Whitehorse, Yukon

Thursday, December 1, 1994 - 3:00 p.m.

Progation of the First Session

Speaker: I will now call the House to order.

Clerk: It is the will and pleasure of the Commissioner, in his capacity as Lieutenant-Governor, that the First Session of the Twenty-Eighth Legislature be now prorogued and the First Session of the Twenty-Eighth Legislature is accordingly prorogued.

First Session of the Twenty-Eighth Legislature prorogued


Speaker: I have received communication from the Commissioner, in his capacity as Lieutenant-Governor, stating that he would open the Second Session of the Twenty-Eighth Legislature at 3:00 p.m. today, Thursday, the first day of December, 1994. We are now prepared to hear the Speech from the Throne.

Commissioner Ken McKinnon enters the Chambers accompanied by his Aides-de-Camp

Commissioner: Thank you. Please be seated.

I have already indicated to the friends and ex-colleagues whom I have invited to be present today that this should be the last Speech from the Throne that I will deliver to you as Yukon Commissioner.

I wanted to use the occasion to publicly thank Jimmy Smith, Frank Fingland, Doug Bell, Flo Whyard, Gord McIntyre and Dan Lang for all the help, support and advice I have received from them over the 33 years since I was first elected to this House in 1961.

It is noteworthy that two of our other ex-colleagues, Jean Gordon and Don Taylor, sent their regrets from Mayo and Stewart Lake that they were unable to be here with us today.

Just the few of us remaining who were actively involved in the political life of the Yukon at that time remember and know of the tremendous contribution that each one of you made toward the evolution of government institutions in the Yukon. It is my privilege and pleasure today to publicly acknowledge, on behalf of all Yukoners, those accomplishments and to thank you.

Thank you, ex-colleagues.


Commissioner: Mr. Speaker, Members of the Yukon Legislative Assembly, Yukoners, I welcome you in our Sovereign's name to the Second Session of the Twenty-Eighth Legislative Assembly.

As we come together on this first day of the twelfth month of 1994, we do so in thanksgiving for the many blessings we as Yukoners enjoy. Yukoners have much for which to be thankful.

December is a time for reflection. It is a time for Yukoners to take stock, to assess what they have achieved over the past year and to set new goals for the year that lies ahead.

As my government has now reached its mid-term, it too has taken time to assess what it has achieved over the course of the last two years and is also looking ahead at what remains to be done for the duration of its present mandate and beyond as the Yukon approaches the 21st century.

I will be outlining that agenda for Members of this House here today. The agenda is an ambitious one that will fulfill the remaining commitments of the four-year plan and will set the direction of the government into the future.

I have stated that Yukoners enjoy many blessings and have much for which to be thankful.

We live in peace in a land rich in beauty with an abundance of natural resources.

We live in harmony in a territory rich in cultural diversity whose people respect and value the traditions of tolerance, protection of the rights of others and assistance to those in need.

We live in a territory steeped in history and which boasts some of the earlier traces of human habitation on the North American continent.

Yukon First Nations have utilized and shared the resources of this bountiful land for countless generations.

Yukoners are about to relive one of the most epic periods in their recorded history, the 100th anniversaries of the discovery of gold in the Klondike in 1996 and the world famous Klondike Gold Rush in 1998.

Next year, in 1995, we will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Northwest Mounted Police in the Yukon, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have planned many exciting events, including a tour by the famous RCMP Musical Ride.

I personally had the honour and privilege of participating in the commencement of this decade of anniversaries with the celebration of Rendezvous '92, the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Alaska Highway.

Yukoners will round out the century with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the historic White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad.

Yukoners are in for some very interesting times as we approach the 21st century, and my government is working hard to ensure Yukoners will enjoy and benefit from these festivities and the tourism opportunities they present. The tourism potential of these anniversaries is truly enormous.

The future of mining in the territory looks equally bright. It has been said that the Yukon appears to be on the verge of a rapid mining expansion that will only be equalled by the Klondike Gold Rush. This excitement and optimism were readily apparent at the twenty-second annual Geoscience Forum held recently.

There are very good reasons to be optimistic. Anvil Range Mining has completed its purchase of the Faro mine, once the mainstay of the Yukon economy, and has already commenced stripping the Grum deposit.

United Keno Hill Mines is evaluating its reserves at the Elsa mine and has discovered new silver veins. It is attempting to bring the Elsa mine back into production.

Dawson City's Brewery Creek gold mine is planning to be in production by the fall of 1995 and is currently in the permitting process. The mineable gold reserves of the Brewery Creek property are estimated at 16.7 million tonnes at 1.48 grams per tonne, and the mine has a projected life of seven and one-half years.

There is the copper, gold and molybdenum Casino property near Carmacks, which is still in the engineering and permitting stage. Also near Carmacks is Carmacks Copper, formerly known as Williams Creek. This is a heap leach copper property currently in the permitting stage, with production slated for late 1995 or early 1996. The Minto property, a high-grade copper and gold deposit, is also in the permitting process.

The Grew Creek property between Faro and Ross River is preparing to start its high-grade gold production and mill the ore at the Ketza River mill.

Cominco has staked over 3,700 claims covering 70,000 hectares in the Ross River area over a massive sulfide deposit containing copper and gold, silver, lead and zinc. The Kudz ze Kayah deposit, if developed, will provide many jobs for Yukoners for years to come.

With all these potential mines opening up, there is going to be an ever increasing demand for power.

Yukon has an abundance of coal reserves. The Division Mountain coal project at Braeburn has the potential for providing sufficient coal reserves to supply a 50MW power generation plant for well over 100 years. The Division Mountain Coal project is located near the grid, being only 20 kilometres west of the Klondike Highway. My government is interested in pursuing the utilization of this reserve to generate electricity.

The signs of the Yukon's economic rejuvenation are already apparent. There were 1,500 more Yukoners working in June of 1994 than there were in June of 1992 when both the Faro and Sa Dena Hes mines were in operation.

The trend for unemployment in Yukon is going down.

There are already approximately 130 people currently working at the Faro mine, and this number will increase by another 100 over the course of the winter. By the winter of 1995, it is anticipated that the Faro mine will be in operation, employing 450 workers.

The year 1994 has been an exciting one for mining exploration in Yukon. Spending on exploration and development has nearly doubled to an estimated $36 million, a large increase from the nearly $20 million spent last year. The prospects for 1995 look even better.

My government's policies and programs to attract and encourage mining exploration and development in Yukon are proving to be successful.

The future for mining and exploration in the territory for the next decade looks extremely bright, and the Yukon population and economy are going to experience remarkable growth as we approach the year 2000 and beyond.

In meeting the challenges that will accompany this economic growth my government has established six major priorities to face the future with confidence and with optimism.

The six priorities of my government will set the agenda for the future:

Balancing economic development with environmental protection.

Developing energy, transportation and tourism infrastructure, policies and programs to support the mining industry and the gold rush anniversaries.

Ensuring Yukoners benefit from economic growth through the provision of quality education and technical training designed to meet community needs and opportunities.

Completing land claims and negotiating the transfer of Yukon land resources and other responsibilities to Yukon control.

Improving Yukoners' quality of life by creating healthy, vibrant communities where there is hope for the future and a better life.

Continuing to take a commonsense approach to governing and ensuring the government is fiscally responsible, open, accountable and responsive to the needs of Yukoners.

Mr. Speaker, in view of the high degree of mining and tourism activity anticipated in the Yukon over the next decade, my government has set the balancing of economic development with environmental protection as one of its major priorities.

Yukoners have a deep and abiding feeling for the Yukon environment and for its wildlife. For First Nation Yukoners, the environment is an intrinsic part of their culture. For other lifelong Yukoners, and Yukoners who have moved here, the environment is a major reason for their choosing to make Yukon their home. For tourists, the Yukon environment is one of the major reasons for visiting here. The challenge facing my government is to encourage economic development while preserving our environment for our children and future generations.

My government will ensure that its policies, programs, regulatory processes and legislation will achieve a proper balance between resource development and environmental protection. To this end, last summer, the Department of Economic Development and the Department of Renewable Resources were placed under one Minister to improve interdepartmental cooperation in relation to resource management and environmental mitigation. My government has already demonstrated that such a balance can be achieved with the signing of the Yukon Placer Authorization in June of 1993, which allows placer miners to operate within an improved environmental regime.

Another example of balancing resource and environmental concerns is the concept of creating a Tombstone territorial park in northern Yukon to protect this remarkable landmark. Archer Cathro and Associates, the owner of the mineral interests in the Tombstone area, has agreed to relinquish their claims, and the Dawson First Nation has incorporated the concept into its land claims negotiations. This environmentally significant feature will be protected for future generations.

My government takes special pride in fulfilling its four-year plan commitments in protecting the Yukon environment and managing the territory's wildlife. Clean water is a resource Yukoners treasure. The government has committed $18.4 million to the City of Whitehorse to solve its sewage treatment problems and over $5 million to the City of Dawson to solve its longstanding sewer and water line problems.

The reduction in the current high use of diesel for electrical energy generation is a four-year plan commitment which may be met through the development of coal-fired generators. My government has agreed in principle to the use of coal for thermal electric energy generation. The Yukon has proven reserves of high quality thermal coal, which, with modern technology, could be utilized to generate electricity in an environmentally safe way.

The Department of Renewable Resources has successfully commenced the Aishihik caribou herd recovery program and will continue to monitor it. The department has also adopted the Yukon wolf conservation and management plan in accordance with good wildlife management practices.

As my government acquires more responsibility for the control and management of Yukon's resources, there will be an opportunity for Yukoners to participate in the formulation of made-in-Yukon policies. The transfer of forestry resources to Yukon will occur this spring and Yukoners will be given the opportunity to develop a forestry management regime which will address such contentious issues as raw log exports and stumpage fees.

My government has asked the Yukon Council on the Economy and Environment to review the Environment Act and to make recommendations correcting deficiencies and streamlining how the act operates.

This initiative is in keeping with the project proposal by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment to harmonize environmental management in Canada.

The harmonization initiative is the highest priority of CCME. The Yukon became the chair of CCME effective November 9, 1994, during the annual meeting held in Bathurst, New Brunswick.

In 1992, my government released a document entitled Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century: Becoming Self-Sufficient Through Infrastructure Driven Investment in the Yukon. The goal of my government is to reduce the Yukon's dependency on Canada by having the Yukon generate more of its own wealth.

In order to encourage and sustain balanced economic growth, my government is committed to developing energy, transportation and tourism infrastructure to support mining, tourism and other industries in the Yukon.

The Department of Economic Development has made public a discussion paper detailing the Yukon industrial support policy as a response to the high costs of infrastructure for resource development projects in the Yukon. The policy proposes a custom-tailored approach on a project-by-project basis, focusing on the infrastructure needs of each specific development project in consideration of the economic and social benefits to Yukoners.

Mining companies, such as Anvil Range Mining Corporation and Loki Gold Corporation, are currently discussing their transportation, energy and other infrastructure needs under the auspices of this policy.

In speaking of energy, I would like to advise the House that my government has been attempting to involve Yukon First Nations as part owners of the Yukon Energy Corporation. To date, Yukon First Nations have been unable to obtain the necessary support from the Government of Canada for their investment in the corporation. Until such time as Yukon First Nations are able to obtain this support, the current ownership structure of the Yukon Energy Corporation will remain.

Regulatory red tape and paper burden have been identified as major issues facing small business in Canada today.

The Department of Economic Development is consulting with the chambers of commerce and the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon to identify the specifics of regulatory problems or paper burden. Based on the outcome of consultations, an action plan will be developed cooperatively with the private sector. The Department of Economic Development is assessing the need, focus and structure of a small business conference, which may form one element of the action plan.

The framework agreement for the 1991-96 Canada/Yukon economic development agreement requires that an evaluation be completed by March 31, 1995. An evaluation committee has been established to steer the evaluation, which will help to determine future economic development agreement programming.

An evaluation of the rationale of the business development fund is also underway and is to be completed by mid February, 1995. The evaluation will provide my government with information concerning what types of government assistance, if any, are needed by Yukon small business.

On August 17 of this year, my government announced the centennial anniversaries program. This $9 million, five-year program is a joint initiative of the Departments of Economic Development and Tourism to provide financial assistance to communities to develop and improve tourism potential and to take advantage of the economic benefits offered by the upcoming anniversaries. The program provides an incentive for community-sponsored and market-driven projects of lasting value and benefit to the community and the Yukon.

The $500,000, five-year centennial events program was announced at the same time, and will provide financial assistance to communities and Yukon-wide groups for events that commemorate the Yukon centennials and other anniversaries. The program encourages community participation in the anniversaries, and provides opportunities for communities and groups to benefit from the economic opportunities offered by the anniversaries.

As outlined in the four-year plan, my government is continuing to develop important tourism infrastructure, which will provide additional economic benefits to Yukoners. Historic site development will continue at Canyon City, upstream from Whitehorse. In 1995, additional archaeological research will be carried out, a site management plan will be developed in consultation with the Kwanlin Dun First Nation and interpretive displays will be developed.

In keeping with my government's four-year plan commitment concerning the development of the Whitehorse waterfront, and in accordance with the wishes of the Association of Yukon Communities, my government plans to relocate the Yukon visitor reception centre in downtown Whitehorse. The VRC, together with the Tourism department, will be housed on the Taylor Chev site. The new visitor reception centre and tourism store-front operation will serve as a year-round anchor point for the Whitehorse waterfront.

The existing Yukon visitor reception centre building will be converted into the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre to capitalize on Yukon's Beringia ice-age heritage, and will create a new, unique, major tourist attraction in the area to complement the Yukon Transportation Museum.

A separate structure, the Yukon Historic Resource Centre, will be constructed adjoining the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre. This multi-purpose, functional, storage and laboratory facility will provide technical and program support for the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre and for community museums. It will enhance the heritage branch's capability to protect and preserve historic artifact collections.

Major tour operators have advised my government that, should the government proceed with the development of such attractions, they would likely extend their stay in Yukon.

In order to further enhance tourism, my government has agreed in principle with the construction of a tourist-oriented gambling casino in Whitehorse.

My government has accepted the recommendation of the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment to not allow the introduction of video lottery terminals in licensed premises.

My government is putting the necessary policies, programs and infrastructure in place to enable Yukoners to take advantage of economic opportunities and meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Far too often in the past, Yukoners have been victims, instead of beneficiaries, of economic development in the territory.

My government continues to place top priority on ensuring Yukoners benefit from economic growth through quality education and technical training designed to meet community needs and opportunities.

A major commitment outlined in my government's four-year plan was to provide effective education to ensure Yukon students can compete in the 21st century. The Department of Education initiated a review of the curriculum being taught in Yukon schools and the effectiveness of special needs programming. The Education Review Committee subsequently released its report containing recommendations, and the Minister of Education will be announcing a comprehensive action plan to respond to these recommendations very soon.

It is the policy of my government to build new schools and upgrade existing facilities where there is the most need. In accordance with this policy, my government will be building several new schools and upgrading others over the course of the next three years.

The Department of Education will be announcing a Yukon excellence awards program designed to recognize excellent student performance in grades 8 through 12 in Yukon schools.

If Yukoners are to benefit from economic growth, they must be properly trained. On November 7, my government announced the reactivation of the Yukon government apprentice program, which was suspended in 1989. The program will be administered by the advanced education branch and will place up to 12 Yukon apprentices at a time in several communities and in a variety of occupations. The branch is also considering placing trainees for a period of time within the private sector to complement training received with the government. Trainees will leave the program once their individual training program requirements have been met, freeing up space for additional trainees.

My government has identified $200,000 to be directed to Yukon College to develop entry level mining training. The program will be targeted for those communities, such as Ross River, Mayo, Carmacks, Faro, Watson Lake and Dawson City, where there is the greatest likelihood of providing mining employment.

Some pre-employment training areas have been identified and the government will enter into a contract with Yukon College to provide the relevant courses through their community campuses. The courses offered in each community will be determined through consultation with the local communities and industry.

The advanced education branch will be assisting Anvil Range in implementing its own apprenticeship program.

The Minister of Education has also been in consultation with Yukon College, which has agreed to establish an advisory committee with input from the Yukon Chamber of Mines to design additional mining training programs.

My government is working on joint initiatives with the Tourism Industry Association of Yukon, Yukon College, Yukon First Nations and the federal government to meet the current and future training needs of our vitally important tourism industry.

In May of this year, the Department of Education, in conjunction with Yukon College and TIAY, established a joint-venture program. A tourism career preparation program will be piloted at F.H. Collins in the second semester of the 1994-95 school year.

The Minister of Education is currently examining further initiatives to bridge the gap between high school and the workplace, including the development of pre-apprenticeship training programs at the high school level and the development of dual-credit courses, strengthening the partnership between our high schools and Yukon College.

Providing Yukoners with quality education and technical training relevant to the territory's employment opportunities will enable Yukoners to take advantage of the economic opportunities that lie ahead.

Yukon First Nations have suffered the most in the past from economic development. They have disproportionately borne the burdens of development while sharing few of the benefits. The settlement of land claims will help alleviate this serious problem.

Consequently, completing and implementing land claims and self-government agreements continue to be top priorities for the Yukon government. As all Yukoners are aware, land claims and self-government agreements have been completed for four First Nations: Vuntut Gwitchin, Teslin Tlingit Council, Na-Cho Nyak Dun and Champagne and Aishihik First Nations. The Yukon Legislative Assembly has passed enabling legislation that will come into force following the enactment of federal legislation.

Parliament has also passed the self-government and settlement legislation. The third piece of legislation is the surface rights legislation that is currently before the Senate.

The Yukon government is undertaking the necessary planning to be ready to implement all agreements signed to date and is poised to assume its implementation responsibilities.

The Yukon government is committed to continuing negotiations with the remaining First Nations pursuant to the umbrella final agreement. Current negotiations are underway with Dawson, Little Salmon/Carmacks, Ta'an Kwach'an, Kwanlin Dun and Selkirk First Nations.

While land claims settlements will grant Yukon First Nations ownership and control over approximately eight percent of the territory's land and resources and a meaningful say in the management and control of all Yukon lands, the Government of Yukon currently has less than one percent of the territory's land and resources under its control. My government believes it is time Yukoners were given control over their own affairs. Accordingly, devolution of provincial type programs, responsibilities and powers continues to be a high priority of the Yukon government. Significant progress has been made with respect to devolution, particularly in the areas of forestry and airports.

Officials are currently completing the wording of the forestry transfer agreement and are aiming for a May 1995 transfer date. Transport Canada and the Yukon government have agreed on principles to guide negotiations on the transfer of the Whitehorse and Watson Lake Arctic A airports. The target date for the completion of the transfer of these airports is spring 1996. Negotiations are about to commence for Phase 2 of the health transfer.

With the impending passage of surface rights legislation, the federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has indicated his intention to complete devolution in three to four years. The Yukon government is prepared and able to meet this timeframe. It is this government's strong belief that devolution is a key to the economic and social growth of Yukon. Devolution will help to ensure that decisions affecting the Yukon are made in the Yukon, and that more economic benefits accrue to Yukoners.

With the settlement of land claims, it is time for Yukoners to meet the challenge and to take control over their own land, resources and affairs. It is only through this ownership and control that the Yukon will achieve economic self-sufficiency and become a net contributor to Canada.

In recognition of the importance of completing and implementing land claims and the transfer of land, resources and other responsibilities to Yukon, my government will be appointing a full-time negotiator reporting directly to the Government Leader.

All the foregoing priorities of my government will mean little if they do not lead to improving Yukoners' quality of life and creating healthy, vibrant communities.

Alcohol and drug abuse and violence against women and children are endemic Yukon problems.

Incidents of theft, vandalism and violence, especially among our young people, remain serious problems in many Yukon communities.

Some Yukoners are dependent on the social safety net and do not possess the necessary skills or resources to break free of the cycle of dependency.

Some Yukoners are in poor health, have poor health habits and live in inadequate housing.

Yukon's improving economic circumstances will help alleviate some of these major problems.

Many Yukoners currently enjoy a high quality of life. The Yukon has artistic, social, health, educational and recreational programs and facilities that are second to none in Canada.

During the course of this session, the government will release a draft arts policy for consideration by the people of the Yukon. We are proud to report that progress on this initiative will make the Yukon the first jurisdiction in Canada, outside of Quebec, to have a comprehensive policy for the support and development of the arts.

My government must ensure that the right programs are being delivered to those in most need on a priority basis, and that the best services possible are being delivered in the most cost-effective manner.

The challenges facing my government in preserving, maintaining and improving the quality of life in the Yukon are many and varied. My government is confident it can meet these challenges.

The Minister of Health and Social Services announced a three-phase alcohol and drug strategy in May of 1993 to deal with alcohol and drug abuse by working with community groups and First Nations on prevention, treatment and recovery. This strategy is being implemented.

The detoxification centre will be moving into the Crossroads Treatment Centre building as soon as renovations are complete, and more beds will be available for acute detoxification. Alcohol and Drug Services will be expanding their program to include flexible hours of service and prevention, and treatment for specific target groups, such as youth. Further, a variety of broad-based FAS/FAE prevention activities are being planned and developed as part of the alcohol and drug strategy.

My government supports the concept of zero tolerance of violence against women and children. A new Victim Services and family violence prevention unit was created in May of 1994, and an inter-agency coordinating committee on family violence has been established. The Women's Directorate has developed a multi-year public awareness strategy that focuses on reducing women's vulnerability to violence, increasing self-esteem, and teaching youth about healthy relationships. Several workshops have been held in Yukon schools.

The Department of Justice is implementing its community-based justice policy. Community justice agreements are being developed on an individual community basis. These agreements take into account individual community circumstances and priorities, consider First Nations and other community interests, and incorporate efficiency and clear accountability provisions.

The Department of Justice is continuing to focus on crime prevention, particularly with regard to vandalism and other property crimes. Public forums will be held to heighten public awareness of problems, individual responsibilities and programs.

The sports and recreation branch of Community and Transportation Services is participating in a multi-agency initiative aimed at cooperatively developing programs to focus on youth activities promoting active living and healthy communities. This initiative recognizes the substantial benefit of investing in preventative programs, such as recreation, as opposed to relying on costly measures to correct health problems or unacceptable social behaviour through costly programs within the justice system.

The Department of Health and Social Services is making significant progress in the area of health promotion activities. It has entered into a variety of intergovernmental and community partnerships with various agencies for the purpose of improving the health of Yukoners. Examples include tobacco demand reduction strategies, AIDS education, mental health promotion, environmental contaminant activities, programming for children-at-risk, prenatal nutrition, and youth health promotion. My government will continue to support these types of health programs in the belief that prevention is better than cure in terms of quality of life and the economy.

Work on the new Whitehorse General Hospital will continue through the winter. The hospital construction is on schedule and is on budget.

The new hospital design will serve Yukoners' health needs well into the 21st century. To further meet these needs and improve efficiency, the administration of the Thomson Centre and Macaulay Lodge will be moved from Health and Social Services to the Yukon Hospital Corporation in the spring of 1995. Regulations under the Yukon Health Act will be developed in order to ensure the needs of seniors are met and integrity of the long-term care program is preserved.

Changes made to the social assistance program due to reform will lead to reduced costs in 1995-96, as well as increased financial incentives for recipients to go back to work, in keeping with my government's commitment in its four-year plan. Funding under the social assistance recipients agreement will total $1 million for 1995-96 and will provide more opportunities for social assistance recipients to enter the workforce.

For some time, the Teen Parent Centre has been in need of an expanded facility and a new location. Both requirements will be met in a new Teen Parent Centre to be opened by next fall. The centre will be on F.H. Collins property and will accommodate 25 students and their children.

Approximately one year ago, the Yukon Housing Corporation sponsored Solutions '93: A Housing Conference for Yukoners. Almost 1,000 residents participated in the consultation process and conference.

To assist the corporation's board of directors with a review of policy initiatives, two advisory boards were created: the Housing Industry Advisory Group and the Territorial Association of Housing Advisory Boards.

These two groups are currently involved in a review of the corporation's home ownership program. Their input will help the board of directors with the formation of policy recommendations.

During recent months, a number of issues have come to the forefront concerning trailers and their place in the housing market.

On a per capita basis, the Yukon has a high percentage of trailers, many of which are old and in need of repair.

The Yukon Housing Corporation, the Yukon Real Estate Association, the newly formed Trailer Owners Association, and trailer park owners, will come together to address the difficulties faced by trailer owners.

The Yukon Housing Corporation and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation are currently identifying cost-savings initiatives, which will reduce the cost of social housing in Yukon.

These initiative will not reduce the quality of housing provided to those with the greatest need.

Preliminary discussions are underway with the Government of Canada regarding changes to cost-shared housing renovation programs.

Although an agreement has not yet been reached, the Yukon Housing Corporation is confident that future renovation programs will have a greater applicability for Yukoners.

My government will continue to strive to promote the development of healthy communities and improve the quality of life of individual Yukoners, who are the territory's most precious resource.

The Yukon government is responsible for the proper management of the territory's financial affairs and for the effective and efficient provision of public services. Since taking office in 1992, my government has demonstrated its commitment to responsible fiscal management and to streamlining and improving the efficiency of government programs.

The government has presented two successive balanced budgets. The reduction in the operation and maintenance costs of government allows for an increase in the capital budget, which creates private sector jobs.

It is the intention of the government to continue to present balanced budgets in this House, however difficult that task might be.

The capital and operations and maintenance budgets will be combined once again in order to better utilize the time of this House.

In conjunction with initiatives under the service improvement program, and my government's commonsense approach to governing, Yukon government departments are collaborating in the review of their respective programs to eliminate duplication and overlap, and to provide more efficient, effective and economical services to the Yukon public.

Three units in Government Services will be transformed into special operating agencies. SOAs are a model this government will use to focus on customer-driven activity with increased autonomy and accountability by adapting the best private and public sector management practices. Property management, the vehicle fleet and Queen's Printer have been selected because every government program depends on services delivered by these three agencies. If SOAs can deliver better service to their customers, government as a whole will benefit.

In keeping with my government's commitment to streamline and reduce government regulation, the Department of Government Services conducted the contract regulations review. My government will be acting on the review recommendations.

The Yukon government has entered into new and creative partnership agreements with the Yukon Net Operating Society and Northwestel in order to provide Yukoners with access to the information highway through Internet.

My government promised to provide open and accountable government in its four-year plan. In order to meet this commitment, my government will be tabling major pieces of legislation.

The Ombudsman Act will establish a Yukon ombudsman to protect the rights of individual Yukoners from the power of the government.

The Access to Information Privacy Act is new legislation that will replace the current Access to Information Act. It has provisions designed to improve the public's access to government information and to protect the privacy of personal information held in government records.

The Conflict of Interest Act is new legislation establishing a conflicts commission to advise Ministers and Members of the Legislative Assembly on issues related to conflict of interest and to investigate complaints of conflict of interest.

The Historic Resources Act will ensure our important historic resources are protected for future generations.

The Employment Standards Act will clarify the roles, rights and responsibilities of both employees and employers in the territory.

The passage of these bills will help ensure that the rights of individuals are protected and that my government's commitments to the Yukon public are met.

In addition to these bills, hon. Members will be asked to consider the 1995-96 capital and operation and maintenance budget, the Engineering Profession Act, the Yukon Foundation Act, and other legislation for the public good.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Members of the House a very merry festive season and a prosperous new year. My wife, my family and I would like to thank each and every Yukoner for making my term as Commissioner so joyous for us. May divine providence attend your deliberations. I thank you in our Sovereign's name. God bless the Yukon, and God bless Canada.

Commissioner McKinnon exits Chamber accompanied by his Aides-de-Camp

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


Heavenly Father, at the opening of this Second Session of the Twenty-Eighth Legislature we ask that you bless this House. We beseech you to grant us the wisdom and guidance to do what is best for those we serve. We ask that you give each of us an understanding heart so that we may work together to fulfill our responsibilities to the people of the Yukon.

Heavenly Father, this day being World AIDS Day, we pray for those who have been afflicted with AIDS. We pray that your healing hand will be upon them and that you will comfort them with your presence. We ask that you give guidance to researchers and scientists in their quest to find a cure for this dreadful disease.



Speaker: It gives me great pleasure to inform the House that the following students will be serving the House as Legislative Pages for this Sitting. They are: Neal Allison and Adam Anderson from the St. Elias Community School in Haines Junction, and Annie Blake, Tanya Butler, Leahanna Dickson, Joey Dupas, Cory Gibbs, Ryan McLennan, Sam Olynyk and Jennifer Skinner from Riverdale Junior Secondary School in Whitehorse. The Pages from Riverdale Junior Secondary School are with us today and I would ask you to welcome them to the House at this time.


INTRODUCTION OF BILLSBill No. 1: Introduction and First Reading

Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I move that Bill No. 1, entitled An Act to Perpetuate A Certain Ancient Right, be now introduced and read a first time.

Speaker: It has been moved by the Honourable Government Leader that Bill No. 1, entitled An Act to Perpetuate A Certain Ancient Right, be now introduced and read a first time.

Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 1 agreed to


Speaker: I wish to inform the Assembly that I have received a copy of the Speech from the Throne, which I will now table.


Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I move that the Speech from the Throne be considered on a day following.

Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government Leader that the Speech from the Throne be considered on a day following.

Motion agreed to

Hon. Mr. Phillips: I wish to inform the House, pursuant to Standing Order No. 26, that consideration of a motion for Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne shall take place on Monday, December 5, 1994.

Speaker: May I have your further pleasure at this time?

Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the House do now adjourn.

Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.

Motion agreed to

Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Monday next.

The House adjourned at 3:49 p.m.

The following Sessional Paper was tabled December 1, 1994:


Speech from the Throne (Speaker, Devries)