Thursday, December 16, 1993 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will begin with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I have a legislative return.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I have two legislative returns.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I have something on policy.
Mr. Joe: I have for tabling various letters related to the need to rebuild the Mayo school.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Introduction of Bills.
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Notices of Motion.
Statements by Ministers.
Community-based justice development: an approach to
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I rise to introduce an approach to community justice development that flows from one purpose: we all share a wish for an improved justice system, one that simply works better for each of us, one that provides for safer neighbourhoods and one that respects and supports all our citizens.
People living in communities throughout the Yukon say that they want meaningful and comprehensive changes in the justice system. They want less complication, and a system more reflective of community circumstances and priorities. They want more accessibility and fairness. They want the system to respond to local justice issues through cooperative and coordinated planning between government and communities.
The Yukon government also wants changes. We believe that communities can benefit from greater ownership of, and accountability for, local justice programming and service delivery. And we know that communities have unique ideas about improving the quality of programming and service delivery. To that end, we have developed an approach that is outlined in the brief paper before Members.
The objectives of this initiative are very straightforward. We wish to allow and encourage communities, including interested individuals in those communities, to develop solutions tailored to their circumstance and their capacities to deliver programs on a local basis. We want to assist communities in such areas as community-based policing, crime prevention, as well as organizing programs and services for victims and offenders.
Currently, we are working with a number of communities to discuss what needs to be redesigned or realigned - for example, in Teslin, Carcross and Kwanlin Dun on circle-sentencing models. The department and the courts are cooperating in this by looking at the issues, trying to improve the processes, and establishing greater public involvement. We are also looking at pilot projects in cooperation with the federal government, First Nation, and others to enhance local involvement in court-related programs.
Our approach is also deliberately simple. We will put forward and receive ideas about quality improvements to programming and service delivery; we will get together to identify available resources and we will help to work out a plan. We will also get it going as soon as practicable and we will share the results with other communities.
There are no bells or whistles attached to this initiative and no miracles predicted from it. We are dealing with difficult and complex problems that will not be solved easily or quickly. I believe, however, that this is a reasonable, practical and fiscally responsible approach to change within the justice system. It is focused on results, not paperwork or elaborate proposals, and it demonstrates our support of communities taking greater ownership of local programming and service delivery to meet local needs, opportunities and concerns.
Copies of the policy paper will be made available to all communities right away and we will be accelerating work in those communities that express immediate interest.
Ms. Commodore: The Minister has just read his ministerial statement and, according to the rules of the House, it should be a short, factual statement of government policy. I share his commitment. He talks about our sharing a wish to improve the justice system - one that simply works better for us and one that provides for safer neighbourhoods, and that is an admirable approach. They want the system to respond to local justice issues through cooperative and coordinated planning between governments and communities. All of that is something I believe was a commitment by all those people who wanted to see a change in the system. It was not that I had not talked to a lot of people over the years, long before I was a politician, about the kind of things we wanted to see in the justice system - the changes we wanted made.
I agree with the Minister that there are no bells or whistles attached to this initiative and no miracles predicted as a result of it. His government is trying to do a very difficult thing, and it was very difficult for us to try to do when we were in government.
I have not seen the policy. I asked the Minister just as I walked through the doors whether or not he was going to be tabling it. I have not seen it and I wish I would have, but from everything he has said in his ministerial statement, it sounds like the same kind of a commitment as we had as a government and I suspect it is just now being put in black and white.
We, as a government, of course supported circle sentencing. That was started by the courts because they were committed to seeing changes. We supported many aboriginal justice initiatives. We supported the neighbourhood watch, although it did not get started until recently, in Porter Creek. We supported many community requests for new initiatives that communities had, not only morally but financially as well.
I have some questions I would like to ask the Minister in regard to this, and if he cannot answer me today, maybe he can later on. I want to know what some of these new initiatives are - what new initiatives his department is involved in, because I would probably support anything that would be of benefit to the communities. But I am a little concerned about the rumours we have been hearing about the privatization of justice and social services programs because, knowing the anti-worker sentiment of the side opposite, we are concerned about people in the government who may lose their employment as a result of privatization of some of these things.
I just want to know whether or not some of these new initiatives include privatization.
I would also like to know about legal aid, because there was some rumour that legal aid was going to be community based, and how that was going to fit in with the people in the communities, and whether or not there was the kind of training that would be necessary if that were to take place. So if he could provide me with that information in regard to any new initiatives that have happened within the past year, or any new initiatives that he has planned, that would be helpful to us.
I just want him to tell me, once again, considering his commitment to community justice, why he supported the termination of the aboriginal justice coordinator, because that played a very important part in community-based justice. I look forward to the information that he will provide to me.
Mr. Cable: I, too, would like to congratulate the Minister on his efforts. Like the Member for Whitehorse Centre, I have some questions, though, and perhaps the Minister could answer those questions in his reply or on some other suitable occasion.
The first question is, how was the community-based justice system linked in with First Nations initiatives in justice, and what role did First Nations have in setting up those initiatives?
The second question I would put to the Minister - and I hope he will reply today or at some later juncture - is this: what role did the communities themselves play? Was there some formal presentation made to the Minister or was this driven by his own department? Is the initiative at the present time being driven by his own department or is it being conducted with the communities?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I thank both Members opposite for their comments and their support, in general, for this initiative. They have raised a lot of questions that I think are best dealt with in more detail during budget debate, and I am quite happy to respond as best I can. I know that both Members sincerely support what we are trying to do. I can tell the Members that we have had numerous discussions with community groups, including, and perhaps primarily, First Nation groups. In our view, the tabled policy - as you shall see - does provide us with the kind of flexibility that is required to allow each community to pursue its own priorities with respect to how they want to have justice delivered to the people in that community.
I look forward to discussing this in some detail during the budget debate.
Speaker: This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Sa Dena Hes mine sale announcement
Mr. Harding: On the radio at noon I heard some important news today regarding the sale of the Stronsay and Sa Dena Hes mine projects to a group of companies involving Cominco, Samsung, Korea Zinc and Teck Corporation. I have some mixed reaction to this announcement.
On one hand, I am pleased that the properties are now free to be developed by another company, but I am worried about the impact on the Faro mine sale.
I would like to ask the Government Leader or the Minister of Economic Development how these developments will affect the Faro mining operation and did the government, as a creditor and a stakeholder, push for a Faro mine sale?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I am pleased to be able to rise and answer the Members question. I think this is good news for the people of Faro. I think it is good news for the people of the Yukon. I think it is good news for the mining industry. We now have a group of companies that have the financial ability to put projects into production. The sale of those properties bodes well for the sale of the Faro property.
Mr. Harding: I guess I share some of the Government Leaders sentiments, but I would appreciate some more specifics in terms of what role they had. They are a Curragh creditor and a major stakeholder. While I do in general get some good feelings about this, I am still worried. I am wondering, have the grum stripping and the environmental liability issues been settled or are they still a hangup to companies in the Faro mine property?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I do not believe that the environmental liability issue has been settled and I do not believe it will be settled. This is my personal observation of it. I do not believe it will be settled until such time as there is a prospective buyer on the scene for the Faro property that can deal with the federal government on the environmental issues. I do not believe the federal government will be making a carte blanche offer on the environmental liabilities of Faro. I think they take into consideration what the prospective buyer intends to do with the property, how soon he intends to put it back to work and what the sale price will be. I do not believe that the environmental liability to the Faro mine should be addressed until such time as there is a prospective buyer.
Mr. Harding: It is interesting, because that would lead me to believe that this particular group of buyers were not interested for that very reason. In the answer to the first question I asked, the Government Leader said he felt that todays announcement would make it easier to sell Faro. Could he tell me specifically how?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: For one thing, it is because there are some major corporations in the mining community that believe that lead and zinc prices are going to go back up, and that they will be able to mine these properties. I am sure they have paid substantial dollars for this property.
We have no indication whatsoever as to whether or not they are interested in the Faro property as well. That could very likely be the case, but we do not know at this point.
Question re: Sa Dena Hes mine sale announcement
Mr. Harding: The Faro mining operation is not going to sell itself. The government is going to have to get involved and help market this property. I get all these answers that do not point to any specifics about the action the government is going to take.
Perhaps I will turn to the Sa Dena Hes operation, in the hope of getting some answers about that. What conditions for reopening the mine did the government push for in the sale of that property?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: This property was sold by a receiver for the Bank of Nova Scotia. We met with some of these people months ago when they were first exploring buying the property. We laid our concerns on the table. We told them specifically that we would prefer to see all Yukon properties sold as a package. However, as the Member opposite is fully aware, there are some complicated legal procedures because there are two different receivers.
The Member is saying that we are not actively promoting the sale of the Faro property. We have helped put a package together. I understand that there have been 200 of them sent out to prospective buyers around the world.
Mr. Harding: It is unfortunate that those 200 documents were sent out, but the Government Leader cannot stand up today and tell us what results those actions have created. This does not bode well with me.
On the Sa Dena Hes property, the Government Leader said he had had some discussions with the receiver and some of the people involved in the Sa Dena Hes sale. What terms and conditions did the buyers eventually lay out? When have they committed to startup?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I believe the interview with the press today substantiates what they told us: when the lead zinc prices are at a point where they can operate the facility at a profit, they will be considering starting production at that point. We cannot expect a company to start production in a facility that will operate at a loss. That is not a realistic goal at this point.
With the base metal prices slowly starting to creep up, at least the trend is in the right direction. The metal forecasters are predicting that lead and zinc will start to rise in the first or second quarter of 1994. I am very optimistic that they will be considering reopening this facility before too many months go by.
Mr. Harding: I think it will take more than hope. It will take some elbow grease on behalf of the Yukon government to help move this process along. The Government Leader indicated that he does not feel the environmental liability at the Faro mine is going to go away. Can he tell us what he is going to do to get over that hurdle, in terms of attracting prospective buyers?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The Member opposite is fully aware, as we have stated it in this House many times, that the mine is going through receivership right now. Peat Marwick has put out the sale terms, what is available for sale and what the facility is capable of. That has all been done. I believe they were looking for letters of intent. Today or tomorrow is the deadline, I think, or perhaps it was yesterday. I believe they will be back in court on December 17 to report what progress they have had.
Question re: Sa Dena Hes mine sale announcement
Mr. Cable: The Minister of Economic Development had issued a legislative return some time ago dealing with the Curragh matter. It spelled out a schedule that was set out by Peat Marwick. It referred to the dates December 10, 1993, to December 17, 1993. I quote, ...to receive non-binding expressions of interest. Could the Government Leader indicate whether this agreement that was referred to on the CBC is a firm agreement, an agreement in principle, or a non-binding expression of interest?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I assume the Member opposite is talking about the Sa Dena Hes sale. According to all the information that we have, it is a sale pending approval by the regulatory bodies, and it has to go through certain procedures. It has to go through the courts in Ontario, and I believe that is taking place today or tomorrow. There is also a court appearance to be held in the Yukon. As I understand it, there is also a foreign investment issue that has to be dealt with and approved by the federal government.
Mr. Cable: It sounds like it is a firm deal subject to some conditions. The companies that were mentioned - Korea Zinc, Samsung, Teck and Cominco - of course have the ability to bring these properties into production. Between them, they would also have the financial might to buy Faro fairly easily. Could the Government Leader indicate why Faro was not part of the package? Was it the environmental concern?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Very simply, it was a matter of two receivers. The Bank of Nova Scotia was holding Sa Dena Hes and Stronsay as security. My understanding is that the Bank of Nova Scotia had nothing from Faro for security. That was the reason it was split. The Bank of Nova Scotia went ahead with their security, which was Sa Dena Hes and Stronsay, and they were on the market a month or six weeks ago. That was when it first came out on the market and when it was all approved.
Mr. Cable: The Government Leader indicated earlier that these companies have the ability to put the Sa Dena Hes property into production. They also have the financial might to keep them out of production. Did the Government Leader, through his officers, express any concern - he indicated that there were some concerns - that the Sa Dena Hes property could be warehoused and kept out of production?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: We certainly did, when we met with the different proponents. We said that was a major concern of ours, as the Members opposite are fully aware. There has been a rumour about it going around the Yukon. In fact, I believe statements were made by the Member for Faro that he was concerned about Cominco buying it and shutting it down. We raised those issues with Cominco when we met with them and they assured us they were not in the business of buying properties to shut them down.
Question re: Justice, community-based programs
Ms. Commodore: My question is for the Minister responsible for juvenile justice regarding Whitehorse community-based programs.
Over the past few months, we have received information that teens in the care of one of the treatment homes are being physically roughed up by certain staff members, and today we received a report of an incident that happened last night and appeared to be quite serious.
My question is this: what is the process that is in place to investigate complaints such as these?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Of course, if details are provided to me I will ensure that they are looked into, but the first step in the process is to provide the complaint to the appropriate person. In this case, I would be happy to receive those kinds of complaints.
Ms. Commodore: I would appreciate a response to my last question.
Teens who are in group homes are extremely vulnerable and are often difficult to deal with, as the Minister knows, and unfortunately for them they are often not believed when they tell their stories. Are there any specific protections in place that will encourage teens in care to report abuse?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Not to my knowledge. The policy remains exactly the same as it was when the side opposite was in power.
Ms. Commodore: I would like to mention again that this is just one of many complaints we have heard over the last few months, and I would like to ask the Minister if he can let me know whether there are specific training programs for staff who work in the homes, either by the government or under contract by the government.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I will be pleased to send her information on that.
Question re: Yukon River salmon treaty negotiations
Mr. Harding: I have a question for the Minister of Renewable Resources regarding the Yukon River salmon negotiations.
Yesterday, when questioned about the Yukon governments absence from the Yukon River salmon negotiations, the Minister told us he could not have a representative there because, and I quote, emergencies came up in the forestry area here. However, on the radio this morning, his deputy minister told us that the forestry negotiations were scheduled - albeit important, but they were scheduled - negotiations. Why did the Minister say that there was an emergency when there was no emergency?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I still confirm that there was. They had some negotiations to complete, which were at a very critical stage; if we did not get some things settled pretty quickly, we would not have been able to effect the transfer until possibly fall.
Mr. Harding: The Department of Renewable Resources has over 100 employees. Why could they not have two people briefed and prepared to attend both the important forestry negotiations and the important Yukon River salmon negotiations? How could that huge department be so inefficient?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Well, if you will permit me, Mr. Speaker, I will read the facts about what the negotiator tried to do. It would be rather long, or would the Member prefer to discuss this in Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Harding: I asked him for an answer about the inner workings of his department. The people who are representing the Yukon at the Yukon River salmon negotiations wanted to have Yukon government support there. It has been there in the past, but now it is not there because the Minister has told us that only one person has the position of the Yukon government down pat.
Why, in a department of over 100 employees, does only one person have the position of the Yukon government down pat?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Mr. Speaker, I presume that I can read the telephone conversations?
Speaker: No, the Minister cannot read that. He stated that he is prepared to discuss it in Committee of the Whole and I expect that it will be raised then, but I invite the Minister to try to respond to the specific issue that was raised about one person doing both jobs, as briefly as possible.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Well, it is a fact that he feels he can do both jobs. I have a two-page document here showing the telephone calls he made and the different people to whom he made them. He did his best and thought everything was all right. They replied to his calls. As a matter of fact, at eight oclock this morning, they were talking again.
I hope that is brief enough, Mr. Speaker.
Question re: Yukon River salmon treaty negotiations
Mr. Harding: I am sure that the one negotiator that the Minister has on this did his best, but that is not good enough. His best is not good enough for the Yukon River salmon industry. The Government Leader told us yesterday that he had an agreement with the Governor of Alaska to end the negotiations. The government knew about both the salmon talks and the forestry talks, so why did the Government Leader not get his Executive Council Office involved in supporting Yukoners at the salmon talks if Renewable Resources was too busy?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The fact remains that we have an official there, and our negotiator here has been in constant touch with him. Nothing is being overlooked. In fact, they were quite capable of making the Yukons representation. In eight years of negotiations, this is the first meeting at which we have had no representative, I understand. It is not the end of the world. It is not the end of the world, Mr. Speaker. The Opposition spent seven years and could not settle it.
Mr. Harding: On one hand, the government gets up and says that they solved the IRC problems by putting a Yukon government representative on the board - or a different one - and now they come up and say that, in the Yukon River salmon negotiations, it does not matter whether there is a Yukoner there or not. Well, that is totally inconsistent.
If it was so important that the Government Leader would discuss it with Governor Hickel, why did he allow the ball to be dropped on this issue?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: We did not say it was not important. It is very important. We believe that we are adequately represented. That is what I said to the Member opposite.
Mr. Harding: The federal government negotiators have been on the radio telling us that they are having a very difficult time. The federal government has said that these talks are going so poorly that they are going to need all the support that they can get. Why has the Government Leaders agreement with the Governor of Alaska gone so sour in terms of ending these negotiations?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: We are on top of the issue and we understand that there are some difficulties. I drafted a letter to Mr. Hickel this morning stating our concerns and I am expecting a reply from him shortly.
Question re: Archaeological resource staffing
Mr. McDonald: I have a question for the Minister responsible for Tourism. The Yukon Historical Museums Association sent a letter today to the Minister signalling the alarm that if the rumour to cut staff in the archaeological program were to proceed, half the departments current capacity to protect archaeological and paleontological resources would be lost. Has the government decided to reduce staff and thereby reduce its presence in this field?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: No, we have not decided to reduce staff. The one position we are talking about was a position that was mainly funded through the northern oil and gas action program. The NOGAP funding, which is a multi-year funding project from the federal government, ends on March 31, 1994. That funding is not available next year and that one staff member was funded under it. What we have to do now is evaluate whether or not we can find any resources within the department, because there is no new money to continue on with the particular position.
Mr. McDonald: As many people know, there are better than 200,200 archaeological sites in the territory and there are some very significant obligations under the umbrella final agreement to protect native heritage sites in the Yukon. Can the Minister indicate to us that if the government is going to be reducing staff, because it cannot find the money, what action is it going to take to protect the archaeological and paleontological resources in the territory?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: We will do the best we can with the resources we have available. Once the umbrella final agreement and the land claims is settled I believe there will be some funding that will be available to do some of the First Nations archaeological work and we will be seeking that avenue. As I said in answer to the first question, at this time there has not been a decision made on way or the other. The bottom line is that we used to get $100,000 from the feds; it is now gone, so we either find $100,000 of our own somewhere or we do not continue the position. We are now looking at our department and our budgets to see whether that can be accommodated and what the role will be of the individual in that department.
Mr. McDonald: Irrespective of whether or not the government continues with a position - and we certainly hope they do - how is the government going to maintain its obligations under the umbrella final agreement? They are pretty clear. How is it going to do the necessary work on projects like Canyon City, which are contained in the capital side of the budget? How are they going to do the necessary work on such projects as the Canyon City tramway? It is part of the Kwanlin Dun land selection and needs to be studied prior to any construction work being done.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The Member raises an interesting point. In the Tourism budget, the Member will see a line item for archaeological work on the Canyon City tramway. The funding is there for that work.
Question re: Two Mile Hill reconstruction
Mrs. Firth: My question is for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. I have been asking the Minister questions about the cost overruns of the Two Mile Hill reconstruction project for the last two or three days. I have referred to a report, the Alaska Highway corridor study, that was done in December, 1990. It was a joint report between the Government of Yukon and the Government of Canada. It predicted the costs of the project to be between $4.3 million and $4.8 million. The costs now are going to be in excess of $9 million. Last evening, I questioned the Minister and he listed over $2 million of additional costs. There is still $3 million unaccounted for. I would like to ask the Minister what caused the further increase of $3 million.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: First of all, I believe the budget amount is $8,038,000. Secondly, the report the Member was referring to, the Alaska Highway corridor study, was not based on any engineering estimates. It was merely an order of magnitude, created by the people who put together the report.
When the engineering estimates and design were completed, they reflected a budget of somewhere in the neighbourhood of $8 million.
Mrs. Firth: The project is going to cost $8,038,000. The Minister told us one month ago that the weigh scale relocation, which is part of this project, was going to cost $800,000. One month later, he says it will cost $900,000. My calculations bring that project very close to the $9 million mark. I have no doubt that, by the time it is done, it will be well over $9 million.
I would like to get an answer from the Minister about what happened with this project. What redesign took place and who was responsible for the redesigning that doubled the costs?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I do not believe any redesign took place. The study the Member opposite is reading from is just exactly that - it is a study. It is not based on engineering estimates or on any design. That study was done before there was a design, so there is no way the people who did the study could estimate the cost. They had nothing to base those estimates on.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister is saying, then, that this study, which was presented to the public - and in the public consultation process the public was told the project was going to cost a maximum of $4.8 million - meant nothing and that the people who did the study did not really know how much the project was going to cost. That is what the Minister stood up this afternoon and said.
Could the Minister perhaps clarify his position for us? What happened between the time of this study and the redesign? There had to have been redesign from the drawings in this study - what redesign was done and who was responsible for that redesign?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: There may very well be some conceptual drawings in that report or study she has. I do not believe there ever was a design at that time. When the design was completed - I am not sure exactly what year it was - then the costs were estimated based on an actual design, and that is what we are going with.
Question re: Two Mile Hill reconstruction
Mrs. Firth: This report was done in December of 1990. I hope the Minister has seen it. Perhaps he can tell the public this afternoon whether or not he has even read it.
This is what the public was left with - that this project was going to cost about $4.8 million maximum. Now the project is going to probably be in excess of $9 million. I want to know from the Minister who is to be held accountable for the doubling of these costs?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I believe the Official Opposition should be held accountable; they were the ones who approved the project in the first place.
The study that the Member has is a conceptual plan only. There are no design details in that plan, and the project was approved in approximately 1991, based on an actual design at that point in time.
Mrs. Firth: This Minister has been the Minister of this department for over a year. This government campaigned on the fact that they were going to clean up construction projects. They were going to spend smarter that the previous government had. My constituents thought that the project was going to be $4 million plus. It is now over $9 million. I want to know so that I can tell them who is to be held accountable for that. Would the Minister please stand up and tell us - instead of blaming the previous government - what they have been doing and who he thinks is accountable for these cost overruns?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I think that I answered that question before.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister has not answered the question. He has not been able to answer any of the questions. I do not know if he has even read the report. I would like to ask the Minister then, because he does not seem to be familiar with this project at all - a project in his department costing over $9 million, which I am sure is of concern to a lot of Yukoners - to bring back some information. Will he provide the House with a detailed chronology of this project, including all of the design changes, all of the requests for additional money, all of the authorizations for the project, from the time that this report was done and made public until the present day. Will he provide that information for Members of this Legislature?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: It was approved by the various Legislatures, in the budgets from 1991 to 1994-95. It has been approved each year.
Question re: RCMP service budget cuts
Mr. Cable: My question is for the Minister of Justice. It has been reported to me that the previous Conservative government in Ottawa initiated substantial cuts to the RCMP. I understand that $300,000 was cut from the Yukon RCMP contract in 1993, and that another $300,000 to $400,000 will be cut by 1995. I further understand that as a result of these cuts, five police officers have left the Yukon, or are about to, and that another five will be gone by 1995. Can the Minister confirm this information and explain how these cuts will affect policing in the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I am quite prepared to discuss this in some detail during the estimates. There is no question that we are looking for some cuts in the policing. Some of the impetus for the cuts comes from this government. It is a very large budget that we are funding - 70 cents out of every dollar. It is an area of some concern.
I do think that the local division has been responding in admirable form. The policing that we have in the Yukon is up to snuff and we are looking for ways to improve it, and improvements are being made.
Mr. Cable: I am sure that the standards of public safety and law enforcement will suffer as a result of these cuts.
I wonder if the Minister could confirm one other aspect of the information that I have. I heard that in 1995 the M division here in the Yukon will be rolled into the E division in British Columbia. Is my information correct?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: There has been no decision made about anything like that. It is curious that the Member would be discussing items like this that are perhaps under discussion by various levels of government, though. One would have thought it was on a confidential basis.
I would also be very interested in exploring with the Member opposite just exactly how he feels that public safety is being compromised.
Mr. Cable: We could do that some time over coffee. Right now, I wonder if you could answer the questions. This side answers the questions and that side answers them - that is what I am told.
I understand that the Yukon RCMP have lost their dog officer and a traffic analyst. Can the Minister of Justice tell the House what other specialized police services will be cut by the time that the cuts are concluded in 1995?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The RCMP detachment annual Christmas cocktail reception was held last night. I think that that particular reception might be the first item that is cut.
Question re: Yukon Housing Corporation, employee housing plan
Mr. Penikett: I certainly hope they find the dog soon.
Before he relocated to Whitehorse, as a result of a government staff transfer, a constituent of mine lived in a house covered by the government employee housing plan. He cannot now sell his house for a fair price because the Yukon Housing Corporation refuses a legal option to use the market value approach in determining the price he should pay for the house. I would like to ask the Minister if he could tell this House if there has been any policy or regulation change at the Yukon Housing Corporation that might account for this unfortunate, and, I might add, expensive, predicament for my constituent?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: No, there has not been any policy change.
Mr. Penikett: The situation is quite simple. My constituent bought a house in Ross River. He spent thousands fixing it up to modern standards and he was told that when the day came for him to move somewhere else the Housing Corporation would buy his house for a fair price, the fair price to be determined using a combination of the actual costs involved in buying and renovating it, and the market value as determined through a comparison with other houses. Now the Housing Corporation wants to pay my constituent some $20,000 less than the house is worth.
Now, with staffing housing at a premium in the communities, why is the Housing Corporation acting in such bad faith with my constituent, when it has the opportunity, and I think the legal obligation, to acquire a good dwelling for staff housing at substantially less than the replacement cost?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I believe that there are two methods: the replacement cost and the market value, to a maximum of somewhere in the neighbourhood of $68,000. I believe the Yukon Housing Corporation does an appraisal and the owner of the home does an appraisal, and then they average those two appraisals.
Mr. Penikett: The cost-value appraisal from Yamada Appraisals Ltd. puts this house at $82,000. My constituent is being offered only a fraction of that, and my constituent has been told that he has to accept an offer by December 15 - yesterday - or it would walk away. My constituent fortunately got legal help and got this deadline extended until Monday.
I am wondering why the Minister is sanctioning this bullying and this coercion, which is surely inconsistent with the Housing Corporations responsibility to manage the housing stock professionally. I want to ask him if he will instruct the Housing Corporation to drop its deadline and resume negotiations with the constituent in a professional manner, in order to reach a fair resolution, in accordance with the act and the regulations.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I certainly do not sanction bullying and coercion, and I will ask the Housing Corporation to extend the deadline so that we can fully review the complete situation.
Question re: Lottery Commission
Ms. Moorcroft: Last night, the Government Leader shared some remarkable news with us about the future of the Yukon Lottery Commission. As a consequence of its decision to eliminate the community development fund, the government now plans to give CDF responsibilities to the Yukon Lottery Commission.
My question is for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services, who is the Minister responsible for the Yukon Lottery Commission. Has the Minister formally advised the Yukon Lottery Commission board and staff of their new duties?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: No, I have not.
Ms. Moorcroft: I am not sure if making major policy decisions late at night on the floor of this House is any way a government should be conducting business, especially when it involves hundreds of thousands of taxpayers dollars. The Yukon Lottery Commission board hands out lottery revenues to groups with a wide variety of special projects and it works with the Yukon recreation advisory committee arts board and sports board. If the Minister introduces $200,000 or $300,000 more of responsibilities for the Yukon Lottery Commission, what is that going to do to the existing sports and arts funding in the territory?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Either the Member opposite misunderstood me or I was not clear enough in my answers in Committee of the Whole debate last night. I believe the question was asked by the Member for Mount Lorne as to how we were going to do it, and I said one of the possibilities was that maybe the Lottery Commission would pick up some of it.
The issue here is that we have put $1 million in the budget this year to deal with the CDF while we develop the policy as to how we are going to handle it. The Minister responsible said last night that he would table that when it was prepared.
Ms. Moorcroft: Perhaps the Government Leader, then, since he is now trying to explain the remarks he made last night about streamlining the funding of the CDF and the Yukon Lottery Commission and the recreation grants, can tell us what the plan is here. Is there even a plan? Is the Government Leader planning to cut back on lotteries and YRAC funding for sports, arts and recreation and turn it all into one big CDF-type fund, administered by the Lottery Commission?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The session has been long and they are running out of issues, I guess, but the fact remains that I just clarified the situation in my previous answer to the previous supplementary. We put $1 million in the budget for CDF funding this year, and we will be developing the policies as to how it will be handled after that.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will now proceed to Orders of the Day and Government Bills.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Bill No. 10: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 10, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Ostashek.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I move that Bill No. 10, entitled the Third Appropriation Act, 1992-93, be now read a third time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 10, entitled Third Appropriation Act, 1992-93, be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion for third reading of Bill No. 10 agreed to
Bill No. 88: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 88, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Phelps.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I move that Bill No. 88, entitled Enactments Republication Act, 1993, be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 88, entitled Enactments Republication Act, 1993, be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion for third reading of Bill No. 88 agreed to
Bill No. 77: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 77, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Brewster.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I move that Bill No. 77, entitled an Act to Amend the Liquor Act (No. 2), be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister responsible for the Yukon Liquor Corporation that Bill No. 77, entitled An Act to Amend the Liquor Act (No. 2), be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion for third reading of Bill No. 77 agreed to
Bill No. 63
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 63, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Ostashek.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I move that Bill No. 63, entitled An Act to Amend the Public Sector Compensation Restraint Act and the Legislative Assembly Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 63, entitled An Act to Amend the Public Sector Compensation Restraint Act and the Legislative Assembly Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion for third reading of Bill No. 63 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call the Committee of the Whole to order and declare a recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Bill No. 12 - First Appropriation Act, 1994-95 - continued
Department of Economic Development - continued
On Economic Policy, Planning and Research - continued
Chair: Is there further general debate on economic policy planning and research?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I have several items for tabling that will be here in a few seconds. One is the economic development agreement recovery ratio, another is a response to questions asked by the Member for Riverdale South, and there is a copy of the infrastructure loans and resource development program criteria.
On Northern Oil and Gas Accord Implementation
Mr. Cable: I believe we were going on to the Northern Accord when we adjourned last night, if my recollection is correct. I have some questions on the Northern Accord about its implementation. I do not know if the Minister has the agreement handy. I refer the Minister to paragraph 6.1, regarding the 18 months that is referred to in that subparagraph. Are we on track in relation to that time frame?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, we are right on track.
Mr. Cable: I would refer also to section 6.4, that refers to the passage of federal legislation to amend the Yukon Act. Where are we on that particular process? Has that legislation been worked out yet?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Those discussions are ongoing.
Mr. Cable: Is there some target date for producing the draft legislation?
Hon. Mr. Devries: As I believe I mentioned yesterday, our target is to have the legislation ready to present to the House near the end of the spring sitting.
Mr. Cable: If I could refer the Minister to paragraph 7.2, to the transition costs, it talks about Canada contributing $375,000. Is that $120,000 in that $375,000 for 1994-95?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, that is correct.
Mr. Cable: Paragraph 7.4 talks about the resource revenues and a certain amount of money that accrues to the Yukon from oil and gas in the Yukon. Have those dollars been received, say, from the gas fields in southeast Yukon or is that money being held somewhere pending resolution of all the legislation?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I believe I mentioned something about it yesterday. Basically, it is accruing up until the time the various steps have taken place. We would then receive that money. Presently, the royalties are somewhere in the neighbourhood of about $1.7 million or $1.8 million annually.
Mr. Cable: Are these revenues in any way linked to the formula financing agreement?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Initially, the first $3 million is not considered in the formula. After that, there is a certain percentage that takes effect, depending on how the royalties increase. After $3 million, there is a certain percentage decrease in the formula base.
Mr. Cable: Just so that I understand it, this money has been locked away somewhere and not received. How will that mesh with the formula financing? Will it actually reduce the money we get under formula financing, even though it is not received?
Hon. Mr. Devries: No, it will not, because, as I mentioned earlier, in the first place it does not cut in until it reaches $3 million annually, so it would not.
Mr. Cable: Where are we annually? What is the figure right now? Did the Minister mention that in the opening?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I believe I mentioned that the royalties are presently between $1.7 million and $1.8 million annually. Just to make it very clear, we are allowing up to $3 million annually before it affects our formula base.
Right now, the rough estimate for the royalties is $1.7 million to $1.8 million. It does not affect our base.
Mr. Cable: What happens in the unlikely event that the royalties go over the $3 million? Are they still frozen in these trust arrangements?
Hon. Mr. Devries: If it stays at $1.7 million and $1.8 million it does not affect our base. It has to be over $3 million annually. If it accumulates because the legislation has not come and we do not receive the money, it does not make any difference if we happen to get a lump sum of $4 million the first time we get the money.
Mr. Cable: If the royalties go up to $3 million, but they are not received, would we still receive a reduction in the formula financing?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It is not anticipated that the royalties are going to increase substantially in the next two or three years. However, if that happened, it would affect the base. We do not expect that the royalties are going to increase beyond $2 million a year until more gas wells get onstream, or unless there is a tremendous increase in natural gas prices.
Mr. Cable: If the Minister would refer to section 9.1, is the onshore committee up and running?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The onshore committee has not been fully established yet.
Mr. Cable: When does the Minister anticipate that the onshore committee will be constituted?
Hon. Mr. Devries: We would anticipate it will happen in the next several months - as soon as we get the office fully functioning.
Mr. McDonald: The Minister provided us with a fact sheet on Northern Accord funding and identified a source of funding for 1993-94, 1994-95 and then future years. From what pot of money does the funding that is identified in the capital budget come? Does it come out of the transition costs, or the base transfer from the federal government? Which source of funding can we identify from?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It would come out of number two, the transition costs.
Mr. McDonald: How much of the $1.1 million and the $375,000 is the government projecting to spend in the 1994-95 fiscal year?
Hon. Mr. Devries: In this budget there is just $120,000. We are not certain about the O&M yet but it will be somewhere in the neighbourhood of $600,000. That is just a rough guess - I stand to be corrected on that and we can discuss it when we get into the O&M portion.
Mr. McDonald: Yes, we will discuss it. I have a whole series of policy questions on the Northern Accord, so I will ask them then as well.
Just as a matter of interest, of the 1993-94 supplementaries, how much was spent of the $1.1 million and the $375,000?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It was $122,000 in capital and about $330,000 in the O&M.
Mr. McDonald: Does the balance of the funding go into a trust fund someplace? Is that where the funding is placed? Is there a special fund?
Hon. Mr. Devries: No, it would be in general revenue.
Mr. Penikett: I, like many Members in the House, was fascinated by the discussion last night about the fate or the future of the community development fund and the prospect of individual departmental slush funds and the transfer of the program to the Lottery Commission. Mention has been made of the fact that we have $1 million in the grief-therapy period for the program, but I want to ask the Minister a couple of policy questions arising from an application that came from my constituency that was rejected. It is a project involving the construction of a fairly modest playground in a mobile home park in my constituency, which has no other recreational facilities and, indeed, is not close to a school or any other playground that the children who live in this park can use. I understand there are something like 75 children in this mobile home park who might have taken advantage of the project.
I understand that the proponents, an association of residents in the park, were told that they could not get money for this project because this government would not support a project built on private property and, in any case, the mobile home park owners themselves ought to construct such a facility.
I am interested in that response. I do not know if I am reporting it perfectly accurately, because I am getting it second hand.
I know for a fact that, in the past, the CDF has contributed to many community projects, whether they were neighbourhood projects, recreational, play equipment for people in child care centres or whatever. More recently, the program seems to have been used to finance programs under Health and Social Services, which I do not think was the original intent.
The mobile home park I am talking about is Lobird, which is, of course, very old as trailer parks in the territory go. There are no recreational facilities there. I understand that the planning rules in this city are that if someone is building a mobile home park, they have to provide some recreational facilities for children, such as a playground area. This park predates those rules.
I understand that the owner of the park did indicate a willingness to turn over the land, which he privately owned, to this group, who were a non-government, non-profit society. Given that the land in question was going to be held by a non-profit society, similar to that which operates many similar facilities in the Yukon and have received much money under the CDF, and given that this is an old trailer park with few playground opportunities for children, I wonder if the Minister could undertake to elaborate for me the reasons for turning down the application. I understand that is was in the nature of what I have previously described.
I do not want to take the time of the House going back over old files and citing other examples like this that have been funded, because there seems to have been a change in policy here. I would like the Minister to elaborate a bit.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I believe that there were several requests within the city boundaries for playground-type projects this past year. I stand to be corrected, but I believe they were all rejected by the community development fund committee because they were located within the city boundaries. The committee felt that it was really a city responsibility - particularly, the Lobird one. I was not aware of the fact the owner had volunteered to transfer the property. I will respond in writing about that particular project if the Member wishes.
Mr. Penikett: I would appreciate that very much. Notwithstanding the comments by the Minister about the city, it is the case that many parks and playgrounds in this city were not built by the municipal council at all, but in fact directed by a non-government organization - I think the Kiwanis Club has contributed much volunteer time and energy. There are other facilities in my constituency over the years that have been constructed with prison labour. There have been various ways in which they are done. I think the city supports the major recreation facilities, but many of these small neighbourhood projects, like rinks, playgrounds and so forth, have been done by community associations, neighbourhood associations or groups like this one at Lobird.
I want to press the matter since the Minister is going to kill the community development fund - which I think is a very bad idea but the government has made that decision - there was a reference last night that maybe some departmental slush funds would be created, and it seems to create the possibility that maybe Community and Transportation Services might inherit some of this responsibility. We all know how unlikely it is that Community and Transportation Services will assume these responsibilites within the boundaries of a municipality like Whitehorse, which is relatively well off and relatively sophisticated. Since the city is not doing these kinds of projects it really does leave groups like this with no place to go, unless we are going to be pursing the Government Leaders option, which is the Lottery Commission. I know those funds are very hard fought for, between the sports and arts communities. I would think that the notion that there would be a third group coming to try to access funds might be more trouble than it is worth.
I want to be helpful to my constituents here, but I really do not know, with this change in policy, where they are going to be able to go. That is my problem.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I stand to be corrected, but on the discussions on the various playground projects proposed by various groups, there is a whole range of reasons why these were rejected. I recall that on several of them they had not really attempted to approach groups like the Elks, Kiwanis and Lions for sponsorship on the projects. The recommendation was for them to seek out all other avenues.
On the other issue, I thought we clarified last night that there will not be slush funds within departments. That was a bad term that I used and I should not have used it. I would appreciate it if the Member does not use it. I think we recognize that this could create some anxiety and we will sit down and discuss this with the various players.
Mr. McDonald: I have one last question on this particular line item, a follow-up to the line of questioning that I raised with respect to the funding for the Northern Accord. The Minister indicated that in the current year, of the funds characterized as base transfers to the Yukon government, the Yukon would spend on implementation for the Northern Accord between $400,000 to $500,000 out of the $1,475,000. And next year, depending on the size of the operations budget the government will spend $720,000 out of a total of $1,475,000, and the difference would be rolled into general revenue.
Can the Minister tell us why the government would worry about the signals it sends to the federal government on the Alaska Highway agreement and not worry about the signals it would send under the most recently signed devolution agreement - the Northern Oil and Gas Accord - the signal being that the money will ultimately be spent on something for which it was not negotiated.
Hon. Mr. Devries: The $375,000 is related to the capital portion of getting the equipment in place. The $1.1 million is geared toward personnel costs. It was negotiated on the understanding that there would be approximately 10 people employed, depending upon the level of activity. You have to negotiate these agreements over the long term to ensure that you are not shooting yourself in the foot.
I believe we will have a staff of five people in place shortly. If there is an increased level of activity, or through the policy and planning, we see a need for further staffing before we see an increase in activity, we could possibly use up more of the $1.1 million. At this point, I would not be overly concerned.
I realize what the Member is getting at, but this accord has just been negotiated and we want to ensure that we have adequate funding to run this program properly.
Mr. McDonald: Clearly, we do have more than adequate funding to meet our obligations under the transfer agreement. Certainly, if there is a need for 10 people then they should be hired. I am more concerned about the signals that we are sending.
The federal government has made much of the signals being sent under the Alaska agreement, that if the government does not spend every dime, or a large portion of the Alaska Highway funding on actual highway construction, that would not bode well for future devolution agreements. The negotiators would assume that when the territory was given money for some particular purpose, or responsibility, that the funding be used for a particular purpose.
If we are spending less than half of the money being transferred to us for the implementation of this program over the very first two years - this is the most recently signed one - right off the bat, less than half of the money is being transferred for that particular purpose. If the government is worried about sending signals, they must be sending one and someone must be reading the signal, otherwise why would the government be concerned with one transfer agreement and not the other?
Hon. Mr. Devries: There is also quite a difference between money being specifically geared toward infrastructure development and people spending it on other things. In the Northern Accord, this is O&M money, specifically geared toward O&M. We are also going to get into negotiating offshore. That money will be used up at some point - we feel quite confident about that at this point.
Mr. McDonald: I do not doubt that for one second. I am prepared to believe that the government could use up to $1.1 million eventually, depending on the level of oil and gas activity that is taking place. I do not doubt that.
The issue here is that less than 50 percent of the money that is being transferred is being dedicated to the purpose for which it was designed. A much higher percentage, in the Alaska Highway agreement, is being used for actual highway construction.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. McDonald: I do not take the Government Leaders word, because he does not seem to understand the issues at all. I will explore this with the one Minister and then I will work on him.
The question about this particular transfer is that the Minister seems to think that because the money is being dedicated toward infrastructure and not O&M under the Alaska Highway agreement, that somehow makes the funding qualitatively different under the Alaska Highway agreement than under the Oil and Gas Accord agreement. The last time I talked to a federal Finance Minister, money was money and money that was borrowed to give to the Yukon government was debt. Debt was debt, and still had to be serviced. Presumably, whether the government spends the money on operations or road construction, the point that has to be addressed is whether or not the money is being spent for the purpose for which it was originally negotiated.
We have a situation here where money is not being spent and is intentionally not being spent in the foreseeable future. In fact, less than 50 percent of it is intended to be spent on this particular project. It frees up $1 million a year, on agrerage. Over the two years, it is approximately $1 million in the first year, and $750,000 or so in the second year. That is a lot of money.
Surely, if the government was concerned about signals, it would be concerned about this one. I am not opposed to what the government is doing. I am just trying to find out what the rhetoric means, particularly as it applies to the other agreement that we spent some time in the Legislature talking about - the Alaska Highway agreement. Unless the Minister is going to tell me something new, does the government not feel concerned?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, it is just a new agreement and I think the federal government was conscientious of what I was doing. Also, once we get the policies and the regulations in place, costs to the Yukon government could increase considerably because my understanding is that we have to do annual inspections of all the gas wells; we have to do inspections of all the capped gas wells and various things according to these regulations. So I think we will see things escalate considerably in the second year, once we have the regulations, et cetera, in place.
Mr. McDonald: Presumably the government is thinking about that and the department is thinking about that and is budgeting for that and is going to spend money to fulfill those tasks. I understood that to be the case when I asked the question in the first place.
Surely, the problem is more severe the newer the agreement. If an agreement had been signed 10 years ago and we were changing priorities, then one could argue with the federal government or with anyone else that circumstances had changed sufficiently that it justified a change in spending priorities. But what if the agreement was only signed a year ago and, within the first two years of the agreement, there is no intention of spending more than 50 percent of the monies being transferred and the other money is being spent on other things, surely that would send a more difficult signal than the older agreement.
I want to stress once again that I am not opposed to what the government is doing in practice. I am not opposed to what the department is doing. I am not opposed to what the government is doing. What I am having trouble reconciling is that there is a lot of rhetoric around the Alaska Highway agreement and the concern about sending signals there, and there is apparently no concern whatsoever here. This is a more recent agreement. This is an agreement that is still fresh in everybodys mind, and this is an agreement where less than 50 percent of what is being dedicated to the transfer is being applied to the purpose for which it was intended - unlike a lot of the other agreements that have been signed.
Maybe the Minister cannot answer. Maybe there is no answer. We will raise the issue again when we get back to Community and Transportation Services and the amendment before the House.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I would be happy to discuss it at greater length in the supplementaries if the Member wishes.
Mr. Cable: I want to follow up on one question. From my understanding of the bookkeeping, where is the $120,000 shown in either the recovery or transfer payment columns?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It is basically a base transfer so it does not show up in the recovery.
Northern Oil and Gas Accord Implementation in the amount of $120,000 agreed to
On Prior Years Projects
Prior Years Projects in the amount of nil agreed to
Economic Policy, Planning and Research in the amount of $120,000 agreed to
On Economic Programs
Chair: Is there any general debate on economic programs?
Mr. McDonald: I think that there is a lot of debate on the programs but, as I mentioned before, I am going to reserve much of that debate for the supplementary estimates.
This afternoon, the Government Leader said in Question Period that he has suggested that the Lottery Commission be a possibility for responsibilities that are left over from the community development fund. That does not appear to be what he said in the Blues. There was a lot firmer statement than that in the Blues.
Can the Minister reconcile the situation for us? Is there any firm plan at this stage to transfer funding responsibilities to the Lottery Commission, or was it simply someone shooting off their mouth?
Hon. Mr. Devries: We have not had any discussions with the Lottery Commission on anything of that nature, nor have I even thought about it.
As I indicated yesterday, we hope to have a meeting with the community development board within the next month or so to discuss the parameters that are going to be established for the $1 million in the budget for this coming year. We will discuss the other issues with the communities when we travel to the communities for consultation, and I will look forward to seeing the Member participate in those consultations.
On Community Development Fund
Community Development Fund in the amount of $1,289,000 agreed to
On Business Development Fund
Business Development Fund in the amount of $2,773,000 agreed to
On Economic Development Agreement
Economic Development Agreement in the amount of $6,366,000 agreed to
Economic Programs in the amount of $10,428,000 agreed to
Department of Finance
Chair: We will move on to the Department of Finance on page 56. Is there any general debate on Finance?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The Finance capital budget is fairly small in comparison to other departments. The department is requesting $87,000 for capital purposes for 1994-95. Three thousand dollars is for the replacement of furniture and filing cabinets. Forty-three thousand dollars is for replacing existing computer workstations and printers. These replacements are required because the old equipment is becoming unreliable and will not always run current versions of the software. There is $41,000 being requested to begin the upgrade of the financial information system. This system is a number of years old and is becoming somewhat unreliable. The upgrade has been budgeted for in the past several years but it has always been put off due to budgetary constraints.
Mr. McDonald: The Minister indicated that there was $45,000 for computer workstations. How many computer work stations does that work out to? I see that it is for the treasury branch alone. Is everybody in this branch getting a new computer workstation?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Once my deputy minister gets here, I may be able to answer that for the Member opposite. Perhaps the Member would like to ask another question in the meantime. My understanding is that we have about 30 workstations in the department.
Mr. McDonald: What is the percentage of people who will be getting new workstations? I was surprised that Finance, of all departments, who have always been skeptical of the need for computing workstations around government, is making such an aggressive move in this area at this time.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I wish I could resolve the computer problems throughout the government, to be truthful. I have some difficulty with it and I do not have the answer yet. There will be $3,000 for furniture, $43,000 for computer systems and $41,000 for six computer workstations. This totals $87,000.
The workstations are anticipated to go to an accounting services clerk, a director of finance and administration, a director of revenue services, a management board analyst, a supervisor of commodity taxes and a director of financial systems. In addition, there are two printers, at $13,000.
The necessity for replacement is due to the workplaces being eight years old. Any newer models will be relocated. Since the normal life expectancy is three to five years for a workstation, there is an imminent possibility of hardware failure, resulting in a loss of data. The software has been upgraded over the years. Software companies no longer support the older versions. Newer versions require improved PC capabilities. Newer software cannot be run on older workstations.
Workstations that are being replaced use old format discs, which are not compatible within the department, and information sharing is not feasible. Data coming from other institutions and governments has to be re-input due to the incompatibility, thereby duplicating the effort.
Additional information needs require larger spreadsheets, which require more memory and slows processing considerably. Slower time frames on producing public accounts and main estimates require greater processing capabilities and therefore new equipment. Two new printers are required because new PCs will not run the old printers. The printers will also be eight years old. The printers need new parts, which are costing about $1,000 a year to service. I hope that evidence is sufficient.
Mr. McDonald: I have a nine-year-old car and it gets me back and forth to work every day. It could break down any time. I would like to have a car that could drive faster, and this one costs me a few hundred dollars a year to keep it maintained. As a matter of fact, I would like to have something that is a good deal flashier and has a lot greater carrying capacity. Unfortunately, a new car is not in my budget next year because it has not broken down yet.
Can the Minister indicate to us whether or not the PCs in Finance have, indeed, broken down? They are old, yes, I know, and they probably do not have racing stripes on them or anything, but have they actually broken down to a non-repairable condition?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I am not one to really stand up here and defend all these computer purchases - I have to go on the basis of what my department is telling me. The Member opposite can still get tires and spark plugs for his nine-year-old car, but we cannot get the programs for these old computers any more.
I agree with the Member for Riverdale South. If she has the magic solution, I wish she would give it to me, because I am grappling with this one. In answer to the Members question, yes, some of them have been fried completely, beyond repair.
Mrs. Firth: The magic solution is to just say no.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: A lot of people say I find it very easy to say no, but I just wonder how much criticism I would be under from the Member opposite if there were some people in her riding who could not get their paycheques on time or if some of the business people could not get their accounts paid on time because, in this age of technology, it seems that everything has to be done yesterday.
As I say, I am not one to stand here and be a great defender of computers. I believe computers are necessary. I sometimes wonder if maybe we do not have a Cadillac system where a Chev would do, but I have not found the answer to that yet and I am still searching.
I am almost positive that if the Minister said no, the paycheques would still go out, and the department would still carry on and do just fine. If the Finance Minister said no, I would probably support him.
These have been delayed several years now. As I said in my briefing notes, our payroll system is ready to crater at any time. We cannot interface with other computers at the federal level or anywhere else. We cannot move information back and forth, and we cannot get into the data banks for the programs. I know that much about computers, but I am not very computer literate. In defence of my department, I think that they have been very reasonable and have delayed the purchase of these systems several times now. The purchases have been deferred and the money has been used for other purchases, so I am defending this request from the Department of Finance.
Mr. McDonald: I think that the problem that we have when we are interfacing back and forth is that the people who are defending the expenditures for computers and the people who are critiquing them do not know enough about the systems to make wise judgments. We are often hostage to the people who do make the decisions and, unfortunately, it has been the case in the past where computers, and particularly personal computers, have been status symbols in departments and quite often they have gone unused.
Unfortunately, we cannot depend on the Auditor Generals office to decide for us this time, because the Auditor General wants more computers, and they are computer nuts themselves. As much as we like to depend on their mediation efforts for virtually everything else, I think that the desirability of computing systems will have to be resolved in another way.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I want to state for the record that I am struggling over requests for computers throughout government. As Finance Minister I am receiving requests from every department.
I am not yet convinced - and I am not being critical of the Member opposite - that the decision that they made while they were in government to decentralize computers to the departments was the right decision. I think costs are escalating because of the decentralization. I am considering having an auditing agency, like Peat Marwick, conduct a complete analysis of them, and I know that is a very expensive process-
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I understand that, but the Auditor General told us that we need somewhere between $500,000 and $1 million worth of computers and programs. I am very reluctant to take the step to get the expert advice that we need on government computer systems from a government department.
I am frustrated with this one. I fully agree with the Member opposite. When one sits down to talk to the experts in this field, one is at their mercy. They can give me all kinds of justification as to why it is required. For us to be sitting here and saying they cannot have it, when we do not know what the hell we are talking about, to be quite frank, is something I find very difficult.
On Office Furniture, Equipment and Systems
Office Furniture, Equipment and Systems in the amount of $87,000 agreed to
Treasury in the amount of $87,000 agreed to
Department of Finance agreed to
Public Service Commission
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I am not so sure I want to go through this exercise.
The Public Service Commission is requesting $30,000 in the 1994-95 capital budget for computer workstations.
The 1994-95 capital estimate budget is 88 percent more than the previous years forecasts. The increase results from the necessity to replace aging equipment and acquire new equipment. The computer equipment will enhance the provision of effective and efficient services to the commissions clients.
Ms. Moorcroft: In light of the previous discussion, like my colleague the Member for McIntyre-Takhini, I will be, in the Christmas spirit, merciful and not ask for a detailed breakdown on why the workstations are necessary, and I will be saving my policy questions for the supplementary estimates.
Can the Minister just indicate how many workstations there are and what areas they will be applied to?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The following workstation requests constitute $30,000 in capital expenditures: for staffing branch, a 4039 printer, $3,400, two personal computer terminals, $8,100; Public Service Commission - we are budgeting for this but it is pending the loss control officers transfer - pending Cabinets approval on where to locate the loss control activity - tentatively one new personal computer terminal is requested to share between the two officers, for $3,900, and an additional 4039 printer is also required, for $3,400; finance and administration, a personal computer terminal, for $3,400; records and pension, one personal computer terminal, $3,900; labour relations branch, one personal computer terminal, $3,900. All requests include accompanying software, if required.
Ms. Moorcroft: Can the Minister indicate what the associated O&M costs will be if there is capital expenditure of a PC for loss control officers to move over to the Public Service Commission?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: That has not been finalized yet so I will not be able to get that figure to the Member now.
Ms. Moorcroft: I think the Minister indicated that it would be one PC and there may be two officers. Was it a job-share with two part-time positions? Or would it be one position?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: It is two people.
Mrs. Firth: I want to ask the Minister some questions about the computers. Perhaps I should have asked him this question in the last department. Since this department is also requesting new computers, I think I will probably get away with it, Mr. Chair, if you will be generous. The Department of Government Services has let a contract. It is called a request for bid for Government of Yukon human resource information system preliminary analysis and architectural phase. The date issued was November 25. Can the Minister tell me how much this is costing?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Our understanding is that the initial cost of that is $65,000. I do not believe we know, at this time, what the total cost of it will be.
Mrs. Firth: Am I in the right department? For which department is this study being done?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: It is through Government Services, but it is for all of the human resource information system in government. It is part of the recommendations of the Auditor Generals human resource study, I believe. We are trying to implement some of the recommendations.
It would not fall under this department at this point. It is being done for all of government. Eventually it may come in under this department. I do not know.
Mrs. Firth: The reason I am asking is because I read the human resource management study. It deals with the Public Service Commission, so I thought it was logical to ask questions about it here.
Is the Minister saying that, so far, this is going to cost about $65,000? I have quite a long list of the vendor questions regarding this particular proposal. Having examined, studied and read the Auditor Generals report on human resource management, I have come to the conclusion - and others have indicated this to me, as well - that this could end up costing $400,000 to $500,000 by the time this whole process is finished. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: My understanding is that that could be the eventual cost. However, we are looking at a cost benefit analysis of it to see where savings can be made to reduce the costs.
Mrs. Firth: That brings me to my next question. Is the government prepared to spend half a million dollars on this at a time when they are talking about tough fiscal restraint? I recognize that some of the recommendations that were made by the Auditor General stressed that this was very important. The government has to take this report and create its own priorities with respect to some of the recommendations made.
My personal opinion is that I would prefer to see the government move in the direction of less costly initiatives that deal more with employee morale, as opposed to doing a huge study of all the computer systems within government so that we can get more computer systems. Perhaps the Government Leader could indicate to us exactly what his plans are in this area. When are critical decisions going to be made and what are the priorities? When does the government plan to proceed?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: We hope to have the report before the end of March, and then we will have a better idea of what we are looking at. I think that what I would like to debate with the Member, or at least put on the record, is that this is being done as a result of the human resource audit done by the Auditor General. When we talk about better morale, better working conditions and more effective government, these are some of the areas he has addressed, as there are concerns in these areas. That is why we have to do this first step. When we get that first report back, we analyze it to see where we need to go with it from there. I realize that there are costs involved with this. Quite possibly it will mean tremendous savings for the government in the long run. That is what we will have to weigh once we get the report.
Mrs. Firth: Would the Minister make the report available to Members of the Legislature when it is completed?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: It is my understanding that it is an internal report, and that is usually not done.
Mrs. Firth: Yukon taxpayers are going to be paying in excess of $65,000 for this report, and I personally feel - I do not know how other Members feel - that if I am going to understand what the recommendations were, and what priorities the government sets and what direction they are going to move in, it would be very helpful if we could have access to the report. We could then make our own decisions and draw our own conclusions about what we think the government should be doing.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: As I said to the Member, it has not been done in the past, but I will take it under advisement. If it is possible to release it, I will consider it.
On Finance and Administration
Chair: Is there any general debate on finance and administration?
On Computer Work Stations
Computer Work Stations in the amount of $30,000 agreed to
Finance and Administration in the amount of $30,000 agreed to
Department of Education
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The total amount in the capital budget for the Department of Education in the 1994-95 fiscal year is $6,739,000. This is a 19.6 percent increase over the main estimates for 1993-94. For the coming fiscal year, we are focusing on dealing with some outstanding problems. For instance, the Golden Horn Elementary School will be receiving an addition consisting of a gymnasium and three classrooms plus the renovation of existing space, resulting in two additional classrooms. We are making some long-overdue renovations at the territorys largest school, F.H. Collins, and will be laying the groundwork for the new French first language school. We will also be putting two modular classrooms at the Robert Service School in Dawson City to accommodate, on a temporary basis, the need for additional space in that school.
Renovations at F.H. Collins will be extensively discussed with the school council and priorized; we must also integrate discussions on grade reorganization into that planning. We are projecting a multi-year upgrading cost to a total of about $3.7 million, but how that money will be spent will obviously depend on our discussions with the school council, at least in part on whether F.H. Collins remains the only high school in Whitehorse or becomes one of two high schools including grade 9, or even grade 8. Good and careful planning is something we will be following.
Of the $6,739,000, $5,810,000, or about 86 percent, is allocated for public schools, mostly for planning, renovations and the major addition to Golden Horn. Advanced education is allocated $375,000, or 5.5 percent; $300,000 is for Yukon College, and the rest is for the completion of the student residence at the college.
In libraries and archives, $290,000, 4.3 percent, is allocated for library equipment, display preparation, community library development and the conversion of film to video.
In finance and administration, expenditures of $264,000, 3.9 percent, are planned. The majority of this, $224,000, is for the staff who manage and monitor the capital program. The remainder covers all of the office equipment needed for the entire central office of the Department of Education.
Perhaps a few more details on the public school side are appropriate, since this takes up the lions share of the capital budget in this department. There will be expansions at Golden Horn, $1.6 million, and Robert Service portables, at $300,000, and the renovations at F.H. Collins, mostly in the food services area, for about $480,000.
As I indicated to the House earlier, it is our intention to move the $200,000 in the funding identified in these estimates for the St. Elias School in Haines Junction forward to the current fiscal year in line with our job creation policy. This timely action will keep an average of 12 tradespeople working on the project from mid-January to mid-March of 1994.
We will be upgrading ventilation systems in several schools: Christ the King Elementary for $200,000; Whitehorse Elementary for $150,000; F. H. Collins for $150,000; Grey Mountain Primary for $30,000; and various other small projects for $39,000.
There will be $80,000 spent for upgrading the J.V. Clark School in Mayo. The recently completed health and welfare assessment of this building will be used to guide our discussions with the school council about the upgrading of various areas of the school.
We are also allocating $75,000 for landscaping at Hidden Valley School, and this will provide the soccer field and some paving. These items were not completed during the original construction of the school.
We will be providing $250,000 planning money for the new lEcole Emilie Tremblay. These funds are anticipated to be recoverable from the federal government and will be used to facilitate site acquisition and to commence design of a new facility in close consultation with the school council.
We will be spending approximately $90,000 to purchase three lots across the street from the Robert Service School in Dawson City, allowing for the future expansion of a playground and the reallocation of the parking lot, in further expansion of the school.
In the near future, because of uncertainty with respect to possible mining developments, portables will be put in place for the next school year at an estimated cost of $300,000. This will alleviate the current overcrowding of the school.
Without detailing each small project, we will spend a further $200,000 on grounds improvement and landscaping; $350,000 on school facility renovations; $900,000 on capital maintenance repairs; $436,000 on public schools equipment.
These four areas we call our basket areas, since they represent many individual small projects at the school level. For example, the $900,000 in maintenance repairs is projected to cover the multitude of minor repairs undertaken in schools by the Department of Government Services, as well as the boiler upgrade at Selkirk Elementary, a number of painting projects and two roof upgrades.
The expenditures in public schools include $125,000 on instructional computers, $20,000 on special education equipment and $35,000 on custodial equipment.
I look forward to comments and questions from the Member opposite.
Mr. Harding: I have some comments and questions for the Minister. I will reserve most of them for the supplementaries. I am anxious to engage in some discussions with the Minister when we do get to clear this capital budget and get to the supplementaries. I will also say that some of the numbers that were run through, were run through quite quickly and I am going to have to call on the Minister to repeat some of the information that he read out. I do not feel that I got a good enough handle on the expenditures he is asking for and specifically what they are for. I guess we can proceed on the line-by-line debate, unless someone else has any comments or questions.
Mr. Cable: I wonder if the Minister could indicate what it is that causes the department to put projects under the multi-year capital projects entry? What triggers that entry?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: That just allows the department to project future expenditures down the road. As projects come up and work begins on them, they are slotted into the five year plan and they roll over. The five-year plan is not a fixed budgetary plan. It sometimes moves from year to year, as we have seen in the past. It is a planning process to get an idea, at any given time, of what is on the platter of the Department of Education for future capital projects.
Mr. Cable: Why, specifically, would we put something like the Grey Mountain Elementary School in there and not something else? Is there a rolling inventory of projects and you sort of pick them off as the five years comes due? How does it work?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Grey Mountain is included on that particular list, because there have been expenditures in the last couple of years for developing the plans and drawings. In fact, the drawings are complete. The expenditures this past year were to complete the drawings and get them shelf ready.
Mr. Cable: There has to be something that causes the department to say that it should be on the five-year plan, rather than, for example, the school on the Hot Springs Road. What is it that presses the buttons that causes that entry to be made on the multi-year capital projects?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: As the project begins and as the funds begin to be expended, it is rolled into the capital plan, especially if it is a major project. Once the planning is initiated, we get an estimate of how much it will cost. That figure begins to show up, and from that time on it is in the capital plan. The capital plan does not necessarily mean it will be built within the five years, but once we have those projections it is in the works, and it ends up in the capital plan.
Mr. Harding: I have a couple of follow-up questions on the Grey Mountain Primary School and the multi-year capital projects plan. I see from the change in the 1993-94 capital estimates to 1994-95, under multi-year project, we have a $53,000 increase in the estimated cost. Could the Minister explain what that is?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: That was an extra expenditure to get the plans shelf-ready. Some extra work is needed to get it to go to tender and that is what that money was expended for: to draw up all the documents and get it all ready to go to tender. Because it had been in the works for many years - in fact, when we took office, 95 percent of the planning was done for the school, and since that time the numbers and many other things have changed in that area - it was ready to go to tender and that money was expended early this last year. In September, we got a whole bunch of different numbers of students going to school in the Riverdale area.
Mr. Harding: We have done quite extensive work on the development of the Grey Mountain Primary School. How much have we invested in the development of this school in the past few years?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I believe $168,000 altogether has been spent to bring it to the stage it is at now.
Mr. Harding: The project is identified with the total estimated cost for all years of $4,753,000. Is the Minister confident that that represents an accurate portrayal of the cost for this project?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Yes. I am told those figures were developed before we came into office. Yes, they feel that is the figure for a school that size. As well, the estimate is based on the recent building of two schools and is compared with the costs for the Hidden Valley and the new Catholic school, so I think it is a fair and reasonable number.
Mr. Harding: Some of the numbers were developed before the Minister became the Minister, but there are new numbers involved in the equation, such as the $53,000 identified. Is the Minister so confident that those estimates are accurate that he is not going to call for any investigation into the estimates of that particular job, or anything of that nature?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: No. I believe the figures are comparable to the other two schools we built, which are roughly the same size. When one looks at the bottom line, we should come in fairly close on budget if the school can be built for the estimates that are there now.
Mr. Harding: I see two projects have been dropped from the multi-year capital project list. One is the Porter Creek Catholic Elementary School, because I assume it is complete. The second project is the new urban secondary school. Could the Minister tell us the reason for dropping this school? I assume it is for a couple of reasons, but I would like to hear what the Minister has to say.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The Catholic school is complete, but the new urban secondary school is in this years capital budget.
Mr. Cable: I wonder if I could again explore why a substantial sum of money, $168,000, has been spent on the Grey Mountain Primary School? What kind of decisions would trigger the department into making that fairly substantial investment in that particular school? What kind of background information would you have before spending that fairly substantial sum of taxpayers money?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Several years of planning and consultation with the school council led to this decision. There was talk of the project going ahead last year, of course. When we came into office in November, we discovered that we had quite a deficit. The expenditure was postponed last year, but the feeling was that we should get the project ready to tender for this year and we spent the extra money to tender the project. The money was spent on having the final plans completed.
In June, it was projected that the school population would be fairly stable, and in September, after the opening of the new Catholic school in Porter Creek and people moving into the Granger subdivision, the numbers in Riverdale changed dramatically, with three percent enrollment at Grey Mountain and some 11 percent enrollment at Selkirk School.
The figures we have now show a decline again next year in the numbers in both those schools. It is marginal in Grey Mountain, but more significant in Selkirk. In January and February, we would like to do a survey in the Grey Mountain/Selkirk Street School area, and find out how many students and young people are in that area who are going to school presently and will be going to school next year and in the future. We do not have a good handle on the number of children who may be two, three, four or five years old. We may have the ones in kindergarten, but we do not have the ones prior to that, unless they are part of a school family and have been included in a family survey already.
The plan would be to virtually survey, door-to-door, everyone in that area and determine how many children they have who will be entering school in that area in the near future.
It is difficult to just go ahead and build a school without that information. We could conceivably end up with two schools in Riverdale that are less than half full. If we were to fill the schools, we may end up with substantial busing costs to bus children from other areas of Whitehorse to the schools. In the elementary grades, parents are rather reluctant to have their children bused to a school. They like to have a school built closer to the area in which they live, so that the children can walk to and from school. We have to take all of this into consideration. We do not have that data yet. I have asked the department to accelerate that study and find out what is going to happen in that area in the next two or three years. We are hoping to move on that in January.
Mr. Cable: So that I get the chronology straight, this was originally in the stocks ready to go in this current year.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Cable: The Minister says, Not quite, but almost. Then it was originally held back for fiscal restraint reasons. Later on, it became evident that there were some school population reasons. Have I encapsulated it correctly?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I think that the Members conclusion is a fair one. I think that the other factor that has arisen is the urgency, in the last few months, to have a more serious look at the grade reorganization and how that may affect that particular school, one way or another. That factor, plus the changing population dynamics in Riverdale, have led us to have a close second look at it.
Mr. Cable: Is it fair to say that the overall population in Riverdale has not changed over the decision-making period that we have just talked about?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I think that the overall population has not changed in terms of the total number of people in Riverdale, but there is a strong indication now that the population of younger people - children of five, six and seven years of age - has changed quite dramatically in that area. Although it is only 25 or so students at Grey Mountain - 20 percent is only 25 students in the population of Grey Mountain - I think it was some 60 or 70 students at Selkirk. For the Members information, the total at Selkirk for 1989 was 490 students; the total for 1990 was 490; in 1991, it was 502; 1992 was 488; 1993 is 436. So you can see that we are on a downward trend there.
We are predicting 414 based on the figures we have for 1994. We are predicting 388 for 1995 and 380 for 1996. With the number of children we now know are coming into school - based on parental surveys of children who are in school - this is where we are.
Grey Mountain enrollment was 127 in 1989, 117 in 1990, 125 in 1991, 118 in 1992, 100 in 1993 and we are looking at it going to 107 in 1994, 109 in 1995 and possibly 100 in 1996. Grey Mountain has dropped now and may stabilize over the next two or three years, but that is why we want to do this overall survey in the Selkirk and Grey Mountain area. They are elementary schools and we are a bit reluctant to bus to elementary schools if we can help it. We prefer to build the schools in the areas where the need is. We may need a new elementary school in the future. There has been an enormous amount of growth in the Granger subdivision and in some areas of Porter Creek in the last few years. Those are the areas that show that the population is really growing with young people. We have to take all these factors into account when we make that kind of a decision.
Mr. Cable: It sounds like there is a relatively minor drop in the Grey Mountain population projected. Let me ask the Minister this question: when did it become apparent that there would be an escapage of students to these other schools? I think the Minister mentioned the Roman Catholic school in Porter Creek and another school. Was that not predictable some time ago, before the stop was put to the Grey Mountain Primary School?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I do not want to be guessing why people went to other schools. In the last two years, there have been a lot of apartments built in the Granger subdivision and trailers have moved in. Some of the people who are possibly renting in Riverdale and who have small children may have bought a trailer and moved there. It is hard to get a handle on that until they actually move.
Our predictions in Riverdale, based on the numbers that were there, were that the schools would stay relatively stable in that area. We were a little surprised when they dropped as much as they did. We predicted in June that things would be stable and by September they had dropped dramatically. That is why we want to do a survey. I do not know why this occurred; I am just guessing. We opened up two new schools in the last couple of years, and it has made quite a difference.
It is significant that although Grey Mountain Primary School is not predicted to go down much in the next few years, Grey Mountain is kindergarten to grade 3. The next school in Grey Mountain is going to be kindergarten to grade 6. The big drop is in the Selkirk area, and probably the grade 3 to grade 6 range.
I think we have to look at all those figures. It just happened in September. Once we do our survey and have our data, we can determine what the population dynamics are going to be in Riverdale.
I suspect - and this is my theory - that many people are now moving into the Granger subdivision because of the new houses and trailers that are in that area. I think there will be a lot of people moving up there still. There are a lot of bigger homes that people are upgrading to. There are people in Riverdale with children who have grown up and are not in the school system any more.
I suspect that probably in a few years we will see that turn around again, because the smaller, less expensive homes in Whitehorse will probably be in the Riverdale area. Younger couples will probably move back into the area. That is my theory, for what it is worth.
Mr. Cable: When was the call made - if that is the correct terminology - to the department for these capital estimates? Was it made prior to September?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The call went out to the department around the end of August.
Mr. Cable: When was the decision made to remove Grey Mountain Primary School from the capital budget?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I am not sure of the exact date, but I would imagine it would be sometime in September or October.
There is quite a budget process where we look at the various things that are there. New information was brought to me after the beginning of the school year, which led me to question what we should be doing in that area with the limited funding constraints that we were under. I had to take a serious look at this project.
Mr. Cable: The Minister is actually saying two things: he is saying that there are funding restraints and that there are also demography problems.
What actually triggered the Ministers decision to remove that school from the budget? Was it funding constraints or changes in school populations?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It has to be a combination of both. In the first place, I have to look at the money we have to spend on any project. We also have to look at the changes in the dynamics of the population. If anything swayed me most it was the fairly significant drop or change in the population of students in the Riverdale area and the future projections that caused me to have another look at it.
Mr. Cable: Has the Minister tabled these future projections? If he has not, would he, please?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: No, I have not tabled them, but I could.
Chair: Is it the wish of the Members to take a brief recess? We will take a brief recess.
Chair: I will now call the Committee of the Whole to order. Is there further general debate on Education?
Mr. Harding: I have a question for the Minister. The Minister referred me to the capital budget on the multi-year capital projects list for the new urban secondary school. My question is that it has now been left off the multi-year capital projects list, and I see that we have now spent $200,000 on the school in terms of what was voted in the 1993-94 budget and $50,000 in the 1994-95 budget.
Now I see that the project has been left off the multi-year capital projects list. I know that we are not going to build that school for $200,000 so why is it still on the list?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Last year, the $200,000 was for planning, school consultation and looking at acquisition of property, or whatever. Nothing much happened with that. In the supplementaries, we will find that that money was reallocated to other projects. There is $50,000 in the budget this year to begin the planning. A lot of the planning for the new school, whether we build a new school or build on to the other school, has a lot to do with grade reorganization or consultation with the F.H.Collins School council. There is a lot of work to be done there. That is the reason for that. The number for the new urban secondary school, in the five-year plan in the past, was a ball park figure. It was a guesstimate of how big the school would be and what a school that size would cost. Since we are back to square one with the grade reorganization and some other issues, it is premature to put it into the overall capital plan until we get an idea of whether we are building on to the existing school or building a new one.
Mr. Harding: I have some trouble buying that explanation. These multi-year capital projects are normally reserved for projects that are going to have imminent, substantial expenditures made on them.
The Minister did see fit to put it in the 1993-94 budget, but I am looking for the reason why it was formerly an imminent expenditure and now it has been left off of the multi-year capital expenditures list for this year.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: There was nothing for this item in the 1993-94 estimates. When I came into office, we were given the budgets, and this item was on the five-year capital plan. We knew that one day we would have to build a new high school, or at least provide more space for high school students and this item was in previous budgets.
Since then we have been looking at the grade reorganization and there are other options being discussed in the grade reorganization that include taking one of our junior high schools and making it into a high school in Porter Creek, for example. There are many options, and it may not mean building a new urban secondary school, it may mean renovations to an existing school, whether it be F. H. Collins or some other school. The whole thing is up in the air right now until we sort out grade organization and talk to the F. H. Collins School council.
Mr. Harding: Nothing was spent on the new urban secondary school in 1993-94. We had an estimate of $150,000; was that all returned and not spent?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I believe in the supplementary budget at page 27, there was $100,000, not $150,000. All of the $100,000 was returned.
Mr. Harding: I attended the meeting on the grade reorganization at Yukon College. This seems to be an issue where there is a wide range of opinions - people for and against. I would assume that the reason that the Minister saw fit to include this new, urban secondary in the 1993-94 budget, was that there was a perceived need for the school. The Minister says that the grade reorganization is going to impact on that perceived need, and the ability to make the expenditure on the school. Can the Minister tell me what kind of time frame we are looking at to fill the needs that originally identified the project to be an expenditure in the first place?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I think that there is a rather urgent need for this, because we do have a ballooning enrollment in the junior high schools.
We do have almost 900 students at F.H. Collins now, and predictions of increases in the near future. We are going to have to do something in the very near future. The reason that it is not in the multi-year plan is because, as I said earlier, there are two or three options right now: a new high school in some other area of Whitehorse; renovations to F.H. Collins High School, making it one large high school or renovation of a junior high school to make it a high school. There are three options and there has not been a decision made on any one of them yet. The grade reorganization has something to do with that, but if it gets delayed much longer, we will shortly have to make a decision about going one way or another, grade reorganization aside. We are getting a real bubble there, and we have to accommodate those students.
Mr. Harding: Essentially, the Minister feels at this time that there is no need to fill the needs that originally gave rise to the multi-year project being identified in the first place. Is that correct?
The Minister has a puzzled look on his face. At one point in the 1993-94 projections, the Minister obviously identified the new urban school as a multi-year project. I would assume there was a need that gave rise to the Minister to take that action. I understand the grade reorganization problem, but I am questioning how these needs that gave rise to the planned expenditure in the first place are being met?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: When we came into office in November, we had a tight time line in which to put together the budget. When the budget was put together, we all knew - and I was advised by the Department of Education - that we were going to need new high school space in the near future. Putting it in the five-year plan is not an absolute commitment that it will be built and that that is what it is going to cost. It is an indication of a forecast of what you will probably do in the future. After we came into power and had a look at what is going on here, we came up with the three options that I described to the Member. There is not just one option of building a new school. To put only one option, and not the other two, in there would just confuse the matter. What we are doing is looking at all three options right now, and trying to move on it as quickly as possible. There is $50,000 in this years budget to hold consultations with various groups and organizations to explore options fairly quickly on which route we will go. I hope that there will be some money in the budget next year to begin the plans. I suspect that in the following year we will be renovating a school, constructing an addition to a school or constructing a new school.
Mr. Harding: I thank the Minister for the explanation. Just so he knows, I am well aware that putting it in the multi-year capital projects does not mean it will be built. I see the Grey Mountain School in the 1993-94 and the 1994-95 budgets.
I think my colleague might have a question.
Mr. Joe: I tabled Chief Hagers letter today. When is the Minister going to respond to Chief Hagers letter, or can the Minister tell me when he is going to have another meeting with the Chief of Na-Cho Nyak Dun?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I will check on the response to the letter. Usually, when I get a letter from any individual, it goes through the process. If there has not been a response to that particular letter it is because I have not yet seen the legislative return that was tabled today. I will meet with the chief at any time. I will have my officials call him. We will set up a meeting and have a chat.
Ms. Moorcroft: I have just a couple of questions about the multi-year capital project for the new French first language school. I would like to know how work is proceeding with planning on that project. I would like to know if it is planned to be a kindergarten to grade 12 school, and I would also like to know what the time line is - how many years is the multi-year project - and how accurate does the Minister think the projected $4,750,000 figure is?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The $4,750,000 is a projected figure based on the number of grades in the school and the number of students we expect will go to that school now and in the foreseeable future. It is a formula the department uses to base that projection on.
As to where it is right now, I have just had preliminary discussions with the school council. I have written letters to the Secretary of State of the previous government and got a pretty positive response. Negotiations are under way right now with the federal government to develop a protocol agreement for the cost sharing of the construction costs. I wrote a letter recently to the new Minister, the Liberal Minister - and I am sure the Member for Riverside will help me in this - asking for support from the Liberal government to help us with the construction of that school.
It is quite preliminary. The money that is in the budget now is for looking for a site, discussing with the school council and doing very preliminary work on the plans for eventual construction of that school, if we get the cooperation of the federal government.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the Minister know at this time what a reasonable projected completion date might be? I had also asked if it would be from kindergarten to grade 12.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: My understanding is that it is from kindergarten to grade 12. Usually, the planning takes one year and there is another year or so involved in getting the drawings completed. Depending on all kinds of other factors, it is usually a year or two after that before the school is constructed. We are probably looking at a four- or five-year time line before the actual school is built. I would guess the school will be built in four to five years from now, if nothing else happens to interfere with that. If we do not get cooperation from the federal government, that will have a strong bearing on the situation, as we are asking for some assistance from the federal government for this particular school.
Ms. Moorcroft: I am sure the Minister knows from the discussions he has had with the school council to date that the present lEcole Emilie Tremblay is quite inadequate. lAssociation Franco-Yukonnais and the French speaking community are quite anxious for this to be completed as soon as possible. I will just make the further representation that there be no more delays than necessary with this, and that the department try and proceed with it quickly.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I thank the Member for her representation.
I attended the Christmas concert at lEcole Emilie Tremblay last week. It was an enjoyable concert. I had the opportunity to briefly discuss the future of the new school with the principal and some of the parents. They seemed quite pleased that we are moving on this. I hope there will not be a delay. I am sure the Member for Riverside will be helping us on this one.
On Finance and Administration
Mr. Harding: Could I have a breakdown please?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: We are not into the line items. Do you want to go into the line items?
On Staff Support and Equipment
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The amount of $224,000 is for salaries in this area. There is $7,000 for renovations, $3,500 for bookshelves, $1,500 for calculators, $8,000 for desks, and $20,000 for computers.
Mr. Harding: Could the Minister tell me what the bookshelves are required for?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: To store books - I am just kidding; I do not know; I will get back to the Member.
Mr. Harding: I believe the Minister ought to know better than to poke me with a stick, but it was a good line. The $7,000 for desks represents a lot of desks. What are they for - besides the obvious response?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is an estimated amount for the entire central office for desks that they may need throughout the year.
Mr. Harding: Does the central office command post have desks right now? Are there a bunch of new people coming in? What is going on?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I assume, like other years - and this item has been in other years budgets - that new desks are required to replace older, worn-out desks. If the Member wishes, I can provide him with further details on that line, but if he looks at previous budgets and the previous governments purchases, it is comparable to what has been purchased in the past.
Mr. Harding: I think that if the Minister continues to answer my questions in that manner, he is going to provoke some debate on this, because I do not care what the previous administration did - this is his budget. I am trying to find out what this Minister is doing. Certainly, I can compare numbers if I want, but this Minister is the Minister who said that costs were too high in education and he wanted to undertake some measures in the department to control costs, as did the previous Minister.
I want to know exactly what this Minister is up to in that regard, and I am going to scrutinize this budget, regardless of what was spent in the past; to me that is irrelevant. I want to know what this Minister is going to spend. I would appreciate some more information as to exactly why $7,000 worth of desks are required.
I got the desks and the bookshelves. Was there another smaller item in conjunction with the $224,000 for salaries?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Yes, there were two other items: $7,000 for renovations and $1,500 for calculators.
Mr. Harding: How many people work in this office?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: There are 116 full-time equivalents working in the office.
Mr. Harding: How does that figure compare to the last couple of years in terms of full-time equivalents?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: In May 1993, there were 128.8 full-time equivalents and in September 1993, there were 116.8.
Mr. Harding: What happened to the difference?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: In May 1993, there were 152 positions in the department, accounting for 128.8 full-time equivalents reflected in the departments central office organization, including 10 positions and full-time equivalents shown for Gadzoosdaa residents. In September, there were 129 positions, accounting for 116 full-time equivalents and, as well, 10 positions for Gadzoosdaa residents.
Five term positions ended and were not extended. There were 10 vacant positions deleted. There were four cover-off backfill positions, and two contracts were completed, and there was one layoff. There was one transfer to schools, and a reduction of one auxiliary. One was transferred to Government Services.
Mr. Harding: I am going to need some more information. I had trouble following that. Perhaps he could bring it back to me. He indicated more people have left than the difference between the two years of 128 to 116. I would like to get an understanding of what the term positions were, for example, and who left as well as who was hired, because I cannot really tell. What positions were hired or re-filled? It is hard to tell. In two seconds, the Minister indicated 20 people who had left; the difference between 128 and 116 is only 12, so could the Minister provide me with a full breakdown?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The confusion is confusion that I experienced in this as well, in that one number is positions and the other is full-time equivalents, and they are not all the same number. I will get a document that I can table for the Member that lays out in more detail exactly what happened.
I do not believe anyone new was hired. In most cases, there were movements around within departments and some restructuring. That is what took place as well as the deleted positions or the vacant positions that are no longer going to be filled.
Mr. Harding: I understand the difference. It is hard to know if the five term positions were half-time, full-time or whatever. I am assuming they were full-time. Could that information be provided to me, along with the particular duties those people perform? I believe that is also important.
Before I clear the line, will the Minister bring back a detailed response as to why he needed the bookshelves, desks and the other expenditures in that line?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I can do that.
Staff Support and Equipment in the amount of $264,000 agreed to
On Prior Years Projects
Mr. Harding: I just have a question on that zero amount. There was a project amount from the year before for $35,000. It has been reduced. Could the Minister tell me what the prior years project was before in that line and why it is now zero?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is the completion of deficiencies in the Yukon Arts Centre. There were a number of outstanding deficiencies that remained pertaining to the building construction contract and equipment installation contract. Several of these issues may require protracted negotiations or litigation prior to resolution. It may be necessary for the government to correct these deficiencies at its own expense in order to mitigate further damage The costs may not be recovered by the parties responsible within the projected budget time frame. The deficiencies include: fire extinguishers, renovation of the steps, sound console, art gallery heating system problems and other miscellaneous problems. The anticipated cost is $35,000.
Prior Years Projects in the amount of nil agreed to
Finance and Administration in the amount of $264,000 agreed to
On Public Schools
Chair: Is there any general debate on public schools?
Mr. Harding: I am sure the Minister is aware that there is going to be some ongoing debate on public schools in the very near future, inside and outside of this Legislature. I am not going to delay the process of getting through these capital projects, but I will put the Minister on notice that, as we go through the lines, I might have some questions and comments.
I could not digest all of the information in his detailed introduction, so I may have to ask for some breakdowns.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: That is no problem. I will provide as much information as I can for the Member.
Chair: Is Committee of the Whole prepared to proceed to the line item?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
On Facility Construction and Maintenance
On Mayo Community School
Hon. Mr. Phillips: These funds will be used for the repairs to the building structure for health and safety reasons, mainly the roof structure and roof membering.
Mr. Harding: Is this expenditure in conjunction with major repairs performed last year, or is it a continuation?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Last year, when we out to do the work on the school, we discovered that there were more problems than we thought. We had to move approximately $50,000 around in the supplementary budget to cover that.
We think that we have cured the problem with the roof, but it is an older school. We put $80,000 in the budget to make sure that if anything came up we could cover the costs of repair, pending the construction of a new school.
Mr. Harding: How does the community at large in Mayo feel about the action taken by the Department of Education on the repairs to the Mayo Community School?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I visited Mayo last summer, met with the school council and toured the school and, prior to doing that I had visited the school a year or two before and felt that the school was in reasonable condition. After visiting it last year, I realized that the school is in need of repairs because it is an older school. That is why we directed some funds to be spent on that school - to cure the leaky roof problems. I am sure the people in Mayo are not going to be totally happy until we announce that we are building them a new school. I did tell them that it is something that we have to be looking at very seriously in the future. We are doing that now and we will be looking at replacing that school in the near future.
Ms. Moorcroft: To follow up on the meeting that the Minister had with the school council and the Na-Cho Nyak Dun in July 1993, has there been a full inspection of the Mayo School since that time?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Yes, there has been a full inspection of the school. It was performed on October 12, 1993. It was performed by Lynn Richards from the environmental health office of the federal government.
Ms. Moorcroft: Could the Minister share what the results of that inspection were and what capital amount he will be seeking to address as a result of that inspection?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: There is $80,000 in this budget to address any concerns. If the Member wants, I can go through the several areas of concern. The overall comment and conclusion from the individual at the time of his investigation - and this is in the document - was, I found that the students general indoor environment, as it pertains to our public health mandate, is satisfactory.
He mentioned that in the nursing and dental rooms there were noisy fans and that they should be serviced and maintained. Handicapped washrooms were being used as storage areas and those washrooms should be available to accommodate any person. The electrical boiler rooms are cluttered and material should not be stored in them. I hope those things will be taken care of.
The gymnasium area was found to be satisfactory. The surface of the bench in the girls locker room was worn and all furnishings and shower facilities have a surface that is smooth and non-absorbent. The bench is to be refinished. The room is to be maintained in a clean and sanitary manner. The boys locker room at that time was not available for inspection.
There are some minor problems in the art room, where problems in ventilation have to be taken care of. The industrial art room was found to be satisfactory. Shop rules were visible and safety goggles readily available. The first aid kit was found to be satisfactory. The science room and chemical storage contained some chemicals that were not labelled.
It was standard things that he checked on. A psychrometer was used to measure temperature and relative humidity in several of the rooms. The Standards for Office Accommodations, November 1984 for Public Works recommens that the acceptable range for relative humidity is between 20 and 60 percent. The temperature was 20. The above-mentioned locations relative humidity levels ranged between 19 and 32 percent, and temperatures were recorded between 20 and 24. They were considered satisfactory.
There were some low carbon dioxide levels, but he said that, during his investigation, he did not observe any stuffiness in any of the classrooms and he noted the windows could be opened to improve the availability of fresh air.
With respect to lighting levels, generally the workstation desks located directly under fluorescent light fixtures had between 50 FCs and 60 FCs, while those located under the ceiling beam averaged 30.
He recommended that a review of the location of the workstations be performed in each classroom and that the tables and desks be positioned in order to maximize the effect of the mechanical lighting. He did not feel there had to be many changes, but they might have to shift some desks around in order to achieve the proper lighting.
He indicated that the building was livable. It is an old building, and we will have to do something to it in the future.
Mr. Joe: I want to know if the Minister can tell me when an inspection took place at the school? Were any of the band members involved in the inspection?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I am not sure of that. The health and safety branch of the federal government do all our inspections of this nature. They were just contacted and were told to do a full inspection of the school, in order to determine if it met the health and safety guidelines that are set out in the legislation. I believe they probably just went through the school. I am sure the principal and the staff in the school were aware, but I am not sure if they notified any of the band members. I would imagine that they would have to contact the proper officials in the school in order to do the inspection.
Mr. Joe: I am in the same boat as the Minister. I tried to get the Minister to tell me about the inspection, but he does not know. Neither of us know. We have a problem here, and we had better look into it.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I will get a copy of this report, if the Member wishes, and give him a copy. I read a lot of the information from the report. It was done a few weeks ago. I will make it available to the Member, if he wishes.
Mr. McDonald: Did the Minister commit to sending the report to the First Nations and, in particular, the chief of the First Nation in Mayo? If he has committed to this, has he sent the information and has the chief received it?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I am not sure of that, but I will find out. I would suspect that since they did the analysis of the school, they would probably just send a copy to the principal. I will ensure the principal, the school council and the chief get copies of this particular report.
Mr. McDonald: That is good news. The chief indicated to me in a telephone conversation that the Minister had committed, during a meeting at a hotel in Mayo, that he would provide the information to the Na-Cho Nyak Dun. The chief was somewhat upset that there was some news that the report had been completed, but that he still had not received the results of that report.
Given the correspondence that was tabled in the Legislature today by the Member for Mayo-Tatchun, the correspondence suggests that perhaps there is nervousness from the Na-Cho Nyak Dun about the safety of the school.
Since the First Nation was concerned about liability questions, I am certain that information contained in the report will be of considerable interest to the First Nation and to the parents of children going to the school.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I can understand the concern of the chief and the parents. For the Members information, although the report was completed on October 12, the letter that I have, with report attached, from the federal government is dated December 7, 1993. I just received it last week, and that is the reason they have not received it. I will ensure that we send it out to the chief and Council.
Mr. McDonald: The Minister indicated that environmental health was asked to do the review. Was no one from the Workers Compensation Health and Safety Board asked to participate in the review, or is it simply the kind of review that is carried out by environmental health officers?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I can check into that. I asked for a complete review of the structure of the school and the health in the school when I returned. I can find out who was involved and who did the work.
I have just been provided with a note that the report was sent to the principal and council, so they may have the report in their hands now.
Mr. McDonald: That is good. I had communication with the chief today and they had not received the report yet, so I am certain that if they have not received the report yet they will receive the report very shortly.
Obviously, federal environmental health officials are not in a good position to judge the structure of the school. That is something that is left to YTG inspectors.
Can the Minister tell us who, from the Yukon government, participated in the review? I understand that the concerns involved the foundation, the electrical wiring, the roofing and other concerns. Clearly, that would be a Yukon government responsibility. Can the Minister tell what Yukon government representatives were there?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I can get back to the Member with that. I did ask the department to do a full inspection of the school, but I do not have that information at my fingertips.
Mr. Chair, in light of the time, I move that you report progress on Bill No. 12.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Abel: Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 12, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1994-95, and directed me to report progress on it.
Speaker: You have heard the report of the Chair of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Speaker: I would like to inform the House that we are now prepared to receive the Commissioner, acting in his capacity as Lieutenant Governor, to give assent to certain bills that have passed this House.
Commissioner enters the Chamber, announced by the Sergeant-at-Arms
ASSENT TO BILLS
Commissioner: Please be seated.
Speaker: The Assembly has, at its present session, passed certain bills. In the name and on behalf of the Assembly, I respectfully request your assent.
Clerk: Third Appropriation Act, 1992-93; Enactments Republication Act, 1993; An Act to Amend the Liquor Act (No. 2); An Act to Amend the Public Sector Compensation Restraint Act and the Legislative Assembly Act
Commissioner: Thenk you, Mr. Clerk.
Mr. Speaker, Members, I am pleased to assent to the bills as enumerated by the Clerk.
Commissioner leaves the Chamber
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Monday next.
The House adjourned at 5:22 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled December 16, 1993:
Community-Based Justice: purpose; objectives; principles; program process (Phelps)
J.V. Clark School in Mayo: letters to Minister of Education dated May 12, 1993 and August 18, 1993 re: health and safety concerns of the school; response letter dated September 1, 1993 to three members of the J.V. Clark School Council (Joe)
The following Legislative Returns were tabled December 16, 1993:
Languages Agreement (1988) between the Yukon and federal governments: status (Ostashek)
Oral, Hansard, p.1646
Special needs assessments: waiting time; comprehensive tally of public schools staff (Phillips)
Oral, Hansard, p.1308
Archaeological site uncovered in October, 1993: delay in reporting it to the heritage branch (Phillips)
Oral, Hansard, p.1620-1621
The following documents were filed December 16, 1993:
Economic Development Agreement Recovery Ratio (Devries)
Northern Oil and Gas Accord: time frame for transfer; summary of the proposed Yukon Oil and Gas regime; Canada Yukon Oil and Gas Accord (Devries)
Energy Infrastructure loans for resource development program: explanation of; application form; project review checklist (Devries)