Whitehorse, Yukon

Wednesday, May 18, 1994 - 1:30 p.m.

Page Number 2619


I will now call the House to order. We will proceed at this time with silent Prayers.


In Remembrance of Pat Olsen

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

I rise to pay respects to Pat Olsen who passed away yesterday in Whitehorse, and whom many of us have known for a long, long time. Pat was born in South Africa in 1924. He married his wife Rae in 1948 and moved to the Yukon in 1955. They have five children.

Pat and Rae have lived on 12th Avenue in Porter Creek for over 25 years and Pat was instrumental in establishing the Porter Creek Citizens Association, prior to Porter Creek becoming part of the City of Whitehorse.

Among other places, he worked for White Pass and when he retired he made and sold beautiful clocks and stained glass ornaments.

Pat Olsen has been extremely active in many senior groups as a member, as an advocate on behalf of seniors and as an organizer. I certainly will remember him for his cheerful personality and his very serious interest in helping others.

I also remember him as being extremely active in the Mountain View Golf and Country Club, where he organized seniors' events there in recent years.

He was on the first hospital board, and I am sure his contribution to the Yukon is appreciated by all Yukoners. We will all miss him.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Olsen family at this time.

Ms. Commodore:

I, too, would like to say that we were saddened by the death of Pat Olsen. I have known him personally for a number of years. As a matter of fact, some of his children went to school with mine. I became quite familiar with him during my term as Minister responsible for Health and Social Services while he was involved with the Council on Aging, and I was always interested in speaking with him and hearing his sense of humour. He had a lot of interesting stories to tell.

He was very dedicated to the Council on Aging and the things he did while working with them. As the Minister of Justice indicated, he is a long-time Yukoner and has been involved in many things. He certainly will be missed by many people in the Yukon.

Our condolences go out to his wife, Rae, and to his family.



We will now proceed with the Order Paper.

Introduction of Visitors.

Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?


Hon. Mr. Brewster:

I have a legislative return to table on behalf of the Government Leader.


Are there any Reports of Committees?

Are there any Petitions?

Are there any Bills to be introduced?

Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?

Are there any Notices of Motion?

Are there any Statements by Ministers?


Health care reform initiatives

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

I rise today to inform my colleagues of reform initiatives that will be undertaken in the area of health care in the Yukon. All jurisdictions across Canada are finding themselves in the same situation as we are - increased demands on limited dollars - and, like us, they are having to look carefully at expenditures on health care to ensure that funds are being spent as effectively as possible.

I believe that we are all in agreement that the health of Yukoners is the bottom line, and that our goal is to maintain a system that in turn maintains its quality, fairness, affordability and effectiveness in keeping people healthy. To that end we need to re-examine the system to ensure that our expectations are realistic.

The cost of providing care continues to rise, as does the cost of programs delivered by the government in the area of health care. Costs for health care in the Yukon in 1986-87 were $23.7 million. This year, it is estimated that health care will cost this government $58.4 million. In less than eight years, the costs have increased 145 percent.

Because of the nature of our health care system, it is not always possible to control all the elements that drive that system. For example, some of these elements are driven by external influences over which we have no control and include such things as out-of-territory physicians and out-of-territory hospital costs and new technology. Not all Yukon medical needs can be met internally.

Where we are able to control costs, we have made every attempt to do so. Members of the House are aware of the successful conclusion of the fee negotiations with the Yukon Medical Association. We were able to hold the line on physicians' fees for service, and these fees will remain frozen for one year. As well, we have taken steps to limit the fee-for-service rates paid to physicians who began practising in the territory after April 1 of this year. These doctors will be paid at 50 percent of the established fee schedule. This limit will remain in place for one year and will be lifted only upon the completion of a physician resource plan. This plan, which will determine the need for new physicians in the territory, will be undertaken by the newly established Physician Resource Planning Committee, which represents the department, the Yukon Medical Association, the Medical Council and the Yukon Hospital Corporation.

These steps, and others I will outline shortly, have been taken with the full cooperation of the medical community through its representation on the Joint Management Committee. The entire health care system is being closely scrutinized for ways in which we can reduce or control costs while still providing a high level of quality service. We have already looked at position costs and resources. Now we are moving into other areas.

One area we looked at was the drug programs we provide. Part of what is driving the increases to our health care costs is the escalating costs of those programs. The chronic disease program, for example, began in 1987. When the parameters for the program were set, the Minister of the day, the Member opposite, estimated a total cost of the program for 1986-87 to be $369,600. Today those costs have risen to $1.2 million - a 225-percent increase. In the past five years, the number of clients accessing the program has gone from 1,454 to 2,608. The recent introduction of new drug patency legislation has also had a negative effect on the cost of drugs.

It is time for the program parameters to change. We recognize the chronic disease program as an essential part of the Yukon health care system; however, in order to preserve the program for the future, we have to make some changes.

At the outset, let me make it clear that the changes I am about

Page Number 2620

to announce to this program will not affect seniors or social assistance clients. The changes I am announcing today take effect September 1, 1994.

Effective on that date, all chronic disease clients must reapply for the program. Only those Yukon residents without private health insurance will be eligible for the government's program. Those people who are covered by the public service health care plan or other private insurance companies will no longer be eligible for the chronic disease program. Instead, they will be required to use their private insurance.

For those who remain eligible, there are additional changes. Clients will be required to pay a $250 deductible annually. For a family, the deductible has been capped at $500 to ensure that the burden on any one family is limited. If even that burden is too heavy, there will be an income test applied and the deductible may be waived for those lower income families.

Another change is that the chronic disease program will only cover the cost of drugs that will be included in a formulary or drug list, which will be provided to all doctors and pharmacists licensed to practice in the Yukon. If there is a medical reason that a client must have a drug not listed in the formulary, special application may be made to the director of health care insurance programs for consideration of payment.

Patients may still prefer to use a higher priced brand-name drug as opposed to the drug listed on the formulary. Should they choose this option, they will be required to pay the difference in cost between the brand-name drug and the formulary drug.

These changes affect only the chronic disease program. For all drug programs - chronic disease, Pharmacare and extended benefits - we are introducing an annual residency requirement. In order to be eligible for any of these programs, Yukoners must not have been away from the territory for more than 183 consecutive days, without good cause. Yukoners who are away for more than 183 consecutive days will be deemed ineligible for these programs. Upon return to the territory, they may reapply; however, they must be in the territory 90 days to requalify.

There will be an additional change to the extended benefits program. The department will be adjusting benefits provided under this program to ensure they do not exceed the level of benefits provided by the medical services branch of Health Canada to status Indians. Extended benefits clients will see some minor reductions in the benefits they receive; the department will now only cover one eye exam every two years as opposed to an exam every year, and we will only cover the cost of one pair of eyeglasses during the same period.

Even with these reforms, our system still remains one of the best in the country.

This government is responsible for ensuring that health services are safeguarded for the future, and that includes making sure they are used wisely now. These reforms, and others that will be announced in months to come, will help ensure the most effective and appropriate use of the health care system so that it will continue to provide a quality service for Yukon residents for years to come. We are doing our best to assure that a comprehensive health safety net will exist for those who need it in the future.

Mr. Penikett:

I thank the Minister for his announcement. I first want to express the wish that governments everywhere in this country would stop using the word "reform" to refer to service cuts. Until recently, reform was a very good word that meant improvements in a system. Cuts, of course, are the very opposite of reform.

Let me say quite clearly that I recognize the problem of the costs in the health care system. The Minister has pointed out that they are expecting expenditures of $58.4 million. If I can put that in a very personal context, when I was Minister of Health some years ago, the expenditures on the health care system in the Yukon were something like $1,000 per person per year. The Minister's number indicates that number has seemed to climb to almost $2,000 per person per year.

I also want to say that I am persuaded by the critics, the health care economists, and other analysts, who have argued that the system does not need more money. What it needs is new direction. If I could paraphrase the great American legal scholar who, in answering the question of why America spends so much on medicine, said it was in large part, because individual decisions about how much health care to buy are made by patient and doctor, but paid for by a third party - the insurance company. Therefore, those who make the decisions have no direct incentive to save money.

That is very true. The more I have thought about this problem in the years since I was Minister, and in the months since I was in government, I have concluded - or developed a very strong belief - that, since government is ultimately paying the bills of the health care system, it should also be planning and directing those expenditures and investments. That is not the situation now.

Last January 25, in the debate on his department's estimates, the Minister and I surveyed the menu of options he had in terms of controlling costs. They included utilization and Pharmacare alternatives to the fee-for-service system, including the two-tiered fee system he has announced today, and the problem with non-insured benefits, chronic diseases and the formulary. An item that seemed to greatly interest him then was disincentives to medical travel which, back on January 25, he indicated we would have to deal with at some stage, although obviously not today.

We note that the Minister has adopted the B.C. option of the two-tier fee system, and doctors arriving after April Fool's Day will get 50 percent of the fees that doctors who were already here receive.

I think the Minister knows that, in the long run, that could lead to skill shortages over time and I wish we could really start to look at the fee-for-service system, and whether there are alternatives to that for practitioners here.

The Minister mentioned the Joint Management Committee, but of course that was previously announced and I noted the other night that the Government Leader's favourite book, Reinventing Government, talks about one of the problems with health care costs, and this is the problem of excessive control by professionals of the system. Of course, I have previously discussed that problem with the Minister.

I think we really need to bring into the area of joint management other people who have a different perspective on the economics of the health care system.

With respect to chronic diseases, the Minister is right, the cost problems were made worse with the Mulroney government's extension of patent protection for drugs and, of course, the Yukon receives no benefit at all from research and development in the pharmaceutical area. We are perhaps losing some of the benefits we had -


Order please. The Member has 30 seconds.

Mr. Penikett:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I find it offensive that the Minister can go on at great length all of the time, but we are not allowed to complete a sentence, but I will try to do it in 30 seconds.

The problem is that the total savings from this package will not be great and the options for achieving long-term savings provided by some of the initiatives in the Health Act such as prevention, early detection, investment community control and integration of services do not seem to be explored; therefore, I think this is really only a very tentative step by the Minister and that the savings

Page Number 2621

resulting from this may not be very great.

Mr. Cable:

I am encouraged that the Minister has indicated that he intends to re-examine the system to ensure the expectations are realistic. I know the Minister was fairly negative on the motion that was put forward a few Wednesdays ago to have a standing committee of the House appointed to review the social security net generally, so it would be useful to get his comments as to how he anticipates this re-examination to proceed.

It would also be useful to get his comments on whether the actions are being carried out in the context of the health reform document he released a few weeks ago - the four-page document that devotes one page to health reform. I note that a number of items on that page relate to the contents of the ministerial statement, but the statement raises perhaps more questions than it answers. The Government Leader, in the budget debate, indicated that there would be specific health care announcements made by the Minister during this sitting, and that the reforms that would be announced would be anticipated to significantly reduce health care insurance costs.

I know I asked the Minister on April 27 about those numbers, and he indicated that when the reforms would be announced he would give us the numbers. But it appears that both in the budget debate, in Question Period and in his ministerial statement the actual savings are not spelled out. Those are necessary to determine not only the benefits that will flow to the health system or what the ramifications are to the health system, but the financial shape of the government. That, of course, is a continuing and very live debate, and may have ramifications in other contexts.

It would be useful to hear from the Minister, in reply, about just what the anticipated savings are.

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

I will be as brief as I can in reply. It is important to note that when we took over government, the costs of this department were - and had been for some considerable time - out of control. We have been taking steps to bring the cost of the programs under control. The changes announced today are but one in a series of things that have been done and are being done by the new government.

We could get into all the things that have been done. One example is that we have been able to go back and get money from the federal government that they have owed us for years. We have been able to accomplish savings in that regard. We have also made changes that we have already alluded to.

In terms of the actual anticipated savings of the measures being announced today in the chronic disease program, it is estimated to be approximately $500,000, from a total in excess of $1.2 million. What is more important, however, is control of future growth.

With respect to the comments made by the Leader of the Official Opposition about such things as those principles enunciated under the Yukon Health Act, I disagree with him. We are doing nothing with regard to those principles. We are looking at methods by which we can have more community control over the delivery of health care and other social programs, including justice, social assistance and counselling. The way we approach that is drastically different from the previous administration. We do not believe in top-down methods, forming expensive boards and committees. We believe in achieving these changes step-by-step, working with the communities. We have examples of what has been accomplished to date and what we are working on at this time.

However, we do agree with the principles enunciated in that act. We have severe concerns about the manner in which the previous administration approached these problems in terms of implementation. We look forward to further debate on the issues contained in the statement and the ancillary issues raised by Members opposite in the days to come.

Speaker's Statement


Before we begin Question Period, I would like to remind Members of the guidelines. They have been abused again in the past few days; specifically, guideline seven. Rule seven: "A brief preamble will be allowed..." - I would emphasize "brief" - "...in the case of the main question and a one-sentence preamble will be allowed in the case of the supplementary question."

As well, item nine: "A reply to a question should be as brief..." - and again I emphasize "brief" - "...as possible, relevant to the question asked and should not provoke debate."

This then brings us to the Question Period.


Question re: Health care reform initiatives

Mr. Penikett:

Mr. Speaker, I will try to pay close attention to your caution. Unfortunately, I did not get to finish my response to the ministerial statement, so I am going to have to turn it into questions.

I wonder if I could ask the Minister of Health, in examining the cost drivers in the health system - of which many analysts believe the fee-for-service system is one of the greatest - if he had any concerns about the two-tiered system he is introducing, in terms of its long-term impacts on a jurisdiction like the Yukon in terms of skill shortages appearing over time as a result of physicians retiring and so forth, and not being able to be replaced by similarly qualified people.

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

The physician resource allocation plan is not a two-tired system and not intended to be a two-tiered system. First of all, interim measures have been implemented for 12 months, during which a more comprehensive plan can be put in place, which would be similar, as I understand it, in design to the one that is utilized in Prince Edward Island. The current interim measure provides that a new doctor coming to the territory to open a new practice would only be able to charge 50 percent of the fees allowed for doctors here prior to April 1. There are exceptions to that rule, which include the situation where a doctor may be retiring and somebody comes in to take over his practice; it includes locums and things of that sort. The intention is simply to respond to what has been happening in the provinces, which could drive additional doctors into the Yukon. We know, from the evidence that we have been given, that each new doctor means an increase in overall fees of some $100 to $2,000 per year.

Mr. Penikett:

There are many issues here that I would like to explore, including summarizing the Minister's answer. Let me touch on one of the other subjects covered in his statement.

He has previously indicated that, along with health care cuts, we should anticipate further cuts in social assistance expenditures, although his department and the Bureau of Statistics recently issued a report that indicates a close relationship between health and income, suggesting that social assistance, or income, cuts for the poor could increase health care costs. Since we had that debate a couple of weeks ago on that subject, has the Minister had a chance to discuss that problem with his officials?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

I have certainly looked at that issue. I must say that I understand the politics of trying to fear-monger with the whole notion of cuts - as if that is the only area this government is looking at in terms of bringing down the cost of the programs.

What we are really looking at is making the programs more efficient and more effective. There will be additional resources put into measures that will encourage and help people get out of social assistance and back into the workforce. There will be measures put into place to increase child care, for example, so people can

Page Number 2622

get back into training and into the workforce. There are more dollars going into training. There has been a fair amount of attention paid to cutting out the abuse of these programs, and there have been various measures announced in this House previously on that score.

Mr. Penikett:

If that is the direction of social assistance reform, I would be very interested, because that is not the kind of thrust that has previously been indicated by the Minister.

Let me ask him about one of the other changes he has proposed in the chronic diseases area, which is the annual residency requirement. Many of us find that ironic, given what he said about big game outfitting areas and the control of same yesterday.

If there is a Charter question in respect to big game outfitting areas, is there not a similar potential problem with respect to a residency rule on a program like this?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

Let me deal first with the preamble. I must say that in regard to social assistance the thrust of what has been announced before - the two main measures announced in this House previously - were the signing of the SAR agreement with Canada for the first time, which provides training to social assistance recipients and encouragement and assistance in getting jobs for the first time, and the other was one that would provide for loans given to people awaiting unemployment assistance, to be paid back directly by Canada. I think that premise is simply incorrect.

With regard to the issue of residency, that is something that we are watching very carefully. We are watching both the law and the programs as they are applied in other jurisdictions - just as we have taken a great interest in the outfitting situation in other jurisdictions. One of the reasons we are troubled on that score -


Order. Would the Member please conclude his answer.

Question re: Questions in Question Period

Mr. Penikett:

Yesterday, it looked as if the Cabinet had been ordered by their lawyer not to answer any questions that might incriminate them.

I wonder if I might ask the Minister of Justice, for the record, what subjects the Official Opposition and other Members on this side of the House may ask Ministers today, and actually get an answer from the Minister to whom the question is directed?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

It seems to me that when the Members on the side opposite make malicious allegations, such as the one contained again in the premise of this question by the Member - allegations that would lead to the conclusion that somebody had done something wrong, criminally or ethically, which is simply not the case - and when the Members on the side opposite seek legal opinions time after time after time, even though it is not allowed in the rules, they ought to expect the Minister of Justice to stand up to respond.

Mr. Penikett:

You would think the Minister of Justice, of all people, would understand that it is refusal to answer questions of fact or policy put to the Minister who is allegedly in command of those areas that raises suspicions.

Given that we wasted a lot of time yesterday asking questions of the Minister of Justice, for which he seemed to have no responsibility, can the Minister tell us which subjects we can ask questions about today that will not be answered by him?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

Is it not interesting? I recall, and I am sure that we can find it very quickly in Hansard, where question after question asked of the Leader of the Official Opposition when he was Government Leader were answered for him by the Minister of Justice, a Mr. Kimmerly. I recall that happening time after time. There are numerous examples of questions that were asked of the Government Leader and other Ministers that were answered by Ministers other than those to whom the question was directed. The heckler at the back -

Some Hon. Member:


Hon. Mr. Phelps:

I am sorry, perhaps I should not be speaking while they are heckling.

Mr. Penikett:

Since the Minister of Justice seems to be presiding over a radical change in the form and function of Question Period, I wonder if he could tell us exactly how we could obtain answers from other Ministers in this government on important subjects of public policy. Will we, in future, be required to have our questions vetted by the Minister of Justice in advance so that we can then put them to Ministers? Exactly what rule will operate here?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

A sincere attempt to follow the rules of the House, which were agreed to by all parties in this House, and under which we operate, would be a good start.

Question re: Energy Corporation, privatization of

Mr. Cable:

I have some questions for the same Minister with his Yukon Energy Corporation hat on. The Minister was quoted recently in one of the newspapers, saying that he wanted to reduce power rates by having the Energy Corporation's indebtedness rolled over to the Development Corporation. If I may quote, he said, "The Yukon Development Corporation will be able to amortize it" - that is the indebtedness - "over a long period, maybe 40 years, at a very low interest rate." He went on to say, "That will result in immediate benefits to the taxpayers."

Could the Minister indicate whether this rollover of financing is, or could be, independent of his privatization thrust.

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

Yes, the answer is that certainly part of it could be - perhaps the majority of it could be. Indeed, if privatization does not proceed for some reason, we will then be looking at moving in the same direction, but without some of the good arguments that we would have were we to do this in concert with the First Nations of Yukon.

Mr. Cable:

The federal debt of the corporation is in two portions, drawing interest at seven percent and nine percent, and over two-thirds of the debt is repayable over the next 34 years. What advice has the Minister received that would lead him to believe that more favourable terms could be received, and how would that financing be arranged?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

First of all, the issue of purchasing the current indebtedness from Canada is an issue that I am sure any financier would understand - no matter how modest the financier - in that the face value of the notes to Canada exceeds the real value when one looks at the actual interest payments required under the notes. There is no question that the discounted value of the loans is far less than their face value. If the Yukon Development Corporation would be able to purchase them at face value and then charge an interest rate more in keeping with what their cost of these notes was - and that would be a government policy, of course - then there would be an immediate benefit to ratepayers because the actual rates paid would be down significantly from what is paid now.

Mr. Cable:

The money has to come from somewhere. It cannot be synthesized out of the air. How does the Minister anticipate that he will receive cheaper financing that will permit the purchase of these notes, so that the result will be - if I could quote him again - "a very low interest rate payable on the money borrowed"?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

If the Yukon Development Corporation is able to purchase $47 million worth of notes for about half that, then the debt would still be the same but they would be able to charge an interest rate that would be much lower. Where would the money come from in order to make the purchase? Well, under

Page Number 2623

our current thinking, some of that money would come from the sale of shares to First Nations and other Yukoners. Whether we are able to achieve those savings to the same extent possible under the plan we are discussing with First Nations...


Order. Would the Minister please conclude his answer.

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

... remains to be seen.

Question re: Foster care

Ms. Commodore:

My question is for the Minister responsible for social services. On April 28, in the House, I asked the Minister about his plan to contract out foster homes for young offenders and what the required qualifications are for those parents. He said that there were no qualifications required; he was looking for people who have a serious interest in young people.

Yesterday, I read in the Whitehorse Star that he said that the "school of hard knocks" is sufficient training for foster parents. Since this offended many people who have been working with children for years, can he be more specific and tell us how he defines those qualifications?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

The evaluation and qualification of parents will be done by professionals in the department, not by me. My observation was - and I am sure that it may not live up to the intellectual demands of some people in the NDP - that there are many people in the Yukon who recognize that it does not take a whole bunch of degrees for some people to be excellent providers for children at risk or in trouble. There are some First Nations people who may have a limited formal education - some of whom I know - but who are excellent with problem children. These are all things that must be taken into consideration in the evaluation of potential foster parents.

Ms. Commodore:

At least I am getting answers now, which is more than I can say for last week or the week before.

Many of these children are suffering as a result of severe physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Can the Minister tell us how foster parents from the school of hard knocks will be qualified to deal with young offenders suffering from these abuses?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

We have foster parents now who have gone through all kinds of crises in their lives. They have been brought up in the same way as some of these problem children, who may have suffered sexual abuse as children, who may have been in trouble with the law as young people, but have turned out to be model parents and exceptionally good foster parents. I could name names. I am sure that the Member would recognize most of them.

Additional training and a careful examination of potential parents is conducted by professionals in the department. They certainly do not ignore, however, the actual practical abilities of potential foster parents.

Ms. Commodore:

Since there appears to be a drastic change in the manner in which young offenders are cared for, will the Minister table his department's new policy on young offenders in open custody?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

I am always happy to provide the Member with that kind of information.

Question re: Social services, new program staffing

Ms. Commodore:

The Minister responsible for social services has indicated that many new programs, modelled on those already running in some provinces, will be offered by his department for youths at risk. According to the Whitehorse Star, programs will include crime prevention, alcohol and drug awareness, anger management, lifeskills, cultural and outdoor recreation, probation, early release and additional supervision for children who are having problems in their own homes. This is just to name a few. This appears to be a pretty heavy agenda, and some of the things will possibly work.

Does the Minister intend to hire new people, or will the people who are already being moved over from 501 Taylor be taking over those new programs? It is a really heavy agenda, and it sounds like some serious programs are going to be offered.

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

By golly, for a guy they seem to take umbrage with having to answer questions, I am certainly getting a lot of work today.

Some Hon. Member:


Hon. Mr. Phelps:

I guess I am being rude again, speaking when other people are trying to heckle.

The program will primarily be carried out by the 10 workers freed up by the change in policy regarding 501 Taylor.

Ms. Commodore:

One of the programs I have been told is being used less and less all the time is the cultural program. This has been told to me by more than one person. Can the Minister tell us what the reason for that is?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

Cultural programs, and culturally sensitive programs, are on the increase. We are working hard to ensure that First Nations programs, and programs directed at First Nations youth, are increased, because there is no question but that the justice system and juvenile justice system has more First Nations people in it, unfortunately, than non-First Nations.

Ms. Commodore:

I am going to have to sit down with the Minister one of these days and talk to him about some of the things that are being brought to my attention.

Something else that has been brought to my attention is that an employee in the upper management of youth services was overheard to make the remark that "cultural programs are a bunch of crap." Is the Minister aware of that attitude, and does it express the views of other people in that program?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

I am not aware of that attitude at all. There are a lot of people working for the department. One always has, in any large barrel, apples that are not as pleasant or as ripe as the rest, but it is my view, with the experience I have in talking to management and staff - I do not spend a lot of time at the facilities themselves - that I am always impressed with the professional and caring attitude of the people who work for the department.

Question re: Social assistance, fraud investigations

Ms. Moorcroft:

My question is for the Minister of Health and Social Services. It seems that if one asks him the same question five or six times, one does finally get an answer.

I have a problem with the answer that he gave me in the House the other day, when he said that "no, the policy of the government is not to cut off a client from social assistance while the fraud investigator is conducting the investigation." I have seen a letter signed by L. Thompson, an official of the department, which states specifically that no further assistance will be given to a client until she has made an appointment with Mr. Frank Devellano to discuss the circumstances under which she receives social assistance. The whole letter is vague, but it contains an implied threat of referral to the RCMP. Can the Minister explain the contradiction? What is the policy and why was this person cut off social assistance benefits before there had been a referral to the RCMP?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

I would have to see the letter in order to interpret it for her properly, but the policy is that upon the file being turned over to the RCMP, the social assistance will be cut. That is the policy that was in existence and implemented by the previous administration. I would expect that in the circumstances described, the implied threat is that if the person does not come in to speak with the department investigator, the file will be turned over to the RCMP and the social assistance payments cut off.

Ms. Moorcroft:

I am sure that the Minister could get a copy

Page Number 2624

of the letter from his department, and when he initially put off answering those questions because he wanted to talk to the department, I thought he would come back with some answers.

He says now that it is the same policy as the previous administration. Well, the previous administration did not have an Inspector Clouseau in charge of a fraud squad. Can the Minister not tell us who made the policies governing the fraud investigator and when the client is actually cut off social assistance benefits?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

The policy is that they are cut off when the file is turned over to the RCMP. That policy was established under the previous administration. I have had discussions with officials because I would like to see the policy change. The policy change, when it is implemented, will be that payments will not be cut off until a charge is laid by the RCMP.

I think that would far more fair to the client and not nearly as rigorous, dictatorial and open to abuse as the policy that was implemented by the previous administration.

Ms. Moorcroft:

I think that the Minister had better check with his department because, in this case, the client was clearly cut off benefits prior to the file being turned over to the RCMP.

What does the Minister think that a person who has no other form of income should do? Does he have a heart? Does he have any suggestion about how a family can survive after being cut off from social assistance benefits, with no other income and without an adequate investigation having taken place?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

First of all, I will check the facts. I do not believe the facts are as expressed by the Member opposite. That is number one.

Number two, the Member might have asked her colleagues, who implemented the program in the first place, because they would have told her what the policy was and how hard-hearted they were in those circumstances.

Apparently, they do not know what their policy was, even though two Members opposite were once Ministers of Health and Social Services.

The policy is that the hardship policy under social services still applies. If there is indeed hardship, there will be sufficient money to ensure that hardship is alleviated.

Question re: Social services, fraud investigations

Ms. Moorcroft:

My question is for the same Minister. I despair of getting answers from this Minister, because it seems that he cannot understand that it was his administration that established the contract for a special investigator.

There was no similar policy in place under the previous government. Under the previous policy, there were avenues of appeal.

I would like to know what avenues of appeal are available under this new policy - under this new Minister - with this new fraud investigator. What are the avenues of appeal?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

Exactly the same as under the previous administration, because the policy has not changed. The only thing that has changed is that we now have a person who has some expertise in investigation, helping the officials in the department, the social workers, check to see if there is a fraud and reason for bringing a file to the RCMP. That is the only change. It is not a change in policy. It is a change intended to ensure that the department knows how to go about investigating suspected fraud, at least to a level at which the file can be turned over to the RCMP. That is the only change.

If the Member opposite is unhappy with the answers she gets from her questions, perhaps she should look at her questions because they are probably the culprit, not the answers.

Ms. Moorcroft:

Yesterday, we had the Minister opposite ranting about how the Opposition Members were attempting to taint the Minister's reputation. I do not have to do that. The Minister is standing up there for himself, stating that his department is doing one thing when the facts are the complete opposite. I would like to ask the Minister this: does the fraud investigator have access to confidential client files without the client's knowledge?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

I will have to bring that back, to be perfectly exact, but that person is working for the department. With regard to her allegation that what I am giving her is not factual - she is alleging that there has possibly been a breach of the policy. I will check into it and make sure that her facts are correct because they may not be either, in which case I would certainly welcome an apology.

Ms. Moorcroft:

I certainly look forward to this arrogant Minister coming up with the facts after his investigation is complete.


Order. Would the Members please refrain from using unparliamentary language.

Ms. Moorcroft:

Yes, Mr. Speaker. The Minister again avoided answering the question. He said there is a special investigator working for the department. That does not tell us whether or not he has access to the client files without the client's knowledge.

I would also like to know this: is the social worker handling the case informed when the fraud investigator takes on a client file?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

I will come back with the answer to that as well, in writing, so that I will have a copy of it as well.

Question re: Physician Resource Planning Committee

Mrs. Firth:

I have a question for the Minister responsible for Health and Social Services. I think that he will be able to answer very briefly. I was just looking at this list of unparliamentary words - I will follow that up later. My question for the Minister responsible for Health and Social Services is in regard to his announcement today about health reform. I would like to ask the Minister who is on the Physician Resource Planning Committee?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

The membership is made up of representatives of the following organizations: two Yukon Medical Association members: Mitchell and Gerard Parsons; one Yukon Hospital Corporation Board person, Marnie Willis; one Yukon Medical Council members, Lise Densmore; two from Department of Health and Social Services, the assistant deputy minister of the department; and the director of Health Care Insurance.

Mrs. Firth:

Could the Minister tell us this afternoon what the mandate of the committee is and what the per diem is?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

I can tell the Member that the administrative framework was established by a new medical practitioner fee regulation, established under the Health Care Insurance Plan Act. There is a memorandum of understanding, or agreement, between me and the Yukon Medical Association for the development of the resource plan. The physician members are remunerated for committee participation at the sessional rate established in the fee schedule, pro-rated to an hourly rate. The members appointed in their employment capacities receive no additional remuneration.

Mrs. Firth:

The Minister also made reference in his statement to a formulary, or drug list. I would like to ask the Minister if the formulary or drug list has been prepared yet. If not, who is going to prepare it, and when will it be ready?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

The person working on the list is Dr. Cunningham. The changes and implementation are scheduled for September 1. I cannot advise the House of the actual date the list will be ready, at this point in time. However, there will be some consultations with pharmacists and others. The list will be updated every six months.

Page Number 2625

Question re: Energy Corporation, privatization of

Mr. Penikett:

I have a question for the Minister in charge of the government.

Last week, the Minister said he confirmed, by letter, certain matters that he had discussed with Yukon First Nations about the possible sale of the Yukon Energy Corporation assets. Would the Minister be willing to table this letter, or any other letters on the same subject, for the benefit of the House?


I assume the question is for the Minister responsible for the Yukon Energy Corporation?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

I got the high sign, so I presume it is.

I will take that under advisement. I will have to discuss that with the First Nation, but I, personally, do not have a problem with that.

Mr. Penikett:

The Minister was to have met on, I believe, May 6, with the Association of Yukon Communities to discuss what part Yukon municipalities might play in the all-new energy consortium. Would the Minister be so kind as to favour the House with a brief description of what transpired at that meeting?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

Absolutely nothing, because the meeting was adjourned until May 20.

Mr. Penikett:

May I compliment the Minister on the clearest and plainest answer we have heard from him in weeks.

One concern a constituent of mine has with the potential sell-off of the Yukon Energy Corporation's assets is that, according to news reports, 30 percent may go to First Nations, 20 percent to municipalities and 50 percent would be retained by the Government of Yukon, according to the Government Leader, and 33 percent may go to the Yukon Energy Corporation, Yukon Electrical or Alberta Power. This adds up to 133 percent. I do not want this to sound like something from the Vancouver Stock Exchange, so I will ask the Minister if he could tell the House, in unequivocal terms today, whether or not he intends to sell any of the hydro assets of the Yukon Energy Corporation to private interests based outside of the Yukon?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

I was not surprised by the numbers coming from the Member opposite. I thought it was just typical NDP logic, but he attributes them to me, all in the same sentence, which I am sure is not the case.

The discussions we have had with First Nations are that phase 1 involves working with them to see whether or not it is possible to sell up to 30 percent to a First Nation corporation or company, with the 20 percent to other Yukoners.

At a time in the future, with the agreement of the parties, we would explore the rationalization of assets with the Yukon Electrical Company Ltd, which is something that is not new. It is an ongoing process that was attempted by the previous administration when they were going to sell the assets of the Yukon Energy Corporation to Alberta Power.

Question re: Energy Corporation, privatization of

Mr. Cable:

I have a few more questions for the same Minister on the Yukon Energy Corporation. The issue of privatization bubbled up in the House about six months ago, and it has been discussed publicly, and in this House, for quite some time. There is no clear signal from the Minister as to where he is going. We have heard they want to slam the door on municipal involvement, then the door was opened up again.

I have to say this is very much a public issue. The Northwest Territories has handled it in a different fashion. They put out a 115-page booklet dealing with the issue.

Is the Minister prepared to take the same approach, by putting the issue and all the options out to the public for discussion, so we can congeal our thoughts on the matter?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

I was worried the Member opposite's thoughts had been congealed, but he did bubble forth with the breaking news that we were thinking about the possible privatization of the Yukon Energy Corporation.

At the point in time at which we have Cabinet direction, we will be making further information public. At this point in time, as I said before numerous times in this House, we are waiting for Cabinet to consider the report done by the consultant, so Cabinet can instruct the consultant and give the person a mandate to proceed to the next step, which would involve getting together with First Nations and approaching Ottawa.

Mr. Cable:

The Minister issued a contract to Mr. Boylan, his consultant. In that contract, one of the terms of reference for Mr. Boylan was to identify, examine and report on the options on government management issues pertaining to ownership and restructuring of the Yukon Energy Corporation.

Was one of the options that Mr. Boylan was examining the maintenance of the status quo, the retention of the Yukon Energy Corporation in public hands?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

I suppose the mandate is broad enough to have a look at the current situation, and that is where the starting point would be. I am aware that he has certainly delved into all of the documentation surrounding the sale of the assets from the federal government to the Yukon Development Corporation, and has examined all of the pertinent material regarding finances and loan documents.

While I am on my feet I would want to correct the Member on his statement; Mr. Boylan was engaged by the Executive Council Office, which of course, operates on behalf of the government and Cabinet directly.

Mr. Cable:

The Minister made an interesting observation. I think he was talking about the discounting of the notes held by the federal government. What incentive would there be for the federal government to discount a note held by a territorial Crown corporation? This is independent of any actions the First Nations might take to draw down the debt balance that is owing.

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

We will have to see what incentive they would have. They would be paid out the discounted value of the note. That is the incentive - that they have the money.

The issue is one that begs to be addressed through negotiation. The advice that we have from independent consultants is that they feel it is worth pursuing.


The time for Question Period has now elapsed.




Motion No. 69


Motion No. 69, standing in the name of Mr. Harding.


It has been moved by the Member for Faro

THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon should immediately set up an independent public inquiry under the Public Inquiries Act to investigate the question of foreign ownership in the Yukon outfitting industry.

Mr. Harding:

Recognizing - over the last week since we first began raising this issue in the Legislature - that it is a very contentious issue in the Yukon, it is appropriate that we debate this particular motion today in the Legislature.

We have had, in our office over the last week and for days leading up to it, a lot of discussion about this issue and we have had a lot of Yukoners make representations to us about it. Some

Page Number 2626

people have felt that they like the status quo, even though they are not quite sure about what is going on. Many others - many, many others - by far the majority - have indicated that they want to know what is happening, what is going on, and get to the bottom of the matter.

This concern has bubbled around in the Yukon for the last couple of years, perhaps even the last three years, and there has been a lot of discussion about it. I have had discussions with the present Minister, who indicated to me that he also shared some concerns, as did other Yukoners, about foreign ownership and side deals being established to give the illusion of Yukon control of Yukon outfitting territories, but this Minister had no evidence whatsoever of that to even begin to look into it further. The present Minister also tells me that he had talked to the previous Minister about it and that that Minister had had none either.

The whole debate on this issue changed when I was provided with what I believe is some evidence on behalf of counsel for a person - and I will say a non-Yukon resident at this point. I will get into the debate later, which I believe is a secondary issue at this point of whether this person is a landed immigrant or a Canadian citizen. A non-Yukon resident made at least an attempt, in one of his areas where he owns an interest, to reverse what we strongly believe are the provisions of the Yukon Wildlife Act to protect Yukon ownership and control of Yukon outfitting territories.

We thought that this new evidence introduced into the equation, which the Minister of the day could sink his teeth into to help him get to the bottom of this - because he has indicated a concern in the past - would be welcomed by the Members of the government. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Since we brought up this issue, we have been fought with opposition and incredibly desperate attempts by the Members opposite to deflect the debate - to talk about issues that are really only secondary, and in some cases have no relevance at all to the debate.

I want to begin by being very clear about the facts of the law - laws of the Yukon Territory, as they stand today - laws that were created by a Conservative administration. Section 89 of the Wildlife Act says, "An outfitting concession may be granted to a natural person who is a resident who makes his home in the Yukon, habitually is present in the Yukon and is a Canadian citizen." That is the first part of the law. That refers to the outfitting concession, usually granted for up to five years to someone holding an outfitting concession licence.

The second thing that a person has to have to operate an outfitting concession is an outfitting certificate. That is usually a one-year arrangement. The law regarding ownership and control of outfitting certificates says, "Any corporation in which 51 percent or more of its issued share capital, having any voting rights under any circumstances, belongs to the holder of the concession. All of the remaining share capital having voting rights under any circumstance belongs to persons who are Canadian citizens at the time of the issuance of the certificate." That is what the law says. I am not inventing anything here; the parameters of what we are working with. That is the evidence of the law.

Why were these provisions established by a Conservative administration in this territory? Why did they come up with these laws? What the Minister said and what we believe was the intent, was that they were established to protect Yukon control and ownership of Yukon outfitting territories, because they utilize a scare public resource, and that is our wildlife. We also believe strongly that communities such as the Yukon have the right to establish provisions to protect Yukon resident control of industries such as this. Now there have been differentiations taken in law in the Yukon. Some industries have broader strokes for control. Mining, for example, does not, but outfitting, by law, by Yukoners, was determined to be an industry that demanded that control was essential. That is why the Conservatives brought in the law.

In our view, it is wholly appropriate for Yukoners to maintain ownership in a majority sense and to have control over an industry that utilizes scarce - and getting scarcer - public resources. The now-Minister of Renewable Resources has told me that he agrees with this. I have provided Hansard to him, I have provided Hansard to the rest of my caucus colleagues and to the media to show that the Minister has said that.

He said over a year ago that he wanted Yukoners and Canadian citizens in the business and in control. He said that he did not agree with one person holding two or three territories in the Yukon. He also said that he wanted to investigate what was going on, because he knew that something was up. He did not know quite what it was, but he knew that something was up and he had concerns. He talked about them privately with the previous Minister.

Rumours have been circulating in the Yukon for some time. I also talked to the previous Minister. He said that he had heard them, but that nothing concrete or substantial in any way was ever put forth to support the rumours regarding control of Yukon outfitting concessions and the certificate licences that these concessions are granted.

A lot of people have asked how this was being done, how Yukon control was being diminished by people from the outside buying up territories - people who are not Yukon residents, perhaps may not even be Canadian citizens, or landed immigrants, or who may even live in a foreign country. Section 89 of the Wildlife Act says that only a natural Yukon resident can be the holder of a concession licence. How did people who previously had little money to speak of suddenly end up being 51-percent owners of Yukon outfitting concessions? One way that it could be done is to sign a deal to present to Renewable Resources that complies with the Wildlife Act. The Yukoner gets his concession licence, and the outfitting company gets its certificate.

What nobody else in the public, or in the ministry, knows is that side agreements have been reached that are designed to reverse what has been established under the Wildlife Act. The Minister is satisfied that the concession holder and the certificate holder have lived up to the act, but nobody knows that confidential arrangements have been reached between the real owner of the territory, the concession licence and the certificate, and his Yukon management designate. They set down provisions in the side proposal - or the secret agreement - that say things like, number one, the Yukoner has no legal rights to the concession licence, number two, an option can take away the Yukoner's voting shares - that 51 percent - for one dollar at any time.

So, the agreement looks like the person is a 51-percent owner but, in a side agreement, there is an option that 51 percent of the shares can be taken away from the Yukoner at any time by the non-Yukon resident. The third thing is that all voting shares in these side agreements must be voted in accordance with the non-Yukon resident's wishes. They have full control. The powers of the outfitter are to take direction from the non-Yukon resident.

That is certainly alarming. I ask even the most ardent Yukon Party supporter this: should we allow such blatant disrespect for our laws to exist? Should we allow for these side shareholder agreements, which clearly reverse the intent of the Wildlife Act, which is in law today in the Yukon, to exist?

I firmly believe that the side agreements, if they exist - and I think that there has been some evidence presented that they do - make a laughingstock of our ownership provisions in the Wildlife Act.

Yesterday in Question Period, and outside the Legislature, in comments made by the Minister of Justice, we heard some absolutley

Page Number 2627

amazing things.

I cannot believe the answers given - or not given - by the Government Leader and the Minister of Renewable Resources, and the answers given by the Minister of Justice.

I have just read the law of our territory, as it stands today. I am now going to speak to the bizarre statements of the Minister of Justice that were made in and out of the Legislature yesterday.

The Minister of Justice is now arguing, in the face of the laws of the Wildlife Act, that the Yukon is now wide open for outfitting. In the face of our law, he is pushing for a situation that I am sure will not be supported by the vast majority of Yukoners. On the radio this morning, he said amazing things. He said that side deals that give the illusion of ownership may not be a bad thing. Here is the Justice Minister of the Yukon Territory speaking out in favour of people going around the law of the Yukon through backdoor agreements. This is terrifying: the Minister of Justice is actively promoting side deals. It is incredible.

One can only assume, given the Government Leader's previous refusals to answer questions about this issue, after having introduced himself into the debate, saying he thought everything was kosher with the sale arrangements between himself, his son-in-law and Mr. Mayr-Melnhof, that this Cabinet has some knowledge of side arrangements that are in concrete existence today. They are now lobbying in favour of them to make them retroactively okay, to make it sound like it is not a bad thing to be in violation of the intent of the law, to give Renewable Resources one picture that everything is okay and, then, turn around and sign a side deal that takes away all the provisions of the laws that were established to protect Yukon ownership and control of outfitting territories. That is now what they are arguing.

Yesterday, the Minister referred to the NDP's researchers as Inspector Clouseaus. Clouseau always solved the case in the end and, as he used to say, "Now we are getting somewhere", and that is exactly what is happening here. We are starting to find out what the real agenda of this government is. We are getting somewhere, and it has taken some time, and we have had to have a lot of Yukoners call our offices to tell us what is going on out there. They know, because they have been involved personally. There are a lot of people concerned.

Another incredible statement the Minister made is that we might not - I emphasize "might" - win a case in court regarding Yukon control of outfitting territories if an outside-of-the-Yukon resident challenges it with the Charter. That is an absolutely bizarre statement. He produces no record of case law in the Yukon of any challenges from an outside resident to this, yet rolls over. He is saying that, because there is a chance we will lose, without any jurisprudence or any case law to back up his claim, they will roll over on the Yukon ownership and control provisions in our Wildlife Act. Even more bizarre: they may now allow these side-door and backdoor agreements.

They think it is not a bad thing. He even went on to say that the law does not say, specifically, that they are not allowed.

He is going to such great lengths to talk about things that may happen with the Charter when he wants to defend what is going on regarding the Cabinet and Government Leader; however, when we talk about upholding the provisions of the Wildlife Act, he says that we cannot do anything about it. He is not even going to look into what the intent of that act is. He is not prepared to take up the fight for Yukoners.

We are definitely getting somewhere, slowly but surely. It is very frustrating to be in the Opposition when we are being stonewalled by the government and when the Government Leader and Minister refuse to answer questions.

The Minister of Justice stands up, and in his rhetorical, Perry Mason-wannabe style, clearly tries to set up deflections to detract from the real issues.

We want to get to the bottom of this. We have presented nothing but questions. We have not made accusations. We have asked questions of the Government Leader after he introduced himself into the debate.

If one accepts the argument that the Minister of Justice has made regarding the Wildlife Act and carry it forward, we have no power to prevent anyone from Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario or Quebec coming to the Yukon to get a licence, whether it be a hunting or outfitting licence, because of the Charter. He is saying we cannot enforce, in our own jurisdiction, residency requirements - period. He is saying that there might be a Charter argument that is successful. It is ridiculous. We have all kinds of residency requirements and provisions that establish control for the Yukon in our licensing and certificate arrangements. He has now opened the door on this by maintaining publicly, if one can believe it, that we cannot enforce them, and the Charter might magically come into effect, even though no outside citizen who wants to buy an outfitting territory has ever challenged it, and says that we cannot enforce ownership and control.

Does the Minister not realize what he is doing? Obviously not. He is so desperate to protect his Cabinet that he is willing to say just about anything publicly. It is extremely worrisome to a lot of Yukoners.

When the Minister gets up to respond, he will no doubt try to deflect the debate and do some powerful dooking and jiving around the real issue. He will make accusations that the NDP knew this and the NDP did that, the previous government is all evil, and there is really nothing to go on about here. However, the public is not going to buy it.

Anyone listening to the radio this morning on the refusal of the government to answer simple questions, heard the Minister's rants and his bizarre comments outside the Legislature - that he thought side deals were a good thing, and that we might not be able to enforce our provisions, so he was not going to - would be asking questions. They would be asking what this man was talking about, and who had raised the challenge?

It is not incumbent upon the Minister of Renewable Resources, or the Minister of Justice, to back down, when he has produced no case law that we cannot, in any way, shape or form, exercise some jurisdiction over the control and ownership of Yukon outfitting territories. The Minister has produced absolutely nothing.

After this morning, and yesterday in the Legislature, I see this debate has certainly shifted, and it is very interesting.

As I see it now, given the evidence of a secret proposal to reverse Yukon control - which I have given him - and given the Government Leader's refusal to answer questions about side agreements involving a non-Yukon resident and his son-in-law and, finally, given the comments made by the Minister of Justice yesterday that these side agreements may be okay, the primary issue becomes why the Yukon Party is opening up the doors of the written word of our Wildlife Act, to say that we cannot enforce Yukon control and ownership of those holding Yukon concession licences.

They do this without a challenge from anyone. Why do they do this, all of a sudden, now that their feet are to the fire? Could it be that someone in Cabinet knows about side deals that are in existence and now wants to make them retroactively okay?

As Batman used to say, something stinks in Gotham City, and we want to get to the bottom of it.

The issue of the letter of the law of the Wildlife Act referring to Canadian citizenship has become secondary, because the Minister of Justice is now saying, without any legal challenge, that our Yukon ownership provisions are unenforceable. He is now publicly saying that our entire Yukon ownership and control provisions

Page Number 2628

are not going to be able to stand up without a challenge. It is incredible.

Even a more bizarre statement is that he is saying that it is not a bad thing. I want to know if this government has asked Yukoners that. Do they believe that to be the case? I believe they do not, and I believe that they will tell this government that very strongly and clearly.

If it cannot be Yukon ownership and control of outfitting concessions, then they should not be outfitting, and I am sure that is what they would say. We need to have it. It is an industry the Conservatives decided should have ownership and control and we support them in that decision. Now, with their feet to the fire, things have changed. They refuse to answer questions. They make up all kinds of stories and desperately try to deflect debate, but we will not allow that to happen. I will tenaciously pursue this issue. I will stay on it until I see it through.

One thing I am absolutely sure of, and I should say that I have contacted the previous Minister again, is that no NDP government ever had the evidence that the Yukon Party government now has of side deals with non-Yukon citizens, landed immigrants or Canadian citizens or whatever they are, who take away the Yukon control and ownership of outfitting concessions. Had they had that evidence swiftly, concession licences and certificates would be on hold pending an in-depth inquiry. The NDP does not, and never did, support side agreements taking away the clear intent of the Wildlife Act to protect Yukon ownership and control.

No doubt the Minister will ramble on about the previous administration, but I will say this to him in advance just so that he is clear and so that when he speaks he will know what the truth is: the previous Minister in Cabinet had no evidence of side deals, which I have now provided to them. The NDP never supported dilution of the Yukon ownership and control provisions of the Wildlife Act through side agreements. We still do not do that. The NDP would take on any Charter challenge put forward by any foreign or non-Yukon resident that says we cannot, as a jurisdiction, enforce local ownership and control of Yukon outfitting territories under the Wildlife Act. We would feel compelled to do that because it is in our laws and we do not want the door swung wide open.

The Minister of Justice is now saying that anybody in Alberta or Newfoundland, or wherever, can now own 100 percent of the Yukon outfitting territories, period. That is what his argument is saying. Conceivably, if one took what he is saying and a person had the capital, they could buy up every territory, and have total control and ownership here in the Yukon. He has accepted the side deals; he says that is okay, and he is saying that the Charter of Rights will stand up to the arguments we presented and will not stand up in the face of challenges from someone who does not live in the territory.

As I think about this - and I thought about it this morning - it is clear at this point in the debate that the issues surrounding Mr. Mayr-Melnhof's landed-immigrant-versus-Canadian-citizenship debate is secondary, although the Justice Minister, I know, in his response, will try to deflect it. This man has Austrian addresses on all three companies he has an interest in in the share registry and also on the secret proposal put forth by his lawyer to a Yukoner with whom he wanted to establish control. Now, that begs some very serious questions that I do not have answers to - very serious questions.

Why does someone who is supposed to be a landed immigrant have Austrian addresses on the share registry documents and on the secret proposals? Every official document that has been filed has an Austrian address. This is a secondary issue, but I believe it is also important because it raises questions.

The Minister of Renewable Resources said he lived in Vancouver for eight years. Well, if someone lived in Vancouver for eight years, he would probably have a Vancouver address, one would think. That seems logical and that seems sensible. All I want is the answer to these questions.

Given what the Minister and the government have done in the last day, this whole issue becomes secondary. It is blown out of the water; it is small potatoes next to the Minister of Justice saying that side deals are okay, that negotiating away the intent of the Wildlife Act of this Yukon Territory behind closed doors is okay and that he will not even challenge it if somebody brings forth a case that says it is okay.

This is awful. It is all coming out of this government. Now, it is saying it is going to have policy meetings, because we put its feet to the fire. This has to be investigated. The government cannot just leave it sitting; there are too many questions unanswered.

I want to talk a bit about what conclusive proof we have that these side agreements exist. All we have is a document that I just received and that I gave to the government. It shows an offer from a lawyer for Mr. Mayr-Melnhof to a Yukoner that establishes an absolutely opposite relationship to the intent of the Wildlife Act. It includes a share option for a buy-back of 51 percent of the territory. It includes a control clause that says the Yukoner must vote his shares according to the direction of Mr. Mayr-Melnhof. Thirdly, it states that a trust agreement is signed that says clearly that any agreements signed with Renewable Resources about concession licensing is now null and void and that all legal interest and obligation is taken away from the Yukoner. The fourth part of that agreement is a management agreement proposal, which shows what the Yukon resident got if he chose to sign this agreement. It included things like a $2,500 a month salary, $1,000 for housing, expenses paid for things that pertain to the business, the use of a company vehicle for conducting company business - all of this was spelled out as an exchange for signing the concession licence and certificate application and then handing it over through a side arrangement.

We do not know for sure that is happening. We do not have conclusive proof, and I have never maintained that we do. What this side proposal does is raise some very serious questions. It gives some life to the issue. When I interviewed the previous Minister about this on the phone, I told him what had been presented to me, and he said, "You have what? Where did you get that? Holy cow. People were talking about that for a long time, but we never had any evidence like that." This is a different ball game, and the government should realize that.

We are not saying that anybody is guilty. We want to find out what the answers are to the questions we have raised. That is why this motion calls for a public inquiry. We cannot get any answers from the government because the Government Leader, who first introduced himself into the debate by saying that everything he knew about the sale was kosher, refused yesterday in the Legislature to clear up some details on the sale I had asked about. He had referred to them the day before in the Legislature. He opened himself right up into the debate.

On one hand, he uses his knowledge of the sale to say that everything was okay but, the next day, when I ask him questions about it, he refuses to answer and says that I am making accusations. That is ridiculous. He cannot have it both ways. You cannot introduce yourself into debate by saying that, because you have personal knowledge, everything is okay, and that you will decide if there will be a public inquiry or not and, then, turn around the next day, when you are asked specific questions that were designed to clear things up, and say that you will not answer them.

What does the Yukon Party Cabinet think about that? Do they not think that the public is going to want to know what the heck is going on, and why the Government Leader is refusing to answer

Page Number 2629

questions? If he has nothing to hide, why will he not stand up and answer the questions? If everything is kosher with side agreements, as the Minister of Justice says, why does he not answer the question, if he knows that one exists between his son-in-law and Mr. Mayr and himself? He refused to answer.

I want to clearly state for the record what we do know - just so it is clear. I have read into the record what the act says, and what we think it means. We know that a lawyer for a person who is not a Yukon resident has presented an offer for discussion to a Yukoner. The offer, as presented, obviously intends to establish a front for the person who is not a Yukon resident. It creates the illusion of Yukon ownership and control. One can only assume that this offer could have been accepted by the Yukoner, and then would thus form an agreement - a side agreement - the kind of agreement that I am talking about front and centre here - the real issue.

The previous NDP government had no evidence ever produced for them, not from the Members opposite, regarding side shareholder agreements, or from anyone else for that matter.

We have now produced that for the Yukon Party government to act on. We thought they would be thankful, given the Minister's response in earlier debates that I have had with him where he said that there is nothing he can do as long as a Yukoner has 51 percent ownership. I have produced a document that calls that into question very seriously. The only way that anybody would ever know is if people involved in a sale transaction and the share structuring are put on the stand and asked some very specific questions. There may be nothing illegal about it, but we clearly have a violation of the intent of the law to protect Yukon ownership and control.

It would be interesting to see if the trust declaration regarding the concession licence is legal, given the requirements in the Wildlife Act for transferability limitations to those concession licences.

These are very, very serious issues. I have said what we do know about what is happening.

I want to clearly state for the record what we do not know, the questions that have been raised. This is the meat and potatoes of this whole issue. I list these questions, not in any specific order. I believe it is up to people who are interested to determine what they think are the most important issues.

This non-Yukon resident owns interest in three Yukon outfitting territories. There is evidence that he has made an offer to a Yukoner that violates the spirit of our laws. Does he have any side agreements with other Yukoners that take away control and ownership from Yukoners?

The second question: do Yukoners want the provisions of the law that now protect Yukon and Canadian ownership of outfitting? That question has never been asked by this government? They are making bold assumptions and really selling out our interests.

Has the Government Leader and his Cabinet knowingly granted certificates to outfitting concessions that are not owned and controlled wholly, with the spirit and intent of the law, by 51 percent ownership? Does the Government Leader, and/or any Member of his Cabinet, have any knowledge of any of these side agreements in his son-in-law's area or any other of these territories?

We asked that question in the letter of March 25. The Minister refused to answer. I asked it three times during Question Period yesterday. The Minister of Justice got up and put up his dooks and his deflections. He ranted and raved, yelled and screamed and said, "Go at 'er, young fella", and said I was making accusations. This is after the Government Leader, himself, tried to kill concerns we raised by saying he was involved with the deals and felt they were all above board. However, when I asked him a specific question about the deal, he refused to answer. Certainly this raises questions.

The next question we have is: are these side agreements, if they exist, acceptable under the law? This morning the Minister of Justice said they were. He is not even prepared to fight for the spirit and intent of the Wildlife Act, which the Conservative government developed when they brought it in. He is prepared to hide behind the Charter, with absolutely no evidence or legal opinion that he has tabled and no fight from anyone who wanted a certificate but did not get one. It is incredible.

I cannot believe that the Minister of Justice said he felt that the side agreements, which clearly violate the spirit of the law, are not a bad thing. It is an incredible statement for a Minister of Justice to make. It clearly shows that the Members opposite are far too close to the issue.

The next question is: do Yukoners care that the spirit of their laws are being broken? I do not know. They will have to decide. I got an anonymous call saying that there is no need for this, that they are all being managed by Yukoners and that it does not matter what the Wildlife Act says - everything is okay. I saw one Yukoner today who wanted me to see them clearly with a Rogue River Outfitters' hat on. They thought they would show their support. That is fine.

However, I want to know if there are other Yukoners who do care that the spirit of their laws are being broken.

Let us find out what the majority of Yukoners care about. Let us not be afraid to find that out. I harbour no resentment toward the outfitting industry. I originally came to the Yukon to work in the outfitting industry, and I support it. What I want to see is the established laws lived up to.

The next question is this: where is the legal opinion of this government regarding the letter of the law in the Wildlife Act that now says that we cannot even enforce Yukon ownership and control provisions? First they said we could not enforce Canadian citizenship provisions, which they say the previous government agreed to - and we are not sure about that. We would like to have the legal opinion. If they can produce it, then they are right, but the Canadian citizenship argument is small potatoes compared to the statement by the Minister of Justice that we cannot enforce a regulation that a Yukon person should have 51 percent ownership and control of an outfitting territory.

We would like to see the legal opinions from the department on the issue of Canadian citizenship versus landed immigrant. At least if we see it, then we can start to debate whether it should have been accepted by this government or the previous government, or whatever. It is very touchy ground when one starts automatically assuming one is going to lose a Charter argument, even though it has not been challenged by anybody, and there is no jurisprudence, no case law provided to substantiate it. I do not care which government it is, that is a problem.

Then the big issue, the big kettle of fish, is the direction taken by the government yesterday after they thought up how to address this bombshell of the secret proposal I gave the Minister. They said they could not even enforce the Yukon-ownership and control provisions of the act, let alone the Canadian citizenship for the holding of voting shares. That is dangerous, dangerous ground, and not where the Government of Yukon should be standing. What we should be saying is that that is what the act says regarding Yukon ownership and control. They must wholly own 51 percent of the shares and there should be no side agreements to take that away. They should be null and void. That is what the Yukon government should be saying. Now that they know that at least attempts have been made to reverse those provisions, they should be aggressively pursuing the matter. Instead, they put up smoke screens, rhetorical rants, blame the previous administration, and there is no action, nothing.

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Given the response by the Minister of Justice yesterday and his claims on the radio - that side agreements are okay, and that we might not be able to win an argument against someone who raised a Charter argument, and that we could not enforce Yukon ownership and control of outfitting territories - one has to ask if the Yukon Party government agrees with Yukon and Canadian ownership of outfitting territories. Our position is clear: we do, and we would fight to enforce it and to ensure that non-Yukon residents can only hold up to 49 percent, that 51 percent must be held by Yukon residents, and they must have real control and real ownership.

Where are the Charter arguments on this question, and what is the case law? That is the next question. I think only a public inquiry could sort out that type of question.

We cannot sort this out in back and forth debate in this Legislature, and we cannot do it Question Period, because the Minister gets up and gives his Yukon Party lawyer speeches and, no doubt, when he gets up in this debate, he will start yelling, screaming, and saying the NDP is evil.

We have to get to the bottom of this, and we cannot sort it out in this political arena. It should be sorted out by an independent, respected person and a board of inquiry under the Public Inquiries Act.

The Members opposite are far too close to this deal, and they cannot have an objective, independent view of what is being done, nor can Yukoners who are totally interwoven in what is happening here, because they all have an interest, and I accept that. I also accept that things have been going on here for awhile, and that is what makes this a bitter pill to swallow, but I am glad that I started raising it. I have been thinking about this for quite awhile, and I have been receiving calls from Yukoners who have been talking about it for quite awhile.

I heard the President of the Yukon Outfitters Association on the 12:30 CBC news saying that he does not want politicians using this issue and outfitting as a political football. Well, I could not agree with him more. Let us put the whole question of foreign ownership, ownership of Yukon outfitting territories, and what is happening in the territory to a public inquiry. Then it is out of the political arena and up to someone independent and, we hope, objective, to review and to put a lot of people on the stand involved in the transactions and the potential for side arrangements that take away the spirit and intent of the Wildlife Act. This should all be brought out. Then, Yukoners can have a more informed opinion as to whether they want to try and even take on a Charter argument by someone from the outside who brings it in.

Should Yukoners not know, and should they not tell the Minister of Justice the answer to that question of whether or not they want the Minister and the Government of the Yukon to support Yukon control and ownership in Yukon outfitting territories?

I would bet that if a referendum were held on that issue, 75 percent of Yukoners would say it is important that we have a large degree of control over ownership and decisions affecting the wildlife being utilized in the territory.

II wrote some of these questions yesterday. One of the questions I asked was, "Does the Yukon Party agree with these side agreements?" After hearing the Minister of Justice on the radio this morning, it is becoming apparent that he does. Why does he agree with them? I said before, is it because there is some knowledge in the Cabinet of some existence of the same? Now, we try to make them retroactively acceptable. This is a very serious problem.

Let us not forget who is in charge - who is steering this ship. It is a person directly involved in one of these sales. There have been questions raised about what is going on with the share structure - quite legitimately, I think. Now we have the judge and jury sitting across from us who are involved.

Yesterday, we had the Minister of Justice put up a futile defence, clearly designed to get the rhetoric scale going. He got a big 10 on pomposity for it from anyone I have talked to. Clearly, the intent was not to debate the issue, but was to throw up a smokescreen. The comments that came out on the radio this morning - that he thinks these side deals are not so bad, even though they are confidential and they negotiate away Yukon control and ownership - are astounding - absolutely astounding. The government also says that the foreign owner of these three territories is a landed immigrant, and we cannot do anything to exercise any jurisdiction over outfitting ownership; whether it is the 51-percent criteria demand for Yukon ownership and control, or whether it is the Canadian citizenship or landed immigrant criteria immigrant, it does not matter. They say we cannot do anything about it, with no challenge.

The obvious question - number 11 - probably, I think the most key question: why does this individual list a foreign address on three share registry forms and in his secret proposal to a Yukoner? The next part of this important question is, why would he have a lawyer go through the legal gymnastics of these confidential side agreements if everything was kosher under the Wildlife Act and we had no power to restrict ownership and control. He could just do it in the open. He could live in Alberta and if he had enough money he could say, "Listen, I want to buy 20 outfitting territories in the Yukon." He could say - this is all conceivably, it is not likely, he has got three now - "I have a lot of money and I am prepared to offer each of the 20 or 21 outfitters a million dollars apiece, or $1.2 million." There are a lot of outfitters who would say that is too good to refuse, I am sure, because it would be a good deal.

The Minister of Justice is now saying that it is all right. So, all effective control and ownership is gone from the Yukon. Someone who lives in Alberta or Newfoundland now owns all of the outfitting territories, and the Minister of Justice says, "We have to talk about that in Cabinet. We have to have a policy meeting about that." Well, I guess they do have to have a policy meeting. They had better have one quickly. They had better tell Yukoners about what they are thinking. He did that this morning, but I am not sure that he knows quite what he said. Not yet anyway. It is going to be interesting over the next couple of days.

I will just repeat that question again, just to give it more emphasis. Why would a lawyer go through the legal gymnastics of these confidential side agreements if everything was okay under the Wildlife Act and the Yukon government had no power to restrict ownership and control? Why would they sign some documents, as Yukoners, that say that they are the concession licensees, they are the holders of 51 percent of the corporation's voting shares, get an outfitting certificate and then sign a side deal with someone who is not a Yukon resident - and there is a question whether they are even a Canadian resident or a legal immigrant, or whatever - and then turn around and sign a side deal, behind closed doors, that takes all of those ownership provisions away? Why?

I do not know. I think it is because the Wildlife Act is clear. It says that you cannot have someone else own 51 percent of the shares. The only way that you could do it is if the ministry did not know about it.

The next question is this: why will the Government Leader and the Minister not answer any questions about this in the Legislature? It is a terrible display of a real lack of respect for democracy. The Minister of Justice was incorrect in his statement yesterday that I was making accusations and allegations. I proved that, because the Speaker did not rule me out of order.

I was asking questions of the Government Leader, who, the day

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before, in trying to defend a sales transaction in which he was personally involved, said that he thought everything was above board. I do not have the exact quote, but I believe he used the term "above board". He said that he met with department officials many times. I asked him if he told the department officials about side agreements. I am sure that he met with department officials and said, "Yes, this person - the Yukoner is going to own 51 percent, and this person is a landed immigrant and I think that is okay under the law."

He obviously got his concession licence and his certificate. When I asked him yesterday if he had told anybody, or if he would tell this House about whether the side agreements exist or not, he refused to answer. That would raise questions for any reasonable person who was listening.

The next question is how far does this go? How far does it go? Can any landed immigrant who is not a Yukon resident or any Canadian citizen who is not a Yukon resident who lives in any province in this country now buy up as many territories as he or she likes, and we would have no say? That is what the Minister of Justice is proposing with his argument, or lack thereof. He is saying, without challenge from anybody, that the Charter would not allow him to fight that, which is absolutely incredible.

Another question that has been raised by Yukoners is this: what effect is Mr. Mayr-Melnhof's buying up of three territories having on the prices of concessions? Are they being forced up artificially through ignorance of our laws and keeping other Yukoners out of the industry?

A guide phoned the office yesterday - someone we had never talked to - who had worked on one of the Mr. Mayr-Melnhof's territories. He talked to the Member for Mount Lorne - she had never spoken with him before in her life. He said, "I have been following what is going on in the Legislature. I used to work in one of Mr. Mayr-Melnhof's territories and know all about it. I know what was going on here. I know what the front is and how it has changed". He said toward the end that "this is getting to be a rich foreign guy's business", and that "a small guy like me cannot buy an area any more because the price is going up". He told us that, since this person bought these three territories, the prices have increased immensely.

Someone also anonymously called me to say that they did not think we should not be pursuing this. They said that prices are going up everywhere. Our jurisdiction has different provisions for protection of ownership, and that has a bearing on the price. Comparisons cannot be made with other jurisdictions. While I can appreciate their argument, I cannot accept it, because of our Wildlife Act and the provisions it lays down.

I heard people we have never spoken with before call our office to explain their concerns about what is being done here, and say it is a shame that there is sham going on. They talk about the people with whom they have dealt and for whom they have worked in quite flowery and nice terms. They say that the guy is a nice guy. I do not have a problem with that; that is fine, but that is not my job. My job is to hold the Government of the Yukon accountable for the laws of the Yukon.

If they want to change the laws, I challenge the government to bring in a bill that states that we can no longer enforce Yukon ownership and control of a majority of Yukon outfitting territories. I challenge them to change the laws, instead of hiding behind a phony Charter argument that they have never produced. I have yet to see a challenge or case law.

Today, they will probably try and table something about a legal opinion that they will claim the NDP Cabinet had about a landed immigrant versus Canadian citizen. They will try to deflect this debate with that.

However, we are talking about new parameters in this debate, in view of yesterday's performance by the government in Question Period, and the Minister of Justice's comment that he thinks it is okay to have no Yukon control and ownership, and that side deals are okay - there is nothing he can do about it, he says. He does not know that, but he thinks that might be the case. He thinks that there might be a successful challenge - he thinks.

I think it is scary when the government will go to such great lengths to protect their interests in this debate, and there are a lot of Yukoners out there who know it.

I also want to ask what other jurisdictions do to protect control of their wildlife, property, concession licences and certificates.

Why does the same name shows up in the proposal for Mr. Mayr-Melnhof to a Yukoner that show up on the share registry for one of the outfitting territories owned by Mr. Mayr-Melnhof? To me, this establishes evidence of a link and the possibility that a signed agreement was in existence. Again, this is not conclusive. I will say that and we never maintained that it was. However, there is some indication that there may be something going on here. In my mind, it has to be investigated.

The true story must come out if Yukoners are to be able to decide the appropriate way to deal with the answers. We must have a public inquiry. We do not have enough answers, and the government refuses to investigate the matter in more detail, even after being provided with new evidence that there is some substantiation to the claims and the rumours that have been circulating around the Yukon that Yukoners really do not have 51-percent control of Yukon outfitting concessions. There has to be some investigation into the Austrian addresses. Does this person really live in the Yukon, or even in Canada for that matter?

It is pretty much clear that he does not live in Yukon. I talked to people who used to work for him; they say he is in for a couple of months in the summer and a little bit of the hunting season, then he is gone. That is the question. That is what we are told, and we cannot be told anything else because the government will not tell us anything else, and nobody else will tell us anything else. All we know is what we hear from Yukoners.

I sincerely believe that people involved in the sales transactions, the outfitting concession and certificate applications, must be asked the tough questions under oath. I believe that is the only way to get the true answer. They may have nothing to fear. We do not know that it is illegal. We clearly believe the spirit of the law has been broken, but we are not sure if it is illegal. At least if it is exposed, Yukoners will know what is going on and then they can decide whether they want the Minister of Justice to continue on with his agenda to open up the outfitting industry.

He was talking about a bogeyman in the Legislature yesterday. The only bogeyman being created is being created by his comments. The bogeyman is the Minister of Justice, making comments to sell out the Yukon Territory and its outfitting concessions to anybody - the highest bidder. Take away our rights for control of an industry that Conservative government Yukoners decided they were going to exercise control over and that Yukoners were going to have 51-percent ownership - people who lived in the Yukon, habitually were here in the Yukon and were Canadian citizens. That is what the law says and the Conservative government decided that and we agree with it. But now, with his feet to the fire, knowing he must rise to the defence of his Cabinet colleagues, what does he do? He says, "Well, I do not think we can win it. I am not sure. It has never been challenged, but listen, this is getting pretty hot here." So in a futile defence, he stands up and says, "Nuttin' we can do about it. As a matter of fact, these side deals, these secret deals, may be okay." That is what he said. It is scary - the lengths to which the side opposite will go to protect themselves from people getting the answers to questions.

I certainly think it is very, very bad government. We cannot get

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answers in this House. The Government Leader may have information, which would be helpful, that he is not providing to us. We could get to the bottom of this matter. He could clear things up. He says there is nothing wrong with side agreements, so why does he not tell us if he knows one exists? He will not do it.

In anticipation of the Minister of Justice's blast when he gets up here, I will say these facts so the record is clear, so the Minister of Justice will no doubt have the truth. I know his argument will change totally now that I have told him the truth. I know he will not try to distort the real issues. I am not so sure of that, actually; I should take it back. He may still try to do that.

I will say again for the record that the previous administration, the NDP, had no evidence of side shareholder agreements when they were in power. In interviewing the Minister, I asked him if anything ever came to the Cabinet about side agreements that negotiate away Yukon ownership and control. Nothing did. I asked the previous Minister about the contention of the Yukon Party that there was a legal opinion that said that a landed immigrant for the purpose of buying an outfitting concession was the same as a Canadian citizen. He said - and this is a quote: "Not so. Never went to Cabinet. Do not think it got past the DM." That is what his recollection was of the issue.

We wanted to be clear, so we asked him about it straight up.

I say again that this is secondary. The whole debate has been changed. I know the Minister of Justice is going to take it back there and say that the NDP do not like landed immigrants. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We fully support landed immigrants getting into business. The Wildlife Act says that people must be Canadian citizens. If they want to change that, it is fine.

We have also introduced new evidence. We have also determined that, even if the NDP gave concessions under the belief that Yukon residents had 51-percent control, that may not be the case now. They may have it on paper, but there is another signed paper that says they do not have it.

We have a real problem, and it is not really restricted to either of the two particular governments. It is a question of getting to the bottom of the matter. The only way that we can do that is if the government agrees. If they continue to stonewall and make up all kinds of excuses, and try to play political games blaming the previous administration, we will never get to the bottom of it.

There is no question that the NDP government never knew about these side agreements we have recently given them evidence. We never had that. Had that been there, it would have changed the whole equation.

We would have never even gotten into whether the letter of the Wildlife Act regarding Canadian citizenship versus landed immigrant status would be relevant to the debate, because it is small potatoes when you find out that no Yukoner really owns and controls 51 percent, that it is just a front setup. The whole point is that Yukoners want control of that industry.

Another question is where the taxes go. Who pays the taxes? Where are the profits of the corporation distributed?

Now, I know that some Yukoners are employed, but one of the reasons that we have provisions for Yukon ownership and control, and habitual residence in the Yukon, is so economic generation is created and the money stays in the Yukon, as much as possible.

If you are going to have an industry that utilizes public resources - wildlife, which is becoming scarce - you want to ensure that there is some benefit to Yukoners, and that things like taxes are paid into the Yukon coffers. We are not sure about that, and that is another question. I think that question has a real impact as to whether or not Yukoners want to open up the doors, as the Minister of Justice does, and take away - without even a fight, without a peep or a muster - our provisions to protect Yukon ownership and control.

We clearly believe that landed immigrants have all rights to conduct all forms of business as provided for by law. Now, the Wildlife Act makes an exception for outfitting.

The legal opinion that the government claims to have may be wrong. If there was one prepared under our administration, it may also have been wrong, if it is the same opinion.

We are simply asking questions about the primary issue, which is the side agreements and the contention by the Minister of Justice that there may be nothing we can do to enforce Yukon ownership and control of outfitting territories.

By design, for protection and political purposes, the Minister of Justice has stepped into this debate and is now prepared to publicly sell off those provisions, so that, when we do go to court, anyone who makes the challenge will bring the public comments of the Minister of Justice into the record, and we could lose the case. It is outrageous.

In this debate, we do not want to go down what I like to refer to as the red herring lane. We want to stay on the issues. I have stated them many times in this debate.

The Minister of Justice is going to give you a red herring speech, and he is going to give Yukoners a red herring speech, but I believe most Yukoners are going to know that something smells fishy. There is going to be no question about that. If he does not speak to the issues that I have identified, then it will clearly show that there is an avoidance og getting to the bottom of the matter. I have suggested why there is that avoidance. We are asking about side agreements. We are asking about specific portions of the Wildlife Act that affect only outfitting, and no other industry. We are referring to the comments of the Minister that side agreements are okay.

The NDP wishes that we had received evidence of these side agreements, as the Yukon Party now has, because we could have acted on it. We did not get it. Maybe it is ironic that we did not get it, because the Members opposite, in government, were very close to some deals where there were side agreements. It would have been nice for them to provide them to us, but they did not. The party leader was involved. Now, if there were any, it would have been nice to get them but, obviously, they did not provide them to us. Maybe that is why the Members opposite never asked any questions in the Legislature - because they knew they were close to the deal, and they thought it was okay, so they decided they were not going to raise it. Now, when we raise it, we should not be penalized, or met with the indignant response of the Minister of Justice, who challenges the young fellow from Faro to put his seat on the line for asking questions.

I want to say something to the outfitters, for what it is worth, in their opinion. I am sincere about it. I feel it is unfortunate that the industry has been shown in the media in this light. I hope that people will differentiate between the many outfitters out there who are living up to the spirit and the letter of the law, and those who are not. I know there are many. I know they care deeply about their industry, and I support it. I have talked to a few of them who are very concerned about this issue, because they knew, if it ever hit the Legislature and the media, it would hurt them. The Minister of Renewable Resources also knew that. He told me he was concerned about the issue. He actually said in this Legislature that he was working with the outfitting association to deal with it.

So, everybody knows about it. Let us be clear. Let us be honest.

It is unfortunate that the government will not put a stop to this by calling a public inquiry and taking it out of the public arena.

Then, we could get to the bottom of the matter. No more questions would be asked in this Legislature, while the inquiry was underway. Then the outfitters, the people who control the industry, would not have what they consider to be bad publicity.

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I believe they feel that, if there is bad publicity toward one particular area of the outfitting industry, it reflects on the whole industry. That is probably a correct way of looking at it, and it is unfortunate.

I want to clear the air regarding the CBC 12:30 p.m. news. This is what the story says.

"The Yukon government says NDP politicians knew about a landed immigrant buying into Yukon outfitting concessions." That is a red-herring lane. "Justice Minister Willard Phelps says the NDP looked at whether it was legal for Fritz Mayr-Melnhof to own part" - and I emphasize the word "part" - "of an outfitting concession. Phelps says the NDP had a legal opinion saying that it was okay."

We want that legal opinion. If there was a legal opinion given to the NDP that says it is okay, we want to see it. That is fine. Again, I emphasize the word "part". It said it was okay for Mr. Mayr-Melnhof to own part of an outfitting concession. These side agreements show that Mr. Mayr-Melnhof may own all of the outfitting concession. I can assure this House that it was never agreed to by any NDP Cabinet that all of an outfitting concession would be owned by Mr. Mayr-Melnhof - period. It just did not happen. The Minister is going to be totally incorrect when he gets up and says that is true. Part is very different from all. When 51 percent ownership and control is set out in the law, and then negotiated away through a side agreement, Mr. Mayr-Melnhof does not own part of an outfitting concession: he owns all of an outfitting concession.

That is an important point. It is obvious that the Members opposite, through their deliberations over there, do not think that it is legitimate. That is fine. I guess it will be up to Yukoners to decide in the end.

I also want to respond publicly to the comments made by the president of the Yukon Outfitters Association, which I heard on the radio at noon. He said, "There are some people in the Opposition parties who would like to, perhaps, discredit the government somehow, and they have turned this into a political football when, really, it is a non-issue."

We have not discredited anybody. If there has been any discrediting done, it has been done by the government Members alone. How have they done this? Well, they did not answer questions in this Legislature after introducing themselves into the debate. The Government Leader himself said he thought everything in the transaction was above-board. When I asked him about a specific part of that transaction, the Minister of Justice said that I had made an allegation, and the Government Leader refused to answer the question. They have discredited themselves.

The second thing the Yukon Party did to discredit themselves was to have the Minister of Justice say that he promoted the idea of side arrangements that really reversed the whole intent of the Yukon Wildlife Act. They have done that themselves. They have discredited themselves and, as far as turning this into a political football is concerned, we are more than prepared to relinquish asking questions about it if it is put to a public inquiry, where the bottom of the matter is decided. That is what we need to find out.

If there was some involvement of the previous government, I guess that will come out, too. We are prepared to do that. We are not afraid of it. I am sure the Members opposite are going to think they have a bunch of "gotcha's" today, but we are not afraid of that. We are prepared to have everything exposed - what we knew, what they know, what the new evidence is, see how the transactions transpired, see if there are side agreements - and then decide whether we want to continue to enforce provisions for Yukon ownership and control of Yukon outfitting territories.

I am told that Mr. Mayr-Melnhof is a very fine man and we do not dispute that. I do not know him personally - that is great. Maybe he is a good employer - I do not know. But the letter of the law is the letter of the law; the spirit of the law is the spirit of the law, and we believe, as a party, and the Members opposite have said they believe, that Yukoners should have at least a majority of ownership and control. These side agreements are eroding that. To have the Minister of Justice say that is okay is not good enough.

With all due respect to the many outfitters of the Yukon who follow all of the rules in the Yukon to the letter and spirit of the Wildlife Act, until this government calls a full public inquiry into the many questions raised about what is going on and has them answered for Yukoners, the Yukon Party government will be known as the government of the outfitters, for the outfitters, by the outfitters - even the few who play with Yukoners' rights to own and control their own territories.

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

It is really tough to follow as pathetic a speech as the one we just heard. I guess the real difficulty is in determining exactly where to begin and where to end.

I think we can start by simply discussing one of the premises upon which the house of cards of the previous speaker is built. He goes on and on about the law. He read into the record the clauses in the Wildlife Act upon which he relies: section 89 and section 106. The law was changed. It was not changed by this Legislature. It was changed by the introduction into law in Canada of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The laws of the Yukon are subject to the supreme law, namely the Constitution of Canada and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms contained therein. Any of our laws have to be read in view of, and subject to, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The law in the Yukon is not what was read into the record by the Member opposite. The law regarding the issues dealt with in the Wildlife Act in those two sections is as what was read in, but as amended, by the operation of the Charter and, more specifically, section 6. That is one point that needs to be understood.

A number of things turn on this. The Member opposite did want to talk a lot about red herrings and so on.

It is they who keep referring to the issue of foreign ownership. It is they who keep referring, most particularly the Member who just spoke, to the address of one Fritz Mayr-Melnhof. It is they who keep bringing in this reference.

I intend to table a copy of a document in my possession. It is a copy of a letter from the firm Anton, Campion, MacDonald and Phillips, addressed to the Department of Renewable Resources, dated September 4, 1991. What this letter does, very simply, is enclose a copy of the immigrant visa and record of landing for Fritz Mayr-Melnhof.

With this, I will enclose a certified true copy of the attached document of the immigration document.

Among other things, this document shows not only that the gentleman in question is a landed immigrant, but that he became a landed immigrant in 1973. He has been in Canada and has had this status for 21 years. I understand from others that he has taken a degree at the university in Vancouver, showing a great deal of industry and interest in Canada.

I think these documents are important, because they go a long way toward shattering the illusion that somehow or another we have a person who just came from some other country, gobbled up some Canadian assets and now directs them from a foreign country.

Another document that I think pertains to the question, from which I can at this time quote, and will of course table, is a document that discusses the requirements to own outfitting areas in other parts of Canada. In the Northwest Territories, one has to be a class A outfitter to be a holder of an area or a concession - there are no residency or ownership rules.

Page Number 2634

In Ontario, no rule is applicable to the residency or ownership of hunting lodges or guides or any lodges owned and operated by foreigners. U.S. guides with work permits can guide in Ontario.

In British Columbia, an outfitter's licence is issued to an individual. The outfitter must be a Canadian citizen or a resident of Canada, which would include a landed immigrant. There is no control on shareholders or the ownership of outfitting businesses.

In Manitoba, for hunting and fishing lodges, the owner must be licensed, but there is no residency requirement and no control on investment or foreign ownership.

In Saskatchewan, there are no restrictions. The owner must have a principal residence in Saskatchewan, which can include a lodge or base camp. The licence can be issued to a company, but there is no control on ownership.

In Alberta, an outfitter can be a person, a group of persons or a company. It is a business that is bonded, but there is no control on residency or ownership. To become an outfitter, one must be an Alberta guide, which has a requirement of Canadian citizenship or landed immigrant status.

I will table this document, because in the rambling dissertation just heard, one of the questions I understand that gave rise to this demand for a public inquiry was the need to know just how the issue of residency and foreign ownership is handled in other Canadian jurisdictions.

The Member for Faro kept saying that a violation of the law has been occurring here - a violation of Canadian law, a violation of Yukon laws. Yet, it is obvious from his comments that he really does not understand what the law is, how it is arrived at and, of course, how entirely uncertain some aspects of law are in Canada. That is one of the reasons that we have so many court cases and appeals of court cases that go to the higher courts in the land on the question of law, and ultimately to the Supreme Court of Canada.

One rather interesting case, of many, which has a bearing on the matters before us is the Law Society of Alberta versus Black, Vernon, Cheeseman, Forbes, McCartney, Ewens, Paton, Shaw, Kerwin, Cowper-Smith and Quinn, carrying on the practice of law under the firm name of Black & Company, and the Attorney-General of Quebec (intervener).

Judgment was given, in this case, in the Supreme Court on April 20, 1989. It is one of the leading cases on the application of section 6 of the Charter. An interesting parallel to the facts pertaining to Rogue River Outfitters, and others that have been raised over the past number of days here, is that this was a case where a Toronto-based firm opened an office in Alberta and the Law Society rules were that firms could not have non-resident owners of a partnership, a law firm, that carried on business in Alberta. This case really has a lot to say about the application of that supreme law - the Charter of Rights and the Constitution - on the issue of mobility rights and residency requirements.

This case found that the Law Society rules did not apply because of the application of the Charter, but that other Canadian residents could be partners in a firm in Alberta, even though they were not residents of Alberta, nor had the right to practice there.

I will file that, as it seems to have some bearing on some of the scattergun issues we have heard.

The Member for Mayo wants me to speak more slowly. Perhaps this is because he wants everyone to know that he is not having any difficulty with understanding what has been said so far - I am really not sure.

The facts in this case are that the Minister responsible for wildlife was aware, in April 1992, firstly, that the gentleman whose name has been raised again and again - Mr. Fritz Mayr-Melnhof - had purchased the assets of three outfitting companies in the Yukon. The Minister was aware of the intentions with regard to how that individual was going to operate the concessions. The Minister was also aware of documents - so-called side agreements - unsigned, that were brought to the department by one of the outfitters, prior to April 1992. The Minister and his department obtained legal opinions regarding the issues being raised - the very ones being raised by the Member opposite. The department and the Minister went to Cabinet, expressed all this information in writing there and, in the same documentation, made the deliberate determination to not pierce the corporate veil and get involved in all the side agreements. One of the reasons was that they were concerned that there would be a lawsuit. In fact, the documentation speaks to the large investment that Mr. Mayr-Melnhof had already made - $2 million in purchases and over $1 million in improvements - and all this was known at that time. A deliberate position was taken to let matters proceed.

Concerns were raised, of course, in the policy issue, about the cost involved in purchasing an outfitting area in the Yukon, such as the obvious problem any eager resident outfitter would have in putting up that kind of money to even acquire 51 percent, and so on.

There is really nothing new here, and I am rather surprised that the Member for Faro has been so badly misled.

Those are the facts, and that is what is happening here. I have said, inside and outside of this House, that I really do not have difficulty with the policy decision taken by the previous government. I do not feel that the situation, as it stands, is bad at all.

We still have a situation where a person operating and managing the outfitting business has to be a Yukon resident. It is not clear that would be knocked down by the Charter.

Personally, I have no difficulty with Canadians or landed immigrants being allowed to invest money in outfitting areas in any part of Canada, and they are allowed to do that in any part of Canada - that is the law. The issue of shareholder agreements has little bearing on anything.

The Wildlife Act was enacted prior to the Charter being applied in Canada. There is no question that it is desirable to have the person managing an outfitting concession resident in Canada. Section 89 of the act requires that the person holding the concession in his name be a Yukon resident, habitually present in the Yukon. The real value of an outfitting concession is in the grant of concession itself.

The company that might operate the concession by virtue of the yearly certificate is, of itself, of very little value. Yet, that is the only way an investor from another part of Canada can obtain any security.

There are a zillion different ways that can be done, but the security is only over the corporation, and it cannot be over the concession. Indeed, under the current law, someone from another part of Canada who makes a large investment in the purchase of an outfitting area does not have very much by way of security. He or she really has to have a great deal of faith in the person who holds the concession and runs the business for him or her here.

The Member seems to feel that voting the shares - a shareholders' agreement about voting shares - is some kind of unique and wonderful thing, and that a shareholders' agreement is something new and wonderful to the world of corporate law. They are commonplace. Voting the shares means that you vote the shares at a corporate meeting - an annual general meeting. It would give some security with regard to a corporation, but none with regard to a concession. It is not a hands-on operation. That is not the kind of thing that happens when you vote shares in a corporation at an annual general meeting or a special meeting.

I really find it difficult to take this motion seriously, especially in view of the fact that these transactions took place during the reign of the former administration. The Cabinet was made aware

Page Number 2635

of the issues, and of the side agreements - at least the draft side agreements - because that is what they had at that time. These were provided to them, not by the same person who is now apparently unhappy with Mr. Mayr-Melnhof, but by one of the other outfitters. It was the previous administration, based not on legal advice from one lawyer, but from a combination of at least three lawyers, that made the determination not to get involved at looking at the documents that existed behind the corporate veil, and indeed talked about the problems that outfitting was facing with the uncertainty already in play about the concern over whether or not local people could really afford to purchase an outfitting area, and they decided to let the policy go until there was a review later - particularly in view of the uncertainty caused by land claims as well.

Frankly, I am rather surprised that all these allegations were made without someone researching to see what the situation was regarding outfitting areas in other parts of Canada. I am rather surprised that there would be any kind of insistence that something that is a matter of public record ought to be the subject matter of a public inquiry. All one has to do is pick up the phone to find these things out.

I am really surprised that there seems to be amnesia by some Members of the previous Cabinet on the issue of what they knew, or what they were told. I am surprised that the gentleman from Faro would come to this House with bold assertions that everything he had was new, that these are all new things and outrageous, in view of the facts.

It may be that the policy surrounding the relevant sections in the Wildlife Act deserves to be rethought, and consultations should take place, in view of the reality of the Charter, and it may be that we will find that we really cannot be much different from other jurisdictions regarding the exclusion of ownership rights of other Canadians.

One of the many things I said to the press, though, was that I really am not that xenophobic about other Canadians, simply because they do not happen to reside here. I am quite sympathetic to Canadians being allowed to invest anywhere in Canada and to work anywhere in Canada. I feel that the narrow-minded, hysterical approach we have had to listen to, to some degree, this afternoon is wrong-headed. It is the kind of attitude that is leading to the crisis this nation faces. It is the kind of attitude that fuels the fire of the separatist movement in Quebec. It is the kind of attitude that would not treat all citizens, and those considered to have the rights of citizens under our supreme law - our Constitution, our Charter of Rights - equally; it would treat them unequally, in a manner contrary to that Charter.

It is an attitude that I think if one logically explores it, that is really saying to Canadians and Yukoners that the Charter is wrong. I am, frankly, quite surprised that the NDP appears, at least in the Yukon, to be taking the attitude that there is something bad about the Charter - particularly section 6, because it is part of the supreme law of the land. My understanding was that it was wholeheartedly supported by the NDP, and there does not seem to be a distinction between national, territorial and provincial in that party as of yet, until, I guess, the current leader of this party seeks the leadership nomination of the federal party and the jockeying for position continues to build. I am not sure if the lengthy, at times passionate, debate of the gentleman from Faro was simply the signal that he was going to jump into the leadership challenge here. We know that his present leader in the House is currently running around trying to drum up a draft-me movement. He is on the road a lot giving speeches.

There is no red herring; the issues and facts are very clear. When I say that this information was conveyed to Cabinet, I am saying that it was. The attempt being made by Members on the other side though, is disturbing for other reasons other than which I have mentioned up until now. There is a consistent attempt to attack the ethics and morality of Members on this side, particularly the Government Leader, through innuendo, without making charges, in consistent personal attacks.

Mr. Speaker, you made a ruling a couple of weeks ago regarding the manner in which parliamentarians ought to conduct themselves in matters such as this, and the ruling of the Speaker of the House of Commons was based on fair play and decency. The ruling has to do with the cowardly actions that some people may try to perform in a House where they are immune from the laws of libel.

It is a ruling that talks about fair play and decency and really is one that prevents that kind of a cowardly attack on a person's reputation. The kind of stuff that we have been hearing from the side opposite over and over again - my God, it is like being nibbled to death by ducks. It is pathetic.

The NDP has their researchers - Rodney from the Yukon News. I guess we should ask how much he is making and whether he is still working for the Yukon News and if that is a conflict.

Speaker's Ruling


Order. Would the Member please kindly refrain from attaching names to individuals.

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

I certainly will, but I would certainly recommend that the side opposite adhere to that, because they use names in this House constantly.

These positions of people working for their caucus are no different from people working for our caucus and Cabinet. They have used the name Dale Drown so many times that it is almost what one expects from them at any given time.

Point of Order


Member for Faro on a point of order.

Mr. Harding:

To the best of my knowledge, Rodney has gone back to Prince Edward Island.


There is no point of order, but a disagreement between Members.

Motion No. 69 - continued

Hon. Mr. Phelps:

The Member wants me to name Ken Bolton, but of course I would not do that.

The issues are pretty clear. It seems to me that what the Members opposite are trying to do, over and over again, is simply throw out bits and pieces of mud in the hope that some of it might stick. They have no facts behind them that are worthy of any kind of consideration.

The kind of sinister happenings they imply go on are not very sinister and are things that were known by their Cabinet and their Minister who advised the Cabinet in writing.

I could go on at some length with regard to the bogus arguments made over and over again by the Member for Faro. I think the simple facts - the law - make my case far more eloquently than I care to be, were the subject worthy of being eloquent, or passionate. It is just emotion that is so laughable, it is hardly worth debating. We will be voting against it.

Ms. Moorcroft:

This debate is not about an individual. It is not about Canada's immigration laws. It is not about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, despite the Minister of Justice's pathetic attempts to sidetrack the issue. The debate is about the stewardship of one of the Yukon's most precious natural resources, and let us not lose sight of that important fact.

For centuries, of course, the First Nations people of the Yukon were the stewards of this resource. Without big bureaucracies or complicated laws, they sustained the resource, just as it sustained

Page Number 2636

them. The relationship was straightforward: the wilderness was their grocery store. Destroying it would be the same thing as burning down the local grocery store.

With the arrival of large numbers of Europeans and Americans a century ago, the whole matter of wildlife stewardship took an abrupt turn. As Robert McCandless points out in his excellent social history, Yukon Wildlife, the present abundance and diversity of wildlife in the territory is due to the persistence of the animals, in spite of human attempts to manage wildlife.

About 100 years ago, game management began to change. A small number of administrators and politicians made wildlife policies. The history books made it quite clear that it was not First Nations people making the rules for a resource they understood well and had depended upon for centuries. As the Yukon and its wealth of wildlife resources came to world attention, Yukon hunting guides became world famous. In the early years, the guiding industry had very few regulations.

Problems arising from limited regulations were noted by the Department of the Interior in Ottawa. The 1916 edition of the official Yukon guide book cited game shortages in some localities, which it attributed to overhunting by both aboriginal and non-aboriginal hunters. This is what the 1916 guide book had to say about what we now call sport, or trophy, hunters: "Headhunters who come into the country in search of fine specimens do a great deal of damage, as they have been known, after a day's hunting, to leave enough meat to spoil on a hillside to supply a prospector with provisions for a whole winter."

The number of licensed non-resident hunters rose from three in 1918 to 30 in 1920. That is the first year guides were required to be licensed, but it was not until 1933 that non-resident hunters were obliged to hire licensed guides. When they did, of course, the job specs of the guide included entertaining, catering and flattering the vanities of their wealthy, big-city clients, as McCandless puts it.

The author also stresses that the success of the big game industry in the Yukon depended on the aboriginal people employed in it. They were the ones who knew most about Yukon terrain and animal habits. McCandless retells an anecdote that first appeared in a 1916 book called Campfires in the Yukon. One hunter, H.A. Huer, recounted how he and Albert Isaac stalked a moose by going through six inches of fresh snow in their bare feet. Isaac had insisted on this as the only quiet way of approaching the moose. As McCandless puts it, Isaac may very well have been making the most of the hunter's gullibility for his own entertainment, and that of the other guides. Even though he shared the ordeal, there is no doubt the experience left a deep impression on the hunter.

By 1923, things had changed radically. That year, the territorial council amended the Game Ordinance, to specifically bar Indians from becoming chief guides. They could be employees, but not contractors who could solicit their own business and hire their own guides. Johnny Johns was an exception and he went on to become the most famous and successful Yukon guide. But, in order to get his chief guide's licence, he had to surrender his status under the Indian Act.

Here is another illustration of the attitude of those days. Soon after Johnny Johns obtained his chief guide's papers, the government agent in Whitehorse, Larry Higgens, complained to the Commissioner, "It really means the taking away of the livelihood of guiding from the white man if any more Indians are granted the privilege of acting as chief guides." About that time, when George A. Jeckell was the Commissioner, he responded to an inquiry about hunting saying, "Every non-resident hunter must be accompanied by a licensed White Chief Guide." That is from the Yukon Archives. I would encourage other Members to use the public records available in the Yukon Archives because they certainly hold some interesting information about wildlife management and about the Yukon government in the past.

Another interesting case concerned a famous and innovative Yukoner, the late George Johnston of Teslin - pioneer photographer, storekeeper, the man who brought a Model A Ford to Teslin before the Alaska Highway existed. But, even after a year's delay, George Johnston was turned down for a chief guide's licence, because he had no horses.

He had considerable means and could well have bought the horses he needed, but he was unable to obtain a licence.

Throughout this century, hunting and the hunting industry have been surrounded by controversy. For some people, the killing of animals under any circumstances is intolerable; for many others, it remains a necessity of life; for still others, it provides a source of food, as well as a source of outdoor recreation. Some people, unfortunately, see it as the ultimate wilderness experience, in which killing the perfect animal - or, as the Government Leader has put it, good trophy heads - is an essential part. This, in turn, provides a lucrative way of life for a limited number of people who cater to the needs of those whose interest in big game is not its nutritional value, but in its trophy value.

This is not the time to get into lengthy debate about the ethics of the Boone and Crockett way of life, and we are certainly not here today to criticize or to dismantle the outfitting industry. What we are here for is to debate an issue that goes back directly to the points I made at the beginning of my remarks - the stewardship of a precious natural resource.

In less than 100 years, stewardship of this resource has gone from the indigenous citizens to bureaucrats and politicians. Now, we face the danger that effective control over vast areas of our territory may be slipping into the hands of a very few, very wealthy, privileged and powerful people - including people who are virtually little more than occasional tourists to the Yukon.

McCandless made an extremely shrewd observation about our society, when he wrote: "In the Yukon, the game laws serve as a weathervane of attitudes toward wildlife."

The attitude of this government toward wildlife is obvious. We have a Government Leader who made his fortune as an outfitter, who thinks of moose as heads, not as animals, who sees no need for hunting quotas on outfitters, and who thinks the public should not even be told how many animals are slaughtered in any given area in any given year, because that should be a business secret.

We have a Minister of Renewable Resources - another retired outfitter, by the way - who admits he would be happy if there were no wolves in a certain area - presumably because they provide unfair competition to human predators. That Minister clearly believes the Albertan myth of the wolf menace - save us from the big, bad wolf.

We have a Minister of Justice who says he is not concerned about closed-door arrangements that flout the intent of the Wildlife Act, and who tries to justify that outrageous position by suggesting that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms will not let us ensure that stewardship of the Yukon's wildlife remains primarily in the hands of Yukoners.

That is the attitude of this government, as reflected clearly from the front bench, but I doubt very much whether most Yukoners are happy having the weathervane point in that particular direction.

The issue is not the country of residence of the gentleman in question. It is just as much about the concentration of ownership and the control that is put into the hands of a few wealthy individuals. That is why we need the best legislative framework possible to counterbalance that concentrated control.

That is why we need laws that we take seriously, and that

Page Number 2637

Yukoners take seriously. Our role in this House is to make sure that proper stewardship of the precious resource takes place. We cannot make, or accept, any excuse for shirking that responsibility.

In spite of the unbelievably irresponsible statements by the Minister of Justice that hidden agreements are just fine and dandy with him, hidden agreements have one purpose, and one purpose only - to make a mockery of Yukon laws, specifically the only law we have that spells out how we exercise stewardship over our wildlife resource.

The Minister of Justice can stand here and say that they are commonplace, but Yukoners do not find them to be acceptable, no matter how common they may be, and no matter how many of them the Minister of Justice, and other Ministers over there, may be aware of.

The Minister of Justice said the previous Minister of Renewable Resources was aware of the side agreements and took them to Cabinet. The Minister of Justice said he knew at the time. The side agreements in question are dated April 30, 1993. The last time I checked, the territorial election that put these Ministers in charge, in a minority government - before they got their Nordling majority - was held on October 19, 1992. That makes the April 30, 1993, side agreement long past when the former Minister of Renewable Resources was at Cabinet.

The New Democrat Cabinet had no evidence of any side proposals drafted up by the lawyers for Mr. Mayr-Melnhof. There were only rumours. Any written submissions to Cabinet the Minister of Justice is referring to were obviously departmental draft submissions that never went to Cabinet. This often happens, as the Minister well knows. In fact, I can remember a draft Cabinet submission coming into this House on a wolf management plan that the present Minister of Renewable Resources said he had never seen. What the Minister of Justice was talking about were probably drafts that could not be substantiated through evidence, which the government now has. We have put evidence before the House, and we have asked the government to deal with it.

The Minister of Justice may not like the Wildlife Act, and his seat mate the next concession over, who administers that law, may not like it, and the Government Leader one concession to his left may not like a law that puts restrictions on the business that made him wealthy.

The fact remains that this is the law and we, in this House, are sworn to respect it and uphold it, or to change it, if it does not meet the needs.

On our wildlife resource, it would be better to exercise our responsibility by erring on the side of restrictiveness, rather than on the side of permissiveness. That is why I urge Members of conscience on both sides of this House to vote for this motion, so we can find out, once and for all, if our law is working.

The Minister of Justice has also tabled today immigration documents that are dated 1991, but I would again point out that the transfer of shares that we are inquiring about are dated for 1992. Their letter proves nothing. There is still an Austrian address; there is still no evidence of Vancouver, or a Yukon, residency. Let us see a 1994 investigation. We need to find out, once and for all, if our law is working. If we learn that it is not, then let us get to work to make our stewardship of the wildlife resource more effective in the Yukon.

Hon. Mr. Brewster:

There has been a motion for a public inquiry respecting ownership in the Yukon outfitting industry. There are no grounds for a public inquiry. What we have before us today is the issue of a person who has equal status to other Canadians for investment purposes in the Yukon outfitting industry or any other industry in Canada.

This is simply a cheap, political game. It has caused a lot of trouble and is now all over the Yukon. I see the Leader of the Official Opposition is hurriedly writing. I guess he did not have a speech yet, so he will attack me. We have been attacked so much in the House by now that it does not really matter too much any more.

The individual has acquired shares in three outfitting businesses in accordance with the provisions of the Wildlife Act. All these businesses are held by concession holders who are not only Canadian citizens, but also residents of the Yukon. My department has already checked this individual's status. He was a landed immigrant at the time he acquired the interest in the outfitting business.

The question has been raised by the Members opposite regarding the issue of Canadian citizenship. They asked me to table a legal opinion on this subject. It is not the policy or the practice of the Yukon government to disclose specific legal opinions prepared by our solicitors. I would like, however, to assure Members of this Legislature that my department has, over the past four years, obtained a number of legal opinions from the Yukon Department of Justice on questions with regard to Canadian citizenship as a requirement under the Yukon Wildlife Act and regulations.

I will add at this time that I have full confidence in every member of my department. They have worked very hard, have done their best and are very sincere in what they do.

The legal advice provided to my officials has been to the effect that the Wildlife Act provision on citizenship and residency, enacted prior to the Charter, must now be reconsidered and interpreted in light of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In particular, Section 6(2) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms says that every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right to pursue the gaining of a livelihood anywhere in Canada. As a result of the advice provided, we have followed the recommendation to include among those eligible for specific Wildlife Act privileges and permits, persons who have the status of a permanent resident of Canada. They may be either Canadian citizens or landed immigrants.

We checked the immigration status of the individual. Did the Opposition do that before it began to make accusations in the Legislature? Did the Members opposite even bother to look at the Charter of Rights and Freedoms? A person does not even have to be a lawyer to understand what Section 6(2) states.

The document provided to my department officials clearly indicated that the share ownership of these companies complies with the Wildlife Act.

The issue surrounding ownership of these businesses in the context of the Charter is complex. It bears on the direct issue of the right of a Canadian to move freely in Canada, from one province or territory to another and operate a business. My department recently contacted jurisdictions in western Canada, from B.C. to Ontario, to examine what laws each had on ownership and investment in hunting operations. It is worth noting that not a single jurisdiction had any legislation prohibiting or controlling investment or ownership in an outfitting or hunting business. I am going to repeat something that the Minister of Justice said, because I think it should be; it is very important.

The Northwest Territories, for example, had no restrictions. A person from anywhere in Canada could not only hold a class A outfitter's licence, but could also have any number of investors in these businesses. In fact, in some jurisdictions, such as Ontario and Manitoba, many hunting lodges are owned and operated directly by foreigners. While in those that had some residency requirements, such as Alberta and B.C., where the licence must be held by a Canadian resident, it always included landed immigrants. I would like to take the time, for the benefit of the Members

Page Number 2638

opposite, to provide complete details on this whole subject.

In the Northwest Territories, regarding a class A outfitter, there are no regulations on residency or ownership.

In Ontario, for hunting lodges and guides, there are no regulation covering residency or ownership. In fact, a big game guide from the United States with a work permit can guide in Ontario. Owners of hunting and fishing lodges must be licensed, but there are no regulations on residency and foreign ownership.

In Saskatchewan, licences for these hunting guides and lodges can be issued to companies, however there are no regulations on investment or foreign ownership. The only residency requirement is that the operator must have a residence in Saskatchewan, which can include the operation's base camp.

In Alberta, big game outfitter licenses are issued to a person, group of persons or a company. The business must be bonded, but there is no regulation of investment or foreign ownership. To become an outfitter in Alberta, one must be an Alberta guide who is a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant.

In British Columbia, licences are issued to a big game outfitter for 10 years. The person to whom the licence is issued must be a Canadian citizen or a person with the status of a resident of Canada, which includes a landed immigrant; however, once again, there are no regulations controlling share holding or investment in the outfitting business.

That leaves us with two issues: firstly, do our laws need to be amended and, secondly - what I believe to be the real issue here - is our wildlife resource being adequately protected? I will deal with each of these issues.

Firstly, should the Wildlife Act warrant further review in the context of its relevance in light of the Charter? It is this government's intention to undertake such an analysis when we amend the act to give effect to the umbrella final agreement.

The last point is one which, as a former outfitter, I see as the only real substantive issue in this whole debate: is our resource being protected? I would like to assure this House that no outfitter in the territory is overharvesting. In many instances, they have limited their harvest due to quotas established by government or because they have a concern, as I do, to ensure that wildlife grows - their business depends on it.

I would like to point out another thing right here and now. The gentleman we are talking about - and I will not use his name because I do not like bringing people's names into this place; I do not think we have a right when the person cannot defend themselves - he is strictly on permits for both his areas, so do not start accusing me of favouring him or anybody else. I have hurt the outfitters probably more than the government on that side ever did and I am asking them all now to go on quotas. I never saw that over on that side either. I have worked very hard at this and I resent the accusation that because I was an outfitter I am favouring them. I was an outfitter and I am proud of it. They are still my friends and I still had to hurt them. Members should remember these things when they start throwing names around and kicking businesses.

The difficulty we face is how far does government involve itself in the private affairs of any business while still protecting the interests of Yukon and our resources.

That only leaves the issue of the so-called side agreements. There is a question of whether they exist. The one provided to me was not signed and did not contain the name of a person to whom any concession or certificate had been issued in the Yukon. No concession certificate has been issued to anyone except Yukon residents.

Once we start to trod on the rights and privacy of one individual, it becomes much easier to abuse the rights of all.

We will address this matter when we are reviewing the Wildlife Act, but we would want to ensure that we proceed with the full recognition of the Charter of Rights and the basic freedoms of all Canadians.

I believe this whole issue has been raised as a scare tactic in an attempt to taint Members of this House. I believe this approach has only confused the issue which, as I have stated, is really singular in nature.

Is our wildlife resource being protected for the benefit of all Yukoners? I would say yes, and I would assure it. As long as I am the Minister of Renewable Resources, I will do my best to protect it and see that everybody has a fair share.

The question that keeps getting thrown at me is whether or not I favour foreign outfitters. No, I do not, but we are not talking about foreign outfitters. We are talking about a landed immigrant, and he is a Canadian.

I have a lot of trouble with that.

In my area, the Kluane district, there are an awful lot of landed immigrants from Switzerland, Austria, Germany and many other places. All of them have businesses, they have all invested money, they are proud, good people and they are proud to be Canadians. Are they going to be the next group the Members opposite slur around here? They came in and bought businesses, and they improved those businesses.

In the outfitting situation, the gentleman we are discussing has improved the business tremendously. He built a beautiful lodge, which I have seen. I have never talked to this gentleman, but I went through there with a boat, and I have seen it.

The Member for Faro is doing his usual heckling. He is always right, and everyone else is always wrong.

The other charge being laid on me is that I do not answer questions. I answer questions, except legal and personal ones, and I am quite prepared to answer them confidentially. He has been invited to about three different meetings, but he has never showed up at any of them. I am not going to waste my time here. The big problem with this is that they do not like the truth unless it is what they want. It has to be what they want. That is the only answer that will satisfy them.

In December of 1986, when the former government was in power, I was put on the select committee, on which I was very proud to serve. The Hon. Art Webster was the chairman, and I was very proud to work with him. Roger Coles was the other one.

One of the recommendations that they brought back was that wilderness guides should be bona fide Yukon residents who are certified to licence. I wonder if the Member for Faro, who admits that he came up here to go to work for an outfitter, would have been allowed to come up here if the government had done that? Thank God they did not do it.

Other Canadians have a right to come here. Most of us came here from other places in Canada. I am proud to be in the Yukon. If you do not want to call me a Yukoner, I have no problem with that. I am proud to be here, and I am proud of what I have done here. I am sick and tired of dragging people into this House who cannot defend themselves. They have to stay out there. They cannot talk back, because they do not have the privilege and the protection that this House gives them.

When this Legislature is closed, I intend to go and meet that gentleman and apologize for the Legislature and the people in here who turn around and defame Canadians and use names against them. I will personally apologize for the whole Legislature. They do not have it in them to do that, but I will.

I am not going to start talking about what was said by the Member for Mount Lorne. She continually knocks us down and says that we are no good. That is all right, I have heard that before. Incidentally, my wife still loves me. She thinks that I am doing all right. She is not worried that I am such a bad guy.

Page Number 2639

The things that they bring up are just a disgrace. They have not brought up one bit of evidence - not one. They never even bothered to go to immigration and check, which they could have done. They never made any phone calls.

In closing, I will say one more thing. The gentleman we are talking about has an address in Whitehorse, he has a post office box in Whitehorse, he has a phone number in Whitehorse, and he has a great big lodge. That is more than most of us have, and he is paying taxes, like any other good Canadian citizen.

Mr. Penikett:

I have to say in response to the gentlemen opposite that this is a case that seems to be, from the government's point of view, situation ethics. The fact of the matter is, as we have seen in other occasions, the law says one thing and the government is doing something else.

The Minister talks about unwarranted attacks on individuals. What hypocrisy. I wonder if he remembers people called Barry Stuart, John Crump or John Walsh? They suffered unbelievable personal attacks by his party colleagues. He never got up once in this House and protested about that or defended the integrity of those individuals or their right to reply to the vicious attacks of his colleagues - not once.

Some Hon. Member:


Mr. Penikett:

No, it does not make it right. The Member opposite made those personal attacks on some of those people. Now, they would have us believe that it is wrong. It is situation ethics: it is only wrong when someone else does it.

Some Hon. Member:


Mr. Penikett:

No, that is what the Members opposite are saying.

Let us take a quick look at a few facts here. The Yukon Territory first imposed non-resident big game licenses in 1908. Why did they do that? It was because the government here wanted to control what was happening with hunting in this territory. The only people they could exercise control over were people who lived here.

In 1920, the Game Ordinance licensed guides for the first time. Extensive revisions were made to the Game Ordinance in 1933, requiring non-resident hunters to retain a licensed guide to hunt in the Yukon. The same amendment, for the first time, required all hunters to take out licences. However, Indian people were not required to pay fees.

There was a big explosion in big game hunting in 1946. It was discovered that there was a loophole in the law, which allowed Americans who were not residents to come here and bring in large hunting parties. The Legislature then immediately moved to close the law.

The word "outfitter" in our law describes someone who is the bona fide owner of equipment in good condition and repair that, in the opinion of the director, is sufficient to take care of a certain number of hunters in the field. What did that mean? It meant that a knowledgeable local resident took people out.

In 1948, a book published by James H. Bond - not the 007 one - who actually bragged about shooting seven sheep in a week. He went hunting in June 1947 here and then wrote a book about it. He said a number of quite incredible things that are worth looking at. For example, in the book, he urged the territory to hire wolf hunters and permit them to use poison. He also wrote, "I have known it to be a fact that a number of Indians, in the fall of the year, come upon game, will kill every one. I am well advised that Indians will not catch fish for drying in the summer or fall months, thus facing the winter without food".

As the author of a book on Yukon game laws points out, this was a remarkable statement, when one realizes that Bond had only been in the Yukon for two weeks and had never actually left Whitehorse.

The interesting thing is that the game laws of Yukon have been consistently revised over the years, as we moved from depending on game as a supply of meat to seeing it as an export commodity, as a source of dollars from outside. But, one rule has been clear throughout. Yukon people wanted the outfitting concessions controlled by Yukon residents and owned by Canadian citizens.

That has been the democratic will of the population of this territory, expressed in law after law and in revisions to the law, ever since this territory was created.

In answer to a question from my colleague, the Minister opposite said in a letter, "The government does not disclose share ownership of any company. "You" - meaning my colleague from Faro - "may wish to follow up with companies involved pursuant to the Business Corporations Act" - of course he will get abused by the Minister of Justice if he does that, but anyway - "however I can assure you that our records indicate that the share structure of these companies meets the legislative requirements of the Wildlife Act." Well, I wonder what the Minister meant by that. I wonder what he meant by that because it is interesting that we have had people who worked for this gentleman tell us that he is essentially a summer resident. He lives in Austria. He is a European.

It is interesting that only on May 6 of this year - and I am going to quote the Minister, the Hon. Mr. Brewster, in Hansard on page 844, who said, "It is the right of every Canadian, or anyone who lives in Canada, or even an immigrant to do these things. They can only own 49 percent here. We do have that. That is not really satisfactory to me, but that is life and the best we could get. It has been here for a long time and I agree that it is a problem."

And yet, the Minister tells us there has been a legal opinion in the department for years that says anyone from anywhere can own and control outfits.

Point of Order

Hon. Mr. Brewster:

Point of order. It does not say that at all.

He has to be a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant. Let us not put words in that are not there.

Mr. Penikett:

I have the law right here. The law does not say Canadian citizen or landed immigrant. The law says Canadian citizen and Yukon resident. I asked if the person we are talking about is a Canadian citizen - no. Are they a Yukon resident - no, I do not believe so.


There is no point of order. It is a disagreement between two Members.

Motion No. 69 - continued

Mr. Penikett:

Let us get to the real nub of the question here. If what the gentleman is doing is kosher, if it is totally supported by the Minister of Renewable Resources, if everything is above-board, if the arrangements by which he invests here are absolutely acceptable to the government, why do we have evidence of side deals, which were not brought to the attention of the government, which appear to be an attempt to hide the real nature, the real ownership and the real control of these companies - which is not 49 percent, or 50 percent, or 51 percent but, in the one case, looks to be 100 percent?

I do not care what they say - that looks like an attempt to hide the facts - a very carefully lawyered arrangement.

Why would this be done? The kindest interpretation one could put on it is that the lawyers advising this gentleman said the Yukon Wildlife Act says one thing but, even considering the Charter, it may not be perfectly clear so, just in case the Yukon Wildlife Act has the force of law and will stand up to a Charter challenge, let us make sure that, even though you may not fit the qualifications, we will find a way for you to have 100 percent control without it appearing so on paper when dealing with the department.

Page Number 2640

Let us admit the law is not clear. Let us admit that the Minister of Justice, God forbid, may be right, but let us also admit there has been no challenge to the law. There is no case. It has not gone to court. It has not found its way to the Supreme Court. Let the Minister also admit that there are provinces in this country that have restrictions on all sorts of things in foreign ownership. Take, for instance, Prince Edward Island, which puts an absolute limit on the amount of land a foreigner can own. Nobody successfully challenged that before the courts. It has not gone to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has not struck it down on Charter grounds.

Let us not talk about the law. I am not competent to argue a question of law. Let us just talk about politics for a second.

In the crudest terms, let me ask the Minister this: what interest would the people of the Yukon have in maintaining an outfitting industry that was controlled by non-residents?

Why would Yukon citizens continue to permit, in law, a situation where people could come from other countries, set up business, have control of hunting areas and bring other people from foreign countries in to harvest the game? Why would Yukoners be interested in that? They might say it is a business opportunity but, if there are no Yukoners profiting from it - and, as we heard, there may not even be any Yukoners employed in the business - what interest would the average Yukoner have in maintaining a situation like that?

The Minister should remember something. All of us here in this House carry some cultural memory. Most of us here of European ancestry carry some kind of memory of a Europe where the large land barons had the whole of our homelands carved up. You had huge areas of the country that were exclusive, private hunting reserves for a privileged few, and even people who were starving could not catch a rabbit or a grouse without being arrested and, in some cases, hung for poaching. The idea of a subsistence right did not exist in many of those countries.

That is the reason why, when Europeans came to this country, they tried to set up a different body of law. Except for a few places in New Brunswick, where they have riparian rights for forestry companies, in most places in Canada we have seen game as a public resource and common property.

In Canada, it is the provinces and territories that have jurisdiction over game, and they wanted to protect that resource for their citizens, not for outsiders.

That is why we have a law in this territory - it is interesting that they Iare not suggesting that this would be subject to a Charter challenge - that says you have to be here a year in order to hunt. That is why the Government Leader came here from Alberta. He moved his residence here in order to set up an outfitting area.

That is why we did 20 years' work to settle aboriginal claims that said in the UFA that not only do aboriginal people have the first claim on the resource, but that local residents have the second claim. Sports and meat hunters have the second claim on the resource. The lowest claim on the resource are commercial users.

I do not care what the Charter says, and I am not a lawyer, but I would bet that if there is something like that embedded in an umbrella final agreement, the courts might well say that the Charter does not apply, because there is a law here that is designed to protect the oldest residents of this land, the First Nations people. This is not a law designed to protect someone from Austria or someone from Germany or someone from Switzerland. This is a law designed to protect people who live here.

I make this point not in an abusive way. I want to say to the Minister, he should understand as well as anybody, having been in the business - and I know he had a good reputation in the business - that the outfitting business is increasingly controversial everywhere. The Minister must consider the recent issues, the environmental complaints against it, the issue of poison that we have had in the last couple of seasons; the issue of quotas; the issue of foreign ownership. Everybody now knows that wildlife is a scarce resource. It is a resource that Yukoners feel intensely about.

When we did the Yukon 2000 consultation, we discovered that the vast majority of people in this territory like to fish. Many like to hunt. I can tell the Minister that if it came to a choice between their right to hunt and some foreign-owned outfitting company's right to use the resource, I know where Yukoners would come down. They would come down on the side of Yukoners - not as this government is doing on the side of other people.

I want to say to the Minister that he should understand that the outfitting business survives in very few areas of North America now. There are two reasons for that. One, I think the resource has been decimated in many areas. But, also, for all sorts of complex political reasons I have just explained, it has become politically unpopular. It has become politically unsustainable. It has become impossible for legislators to say that we will continue to have our territory, our state, our province carved up into big game hunting areas for the benefit of a few people to profit from and not to be used by local residents but to have outsiders come in and harvest the biggest and the best of the game.

I will make this rhetorical point. What if we were tough-minded and strong-willed, and said what we know Yukoners believe, that we believe that you should have to be a Yukon resident to own a big game outfitting area, and to operate it. What if we got a Charter challenge to that. What if some gentleman from Europe, or some gentleman from Vancouver or Alberta - I do not care where - took us to court. What would be the real consequence of us losing that Charter case?

Some Hon. Member:


Mr. Penikett:

No, it would not be nothing. I will tell you what would happen, and I think that I would be right about this. Yukoners would rise up in arms and say, "Let us end it. We are not going to continue this business. We have no incentive in maintaining the big game outfitting industry in the territory, because there is nothing in it for us." If we are given a choice between our access to wildlife, our control over wildlife, our right to manage and be stewards of the resource, and the right of someone else to come and have this control, my view would be that they would say, "Let us end it. Let us get out of this business."

I want to say to the Minister, in all seriousness, that if he cares for and loves this industry, and he wants to protect and maintain it as a branch of the tourism industry, or for whatever reason, he ought to be very sensitive to the will of the people of the Yukon.

I think that the will of the people of the Yukon is that they want to see this industry remain as a Yukon industry owned and operated by Yukoners. If there is a constitutional problem with that, I suspect Yukoners would want to face that problem. I think that, as a matter of policy, we should be facing the problem and not running from it - not running from the fears of the Charter. My view is, and I say this very sincerely, that as a matter of political will, as a matter of public policy, in the end I am not interested in what the courts may or may not say down the road in respect to a challenge. I think that what this Legislature should be doing is representing the will of the people.

It bothers me that, time after time with this government, we have discovered by accident that there is some new policy that we did not know anything about - whether it was conflict of interest, or the fact that it is quite all right for foreigners to control big game outfitting areas - but we have never had a ministerial statement about it.

The Minister is shaking his head but, on May 6, he said, on the floor of this House, that they should not be able to own or control more than 49 percent. The fact of the matter is that we have

Page Number 2641

evidence that someone tried to construct a legal arrangement where they would own and control 100 percent of an outfit. I do not think the law says that. I am not a lawyer, but I do not think the law says that.

Why does it not say that? It does not, because that is not what the Legislature, in 1981, wanted to see happen. Why did the Legislature not want that to happen in 1981, any more than it did in 1908, 1920, 1947 or any of the other years when the law was changed? It was because the people of the Yukon did not want that to happen. It was not the judges in the Supreme Court, but the people of the Yukon.

There is enough concern about what is really going on here to warrant a public inquiry.

I would say to the Minister in all seriousness that, if we had a situation evolve in the next few years where most or all of the outfits were essentially controlled by people who, for all intents and purposes, are not residents, even if they built fancy lodges here and were charming gentleman and had a phone number and address in Whitehorse, but the majority of their assets and real home was in Europe, the United States, Asia or somewhere else, I do not think the business would be sustainable, because I do not think the people of the Yukon would want that. I do not think they would tolerate it. They would say, if we cannot control who owns and operates big game outfits in the territory, we should change the arrangements.

The Minister of Justice comes in and says that they are the ones who made it. I can tell him it is a certain fact. He is asserting the previous Cabinet saw Cabinet documents. They did not, ever, see any such Cabinet document that he talked about earlier today, and I know that for a fact. I know, because I have talked to my Cabinet colleagues, and we never discussed it, because it never came to Cabinet.

If the Member is using a draft Cabinet document as evidence of some discussion, then he is dead wrong, because I know that the present Minister of Renewable Resources had tabled a draft Cabinet submission that he had never seen. There are a lot of draft Cabinet submissions around.

I know this, because I am someone, an anti-free trader, someone who verily believes in local control of the economy, not like the free traders opposite.

If a proposition had ever come to me that said we should willingly let control of this industry go to foreign residents -

Some Hon. Member:


Mr. Penikett:


Some Hon. Member:




Mr. Penikett:

No, the government did not, nor would any government I led ever allow it to happen.

Some Hon. Member:



Order. Please allow the Member to finish his speech.

Some Hon. Member:


Hon. Mr. Fisher:

My remarks will be quite brief. I think my colleagues have touched on most of it, but there are a few observations that I would like to make.

First, my understanding is that a public inquiry under the Public Inquiries Act may be called when a matter is connected with the conduct of the public business of the Yukon or a matter of public concern. While this particular matter essentially meets that criteria for conducting a public inquiry, in past practices, matters such as this have normally been handled by the department at much less cost to the public. I, in fact, probably could support an investigation, and I believe my colleague has also indicated that he will be asking for a departmental investigation into this matter.

Just to show a bit of a comparison, precisely four years ago the Opposition of the day, who is the current government, moved that it is the opinion of this House that the Commissioner in Executive Council should cause an inquiry to be made forthwith pursuant to the Public Inquiries Act in a matter connected with the conduct of the public business of the Yukon and a matter of public concern; namely, the involvement of the Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation and the past current board of directors and chief executive officers of the Yukon Development Corporation into the expenditure of public funds in the operation and maintenance of Hyland Forest Products in Watson Lake; (b) the details of the sale, et cetera; and (c) the continued investment of public funds.

Not only was that motion defeated by the government of the day, which is the current NDP, but the debate on the motion indicates a foiled coverup by that group, including untold millions of dollars.

This perceived issue just does not even remotely compare to the Watson Lake sawmill fiasco, and yet that group of people over there refused to hold a public inquiry into a situation that involved millions and millions of dollars of public funds.

All we are saying here is that we will do an investigation, but to get into the cost of a public inquiry does not make any sense for this type of -

Some Hon. Member:


Hon. Mr. Fisher:

The Cabinet, in March of 1992, when the previous government was in power, investigated Mr. Mayr-Melnhof's residency and found that he had been granted landed immigrant status in 1973.

They further determined that there was no wrongdoing by Mr. Mayr-Melnhof. The Member who moved this motion has tabled no evidence of wrongdoing - absolutely none - nor has he indicated anything different from 1992, when it was investigated previously by that Cabinet.

I believe that the Member opposite, had he made the allegations that he made in the House today outside this House, would very quickly find himself facing some sort of a lawsuit.

Some Hon. Member:



Please allow the Minister to finish.

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

I can support an investigation by the department - no problem. I would like the department to look into this somewhat. However, to hold a public inquiry is just not called for. I certainly cannot even consider supporting that type of an initiative.

Mr. Millar:

I really did not to intend to speak to this.

Some Hon. Member:


Mr. Millar:

I have heard that before, actually. I start all my speeches that way. I am going to have to find a new opening.

However, after listening to the Leader of the Official Opposition, I do feel I want to say a couple of things.

Some Hon. Member:


Mr. Millar:


I have been watching this issue develop with a great deal of interest, actually. It amazes me that the Opposition is trying to put blame on the people who are in power now for something they did when they were in power.

I honestly believe that that is what they are attempting to do. They are attempting to do it because we have two people on this side of the House who, when they were not in politics, were outfitters. I have a hard time accepting that. They have, in the course of this debate, brought forth no new evidence, or anything, that says there was any wrongdoing.

They on the other side of the House are constantly denying that they knew anything about this side agreement when, in fact, there

Page Number 2642

is evidence to say that they did know about it, that they were fully aware of what has happened. The Minister of Justice got up today and laid out what happened, when they got it and when it went into Cabinet. I do not know if the Members over there who were former Cabinet Ministers were actually forthright with the Member for Faro and actually told him that they knew about it, or if they just decided to not tell him so that he could get up and give that very passionate speech he attempted to deliver today. I do not know.

Some Hon. Member:


Mr. Millar:

The Members on the other side are standing there saying that it is pure nonsense, but what is nonsense is this entire motion. Why would they want to bring a motion like this forward? I just do not understand it.

Some Hon. Member:


Mr. Millar:

Gosh, I do not know, you guys.

Harvest was mentioned by the Leader of the Official Opposition. He stated that Yukoners, if it came right down to it, would want to stifle the industry - throw the industry out of the territory. This is one of the basic industries we have in this territory. It is up there with trapping. Is he saying that they want to throw trapping out of the territory as well? I have a hard time understanding -

Some Hon. Member:


Mr. Millar:

The Members opposite want me to sit down because they do not like what I am saying.

However -


Order. Please allow the Member to speak.

Some Hon. Member:



Order. Would the Members please allow the Member for Klondike to speak.

Mr. Millar:

They do not like what I am saying, but the fact is that I believe that hunting - outfitting - is one of the basic industries here in the north.

Some Hon. Member:


Mr. Millar:

The Member for Faro is saying, "Me too, me too." However, it was his leader who just said he would like to see it thrown out of the territory.

Some Hon. Member:


Mr. Millar:

I heard him say that. Getting back to the overharvesting ...


The time now being 5:30 p.m., I will leave the Chair until 7:30 p.m.



I now call the House to order.

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

I move the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.


It has been moved by the Hon. Acting Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?

Motion agreed to

Speaker leaves the Chair



I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. We were dealing with Bill No. 15, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1994-95. Is there further general debate on Government Services?

Bill No. 15 - Second Appropriation Act, 1994-95 - continued

Department of Government Services - continued

Mr. Cable:

I have some questions about the Yukon Party's resolutions. I know the Member was not at the annual general meeting, but fortunately we had a newspaper report, which said, "Party members voted to have the government contracting regulations apply to departments as well as Crown corporations, agencies and commissions funded by the government, where practical, to ease confusion for suppliers." Has the Minister had an opportunity to review that resolution? As a matter of fact, is the premise on which the resolution was based correct?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

No, I have not reviewed that resolution, but my impression is that they already do apply, so I am not sure whether the premise was correct or not.

Mr. Cable:

Let us just go on here to see whether this annual general meeting produced any other nuggets. It says, "When a business owner makes a decision about public tenders, they are directly accountable for their actions." Here is a quote from the resolution.

"The contracting authority seems to be able to shield themselves from the consequence of poor decision making, or unfair treatment of the contractor on their part," said the party resolution. "The present review process is always in the government's favour and has no teeth to force immediate action or remedy to be implemented."

Does the Minister have any comments on that, either negative or positive?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

No, perhaps a neutral comment that one of the things that we want to put into place is dispute resolution. I have personally heard that comment from the Contractors Association and others dealing with government. What they would like to see is some method of resolving conflicts and disputes, short of the government saying, "We are not at fault; take us to court."

We have reinstituted a forum whereby we meet with people in the contracting industry and suppliers for government. I hope that we will settle that sort of thing with them.

I think that much of the problem is attitude as opposed to procedures and policy that are in place.

Mr. Cable:

Perhaps next year the Minister could consider going to the annual general meeting, so that these inaccuracies would not arise. I am sure by the way he will manage his department there will not be any negative comments of that sort.

I have some other questions about the purchase of consulting engineers services by the government. I have been approached by some consulting engineers who posed a question that I think has been put to the Minister and his predecessor about why professional engineering services are not exempted from the contract regulations, as are lawyer and doctor services. Does the Minister have any particular reason for that?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

My understanding of it is that doctors are not. Lawyers are, because there was an argument made that, in requiring a lawyer's services, it was case specific, and we had to get someone who specialized in that area.

Mr. Cable:

I think that proposition was put to the consulting engineers, and their comment was that they did not follow that logic at all. The design of a particular building could be viewed as case specific also, could it not?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I do not know. Perhaps it could. It depends on your perspective. I know there is a lot of artistry in that, and perhaps it could be viewed in that way. As far as I know, that was not the view taken, but I am open to representation, or argument, that says that consulting or design engineering is case specific.

Mr. Cable:

I will pass that comment along, because I am sure the engineers would be happy to hear it.

Would the Minister agree that the initial engineering design

Page Number 2643

costs are a very small component of the life cycle costs of a budget?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:


Mr. Cable:

If this is the case, why does the government simply go for the lowest engineering design fee, which may not necessarily produce the lowest long-term cost to the government? Why are the professional services of the engineers not viewed on the same basis as the purchase of legal services? The Minister can consult with his colleague, because I am sure he has gone through the same drill.

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

The Member is referring to the Minister of Community and Transportation Services when he says "consult with his colleague", and I will. In response to the question, my understanding is that we can get competitive bids and prices from design engineers. That was the reason we did not take it out of that and categorize it the same as with respect to lawyers.

As I said, I will listen to the Member's representations in that regard.

Mr. Cable:

Preferably, the representations from the consulting engineers themselves would be useful.

I gather there is a Management Board directive setting up this two-envelope system that uses the price as a 50-percent determinant. Since that Management Board directive has been in place - if I have described it correctly - how many competitive engineering contracts have been awarded on the basis of lowest price?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I am not sure exactly what the Member is asking, but if he is asking about the two-envelope system, there have only been six contracts that used it.

Mr. Cable:

In each case of the six cases, were the contracts awarded on the basis of lowest price, or were there other factors that caused other than the lower bidder to receive the contract?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I believe that they were awarded to the lowest bidder. However, it was on the basis of the combination of the two.

Mr. Cable:

I think that this is what causes a concern to the consulting engineers. They feel that what we have is really not a two-envelope system at all; it is really a lowest bidder system. What is the reason for using a two-envelope system that has, in the initial envelope, some reference to price? I do not think that is what is conventionally called the two-envelope system in other jurisdictions, is it?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

The Member is correct. We do not have that system. What we have in the envelope number one is the technical criteria. The price is in the second envelope. There is no price reference that I know of in envelope number one. If the bidder qualifies with respect to the technical criteria, their second envelope, with respect to price, is opened.

Mr. Cable:

That is what I understood to be the conventional two-envelope system. It is my understanding that there was a modification brought forward either by Government Services or by Community and Transportation Services, or have I misunderstood what the Minister's department is doing?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

With respect to Government Services, as far as I know, it is the conventional two-envelope system. I cannot speak for Community and Transportation Services.

Mr. Cable:

Could the Minister tell us what his colleague whispered?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

My colleague asked me if, rather than whisper to him, I would just tell the House the way it works in Community and Transportation Services, and I believe this is general throughout government. If, for instance, there are six requests for proposals and three out of the six, in the first envelope, meet the technical criteria - northern experience and that sort of thing, then we go to the second envelope and take the lowest price out of the second envelope.

Mr. Cable:

There seems to be some misunderstanding in the minds of some of the consulting engineers. They seem to have reached the conclusion that price is 50 percent of the criteria used to award the contract. Is this understanding incorrect, then, from what the Minister of Community and Transportation Services just said?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

In the way we are doing it in Government Services, it is not 50 percent, really. If they qualify on the technical criteria, then price is 100 percent, if it is equal. There was, and there may have been, a cost per technical point in envelope one previously in Community and Transportation Services but we have not used that. Ours is what one would call the conventional or traditional two-envelope system. We are looking at reviewing it with the contract regulations review, so nothing is carved in stone at this point.

Mr. Cable:

It sounds like that offer on the part of the Minister to hear the consulting engineers would be worthwhile.

They brought up with me another point - the project management of some of the larger projects that have gone over budget. They bring it up not in the context of criticism of the project managers but perhaps in the sense that the project managers are not fully qualified to do some of the larger jobs.

Does the Minister feel that the project managers should be professional engineers in all cases, or are some of the larger jobs suitable for project management by other than engineers?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I am not sure of the last part of the Member's question, but I do know that concern has been expressed to me, with respect to project management. One of the concerns was that the project managers did not have ownership of the project, or did not come in right at the beginning and go through right to the end. The Contractors Association, for example, thought that it would work better if there were a project manager who saw a project through, and that it was his responsibility and he felt some ownership. There was some question about the qualification of the project managers to manage some of the projects. I told the Contractors Association that I would investigate that but I have not concluded that investigation.

Mr. Cable:

Is the Minister prepared to hear the consulting engineers' view on the same subject, while he is considering the contractors' views?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

Yes, I am.

Mrs. Firth:

I wonder if the Minister could bring us up to date on the conflicts and concerns that the architects raised with the government about its tendering practices, and what has he done to resolve the situation? What is the relationship between the architectural community and the government right now?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I am not sure. I have talked to, and met with, several of the architects. I have talked to the office of others, and from my position as Minister, I do not think that anything has been resolved yet. I think there are still concerns on behalf of the architects. I hope, in the near future, to kind of resolve that dispute.

Mrs. Firth:

Is the Minister and the Cabinet looking at any potential changes to the fee structure that architects presently have with this government? Are they making any changes to the way architects are going to be contracted with and paid?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I have not taken anything to Cabinet. I have not gathered that information to take back. As far as I know, there is no set fee structure with the architects. I think that they bid competitively in the same way as others. I think that is one of their concerns: they do not have a fee structure. That is something I will be addressing with them. I hope that I will have something to take to Cabinet to resolve the concern that Cabinet has over architectural fees.

Mrs. Firth:

Could the Minister tell us what that concern is?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

The way I understand it, Cabinet was

Page Number 2644

concerned about the projects being driven by the architects, rather than by the government as the client.

My impression of their concern - and I hesitate to speak for them - is that they thought they were getting Cadillacs when they really wanted Chevrolets. They felt the extended care facility and the visitor reception centre were over designed and that some of the responsibility lies with the architects who were turned loose to design these buildings, as opposed to the government who should have been driving that bus.

Mrs. Firth:

That is the concern that I had expressed earlier. I thought that the architects were getting a bad rap by this government. The architect only goes so far and is allowed to do what is requested to be done of them. When it comes to the bottom line, it is the Cabinet or somebody within government that approves and authorizes this Cadillac that the architects have designed. If that is the problem that Cabinet has, they do not have to approve the Cadillacs that have been designed by the architects.

I am quite interested in hearing the Minister's plan to resolve this issue, because to me it sounds like there are some minds made up in the Cabinet and it is not really clear to the public or to the architects, or to us as Members of the Legislature, what the problem is. If the problem is not clear, then we certainly are not going to have any solution.

I am interested in hearing how the Minister plans to resolve this whole dispute.

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I agree with the Member. She makes a very good point. My impression is that there may have been too quick a reaction to what was happening and the amount that the government was spending on architects, and the designs we were getting.

I hope that will be solved and taken out of Cabinet decision making and given back to the Department of Government Services to handle the projects in a responsible fashion, so that we are not, as a government, getting something we really do not want.

Mrs. Firth:

That is going to be an interesting exercise and I will look forward to seeing how that is going to work and the outcome.

Is the Minister looking at any legislation? I know that the architects have expressed some interest in legislation. Is that being examined?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

No, not at the moment. I have not talked to the architects about the need for an act or legislation with respect to that. The only information that I have is an opinion that was prepared previously, that said we do not really need or want to administer that act in the Yukon. I have not heard from the architects.

Mrs. Firth:

Unless anyone else has any questions about the issue with architects, I will move on. One other Member does, so I will give him the floor.

Mr. McDonald:

When the Minister was sitting on the Opposition benches, when the issue of architects first arose, various Yukon Party Cabinet Ministers, including the other independent Minister, expressed very strong feelings about how architects were taking the government and the public to the cleaners. They expressed more concerns than simply the cost of their services and the end products. They expressed that they felt the use of draftspeople would be more efficacious, and that, if we were to simply accommodate our needs through persons who were less technically qualified but, in the Cabinet's view, basically qualified to do certain jobs, then we would get a cheaper price and, in some ways, a better product. They also expressed the view that we should be promoting cookie-cutter designs for various buildings. I know the Minister of Education was quite firm on this point. I know that he expressed the opinion that if we bought one particular design, and then simply planted it around the territory wherever there was the need for a school, that we would be much better off. I know this is an issue with which at least one notable architect has taken great issue.

Given that the architects have made some pretty cogent arguments defending their profession, and taking issue with the arguments made by a couple of other Ministers, I wonder if the Minister would comment - given that he has now had a chance to basically review the situation - on how the department reviews the use of draftspeople, and also the use of cookie-cutter designs as a model for public buildings. I will also point out that we were treated to at least a half an hour's worth of discussion about firehalls, and about how one single firehall can serve a purpose for all communities. That, too, was pretty effectively, at least seemingly, debunked by at least one architect. I would like the Minister's opinion on this matter.

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I do recall that debate. For fear of defending those decisions, I can only say that my understanding of what was behind it was that it was cost driven. It was really price, when it came down to it. They wanted to review any projects where design consultants or architects were hired.

With respect to the copyrighted designs that could be plunked down anywhere, there are arguments for that, but there are also significant arguments against it. We have used it a couple of times, and time will tell how effective it has been. The Teslin jail is an example of a copyrighted design that was built in the Kananaskas country in Alberta and plunked in up here. It looks like it will be effective; however, when I looked at it, part of the design included seven propane furnaces. I wondered why, as a government, we were burning propane when diesel would be cheaper, or we could hook it up to the electrical grid.

So, there are good arguments against it and I, as the Minister, will be looking at that. I am not strongly of the opinion that we can take one design and plunk it anywhere in the Yukon and it is going to do the job for us.

Mr. McDonald:

I would make the point that I think the character of the debate might have been different if this Minister had been in Cabinet when the debate first took place. Obviously, it seems as though some of the Ministers were barking up the wrong tree, and it cost all of us a very painful public debate with the professional community in this territory, which probably did not need to happen.

In terms of timing and the resolution of these issues, can the Minister tell us when he expects to come to some resolution with the architectural community and with respect to the policies Cabinet will adopt or reaffirm, when it comes to the use of architects?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I hope to have something done by the end of June, at the same time that I hope to have the contract regulations review wrapped up and something taken to Cabinet. I hope I am not being overly optimistic, but the end of June is my target for having some decision taken to, and made by, Cabinet.

Mrs. Firth:

I want to move on to the issue of sole-sourcing limits. I have raised questions in the House about the sole-sourcing limits with respect to the second draft of the contract regulations review, and I have received an opinion from the Government Leader that he felt that the sole-sourcing limits should not be raised above the $10,000 level. I subsequently wrote letters to all the Ministers asking all of them what their position was, because I was told by the Government Leader that this was a decision that was going to be made in Cabinet.

I received a letter from the Minister responsible for Government Services on behalf of all his colleagues, telling me that they did not have a position yet and would be making a decision about it in Cabinet. I would like to ask the Minister if he could tell us what his position is with respect to raising the limits, and whether

Page Number 2645

or not he has taken it to Cabinet yet.

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

No, I have not taken it to Cabinet yet. I am trying to figure out the reasoning and the arguments behind raising it. The consulting engineers suggested, I believe, that it be raised to $25,000, because of their services. I think that the idea behind that was that work would be given out on kind of a rotational basis rather than a competitive-bid basis. Perhaps when I talk to the consulting engineers I can take up a third issue with them and ask them what the basis is for asking that sole sourcing be raised to that limit. I feel that sole sourcing for that amount of money is a lot, but if there are some good and compelling reasons, I will listen to them. I have not heard any really good ones as yet.

Mrs. Firth:

I have read the information. I have talked to many people in the business community. I have been here in the House for the last 12 years debating this specific issue about sole-sourcing contracts, particularly with respect to abuses of the process, and I cannot for the life of me think of any good reason to increase the limit, particularly in light of some of the incidents that have just taken place, so I would be very interested in hearing from the Minister if he could cite one good reason for increasing it.

I do not object to giving the engineers, and whomever, a fair hearing about what they might perceive to be good ideas, but I think they are delaying the inevitable. If it is the will of the Cabinet that they just do not want to see it increased, then it should not be increased. It is a protection to the public purse not to have it increased.

I know the Minister knows where I stand on the issue so I will not go on any longer about my specific position on the issue and the many reasons we should not increase the sole-sourcing limits. I will wait and see when we are going to have a decision with respect to that issue. I guess it will be coming at the end of June also, along with the contract regulations review. I see the Minister nodding his head that, yes, that is what will happen.

I want to ask the Minister some questions about the whole tendering process and the changes and the review. I have had a lot of contractors come to me to express a concern about whether or not there is a level playing field. A lot of contractors do not think there is right now because everything is under review and there have been some instances of disputes and appeals with respect to the awarding of contracts. There is a very competitive environment out there right now in the business community.

There are a lot of contracting companies that are going out of business. Some are not doing any work and some are doing well or even fairly well.

Can the Minister tell us whether or not he has given any direction or specific instructions to the department with respect to reassuring the business community that they are, in fact, being dealt with in a fair way and that there continues to be a level playing field with all this potential change in the consultation process? Has he given any specific instruction?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

Yes. However, before I get to that, I should get back to the last question. There was one reason that I know of, with respect to the consulting engineers raising the sole-sourcing issue; it is their cost of preparing bids. The reason that it has not simply gone to Cabinet is because I did not want it to appear to be a decision made by a knee-jerk reaction, saying we were not going to raise it. I felt I should leave it and see if there were any more reasons coming forward that might convince us.

With respect to the tendering process, the instructions I have given are that what we want in place, as soon as possible, is some sort of dispute resolution mechanism, whereby the contractors - people who provide service to government - can have their disputes resolved in a manner whereby the government is not simply saying that we followed the rules, and if they do not like it they can sue us.

A lot of the problems that I perceive, and that I have heard from contractors, are the attitude and public relations. I have said that that has to improve. As Government Services, we are service oriented; that is what we are supposed to be doing - serving the clients as opposed to telling them what we are going to do and when.

Mrs. Firth:

I had raised some questions with the Minister responsible for the Housing Corporation regarding information being given to unsuccessful bidders. The unsuccessful bidders had been denied access to information, which in fact was contrary to the regulations. I would like to ask the Minister responsible for Government Services what the policy is in Government Services regarding allowing bidders to see other contractors' bids, to see how their points compared to the other bidders' points. Is it his policy that bidders will have access to that kind of information? Is he talking to other departments to ensure that they are also keeping an open policy with respect to providing information to the unsuccessful bidders?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

My understanding of the way the system exists is that there is a log maintained, and according to the regulations the department has to release the information that is in that log, which ranks the bidders. My understanding is that is all they give. They are afraid of giving any more information in case they are breaching some business confidentiality.

My impression is that in some instances common sense has not been exercised. I will give the Member an example of a case that I have just been looking at. It is one where there was a tender for a forklift. The unsuccessful bidder was told he did not meet specifications. He wanted to know what happened with other bids. They showed him the log and said that is it. He wanted to know what the government bought instead of his machine, and he was not told. To me, common sense would dictate that that information does not give away business secrets, because if he went down to the warehouse or shop he would see the new forklift driving around and know what it was. I do not know why we would withhold that type of information.

I have asked about that situation, so I can understand the concerns about what we can give out. My, perhaps naive, impression is that we should be able to give out more information in those cases than we are able to in respect to other tenders.

With respect to other departments and the information they give out, I have not talked to any of them.

Mrs. Firth:

I am not sure whether the Minister recalls the specific issue and controversy with the Yukon Housing Corporation, but it was with respect to the final quote being given, which is one of the specifications in the log, that that information must be given out.

The information contained in the log is relatively specific and if it is open to interpretation by individuals and different departments, can the Minister tell me if common sense plays a big part of this? Who is going to determine what information will be given out? How is this issue going to be resolved? Personally, I feel that the times where personal, confidential business information will be revealed are probably very rare. I want to know how the Minister plans on dealing with this and what kind of direction he is going to give as opposed to dealing with every controversial contract on an individual basis at the ministerial level.

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I think it is specified in the contract regulations what information is given out. I agree with the Member that most things do not breach confidentiality.

I will be asking the department for the specific instances that do result in this breach. Again, I have not been here long enough, but my impression was that if anyone does business with the government they should be prepared to admit to what they are

Page Number 2646

charging and the services they are providing.

Before I commit myself to that in the House, I would like to discuss it further with the department because I know, for some reason, there is concern about that, and perhaps concern by suppliers.

Mrs. Firth:

I would like to recommend to the Minister that he talk to businesses about this, because I think he will get a clearer definition from the business community as to what they consider confidential as opposed what some of the people within the department consider confidential.

I think sometimes there is a reluctance to give out information, because officials, in some way, feel like they are being challenged or their judgment is being questioned. It is all part of the public relations and attitude that the Minister was talking about.

I think that if there are some clear, specific concerns from the business community, I think they would be the best ones to advise the Minister of what those concerns are. That is a suggestion I offer the Minister.

I want to go on to another issue providing that no one else has any questions with respect to this issue.

Mr. Cable:

On the issue of what information is disclosed after tenders are called, one of the problems the consulting engineers have is that many of the factors are very subjective. I think the Member for Riverdale South has said that if, in fact, all the weights accorded to each of the factors are disclosed, there is a challenge to whomever is doing the weighing. Is the Minister prepared to have all the two-envelope criteria, and their respective weights, disclosed in the case of a tender call for consulting services?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I am not sure whether I can commit to that or not. I will consider it. I do not know what trouble I would get myself into by volunteering to the others all the information that consulting or design engineers have submitted. There may be an argument about losing the competitive edge in future jobs, but I will consider it.

Mr. Cable:

What are the factors that would really deal with competitive edge? I have not been apprised of any. We are dealing with experience. What other sorts of things is the Minister considering that would pose a problem for the engineers themselves if they were released?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I am not sure. If they have no problem with it, I am certainly willing to release the whole works after the tenders have been opened, evaluated, and someone chosen.

Mr. McDonald:

I have a brief comment about this subject, and a question. First of all, I would caution the Minister to be very careful about how he wants to construct the tendering system and who uses their common sense when evaluating bids, or determining whether information should be given out, and that sort of thing. People are very sensitive about that subject, largely because they are concerned about competitive confidences being given away to others or being leaked to the competition. Even when the rules seem persnickety, they also want the rules to apply to everyone evenly. If someone has to jump through a hoop, no matter what the hoop is, everybody has to jump through that same hoop in the same way.

He may find, when he tries to resolve a particular problem and uses simple common sense - meaning whatever seems natural and right at the time - that the world falls in around his shoulders, when that impression of common sense is not shared by others.

Then everybody embraces, once again, what had seemed to be the bureaucratic set of rules, because they all want to know the rules, and they do not want the rules to change unless they all participate, and that sort of thing. I am sure the Minister knows that. If he does not, he will learn the hard way, just like everybody else has.

His predecessor made the point last sitting that there were some bids that may be bypassed by Cabinet. He may remember the context in which this comment was made. He mentioned that some bids from outside the territory could be bypassed by Cabinet if Cabinet felt there was not sufficient economic benefit to be achieved by that bid, even if it was low. I know that the Cabinet has had time to consider this question, and I know the Minister may have thought about this question. I want to know whether or not the Minister, or the government, still holds to this new principle, or whether they have abandoned it. If they are holding to it, what are the criteria for bypassing bids that may come from outside the territory?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I am informed by the department that has not happened in any case to date, and I am certainly not going to advocate that that is the way we will conduct ourselves. I cannot imagine any reason for doing that after we have received the tenders. I do not even want to speculate with respect to what the previous Minister had in mind when he said that.

Mr. McDonald:

Neither do I. We will all get ourselves into trouble if we start speculating along those lines.

There were some comments about the advertising of tenders outside the territory, and there had been a fairly longstanding policy of advertising with contracting associations elsewhere. Can the Minister tell us whether the policy has changed in the last year and one-half with respect to this matter?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

As far as I know, it has not. It is the same policy as the former Minister of Government Services put into place in 1992. Now that I have identified him, I would like to thank him for the input on the release of information, and I will be cautious.


Is there further general debate?

Mrs. Firth:

I want to move to another issue. It concerns an outstanding written question I have on the Order Paper. The question is addressed to the Minister of Government Services: Will the Minister provide Members of the House with the following information about all service, construction, consultant and purchase of goods contracts, not only for the Department of Government Services, but for all departments, as well as Crown corporations: dollars spent for the last quarter of each fiscal year; January, February, March for the past three years; and dollars spent for each full year for the past three years?

Can the Minister tell me if I am going to be getting a response to this written question, and when I am going to be getting that response?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

Yes, the Member will be getting a response. I am informed by the department that it should come next week, that it has involved hours and hours of work, and that the accounts for March 31 of this year just closed last week. I expect to have that answer, and I am looking forward to it, too, some time next week.

Mrs. Firth:

I have heard the comment, as well, that this is the infamous written question. That is fine. We are paying these people lots of money to do this work, so it is a valid request to make.

I have some concern about the information that we are going to get. I would like to ask the Minister if he has had any discussions with his department with respect to the request and as to how the information will be presented. My concern is this: I have asked specifically for the dollars that have been spent; however, that could be different from the contracts that have actually been awarded. That is likely the concern of a lot of officials that they have not just compiled a list of contracts that have been awarded with, say, a $20,000 limit to it, but they have gone further to decide how much of that contract has been spent and put that down.

There could be accruals made into the next year from the

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contracts in this year. I want to know if we are going to get an accurate picture of how much the government is contracting, and not just spending. Is the Minister concerned about this? Has he thought about it? Has he given any instructions regarding this? My concern is that this may show a dip, but when the contract is finished, the expenditure will increase.

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I have not talked to the department about how exactly to answer the Member's question. What I am told, however, is that there will be fairly accurate figures. I will ask them to read the Blues in order to consider the Member's concern.

The other thing I am told is that, next week, we will be tabling a list of all the contracts for the past year. In that information, we will have the contract amount and dollars that were spent, so that there will be more information than last year. I hope that, between the written answer and that contract list, we will have all the information that the Member is seeking. If not, we can try again.

Mr. McDonald:

There has been some discussion about what the appointment of the new deputy minister means to the department. I do know that there have been words coming back to us that the appointment of the new deputy minister is going to make the department more service oriented and I think one person said, "take it out of the Stone Age".

I would just like to know what the Minister feels are the areas of concern, particularly with the department's service to its clients, and what are the priority areas that he would like to address to ensure that the department does become more service oriented.

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I think that one of the big issues - and I think anyone would say it - is the improvement of communication. When the Member talks about service to clients, what I think about is service to other departments. I have found that the relationship with other departments is not as good as it could be. My impression is that Government Services often takes the lead role in telling the departments what they need and what they should have rather than listening first to their requests and discussing them. I think communication is the major area that we will work on.

Mr. McDonald:

The Minister, I am sure, will find that the department is forced to carry out stated Cabinet priorities about what should be purchased, how things should operate, what contract rules should be and, at the same time, want to get the best value for the dollar on a particular purchase or supply contract. Often, this means that the specialty items that the department would like to have cannot always be purchased under the strictures that Cabinet has placed on the Department of Government Services. Ultimately, it is going to percolate back to the political level to resolve the problems.

The Minister will probably understand that if the departments are all wanting to do their own thing because it is the easiest thing for them to do, and the Cabinet wants to implement policy where they get the best value for the dollar, they want to buy in bulk and they want to tender construction projects in a certain way, and all that sort of thing, and they inflict that message through Government Services, then departments quite naturally feel constrained by a direction that they do not entirely understand.

When he does come to terms with this dilemma, I am certainly more than interested in hearing how he is going to be resolving the problems that will ultimately arise. Certainly, communications among departments can always be improved.

I was intrigued, as it was explained to me, by how the new deputy was going to take everybody by the ears and wrench them into a new century.

Given that I have some familiarity with the problems associated with the department and the central agencies in government, I was intrigued as to how he was going to accomplish this task.

It sounds like an old problem to me, and perhaps he will provide some fresh insight, along with the Minister, and we will all be pleasantly surprised in due course.

I have a couple of quick questions, first of all, with respect to the contract list for last year.

Some Hon. Member:


Mr. McDonald:

The Minister said they are coming next week; is that correct? He is nodding in the affirmative, okay.

Finally, I would like to ask a quick question about decentralization. That is a priority for the Department of Government Services, even if it is not a priority for the Government of Yukon, because it says so in their strategic plan.

Could the Minister tell me what the department is doing to respond to centralization or, under its current incarnation, it would be more aptly referred to as recentralization? Are they taking any strategic initiatives to respond to that priority?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

No, not to decentralization or recentralization. The only initiative that I am aware of was not decentralization, but devolution of the active records to the departments. If there is something going on in the department with respect to decentralization, or some plan, I am not aware of it.


Order please. At this time, we will take a brief recess.



I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. Is there any further general debate on Government Services?

Ms. Moorcroft:

Just before the break, the Minister was asked about the deputy minister position and was asked to respond to some questions from my colleague. Just to remind him of that fact, I would like to ask him how many people applied for the job.

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

We have talked about that. It was asked of me in Question Period. I take the position that it is a personnel matter and should not be discussed in the House. A number of individuals applied. I will not give the Member a specific number.

Ms. Moorcroft:

I am not aware that a Minister in the past has refused to tell us how many applicants there have been for positions such as that of a deputy minister. If I could find the record of a previous Minister telling us how many people applied for a deputy minister's job, would he be willing to answer the question then?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

No. As I said, it is a personnel matter. If there is some reason why the Member wants to know, and it is important to her, I will discuss that with her and talk to her about the number of applications received, outside the House. However, I am not going to get into that debate on the floor of the House.

Ms. Moorcroft:

There are reasons for asking these questions. I have no desire to prolong debate in Government Services, any more than the Minister. However, we would like to know how someone from outside the government could have a better idea of how to improve government and what the Minister's rationale was for the hiring that took place.

We have been told that senior public servants were told not to apply. It makes us ask why people would be told not to apply. Was there a candidate already picked before the competition even took place? That is why we would like to know how many people applied for the job. That is why we would like to know the facts of how this competition was handled.

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I have described how the competition was handled, how it was done, who hires. I can tell the Member that there was no candidate picked before the competition began. It is absolutely not true that senior government officials were told not to apply. If there is some government official who told the Member that, I would like to hear it, because it certainly did not come from me.

Page Number 2648

Ms. Moorcroft:

To the Minister's knowledge, were any public servants told not to apply for the position?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

No, not to my knowledge.

On Corporate Services

On Activities

On Finance and Administration

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

The finance and administration line has been reduced by five percent. The funding represents the costs associated with the salaries and benefits for three positions in the deputy minister's office, that is the deputy minister, the assistant deputy minister and the secretary; two positions providing administrative and financial support; three providing personnel support to the department, a manager, officer and personnel assistant; and one position providing government-wide support in the insurance and risk-management program.

There is a small decrease in personnel of three percent and a seven-percent decrease in other expenses.

The seven-percent decrease is $46,000 in Other, the result of a $22,000 reduction associated with the costs to hire the insurance and risk management officer. There is $10,000 in reduced outside travel; $8,000 in reduced adjuster's fees as we expect more claims to be in house; and $6,000 in various other items such as travel and communications.

Finance and Administration in the amount of $1,275,000 agreed to

On Policy and Planning

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

This funding represents costs for three positions: the director of policy and planning; policy analyst and senior policy analyst on secondment from Yukon Housing Corporation.

The 12-percent net increase in personnel is the result of $40,000 to fund the director of policy and planning position for a full year and $4,000 to fully fund the policy analyst position that was partly vacant in 1993-94.

The 27-percent increase in Other, which amounts to $3,000, is due to increased expenditures associated with the revised contract regulations. There is $2,000 for materials and printing and $1,000 for advertising the meetings and revisions.

Mrs. Firth:

Can the Minister tell us about the senior policy analyst on secondment from Yukon Housing Corporation?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

That is Carl Rumscheidt from Yukon Housing. He was seconded from Yukon Housing for a period of five years. I believe his term of secondment ends in 1996, so he has been with us since 1991.

Mr. McDonald:

I wonder if the Minister could tell us what the primary elements of the work plan are for the policy planning section. Can he also tell us whether or not there is going to be an update to the department's strategic plan - the strategic plan that has received so much attention in the Legislature?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I had not planned to update the strategic plan. Most of the work with policy and planning is to get the contract regulations reviewed to get a dispute resolution system in place.

Mr. McDonald:

We are told that is going to be completed within the first quarter of the fiscal year, or at least we are led to believe that, so obviously there are other significant projects underway. If the Minister wants to get back to us with a list of projects, that is fine, too.

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I do have a list that I can provide to the Member. The list I have I would send over. It may need to be updated a bit, but on it there are 21 different projects underway, including a review of fleet management and general administration manuals. There are a lot of projects underway that will be worked on after June.

Mr. McDonald:

So the Minister will send over something at some point - is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

Yes, I expect by tomorrow. I will see if any updating is needed on this list.

Policy and Planning in the amount of $240,000 agreed to

On Contract Administration

Contract Administration in the amount of $318,000 agreed to

Corporate Services in the amount of $1,833,000 agreed to

Mr. McDonald:

On page 129, in statistics, there is a slight anomaly - or a seeming anomaly at least. I wonder if the Minister could explain for me. On the bottom of the list, there are two items: construction tenders processed and construction progress payments.

It seems as though we are going to have more construction tenders processed this year, but we are expecting fewer progress payments. Is there a reason for that situation?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

Yes. As may be suspected, in 1994-95, the major projects are highway construction projects, for which there are fewer progress claims processed as compared to the building construction projects.

Mr. McDonald:

Last year was not a banner year for building construction either, yet there are seemingly quite a number of progress payments. It is not a major point. If the Minister has an easy answer, that would be sufficient.

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

If the Member goes back to 1992-93, he will see even more so. It is a trend that is not just in this year. The number for 1993-94, even though there is more than 1994-95, is even less than there was back in 1992-93.


Shall we move on?

On Information Systems

On Activities

On Systems Administration

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

On systems administration, the funding is for five positions. There is a five-percent net increase in personnel costs: $39,000 to fund branch administrative and financial officer positions, which were partly vacant the previous year. It is offset by decreases resulting from a reduction in the use of auxiliary personnel. The increase in Other is 38 percent, which amounts to $13,000. That is solely attributable to one-time costs that will be incurred to host the Association for Canadian Infomatics in Government Conference in Whitehorse.

Systems Administration agreed to in the amount of $331,000 agreed to

On Computing and Network Services

Computing and Network Services in the amount of $1,708,000 agreed to

On Client Services

Client Services in the amount of $831,000 agreed to

On Information Centre

Information Centre in the amount of $373,000 agreed to

On Records Management

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

This decrease reflects the devolution of active records to the departments. The personnel decreases is 55 percent. It is a result of six records indexer positions being decentralized: two to Community and Transportation Services, one to Health and Social Services, one to Education, one-half to Economic Development and one-half to Justice.

Mr. McDonald:

I noticed this was quite a high priority for the Minister in the strategic plan, so I am glad to see it is being undertaken.

Records Management in the amount of $359,000 agreed to

On Telecommunications

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

There is a 32-percent increase in this line, of which 26 percent is in personnel. It is offset by a $58,000 increase from the transfer of a programmer analyst position from the client services unit. That showed up in the previous line, under

Page Number 2649

client services.

Telecommunications in the amount of $452,000 agreed to

Information Systems in the amount of $4,054,000 agreed to

On Supply Services


Is there any general debate?

On Activities

On Administration

Administration in the amount of $160,000 agreed to

On Purchasing

Purchasing in the amount of $405,000 agreed to

On Queen's Printer

Queen's Printer in the amount of $976,000 agreed to

On Asset Control

Asset Control in the amount of $179,000 agreed to

On Transportation and Communication

Mr. Cable:

Can the Minister indicate whether it is his department under this particular head that strikes the mileage rates that are given to people travelling on government business, or is this done through the Department of Finance?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

No, we do not do it under this line.

Mr. McDonald:

Of course, the Minister is quite right. It just occurred to me that the Minister, or some of his colleagues, made the suggestion that the mileage rates were somehow automatically tied to the federal government's mileage rates. Of course, there is no necessary connection, unless the Cabinet wants there to be. So, the increase in the mileage rates was something that was done on our home turf, right here. It is a decision that we have to take responsibility for - we, collectively - the Cabinet we. Of course, this particular section of this particular department has absolutely nothing to do with that decision.

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I cannot resist, because the Member is absolutely right. The Member for Mount Lorne did ask me a question about the Government Leader's tour around the Yukon, and how much extra it cost as a result of the increase in mileage rates and the per diem for meals. I checked on that. Apparently, the total difference was $16.05, due to the differential in meals since April 1.

Mr. McDonald:

Given the Government Leader's impact on rural Yukon, I am sure that it was worth every penny.

Ms. Moorcroft:

I am glad the Minister cleared that up and came back with the information for us. Does the Minister also now have the information that there are contractual obligations that had an effect on that rise in the rates?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

Yes, I am aware of that. I am not sure whether the Member said it directly or not. Perhaps, in the preamble to the question, she did mention that it was tied to the collective agreement. Yes, that is the reason it rose for those people travelling.

Ms. Moorcroft:

Actually, I did not mention it in the preamble to the question, because I was hoping that the Minister, with his Government Services hat on, might at least be aware of the provisions of the collective agreement. I am sure that we will get into this issue in more detail in the Public Service Commission, so I will leave it for now.

Transportation and Communication in the amount of $1,604,000 agreed to

On Central Stores

Central Stores in the amount of $198,000 agreed to

Supply Services in the amount of $3,522,000 agreed to

On Property Management


Is there any general debate?

Mr. Cable:

I have some general questions on rental projections. Does the Minister's department have a one-, five- or 10-year projection on anticipated needs for lease premises for the government?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

No, I think that we may have a one-year projection.

We are currently undertaking a whole review of our office needs. There are leases expiring, and needs have to be assessed for government. I do not know what it was called; the Member for McIntyre-Takhini can probably help me out - there was an office strategy plan that was done, and we are redoing that plan at the present time.

Mr. Cable:

That plan sets out the number of anticipated square feet or metres that the government will need over a set period of time. Is that the way it operates?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

Yes, that is right.

Mr. Cable:

In the reviewing of this projection, will the Minister be taking into account what I gather is a thrust for downsizing government? Are there any targets for the number of people who will be employed by the government within the projection period, whatever it is - five years or 10 years?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

It is based on input from the departments about what they see their needs will be over the next several years. There may be some that will have slightly lower needs; some that will have more. I cannot tell the Member right now what input we have from the departments.

Mr. Cable:

I am sure the Minister would appreciate that the private rental market is very concerned about where the government is going. There has been talk both in this House and outside the House on the downsizing of government. Is the Minister saying there is actually no target that he is working toward in relation to the number of people who will be employed by the government, in total?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

No. Our department is not doing that. We are getting input from the other departments, so I am not sure what the result will be. We have not been given an overall government target. We will simply be given that by each department.

Mr. Cable:

I am going over the statistics adjacent to the budgeted figures. On page 137, as amended by the Minister yesterday, it appears there has been no appreciable change in the total square metreage between last year and this year. Has there been any appreciable reduction in the public service, or is the Minister aware of that, over the last year?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

No, I am not aware of any appreciable reduction and certainly I am not aware of any appreciable reduction in space needs - the square footage needs.

Mr. Cable:

Is the Minister intending to keep roughly the same ratio of leased premises to owned premises for the future?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

At the moment, I do not know of any change in that. When we get the input from the departments, we will be taking the strategy back to Cabinet, probably within the next month. There may be some input at that time. As the Minister, I do not have any plans to change the ratio at this time.

Mr. Cable:

Is there any input into the updating of the five-year plan, or whatever it is called, from the private rental market owners?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

No, this is an internal strategy we are developing, based on the needs of each department, so we have not gone outside for any input.

Mr. Cable:

Do the projections include the anticipated rental rates, or is it simply a matter of space that is being set up in the projections?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I understand that it just looks at space needs. It does not look at market rates at this stage.

Mr. McDonald:

I wonder if the Minister could provide us with some information, perhaps in the form of a legislative return, which gives us the names of the buildings in Whitehorse that are being leased and the term of the lease, particularly when the term

Page Number 2650

expires for each lease. Can he give us that please?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

Yes, I can. I think we have a list of the buildings in Whitehorse with us. However, I will add the terms of the lease, along with their expiry dates. I will get it back to the Member as soon as I can.

It appears that the expiry date is already on the list.

Mr. McDonald:

That is great.

I wonder if the Minister could give us an update on the preventive maintenance program that was initiated some years back. What is happening there?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

It is still going. Part of the focus of the reorganization I talked about earlier was to focus on making that as effective as possible - that was the multi-discipline group that does preventive maintenance. It is carrying on.

Mr. McDonald:

I am delighted to hear that. I got the impression from the Minister's predecessor that that was a lower priority. Now it appears to be the number-one priority. I appreciate the change in direction.

On Activities

On Administration

Administration in the amount of $364,000 agreed to

On Facilities Management

Facilities Management in the amount of $7,292,000 agreed to

On Regional Services

Regional Services in the amount of $2,125,000 agreed to

On Realty Services

Mr. Cable:

Could we have a description of what that line item is composed?

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I asked the same question myself. It is the office space lease management, the building security and custodial. It analyzes the government's needs for commercial space, develops plans for acquiring it, arranges and administers the commercial leases, where the government is a tenant and arranges and administers revenue leases, where the government is the landlord.

Realty Services in the amount of $4,307,000 agreed to

Property Management in the amount of $14,088,000 agreed to

Hon. Mr. Nordling:

I had promised the Member for Riverdale South some information about the Queen's Printer and the difference that there would be. I have given her the prices and some other information about how much would be made. I think that the Leader of the Official Opposition had a request and we will get back to him as soon as we can.

Some Hon. Member:


Hon. Mr. Nordling:

The $206,000 is the total sales. It was the replacement. We do not have the figure of how much of that was profit and how much was simply the repurchase of the update.

Government Services agreed to

Department of Renewable Resources


We will move on to the Department of Renewable Resources.

Hon. Mr. Brewster:

I have sent a copy of my speech to everybody, so they can study it over the weekend, or do what they want with it. There is a wastepaper basket beside Members if they want to put it in there - recycle them.

I am pleased to outline today the highlights in the operation and maintenance estimates for the Department of Renewable Resources for the 1994-95 fiscal year. Members will note that the estimates reflect a decrease of eight percent in the department's vote.

These estimates call for the department to spend $12 million in the coming year. Members will see that the funding priorities for the department continue to reflect this government's commitment to the provision of good government, settling land claims, transferring Yukon land and resources, protecting the environment and managing wildlife, all of which are commitments outlined in our four-year plan.

Our administration program reflects a small increase of $23,000. This is primarily because the forecast reflected a total of $24,000 expenditure for the FISH (Fisheries Incentive for Sustainable Harvest) fund. The 1994-95 budget for this fund is $50,000. Also, the budget allows for a total of $15,000 to assist Yukon-based non-governmental organizations in raising public awareness about environmental issues, and the forecast for 1993-94 is only $10,000.

Both these initiatives are reflected in the transfer payment allotment. Discounting these two initiatives, the finance and administration line item would have been $11,000 less than the 1993-94 forecast, and the percent change would have been one percent. The reductions are largely due to the reflection of expected reductions in personnel costs, along with some small reductions in the Other allotment.

The major change in policy and planning is as a result of a nil budget for the program transfer section. As Members are aware, the federal Minister has decided to defer any further action on the forestry transfer until such time as land claim legislation has been passed by Parliament. At the time of deferral, negotiations were essentially completed and the transfer package ready for consideration by both levels of government. While we would expect that there would have to be some amendments made as a result of the deferral, we also expect that we will be able to pick up where we left off.

There were a number of vacancies in the policy analysis section in 1993-94, resulting in lower costs for that fiscal year than would otherwise have been the case. The decrease in the geographical information system/remote sensing line item is largely due to the fact that 1993-94 saw a considerable amount of development activity that we do not expect will be continued at that level into 1994-95.

Turning now to environment, parks and regional services, while it would appear that there is a substantial increase in the budget for division management, in 1993-94 the assistant deputy minister was responsible for both of these divisions, as it was really all one division at that time. The 1994-95 budget reflects a split into two divisions: environment, parks and regional services as one division, and resource management as the second division. This was done in preparation for the forestry transfer, which will result in the creation of two more branches in the resources management division: forest management and the forest protection.

The increase of $72,000 in the environment protection and assessment line item is largely due to an internal reorganization, which moved a position from the fish and wildlife branch into environmental protection.

The reduction of $63,000 in the parks and outdoor recreation line item is largely due to reduced personnel costs as a result of the expected reduction in personnel costs together with some reductions in campground maintenance costs through: closure of campgrounds at Carmacks, Rancheria and Nahanni Range Road; conversion of Quiet Lake, Ethel Lake and the Frenchman Lake/Nunatuk/Tatchun Lake campgrounds to minimal service campgrounds; and the conversion of Minto landing to a day-use area and reduced service to other campgrounds.

The regional service reduction of $30,000 is largely due to the expected reduction in personnel costs, together with some reductions in the budget for travel and air charter costs.

The one dollar line item in the resource management division sets up this organization structure in preparation for the forestry transfer.

There is a reduction of $814,000 in the fish and wildlife line

Page Number 2651

item. This is largely due to a reduction in the amounts required for the various wildlife management studies and projects in both the Aishihik and Finlayson study areas. In the Aishihik area, the major portion of costs are incurred in the first year, due to higher implementation costs of such projects for such things as aircraft charter, collaring, counting, et cetera. After the first year, costs reduce dramatically. In the Finlayson area, we are now on a basic monitoring program; the elimination of the budgeted funds for the various contaminant studies approved under the Arctic Environmental Strategy in the 1993-94 fiscal year; the reduction in the budgeted funding for the Carcross caribou recovery project. Funding for 1994-95 is being provided through the economic development agreement; miscellaneous smaller reductions through such items as the projected general reduction in personnel costs, effects of reorganization, outside travel, et cetera.

The fish and wildlife budget includes a $61,000 contribution agreement with the Yukon Fish and Game Association as my department's share of the operation costs for the Whitehorse Rapids fish hatchery and ladder.

To support this government's land claims commitments, Renewable Resources is planning to spend almost $1.3 million for negotiations and implementation of land claims agreements in the Yukon.

Included in this amount is $400,000 for the Yukon First Nations land claims negotiations. The increase of $279,000 from 1993-94 is due mainly to budgeting for the first annual payment into the fish and wildlife enhancement program, as required by legislation.

This budget also includes a total of $718,000 for implementation of the Inuvialuit final agreement, all of which is recoverable from the federal government. This is a decrease of $337,000, as 1993-94 funding included one-time funding for wildlife studies.

The estimates provided for grants to both the Institute of Wildlife Resources and the Fur Institute of Canada as our contribution to research and promotion of the fur industry. We are also continuing to assist the Yukon Trappers Association through funding for trapper education workshops. The grant to the Institute of Wildlife Resources was not made in 1993-94, as the institute had not yet been established, and 1994-95 will reflect our initial contribution to the institute.

That pretty well covers the highlights and major changes in my department's budget. I welcome any questions the Members may have.

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

Mr. Chair, I move that you report progress on Bill No. 15.

Motion agreed to

Hon. Mr. Fisher:

I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.

Motion agreed to

Speaker resumes the Chair


I will now call the House to order.

May the House have a report from the Chair of the Committee of the Whole?

Mr. Abel:

The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 15, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 1994-95, and directed me to report progress on it.


You have heard the report of the Chair of the Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members:



I declare the report carried.

The time being 9:30, the House stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.

The House adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

The following Sessional Papers were tabled May 18, 1994:


Canadian Immigration Record of Mr. F. Mayr-Melnhof and covering letter, dated September 4, 1991, from Anton, Campion, MacDonald and Phillips to Department of Renewable Resources (Phelps)


Outfitting area "ownership guidelines" for the N.W.T., Ontario, B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta (Phelps)


Mobility rights and gaining of livelihood and laws of general application: Black v. Law Society of Alberta, dated April 20, 1989 (excerpts from the Supreme Court of Canada) (Phelps)

The following Legislative Return was tabled May 18, 1994:


Yukon First Nations Final and Self-Government Agreements: May, 1994, correspondence to federal Ministers and MPs, urging quick passage of legislation; Speaker's letter, dated April 26, 1994, to the Prime Minister, forwarding the contents of Motion No. 64, passed by the House on April 27, 1994 (Brewster on behalf of Ostashek)

Oral, Hansard, p. 2520