount of $877,000 agreed to
Loan Amortization in the amount of $1,628,000 agreed to
Department of Government Services - continued
Now we will move onto Government Services. Is there any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I am pleased to rise before the House today to introduce the operation and maintenance and Capital budgets for the Department of Government Services for the 1993-94 fiscal year.
Combined, these budgets total $26.5 million. The expenditures forecast for the 1992-93 fiscal year totalled $30.8 million. Members will note that the new budget reflects a 14-percent decrease from the previous year. The department has budgeted $23.5 million for operations and maintenance expenditures in the 1993-94 year. During 1992-93, the department spent $24.6 million on O&M. The new budget reflects a decrease of six percent in the O&M expenditures from the last fiscal year.
Government Services will continue to assist departments in obtaining goods, services and accommodation for government programs. In this time of fiscal restraint, Government Services will encourage economy and government acquisition activities and operations. Also, the department will continue to streamline its own operations. This is a process that began last year with the Government Services mandate review.
In 1993-94, personnel expenditures will drop an estimated eight percent, compared with the past year. Vacant positions will be reviewed to see if work can be accomplished through other means. Department staff may be assigned to carry on essential work on an acting basis until this review is completed. Also, we will be looking for opportunities to consolidate services that are similar to those provided by other departments to make better use of personnel across the government.
In the new budget year, Government Services relationships with client departments will change. Beginning April 1, departments now have the budgetary authority and funds for computer work stations, office furniture and equipment, convenience photocopiers and improvements to office accommodations, and for undertaking computer systems development. Decentralizing budgeting authority from the central agency to departments will allow client departments to acquire the infrastructure they need based on the priorities established at the departmental level.
This change in budgeting authority is one initiative that has resulted from the departments mandate review. Another mandate review initiative will result in a refocusing of the department branch responsible for systems and computing services. The information services branch will act as a central, consulting and advisory group, instead of a processing unit. The branch will provide technological leadership within the Yukon government under the authority of the information resource management directive.
As Members will recall, Government Services, in consultation with client departments, has evaluated all department programs as part of the mandate review project. To date, a few programs have been modified. A review is an ongoing process, intended to ensure that Government Services programs suit the present and future need of clients.
Government Services planning activities will contribute to cost effective use of Yukon government resources in the new budget year. The information resource management, or IRM, strategic plan sets the direction for the governments use of computers through the 1990s. By following this direction, government departments will begin to move toward common use of data and toward developing common systems instead of reinventing them. Computer applications for departments will no longer be developed in isolation from one another.
IRM is a new process for the management of information resources in the government. This process will take time to evolve. It will deliver various standards, procedures, policies and guidelines. These are necessary to ensure that the government achieves the concept of managing information resources.
A strategic plan for developing government-wide telecommunications over a period of years is almost complete. The telecom plan is a product of the IRM strategic plan.
A plan for consolidating the governments office space needs over the next two or three years will be in place this summer. The property management branch is reviewing each lease for space as it comes due for renewal. If there is less need for space, the size of the lease may be reduced. If rent is above market value, the landlord will be asked to reduce it. If improvements are needed, they will be made as a condition of renewing the lease.
IThe department will provide project management for the Whitehorse hospital construction. As a Yukon government project, the hospital will be subject to the requirements of the project planning and implementation directive. The directive sets out principles to ensure that government projects are economical to build and operate, and that they fit the needs of Yukon people.
Day-to-day activities of the property management branch will trim O&M costs for the government. The branch is using a new O&M data base to track the cost of custodial, security and operators services, utilities, maintenance and administration. The branch monitors energy costs and consumption in government-owned facilities.
Information on strategies to reduce energy consumption in new buildings has been added to the architectural design guidelines, which encourage building designs that are suitable to the Yukon.
Government Services is a contact point for suppliers, contractors and consultants who do business with the Yukon government. To promote efficient government through good communication with the private sector, Government Services participates in several forums. The employee benefit working group meets biweekly to discuss working conditions on Yukon government building projects, local-hire issues, and other matters of common concern. Contractor and labour interests participate in the meetings, which are facilitated by Government Services.
The property management branch meets regularly with contractors and consultants to resolve issues related to the design and management of Yukon government building projects. The department also facilitates meetings between Yukon government departments and the Yukon Contractors Association, the consulting engineers of the Yukon, and other design professionals.
The business incentive policy will continue to promote local hire and the use of Yukon materials, manufactured goods and services in government construction projects, without restricting competition. Contractors may now claim cash rebates when they employ Yukon apprentices on Yukon government construction projects of any size. Previously, the rebates applied only to projects of $100,000 or more.
Government Services has committed $250,000 for the program in the new year. To encourage more contractors to participate in the program, the department, in conjunction with contractors, will look for ways to improve its procedures for processing the claims.
The budget for the Department of Government Services reflects our commitment to more efficient and economical delivery of services. There are few increases. The allotment for the business incentive policy is one exception. Another is the $239,000 allotment for the publication of the French language version of the statutes of the Yukon, regulations of the Yukon and the Yukon Gazette. The translations are required by the Languages Act, and costs are fully recoverable from the federal government.
I will now conclude my statement, and I am prepared to answer questions about the operations of the Department of Government Services.
Ms. Moorcroft: In his introductory remarks the Minister was saying that the property management branch had issued a new directive to ensure that government projects are economical and he made reference to the hospital project.
I would like to ask the Minister if he could provide us with a copy of that directive and tell us how it will apply to hospital construction and tendering.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I will see that a copy of that is provided to the Member tomorrow.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister also indicated that his department monitors the cost of energy. I am looking at the legislative return regarding projects on renovations of public buildings that did not occur.
There was an insulation upgrading for the Dawson administration building for $25,000 that did not proceed. I would like to ask the Minister if he could bring back the costs of energy for the Dawson administration building.
I would also like to have some idea of the energy savings realized if the insulation upgrade was carried out, and finally, I would like to ask if the Minister is considering proceeding with the insulating upgrading in the next year.
Hon. Mr. Devries: We will not be carrying out that particular project this year, but the project is being considered for the next fiscal year. I will see that the Member gets that information.
Ms. Moorcroft: Thank you.
Earlier this afternoon the Minister of Health and Social Services said that increased access is a policy of this government and indeed this week is National Access Awareness Week, at which time we think about the issue of access to public buildings for people with disabilities.
One of the projects that did not proceed was the access to the Watson Lake administration building and the Whitehorse administration building. I would like to ask the Minister whether or not it is the policy of the government to provide barrier-free access?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Any new buildings are naturally going to be fully accessible. One of the problems we have with the Watson Lake administration building is that there is some uncertainty about whether or not the Liquor Corporation will be moved out of there. There is going to be some juggling around there. It would, therefore, be unwise to make any changes to that particular building.
I believe there is a list of various concerns with this administration building. Those are being done on a priority basis, as funds become available. We are very aware of it, and we are doing everything we can within our financial capabilities to address those issues.
Ms. Moorcroft: Could the Minister bring me back a list of the projects they are going to undertake within the Whitehorse administration building to provide better access. Am I correct in understanding that the government will proceed with refurbishing the Whitehorse administration building to provide better access this year?
Hon. Mr. Devries: There has been a comprehensive list prepared of the access deficiencies in this building. As I indicated earlier, the changes will be made as funds become available. I am not certain what will be done this year. We definitely will be budgeting more for it next year.
Ms. Moorcroft: Certainly, I discovered this afternoon, when I accepted the invitation of the National Access Awareness Committee to spend some time in a wheelchair, that these Chambers are not accessible. I would like the Minister to also bring me back a list of what has been identified within this building that needs to be resolved.
Hon. Mr. Devries: We have a list prepared; I will give that to the Member tomorrow.
Mr. Cable: Over the years, I have heard that it is difficult for the private entrepreneurs to build for the government because of the inherent instability in the governments demand for rental space. What does the Ministers department do by way of preparation of forecasts for private rental space?
Hon. Mr. Devries: There is presently a Whitehorse office space plan being developed that should forecast our requirements for the next two or three years. We hope to have that ready sometime this summer. It is done on an ongoing basis, but we are trying to come up with projections of our needs for the next two or three years.
Mr. Cable: Will this forecast be released to the private entrepreneurs in the community?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, it will be tabled. The way it works right now is, if we have a requirement for office space, normally a tender is put in the paper, and they bid on the space. That is the way the process is done. There are the odd cases for space that are sole-sourced - if we need something at street level or space that has to meet certain conditions that is very limited within Whitehorse.
Mr. Cable: The Minister was talking about some arm twisting of the suppliers in the private market, and I would like to get into that in a minute, but I would like to get the Ministers thoughts on what he sees as the governments role in the production of rental space. Is the forecast he just talked about going to delineate what the Minister sees by way of private sector purchase or rental space versus government rental space?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Basically, yes. In that study, we will identify what needs we have in excess of our present needs - if that is what the Member was getting at. As the Member knows, there is some devolution going on and things like that, and we also have to project how that devolution will fit within what we need. For instance, with the highways transfer, we have some space up on the hill. Quite often, with some of the devolution, we also get buildings with it - with the hospital transfer, we are also getting other buildings, besides the hospital.
Mr. Cable: No, that was not the gist of the question. The gist of the question was: in this forecast that the Minister will be making, will he be breaking down the requirements as between private sector supply and the governments own supply of rental space?
Hon. Mr. Devries: If I understand the Members question properly, we are not contemplating building any space. We would be renting the space, and basically this study would forecast what our space requirements would be for the next three years.
Mr. Cable: So it is safe to say that what comes out of this forecast is essentially a requirement for private sector rental space supply. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Cable: Would it be fair to say that the government, particularly in the City of Whitehorse and perhaps in the Yukon as a whole, is the major tenant of private sector office space?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I am not certain whether we are the largest, but we are definitely a major factor in private office space rental. Our policy is to go with private space wherever possible.
Mr. Cable: If the government is not the biggest user of private sector office space, certainly it is one of the biggest. If the government demand for space goes up and down, it could destabilize the market. It could eventually work to the detriment of the government in the pricing of rental space. What is the Ministers view on the length of term of leases? Is the government prepared to go to long-term leases in trading off for cheaper rents?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Right now quite a few of our leases are up to five years. I know that from being on the Public Accounts Committee, the Auditor General in one of his directives, indicated that he did not recommend that governments get into anything much over five to 10 years, because the requirements of government can change considerably depending on the philosophy of the government.
Mr. Penikett: I wonder if I could ask a supplementary. When I was in government we received representations from certain property developers looking for longer term leases for some of the reasons given by the Liberal Member. We were advised that it was the longstanding policy of the government not to enter into leases longer than a five-year term.
We subsequently found that there was one case of a 15-year lease of a private building by the government. I just wondered, since the Minister has an official available to him, if they have any knowledge of why that one exception was made, or if he has any knowledge about that one particular case, because it preceded our time in government.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I do not have the exact details on that particular lease. I am not certain which lease it would be and I do not want to make any presumptions.
Mr. Penikett: Since it was an exception, and since it was contrary to what we understood were the recommendations of the Auditor General - I know that the Auditor General made recommendations subsequently - and since it was unusual, if the Minister can, without too much trouble, find out what the basis was for that exception, I would appreciate it.
I ask because I think that it is a reasonable expectation that in years to come the government will receive more representations from other developers to have longer-term leases. I believe that they will make the case that because we do not have any resident trust companies or insurance companies, it is actually quite hard to finance large-scale property developments here and the desirability of a long-term lease from a triple-A client like the Yukon government can be absolutely pivotal in determining whether or not a project goes ahead, but of course the Minister knows that even from his own time in office.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I am aware of that and, being on the Public Accounts Committee I know that the recommendations from the Auditor General were to limit leases to five years - or less, I believe.
That was due partly to the fact that if subsequent governments were going to downsize they would still be committed to some of the long-term leases and there could be substantial amounts of money involved.
Basically, I think that our policy will be to try to enter into leases of five years or less.
Mr. Penikett: My final word would be that I think there is another reason that the Auditor General was interested, and that is because of the experience with several large developers in Ottawa, where if you give long-term leases it amounts, in effect, to the government financing the development of the property - to a considerable benefit to the developer and very little risk - and I think the Auditor General has, in a number of reports, not only here but elsewhere in the country, frowned on that practice.
Hon. Mr. Devries: The other matter that we have is that, since the federal government built the federal building, during the past few years we have seen a surplus of leasable space, which has led to lower lease rates.
When we are now negotiating - as I indicated in my opening statements - we are actually negotiating for lower prices and this has worked in many instances.
Mr. Cable: Following up on the forecast for rental space, what does the Minister see for the near term as requirements? As I am sure the Minister can appreciate, there is some apprehension about the economy and what is going to take place in the next couple of years. Could the Minister indicate what he sees in the way of government demand for rental space over the next couple of years?
Hon. Mr. Devries: During the past three years, in the Whitehorse area, the demand has been very consistent - somewhere in the neighbourhood of 19,000 square metres - and it has not really changed in the last three years. Naturally, with our position of trying to downsize government, I cannot see the need for any increased space. Also, with surplus space available within the community, I cannot see that any developers would be encouraged to consider development exclusively for government use.
Mr. Cable: Is the Minister saying that he sees a reduction in the governments demand for rental space over the next couple of years, or holding its own?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I would contemplate a slight reduction as we attempt to downsize government. By the same token, there is some devolution taking place. If those various agencies that are being turned over to YTG have space in Whitehorse, then it is not going to make much difference. If it is an agency that does not have space in Whitehorse, it could result in some overriding factors in our goal to try and reduce the need for government space.
Mr. Cable: The Minister indicated that he is going to do a little arm-twisting on rentals - if I understood his remarks properly. Who does the department get to determine what the going rates for rentals are, and how does he anticipate going about this arm-twisting for the negotiation of leases, as they are turned over?
Hon. Mr. Devries: One of the procedures would be that if a tender goes out for new space, and this tender comes in substantially lower, that is one way of indicating to existing lease holders that, when their space comes up for renewal, they had better watch out or they could lose their client. That is one of the processes.
Meanwhile, we have the office space planning committee, which determines our requirements, and so on.
Mr. Cable: What I am wondering is if the department uses outside advice on rental rates, or if that is determined internally.
Hon. Mr. Devries: It is determined internally by the property management branch.
Mrs. Firth: I want to follow up on the study the Minister is referring to regarding office space and the space plan. Can he tell us who is doing this study?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It is being done internally by the property management people within the department.
Mrs. Firth: What exactly is the objective, direction or mandate the government has given this internal group to do this study?
Hon. Mr. Devries: If I understand the Members question, she is asking about the process?
Mrs. Firth: What direction are they given? What are they studying?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Basically, they would go to the various departments and determine from the departments what their long-term needs are - whether their long-term needs are less or more - and then all this would be lumped together in an overall office space needs plan. It would vary depending on the communities and the city.
Mrs. Firth: I am trying to understand how this is going to happen. Personally, I think it must be quite an onerous task, particularly with the change that is occurring within government, with the governments objective of downsizing and not requiring the number of employees who are there presently.
How many people are involved in this study, in property management? It is obviously all government employees. How many people are involved in it and exactly how is it being done? Is it being done in consultation with anybody else, with anyone who has any expertise other than the property management branch regarding office space? Is the business community being consulted at all? What exactly is the mandate of the group doing this study? Perhaps the Minister could provide that to us in writing - if there is a mandate.
Hon. Mr. Devries: It is basically all done internally. I would have to get back to her in writing on the exact mandate, because it would be quite difficult to explain it standing on my feet.
Mrs. Firth: Who gave this group their mandate? Would it not have been the Minister? Does he not even know what he told them to do?
Hon. Mr. Devries: We act on behalf of client departments and this group would first of all go to the various departments to see what their long-term needs are, as I explained earlier. We are hoping to downsize government and those are the instructions the various departments would receive during this consultation. The groups would find out the minimum and maximum projections - and price would be a factor. There is a Management Board directive that establishes standards for the office space required. Naturally, handicapped access and such things all come into the requirements. We have to make sure that the requirements fit within the mandate of this government.
Mrs. Firth: Surely, the Minister can appreciate the mixed message that a department would be getting. I will give the Minister an example. Say he was responsible for a department and he was told, by this group that is doing this study, to submit what his future office requirements are going to be. In the meantime, he has got Cabinet telling them that they are going to be downsizing government and that his department may be having fewer employees and not as many auxiliaries. Perhaps the government is going to change the requirements for the allocation of office space. How is that department supposed to make any projections with respect to what their long-term requirements are going to be if they do not know where the government is going in the next few months, weeks, years or whatever?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Naturally it is an ongoing exercise. I would hope that all the Ministers have instructed their departments that growth within departments, if any, should be very restricted and that this governments goal is to try to downsize government and make it operate more efficiently.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister could provide to this House in writing, in detail, exactly what they have asked this group to study. I would also like him to provide in writing, very specifically, information regarding the last comments that he just made about hoping that the Ministers would be telling their departments that they were going to be downsizing and so on. I would like to have this in writing so that maybe then I can decipher what the Minister is saying.
The Management Board directive that exists presently allocates the basic requirements for office space and so on. I would like to ask the Minister if he anticipates any change in those specifications. I find it interesting that in some areas of government, you have three or four people in a very large area, as we do in the Legislative Assembly precincts. Yet, in other areas in government, there are five or six people crammed into a space half the size of what is allocated here for the Legislative Assembly precinct. Is the Minister anticipating any change to the Management Board directive that indicates that each employee is supposed to have so many square metres of air and space and so on, or are they just going to operate under the policies of the previous government?
Hon. Mr. Devries: We are presently using the existing directive. There is a fall project contemplated to review that directive.
Again, I know that, in one of my own departments, the office space is not inadequate, but far from adequate. If, for instance, we have to juggle some space around, such as where in one area there are six people in several thousand square feet and, in another, 12 people in a smaller area, we would possibly switch the departments around. That is what the office space planning committee is about; it is made up of several deputy ministers within government.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister could bring back a listing of everything he is reviewing within the Department of Government Services and the rationale for that review.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I would not be able to do that within the next day, but I will attempt to provide it for the Member. There is a good proportion of the Department of Government Services that is under a constant, ongoing review, because it seems like there are always new things coming up. It is one of those things that never seems to stand still, as I am discovering as the Minister.
Mrs. Firth: I am particularly interested in any areas where the Minister is directing his officials to review existing policies and practices. I would like the Minister to provide lists of any policies that are under review and any directions or instructions he has given the department regarding new initiatives or directions the government wants to take and that he has talked to his officials about. That way, we can get some idea of what the plans are for this department.
The Minister has indicated that this study will be completed sometime. I do not think he was specific as to when. He said he would be tabling it in the Legislature. Could he be more specific and tell us when this study is to be done - within the next six months, over the summer, or whatever? Could he provide Members with a copy of it if we are not sitting in the Legislature?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It is taking place over the summer and fall, so that information should be ready for the fall session; I will be tabling it then.
Mrs. Firth: I would like the Minister to be aware of the kind of information I am looking for.
This afternoon, in our brief discussions, we have discovered that office space as a whole is being reviewed and that a study is underway.
We have also been given information that perhaps the rental rates are under review because of some recommendations that the Auditor General has made, so I would like information about that kind of review.
The Minister has said that something else is being reviewed - the Management Board directive about allocation space for employees.
There are three things that he has made reference to this afternoon that are under review and that is why I have asked for him to bring back all of the areas that are presently under review, what the purpose of the review is and what the government hopes to achieve by reviewing that particular area.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I will provide the Member with that information.
Mr. Penikett: I would like to ask the Minister a couple of very general questions about his department.
I would note that I am going to refer to the document, entitled Selling to the Yukon Government, which has the Ministers picture and signature inside. I would compliment the government and the department, as I think it is a good initiative.
Given the questions surrounding gold fish in this session, I was fascinated by the reference in the opening paragraph by the dynamite purchase made by the government and the zucchini purchased by the government. If this were a more light-hearted occasion I might be inclined to ask how many zucchini the government actually bought, but I will not.
What I will do instead, having actually complimented that booklet, is ask about another document, that provided by the Government Leader, I guess from the Executive Council Office. It is one of the internal audit documents - the value for money audit of the contracts for chattel moving services.
I do not want to go into it in great detail, because I do not want to spend a lot of time of the Committee on this. This report looks at the cost of the moving services, and the way of our contracting for moving services, for bringing employees in or moving employees out. It has a number of recommendations, including references to the way in which it is done by the Government of Canada, or the RCMP.
It suggests some ways in which our contracting arrangements might be improved, including a number of comments about weaknesses in the payment verification process, which are not big issues in terms of the thousands of dollars they may cost on an annual basis.
I would be interested in knowing if the department has been involved in any review of this internal audit process, and whether they have accepted any of the recommendations in this particular document.
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes. The Department of Government Services has a working group now evaluating this report. It is made up of various departments and, during the next couple of months, until this review has been completed, they will be making recommendations for change. I am sure there are concerns from some departments on certain things in that report.
Mr. Penikett: I wonder if the Minister would give an undertaking that, at the fall sitting, he might provide the House with a report on any changes in policy or management practices resulting from the review he just mentioned.
Hon. Mr. Devries: Our goal is to have it completed by then so, at the fall sitting, I will be tabling something.
On Corporate Services
Chair: Is there any general debate?
On Finance and Administration
Finance and Administration in the amount of $1,408,000 agreed to
On Policy and Planning
Policy and Planning in the amount of $182,000 agreed to
On Contract Administration
Contract Administration in the amount of $366,000 agreed to
Corporate Services in the amount of $1,956,000 agreed to
On Information Services
Chair: Is there any general debate?
On Systems Administration
Systems Administration in the amount of $294,000 agreed to
On Computing and Network Services
Computing and Network Services in the amount of $1,700,000 agreed to
On Systems Development
Systems Development in the amount of $928,000 agreed to
On Information Centre
Ms. Moorcroft: Could the Minister give the reason for this decrease in funding to the information centre, please?
Hon. Mr. Devries: There is a 33-percent decrease due to the redeployment of a certain position to Computing and Network Services, plus the position in 1993-94 that will be vacant for part of the year. There is a 154-percent decrease that is related to the reduction in contractor fees for technical support and backup services for vacant positions. The reduction in documentation manuals and reduced purchasing of software application is basically part of our overall restraint program.
Information Centre in the amount of $398,000 agreed to
On Records Management
Records Management in the amount of $563,000 agreed to
Telecommunications in the amount of $334,000 agreed to
Information Services in the amount of $4,217,000 agreed to
On Supply Services
Ms. Moorcroft: Could the Minister give us the reason for the 18-percent reduction in expenditures under Administration?
Hon. Mr. Devries: There is a two percent increase that is attributable to increased Yukon bonus requirements. The decrease is attributable to the one-time Queens Printer mandate review in 1992-93, and the associated consultants fee. There was a considerable increase last year. It has been decreased this year because that project has been completed.
Administration in the amount of $165,000 agreed to
Ms. Moorcroft: What is the reduction in the Purchasing line item?
Hon. Mr. Devries: There is a 12-percent decrease, which is due to the reduction in 1993-94 of auxiliary hours and partial vacancies. There are some staff on maternity leave. There is a decrease of 21 percent that is attributable to the deletion in the 1993-94 budget of repairs and maintenance of office equipment.
As the Member is perhaps aware, departments will pay the full cost of the service starting with this budget.
Purchasing in the amount of $372,000 agreed to
On Queens Printer
Ms. Moorcroft: Could the Minister give me the reason for the reduction in the line item for the Queens Printer? I would also like to know if there will be any impact on the services provided by the Queens Printer.
Hon. Mr. Devries: The decrease of 15 percent reflects the 1993-94 reduction in auxiliary hours.
The 1992-93 costs included funding for a two-month term position, so those costs were slightly higher than normal.
The other 15 percent decrease, $82,000, reflects various decreases in repairs, maintenance and supplies for Queens Printers operations.
I hope there will be no decrease in the service supplied by the Queens Printer.
Queens Printer in the amount of $982,000 agreed to
On Asset Control
Asset Control in the amount of $166,000 agreed to
On Transportation and Communication
Transportation and Communication in the amount of $1,653,000 agreed to
On Central Stores
Central Stores in the amount of $273,000 agreed to
Supply Services in the amount of $3,611,000 agreed to
On Property Management
Administration in the amount of $315,000 agreed to
On Building Maintenance and Plant Operation
Ms. Moorcroft: What is the reason for the reduction here in building maintenance and plant operation?
Hon. Mr. Devries: There is an 11-percent decrease due to not staffing three positions, which will be vacant in 1993-94, plus a major reduction in auxiliary positions from seven in 1992-93 to one in 1993-94. The other is a 66-percent decrease due to a major reduction in services, contracts and various other smaller decreases in construction contracts, repairs and maintenance, rental expense, supplies, freight, advertising, communications, and the replacement of worn-out equipment.
Mr. Chair, I move that you report progress on Bill No. 6.
Chair: Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Some Hon. Members: Disagreed.
Chair: There are just four more to go. Do you wish to finish this?
Mr. Devries, would you withdraw your motion?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, I will withdraw my motion.
Building Maintenance and Plant Operation in the amount of $3,264,000 agreed to
On Regional Services
Regional Services in the amount of $2,225,000 agreed to
On Custodial Services
Ms. Moorcroft: I would like to ask the Minister to explain the reduction here.
Hon. Mr. Devries: The 18-percent decrease is a result of not staffing indeterminate positions that became vacant in 1993-94, and a reduction in the utilization of auxiliary personnel. The other is a one-percent increase as a net result of a small increase in contract services, employee travel in the Yukon and communications, partly offset by decreases in program materials and freight.
Custodial Services in the amount of $1,373,000 agreed to
On Buildings and Security
Buildings and Security in the amount of $6,204,000 agreed to
Property Management in the amount of $13,381,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures agreed to
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The time being almost 5:30 p.m., I move that the Chair do now report progress on Bill No. 6.
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 form the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Abel: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 6, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1993-94, and has 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. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 5:29 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled June 1, 1993:
Finance Ministers committed to deficit and debt reduction and to creating jobs: News Release dated June 1, 1993 (Ostashek)
Question of Privilege: letter of notice dated May 31, 1993, to Hon. Mr. Nordling, Speaker, from Mrs. Firth, Member for Riverdale South, regarding allegations concerning the Speaker made by Mr. Penikett, Leader of the Official Opposition, on May 26, 1993 (Speaker)
The following Legislative Returns were tabled June 1, 1993:
Department of Justice: answers to questions arising from debate of the 1992-93 supplementary estimates (Phelps)
Discussion, Hansard, p. 810-814
Justices of the Peace (JP): training and appointment of JPs in 1992-93; First Nation JPs (Phelps)
Oral, Hansard, p. 1104
Whitehorse Correctional Centre: number of employees and budget allotment for staff for 1992-93 and 1993-94 (Phelps)
Written Question No. 16, dated April 29, 1993, by Mr. Cable
Signage for Judas Creek/Constabulary Beach area: signs to be in place within one month of receipt of road names desired by residents (Fisher)
Discussion, Hansard, p. 938
Private and commercial vehicles: actual revenue from commercial vehicle licence fees for 1992-93; 1993-94 revenue forecast (Fisher)
Discussion, Hansard, p. 937
Two Mile Hill expenditures for 1993-94: monies from Other Roads budget and Alaska Highway budget (Fisher)
Discussion, Hansard, p. 960
Placer mining industry: breakdown of dollar contribution to the Yukon Gross Domestic Product, number of jobs, revenues paid to the Yukon government, summary of expenditures through RTAP and highway maintenance costs on mining roads, yearly since 1988 (Devries)
Written Question No. 18, dated May 4, 1993, by Mr. Harding
Purchase of computers by the Government of the Yukon: detailed listing of all purchases approved by Management Board and Systems Priorities Committee by department, cost and funding source (Devries)
Written Question No. 17, dated May 3, 1993, by Mrs. Firth