Thursday, December 23, 1993 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will begin with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Ms. Commodore: I would like to introduce to the House today two members of our hard-working staff. I would like to thank them for their hard work and dedication. Please welcome Mary Carlson and Nancy Campbell.
Speaker: Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I have for tabling three legislative returns.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I have a legislative return for tabling.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I have a document for tabling.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Being that this is the Christmas season and, in keeping with the Christmas spirit, I have some gifts that I would like to present to some of the Members of the Opposition. The first gift that I would like to present, and table, today is a certificate of achievement to the former Margaret Joe. Along with this certificate of achievement comes the official promotion to the rank of Rear Admiral Commodore.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I also have some gifts. The first one, befitting the House, is a gift for the Speaker. In recognition of the fact that the Speaker has had to break many tie votes in this House, this surgical instrument will make the job that much easier in the future, whether to prod the Members of this House, or should the Speaker once again be forced to divide the proverbial cloak in half, and should the Speaker by happenstance make the wrong decision, which would lend to the dissolving of this House, he can always fall on this.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I have a set of rabbit ears for the Member for Faro, also known as Thumper, so that when his colleagues tell him to shut up, he can hear them. I also have a bat here to help him to deliver himself from the wrath of the Member sitting in front of him - unfortunately he is not here.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: In the past few days and weeks, I have been accused - as recently as yesterday - of being rather nasty to the Member for Riverdale South, and the Member for Riverdale South has been accused of being rather nasty to the government side. In recognition of all of this nastiness, and in hopes of sweetening it, I have a box of really sweet chocolates for the Member for Riverdale South. I hope this will help her to be a little bit sweeter when we come back here in January.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I have a gift for the Member for Mayo-Tatchun, Mr. Joe, in recognition of the fact that he has taken over that portion of the riding from the current Member for McIntyre-Takhini. It is a certificate of title. It is to certify that Danny Joe is now the owner of an estate in fee simple, known as Piers McDonalds residence, Lot 2, Block 12, in the community of Elsa, Yukon Territory, complete with mortgage. It is a mortgage for $213,067 on Lot 2, and a second mortgage of $37,791.03. Just because the O&M is too high for the government, we threw in the Elsa curling rink, Lot 12, Group 1004, and the Elsa fire hall, complete with two brand new fire trucks, at Lot 23, Group 36.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: We certainly could not leave our Liberal colleague out of this, because I think he has made a significant contribution to the House. We have two gifts for him. The first one is a picket fence, so he can sit on the fence over the holidays and get some practice. The second presentation is actually one of his questions that we are returning to him. It is a slow pitch ball.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I have one final gift. This gift is for my critic, Ms. Moorcroft, and her spouse, Al Pope. As Minister responsible for the motor vehicles branch, I think that this gift is both timely and appropriate. In recognition of the recent parking lot incident involving as yet undetermined thousands of dollars of damage to the Government Leaders principal secretarys vehicle, I present Ms. Moorcroft with a copy of the Yukon operators manual.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: We were very fortunate in receiving this back today after hours and days and weeks and minutes of consultation with the government in China. This presentation is for the Member for McIntyre-Takhini. It is a franchise charter agreement and it says that the undersigned comrade is hereby granted the exclusive privilege to provide the humble services denoted below, to the honourable people of the Communist Republic of China, in the provision of Subway sandwiches for the collective comrades in China, and the provision of mini golf courses along the Great Wall.
We have one other gift for that Member. Recognizing that recruitment is an inexact science, this side of the Legislature believes that the board of governors of Yukon College may have overlooked an outstanding local candidate and we wanted to recognize this individual and correct the oversight. We have a special certificate and it is to certify that Piers McDonald, the former Minister of Education, has been awarded the honorary title, President of Yukon College, in recognition of his many years of support and generosity to Yukon College. It is awarded by me, Minister of Education, December 23, 1993.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: We certainly would not want to leave out the Leader of the Official Opposition. I believe that he should be given a present, since it is Christmas time. We were going to give it to him during the debate on electrical rates, but for some reason the debate was adjourned and we were not able to do so.
I noticed that during the debate and in the heat of the debate, when the Minister was talking about the horrendous increases in electrical rates and wanting to cut the dividend to the power corporations, he turned very red in the face at times. In case this debate is going to continue, because it has been adjourned at this point, I would like to protect him with this blush protector so that he does not have to feel embarrassed about debating the power rates.
Mr. Penikett: I want to extend my thanks to the Government Leader for his fine gift, which I gather he must have gotten from the airplane yesterday when he was flying back from Ottawa. My only wish is that he had not used the bag before he gave it to me.
Ms. Commodore: I would like to thank the Minister of Education for this gift. The name Rear Admiral Commodore - I will give you some history about where the name came from - it was also given to one of my ancestors by a non-aboriginal person, because one of my forefathers used to ferry a boat up the Fraser River, but I take it in the same light as the person who gave the name Commodore to my ancestor.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Introduction of Bills.
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Are there any Notices of Motion?
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Review of contract regulations
Hon. Mr. Devries: Each business day, the Government of Yukon purchases goods and services in support of operations providing services to the Yukon public. In the course of a year, we enter into thousands of contracts with businesses throughout the territory and beyond.
The process of tendering for goods and services and awarding contracts is governed by the contract regulations, which are the primary set of rules that guide our relationship with the private sector. I rise today to announce a review of the contract regulations.
It has been just over a year since the current contract regulations came into effect. The government and the private sector have now had the opportunity to do business together using these new rules. The time has come to discuss how the 1992 contract regulations have worked and to amend them where the need for improvements is evident.
I have no preconceived agenda that I wish to accomplish through this review other than to make sure that the Yukon government has the best possible set of contract regulations, which will make it easier for the private sector to do business with the government. These rules must promote efficient, straightforward tendering practices. Doing business with the government should not bury suppliers or contractors in needless red tape. Above all, the contract regulations must ensure that tendering is fair, equitable, consistent and predictable.
The review process will start with the release of a discussion paper, which I have tabled in this House today. The paper highlights what the government has heard during the past year from stakeholders during the course of doing business. The paper is intended to help focus our cooperative deliberations. I am eager to get comments from stakeholders on the issues that are raised in the paper as well as other points that people feel are important to discuss. It is my intent that there be full airing and consideration of all issues and concerns.
The paper is being sent out to stakeholder groups and will be made available to all interested individuals who wish to have a copy. To those who wish to respond, I will be asking that they do so by the end of January 1994. When we have had the opportunity to thoroughly analyze the responses we receive, I will release a second draft of the paper, which will tie together the issues and recommended solutions brought forward by stakeholders. There will then be a series of meetings with stakeholders to follow up on issues that may need more discussion.
My colleagues and I have spoken often in this Legislature about the need to make the affairs of government as efficient and economical as possible, and we have taken steps to make sure that Yukon taxpayers get value for their money. At the same time, we have demonstrated our concern that everyone who does business with government be dealt with fairly and openly. People need to know what the rules are. They need to know that the rules are fair and are applied consistently.
The contract regulations review, which I have announced today, gives government employees and businesses alike a great opportunity to discuss how we can achieve and maintain the most productive working relationship in this area.
Mr. McDonald: The Minister picked the best day of the year to announce this contract regulation review. I wish he would have chosen January 4 to make the announcement, after all the statements that have been made in the Legislature over the course of the last few months about the governments position on contracting. I would have wanted to say more in response to the Ministers statement this afternoon.
It is only on a day like this that one could accept the Minister saying last night that the Yukon Partys plan to introduce a bid preference for Yukon contractors was simply a poor choice of words. Given that it is so close to Christmas we will allow that one to pass. We will look forward to clearer thinking on the question of contract regulations in the coming new year.
Speaker: This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Yes, Tony, there is a Santa Claus
Mr. Penikett: Mr. Speaker, I know that you, sir, are rigorous in your enforcement of the rule that we cannot ask for legal opinions in this House and that you have frequently warned us against the tendency of some of us to seek personal opinions, so I must chose my words carefully in putting my question. I want to ask the Government Leader, as a matter of public policy, does the Yukon Party Cabinet believe in Santa Claus?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I can tell you one thing and that is that I am going to have security check the Cabinet room, because my colleagues can verify that I said that probably each and every Member of the Opposition would ask each and every one of us if we believe in Santa Claus.
Mr. Penikett: The Member has not been in this House very long, but he has obviously mastered that absolutely essential ministerial skill in not answering questions, even direct and very simple questions, such as the one I just put to him, which is especially astonishing given that he has just admitted that they discussed it in Cabinet prior to coming here. And that he is not able to articulate a simple Cabinet decision like that is a cause for great concern.
Because we are concerned about the Cabinet, and we have been watching their flagging energies over the last few weeks, we are wondering how the Cabinet is sleeping at night. Have they been feeling any cold breezes or waking up to the sound of rattling chains? Have any of them been visited by ghosts or spirits in the middle of the night over the last few weeks?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: My colleagues said to me that they were waking up with cold chills running down their backs and being visited by goblins and I am not surprised, considering some of the questions that have come from that side of the House.
Mr. Penikett: I can only say what my priest used to say to me, Guilt is a marvelous thing.
I would like now to turn to another matter that is extremely important, especially at this time of year, and point out that Question Period is the one time when it really is the Oppositions hour-
Speaker: Forty minutes.
Mr. Penikett: ...our 40 minutes in the sun, Mr. Speaker. I should say, Mr. Speaker, not in the sun, but in the light of your brilliance.
The rest of the day is, of course, the governments. Given that this is the Christmas season, I do want to make a present to the government, on behalf of the Opposition. We are going to surrender the rest of our time in Question Period so that they can get on with government business. As we know, that is their fondest hope.
Speaker: This then brings us to the end of Question Period
Question or Privilege
Mr. McDonald: I have a question of Privilege.
It pains me to do this so close to Christmas, particularly after having received such marvelous gifts from the Minister of Education. However, I feel duty bound to raise this issue at the earliest opportunity.
Something has been forwarded to me under secret cover, which is compelling evidence of ministerial wrongdoing. That material suggests that this wrongdoing took place approximately 28 years ago. Nevertheless, this does not make it any less significant. It may damage the reputation of the Minister. For that, I regret having to do this today.
The Minister of Education, the person entrusted with our childrens future, failed to return his mathematics textbook to F.H. Collins in 1965. He appears to have signed or initialed this book no less than six times - in ink. The House must know, as well, that as the book was published in 1965, it was brand new when it was first lent to him. He appears to have doodled all over it. He even took the trouble to notate when he had gone to sleep.
Mr. Speaker may not believe this - I certainly can - he even had the cheek to assign an Esquire after his initials. What kind of message this sends to children in our classrooms regarding respect for rules and other peoples property, I can only guess.
I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, under this question of privilege, that you insist that Mr. Phillips walk over to F.H. Collins, in bare feet, and return this book forthwith.
Considering the way the curriculum is moving today, this text is sure to be seen as the cutting edge of modern mathematics pedagogy. We will all look forward to seeing Mr. Phillips at church on Saturday morning, performing the necessary acts of contrition.
I will table this for the Table officers.
Speaker: Does the Minister of Education have anything to say on the question of privilege?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Not guilty, your honour.
Speaker: Then we will simply leave it to the jury.
Speaker: We will now proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Mr. Speaker, I was in a state of shock when I said that. I request the unanimous consent of the House to call Bill No. 103 for Third Reading at this time.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
Mrs. Firth: On a point of order, I have not been asked previously about supporting this particular initiative. A message had been left at my office saying that unanimous consent was required for Members of the House to have third reading of this bill. My consent was not sought. I am still a Member of this House, so I am presently trying to negotiate with the Government House Leader. I am quite prepared to give unanimous consent and give my support to this initiative, if the House Leader can, in this time of Christmas spirit and goodwill toward others, adjourn the House a little earlier than 5:30 p.m.
That is the position that I am putting on the floor right now. I understand that the Commissioner is requested to come here at 5:15 p.m. to give assent to the bill. I was not really anticipating that 15 minutes out of school early was compensation enough for agreeing with this particular initiative. I am waiting for a response from the Government House Leader. Perhaps he can respond to that in a response to the point of order.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: We would be more that pleased to adjourn the House a little early.
Mrs. Firth: I appreciate the generosity of the Government House Leader, and I ask him if he would assign to me the responsibility of adjourning the House today.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The reason that I did not give a specific time is that we all know the Commissioner of the Yukon is an extremely busy individual. We do have him set up for 5:15 p.m. I believe he is wearing his pager and we will be trying to contact him during the middle of his schedule today to see if we can arrange an earlier time. We will send out the troops to look for the Commissioner.
Speaker: Taking direction from the Member for McIntyre-Takhini, there is not much of a point of order. I will ask again, whether there is unanimous consent to have third reading of Bill No. 103 called at this time.
Mr. Penikett: Not as a point of order. We have no objection to the proposition before the House. May I politely suggest to the Chair that he may wish to take advice from the Clerk on the procedures for the issuing a Speakers Warrant, exercised by the Sergeant-at-Arms, for the arrest of the Commissioner for presentation before this House, if it proves necessary to get him here a little earlier?
Speaker: I will take that under advisement. By the nodding of the Clerks head, we are all in agreement that the Commissioner will be sought with all haste.
Is there unanimous consent at this time to proceed to third reading of Bill No. 103?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: Unanimous consent has reluctantly been given.
BILLS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT BILLS
Bill No. 103: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 103, standing in the name of Mr. Abel.
Mr. Abel: I move that Bill No. 103, entitled An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Member for Vuntut Gwichin that Bill No. 103, entitled An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion for third reading of Bill No. 103 agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 103 has passed this House.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair, and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
The Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call the Committee of the Whole to order.
Is it the wish of the Members to take a brief recess at this time?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will take a brief recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Mrs. Firth: Mr. Chair, I move that you report no progress.
Motion agreed to
Mrs. Firth: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Abel: The Committee of the Whole has considered nothing and directed me to report no progress.
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.
Special Adjournment Motion
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the House, at its rising on Thursday, December 23, 1993, do stand adjourned until 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, January 4, 1994.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: I would like to inform the House that we are now prepared to receive the Commissioner of the Yukon, acting in his capacity as Lieutenant Governor, to grant assent to a certain bill that has passed this House.
Commissioner enters the Chamber announced by the Sergeant-at-Arms
ASSENT TO BILLS
Commissioner McKinnon: Please be seated.
Speaker: The Assembly has, at its present session, passed a certain bill. In the name and on behalf of the Assembly, I respectfully request your assent.
Clerk: An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act.
Commissioner McKinnon: Thank you, very much Mr. Clerk and Mr. Speaker, and all hon. Members. I am pleased to assent to the bill as enumerated by the Clerk.
I, having been a Member of this House for some time, know that unusual things happen on the day of the adjournment, so I had taken the precaution of wearing my suit, tie and my pager on the ski trails of Mt. McIntyre this afternoon, so that I was ready and available once called.
May I take the opportunity to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas, and to you and your families a very peaceful 1994.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: On behalf of the government, I would like to wish each and every Member of the House a very Merry Christmas, and the best in the new year.
I would also like to wish the best of the season to the Table officers and the Hansard staff and all of the other people who work for us in the House.
I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, January 4, 1994.
The House adjourned at 2:24 p.m.
The following Sessional Paper was tabled December 23, 1993:
Contract Regulations Review Discussion Paper (December 22, 1993) (Devries)
The following Legislative Returns were tabled December 23, 1993:
Community-based Justice development: complaint procedure; training initiatives; Northern Network of Services (Phelps)
Oral, Hansard, p. 1709
Social assistance: number of people receiving assistance from Indian and Northern Affairs and from Government of Yukon (Phelps)
Oral, Hansard, p. 1241 and 1249
Young offenders in care: program evaluation of three residential programs; use of physical restraint (Phelps)
Oral, Hansard, p. 1731 to 1732
Whitehorse sewage treatment system: backup provisions; fixed price of project (Fisher)
Discussion, Hansard, p. 1693 to 1695