Monday, January 24, 1994 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will begin with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I have a document for tabling.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have a legislative return for tabling.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I have three legislative returns for tabling.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I have a legislative return for tabling.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Introduction of Bills.
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Notices of Motion.
NOTICES OF MOTION
Motion No. 56: Notice
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT the Yukon Legislative Assembly, pursuant to section 16(1) of the Human Rights Act, appoint Ms. Brenda Chambers to be a member of the Yukon Human Rights Commission.
Speaker: Are there any Statements by Ministers?
This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Formula financing agreement
Mr. McDonald: I have a question for the Government Leader.
The Government Leader has returned from a finance ministers meeting that ostensibly discussed, among other things, federal deficit control and money transfers to the provinces and territories. Can the Government Leader tell us what specific commitments he received that would give the Yukon the comfort that formula financing transfers will not be cut any more than transfers to the provinces?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I wish I could rise today and say that I can give the House specific information on that, but that is not the case.
As the Member opposite is aware, the finance ministers meeting dealt mainly with equalization renewal with the provinces. I have just tabled a report on my trip to the finance ministers meeting. What I have said is that I expect that the same principles will apply when we get into the formula financing negotiations with the federal government. Basically, they have removed the cap from the equalization formula, and will allow it to rise by some $2 billion over the five year period, which works out to be about five percent a year. At the same time, there is an indication that this will not apply to other government programs. Indications are that they will remain at the levels at which they are now, although this was not conclusively stated at the meeting. The Minister said to not extend the fact that there had been a relaxation of the equalization payments to other programs.
Mr. McDonald: As the Minister has just indicated, it appears to be the case that equalization payments will rise five percent for what are reported to be have-not provinces. Has the Minister characterized the Yukon as a have-not jurisdiction, and if so, has he been able to convince his ministerial counterparts that they should support increased transfers to the territory?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I do not think that there is any doubt in anybodys mind that we would qualify as a have-not region of Canada. There does not seem to be any negative feedback from the provinces that we should not qualify for the same sort of arrangement that applies to the have-not provinces. Our officials are in Ottawa at meetings today discussing formula financing, and I hope that I will have more to report on that in the near future.
Mr. McDonald: I think we can agree with the Government Leaders characterization of the Yukon becoming a have-not province, and perhaps more and more so as we sit here. It has been reported that federal transfer payments for health, education and social services would be frozen for some time. Does the government plan to freeze spending in these areas as a result, or will the Yukon government be realigning their priorities internally to maintain real spending levels for these activities?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: In reference to the Members preamble that we are becoming more and more of a have-not province, I would be glad to enter into debate with the Member opposite on that issue. The retail sales figures that were released today show an increase in November of this year, with a yearly increase of $3.5 million, so I do not agree with the Member opposite.
As for health and social services payments, we are going to have to wait and see what the final outcome is in negotiations with the federal government, before we can address that issue.
Question re: Land claims talks, suspension of
Ms. Commodore: My question is directed to the Government Leader with regard to the suspension of land claims talks.
On January 12, 1994, in this House, the Government Leader appeared to have no position on the suspension of the land claims talks, and had not yet talked to the federal Minister responsible.
According to an interview this morning, Mr. Irwin has met with Judy Gingell and other CYI officials, and they have been briefed by the Yukons MP, Audrey McLaughlin.
Has the Government Leader called Mr. Irwin and can he now tell the House what YTGs position is with respect to self-government? Can the Government Leader tell us if he supports the Liberal position that no constitutional amendment is required, or does the Government Leader support the Tory position that an amendment is required?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I certainly have tried to contact Mr. Irwin, and my officials have been negotiating with his officials. As the Member opposite knows, Mr. Irwin will be in Whitehorse on Friday, and I will be meeting with him.
This governments position has always been to see the land claims negotiations commenced immediately. We certainly do not agree with the freeze.
Our position has always been that self-government agreements could be accommodated under section 35(1).
Ms. Commodore: Can the Minister now clarify for this House, since his officials have had time to brief him, his exact position with respect to the extinguishment of aboriginal title?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Mr. Speaker, if the Member could tell me what aboriginal title is, I could maybe tell her what my position is. It seems to me that it is a very complex, legal situation, and we will be addressing that when the Minister makes his decision.
Ms. Commodore: I am astounded, absolutely astounded, by his response. I would like to ask the Government Leader to tell this House if he supports the reinstatement of land claims payments to First Nations elders.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: We most certainly do, and I feel the federal government erred when they curtailed those payments because this is only an advance of land claims money and is no cost in the end to the federal government.
Question re: Carcross area plan
Mr. Cable: I have some questions for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services relating to development in the community of Carcross. In November, the Minister signed a document called a memorandum of support, which was also signed by the Chief of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation. This document related to phase 1 of the Carcross area plan. Can the Minister report on what has been done to move forward on phase 1 of the agreement?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The mandate of the Carcross area planning committee expires, I believe, on March 1. They are currently working with people from Community and Transportation Services on getting set up for another election.
Mr. Cable: The memorandum of support deals with five items, two of which involve land: the community sewage waste treatment and the country residential lot development. Could the Minister indicate what instructions he has given to his officials to deal with staff of other departments to resolve First Nation concerns about disruptions to trapping and wildlife habitat?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: With respect to those two items - the sewage lagoon and the residential lots - the Department of Community and Transportation Services is working with the Carcross Band planning committee. As far as other departments are concerned, they are working with the Land Claims Secretariat and I would expect - I am not absolutely certain about this but I would expect - that they are working with Renewable Resources at the same time.
Mr. Cable: It is not clear from the documents that I have what is contemplated by phase 2 of this plan. Could the Minister indicate when he anticipates phase 2 will commence and what it will involve?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: Phase 2 is the implementation of the five points that are outlined in the memorandum of support.
Question re: Power rate increase, appeal to Yukon Public Utilities Board ruling
Mr. Penikett: I have a question for the Minister responsible for electrical power rate increases. Can the Minister please tell this House why the Yukon Energy Corporation and Yukon Electrical are together appealing the recent decision of the Yukon Public Utilities Board, and whose idea was it to launch the appeal?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I have just one modest correction to his preamble - the appropriate person responsible for the increases to the power rates is no longer with us. He ran, I believe, in Riverdale South and was defeated.
Aside from that inaccuracy, I can advise the Member that officials from Yukon Energy Corporation and their counsel have had meetings with YECL, and the decision to appeal was made jointly.
Mr. Penikett: Perhaps the Minister would be happier if I described him as the Minister for Yukon Electrical.
Can the Minister confirm that the cost of this very expensive appeal, initiated by whom we do not know and which is being pursued by Yukon Electrical and the Energy Corporation, will be borne by the ratepayers, and could he explain to us why the consumers should have to pay this cost?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: What we are talking about, for a change in the Yukon, is a situation where the politicians are maintaining an arms-length position in dealing with the utility companies. In the past, of course, every daily decision was made by the Minister, who seemed at times to spend more time over at the offices of the Yukon Energy Corporation than he did in his own. That has changed.
The process is a fairly simple one - one that was spoken to, and indeed announced, by the Member opposite when he was the Minister responsible for the Development Corporation when the NCPC transfer took place. There is nothing new about the process, but there is a lot new about the way in which this government governs itself with respect to not intruding into decisions that are more properly made by officials and the board responsible for running the YDC and YEC.
Mr. Penikett: What has changed is that questions of public interest are now being decided by a private company based in Calgary.
I would like to ask the Minister if he could also confirm that the cost of preparing utilities submissions to the Yukon Utilities Board have run as high as $20,000 a month for the consultants fees, that the ratepayers have had to foot the bill for these consultants, and that the same consultants are now researching how the Minister can give away the Yukon Energy Corporation assets to his friends?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I have heard argumentative questions posed before this in the House, but this comes very close to taking the cake.
First of all, the consultants and lawyers used by the corporation are the very same ones who have been used consistently over the years when the corporation was under the daily supervision of the Minister, and, indeed, did not even dare breathe without his consent.
I can also say that of course we are pursuing with First Nations the object of looking at ways in which they can become a full partner in the ownership of YEC. When the Minister states in the House that, in so doing, I am trying to devolve some of the control in equity to my good friends, I take that as a compliment and wonder at what point in time the Member opposite realized that I have always been a good friend of First Nations and intend to continue to be so.
Question re: Power rate increase, appeal to Yukon Public Utilities Board ruling
Mr. Penikett: Even the First Nations are under no illusions that they will end up with control over the Yukon Energy Corporation when the Minister of Justice is finished.
I want to ask the Minister a specific question: in addition to the Winnipeg consulting firm originally retained by this government by the Member opposite, can he tell us if he has also retained a prominent Conservative tax lawyer from Vancouver to help advise him with respect to the privatization of the Yukon Energy Corporation?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I am not really sure of the politics of the person involved. I know he has done some very good work for various corporations and First Nations. I have solicited some legal opinions from a tax expert from Vancouver.
Mr. Penikett: Given the appropriate concerns on this side of the House that we may be facing a local equivalent of the Toronto airport deal and, given the Ministers admission today that he has been retaining consultants to advise him on this question, can he tell us what meetings he has had or is having with prospective investors - individuals or groups - since we raised this question in November? Why has he not reported these meetings and consulting contracts to the House?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: It would indeed be a change in the way that government operates - and operated when the side opposite was government - if we reported day-to-day decisions and conversations to the side opposite. It is almost laughable that he would insist that that is something we were compelled to do, given his rather sorry record in that regard.
In answering his question, let me simply say that I have met with the tax consultant and the officials that he has mentioned. They have long been involved in consulting for the corporation. We have had one meeting since this was raised, and a few telephone conversations leading up to that meeting. I intend to meet with the First Nations in a couple of days.
Question re: Gambling, video lottery terminals
Ms. Commodore: My questions are for the Minister responsible for Justice. They are in regard to video lottery terminals.
Recently, an American gambling company made it known that they would like to place 500 video lottery terminals in the Yukon. I believe that 500 video lottery terminals would have a huge impact on the ability of sport, recreation, art and charity groups to be able to raise money. These are the same groups that are being cut off from the community development fund.
Has the Minister had any contact with this gambling outfit with respect to the placing of 500 video lottery terminals in the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: No, I have not. I have consistently recommended to the Member opposite that she take the time to address her concerns to the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment, who will be conducting hearings and reporting back to us on this issue.
Ms. Commodore: Once again, they are passing the buck on to someone else, as they have done for the whole session. I would like to ask the Minister or the Government Leader if they have spoken to any of the community groups whose funding would be in jeopardy if they were forced to compete with 500 video lottery terminals, whoever wants to take the responsibility for them.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I do not know if the Member opposite is hard of hearing, or what the problem is. I do not know how many times we have stood up in this House this session, and said that we would not be going ahead with gambling in the Yukon in any form, until such time as the Council on the Economy and the Environment presented a report to us.
Ms. Commodore: I have received more negative feedback about this issue than anything I have ever been involved in. I really believe that the Ministers and the Government Leader have a responsibility to answer to this House.
Where does the government picture these lottery terminals will be? Will they be in bars? Will they be in washrooms? Will they be in schools, or in liquor stores, or where? They have got to take this issue as seriously as are the people in the Yukon who are opposed to it. This is no laughing matter.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: What is a laughing matter is this: if this side is not perceived as consulting with the public, we get hammered for it. If we decide to consult with the public, the side opposite does not want to wait to hear what the public has to say - they want to hammer us now. We have said that we are waiting for the report from the Council on the Economy and the Environment before we know if we are going to go on with legalized gambling in the Yukon. There has been no decision made, and there will not be, until such time as we hear what the people of the Yukon have to say.
Question re: Gambling, video lottery terminals
Ms. Commodore: Although the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment has started its consultations, their activities are suspiciously low key. I am wondering if this is deliberate. Gambling will have serious economic and social consequences for the Yukon. Given this fact, can the Government Leader explain why the gambling consultations are taking such a low profile, when it appears to be a big issue with more than 50 percent of the Yukon people?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I believe that the council is taking a low profile is only in the mind of the Member opposite. They have had ads in all of the papers. They have sent out requests for information, and they are going to analyze this information. They have written to various groups in the Yukon. When they receive this information, they will be going ahead with public consultation. I do not know how the Member can identify that as being low key.
Ms. Commodore: There are many individuals and groups who would like to have an opportunity to speak on behalf of this issue, and I would like to ask the Minister whether or not he has had personal contact with anyone who opposes this, or if the Minister has received any written opposition to this proposal. I know that I have received some written opposition, and I would like to know if he has.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Over a period, I believe since last May or June when this issue came up, we have had some representation in the form of letters, but not a tremendous amount at this point. I expect that we will receive more letters as the open-microphone hearings by the Council on the Economy and the Environment are held in the communities.
At this point, we have not had a lot of feedback in written form, either for or against the gambling issue; however, there has been a little bit received from both sides.
Ms. Commodore: People are telling me that the government is wasting its money and that they should be spending their money on something of more importance to the economy.
I would like to ask the Minister if the Health and Social Services Council has made representations to him, or the Minister responsible, regarding this issue, and if so, what were the nature of those representations, because it should certainly concern them?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The Health and Social Services Council will be making representations to the Council on the Economy and the Environment, and I am encouraging them to come forward with their position.
Question re: Whitehorse General Hospital, design changes
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister responsible for Health and Social Services about the hospital reconstruction and construction.
The Minister has indicated that he is convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the end result will be far more functional and efficient, and that he will be able to bring the project in at the $47 million budget.
We are unable to get any information from the Minister to support this claim. He has denied us the advice that he has been given by experts. He has denied us the information with respect to how they calculated the $1 million in cost-savings. The Minister refused to answer questions about fast-tracking that the Leader of the Official Opposition raised last week. There is also an outstanding question on the books about the time line of the plan.
I would like to ask the Minister this question: there are going to be a lot of costs associated with interim accommodations, for trailers, kitchens that have to be built that will be torn down, and other costs for temporary facilities and accommodations as the wards are moved; can the Minister tell us how much that exercise is going to cost?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I do not know whether to respond to her speech or to the specific question. I will try the specific question.
Right now, the plan is to move some patients into the Thomson Centre and others into a temporary site, which will be comprised of trailers. Once we have a fix on the actual anticipated costs of the temporary accommodation, I will be pleased to provide it to the Members.
Mrs. Firth: So we have another question that the Minister cannot answer. He cannot tell us what the costs are going to be.
At the public briefing for the contractors last week that I attended, the Minister had a very ambitious time line for the demolition of the north wing and emergency wing of the hospital. I believe that they are to be demolished by June - the temporary wards are supposed to be ready to move in by then - and there is a July 1 completion date for the shell.
Could the Minister give us, today, a brief time line of how all of this is going to progress?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I anticipate having a time line prepared by the first week of February, which I am quite prepared to forward to her, to the critic from the NDP caucus and to the Leader of the Liberal Party.
Mrs. Firth: At the public meeting, it was indicated to us that there was going to be a multi-year major rethink, with respect to the Ministers proposal, because of costs coming in higher than was predicted, and that there were some packages that were not yet identified. One of the demolition projects is the demolition of the steam plant, scheduled for 1996-97. When that happens, can the Minister tell us what the new source of heat for the hospital is going to be?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The heat for the hospital will remain steam. The source for the steam will probably be diesel rather than propane, and there may be some co-generation capacity at the hospital.
Question re: Whitehorse General Hospital, design changes
Mrs. Firth: I would like to follow up with respect to questions about the reconstruction and construction of the new hospital.
Many people are coming to us Opposition Members, requesting information from the Minister. We are going to be getting, as he has indicated, a time line with respect to the project. I also found out the Department of Government Services is going to be the tendering vehicle for this project, up until April 1, 1994, at which time the Department of Health and Social Services will be taking over the whole project.
Can the Minister tell us why this is happening and could he indicate to us this afternoon how that process is going to work?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The situation is that the Department of Health and Social Services will have the primary responsibility for the building of the new hospital. It will not be done through Government Services. This is in accordance with the law, as it exists in the Yukon, and is not entirely unusual with regard to the Department of Government Services. It seems to me that they, quite rightly, do not want to be seen as the main player when, clearly, they are not.
Mrs. Firth: We know who the main player in this project is, Mr. Speaker. I have some concerns, and others have expressed concerns to me, about the expertise in Health and Social Services to handle a project of this size, particularly with respect to tendering specific portions of the whole $47 million project. Could the Minister of Health and Social Services explain to us how his department is going to tender these projects?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: We are going to be following the regulations that currently exist. The lack of expertise in the department is recognized by everyone and that is why we went to the lengths of hiring a project manager who does have the expertise and who will be working very closely with officials from Government Services with regard to the local regulations.
Mrs. Firth: So is the Minister saying that this one individual is going to be responsible for drawing up all of the tender documents, for tendering them, for reviewing the bids, and for choosing which company should do the project? My information tells me that Government Services will be acting strictly in an advisory capacity. Perhaps the Minister could enlighten us on that whole process.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Well, I will do that as briefly as possible, in the circumstances. The project manager will be working very closely with the architectural firm that is preparing the final documentation. The tendering contracts, and so on, will be developed in conjunction with the architects, and in conjunction with the expert advice that we will be receiving from the department, as part of the team of Alberta officials. The project manager is part of the project management committee, which is made up of him, the Deputy Minister of Health, the Deputy Minister of Government Services and an official from the Department of Finance, who report directly to the deputy minister and then to me in Management Board. I am quite comfortable with the abilities of the people involved in these aspects of the project, and I think that we will end up with a very good hospital that will come in within the $47 million budget.
Question re: Carcross area plan
Mr. Cable: Some further questions for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services on the memorandum of support the Minister signed with the Chief of the Carcross-Tagish First Nation.
I would like to revisit the last question I asked the Minister, which dealt with what I assume is phase 2. The memorandum of support talks about a phase 1 plan. Could the Minister confirm that there is, in fact, a phase 2 plan relating to implementation, and indicate when it commences?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I am not sure if there is a schedule established yet. The Department of Community and Transportation Services has had meetings with the Carcross planning committee and the Carcross First Nation since the memorandum was signed, but whether they have put together a schedule yet, I am not certain.
Mr. Cable: Perhaps in answering my supplementary question the Minister could also confirm that there is a phase 2 plan.
The question I would like to ask the Minister is whether the Minister has investigated the use of this procedure - the community planning vehicle - for other communities.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The Carcross planning committee acts very similarly to a hamlet council. Yes, we have considered a similar type of situation, for instance, for Ross River.
Mr. Cable: The news media, at the time of the signing of the memorandum in November, carried a report indicating that the mandate of the planning committee would be up in March. I believe that the Minister confirmed this. The news media also carried a report by one of the residents that he anticipated that it would be replaced by some form of local government. The Minister just alluded, in some respects, to that type of arrangement.
Could the Minister indicate what sort of local government he anticipates will replace the planning committee in the Carcross area?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The municipal advisors have been dealing with the planning committee and the Carcross First Nation, as well as the Carcross community club. It has been suggested many times over the past several years that Carcross might want to investigate the possibility of becoming a hamlet and/or obtain some kind of municipal status. Until there is more of a finalization on the land claims end of it, the people in Carcross are not ready to make that move.
They may very well choose to go for hamlet status, but, again, it is up to the people in Carcross, both First Nations and non-First Nations. They can return to the planning committee process or they could go for hamlet status. It is their choice.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITOR
Speaker: I would like to draw Members attention to the presence, in the gallery, of Norma Kassi, former MLA for Vuntut Gwitchin, and welcome her to the House.
Question re: Airports, rural
Ms. Moorcroft: My question is for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services regarding rural airports.
The senior pilot for Alkan Air Limited was interviewed on the radio this morning, saying that the automated weather systems at Watson Lake and other airports are completely unreliable. He does not consider this to be a safety factor, because their airline is aware of the problem and just does not count on support at the airport.
Our concern is that airport users, such as out-of-territory traffic, must take into account that weather conditions will likely not be as reported. What advice are departmental officials giving about the reliability of automated weather systems?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I am not sure who she means or to whom the advice would be given. However, the Member opposite should be aware that Watson Lake is still under federal jurisdiction. There has been a lot of representation from the industry, as well as from our own aviation people, to have people staff the positions in Watson Lake. The federal people have not, as yet, chosen to staff that airport.
Ms. Moorcroft: Although a Transport Canada official, who was also interviewed, says that these automated systems are at the forefront of automatic weather technology, experienced pilots do not agree.
The federal government knows that these machines provide tremendous cost-savings that may be the deciding factor for future service delivery, at the expense of air traffic safety. Could the Minister tell us about the representations that the Yukon government has made to Transport Canada on behalf of Yukon air travellers, whether they are Yukon residents or not, and what airports that affects?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The federal government had a consultation. I cannot remember the exact dates, but they travelled to the various airports under their jurisdiction and they were given a very strong representation from the Yukon industry about the automated weather system, especially in Watson Lake. I am not sure about the technical details about why Watson Lake seemed to have so many problems with the system, but our own people have reiterated those complaints to the federal ministry.
Ms. Moorcroft: I think that I heard the Minister say that he supports operators on the ground at the airport. The present airport operator in Faro has not been offered his normal three-year contract to operate a community air radio station. Options being discussed with him by the Department of Community and Transportation Services include a month-by-month contract.
The Minister has given the commitment that the Faro airport will not be closed, so I would like to ask him if the present contract discussions, which reduce the commitment on the part of the Yukon government, mean that Faro will lose their airport service operator, who is badly needed?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: When the airports are devolved, there will be funding devolved with them. The funding will determine the level of service that the Yukon government is able to maintain.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed. We will proceed to Orders of the Day and Government Motions.
Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: Before resolving into Committee of the Whole, I would like to give the Minister of Justice the floor.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Yes, after Question Period, we become lackadaisical about leaping to our feet on this side.
I would request the unanimous consent of the House to waive Standing Order 27(1) with regard to notice in order to debate the motion, of which I gave notice earlier today.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: The unanimous consent has been granted.
We will now proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Motion No. 56
Clerk: Motion No. 56, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Phelps.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Justice
THAT the Yukon Legislative Assembly, pursuant to Section 16(1) of the Human Rights Act, appoint Ms. Brenda Chambers to be a member of the Yukon Human Rights Commission.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I will be very brief in my remarks. As some Members are aware, Rose-Marie Blair-Smith has resigned her position on the commission, in order to devote more of her time to other First Nation commitments and interests.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for her work. She did bring a unique perspective to the commission and one that must not be lost.
It is because of that vacancy that I am bringing this motion forward, to propose that Ms. Brenda Chambers join the commission. She is currently the director of operations for Northern Native Broadcasting, Yukon. She is chair of the Yukon Arts Centre Board Corporation, as well as the member of several other community organizations. I believe that her commitment to First Nation concerns and aspirations would make her a very valuable addition to the Human Rights Commission.
While I am on my feet, I would also like to advise that Mr. Jon Breen will be assuming the chair, effective February 10, 1994. He replaces Ms. Debra Fendrick, who is stepping down from that position but will maintain her board membership until the transition is completed. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Fendrick for her valuable contributions to the commission since 1990, and welcome Mr. Breen into his new role as chair. Thank you.
Ms. Commodore: I rise in support of the motion before the House but I would like to make it known that, in future, I would like to be consulted sooner than the morning before the motion comes to the House. I think that this side of the House should have substantial opportunity to sit back, look at the recommendations and discuss them in our caucus. I would have certainly liked to have had the opportunity to do that.
I was informed this morning that the Minister would be calling me, and he did, and we did have a discussion prior to caucus meeting, but in future I would like more notice.
I would also like to say that Brenda Chambers is a wise choice. As the Minister has indicated, she has much experience, is a Yukoner, has been involved in many things and will certainly add to the commission.
I would like to thank Rose-Marie Blair-Smith for her involvement on the commission. I think that any of us who know Rose-Marie Blair-Smith realize that she had a pretty heavy schedule and was involved in many other things.
In speaking about the chair of the commision, Debra Fendrick, I would like to offer my commendation and thank her for the valuable work that she has provided to the commission. We were very fortunate to have this person to head that organization and we look forward to the new addition and also to Mr. Jon Breen taking over the chair.
Mrs. Firth: I, too, wish to thank Rosie Blair-Smith and Ms. Fendrick for their participation on the Human Rights Commission. I want to make it very clear that I support the choice of Brenda Chambers to now assume the role as a commissioner on the Human Rights Commission. I am confident she will do an excellent job.
I was notified a little bit earlier than the Official Opposition about the two appointments and, at that time, I indicated to the Minister that I had no dispute or argument with respect to the individuals chosen but that I wanted to raise as an issue the process. As I recall, as a Member of the Opposition when the Official Opposition was government, Opposition Members were all given an opportunity to participate in the selection process, and in the suggestion process - in other words, the Official Opposition was informed that there were vacancies on the Human Rights Commission, the Opposition Members were asked for their suggestions, the government wrote down their suggestions, and after a minimal amount of correspondence, all members usually came to an agreement with respect to the individuals who would be chosen for these particular positions.
I would strongly recommend that the Minister of Justice go back to using that kind of a process to select people, particularly for this board. Also outstanding on the Order Paper is a motion regarding appointments to boards and committees and the Opposition Members are all in agreement with an amendment to that motion, yet the government has not seen fit to bring it forward.
In light of that motion still being outstanding on the Order Paper, I think it is encumbent on the Ministers, particularly the Minister of Justice in this case, to make sure that he tries to conform with precedents that have been set in the past. Then there would be a more positive and mutually agreeable process in place.
Motion No. 56 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Fisher: 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 acting 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 Committee of the Whole to order.
Is it the wish of Members to take a brief recess at this time?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will take a brief recess at this time.
Chair: I will call Committee of the Whole to order.
Bill No. 65 - An Act to Amend the Hospital Act and the Evidence Act.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I do not have much to add to what was said already during second reading debate, or the issue surrounding the clarification of the role of the board and the corporation to establish the policy and direction of the hospital.
I did note in Hansard that the Member had expressed - I am not sure if it was a concern - interest in the fact that the bylaws are subject to the approval of the Minister, and that remains in the current Hospital Act, under section 3.(3).
I have had some discussions with the critic about the appeal procedure and I have had some meetings with the physicians. The result of those discussions has been that I will be bringing forward amendments, during line-by-line debate, to the appeal process, and I have given copies of the proposed amendments to the critic. It is proposed that the latest of the two packages be the amendments to the one that provides for at least one physician to sit on the appeal board.
Mr. Penikett: At second reading I indicated that, as the sponsor of the legislation that we are amending, I had had some reason to reflect on the draft of the original bill as it came to the House and the wisdom of certain decisions that we made at the time. I confess to the present Minister that I was less than confident about the absolute veracity of every one of the decisions we had made at that time. I noted, at second reading, as well, concerns that I will not address at length at the Committee stage, as it would prolong the debate unnecessarily, but about which I have noted in the House and may be the subject of discussion in future sessions.
The one specific representation I made concerned the appeal of the question on hospital privileges. As the Minister has noted, both he and I have had discussions with representatives of the medical profession. I have been provided with a copy of a letter by the president of the medical association to the Minister, indicating that organizations preference for the administrative tribunal, rather than the Supreme Court, as a venue for appeals. The Minister has concurred with that proposal and, as he has indicated, will be bringing forward an amendment.
He has kindly offered us the drafts of two amendments. I have indicated to him my preference for the latter of the two drafts, the one that specifies the presence of a physician on the administrative tribunal. That satisfactorily deals with the more specific concern I had about the legislation. Accordingly, I would be pleased to support the legislation as amended.
Mrs. Firth: In clause 3.1, on the second page of the bill, with respect to the authority of the Minister declaring an increase or decrease in the level of services, and so on, I had mentioned to the Minister that I thought it was an all-encompassing authority for the Minister. I wonder what function the board would serve if the Minister could do all of these things.
I also had a question with respect to whether or not that applied to the First Nations committee, which is in the next amendment - 4.1(1). Perhaps the Minister could address that concern for me.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The amendment is really to clarify the role of the Minister. The hospital is going to be the major agent for service delivery of health care in the territory. The Minister is accountable for the provision of health care services in the territory and cannot abrogate the fundamental responsibility. This is to clarify that we have not done that, we hope, and that our role is similar to the role in other jurisdictions with regard to the fundamental responsibility. It is anticipated that the hospital corporation is the major agent, and will make the major decisions subject to the overriding control that is exercised through his provision, and through the necessity of the Minister approving bylaws under the existing act, section 3.(3).
Mrs. Firth: I understand the principle of the Minister being accountable. I also understand that the board makes the decisions, but that the final decision could rest with the Minister, should he wish to change something that the board is doing. What I want to know is whether that also applies to the First Nations health committee, because it lists all of the people in the First Nations health services, and what their authorities are. The question is, is the Minister still the accountable person with respect to the First Nations committee as well?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The answer is yes. The authority vested in the board to govern First Nation services is exercised by the First Nations health committee, but the relationship to the Minister is the same.
Mr. Penikett: Can I just ask the Minister if he has made a determination about the usefulness of tabling the communication from the Medical Association as evidence of the expression of their wishes?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I certainly can. I would advise the Member that there was a second letter sent that clarified a typographical error with regard to exactly who it was being addressed to in the first place, but if he wishes, I can - I hope.
Mr. Penikett: On that point, I understand there was no calculated intent to wound the ego of the Minister, and it was just a typo in the manner of address in the letter.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I will table my copy of the letter, addressed to me from Dr. Mitchell.
Chair: Is there further debate? Okay, we will move on to the act.
On Clause 1
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
On Clause 3
Clause 3 agreed to
On Clause 4
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I move
THAT Bill No. 65, entitled An Act to Amend the Hospital Act and the Evidence Act, be amended in clause 4 at page 3 by deleting the proposed sections 16.1 to 16.4 and substituting the following for them:
Hospital Privileges Appeal Board
16.1(1) There is hereby established a Hospital Privileges Appeal Board consisting of either three or five members appointed by the Commissioner in Executive Council, one of whom shall be designated the chairperson and at least one of whom must be a person entitled to practise medicine in at least one territory or province of Canada.
(2) The Commissioner in Executive Council may prescribe what remuneration and travelling expenses shall be paid to members of the Appeal Board.
Rules re: proceedings Appeal Board
16.2(1) A majority of the members then holding office constitutes a quorum for the conduct of the Appeal Boards business, but a vacancy in the membership does not impair the power of the remaining member or members to act until the vacancy is filled.
(2) If the chairperson is absent or unable to act, the members present at a meeting may designate one of them to be chairperson for that meeting.
(3) The Appeal Board may make rules consistent with this Act and the regulations for the conduct of appeals to it.
(4) The Appeal Board has the rights, powers, and privileges of a board of inquiry appointed under the Public Inquiries Act.
Appeals of decision re: medical staff
16.3(1) The following decisions of the board or of a committee of the board may be appealed to the Hospital Privileges Appeal Board:
- the refusal to make or renew an appointment or privilege as a member of the medical staff; and
- the revocation, suspension, or altering of an appointment or privilege as a member of the medical staff.
The decision may only be appealed by the member of the medical staff or the applicant whose appointment, privilege, or application the decision deals with. The appeal may only be made within 30 days of the decision appealed against.
(2) The notice of appeal must set out the grounds of appeal and state the relief the appellant seeks.
(3) The appellant, the board and such other persons as the Appeal Board allow are parties to an appeal.
(4) A party to an appeal may be represented by an agent or legal counsel of their choice.
16.4 All hearings of the Appeal Board shall be held in private unless the Appeal Board determines otherwise.
16.5 The testimony of witnesses at a hearing of an appeal shall be taken under oath or affirmation and each party has the right to cross-examine witnesses called by other parties and to call evidence in defence and reply; if evidence is relevant, the Appeal Board is not bound by the rules of evidence that apply in civil or criminal judicial proceedings.
16.6(1) The appellant and any other person who, in the opinion of the Appeal Board, has knowledge of the complaint or the conduct being investigated is a compellable witness in the hearing of the appeal.
(2) A witness may be examined on all matters relevant to the appeal and shall not be excused from answering any appeal question on the ground that the answer might tend to
(a) incriminate them,
(b) subject them to punishment under this or any other Act, or
(c) establish their liability
(i) to a civil proceeding at the instance of the Crown or of any other person, or
(ii) to prosecution under any Act,
but if the answer so given tends to incriminate them or to subject them to punishment or to establish their liability, it shall not be used or received against them in any civil proceedings or in any proceedings under any other Act.
16.7 The Appeal Board may obtain evidence outside the Yukon in the same way and on the same conditions as a party to an action in the Supreme Court may.
Administration of oath
16.8 Any oath or affirmation required may be administered by any member of the Appeal Board.
16.9 Witnesses present under subpoena at a hearing of an appeal pursuant to this Act are entitled to the same fees and expenses as witnesses attending upon a trial of an action in the Supreme Court.
Disposition of Appeal
16.10 On hearing an appeal under this section the Appeal Board may either
(a) confirm the decision of the board, or
(b) direct that the appellant be appointed or re-appointed to the medical staff, or
(c) direct the reinstatement or renewal of the appellants appointment or privileges as a member of the medical staff, or
(d) remove or vary the suspension of the appellants appointment or privileges, or
(e) direct that the members hospital privileges be varied, or
(f) make an order under paragraph (e) in conjunction with one under any of paragraphs (b) to (d).
Effect of decision pending appeal
16.11 The decision appealed against remains in effect despite the appeal being taken, but the Appeal Board may order a stay of the decision pending disposition of the appeal.
Restriction of right of appeal
16.12 Despite section 16.1 a decision of the board or a committee of the board may not be appealed where the decision involves, or is the consequence of, a change in the bylaws for a corporate purpose or a public purpose and the decision is not for the purpose of punishing or disciplining the member of the medical staff or the applicant.
Chair: Will the Members take the amendment as being read?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Amendment agreed to
Clause 4 agreed to as amended
On Clause 5
Clause 5 agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I move that Bill No. 65, entitled An Act to Amend the Hospital Act and the Evidence Act, be reported out of committee with amendment.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 38 - Yukon Family Services Association Rent Guarantee Act
Hon. Mr. Phelps: We have been involved in general debate on this for some considerable time and have heard witnesses from the Yukon Family Association regarding certain issues related to the construction and subsequent financing and lease of the premises.
Following our last debate in the House, and on the recommendation of the Member for Riverside, I instructed the Department of Justice to review the lease from a legal standpoint. In particular, they looked at the issue of whether or not the lease would expose the tenant or government to any unusual liability by virtue of the draftsmanship of the lease itself. They also looked at the issue of the exposure of the government in the event that the lessee would assign the lease to some third party.
As a result of those instructions, I received a letter from my department, dated January 10, 1994, which I sent to the Hon. Member for Riverside, to the critic for the Official Opposition and to the Independent Member for Riverdale South.
I can say that when we do proceed line by line, I will be moving an amendment that is word for word the amendment suggested by the solicitor in the said letter dated January 10.
Mr. Penikett: Very briefly, I want to go on record as saying that our caucus will be supporting the proposed legislation in Committee.
I will go on record as saying that we have continuing concerns about the question of equitable treatment among and between non-government organizations by the government. We have some disagreement with the Minister about the nature of this event as a precedent for NGOs and also, perhaps, for developers.
Since we were, as far as I know, in this House dealing for the first time with some of the knotty questions about the relationship between the government, an NGO and a developer in putting together a project like this, as I indicated to the Minister, in a continuing effort to research the question, I have obtained from an Alberta jurisdiction and two neighboring jurisdictions, information about the codes of professional conduct governing architectural professions.
We do not have an architects act in this territory, but I thought it might be useful to give all Members of the House an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the standards that the industry provides for itself in the large jurisdictions to our south. I am therefore going to table one copy of the bylaws of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia, not in furtherance of todays debate, but as information for the Members who may wish to advise themselves on this matter.
Chair: Is there any further debate?
On Clause 1
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I move that Bill No. 38, entitled Yukon Family Services Association Rent Guarantee Act, be amended by adding the following clause:
3. The guarantee authorized by this Act will be invalidated from its commencement if the Yukon Family Services Association assigns the lease or sublets part or all of the premises without the consent in writing of the Minister.
Chair: There is a proposed amendment to the bill, moved by the Hon. Mr. Phelps, that Bill No. 38, entitled Yukon Family Services Association Rent Guarantee Act, be amended by adding the following clause:
3. The guarantee authorized by this Act will be invalidated from its commencement if the Yukon Family Services Association assigns the lease or sublets part or all of the premises without the consent in writing of the Minister.
Is there any debate on the amendment?
Amendment agreed to
Clause 2 agreed to as amended
On Clause 3
Clause 3 agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I move that Bill No. 38, entitled Yukon Family Services Association Rent Guarantee Act, be reported from Committee with amendment.
Motion agreed to
Chair: We will move on to Bill No. 11.
Bill No. 11 - Second Appropriation Act, 1993-94 - continued
Department of Economic Development - continued
Ms. Commodore: I have some follow-up questions for the Minister in regard to gambling. During Committee of the Whole on Thursday, he mentioned that he was not familiar with the issue, and that it was not his responsibility. He said that it was the responsibility of the Government Leader. I have some questions with regard to the report that was given to the government by an interdepartmental committee. They put together a report that was quite extensive. There was apparently a lot of research done, and the report did not favour gambling in the Yukon, as far as the video lottery terminals go. When the report was submitted to the Council on the Economy and the Environment, a lot of information was taken out of it. The Minister said he did not know that had happened. We know that it did happen, because we had copies of both reports; the second report excluded a lot of important information that was not favourable to introducing the lottery terminals in the Yukon.
Ever since this has been an issue, I have been getting responses from people who are very concerned about the social impact. We all know that bingo and other forms of gambling are addictive, and that a lot of money is spent on them. I know for a fact that some people prepare themselves for a night of bingo at 3:30 in the afternoon. I also know that on a Saturday at the Legion, there are people lined up outside the door, because they clear everyone out to clean up, and then let them all back in another door - or something like that.
The issue itself is really important because we are trying to determine whether or not it is going to be economically wise.
I would like to know how involved other Ministers get in something like this that they are proceeding with, something as important as economic development. If, for instance, there is a representation made to the government in regard to an issue like gambling and whether or not it is going to help the economy, how does the government proceed with that? For instance, when the report was completed, did Cabinet make a decision to ask for this report from people within the government and, if it did, when the report was done did it go back to Cabinet before it was presented to the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment?
What I am trying to determine here is whether or not this was something that was followed through on the advice of friends in the business sector or was it a government decision to spend this kind of money to find out whether or not it was going to be feasible? It is very important that we have that kind of information because we want to know where this government is coming from in terms of where they want to go and what they are going to be spending their money on.
Hon. Mr. Devries: Normally we do not discuss Cabinet matters that much on this floor, but I do not recall it going through Cabinet. By the same token, as to how much Ministers get involved, initially I was lobbied by the B.C. Hotel Association on the matter. Also, with the Christian community knowing some of my background, they have also been lobbying me. One has been pulling at one arm, and one at the other, so I am conscious of the concerns out there. As far as that document is concerned, I do not recall it coming through Cabinet.
Ms. Commodore: We can assume, then, on this side of the House, that this initiative was done on the whim of some friends of the Government Leader who proposed to him, Hey, let us try this new idea we have heard about, and spend whatever per diem they pay the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment, since there does not appear to be any kind of planning behind the whole consultation process.
Would the Minister not believe that if one were going to plan some kind of a consultation process it would have to be a decision that would be made by Cabinet - for something as important as consultation. I would hope that individual Ministers would not make decisions on those kinds of important issues all by themselves, because we are dealing with something that initially was found not to be very attractive to Yukoners, but they seem to have gone ahead anyhow without the full involvement of other Ministers.
I would like to know if that is a precedent or do these things happen often in government? I would be a little bit concerned about the responsibilities and how they are going to handle matters of the economy.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I think that all of the Cabinet Ministers are conscious of the concerns about gambling, and personally I feel that everyone is concerned about the publics impression of the topic. I really feel that it will be given a fair hearing. I do not think anyone is trying to railroad anything through and that this matter will have a fair hearing.
Ms. Commodore: The very thought of the introduction of 500 video lottery terminals is pretty darn scary to people in the Yukon, because it is being said by someone who does not appear to be that familiar with the Yukon.
For the record, I would like to say that this is probably one of the dumbest things that I have ever seen this government do.
Mr. Cable: I would like to go back to the Yukon Economic Forecast. There were a number of discussions that took place last Thursday, January 20, 1994, and the Minister indicated some of his reservations about the forecast. I would like to refer the Minister to the paragraph on page 2036 in Hansard that related to First Nations, and the effect of the settlement of the land claims. I will read it back to the Member. It will save him refreshing his memory. The Minister stated, An example of an oversight in analysis is a reference to land claims. While land claims are mentioned with reference to legal and regulatory certainty, very little attention is paid to the investment potential of the First Nation final, comprehensive packages or the economic spinoffs of implementation activities, particularly in the rural communities.
On May 25, 1993, I asked the Minister just what structures were set up to calculate land claims benefits. After the questions and answers, I felt that I needed some further education, so I would like to explore this a little further.
Who is actually responsible for the calculation of the economic spinoffs of the land claims agreements? Would that be the Land Claims Secretariat or the Ministers department, the Department of Economic Development?
Hon. Mr. Devries: To date, most of the work Economic Development has been doing has been in looking at the implementation spinoffs, rather than the full economic benefits of the overall package. I would have to bring back a legislative return if any work has been done beyond the implementation stage.
To this point, my understanding is, of the bands that have signed, some of them are putting it into interest-bearing investments. Others are looking at actual investments within the Yukon.
Mr. Cable: One of the reservations relating to the forecast was on land claim benefits. I assume there is something concrete somewhere.
Where are the structures that have been set up by the Ministers government to analyze these benefits? Is there a person assigned to the job? If so, is that person in the Ministers department or in the Land Claims Secretariat?
Hon. Mr. Devries: As far as an active person, no, it is not within my department. I am certain that person would consult with the economists. I would have to bring back a legislative return if there is such a person in the Land Claims Secretariat or the Executive Council Office?
Mr. Cable: Just to make sure I am hearing correctly, is the Minister saying that he has persons assigned to calculate the benefits or not?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Not necessarily. By the same token, if there is a person somewhere, they would talk to the economists in my department who would assist them in making some of those calculations.
Mr. Cable: The reason I asked the question is, if the land claims move through the federal legislative calendar rapidly, we are probably looking at the most significant economic event in the Yukon Territory in this decade.
What documents do we have that would set out the economic benefits and would allow the Minister to indicate that this Yukon Economic Forecast is not to be trusted, because it does not deal with the benefits?
Hon. Mr. Devries: My understanding is that the department is presently doing a bunch of work on the implementation. I believe that some of these duties involve the UFA. We are doing everything according to the UFA.
By the same token, the department is very aware of the injection of money into the four settlement agreements and the impact this will have on the economy. Once we get to that stage, I am sure that we will be taking a more in-depth look at it.
Mr. Cable: Has the Ministers department produced any documents or reports on land claims economic benefits that the Minister is in a position to table in the House? That way, we can see whether or not we agree with the comments he made about the economic forecast.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I do not.
Mr. Cable: What was it that prompted the Minister - I assume, by the way he presented the argument - to make the proposition that, within the time line of this forecast, there would be significant economic benefits flowing from land claims and that we could not take this economic forecast as an accurate representation of what is going to happen in the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Devries: What I was referring to was the fact that land claims is incorporated into the government section. I felt that it should have gone beyond just being included there. The land claims could have a tremendous impact on the economic potential of the Yukon, and it should have been given more credence. Anyone can figure out that if there is an injection of several million dollars into an economy, there will be some effect.
Mr. Cable: What advice, then, has the Minister received from his staff regarding what should have gone into the economic forecast relating to the potential of the land claims - assumedly, in the present year? Are there some specifics, or is it simply a generality?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Since I was not planning to release the economic forecast, no further work was done on it from that point on.
Mr. McDonald: We are continuing to yip and yap in the Legislature about the economic forecast. The more we hear about the reservations that the Minister had, the greater the reservations we have about the Ministers claims in the first place.
I guess what the Minister is saying about the economic forecast, particularly with respect to the land claims benefits, is that, even if the Minister released the economic forecast this month, there still would not be anything of substance to present respecting the impacts of land claims over the coming year - is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I am sure that in the next document produced, it will certainly be given the recognition it deserves.
Mr. McDonald: Our problem is that we do not know what attention it deserves, because the Minister does not know what attention it deserves, other than that it deserves attention. If there was a true economic spinoff, as the result of land claims, in this year, and, as the Minister himself noted, the money was not simply placed in interest-bearing investments, which have virtually no effect on the territorial economy, then we would have something to talk about - if there were true investments of some sort in the Yukon. That is not to minimize the impact of the land claim over the long term and not to minimize the significance of the land claim to First Nations, but in terms of the one-year window, which is the Yukon Economic Forecast, it would be quite appropriate, under the circumstances, that perhaps the actual impact in this particular year would not be that significant.
I think that the Member for Riverside, in his questions to the Minister, has been able to extract the fact that there is not really a whole lot of substance to the claim that the forecast not include information about the impact of the land claim agreement. Things just do not get any better here about the winter economic forecast.
Did the Minister manage, over the course of the weekend, to produce any information about the numbers of jobs that had been displaced by the winter works program - jobs lost due to funding that had been reallocated from other projects to the winter works program? Did he get any sense of how many jobs had been displaced by that transfer of funds?
Hon. Mr. Devries: No, the work on the number of jobs displaced has not been completed.
Mr. McDonald: I guess that does not surprise me. What I would like to do, unless other Members have questions about the forecast, is to ask the Minister about core funding. Specifically, I would like to ask him this: what criteria must an applicant respect and follow in order to be eligible for operating assistance through the business development fund?
The Minister was actually asked this question in the spring. I asked him the same question at that time in anticipation that, should there be an organization wishing to seek operational assistance, it would be necessary to be able to communicate the funding criteria to them. Can the Minister tell us what specifically the criteria are, so that other organizations will know before they actually take the trouble to submit an application?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Eligibility is restricted to associations that represent an industry or sector that are intended to strengthen and encourage growth of that industry or sector. The Business Development Assistance Act states that funding can only be provided for commercial or industrial activities.
Mr. McDonald: Organizations that have an interest in the economy and who advise the government, or undertake work on behalf of the government or assist the government in policy making would be eligible, on the face of it, for funding pending the availability of funding, presumably. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I believe that is what I said, yes.
Mr. McDonald: I just wanted to make it clear so that we do not go ploughing off in the wrong direction.
An organization that comes forward now and seeks operational assistance could seek operational assistance for at least as much as existing organizations who are providing a same or similar level of service would get. Is that the funding limit the government is considering?
I think it is $36,000 for the Yukon Chamber of Commerce. Is that a target funding limit?
Hon. Mr. Devries: With the roughly $50,000 dedicated to the core funding portion of the BDF, there would not be room for another one to apply for $36,000, naturally. The other ones are limited to $5,000 at this point.
Mr. McDonald: What is the Minister saying by that? Is he saying that, because the Yukon Chamber of Commerce has applied for funding and has received it to the tune of $36,000, they, the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, would have to expect less if there were other applicants who had as legitimate a claim on the funds as the Yukon Chamber? Is the Minister going to direct the department to reduce expectations so that others can participate as well?
Hon. Mr. Devries: At this point, I feel we are committed to continuing to contribute to the Yukon Chamber and the other chambers at the level we have been, and I do not feel that I would be in a position to change that funding.
Mr. McDonald: Is this level of funding commitment going to extend in perpetuity until such time as the agreement is changed or the government decides to reduce funding levels at some time in the future - is that what the Minister is saying? If the Yukon Chamber provides the same service next year and they request $36,000, will they get $36,000?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, that is a hypothetical question. In the Yukon Chamber of Commerces annual report, they have indicated that they are looking at ways of attempting to raise more funds on their own so that they would be less dependent on government funding. So, there is no way for me to determine whether they will require $36,000 next year or not.
Mr. McDonald: So, what the Minister is saying is that, at least for the current year and into the future, if circumstances do not change, any organization that legitimately might request funding can simply take a hike because there is no funding. Is that correct as far as he is concerned?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, if one of these organizations has a specific project that fits the criteria, they can apply through the economic development agreement for funding of some type. I really do not see that there is a big argument here because we have not, to the best of my knowledge, had any requests during the past year for any further funding.
Mr. McDonald: I understand that the chambers, and anyone, can go through the EDA. Certainly, the Yukon Chamber of Commerce has made requests of the EDA and received money through it. I believe that even the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce, which claims not to take any financial assistance from the government, is, at least in this year, in receipt of better than $100,000 worth of government assistance.
I am not talking specifically of EDA funding criteria, nor am I talking about project-specific criteria. What I am referring to specifically are the items in the sheet that the Minister handed out to us that were approved under the business development fund for core funding or operating expenses. What I am asking about the business development fund and about the available funds that are there for organizations that have an interest in the economy and want to provide assistance with the government, is essentially that while there may be other organizations out there that have as legitimate a claim to the funds, if not greater legitimacy, because the government has decided to provide the bulk of the funds to organizations that claim not to even want to use public funds, those other organizations that have an interest in the economy are simply out of luck as far as the Minister is concerned, and there is no point in having them make application at all.
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, I believe the Member is stretching my words to expand his imagination. I had very clearly indicated that they have to represent an industry or sector, which are intended to strengthen and encourage growth of the industry or sector. Through its membership, the chamber represents an industry and a sector.
Mr. McDonald: That is the reason why I am trying to be very precise about the questions. I do not want to be faced with the accusation that I am speaking for the Minister. I would not want to do that on this issue, or on any other issue. The Minister can speak for himself. I am trying to very specifically ask the questions about this program.
I want to be really precise. Will an organization that has a significant interest in the economy and economic development and comes to the government seeking operating expenses, and offers to provide the government with information, from their perspective as a territorial organization interested in the economy, receive favourable consideration by the Department of Economic Development? If so, do they have any hope of receiving funding, given that the Minister has already said that the cupboard is bare and there is no possible way of providing more funding to anyone else? There are two questions.
Hon. Mr. Devries: If they represent an industry or a sector, and there is any money left, they could be considered. If there is no money left, or if they do not represent an industry or sector, they can forget it.
Mr. McDonald: What does he mean by representing an industry? Does he mean employer groups need only apply for funding? How broad is that definition of industry?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, the Business Development Assistance Act states that funding can only be provided for commercial or industrial activity. That is what I mean by it. The industry sector is something that deals with commercial or industrial activities.
Mr. McDonald: Is it his interpretation of that restriction that employer groups are the only ones that would be eligible? What about employee groups? What about the people who are actually doing the work, and their own representatives? What about those organizations? Would they be eligible? They are certainly engaged in commercial and industrial activity. They may even have a territory-wide mandate. Would they be eligible for funds?
Hon. Mr. Devries: If the purpose of the organization is to expand and encourage the growth of an industry or a sector, they may be. We would find out once the application is made.
Mr. McDonald: For instance, let me ask about the Yukon Federation of Labour. They have a significant interest in commercial and industrial activity, and they believe in jobs for their members. Would that organization, by the Ministers definition, be eligible for funding assistance, if they wanted to promote the expansion of industry and the expansion of their job opportunities?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I imagine that the department would have to review their constitution and determine on that basis whether they fit within the criteria, and make a decision based on that criteria.
Mr. McDonald: I am sure that the Minister is not saying that his department has absolutely no knowledge of the Yukon Federation of Labour, its goals or objectives. I am sure that the Minister would not be saying that, because I cannot believe that any Minister would stand in this House and claim to have no knowledge of that organization or its goals.
I will ask the Minister again: with respect to the Yukon Federation of Labour and Building Trades Council, which clearly engages in commercial and industrial activity, and clearly want an expansion of their industries, would they be given favourable consideration in an application for funding?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, this is a tough question to answer. I have always felt that associations like the Contractors Association may fit into that type of association. They have not come to us for funding. They raise the majority of their funding through their membership. The Yukon Chamber of Commerce is very restricted in its membership, because it is a blanket organization. Many of these other organizations belong to a local chamber, et cetera. They do not have as broad a range of avenues for raising funding from their membership, and that is the reason why.
By the same token, I believe we went around and around with this discussion last year. I have had no indication that the Federation of Labour is even interested in being involved in attempting to get government funding. I do not see much point in standing here and spending hours debating something like this, when there are not even any indications that they are interested. I do not know what the Member is getting at.
Mr. McDonald: I think that the Minister does know what I am getting at - I think he knows that very well. I am trying to determine whether or not the claim that this program is open to a wide variety of organizations is simply smoke and mirrors, and a way of justifying financial assistance to a select few organizations. What I am trying to determine is how broad the criteria are for the selection of successful candidates for funding, and whether or not that narrow range of applicants includes employer organizations, or organizations that represent business only, or whether it would incorporate others that have an interest in the economy. That is the reason I am asking the questions. I think that has been crystal clear from last spring onwards.
The Minister has mentioned the issue of fund-raising capacity. Is the capacity of an organization to raise funds internally a significant feature in determining whether or not the government will provide financial assistance to the organization?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The level of funding is based on the financial needs of the association, the size and scope of the industry or sector represented, and also it is subject to the appropriation of funds. If funds get tighter in the next year or so, I could easily see the chambers being cut back to half of what they are getting now.
Mr. McDonald: I am not talking about the government simply cutting back on the whole program. I am talking about equity within the program. If the government wanted to eliminate the whole program altogether, all of this discussion would be irrelevant, because nobody would meet the criteria, nobody would apply and nobody would get any money - there would not be any money to give.
Clearly, if the government wants to raise or lower expenditure levels, that is irrelevant to the line of questioning that I am seeking, which is, who gets the available funding at the beginning of the year, when the decisions are ultimately made, and the funding released. I am not suggesting that if the program has only got $50,000 and the money has already been committed for this year, anyone else should try and fit their way into the program. I am asking, because there is a new year coming, and because there appears to be a financial commitment to this kind of activity, how much chance do organizations have, other than the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce, the Watson Lake Chamber of Commerce, the Home Builders Association, and the Pelly Historical Society to be eligible for funding?
I want to know whether or not the Minister has the money committed already or whether other organizations should be applying for financial assistance, because they have what they consider to be very legitimate needs.
It is no secret why I am asking the questions about what is going on here.
Let me put it this way: is there any point, in his view, for other organizations that meet the criteria he mentioned today to make application for next year?
Hon. Mr. Devries: In the Members preamble, I do not recall that the Home Builders Association and the Pelly Historical Society got money from this particular fund. However, I stand to be corrected.
We are certainly not attempting to expand the program. If an application came in that the department felt had some merit, they would have to wait a year until I have the opportunity to present another budget and perhaps expand the program.
Mr. McDonald: First of all, I want to make it clear that I was only reading out the contributions under the business development fund. I suppose the only ones that receive core funding are the Yukon, Haines Junction and Watson Lake chambers of commerce - core funding meaning operational assistance.
I want to make it clear, as well, that I am not talking about the applications for funding one year from now, I am talking about making an application for funding in the budget year coming up, which is only a couple of months away and for which the Minister already has vote authority. If someone made an application to receive funds beginning April 1, 1994, would they be wasting their time in doing so, assuming they met the same criteria that the Minister mentioned in his comments this afternoon? Would they be considered favourably?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, I cannot make any commitments. I cannot anticipate what the application is going to say. Also, due to the fact that this issue has been raised in the House twice, I am seriously considering putting the funding for the chambers into line items. If the Members want to kick them in the butt that way, they can do it there. That way, we do not have to go around and around.
Mr. McDonald: I do not know where the Minister is coming from at all. The whole point of this questioning has nothing to do with wanting to kick the chambers in the butt. The issue here is fairness among organizations with similar objectives to receive funding under this program.
If I wanted to kick the Yukon Chamber in the butt, I would not need a line item proposed by the Minister of Finance to do that. There is nothing I have said here so far that would suggest that I want to give the Yukon Chamber, as he refers to it, a kick in the butt. I am not talking about doing that. I am talking about the Ministers program. I am talking about fairness within his program, and I am talking about the application criteria for funding. This is not an academic exercise. There are people out there who are interested, we know, and who will be making application if there is a chance. I am trying to get an honest assessment from the Minister as to whether or not there is a chance. What we are affording them is an opportunity to either waste their time by making an application or making a good expenditure of their time by making an application.
A related issue of course is that, if the Minister is not prepared to provide any funding for anybody else other than the few who have applied so far - the Watson Lake Chamber of Commerce, the Haines Junction Chamber of Commerce and the Yukon Chamber of Commerce - think clearly - we will take issue with that. There is no question about that and he knows that. Of course, he is going to receive some protracted criticism from us and he cannot avoid that, one way or another because, when the applications come in and he rejects them out of hand, he is still going to get criticism, so he might as well say what he believes. I am just asking about fairness within the program.
I am not asking him for an assessment of whether or not the organization will absolutely get a certain level of funding. I am not asking whether or not he understands or knows or believes in the aspirations of any particular organization. I am just asking this: will an organization, which has the same or similar objectives as the ones that currently receive the funding, that comes forward be considered favourably - meaning will they not be rejected out of hand because they simply do not meet the criteria? There may be other hidden criteria that we do not know about, or simply the money may already have been taken up and there is no point making any more applications for funding. Can he tell me that?
Hon. Mr. Devries: In the first place, we do not know whether the chambers are going to ask for the existing level of funding. We are just making that assumption. We are not planning to expand beyond the $50,000. If one of the others drops out, perhaps there is room. Maybe they want to be put on a waiting list; I do not know.
Mr. McDonald: So, the Minister is saying, if the Yukon Chamber of Commerce does want $36,000, they are going to get it and, until they stop wanting it, others can wait. Is that right?
Hon. Mr. Devries: On the issue of eligibility, if people want to come and talk to us, we will give them a fair hearing and, during the preparation of the next budget, we will give them consideration. However, on the existing budget, if the people who now get funding ask for the same amount of funding, yes, you could say they would be wasting their time. By the same token, if they wish to approach us and ask us to consider them down the road, we will certainly listen to them.
Mr. McDonald: I will just put the Minister on notice that he is in for a battle royal on the question, because there appears to be a decision that only organizations that are currently receiving funding can have access to the funding, until they stop wanting the funding. This speaks of a very narrow vision of what economic advice the government is prepared to receive. As much as I like the Whitehorse, Haines Junction and Watson Lake chambers of commerce, it speaks of very significant favouritism toward people with a very particular perspective. I do not believe that to be the right course of action.
I will not belabour it now, but the Minister can expect further discussions on this in the spring.
Hon. Mr. Devries: Last year, I recall the same thing, and I thought I made it very clear. If they come to the department and put forward a strong case, I would be willing to consider them down the road. However, as far as this year is concerned, if one of these other organizations decides not to ask for the same amount, they may fit into the niche. I would not discourage them from talking to us but, if everything is the same as it was last year, they may have to wait for a year or so.
Mr. Penikett: I want to ask the Minister a couple of questions.
Some time ago I heard the Minister refer to the Whitehorse mining initiative and I would like to know if the Minister of Economic Development of the Yukon Territory, and the Department of Economic Development, are still involved in the Whitehorse mining initiative?
Hon. Mr. Devries: As Minister of Economic Development, I am still on the leadership council and the department is still participating in various workshops, depending on the priorities, because there are about six or eight different working groups that have been developed. We are still participating on the working groups that are of interest to us.
Mr. Penikett: I am going to ask a question about the leadership council and the Ministers role on that council.
Is the Minister aware that one of the purposes of the Whitehorse mining initiative is to develop a collaborative decision-making process between aboriginal, environmental, labour, government and industry interests that creates effective balance in order to maximize benefits to present and future generations. Is the Minister aware of that objective of the Whitehorse mining initiative?
Hon. Mr. Devries: That is the mission statement and I have been involved in several meetings that they have had to this point, and those are many of the topics that are discussed at those meetings.
Mr. Penikett: The reason for my interest in the question is the Ministers narrow-minded position of only supporting and financing business interests; he is refusing to fund conservation, aboriginal or labour interests - all of which are supposed to be involved in the mining initiative and in other processes by law - the Conservation Strategy and the Economic Strategy. The Minister said he did not know whether other groups had an interest in funding. That is an amazing statement, given that I know for a certain fact that in the past the CYI, the Conservation Society, the Federation of Labour, as well as the chambers have received funding for exactly the same purposes as the Minister is now giving funding to the chambers. In the past, all of these agencies received funding in order to enable them to participate in things like the mining initiative.
I want to ask the Minister for the record, in the course of implementing the Whitehorse mining initiative, what formal contact has the Minister of Economic Development had with aboriginal, environmental or labour groups?
Hon. Mr. Devries: At the meeting in Toronto, many of them were represented on the various groups. As a member of the leadership council, we sat down with them and discussed various issues. Many of them were Yukon representatives.
Mr. Penikett: Did the Minister, himself, take initiatives to include aboriginal, environmental or labour representatives from the Yukon in the Yukon delegation to the Toronto meeting?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The participants in the actual meetings with the various leadership groups had already had meetings to determine who will be participating. At this particular meeting, I believe that there was only seating for about 60 or 70 people. There were about 120 people who wanted to participate. The various groups got together to determine who would represent their group at that particular meeting.
Mr. Penikett: I take it from that that the answer is no, and the Minister did not take any initiative himself to ensure that Yukon aboriginal, environmental or labour groups were represented.
Let me ask the Minister this: since I know that it is entirely up to the Minister who he includes in his delegation - I know that during the time I was Minister, I took pains to include representatives of the mine workers, through the Steelworkers Union and First Nation interests in our delegation to at Ileast one conference - has there been any mining conference in this last year for which the Minister has taken any effort whatsoever to ensure that environmental, aboriginal or employee interests were represented?
Hon. Mr. Devries: We recently have agreed to have CYI and Yukon Conservation Society representatives on the implementation review committee. As far as the leadership meeting is concerned, I am only allowed one person to accompany me.
Mr. Penikett: The Minister is talking about the closed sessions with ministers. I know enough about those conferences to know that those are not the only events that go on there. In fact, I know that in mines and energy ministers conferences, there are closed sessions with ministers at which you are allowed only one attendant, but there are other meetings with industry at which the delegations can consist of whomever the minister wishes to bring from his or her jurisdiction.
I want to ask the Minister: I understand that the Whitehorse mining initiative is supposed to report progress at annual mines ministers conferences; I understand that a mines ministers conference was held in New Brunswick last September, and I would like to know if the House could have a copy of the progress report. I would also like to know if the House could have a copy of any contribution statement or anything the Minister may have made to that conference, and I am particularly interested in any reference the Minister may have made to the role of aboriginal people or environmental interests or labour interests, women or community interests in the future of the mining industry and mining communities in this part of the world.
Will the Minister table those documents?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I have some information on that and I have to get back to the Members at a later date with that information.
Mr. Penikett: Let me just say for the record that I agree with my colleague. It is profoundly unfair that the Minister is taking such a narrow-minded approach to economic development in that he is only choosing to fund and support one set of interests. Therefore, by inference, we can argue that he is only interested in listening to one narrow point of view, which is extremely unfortunate for economic development in the territory. It is especially unfortunate when we are participating in processes like the Whitehorse mining initiative, which was deliberately designed to make sure that they were not representing only the traditional, narrow point of view, and was intended to open up discussions about the future of mining in Canada to all the people who were interested, all the people who have a stake in the mining industry. It is a great pity that the Minister has appeared to have no interest in achieving or contributing anything toward the participation by having a broad range of stakeholders.
Just before I resume my chair, can I ask a question of the Minister? He probably will not want to answer it now, but I would like him to take it as notice and come back to me. This concerns his legislative return on January 7, 1994, with respect to the question I asked about the agreements between the Government of Yukon and the Government of the Northwest Territories respecting oil and gas arrangements in the Beaufort Sea.
The Minister gave a three-paragraph response and I am going to have one question about each of those paragraphs.
The Minister indicates in the first paragraph that formal discussions with the Government of the Northwest Territories on Northern Accord matters have not occurred since July 1992, when GNWT suspended accord negotiations. I would be very interested, therefore, in knowing what the Ministers position is in respect of the validity of the agreement that was signed on May 15, 1991, regarding the interests of the Yukon and the Northwest Territories in the Beaufort Sea. I want to know if that is, as far as the Minister is concerned, a valid agreement.
I am particularly interested in that question as it pertains to paragraph 2, where the Minister affirms that the accord between the Yukon and Canada formalizes the Yukons entitlement to a share of resource revenues for the entire Beaufort Sea, which is consistent with the Yukons interest in maximizing the dollars we get from this agreement and from the Beaufort Sea. The problem is the clash of interests within our jurisdiction. I, for one, share the view - which used to be passionately expressed by the Minister of Justice, when he was the Leader of the Official Opposition - that at least as important as the financial interests are the jurisdictional questions, especially given the bind that the Yukon was put in by the way in which the Yukon Act was drafted in 1898.
By way of a legislative return, or letter, I would like some assurance from the Minister of Economic Development that the Yukons jurisdictional interests have not been sacrificed for the sake of a short-term financial gain, and that the Yukon, at least, has every intention of respecting the May 15, 1991, agreement and will seek its enforcement, or at least still sees it as a basis for further discussions with the Northwest Territories, as well as with Ottawa.
Would the Minister be prepared to give me an undertaking to get back to me in writing on that question?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes.
Mr. McDonald: I have a few brief questions before we get into the line items, and I will run down them quickly.
The keep-mining-in-Canada initiative that I am sure the Minister is familiar with proposes a 10-point plan - five points are the responsibility of industry and five points are the responsibility of government - can the Minister tell us whether or not he supports, both in spirit and practice, the five points that are being promoted for government action?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I do not have my copy of the keep-mining-in-Canada mining initiative at my fingertips. I found very interesting moves and statistics in the initiative. I can say that I agree with the overall initiative, but without those five points at my fingertips, having not anticipated the question, I cannot answer it.
Mr. McDonald: It is the subject of a motion proposed on the Order Paper by the government side. I would have assumed that, because the government side was promoting acceptance of the keep-mining-in-Canada, 10-point plan, that the Minister was not going to disappoint the private Members in the government ranks by opposing it in any way. I presume that there would be general acceptance of the initiatives.
I was just about to ask the Minister a couple of questions with respect to a few of the points. I wanted to know what the governments position is and what action they are planning to take. Can the Minister tell us what he understands is meant by government respecting mineral property rights to reduce uncertainty and restore investor confidence? What does he understand the industry to mean by that? What would he advocate that the government do to meet this particular objective?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I often think of these questions as trick questions, and I am reluctant to stick my foot in my mouth. I would prefer to get back to the Member in writing about that.
Mr. McDonald: It is not a trick question, really. Neither is the next one, regarding changing the tax laws on mine reclamation funding to encourage investment in new mines. That is a fairly simple one. There was the case of the Curragh mine initially objecting to a trust fund being established for mine reclamation. What is his position with respect to the tax regime particularly, and to mine reclamation?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The department prepared a briefing note for the Government Leader when he went to the meeting of finance ministers in order that he could address some of those issues, some of which pertain to the companys present standing. If money were put into a mine reclamation fund, those funds cannot be written off as an expense in any given year. There are suggestions to develop a fund that operates similar to a registered retirement savings plan fund, whereby the company could initially use that money as a tax write-off and then the government could recoup the lost tax effort somewhere down the road. It is quite a complicated process, but I could check on tabling some of the suggestions that have been floating around about how to make those reclamation funds more advantageous to the companies and, at the same time, not substantially reduce government tax revenue.
Mr. McDonald: Well, that will be a balancing act. I will wait to see it happen. I do not know whether they both can be done as easily as some may think. If the Minister has some more information on that question, I would appreciate receiving it. Does the Minister believe that this recommendation is really a federal responsibility and not a territorial one?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Because of much of the tax effort in the Yukon and the way our tax structure is set up, it has to be done through the federal government. Also, with mining not presently devolved to YTG - as much as we have an interest in it - at this point it is still a federal responsibility. By the same token, it is important that the federal government listens to YTGs concerns regarding it, in order to attract investment.
Mr. McDonald: When he says tax effort in the Yukon, is he referring to the tax effort in the technical sense, or is he simply stating that the Yukon does not receive the revenue from the mining industry that would really make a difference if they were to promote tax breaks? Is that what he is saying? First of all, what does he mean by tax effort?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Presently, the amount of taxes that would be paid to the Yukon government are relatively minute on a scale of what a company would actually pay.
The crux of the matter is that with mining not being devolved to the Yukon Territory and the majority of the environmental legislation, such as the environmental review process, falling under the jurisdiction of the federal government, some of these matters could possibly be addressed in the development of that process, and I hope, prior to that process being completed, we will see mining devolved to the Yukon government so we can address many of these concerns.
Mr. McDonald: In the final point in promoting government action, it talks about launching a national initiative to build the necessary infrastructure for northern Canadas economic self-reliance.
Is the Minister given to believe that this recommendation is to build the infrastructure in advance of the development, or to build the infrastructure simultaneously with development or when mines come into production?
Hon. Mr. Devries: As for upgrading existing roads in advance of development, I think that it is a very important part of the overall program, but as far as building a road into a property on the assumption that the property is going to go ahead, I think that is something that we have to be cautious about.
Mr. McDonald: When the Minister talks about upgrading the road network to support the mining industry, what roads is the Minister specifically referring to? Is the Minister referring to the existing highway system, or is he talking about roads that are currently used as mining roads?
Hon. Mr. Devries: At this point, it would be the existing highway system, to ensure that they are up to standards, so that when a mine wishes to network into the road system at some point we can immediately begin to work toward that, rather than trying to fund two projects at the same time.
Mr. McDonald: I will ask some more questions about this later. I am interested in precisely what the government is planning to do. I understand that some of this activity is still in the planning stages, so I will wait until the spring session to pursue this further.
I would like to ask a question about the mining facilitator. The mining facilitator - I do not know if the position has been filled yet, but the Minister talked about a short list a little while ago - is it the responsibility of the person in this position to take a project from its inception and work through all of the various challenges and hurdles that a particular mining proponent might face in dealing with government? Is this person supposed to help a company understand the regulatory regime and work with the regulators in overcoming any hurdles?
What, precisely, is the role of this position?
Hon. Mr. Devries: That would be one of the functions. If a mining company shows a desire to go beyond the feasibility stage, that person would work very closely with them and their consultants to ensure that the process does not get stalled within the federal government. The person would monitor things to make sure that things move along, whether the process be at the YTG or federal level. Also, this person will be our representative on several other boards, including the IRC and YMAC.
Mr. McDonald: I would like to change direction here briefly. Much has been made of the need to diversify regional economies. This happened to be the subject of extensive discussion over the last seven years, when virtually every budget debate incorporated at least one or two hours of questions about what the government had done and would do for various regional economies. I feel duty bound to continue the tradition.
Can the Minister tell us what goals and targets they have laid out for diversifying and expanding regional economies around the territory? Do they have goals and targets? Do they have objectives for each rural regional economy?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Every government tries to come up with ways to encourage development in areas with high unemployment rates, and so on. We are working very closely with many of the First Nations to address some of the concerns they have within their communities.
We have had meetings with the Kaska Tribal Council and Kaska Forest Resources with regard to several prospects. We have had meetings with the Carmacks First Nation with regard to some of the economic opportunities that are appearing there. Discussions have also continued with the Pelly First Nation, as they are attempting to capitalize on some of their economic opportunities.
As well, we have recently encouraged several of the mining companies to work closely with the Na-Cho Nyak Dun regarding some exploration projects that are going on there. As well, with the price of silver rising, we will soon have to embark on discussions about United Keno Hill Mines.
We are keeping a very close working relationship with many of the rural communities and making them aware of investment opportunities as mining companies talk to us. Also, some of them are looking at other investment opportunities, such as in the tourism industry.
We are recognizing the importance of working with the small communities and the various organizations that represent them. Some of the community economic development officers who are funded through the economic development agreement also work very closely with our economic development officers. Many of the rural communities are getting very enthusiastic about some of the economic opportunities they are starting to hear about.
Mr. McDonald: Sometime during the next two or three weeks, could the Minister send us a list of goals and precise targets for employment and business activity they have with the various rural regional economies - Old Crow, Dawson, the Mayo area, Pelly, Carmacks, Ross River, Faro, Watson Lake, Teslin, Southern Lakes area, Haines Junction, the north highway? Could the Minister send us a list of precise targets and goals the department has for increasing employment and improving business activity for the coming year?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It would be more along the lines of strategic approaches than actual targets and numbers. I have discovered how dangerous it is to bring any number into this House.
Mr. McDonald: It is only dangerous if the Minister does not tell the truth.
All I am asking for is some sense of targets. I know the department has regular consultations with First Nations - or ought to - and business interests, the rural Chambers of Commerce, and other business proponents. However, for the last seven years, the substance of the discussion was that, despite the fact there had been lots of discussion and consultation, the increase in business and employment activity did not seem to impress the Opposition very much.
As a new Opposition, I am asking for some targets and goals, so we will all know, on the face of it, whether or not the government is actually meeting its targets. We can all judge the government by its own targets. I am sure the Minister does not want us to stand up and say that, no matter what happens, whatever it was is not enough. I am more than willing to judge economic activity by the goals and targets the government lays on the table.
That is what I am interested in, more so than just a statement that the business development officers will continue talking to proponents, First Nations and business consortiums, or even chambers of commerce. I am thinking more in terms of precision - how many jobs is the government targeting? They are obviously looking for success. What is success?
That way, we can get past the old discussion from the past seven years, which seems to suggest, by government Members, when they were in Opposition, that whatever the government did was not good enough.
Can the Minister provide us with something a little more specific?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I hope that what we come up with will satisfy the Member.
Chair: We will take a brief recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Is there further general debate on economic development?
Mr. McDonald: I just have a few more questions that I will put to the Minister quickly. The first one is the governments Yukon resource infrastructure initiative - the Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document we have heard so much about, with little consultation. The Minister indicated last spring that the government would be taking this document out to consultation shortly. That was about nine months ago. Could the Minister tell us what consultation shortly means? Has it already started? When is the consultation actually going to take place?
Hon. Mr. Devries: There was some consultation with some interest groups but, as I believe I mentioned in December, I hope to go on a community tour - if I ever get out of here. Some of the subject matter of that tour will be regarding the infrastructure and things like that.
As much as I believe in the Whitehorse Star, there was an indication that I had mentioned that we were not going to look at the investment because the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment was going to do it. That was a misunderstanding by their reporter. I had indicated to the reporter that that was one of the things that was on the Council on the Economy and the Environments list as one of the things they may be looking at. As for their actually making a decision to look at that particular item, they had not yet made that decision at that time.
Mr. McDonald: As far as the Yukon resource infrastructure initiative is concerned, is there going to be future consultation on this document? The Minister indicated that there had been some limited consultation already; who did the Minister consult with between last spring and today about the Yukon resource infrastructure initiative?
Hon. Mr. Devries: As I mentioned, they were not necessarily formal consultations; they were discussions with the Chamber of Mines and one other group that I cannot recall. These were informal, preliminary consultations, which I hope to have put into the economic summit and the discussions that will be taking place around the Yukon shortly.
Mr. McDonald: That is the second time that the Minister has said shortly. Last spring the Minister said that the Yukon resource infrastructure initiative would be going out for consultation shortly, and nine months later there is no consultation happening.
I think that we are lacking a definition of shortly. Will there be actual public consultation in February of 1994?
Hon. Mr. Devries: My goal is to have it between the end of this session and the beginning of the spring session.
Mr. McDonald: Does the Minister plan to consult with territorial organizations, including the Chamber of Mines, the chambers of commerce, the Federation of Labour, the Yukon Conservation Society, and literally any other Yukoner who wants to have some input into this economic plan?
Hon. Mr. Devries: We are going to try to encourage anyone who wants to have input into it, to have input.
Mr. McDonald: Does the Minister intend to be widely promoting the review process itself, so that people in all of the rural communities can have some say, and so that people will know well in advance that they should be preparing comments for the review? Is the Minister going to be leading the discussion himself, with various organizations? Does he know yet how that will work?
Hon. Mr. Devries: As the House has been sitting, I have not had a chance to finalize all of the plans. That is the direction I would like to go. I would like to try and make myself available at the majority of the meetings. It will not be a high-priced, million dollar venture or anything like that. We are basically going to give Yukoners the opportunity to participate.
Mr. McDonald: In leading this discussion, the Minister would be prepared, of course, to accept invitations from organizations that may want to discuss the initiative. Is that correct? For example, if the Federation of Labour asked him to go to their convention and speak about this particular initiative, would he be prepared to do that?
Hon. Mr. Devries: That would depend on when the convention is, but if we have all of the plans finalized when it takes place, I would be pleased to do that.
Mr. McDonald: I think all Ministers should not be too captivated by the impression that because they are sitting in the House, there are no expectations that they continue to work on various initiatives. Time does not stop because the House is in session. Obviously, everyone works a little bit harder.
The Minister mentioned the fact that perhaps one newspaper article got his comments about access to capital or investment capital a little wrong - that they had not precluded the concept of initiating some sort of conference to bring investors and business together so that the investment community would know what the opportunities are in the Yukon and the small business community could impress upon the investment community what their needs were. Does the Minister intend to hold such a conference, or see to it that such an opportunity will exist in the near future?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Whether it specifically deals with that item, I do not know, but I definitely want to ensure that people are given the opportunity to discuss that.
Mr. McDonald: I am not sure what to make of the answer. The Minister knows that I suggested some time ago that an opportunity should be given to the investment community and small business to undertake a dialogue about what potential is in the Yukon, and I expressed the obvious fact that many people in the business community are concerned that investment bankers, government lending agencies, and private consortiums do not understand their needs, nor understand what exciting opportunities there are out there for investment. I am a little concerned that the Minister does not even know whether or not he wants to bring these people together or lead that kind of discussion.
What about the discussion about government regulation? The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has made it very clear on a number of occasions that they feel that an impediment to growth in the economy generally, and including the Yukon, is unnecessary regulation. I guess the definition of what unnecessary means is at issue. One has to decide whether or not some regulation is there only for administrative convenience and not absolutely essential. Whether or not that regulation should be removed is really the debate. Can the Minister tell us whether or not he thinks that bringing the business community together generally with the regulators and all other interested and affected parties might be a useful exercise for the government so that there is the potential of reducing unnecessary regulation?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It was a commitment in our four-year plan. I feel that we can do with much less red tape than we have. I am prepared to discuss that with the community any time.
Mr. McDonald: There are a lot of commitments in the four-year plan that are not necessarily active and will never see the light of day. I am more interested in seeing whether or not the Minister is going to give any commitment, in the near future, to this particular idea. Does he feel it worthwhile to bring the small business community together with the regulators?
Hon. Mr. Devries: If there are some concerns that are missed in our community tour, I would hope that it would be structured in such a way that the general public can make us aware of them. I am prepared to hold follow-up meetings to address those concerns. If we know of them ahead of time, we will try and address as many of those concerns as we possibly can. However, at times it is difficult to address every concern in the one single format. We may have to have a number of meetings to address the concerns of which we are made aware.
Mr. McDonald: I hope the Minister understands that I have never suggested that we somehow jam-pack all consultations on every subject into the Ministers community tour that he is planning to do sometime over the next couple of months. I am talking about something more specific than that. On the one hand, I am talking about getting investment bankers to see small business and getting small business to see regulators. Also, I am talking about having working conferences to try and reduce unnecessary regulation. I am not suggesting that it all be funneled through the Ministers ears so that he can take a decision on a suggestion to reduce red tape himself.
Perhaps I can ask the Minister if he is prepared to provide the opportunity for small business to talk to government regulators about what they see as unnecessary regulation, and whether or not he is prepared to facilitate that working discussion on the subject and will be inviting others who may be affected by the regulation to participate as well. I would also like to ask him about the community tour and what he plans to do. Will the Minister be travelling on his own or will there be other Ministers? What is the plan?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I did not get into the specific details. Originally, it was going to be done jointly between the Council on the Economy and the Environment and the Department of Economic Development. Since Economic Development involves the overall economy, I am sure they will be open to suggestions on whether tourism should be involved. I have not reached the final details of that, but I hope to shortly.
Mr. McDonald: I would urge the Minister to consider this with some urgency. It is of concern to us that the Council on the Economy and the Environment was given a mandate so late. It is a concern to us that they were reappointed so late in the governments term, particularly when the economy was obviously suffering considerably.
The Minister and I have had a number of conversations on the need for continued dialogue and for the need for discussions about the economy. I have made suggestions about some of the specific activities that might be undertaken and that involve facilitating a dialogue with a number of interested parties in the economy. These are the things people are demanding of me to present to the Minister.
I have to say that if the Council on the Economy and the Environment and the Minister have not worked out their travel schedules by the spring, we are going to be in really sad shape around here. If the agenda for the council is not clearly delineated, so we all know what the council is going to do and the Minister is going to do, we are going to be fumbling around, and more people are going to be suffering needlessly as a result.
I would urge the Minister to come to some conclusions on that matter and get a solid plan of action for presentation in the spring. Everybody will be expecting it, not just the people in this Legislature. Anything less than a really solid plan would be considered unwise.
I have a question about the community tour. I asked the Minister whether or not he was going to be going around the territory by himself, or with staff or colleagues. Will he be going around by himself, or with colleagues? Will he be touching base in every community? Will he be going to every community?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Inasmuch as my plans are fairly preliminary, my hope would be that I would be accompanied by various members of the department, and I would encourage the local MLA, no matter of what stripe, to also participate in the discussions, and things like that. We want to make sure it is as open as possible and that no one would feel they had not had the opportunity to participate.
Mr. McDonald: The Minister is talking about going to every community is he? Is that what he is saying?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, at this point, that is the plan.
Mr. McDonald: Is the Minister going to go to Faro? Is it still considered a community by government definition?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, we will.
Mr. Harding: I am pleased to once again hear that the Minister has reconfirmed his trip to Faro. It is certainly going to be an interesting experience to have the Minister back. Three days ago, January 21, was the last time the Minister visited our fair community. I know there are a lot of things underway that they are going to want to discuss with the Minister. I am sure the council will be pleased to entertain some discussions with the Minister, as will some of the people interested in developing business opportunities in the community.
Is the Government Leader planning to return to Faro? It has been over a year now since he visited with the Minister of Economic Development.
Hon. Mr. Devries: The Government Leader is not here right now and he would have to answer that himself.
I believe that I have been there twice since January 21 of last year. I believe that I was there with the select committee on land claims, and there was one other very brief visit that I made to Faro.
Mr. Harding: The Minister will have to forgive, but I do not know if stopping for gas counts as an official visit. I have not seen the Minister in Faro in his official capacity as the Minister responsible for Economic Development and Mining, the economic development agreement, the business development fund and all of those very important programs in my riding. Without dickering about how many times the Minister has visited Faro, I say only that we anxiously await an opportunity to discuss some issues face to face with the Minister and I am sure that it will be a fruitful occasion.
Some time back, during Question Period, I asked about the joint agreement that had been made between YGC Resources and Wheaton River Minerals about the Grew Creek property and the former Canamax/Ketza River Mine. I asked about the potential for an open-pit, three-year gold mining development project at that site, and I also asked that the Minister urge local hire, taking advantage of some of the experience of people in Faro, who have experience as open-pit miners, processors and trades people.
The business community is very interested in the prospects of this open-pit development, because at this point every bit helps in our community in moving toward a long-term future and the longevity of our community.
I have written to both companies involved and I understand that Wheaton River Minerals is doing most of the management work at the property.
Can the Minister tell me, because a lot of my constituents are interested in this particular development and have asked me questions about it, what he knows about the project and where the project is now? There has been talk in the community about potential work in the spring. I have no idea about that, because I am still awaiting an answer from the companies involved. I would like to know if the Minister can tell me anything about the project.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I just spoke to one of the proponents approximately one week ago, and while I am not at liberty to discuss everything that he indicated to me, I can say that the process is underway right now with regard to the environmental process to expand the tailings at the Ketza property. I also believe that the water licence will have to be renewed.
Work is underway in that area. As for environmental work, the company is hoping to proceed very shortly.
Mr. Harding: More than likely, what you are going to be seeing this spring would be environmental preparatory work and reclamation work, as opposed to actual mining going on. If that is the case, can he tell us when the proponents envision the actual mining development taking place?
Hon. Mr. Devries: People can have all the plans in the world, but the environmental process has to be addressed first. It would be very premature to give any indications of anything beyond that of the permitting, which will begin very shortly. Anything else would just be speculation.
Mr. Harding: I look forward to asking more questions. I am looking forward to a response from the companies involved. Perhaps they could tell me more in terms of specifically what they are planning, and time lines. I have been getting a lot of questions from my constituents about it.
I want to move on to another issue, and that is regarding a legislative return that I received today. The legislative return was regarding a firehall that was built in Tagish. Very often, when the Minister of Justice, much like the Minister of Tourism, gets up and wants to make a political point, they will say just about anything off of the top of their head - whether it makes any sense or not.
I asked the Minister to give me some comparative figures so that I could take a look at the claims the Minister of Justice has made in the past that the beacon - or testimonial - to the Yukon Partys wondrous ability to bring buildings in on budget is the Tagish firehall, as opposed to two firehalls built by the previous administration that cost considerably more.
I took the bait, and asked the Minister to provide me with some comparative specs for the three firehalls in question. I did get a legislative return today from the Minister, that says, Every firehall design should be tailored to the requirements of a particular community. Therefore, direct building specification comparisons are not relevant. Yet, it seems that naming the buildings in a comparative fashion is quite relevant to the Minister of Justice and the Yukon Party government when they try and score a political point - whether or not it has any merit in this Legislature.
I do not, in any way, shape or form, accept that they are not relevant. I have a total for the Tagish firehall of $165,650, but I do not know the specifics of the project, nor do I know the specifics of the other two firehalls that the Minister of Justice likes to talk about when he talks about the prowess of the Yukon Party in terms of their fiscal restraint.
I would like to ask the Minister of Justice to provide me with the specs for all three buildings, so that I can make an informed judgment as to the prowess of the Yukon Party Government in this area.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I will have to speak to the Minister of Community and Transportation Services, as I believe he is responsible for the other two buildings. I will see what I can do.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Hon. Mr. Devries: Mining facilitators and interviews cost $36,000 and departmental receptionist, financed by vacancies in other branches, cost $31,000. Summer students from Yukon College STEP program cost $8,000. A subscription for new library software cost $3,000. Miscellaneous changes amounted to $1,000. This all adds up to $79,000.
Administration in the amount of $79,000 agreed to
On Energy and Mines
Hon. Mr. Devries: The Burns Fry contract to evaluate Curraghs finances cost $147,000. The implementation review committee contract for representation cost $30,000. In energy policy, there was a reduction of $16,000. There were other reductions, and the total is $159,000.
Mr. McDonald: Would the Minister be prepared to table the data collection contract results for the United Keno Hill Mines closure. I believe that contract is to be finished January 31. Would he table that information?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Is the Member referring to Silver Trail? It has been delayed at this point. I suppose when it is done, we can do that.
Energy and Mines in the amount of $159,000 agreed to
On Economic Policy, Planning and Research
Hon. Mr. Devries: There were personnel costs for the Northern Accord, involving the manager, oil and gas analyst and two technical regulatory advisors, amounting to $104,000.
Mr. McDonald: Of that $104,000, does that include the balance of the $333,000?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Sorry, I quit at that line. Could the Members get back to me on when would be a good time for a briefing on the Northern Accord? I believe any time is good for the department; however, we do need some advance notice, as they are very busy.
There was a $45,000 reduction for a vacancy in the research analyst administration assistant position. The position is to be deleted. There was the establishment of the Northern Accord office, and $145,000 is for contracts, consultation, drafting regulations, review of regulatory options and policy assessments, inspection of Yukon well sites, contribution to CYI for consultation, outside travel interviewing, and advertising.
The contribution for CYI is $50,000; outside travel is $43,000; interviewing and advertising is $12,000; communications is $10,000; travel inside the Yukon is $9,000; computer support is $6,000; miscellaneous is $10,000. There is a reduction of $11,000 in reduced discretionary spending in travel and advertising.
If the Member followed that, it should add up to $333,000.
Economic Policy, Planning and Research in the amount of $333,000 agreed to
On Economic Programs
Hon. Mr. Devries: This is a vacancy for an ADM position and maternity leave for an economic development officer - a reduction of $92,000.
Economic Programs in the amount of an underexpenditure of $92,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of $479,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
On Departmental Equipment, Furniture and Office Space
Hon. Mr. Devries: An increase from $30,000 to $41,000 is required to provide for office furniture, equipment and hiring expenditures for a mining facilitator position. That is the $11,000.
Departmental Equipment, Furniture and Office Space in the amount of $11,000 agreed to
Administration in the amount of $11,000 agreed to
On Economic Policy, Planning and Research
On Northern Oil and Gas Accord Implementation
Hon. Mr. Devries: This is for a new program pursuant to the signing of the Northern Accord transferring federal responsibilities in oil and gas to Yukon; up to 10 positions may be established. The 1993-94 supplementary capital relates to the first five positions, which will carry out the implementation planning. Furniture and equipment $27,000, office renovations $36,000, and personal computers and local area network $59,000, for a total of $122,000.
Northern Oil and Gas Accord Implementation in the amount of $122,000 agreed to
Economic Policy, Planning and Research in the amount of $122,000 agreed to
On Economic Programs
On Community Development Fund
Hon. Mr. Devries: This is for funding of $300,000 transferred to the Department of Education for construction of the gymnastics facility at Jeckell.
Community Development Fund in the amount of an underexpenditure of $300,000 agreed to
On Business Development Fund
Hon. Mr. Devries: Funding of a $75,000 loan transferred to the Department of Education for construction of a gymnastics facility at Jeckell Junior High.
Business Development Fund in the amount of an underexpenditure of $75,000 agreed to
On Economic Development Agreement
Hon. Mr. Devries: Applications under the Renewable Resources subagreement were less than budgeted.
Mr. McDonald: Would the lapse be greater if the abattoir project was not pursued? Perhaps the Minister could find this information and deliver it to the Minister of Renewable Resources because we will be discussing the abattoir project before too long. If he could give us that information at that time, it would be very much appreciated.
Do lapsing funds mean that they are lost or will there be a rollover of funds into another year?
Hon. Mr. Devries: In the economic development agreement they are lost. They do not roll over.
Mr. McDonald: So, this $500,000 is essentially lost to the Yukon - or will be lost to the Yukon once it lapses at the end of the fiscal year. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, 30 percent would be our funding and 70 percent is lost. It does not roll over. None of the EDA rolls over.
Mr. McDonald: Were there any applications for funding under the renewable resource agreement that were rejected or for which the project could not go ahead for one reason or another that could have taken advantage of this money?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I do not believe any projects were rejected because of a lack of money. Some of them would have been rejected because they had not been accepted by the review committee.
Mr. Cable: With respect to the lapsed funds, were there any attempts to negotiate with federal officials to retain those funds - in effect, demand the agreement?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I believe that I provided all the Members with a copy of the agreement, and it very specifically states that there is no rollover and that there is no avenue to rollover.
Economic Development Agreement in the amount of an underexpenditure of $500,000 agreed to
Economic Programs in the amount of an underexpenditure of $875,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures in the amount of an underexpenditure of $742,000 agreed to
Department of Economic Development agreed to
Chair: We will go on to Government Services. Is there any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I will need my other book. At this time, I would ask that we recess until 7:30 p.m.
Chair: We will recess until 7:30 p.m.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Department of Government Services
Chair: We are dealing with Government Services. Is there any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Devries: First, I have a handout on contracts that I would like to have the Pages distribute to the Members, and I have some opening statements.
The Government Services supplementary budget requirements total $836,000 in the operation and maintenance vote and $375,000 on the capital side of expenditures. The forecast overages can be attributed to one of two factors. Either they result from uncontrollable costs such as electrical rate increases or they result from budget activity estimates that have been modified to reflect changes since the budget was prepared.
The variance resulting from uncontrollable or demand-driven costs amounts to $906,000, and can be described as follows: increased private sector climbing rates, business incentive policy, $350,000; electrical rate increase, $188,000; cancellation of federal GTA agreement, $101,000; new maintenance expense for the Thomson Centre, $92,000; personnel transfer from other departments, $78,000; higher Hansard costs due to longer session, $30,000.
Do you want me to repeat that one again, Mr. Chair?
There were also decreased recoveries from Community and Transportation Services for maintenance, $27,000; insurance premium increases for additional schools, $25,000; and, accounting change and auctioneering services for $15,000.
The variance breakdown related to the budget-setting exercise amounts to $502,000, as follows: projected lease savings not realized, $102,000; projected demand for postage not demonstrated, $100,000; and forecast vacancies not experienced, $300,000.
As partial offset of these forecast overages, Government Services has deferred systems development projects and contract services where possible, restricted recruitment for vacant positions and reduced any available discretionary spending. Due to the size of several of the uncontrollable expenses and a dedication of almost 50 percent of total budget to personnel, any further reductions of significance will be realized only through a reduced workforce by means of major personnel costs.
The cancellation of the federal government telecommunications agreement results directly from the Northwestel refusal to accept the combined government organizations as a single client. This union would have afforded each government a significant cost savings on an annual basis. Without the approval to consolidate, the federal government determined that no benefits would be accruing to them from activities of the Government of Yukon and therefore cancelled the GTA agreement, effective May 1993.
Impacting significantly on the ability of the department to respond to the uncontrollable expenses and the optimistic budget projections are three factors, which account for $870,000 in funding, which has been available to the department in previous years.
Base budget salary for 13 positions vacant at the time of budget preparation was removed from the department budget estimate. This reduction of $586,000, coupled with an uncharacteristic lack of vacancies based on historical patterns, has left the department without the capability to respond to additional critical needs for program staffing with appropriated funds.
The lack of new funds for computer workstations supports costs for 1993-94 acquisitions planned by other departments. These support costs include software licensing, staff training, hardware maintenance and so on. The 1993-94 budget shortfall is forecasted to be about $187,000. The addition of 10 buildings to the government building inventory, for which Government Services received no funds for maintenance, all require building support from other department programs. The 1993-94 expenses are forecasted to be $97,000.
With respect to the operations and maintenance requirements, the following items highlight the principal needs: $527,000 for personnel and $309,000 for other expenses. The request for additional personnel monies was $406,000 to fund program staffing. Owing to operational requirements, the positions of director, policy and planning, contracts coordinator, personnel officer, financial assistant, computer technician, auxiliary maintenance personnel and auxiliary computer operators had to be staffed. An additional contributing factor to the shortage in personnel funds resulted when $203,000 in planned position vacancies, based on historical vacancy rates, did not occur.
There was a $64,000 transfer from the Department of Education to fund the salary and benefits associated with a position transfer of an industrial mechanic. This transfer of funds is offset in the Department of Education by a reduction in forecast expenditures. The position was moved to Government Services. While with the Department of Education, the industrial mechanic position was isolated from other trades support. By deferring the position, it is anticipated that the broader trade group available in Government Services can more effectively support school equipment maintenance, while the industrial mechanic machinist expertise can be utilized in the maintenance of all government buildings.
There is $45,000 required to fully fund the salary and benefits of an applications specialist position resulting from the deferred downsizing plan for the information systems branch.
For increased projections of shift premiums and auxiliary benefits, $42,000 is required. There is a $15,000 transfer from Community and Transportation Services to Government Services to fund the groundskeeping maintenance on the waterfront using Government Services personnel. This transfer is offset in Community and Transportation Services by a reduction in forecast expenditures.
It is expected that operating efficiencies similar to the results anticipated from the transfer of the industrial mechanics position will also occur by the transfer of funds and responsibility for the maintenance of the waterfront landscaping, as Government Services is currently maintaining landscaping on the adjacent government properties.
The principal cost items in the Other allotment include the following three items: electrical rate increase, $188,000; $100,000 increase for postage as a reduction in demand was not demonstrated from departments; new maintenance expenditures for the Thomson Centre, $92,000 increase.
On the capital side of program expenditures, the largest contributor to additional requirements is the business incentive policy for construction rebate program, which requires an additional $347,000 in funding. This represents a direct positive impact in the Yukon private sector, as monies are paid to contractors using Yukon labour, apprentices, and locally manufactured materials. The significant increase reflects the impact of several large projects that were completed during 1992-93, for which claiming is now underway.
This supplementary includes two job creation initiatives - one in the property management branch, and the other in the information systems branch. The initiatives in the property management branch, under the capital appropriation, are aimed primarily at improving handicapped access in the main administration building, and installing electric door openers in Yukon College and the Law Centre. In addition, funding has been set aside to undertake improvements to the administration buildings in Haines Junction and Watson Lake.
Some $80,000 in funding no longer required for phase 3 renovations for the legislative precincts has been redirected to fund those initiatives.
Some of the projects under consideration to improve handicapped access to the main administration building include expansion of two existing washrooms to enable wheelchair access, as none are currently available; electric door openers at the south entrance; inclusion of a Legislative Assembly Gallery viewing area for wheelchair-bound citizens; strobe lights on fire alarms for hearing impaired; and new doormats in the entrance foyer. Private sector labour will be used to the greatest degree possible for those renovations.
In the information systems branch, $25,000 has been identified to consolidate the telecommunications cabling requirements in the main administration building into one project. The new cabling is needed, as the current type of cabling cannot handle the high speed transmission requirements of the new Iservices such as local area networks. In 1992, information systems established structured wiring standards that will not only handle the speed, but will also be more cost effective over the long term than the ad hoc cabling approach used in the past. The funds will be used to implement the structured wiring standard on the third floor where it is deemed that the need is the greatest and the current cabling is the poorest. It is anticipated that this initiative will provide continuous employment for the private sector cabling firm.
In conclusion, it is clear that the ability to continue to provide required government-wide services, despite the $10.4 million and the $59.9 million reductions in O&M and capital budgets, respectively, from prior years, was overly optimistic. All possible avenues for significant expenditure reductions have been investigated by Government Services and implemented.
With these brief details, I will conclude my remarks and offer to address any questions on individual items that Members opposite might have on the funding requested in this supplementary budget.
Mr. Harding: I do not think I will have a lot of general debate tonight in Government Services. When we went through the capital budget for 1994-95, I pretty well exhausted the governments strategic plan for 1994-95. I asked a lot of questions regarding some of the initiatives outlined in the document. Some of the answers were satisfactory and some were not. We will have another opportunity, with the spring budget, to engage in further discussions on those documents.
I just have a general question on the business incentive policy; we originally budgeted $250,000. The Legislature is now being asked to approve an almost $600,000 vote. The Minister gave us some explanation in his opening dissertation about the reasons for this. I heard what he said, but I am not interested as much in the details regarding the $347,000 increased vote as I am in knowing what the Minister thinks about it. In the past, when the present government was in Opposition, there was a major move on their part to do away with the business incentive policy. We now have a situation where we have a $600,000 vote for this particular item, when it was first brought in at $250,000. Is the Minister concerned about that? Is he happy with the way the claims seem to be coming in now, or does he feel that there could be a better way of establishing, early in the year, a more accurate estimate? Does he agree with the program?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The program has been reviewed. All indications point to it being successful in meeting the majority of its objectives.
In the 1994-95 budget, we now have much better indications of what it takes to run the program. I believe that it is 1.2 percent of the cost of the capital projects to which it applies.
I tabled a fairly lengthy legislative return just a few days ago. The Member may have had an opportunity to review it. In addition, the indications are that, while there is a fair amount of money flowing from Government Services into this program, some of the contractors could be bidding on these projects one percent lower, in anticipation of receiving these funds. There is nothing to say that this is a net cost to government. It is difficult to confirm this, but these are some of the indications that are coming in. In discussions with the contractors, some of them have said that they have been operating on very tight profit margins. They indicate that they do take it into consideration. It is safe to say that there is no way that this is costing the government $514,000, because there are definitely some savings along the line for us. It also encourages outside contractors to hire Yukon workers.
Overall, especially with our economy in its current condition, I think it is a very important program as an incentive for contractors to hire Yukon labour, Yukon apprentices and so on.
Mr. Harding: Let me just say that we, on this side, the Official Opposition, certainly support the program. It was, of course, brought in by the former administration. If I were a smart contractor, I would certainly factor in the business incentive policy, if I was well-aware and well-acquainted with the contract regulations, to ensure that I could have the low bid, or as close to the low bid as possible. So, I am certain that a lot of contractors are doing that. I do not see anything wrong with that. As a matter of fact, it was designed, in some manner, for that particular purpose. I also understand the Ministers point when he said that he does not feel that it is costing us all of that amount for those reasons, but is he concerned about the budgeting process? Will this be normal procedure? Does he think that we are going to vote $250,000 and end up with better than a 100 percent revote in the supplementaries to try and meet what it actually came in at, in terms of expenditure?
Hon. Mr. Devries: One of the problems was that history over the past two years was relatively poor, since it was a relatively new program. Last year was the first year that we were able to get an accurate handle on what the anticipated rebates could be. That is why we feel quite confident that in the 1994-95 budgeting process, we had the figures reasonably well under control.
Another important aspect of the bid process is that it also helps us to get a fairly accurate gauging of exactly how many Yukon workers are working on jobs within the Yukon. If we saw a considerable reduction, say, in the coming year in BIP applications, then we would be concerned because, more than likely, it would mean that a lot of outsiders are coming in and doing some of these construction jobs. So, in a sense, it serves a two-fold purpose; it helps us monitor the amount of Yukon labour that actually goes into these jobs and it is not an overly expensive program, in that the bids do come in lower.
Mrs. Firth: I wanted to follow up on the business incentive policy. I personally have some difficulty with this program. I do not think that I really see the necessity for it. The Minister has made some claims that it is not an expensive program, and I would dispute that. I think that it is expensive; it is expensive to administer. We have already seen an increase in the program costs - it has increased almost three times from what it was before.
Could the Minister tell me something. I would not have thought that a conservative-thinking government would have supported a program of this nature. This government - the Government Leader in particular - is always standing up and saying that the local businesses bid competitively, and that they do not need any edge, incentive policies or preference policies. Can the Minister tell us exactly what his, and his colleagues philosophy is with respect to this kind of program?
If the Minister remembers the history of this program, the way that we finally arrived at a business incentive policy was that the previous government started out with various value-added concepts, which I completely disagreed with, and after they had mashed various programs completely, this was the end result. I personally do not feel that there is a need for this kind of program in the Yukon. Our contractors do bid competitively. They can take on outside bidders and contractors in a competitive way.
The Minister says that the bids are lower because of the business incentive policy, but I would challenge him to prove that. I think that is probably almost impossible to prove.
First, I would like to hear some comment from the Minister with respect to the philosophical concept of this kind of program, and then I will probably have some follow-up questions.
Hon. Mr. Devries: In the first place, it is also available to outside contractors. The beauty of the program is that it encourages outside contractors to hire a 80-percent Yukon labour component in order to take advantage of the program. Otherwise, quite often what happens is that the outsider would bring in a whole crew.
This program encourages a contractor to hire Yukon labour. It does not always work. I believe the Watson Lake High School is an example, although it was during the earlier phases of the program. The program has been perfected to a certain degree since then.
It does not apply to the Shakwak project, and things like that.
All indicators are that contractors are bidding lower because of it. I agree with the Member that it would be very hard to come up with hard proof of that, but I have to accept the fact that contractors have indicated to me that they do take it into consideration when they put their bids forward.
Rather than being a tool to ensure a bid preference for Yukon contractors, this is a tool to ensure that Yukon workers get the jobs. During this time of an economic downturn, it is even more important to ensure that Yukoners get jobs on these projects.
Mrs. Firth: It does not ensure that Yukoners will get the jobs. I have a fair amount of confidence that when local contractors bid on jobs they hire local people anyway. In many instances, outside contractors also hire a certain percentage locally. The only time that contractors get reimbursed is if they apply through the business incentive policy. I understand, from contractors, that one of the reasons the program was not costing the government a lot of money was because a lot of the contractors were not bothering to apply for it, because it involved a lot of paperwork and subjective analysis by individuals within the Department of Government Services.
Now that times are tougher and the bidding is even more competitive, I think that is why contractors are taking advantage of the program. They see it as another way to gain some extra revenue through the whole tendering process.
Does the Minister really feel that this expenditure is justified? He has said that it was successful in meeting their goals. The only success the Minister has cited is that it made the cost of the tenders lower, but he has no hard facts to substantiate that. Again, I think it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to prove that.
The other point the Minister has made is that more local people are hired, but I would draw to the Ministers attention that it is probably very difficult to prove that. The Minister cannot just stand up and say if we did not have this policy in place the contractors would not have hired local people. That would not be a fact.
I question the merits of the program. It is an expense, and it is time consuming. It puts government employees to work evaluating the applications the contractor has to make for reimbursement through a business incentive program. Philosophically, I do not think that Yukon contractors need any bid preferences or any special advantages to make them equally competitive with outside contractors. I believe I have heard the Government Leader stand up and say the same thing. I would have anticipated that this would be one program the government would look at ending.
Has the Minister even considered looking at it to try to find out whether it is necessary and, when he gets up and makes these claims, being able to substantiate them and prove them?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, it was very seriously looked at. I certainly am supportive of the program. The other part of the program is that it encourages contractors to hire local apprentices and it encourages them to use local products. It is just going to have to boil down to a matter of a difference of opinion between me and the Member for Riverdale South.
I am sure it will be reviewed on an annual basis by this side. I agree, we cannot come up with undisputable proof that it is doing what we like to think it is doing. I have to also accept the fact that in discussions I have had with contractors they have reduced their profit margins to account for the programs. I will have to leave it at that.
Mrs. Firth: I just want to follow up with one more issue that the Minister has raised tonight about local products. That was one of the points about the program that the Minister said was the weakest - that the government had very little evidence and that what evidence they did have did not substantiate that any more local goods were purchased as a result of this program. I remember discussing this with the Minister before the Christmas break.
My recommendation to the government is that they look at this program again, particularly in light of the fact that they cannot substantiate the goals or objectives that they say the program is fulfilling. I would further recommend that they look at it with a view to possibly terminating it in the near future.
Hon. Mr. Devries: I would just like to clarify something. If there is a weak link in the program, that means the uptake in that area is very low. It does not mean that it is costing the government more money in that respect. If there is very low uptake on the materials component, it is not costing us any money. The only time money goes out is when it can be proven that there is a net benefit in terms of Yukoners getting jobs and Yukon materials being used on the project. I would say that the matter the Member raised regarding materials is questionable.
Mrs. Firth: When we discussed this previously, before the Christmas break, the Minister said that the purchase of local materials was one component of the program that was not used very much or to capacity. Tonight, he said that this was one of the reasons why the government was continuing with the program. He said it encouraged contractors to purchase locally. Obviously, they are not if they are not claiming, in the business incentive policy, for local purchases. It is just another part of the program that does not appear to be achieving the goals the government is saying is one of the reasons for continuing it.
Hon. Mr. Devries: Prior to Christmas, I had mentioned that the uptake had been very low on the materials. Still, I believe that 34 percent of the funding has been for materials. Obviously, it must be having an impact on encouraging companies to use local materials.
The breakdown that I have here is 57 percent for labour, nine percent for apprentices and 34 percent for materials.
Mr. Penikett: I would like to begin in general debate by asking the Minister a question about a legislative return that he provided on January 12, in answer to a question I asked on January 4 regarding long-term leases by the government.
I am grateful to the Minister for providing the answer so quickly; however, the small print at the bottom of the page states, The information provided here encompasses leases entered into by Government Services. It includes all government departments, but not Crown corporations. It so happens that I was interested in Crown corporations, as well as leases. I wonder if the Minister could give me an undertaking that, before we clear the whole budget - not just this department - he could get back to me with a legislative return that answers the same question about Crown corporations?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It is my understanding that we do not handle their leases for them. I am sure that we can contact the Crown corporations and have them forward that information to us.
Mr. Penikett: I appreciate the point made by the Minister, but at least when I was in government, the Crown corporations were expected to observe something akin to the same rules as those by which Government Services operates leases for the rest of the government. It is the observance of those rules that is at issue. Therefore, I am particularly keen to find out whether any Crown corporation has, at any time in the last several years, violated the rules. For that reason, the answer that the Minister has already provided me with will only be complete once I get the information about the Crown corporations.
Having received that undertaking from the Minister, I wonder if I could ask him a second general question, which he may not be able to answer tonight. In looking through the contracts lists that he has provided, one notices a large number of janitorial contracts for a large number of government buildings. Without having last years contract list before us, it is impossible to do any comparison of expenditures in this area in this year compared to previous years.
I wonder if I can direct a general question to the Minister. Are there any janitorial services for government buildings or leased buildings, where the janitorial service was previously provided in house, that he has in the last year contracted out? The second part of this question is this: would it be possible - I do not mean this evening but perhaps at some point in the next day or two - for the department to give us a comparison of expenditures in this area with the immediate previous year, so that we can get some sense of the trend line here?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Most of the janitorial contracts in government buildings are in the rural areas. To the best of my knowledge, nothing has changed in the number of publicly tendered contracts, although I stand to be corrected on that. I will supply the information that the Member requested.
Mr. Penikett: Let me observe that I understood it to be the case that janitorial services for rural offices were usually provided by private contractors. What has caught everbodys attention on this side of the House are the janitorial services for facilities like the Lynn Building, 201 Range Road and the Taylor Chev building right next door here. I do not know what the situation was at 201 Range Road when it was a federal building, but perhaps the Minister might be mindful of the situation in Whitehorse, particularly when he replies to the previous question.
In the interests of expediting the debate, I would like to ask a couple of questions about the policy changes in the past year. I cannot find it in the Gazette, but recently someone told me that the government allegedly passed a totally bizarre order-in-council or regulation or Management Board directive this past summer, to the effect that no department anywhere in the government would be allowed to spend any money on architects or architectual services without the express approval of Management Board. As the Minister knows, I am occasionally a partisan and quite prepared to believe amazing things about the government opposite, but this was so astonishingly wrong-headed and bizarre a move as to find it hard to credit it to any government, so I would be interested in knowing if the Minister can tell me if Management Board passed any regulation governing the commissioning of architectural work at all, and perhaps he could tell us what it is.
Hon. Mr. Devries: There has been no change in the regulations, but, at this point, Management Board does review any contract that requires architectural or consultant design work.
Mr. Penikett: Well, the Minister said two things that I find interesting. One, he says there had been no change in policy and then he said that Management Board is required to review any contract that involves architectural work. I certainly do not believe that was the case during the time I was in government, that Management Board reviewed all architectural work. I think our Management Board would regard that as a grotesque waste of time. So, perhaps the Minister could explain exactly what he meant by Management Board reviewing the architectural work because if that is the case, that must be a new policy.
Hon. Mr. Devries: We do not review the work. All that is questioned is whether or not an architect is needed for a particular job, or whether it could be done in house.
Mr. Penikett: I want to know from the Minister whether this is a new policy and, if it is, when was it adopted? I also want to be clear about whether I am expressing it correctly. The Minister is saying that Management Board, a group of Ministers, essentially, decides whether or not architectural work is justified on any particular proposed public work. Is that the case? Is there a dollar limit attached to this, or do they just decide whether or not an architect should be employed? Could he explain that?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Right now, the directive is that when any department puts forward a project, regardless of value, and recommends that a design consultant or an architect be hired, the project is reviewed by Management Board to ensure that it is really needed.
Mr. Penikett: I am stunned by this. Why would Management Board, one, want to decide whether or not an architect was needed; two, how would Management Board know whether an architect was needed or not; and, three, what criteria does it use to decide the question?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Most of it arose when there was a concern about overdesigning buildings and things like that. It is just a matter of checking some of those concerns.
Mr. Penikett: I take it, then, that it is the Ministers view that when a building is overdesigned it is not the fault of the client or user groups or anybody else - it is a congenital failure of architects. What is the Ministers belief about that?
Hon. Mr. Devries: No. It is basically to ensure that the departments take a careful look at the recommended design of buildings and the recommendation on whether what they are doing specifically would need a design consultant or an architect.
Mr. Penikett: If the Minister needed brain surgery, I am almost certain he would want to go to a qualified brain surgeon, not a barber, and he certainly would not want to go to Management Board if he wanted to decide between the two.
There has been much wicked humour recently about the fact that the government recently entertained design proposals in respect of a building - I think it was the Golden Horn School - one of which I was told was submitted by a psychologist and another by a person with no professional qualifications whatsoever. Why would the Department of Government Services, which ought to be worried about building standards and the integrity of building processes, and concerned about value for money, allow all sorts of people to bid on architectural work when it would never consider doing that for engineering work or carpenter work or electrical work or plumbing work or any other kind of work. Why would the department believe that a totally unskilled person could do architectural work but not plumbing or electricity or carpentry or engineering?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I would think that in the evaluation process we would catch the brain surgeon trying to build a building. Anyone can bid on a project. You do not have to have any qualifications to bid on a project but, during the evaluation process, if you cannot prove you have the qualifications, your bid will not even be considered.
Mr. Penikett: Perhaps I will get to that. However, in fact, it is not the case that anyone can bid on professional engineering work. It is not the case that anyone can bid on electrical work, if it requires a qualified person. It is not the case that any old person can bid on any series of jobs that require professional skills. Usually, those professional skills are laid out in government standards.
I am curious why this government believes that architects have no value or skills that have importance, and that their job can be replicated by-
I see the Government Leader wants to explain this. This should be fascinating.
Why does the Government Leader believe that while we set minimum professional standards for almost all kinds of work involving public standards and public safety, we can do without them in respect to architects? Could he also tell us why Management Board would want to think it would know when an architect is needed and when not?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I do not know if I can explain in great detail what the Member is after. It may be necessary to bring back a legislative return.
What we were trying to determine - and I believe we have - is whether or not it is always necessary to have an architect. If we put up a firehall, is it necessary to have an architect, or can we have an engineered design? Management Board was looking at trying to curtail the costs of architects.
If we are putting up a building that has a unique design, we need an architect. We are trying to get plans on the shelf, and we are now buying architectural designs when we put the bid out. It is in the tender that we own the design once it is completed, not the architect. That way, we can build a standard school and a standard firehall. You can change the designs without having to go to a whole new set of architectural plans. That is what we are trying to accomplish to keep the cost of buildings down.
Mr. Penikett: I am pretty sure that someone who is a professional would tell the Government Leader that even if one bought a standard design for a school, for example, the fact of the character of the land would require some amendments or adjustments to the design. The fact that the school populations vary from one school to another requires some adjustments.
Particularly for buildings that are going to be inhabited by human beings, engineers are not trained to deal with those facts. Presumably, the whole profession of architecture is not just about providing tidy, efficient boxes, but about trying to get facilities designed in a way in which their function is maximized for the people working in them and for the efficiency of whatever activity is going on.
Once again, the government seems to be focussed almost entirely on the question of costs, and seems to have the wrong-headed notion that architects are responsible for expensive designs or overbuilding.
I would like to ask the Government Leader or Minister if, before they made this decision, they took any time to be briefed by anyone in the architectural industry or any other industry about what architects actually do? Did they wonder why, in most places in Canada, people who are planning a building in which humans will work require architects?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Surely the Member opposite is not telling me that every time we build a firehall in some community, we have to hire an architect to come up with a new set of plans. What we are trying to do is to rationalize the cost of construction in the Yukon.
There are buildings that architects are required for, and where an entire basic design is required. If we are going to have an off-the-shelf design, we still need an architect to redesign it for the lay of the land, as the Member opposite said. However, we do not have to start from scratch. That is what we are trying to do when we rationalize how buildings are constructed in the Yukon.
Mr. Penikett: I do not want to spend an excessive amount of time on this, but just let me point out the contradiction between the statements made by the Minister of Government Services and the Government Leader now, suggesting that you can have a generic design which, again, does not invalidate the requirement of an architect. Then, the answer filed by the Minister of Economic Development today with respect to the Tagish firehall, in which he says every firehall design should be tailored to the requirements of a particular community. Therefore direct building specifications comparisons are not relevant.
Well, I will say no more.
Let me ask the Minister of Government Services this: when was this Management Board directive adopted?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I would say some time last summer.
Mr. Penikett: Well, why did the Minister tell me there was no new policy?
Hon. Mr. Devries: There is not a regulation change. It is an interim measure while we develop a policy.
Mr. Penikett: Oh, it is an interim measure. Well, is Management Board approval required if a department proposes to use an engineer with respect to developing a project?
IHon. Mr. Devries: As I understand it, whether it is a design consultant or an architect, yes. In the submission, if Management Board feels the department should be able to handle it internally, it is. It seemed to be that before, for just about everything from an outhouse to whatever, an architect was being hired - office space planning and everything. Right now, if we have the expertise and the time, we recommend it be done in house.
Mr. Penikett: I am not making an argument between doing it in house and outside because, of course, there is at least one architect in Government Services, as well there should be, not for the least of reasons of having a professional deal with other professionals.
Did the Minister, prior to adopting this Management Board directive, discuss it with the professional architects here or get any advice from anybody who knew anything about architecture about the wisdom of doing what they did?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The architects have raised the concern with us and I find it interesting that the Member today was flashing around a copy of the architectural act from B.C. I have a copy of that one, plus I have one from Alberta, I believe, because they are concerned, and we are trying to address those concerns in a responsible manner.
Mr. Penikett: I am glad to hear that the Minister says he wants to address the concerns in a responsible manner, but I am not so sure that it is a responsible manner. The belief out there is that, just at the point when we start to have architectural firms setting up business in this town, this government is cutting off all work for them. The widespread belief out there is that the Minister does not know what he is doing, and that the present government does not understand what architects do, nor how to get value for money from architects.
Just for the record, I was not waving around the architectural act of British Columbia today. What I was tabling were the bylaws of the professional association of architects.
Now, the Minister can be certain if we had anybody in this territory who was proposing to do dental surgery in this territory without being licensed, or to practice medicine without being licensed, or to practice engineering without being licensed, or any one of a whole number of professions - or claim to be a chartered accountant without being licensed - there would be a serious ruckus.
I am very concerned about the notion that anybody can submit proposals to do architectural work to this government, whether they are qualified or not. The Minister said earlier, in answer to this question, that anybody can submit proposals, but if they are not qualified, the proposal will be thrown out. Perhaps he could explain that. Is that a reference to what I hear is the emergence of some kind of a two-envelope system in the Department of Government Services?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Whatever the evaluation process, it is used to ensure that unqualified people do not bid on these projects.
Mr. Penikett: I just cited a case where I was told on reliable authority that unqualified people were allowed to submit proposals in respect to the Golden Horn School. Let me ask the Minister this: what are the criteria for evaluating architectural proposals? The Minister says that it is qualifications. After that, is it simply a question of cost, or is there some other assessment? If there is, will the Minister table some document in this House telling us what it is?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The evaluation criteria is to determine whether the person that has put a proposal forward is qualified. Fifty percent of the criteria for the proposal is cost.
Mr. Penikett: Perhaps the Minister could elaborate. In evaluating design proposals, 50 percent of the criteria is attributed to cost. What are the other criteria? What is the rest? What is the other half?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The way the two-envelope system works is this: initially, there is a proposal call; then an evaluation is done and a threshold is established. On a highly technical project, perhaps the threshold would be 90 points out of 100. Anyone who is considered must fit within that 10-point threshold between 90 and 100. From that point on, price becomes the contributing factor. That is why we are saying that 50 percent of the criteria is price.
Mr. Penikett: It may be my fault, and I will have to read Hansard tomorrow to find out if I understood the Ministers explanation or not, but would he undertake to get back to us to elaborate more on the other half of the evaluation that is not related to cost? Let me ask at the same time if he could tell us who does the evaluation of those proposals and, after they are evaluated, do they still have to go back to Management Board?
Hon. Mr. Devries: No, definitely not, once the process is working properly. The client department, along with Government Services and whoever, are the ones who determine the evaluation. From that point on, it would go to the lowest bidder who fits within that threshold. A highly technical project could perhaps be between 90 and 100 points for something that is fairly basic. There could be a wider range of anywhere from 80 to 100.
Mr. Penikett: Obviously, the taxpayer wants buildings to be efficient and economic. Is the criteria of appearance or aesthetics also a factor in the qualification?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Everything would be considered in the proposal.
Mr. Penikett: The Minister has not indicated whether he will get back to us with more detail on this but, earlier on, he did suggest that I had been waving around an act, which I had not been, but he did say he had been looking at architectural acts from Alberta and British Columbia.
Can the Minister tell us if he has received representation from architects that there should be such a professional act in the Yukon? If so, is he considering bringing one to the Legislature?
Hon. Mr. Devries: That matter is still under review.
Mr. Penikett: By whom, the Minister or Cabinet?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It is presently under review by the Department of Government Services. Because things are quite different in the Yukon surrounding some of these issues and our regulations already deal with some things in that act, the department has still not come up with a recommendation to present to Cabinet.
Mr. Penikett: Some time ago, there was tabled in this House a document called something like architectural guidelines for the Yukon. Since the department appears to be willing to allow people who are not architects to do architectural work, may we assume that those guidelines are not now in effect for the Government of Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Devries: My understanding is that a design consultant is qualified to do some of that work. If a design consultant is qualified to do the job, and is competing with an architect, my understanding is that it is perfectly acceptable.
Mr. Penikett: I may be wrong, and the Minister may know more about this than I do, but is it not the case in most jurisdictions that design consultants usually work under the direction of architects?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I would have to get back to the Member on that. Perhaps I could find out exactly what is happening during the break.
Mr. Penikett: I would like to ask one last question. It is one I have asked before, but I am troubled with the Ministers answer.
The Minister indicated that this strange proposal that every request for an architects professional services with respect to a project must be referred to Management Board is an interim measure. Can I seek the Ministers assurances that, prior to a final or permanent measure being put in place by the government, the Minister and Cabinet will avail themselves of the advice of - or at least give a hearing to - professional architects? I would suggest that they do this before making final regulations or a Management Board directive on this question.
Hon. Mr. Devries: We have had several meetings with them already. I am certain that we will be meeting with them again before a final decision is made on exactly what criteria will be used in future.
Chair: Is it the wish of the Members to have a short recess?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will take a short break.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. Is there further general debate on Government Services?
Mrs. Firth: I would like to follow up with some questions regarding this Management Board decision. I have in front of me a Management Board minute dated August 19, 1993 - the number is 93-21-09. This Management Board minute subject matter is Consulting services, Golden Horn gymnasium/classroom addition, Government Services. The disposition is with respect to Management Board reviewing the request on consulting services, Golden Horn gymnasium/classroom addition, as presented by the Minister responsible for Government Services. There are two points - point number 1 is that Management Board revise the decision of Management Board 93-20-05 by authorizing the Department of Government Services to award the consulting services contract for both the schematic design and design and construction services of the Golden Horn School gymnasium/classroom addition to architect Florian Maurer of David Nairne and Associates Limited; point number 2 is that Management Board directed that, effective immediately, Management Board approval is required before departments seek any services of an architect.
In all of the discussion tonight, the Minister has not clearly enunciated why Management Board made this decision.
Could the Minister tell us what prompted this memo? What was the problem that prompted Management Board to issue this directive?
Hon. Mr. Devries: As I mentioned earlier, Management Board mentioned that we had to come up with a process that is cost effective and meets the requirements for a building design.
For example, the Tagish firehall is an engineered building that did not require an architect. If something like that came up, where an engineered building could be used and be cost effective, we wanted to have the option to make that decision.
Mrs. Firth: What was the problem? Was there an abuse that was occurring? The comments that the Minister has made do not present any fact or anything of substance to me. Was there an abuse occurring? What was the problem that caused Management Board to issue this directive? Why is their approval required before departments seek any services of an architect? What was the abuse, or the problem, or the overexpenditure, or the process that was not cost effective in all of these comments that the Minister made before? What was the big problem that they had to issue such a strident directive?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It was cost and the ability to determine whether there was already a design on the shelf that could be used, and things like that. It was a way of ensuring that taxpayers were getting the best bang for their dollar.
Mrs. Firth: I fail to see how this Management Board directive ensures any of that. Could the Minister explain that to us?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The idea was that Management Board wanted the opportunity to determine whether or not an architect was needed. The general feeling was that buildings costs could come in lower if all of these were reviewed.
Mrs. Firth: If all what was reviewed?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Any time a client department came up with a plan, and it had gone through the initial steps of the blue book - or whatever you want to call it - and it was determined that the building was required and a request for proposal was issued, it then went before Management Board to determine if an architect was really needed. In this process, Management Board would question the department to find out if they had any plans on the shelf that could be used for this building, and things like that. Our feeling is that it is a very good way to ensure that buildings come in at the lowest cost possible.
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister tell us who is on Management Board?
Hon. Mr. Devries: All the Cabinet Ministers.
Mrs. Firth: The Cabinet Ministers? Is that not just Cabinet? I know there are other people on Management Board.
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, there is the Deputy Minister of Finance, the Deputy Minister of Government Services and the Public Service Commissioner. The non-Cabinet personnel are advisors to the Ministers on issues.
Mrs. Firth: There are three deputy ministers who are advisors. Are there three Cabinet Ministers on Management Board, or are all the Cabinet Ministers on it?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: There are three Ministers named to Management Board, but all Ministers sit in on it, if they so wish. It is not necessary for them to be there, but since we are a small Cabinet, all Ministers try to make the Management Board meetings.
Mrs. Firth: I will direct this question to whomever can answer. I am concerned that the architects are being given a bad rap with this Management Board. Obviously, there was some problem with costs, so the Cabinet got together and said that they did not like the way designs were being done. The Minister said that they were too expensive and were not cost effective. They felt that there were designs done that were not necessary. They feel that there might be some plan on the shelf or something.
I want to get a clear message of exactly what the problem was. If the Management Board takes a certain direction, there must have been a problem or an abuse or something that caused them to do this. In this instance, what was it? What was the main focus and problem that caused Management Board to make this directive?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I will try and answer the question for the Member opposite. Management Boards concern was that architects were being used for literally every building that the government was constructing in the Yukon. That was the perception of Management Board. We felt that there were times when it may not be cost-effective to have a firehall designed by an architect. We felt that we could buy an engineered building, construct it, and be cost effective, such as was done with the Tagish firehall, as I understand it.
All Management Board did, in the minute that the Member has, was direct that, prior to a proposal going out, Management Board would have the ability to review it and find out whether or not it had to be an architecturally designed building, if the plans could be found on the shelf, or if it could be an engineered building. It is not giving the architects a bad rap at all. It simply is an effort to be cost effective in government, and find out if we really require an architect for every building we put up.
Management Board has that right to review the cost to government. Once it goes through there and Management Board is satisfied, then the proposal goes out.
Mrs. Firth: I understand Management Boards rights and Cabinets rights, but they do not have the right to do just whatever they want to do. There has to be some reason for them doing it. The reasons that have been given are not substantial reasons.
Management Board has no expertise to determine whether a public building should have an architectural design or an engineer plan it. There are many, many things that have to be taken into account and that is what we have the Government Services department for, I thought - to make those determinations.
Was it the design of buildings that Cabinet was concerned about - that perhaps the buildings were being over-designed, or the way the architects are paid their fee with respect to the design of the building? There just has to be more substance to this.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Well, all of what the Member said is right. We are concerned about the cost of architectural fees and what it was costing government. Members on this side have always felt that a lot of government buildings are over-designed. We were also concerned about the cost of architectural fees, and that is why the Minister alluded to the two-envelope system. He is trying to get to perfection and we are a long way along now.
Before the price would even be looked at, we would see if the architects or the engineering firms, or whoever applied, were qualified to do the job. And that threshold could be set at any level we wanted, depending on the technical expertise required for the building. Before the bids being called, the price was set as a certain factor.
We are going to look at the technical side of it first, to see if the people are qualified. If they are not qualified, then the dollar amount they bid will not even be opened. If they are qualified, then it goes to the lowest tender. This is a try to get the lowest tender for government. The architectural firms are having some difficulty with that and they are in negotiations with Government Services and the Minister on that right now. It is a matter of trying to be cost effective. So, if a bidder has the technical expertise to do a job, the second envelope is opened to determine what price they want to do the job. That is where the second envelope comes in.
Mrs. Firth: I will try to make my concern very clear here. I do not think Management Board has any business in interfering in this process. Management Board does not have the expertise to decide whether an architectural design is needed.
Would it not have been more appropriate for the Management Board - if the government had a concern about over-design and a concern about how architects were being paid their fee, because it was five-, seven- or 10-percent of the total package - not to be perceived to be interfering in absolutely every contract that goes out? Would it not have been more appropriate that they give the direction to the departments that they did not want buildings over-designed, that they did not want visitor reception centres built with these whale bones and whatever the heck else they have raised issues and complained about, and then would it not have been more appropriate to review the scheduling and the basis upon which architects are paid for their services - they are paid their fee in relation to the cost of the project - as opposed to just issuing a directive that says that Management Board is going to approve all of these before any services are required?
That is the way I would have approached it, because this way it looks like the Management Board is interfering in the whole tendering system and their approval is required for every architectural design that is sought through this government.
I see the Government Leader shaking his head, no, but that is what the Management Board directive says. It says that, effectively immediately, Management Board approval is required before departments seek any services of an architect. Therefore, Management Board is now in the business of saying whether or not architect services should be sought. I do not think that is a proper function of the Management Board.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Management Board is not trying to interfere in the fair tendering process. Management Board is questioning the departments on whether or not they need an architecturally designed building. This is prior to it going out for proposal. Once it has gone to proposal, it is Government Services that does the analyzing, not Management Board.
Management Board challenges the client department on whether or not that is what it needs, or whether the job could be done with an engineered building. These are the things that Management Board challenges prior to the proposal being put out.
We are not interfering with the fair tendering process. Once the tender is let, it is up to Government Services to come up with the best price for it, not Management Board.
Mrs. Firth: How is that going to address the problem of over-design and the problem the Government Leader and the Minister indicated they had with respect to the cost of architectural services?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: As I said, we challenge the departments. Rather than a department saying it needs $5 million to put up a building, we approve the money, and that is as far as it goes, we challenge what they are going to put up with the $5 million and what the design costs. We question whether they really need a building designed like they are proposing. The design is between the client department and the architect but, if you are giving a department free rein, then you have no control over what is happening, so we are challenging the departments prior to the proposals going out. That is what that minute is all about.
Mrs. Firth: The department does not make the decision here - the Management Board does.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mrs. Firth: Of course it is right - that is what the minute says.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Management Board gives approval for the project, based on the information that comes forward from the client department. If they cannot justify that they need an architect, they have to go back to the drawing board. We are challenging the departments, not the architects.
Mrs. Firth: If the department comes to Management Board and says, We need an architect to do this building, and Management Board says, Sorry, you do not. You have not been able to justify that to us, and you do not need an architect, then the Management Board is making the decision on every project and every tender. Surely, the Government Leader can see that the perception is there that the Management Board is interfering and making all of the decisions that perhaps they should not be getting involved in, unless there is a dispute with respect to taking the higher bid over the low bid or some other issue that has to be resolved according to the regulations at that level. What is happening here is that it looks like the Management Board is being involved in the everyday decision making of the departments.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Surely, the Member opposite has been in government long enough to know that the departments come forward with a proposal for a certain number of dollars. I will use a hypothetical situation. Say they are going to put a firehall in Champagne and they want to use an architect. We are going to question whether they need an architect to put a firehall in Champagne, or whether they could do the job just as well with an engineered building. That is what Management Board is doing. It is questioning whether they need an architect to put up that building. What happens after that is between the client department, Government Services and the architect.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister responsible for the department could have done that before. They did not need a Management Board minute to indicate that. That is what I am saying. It is a very heavy-handed tactic, and the perception of it is not good. Using the hypothetical example presented by the Government Leader, why could the Minister not say, What do you need an architect for? Why can we not use the same plan that we used for the firehall somewhere else? Why does this have to come to Management Board? They are making the decisions about every project that is requiring some kind of decision with respect to architectural services. I think that is what is giving a great deal of concern, not only to the architectural community, but also to the other contractors. It gives the perception that there is some interference at the political level. I do not approve of that kind of approach. I believe that there should be a level playing field and that people should feel they are all being dealt with in a fair manner. That is not going to happen when there are political decisions with respect to these kinds of issues.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The Member is wrong. It is not a political decision. What is being done is a good management decision. It is no different from putting a freeze on travel, a freeze on hiring. Everything has to come in front of Management Board. We were concerned about the cost of putting up buildings in the Yukon. Until we are satisfied that that cost is under control, we are going to review every building that is going to be built in Yukon.
Mrs. Firth: Just for my last question, can the Minister provide us, then, with information with respect to the cost of buildings prior to this Management Board directive and give us some substantiation and proof of cost savings as a result of the directive?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Not enough projects have gone before Management Board to come up with any way of determining that at this point.
Mrs. Firth: There have been several projects. I was at the public meeting the other night with the Contractors Association and there are projects that have been tendered already. Pardon me?
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mrs. Firth: The Minister is saying they are not built yet. This memo was supposed to save money. Should the Minister not know that? Is this just a trial and error thing? The Government Leader is saying that this is going to save money. Obviously, we will not know until the project is completed, but is the purpose of this not so that they know ahead of time that it is going to be a less expensive, more cost-efficient way of doing things, as the Minister for Government Services said. Should they not know that before building the project and then find out there were no cost savings?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: That is exactly why we are doing it. As she says, the memo is dated August 23 or something. The projects that are going ahead are in our capital budget for this winter, and I think the only one there that this applied to is the Hidden Valley School. We only have the one project that is going ahead right now and that is the addition to the Hidden Valley School.
Mr. Cable: I have some questions for the Minister on the evaluation criteria for engineering and architectural services. The Leader of the Official Opposition put some questions to the Minister. I am referring to the contract regulations, section 51, which speaks about bid evaluation criteria. There are two sets: minimum standards to be met and ranking criteria.
With respect to the purchase of consulting engineering services, or architectural services, is there a standard ranking criteria, or is there a different ranking criteria for each job?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It would be a different ranking criteria for each job. In the request for proposal paperwork, there would be a breakdown on how the project is going to be evaluated. You cannot have one procedure for one type of project. It has to be very flexible, depending on the technical needs of each individual project.
Mr. Cable: Is the Minister saying that technical staff, somewhere in government - Government Services or Community and Transportation Services - will set up a different criteria on each job for the purchase of professional services?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It is quite possible.
Mr. Cable: Has the Minister or staff been approached by a group of consulting engineers - I gather there is a budding consulting engineering group in town - with a view to amending, or changing, the procedure used for the purchase of consulting engineering services?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, I have met with them twice.
Mr. Cable: What was the position put forward by this group?
Hon. Mr. Devries: They have some concerns with the procedures.
Mr. Cable: That does not quite answer the question, but it was a good try. What were their concerns? Could the Minister relate them to the House?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It is very difficult to get into specifics without my notes. They had some concerns that I felt were quite legitimate and there were others that the department questioned.
Mr. Cable: This might be a bit painful, but would it not be fair to say that this budding group had some serious reservations about whether the standard contract regulation procedure should apply to consulting engineers because of the variation in skill levels? They related to me an incident that the Leader of the Official Opposition just referred to - the collapse of the parkade in Burnaby, I believe. Would it be fair to say that they are taking the proposition that one cannot buy consulting engineering services the way one would buy stationery at the stationery store?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes, that was one of the arguments they put forward. Also, in the contract regulations review, some of those matters will be addressed.
Mr. Cable: Just out of curiosity, what is the Ministers position on the proposition that consulting engineering services should be purchased in a different manner from what is set out in the contract regulations?
Hon. Mr. Devries: The engineers wanted a much higher exemption level on sole sourcing and things like that. I had some concerns, as do my colleagues.
Mr. Cable: What were those concerns? Would the Minister care to express them?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It is a matter of trying to get control of costs. We are trying to come up with something that still gives the engineers the opportunity to show creativity, yet will give us the best bang for the buck on a project. It is very difficult to come to a consensus, but we are working on it.
Mr. Cable: Sometimes precedent is useful for the purposes of analysis. Has the Minister reviewed the procedure used in other jurisdictions with respect to the purchase of consulting engineering services? If so, what do other jurisdictions do?
Hon. Mr. Devries: It seems that almost every jurisdiction has a different process in place. The most popular concept seems to be value for points or something.
Mr. Cable: I am sorry. That was not too edifying - value for points or something. What does that mean?
Hon. Mr. Devries: That is where a dollar value is attached to each point in the evaluation process. That is used in several provinces. The proper terminology is cost per technical point. Some jurisdictions have a $100,000 limit for sole sourcing, but we do not feel that is acceptable here.
Mr. Cable: Has the Ministers staff prepared a recapitulation of what other jurisdictions do with respect to the purchase of consulting engineering services and architectural services?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I have something like that and I would be happy to table it.
Mr. Cable: On another topic that was brought up earlier, the business incentive policy, what sort of statistics are generated by the Ministers staff with respect to job creation? Are there any gross figures as to the number of jobs created through all of the contracts, or are they readily available? Could they be retrieved from whatever computer program they are on?
Hon. Mr. Devries: I believe that the document we tabled on the business incentive program would give a rough figure of the employment created by the contracts. With some of these projects lapsing between year-ends - yes, if the Member reviews the document I tabled in detail, it should give him a pretty good idea of the numbers. I believe it is objective 21.
Mr. Cable: What I am working up to is: does the Minister collect data that would relate job creation to the type of contract, say, road building versus schools, for example?
Hon. Mr. Devries: My other department is working with Government Services. Those statistics have not been kept well in the past, so we only have about one years worth on which to work. Several times last summer, we did a telephone survey of the various contractors to determine how many workers they had, and it is going to take a couple of years to get a firm grip on the statistics.
Mr. Cable: Just so we are crystal clear, the statistics we are after are on Yukon jobs. Are these the type of statistics that are being created from the business incentive policy analysis?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Yes. From the business incentive policy, we can determine Yukon jobs. From the telephone surveys of various contractors working on given projects, we can determine the overall jobs.
Mr. Cable: There has been considerable debate recently on where the maximum job creation comes from, road building or building construction. Is the Minister in a position to do any initial assessment of this data, so he can satisfy our curiosity in this area?
Hon. Mr. Devries: Again, I am trying to wear both hats from the two departments. In Economic Development, I hope to get a better handle on the trades people available, et cetera, and I hope to do some of that work this summer and, meanwhile, through the business incentive policy. As to tabling something in the next few weeks, I would not have it available.
Mrs. Firth: I asked a question this afternoon of the Minister of Health and Social Services about the hospital contract. At the public meeting that was held for the contractors the other night it was brought to my attention that Government Services would no longer be doing the tendering for the hospital project as of April 1, 1994, and that in fact it was going to be turned over to the Department of Health and Social Services and that Government Services was merely going to be acting in an advisory capacity. Can the Minister tell us why that has happened?
Hon. Mr. Devries: In the process of the hospital project, we found it very difficult to operate with the money actually staying within the Hospital Corporation. Whereas, in a normal procedure, when we build a school, my understanding is that a certain amount of the money, so far as the school goes, is actually turned over to Government Services. I was looking to the Member there for a nod, but I think that is the way it is. My understanding is that the client department actually turns the money over to Government Services. It was very difficult to work under that other method. The client department authorizes Government Services to spend to a certain limit on a given project - that is the way it is - whereas the way everything is structured with the Government of Canada and the hospital, it was a very cumbersome process. It created two departments that had to report to each other and the Hospital Corporation or whatever will be using Government Services guidelines for contract regulations and tendering, but they will definitely be doing their own tendering. It should be very similar to the arrangement we have with, I believe, Yukon Housing when we prepare some of their tendering documents.
Mrs. Firth: I understood that Government Services was not going to be preparing the tender documents, but would just be acting in an advisory capacity. The Minister of Health and Social Services confirmed that when I asked questions about this issue.
I raised a concern about the question of expertise within the Department of Health and Social Services to do that kind of activity. The Minister of Health and Social Services admitted that he, too, had a concern about it, but that this project manager would be able to handle it. I will follow up with the Minister of Health and Social Services with respect to that issue, but I want to ask the Minister of Government Services if he could explain exactly what the role of his department will be in that whole hospital tendering process. There is a contradiction that has developed here. The Minister of Government Services says his department will be doing the tendering. The Minister of Health and Social Services has said that is not correct. What exactly is the role of the Ministers department?
Hon. Mr. Devries: We have a project manager who is working with the Department of Health and Social Services and will be working very closely with the people who prepare the tendering documents. This is to ensure that the proper procedure is followed.
The best way to get back to the Member on this is to do so in a legislative return. That way, she will have something in writing.
Mrs. Firth: I will have to wait for a legislative return. I am very concerned, as are a lot of contractors, with respect to how this is going to work. At the public information session the other night, through no fault of the individual who was making the presentation on behalf of the government - because his direction was definitely not clear, certain or well-planned - he could not answer any questions. People had a lot of questions on how this process would proceed.
If the Minister could have that information for us tomorrow before we carry on with the debate, I would appreciate it.
In light of the time, Mr. Chair, I move that you report progress on Bill No. 11.
Motion agreed to
Mr. McDonald: 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 the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Abel: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 65, entitled An Act to Amend the Hospital Act and the Evidence Act, and Bill No. 38, entitled Yukon Family Services Association Rent Guarantee Act, and directed me to report them with amendment.
Further, the Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 11, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1993-94, 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.
Mr. Penikett: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Leader of the Official Opposition that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 9:25 p.m.
The following Sessional Paper was tabled January 24, 1994:
Government Leader: report summarizing the Finance Ministers meeting in Montreal, January 20 and 21, 1994 (Ostashek)
The following Legislative Returns were tabled January 24, 1994:
Pollution prevention/control in the Yukon: action plan; status of regulatory development (Brewster)
Oral, Hansard, p. 1984
Home Repair Program: guidelines; value of loan portfolio; number of clients and number of clients in arrears (Fisher)
Oral, Hansard, p. 1940 & 1941
Yukon Housing Corporation 1989 computer upgrade; cost of (Fisher)
Oral, Hansard, p. 1945
Yukon Housing Corporation: comparison of 1989/90 fiscal year staff complement and Capital and O&M budget to 1993/94 fiscal year (Fisher)
Oral, Hansard, p. 1945
Community Fire Hall design requirements: breakdown of Community Development Funding for Tagish Fire Hall (Devries)
Oral, Hansard, p. 1815
The following Filed Documents were filed January 24, 1994:
Letter dated January 12, 1994, from Yukon Medical Association to Hon. Mr. Phelps, Minister of Health and Social Services, re legislation respecting the Hospital Board and appeal process for physicians (Phelps)
Bylaws of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia (May 1993) (Penikett)