Tuesday, January 17, 1995 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will proceed at this time with
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I have a document for tabling.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Are there any Petitions?
Introduction of Bills.
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Are there any Notices of Motion?
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
911 public emergency reporting service for Whitehorse and area
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am pleased to say that this morning at a press conference and signing ceremony, I announced the implementation of the 911 public emergency reporting service for Whitehorse and area residents. We realize that it took longer than expected to implement this service for various technical and training reasons. However, I am confident that we have a reliable system in place now that Whitehorse and area residents can take comfort in using when they need urgent help from police, fire or ambulance.
The 911 telephone survey showed that 88 percent of both Whitehorse and area subscribers contacted did not know the emergency numbers for police, fire or ambulance. This shows a need for easy telephone access to emergency agencies. The 911 number has been implemented in the Whitehorse area to meet this need. The Whitehorse and area system will serve approximately 76 percent of the Yukon telephone subscribers and includes the City of Whitehorse and surrounding highway corridor areas: north to Little Fox Lake and the Klondike Highway, south to Bear Creek on the Carcross Road, east to Jake's Corner on the Alaska Highway and west to where the Mendenhall River crosses the Alaska Highway.
This area is based on the response agency boundaries and the boundaries of the Northwestel Whitehorse telephone exchange.
Telephone subscribers living in this area with numbers beginning with 667, 668, 633 and 399 at Marsh Lake can now dial 911 in emergencies.
When 911 is dialed from telephones in the serving area, the call will be automatically
routed to the 911 centre at the RCMP headquarters in Whitehorse. The 911 call taker will
answer the call and ask which emergency service is needed. The call will be immediately
transferred to the appropriate agency. The agency will take the necessary information from
the caller and dispatch a vehicle. The 911 call taker will remain on the line until the
response agency has established contact with the caller.
Service will be provided on a cost-share basis between the government and telephone subscribers living in the 911 serving area. The government will pay approximately $112,000 each year for the additional staff required to handle the 911 calls. Subscribers will pay 32 cents per access line per month for the 911 telecommunication network, as approved by the CRTC.
Today, the Government of Yukon and Northwestel signed an agreement defining the scopes and responsibilities of each party relating to provision of the service. The government also signed a service participation agreement with the RCMP and the City of Whitehorse.
I sincerely want to thank all the people who worked so hard to make this important
emergency access a reality.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister has just thanked all the people who have worked so hard to make this important emergency access service a reality, and I would also like to express thanks for all the hard work that went into making the 911 service operational.
It has been quite educational to observe the Member for Riverdale South stick with this issue until 911 became a reality. I can see why she has a reputation for her determination. I believe she deserves some credit for this service as well.
As the Minister stated, 911 takes in the peripheral area of Whitehorse - along the Mayo Road, the Alaska Highway north, and south to Jake's Corner, as well as the Carcross Road. In my riding, this will mean that people should now call 911. If they dial the Marsh Lake or Golden Horn firehall phone numbers, they will now reach the 911 operator, who would then connect them to those rural firehalls. I think we need to thank the volunteer firefighters who have cooperated through numerous tests in the last little while to make sure that that service is operational, and thank them for their patience. The Ibex Valley and Mount Lorne firehalls will tie into 911, so when their services are functioning, they will need communication systems in place.
I think it is important to also note that 911 does not include radio-phone customers
who always have to get an operator, and it does not include the rural communities. We
heard this morning that there will be a public awareness campaign. I think it is very
important to ensure that, as part of the public awareness campaign, people in Mayo,
Carcross, Haines Junction, Dawson City and all the other rural communities know that they
will not get any service when dialing 911.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are already working out the advertising so that Haines
Junction, Mayo and other places will realize that they are on another emergency system
line, which they have been on for about two or three years now. It has been working quite
Speaker: This then brings us to the Question Period.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Mr. McDonald: I would like to begin by acknowledging the presence in the gallery
of a former Member of the Legislature, Howard Tracey, one-time Member for Tatchun.
Question re: Beringia Interpretive Centre
Mr. McDonald: That has nothing to do with the question I am about to ask. There has been a lot of talk about the government's recent surprise announcement that it intends to proceed with the planning and construction of the Beringia Interpretive Centre in Whitehorse, to be located on the Alaska Highway. Given that this is the first large museums project in recent years, and given the museums policy states - the Minister of Tourism claims he supports it - quite clearly that the needs of community museums will be addressed before any new projects are undertaken, can the Minister of Tourism reassure us that community needs have indeed been satisfied?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I can tell the Member opposite that the announcement of the Beringia Interpretive Centre has not diminished our resolve to deal with the needs of community museums. In fact, in this capital budget there is an increase in funding for museums for projects of various natures, and that will continue in the future. As the previous government could not satisfy all of the needs or demands of all of the museums at one time and had to do it over a period of years, we will also be attempting to do that as well.
Mr. McDonald: I point out that this is the first major project that has been undertaken in recent memory. The museums policy states quite clearly that before any new big project, such as the Beringia Interpretive Centre, is undertaken, the significant needs of museums will be addressed first. One of those is the MacBride Museum expansion proposal.
Can the Minister state why the government has decided not to support the MacBride Museum's expansion proposal that they placed before the federal museums assistance program?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I suppose for the same reasons that the previous government did not support that proposal. At the time, it was considered a very large proposal and, although we are not now supporting that proposal in the present budget, we certainly are looking at some other things for the MacBride Museum. For example, there are funds in this budget for a new sprinkler system at the MacBride Museum, which they have wanted for a long time in order to provide for the safety and security of the exhibits in that museum.
Mr. McDonald: I point out to the Minister that the Beringia Centre proposal is a very large proposal, too, and obviously there is a funding commitment to provide for that. Given that the MacBride Museum expansion could easily have housed a Beringia exhibit, and given that the MacBride Museum had been requesting some funds to match the federal government's commitment, can the Minister tell us specifically, because he has been the Minister for a couple of years now - other than to refer back to what previous governments have done - why he has chosen not to support the MacBride Museum's proposal?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The Member is asking me why we do not support building the Beringia exhibit in the MacBride Museum. There are several reasons for that, one of which is the parking problem inherent with that location. Also, the MacBride Museum has enough exhibits now to almost fill their new expansion. A third reason is that there would be no room in the MacBride exhibit area for an outdoor Beringia display.
Those are just some reasons that would create problems for us. There would also be no room for future expansion of the Beringia exhibit in the MacBride Museum, because we would be occupying all of that lot. It is really not a sensible move to put an exhibit like this one, which may be fairly large somewhere down the road, in a very confined lot area where there is no room for expansion.
Question re: Beringia Interpretive Centre
Mr. McDonald: The operating assumption the Minister has made is that the MacBride Museum expansion can only be located on the lot on which it currently exists and that there is no possibility the expansion could take place across the street on the waterfront.
Given that the government has expressed concerns in the past about placing significant tourism attractions, such as the visitor reception centre, on the highway for fear that would detract from the interest in the downtown core, why would the government insist the Beringia Centre be on the highway, with the visitor reception centre downtown? At the same time, they are ignoring the potential to expand the MacBride Museum, which could incorporate the space across the street on the waterfront.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It was the previous government that built the visitor reception centre up on the hill, and its rationale at the time was that that would be an appropriate place to capture all the tourists on their way through. Although that building, as it may be and in the location it is in, could be well utilized for a Beringia Centre, it would also give us the space in that particular area to expand in the future. It would give us another opportunity to slow people down on the highway and get them to come in, convince them to go to the Yukon Transportation Museum and then convince them to go into downtown Whitehorse. I think the top of the hill is a good location for the Beringia Centre.
Mr. McDonald: The Beringia Centre is not a visitor reception centre, and the rationale for locating the visitor reception centre on the highway was that it could interrupt tourists' journeys on the highway and convince them to visit the downtown core - and also to attract people coming from the airport. Why would it not make sense to leave a visitor reception centre on the highway and to place an attractive facility like a museum expansion on the Whitehorse waterfront?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: There is room for a museum expansion in the future. There is a centennial anniversaries program that the MacBride Museum can work with, along with the rest of the proponents in Whitehorse who are discussing that program. They can certainly tie into it and get the MacBride Museum involved in that program. In fact, I have suggested that to them all along, and I think the Beringia Centre up the hill will be an added attraction to the City of Whitehorse and will persuade people to stay here longer. The visitor reception centre downtown will bring them into the downtown core. They will be visiting many more attractions if they spend an extra day in Whitehorse, including the MacBride Museum, and all of us will benefit from that.
Mr. McDonald: I am afraid that the Minister, I suspect, at least in the museum community, is very much in the minority in his opinions. We will pursue that. There are two underlying principles of the museums policy that have apparently been ignored by the government in advancing this particular project. They are consultations with the museums, which must take place before budgets are announced, and the need to address existing museums as a first priority when it comes to funding.
Given that those two underlying principles seem to be of no importance to him, can the
Minister tell us the status of the museums policy at the present time?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The museums policy is in place, as it was with the previous government. I do not believe that we violated it.
We are talking about an interpretive centre. Other centres, as well as the Beringia Centre, will be built in the Yukon in the future. This has always happened, and I do not think that this project is in violation of that.
The Member says that the MacBride Museum is against this particular proposal. I can tell the Member that the City of Whitehorse, the Chamber of Commerce, several tour operators and bus tour operators are all in support of the Beringia Centre. They are excited about it.
Question re: Northwestel rate increase application
Mr. Cable: I have some further questions for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services on the Northwestel rate rebalancing application.
The Minister indicated, yesterday, that he was not prepared to tell the House and the public about the substance of the government's intervention, as it might help Northwestel in their rate application. It is my understanding that the rate application was made some time early in December. It is also my understanding that, after the intervention is filed - if it has not been filed already - both Northwestel and its multi-billion dollar parent will unleash a battery of accountants, engineers, lawyers and consultants on the government's interventions.
Under the assumption that I am correct, I would ask the Minister to reconsider his position and allow that a small amount of the substance of the government's intervention be made known to the public.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As far as a briefing, the answer is no. However, I will table a letter, written by the Government Leader, which outlines some of the things that we want to do. It is not a briefing.
Mr. Cable: Could we pry back the secrecy veil just a bit? The answer may be in this letter that we have not seen.
Does the government disagree with the attempt by Northwestel to move charges off the long-distance rates and onto the local rates? Does it disagree? Will that be part of the substance of the intervention?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It takes a lawyer to try to juggle things around. I said I was not going to give away anything on the briefing, and the Member immediately tries another angle in his questioning, and I am not prepared to answer that.
Mr. Cable: I am sorry I got the Minister angry.
Let me ask this question: many Yukoners view this as a very serious change in the way
that telephone rates are paid. Is the Minister going to ask the CRTC - this has nothing to
do with the substance of the application - to hold a full public hearing? Has he already
asked the CRTC? I am not talking about one of these Mickey Mouse paper hearings like the
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am not angry. I would simply like to point out the fact that the lawyers like to go around the mulberry bush when they are questioning you. Yes, we are asking that they have full consultation, because we do not feel that they did that. We do not feel that they talked to very many people. They gave us a confidential briefing on what they were going to do, but they did not go to the people. You will find that in the letter, as well.
Question re: Beringia Interpretive Centre
Mr. Penikett: First we had a secret tourism mission to Europe, and now we have a secret intervention to the CRTC. This has never been heard of before.
In December, the Minister of Tourism described the proposed Beringia Interpretive Centre as a "world-class" government museum. This implies that the facility meets certain international, or at least national, standards; for example, the environment, air quality, light spectrum, temperatures, humidity, heat control, dust, bugs, bacteria and oil - things that damage artifacts over time - plus insurance, professional staff requirements, security and storage, none of which could be done in the existing visitors reception centre building. Can I ask the Minister if he could give this House his definition of a world-class government museum and all that that implies to him.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: We already have an advantage over other exhibits. We have world-class washrooms in that building up there, built by the previous government - a circle of washrooms, a rotunda of washrooms or whatever you want to call it. I think that the exhibits that are placed in that facility should be first-class, world-class, whatever you wish to call them.
If one looks at other exhibits of this nature, or any similar exhibits - for instance, the Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller started out this way, and is now a world-class exhibit. I think that that is something to shoot for. I think we want high-quality exhibits there. I think that is the right approach to take.
I realize there are going to be some special things that have to be done to the building. I did not know the Member opposite is an expert on that particular building, and that he knows what it can or cannot be used for. We will be looking at creating an exhibit that many people who come to the Yukon will want to see. That is what we are looking forward to doing.
Mr. Penikett: I fear the Minister is talking a lot of nonsense. The Drumheller Museum is of course located on the site of one of the great dinosaur exploration and research areas in the world.
I do not know of a world-class museum anywhere that was started for $3 million, which the Minister claims it is going to cost. Can the Minister indicate to us if there are any architectural engineering reports that indicate the government can seriously build this facility for the cost it claims? If he has those, will he table them in the House?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Maybe the Member is not aware that the Yukon is in one of the prime areas of the world where ice-age mammals are found in abundance. In fact, not just in one area of the Yukon, but in several areas of the Yukon there is evidence of ice-age mammals. We are one of the few areas of the world with this type of a find.
We made an announcement in the throne speech that we were going to do it. There is money in the budget to start to do some of the work on the initial planning and the development of the project. Like I said, this project is not going to be up and running tomorrow. It is going to take two or three years and a lot of planning. We have had many offers of expertise from the south to help us develop this particular project.
Mr. Penikett: I do not doubt that I am much more aware of the archaeological riches of this territory than the Minister opposite, who laid off one of the two archaeologists he had on staff.
The operating budget of a national-quality museum such as the National Gallery is $31 million. The operating budget of the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa is $38 million. This is after federal budget cuts. Can the Minister guarantee that he can produce a world-class facility with the accompanying costs of operating such, and still allow room in the budget for all of the existing community museums? Is he prepared to give the House that guarantee?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Yes, we feel that when the Beringia exhibit is up and running that, in fact, the admission charged will allow it to pay for itself. We feel that it will not affect the budgets of other displays in the territory. In fact, with the number of people that spend an extra day in Whitehorse, many of them will visit the other exhibits and enhance their financial position because of the fact that they will be spending money in visiting those displays.
Question re: Beringia Interpretive Centre
Mr. Penikett: The Minister is talking absolute nonsense. I doubt if he
could point to a museum of this kind anywhere in the world where the admission fees cover
even a major fraction of the operating costs of the facility. The Minister is talking
absolute nonsense. Other facilities are facing bare-bones budgets. Can the Minister tell
us again whether he is prepared to give an absolute assurance that the needs of the
existing museums in this territory - the Transportation Museum, the MacBride Museum, the
Old Log Church Museum, the Kluane Museum, the Dawson Museum, the Museum of Natural History
in Carcross and many others - will have their needs met before the Minister proceeds with
this multi-million dollar commitment?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It is becoming more and more evident from the questions the side opposite is asking that they are not in favour of the Beringia exhibit. It is clear that they are not in favour of it, and they seem to be the only people, other than the MacBride Museum people, who are not in favour of it. I can assure the Member that funding for exhibits in the territory will be ongoing, and that building this facility will not take away from that. I will also bring back to this House an example of a museum that is paying for itself, and actually making quite a profit, and that is the Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. It is making enormous profits; it is a very successful operation, and it is felt that we will have the same kind of success in the future.
Mr. Penikett: The Minister has not consulted anyone who knows anything about this subject. He has done no feasibility studies; he has done no means test; he has done no analysis of tourist markets; he has not consulted the local museum community; he has not consulted the First Nations. Once again, as the government did with the gambling casino, Division Mountain coal and a number of other projects, he has made a bold announcement without having done any homework. Let me ask the Minister this direct question: the Minister dreams of flogging this dead horse that he keeps talking about for the tourists. Exactly what else is he going to put into his world-class, $3 million, government Beringia museum?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: There will be artifacts and displays relating to the Beringia era, which is a famous era in the territory. We have an absolute wealth of ice-age mammals in the territory. We have already talked to the Chamber of Mines and it is willing to get on board with this particular exhibit. We have talked to the City of Whitehorse and it is in favour of this particular exhibit. We have talked to the Chamber of Commerce and it is in favour or this particular exhibit. We have talked to tour operators who said that they are very interested in it; the National Tour Association of Bus Operators is very interested in this kind of exhibit. Everyone whom I talked to is excited about this exhibit except the side opposite, and that is because they oppose everything that this government brings forward.
Question re: Beringia Interpretive Centre
Ms. Moorcroft: My question is for the Minister of Tourism. According to Young, To the Arctic, and Fagan's, An Introduction to Archaeology, the definition of "Beringia" is that it describes a land bridge joining Siberia and Alaska - a huge, flat plain of sub-continental proportions that was crossed by arctic hunter-gatherers more than 25,000 years ago. I would like to ask the Minister this: is he taking the position that Yukon First Nations crossed Beringia, and do First Nations agree with that interpretation of their history?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: One First Nation group has already talked to us about the Beringia exhibit, and it is eager to participate. That group includes some of the people of Old Crow, and the work that has gone on in that area. They are very interested in the types of ice-age mammals and the history that exists in the Old Crow area, and they are very interested in participating in this particular exhibit.
Ms. Moorcroft: The umbrella final agreement that is on the verge of coming into force states that the heritage resources of Yukon First Nations are underdeveloped, and that first priority in the allocation of government heritage resources will go to First Nations. Can the Minister tell me if the Beringia Centre development will meet that criteria?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I am sure that there will be some First Nations involved in Beringia, but I also want to point out to the Members opposite, because they seem to have forgotten, that we are working with First Nations now on several projects. One that comes to mind, in particular, is the Canyon City project. If the Member wants to go out into the foyer after Question Period, she will find a display of that project there, which includes a lot of discussion about how we are working with the First Nations on that project. So, we are dealing with issues relating to First Nations.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister says he is sure that there will be some First Nations involvement. I would like to ask him to describe for us how the government has consulted with Yukon First Nations on the formulation of legislation and government policies related to heritage resources in the Yukon.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I can bring that back to the Member. I am sure there has been ongoing discussions with First Nations for quite some time. I know that we just received a notice the other day regarding their nominations to the new heritage resources board. I am sure there will be ongoing consultations.
Question re: Beringia Interpretive Centre
Ms. Moorcroft: I have a question for the Minister of state secrets, that being the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. As a requirement of the Municipal Act, the City of Whitehorse has developed a new community plan. As part of this initiative, the city will incorporate a new plan for the downtown core and waterfront areas. The city has been holding public meetings to inform and consult with local residents throughout the planning stages. The Beringia Centre proposal includes moving the present visitor reception centre into the downtown core. I would like to ask the Minister of Community and Transportation Services what infrastructure development will be needed if the visitor reception centre is moved into the downtown area, and how this development will be coordinated with the city's plans?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It is probably more appropriate that I answer the question, as I have met with the City of Whitehorse and discussed the downtown location of the visitor reception centre. The city approves of the site and we plan to develop a planning committee and involve the city in the planning committee so that we can work with the city to solve any traffic problems and such.
Ms. Moorcroft: I am glad to hear the Minister acknowledge that the government has involved the City of Whitehorse in the planning stages of the building of the Beringia Centre. At any of the public meetings that were held by the city, I certainly did not hear of their involvement in the planning stages of this project. I will, however, take the Minister's confirmation of that as being true. Does the Minister intend to invite the business community in Whitehorse or, for that matter, the public, to have any input into the proposed Beringia tourist development? If so, to what extent and at what stage of the planning?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It appears that the Member opposite is confused. She spoke about a downtown development. The downtown development is the downtown visitor reception centre. The City of Whitehorse and the Chamber of Commerce are very excited about the development and we will be consulting both of them on the development.
Question re: Beringia Interpretive Centre
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister of Tourism regarding the Beringia museum, and I do not want him to accuse me of being against it. I can honestly say that I do not know an awful lot about the government's proposal, because we have not seen any information from the government.
In listening to the debate today, it seems fairly obvious to me that the government does not have a plan with respect to the Beringia museum and does not even have any money identified for it in the budget.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mrs. Firth: The Minister is saying yes, there is; perhaps he can explain that later.
I would like to ask the Minister if he could tell us where the money is coming from, and I am concerned about the whole $7.3 million that is proposed for it. Could the Minister also respond to a comment he made about the profitability of the museum, where he said the admission fees would cover the costs of operating it. Is he prepared to table the documentation and an analysis to substantiate that statement?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I thought only one question is supposed to be asked. The Member seems to be asking three or four questions there.
The Beringia exhibit will, we believe, pay for itself over time. I think in four or five years we can recover the capital costs from the Beringia exhibit through an admission charge, and we feel that that is quite possible to do, as it has been done with other exhibits of a similar nature - in Drumheller, to be specific.
Mrs. Firth: That is my concern. Every time this Minister stands up and says
something, we get a different answer. Earlier this afternoon, when the Leader of the
Official Opposition asked questions about it, the Minister said - and I wrote down his
words so that I would be accurate - that they were going to be able to recover the costs
of operating the museum by charging admission fees and that they had consulted with the
museum at Drumheller and were told by that museum that we could do this also. Now he has
changed it. He says now that, over time - maybe four or five years - they would be able to
recover the capital costs. I would like to see something that I can read - something I can
look at - that tells me what this government's plan is and what its analysis has been. Can
the Minister substantiate his comments with some documentation to show us some concrete,
specific work has been done, and will he table it?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I can bring to the House the projections that were put together for the Tourism debate. We can debate the issue in the House.
I can also tell the Member that there are funds in the supplementary for some of the planning work to begin. The line item in the main budget, administration, contains money for the development of the downtown visitor reception centre.
Mrs. Firth: I want to know where the money for the Beringia Centre is in the budget, not the downtown visitor reception centre.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
The Minister says that it is the same thing. The Minister's justification is a line item in the budget that says "office accommodation, furniture, equipment and systems." Again, that does not give us any information about how much, if any, money is set aside in the budget for the Beringia Centre.
I would like to ask the Minister to provide the House with this information. I do not believe that we have to wait one or two months until we get to the Tourism debate. The government has made the decision to go ahead with the Beringia Centre. It should have all the homework done. I would like to see the analysis that determined it is a profitable venture. I would like to see some documentation to substantiate where all the money - the $7.3 million - is going to come from for the project. In other words, I would like to see the whole financial picture of what this is going to cost and the information the government used to come to this decision.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The line item the Member is looking at is the multi-year line item. I will bring back a breakdown for the Member of the amounts of money for each project. I will bring it back in the near future.
Speaker: Order. I would just like to remind Members of the specific rules of Question Period. I am referring specifically to section 7. A brief preamble will be allowed in the case of the main question and a one-sentence preamble will be allowed in the case of each supplementary question. I believe that many of the questions are beginning to sound like speeches. Many of the answers, as well, are much longer than they should be.
Let us try and get things back into focus.
Question re: 911 service
Mr. Joe: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. There is a 911 service for Whitehorse. What about the communities? The RCMP work from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. After 5:00 p.m., if you call the RCMP, someone in Whitehorse answers for Pelly Crossing. If your house is on fire after 5:00 p.m., you call the RCMP and someone in Whitehorse answers the phone. The person in Whitehorse decides what to do. They call the RCMP in Pelly and rig something up. It takes a lot longer for help to come that way.
What benefit is my riding going to receive from the 911 system?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There is no benefit, and I thought I had explained that in my statement. There are two numbers that will automatically connect with the police or fire department. These operate across the Yukon, and each community has its own emergency numbers, and they are in the telephone book.
Mr. Joe: I am not too sure I understand the Minister. The government said it was too expensive to have the 911 system in the communities. This will cause problems if the people in those communities think they have the 911 system. What is the government going to do for the people in the communities? How is it going to make sure we know we cannot use the 911 number?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The 911 number will not work outside the area surrounding
Whitehorse. I have explained this a couple of times. We will be publicizing this. There
will be signs put up in all the rural areas with the numbers people can call to receive
assistance from the police and the fire department.
Mr. Joe: I have a question that must be dealt with in order to solve my problem. In the past, we had a lot of problems. Since the hospital has been shut down in Mayo, we are having a lot of problems. A couple of years ago, we lost the road foreman to a heart attack. They tried to get an ambulance. We are 30 miles from Stewart Crossing. We had people who tried to get in touch with them. People blamed each other saying, "You should have phoned the head nurse.'' There were all kinds of problems. It took two or three hours before they got the guy into Mayo. What is going on? There is still a problem that has not been solved yet. This is 1995. We are living in the worst -
Speaker: Order. Would the Member please ask the question.
Mr. Joe: I will, Mr. Speaker. Since I am not going to benefit from this 911 service, once again, I will have to ask the Minister, is he going to give the communities stickers for their phones, so that people will know where to phone for help?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: For the Member for Mayo-Tatchun, I will get a complete listing with the phone numbers they can call. I have been assured that this system works very well. I must be frank about this; we do not always have the best systems in the world. We happen to be in the northern part of Canada and our communities are spread far apart. I will get a complete briefing and get it to the Member.
Question re: Canadian Tourism Commission
Mr. Cable: I have some questions for the Minister of Tourism on the Canadian Tourism Commission. The federal government has set up a $50 million Canadian Tourism Commission that is designed to aggressively promote Canada as a destination abroad and at home. The Prime Minister indicated that he expects other governments and the private sector to match Ottawa, dollar for dollar.
Have the Minister's officials been working with the federal government in relation to the Canadian Tourism Commission?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Yes, we are working with the Canadian Tourism Commission. We are not entirely happy with the makeup of the commission, and we are discussing that with the commission.
Mr. Cable: That leads to the next question. Does the Minister anticipate that there will be a Yukon representative on the commission?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: We are insisting on that, but we have just been notified that we are going to be lumped in with several other provinces, as will the Northwest Territories. We are not very happy with that arrangement. We will be writing a letter to the Minister responsible asking that he consider changing it.
Mr. Cable: I understand that the Saskatchewan tourism authority has a board of directors made up of 15 seats, of which two are government members and 13 are from the travel industry. Will the Minister, if he gets his way, be appointing a private-sector representative or a government representative to sit on the Canadian Tourism Commission?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: That question is hypothetical at the present time. It looks
as if we will be lucky if we have any representative on that commission. We are lumped in
with Alberta, B.C. and the Northwest Territories. There will be quite an argument over who
gets to appoint a representative. We will be working toward trying to have the Minister
change that arrangement. I do not know if we are going to be successful. Maybe the Liberal
Member can help us there.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has elapsed.
Apology to House
Hon. Mr. Fisher: Last Wednesday during Question Period, in response to a question from the Member for Mount Lorne, I made a reference to "wife-beating" as an analogy in my response. I used this analogy because I felt the Member had posed her question in a manner that made it virtually impossible for me to make a satisfactory response.
My remarks were certainly not meant to diminish in any way the importance this government continues to place on dealing with the issue of violence against women. We all believe this to be a very serious social problem.
If anyone has misinterpreted my analogy as indicating a lack of concern for women who are the victims of violence, I apologize. Such was not my intention.
Notice of Opposition Private Members' Business
Mr. Cable: Pursuant to Standing Order 14.2(3), I would like to identify the item
standing in my name to be called on Wednesday, January 18, 1995: Motion No. 37.
Mr. McDonald: Pursuant to Standing Order 14.2(3), I would like to identify the
motion that is standing in the name of the Official Opposition to be called on Wednesday,
January 18, 1995: Motion No. 29, standing in my name.
Speaker: We will proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. Is it the wish of the Members to take a brief recess at this time?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will take a brief recess at this time.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: At this time, for the information of all Members, I would like to lay out the process by which we will proceed through the budgets. We are going to proceed with general debate in the supplementary estimates first, operation and maintenance and capital, which is Bill No. 3. We will then proceed to general debate on the main estimates, operation and maintenance and capital, which is Bill No. 4.
We will then go back to Bill No. 3, the supplementary estimates, and proceed line by line through the department, operation and maintenance and capital, and follow through with the same process in the main estimates, operation and maintenance and capital, in Bill No. 4.
Bill No. 3 - Third Appropriation Act, 1994-95 - continued
Executive Council Office - continued
Chair: Is there further general debate?
Mr. Penikett: That sounds absolutely delightful. I have some questions in general debate.
There is an outstanding request from one Member of the Opposition for a report on travel by senior officials in the government, which we hope to get before we clear the Executive Council Office vote.
I have some general questions for the Government Leader on the recent trip to China. He will not require precise numbers, but I have some general questions about that trip.
First of all, since the trip involved the expenditure of considerable public funds, is there going to be a written report on the trip to be tabled in the House, a ministerial statement, or something in the way of an accounting by the Government Leader of the trip and its results?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I have no difficulty tabling a report on the trip in the Legislature.
Mr. Penikett: Is the Chair wishing me to ask if we can expect it soon?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: There should not be any difficulty in getting it soon. I had an official with me, and as soon as I can get hold of him and look at his time schedule, he will get the report put together for us. We should have it in a few days, at the most.
Mr. Penikett: That would answer my next question - why was the official along on the trip. I guess it was to write the report.
Just for the record, can the Government Leader tell us from memory how many people were on the trip on behalf of the Yukon government and approximately what it cost the taxpayer?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: On behalf of the Yukon government there were me, my wife and one official. One person from the business community went over with us but he was responsible for his own expenses. The cost of his airfare was picked up by the federal government, as he travelled there with our aircraft and returned on his own.
I do not have the total figures here but I can get them for the Member. I can tell him that the costs were fairly nominal. In fact, I know that, because I just filled out my travel claim and mine was about $700 for the whole trip. My wife had some expenses, and I do not know exactly what Mr. McTiernan's expenses were, because we were responsible for his hotel rooms as well.
I will get that figure for the Member. I have just been informed that the official is writing up the report right now so I hope we might even be able to have it before the end of this week.
Mr. Penikett: It sounds as if there were a few free lunches on that trip, with $700.
For the record again, can I ask the Government Leader if he can tell us if any new
Yukon jobs resulted from the trip or whether any contracts were signed by Yukon businesses
as the direct result of that trade mission?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Not that I am aware of.
Mr. Penikett: Apparently the Government Leader and I have a different opinion on the importance of the human rights issue in places like China, a country with an unattractive record on human rights and a country that has used capital punishment as an instrument of social control.
The Government Leader expressed an opinion in the media, before this session, to the effect that where economies were improving in Asia, human rights were also improving - a statement I believe to be demonstrably false. The human rights situation in Singapore, for example, one of the fastest growing economies, is not getting better at all. If anything, it is getting worse, and even conservative business magazines call it a Leninist-capitalist state.
The situation in Korea has improved, but is still far from being an ideal liberal democracy. The situation in Indonesia is absolutely appalling, with the massacre of East Timorese. There are a lot of people, not only people in my party, but also many decent Conservatives and Liberals in this country, who think that it is a profoundly mistaken notion to take the view that simply trading with these countries, and turning a blind eye to these human rights abuses, is a way to remedy them.
I think I share the view of the Globe and Mail editorial that argues that the lesson of South Africa is that constant pressure on a regime that criminally abuses its own citizens is the way to bring about change, rather than to pretend that appalling human rights abuses do not happen.
Can I invite the Government Leader to debate this point with me?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I am not going to get into a long and drawn-out debate on the issue of human rights. I stated at the time that I was part of a federal delegation, and I believe it is up to the Prime Minister to play the lead role in that delegation. The Prime Minister is responsible for foreign affairs in Canada. I will say that there were 11 of my colleagues with me on that trip, and some of them were of the same political philosophy and faith as the Members opposite, and they did not feel it was appropriate to raise the issue. I think it would have been naive of the Members opposite to think that I should have raised the issue while I was on that trip.
Mr. Penikett: I do agree that raising an issue when one is in a foreign country and part of a federal delegation would require consideration; however, some of the premiers on that trip have spoken to the question of human rights issues in Asia, and particularly China, before. I know something about Premier Harcourt's record as a civil rights lawyer, and I happen to know from conversations that I have had with him that he is deeply interested in that question, as he is also interested in the question of trade with Asia. Can I ask the Government Leader a policy question, in terms of his view? Does he believe that having good commercial relations with the emerging economic giants of Asia is a matter of such importance that, as a government, and as a community and a civilized society, we should ignore the serious human rights questions in some of those nations?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Most certainly we should not ignore some very serious human rights questions. I merely said that the Prime Minister was speaking on behalf of the delegation. I was at the meeting when he raised it with the Premier of China even though one premier said he did not raise it, and there was some controversy in the press for a while. I clearly heard him raise the issue, maybe not as strongly as some people would have liked, but he did address the issue. I just want to add that the Member opposite has raised the fact that Mr. Harcourt is someone who is deeply concerned about human rights, yet he is also very deeply concerned about trade with Asia and makes about half a dozen trips a year over there to sign contracts on an ongoing basis with China.
I personally believe that by entering into trade agreements and helping the Chinese people have a better quality of life - and I know the federal government is working with them in a judicial system, trying to train some of their people - that we will have some small, positive impact on the human rights in those countries.
Mr. Penikett: Let me ask the Government Leader this: since he became Government Leader, has he ever had occasion to express himself on the human rights issue here or anywhere else in the world?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I do not recall any forum where we had a direct discussion about that. There were some peripheral discussions about the issue on the China trip and a consensus was reached that this was best left for the Prime Minister to handle.
Mr. Penikett: Let me move for a minute to another area of international relations. I do that because the Government Leader has beside him that excellent official, Janet Moodie-Michael, who is intimately knowledgeable on this question and that is the matter of our, if you like, circumpolar relations.
Many of the jurisdictions in the circumpolar world have been reaching out to each other
and establishing links and improved communications. We hosted the first Circumpolar
Agricultural Conference in the world. I have recently been advised that there is a second
one happening in Tromso, Norway in September 1995. I do not know if anybody in the Yukon
government is going to be attending that. A few years ago, we hosted the Circumpolar
Health Conference, which is an international body, not a sub-national body. I am sure
another one of those conferences is coming up soon. I do not know whether the Yukon
government is participating in that in any way.
During the time I was in government, the federal government was working quite hard to see established an arctic council of the eight circumpolar nations.
The government of which I was a part took the view that there should be some relationship between the sub-national bodies, such as the Northern Forum, and the arctic council. I do not know if there has been any work on that.
I recently found out that one of the projects that we had been working on - an access-to-capital study - which the Northern Forum had assigned to the jurisdiction of the Yukon, has now been taken over by one of the Russian member jurisdictions. This struck me because, the other day, I heard the Minister of Economic Development mention, in Question Period, I believe, the continuing problem of access to capital in the north. The Northern Forum made me aware that this is a problem throughout the circumpolar world and, indeed, I thought we had something to gain and learn from discussions on that subject at the Northern Forum.
I would like to ask the Government Leader a general question: how does he view the question of circumpolar relations? What is outstanding in any of these organizations? Are we attending any of the meetings or participating in any of the work of these bodies?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: We are monitoring the developments in the arctic council; however, we have not heard of any recent activity on it. As far as the Northern Forum is concerned, we will not be renewing our membership in it. The Northern Forum has evolved into an organization that is dedicated more to international travel than to remaining as a forum in which to work on issues. We have not renewed our membership, and we have no intention of doing so at this point.
We do not believe that the forum has developed into an effective organization for
addressing cooperative initiatives and problem solving. There is a real lack of financial
accountability in the forum, which is also a major concern.
Mr. Penikett: I appreciate that the government has responded to the question about the Northern Forum. No mention was made of our participation in the Circumpolar Agricultural Conference, which is going to be held in Tromso in September, nor was any mention made of the Circumpolar Health Conference. The Government Leader may want to take those questions on notice. I am not in a rush for the answers to those, but I would like to ask him a couple more questions about the Northern Forum. Let me say - lest I be seen as partisan on this - that I think is an appropriate concern to be concerned about the direction of the Northern Forum - or the evolution of the body - into yet another international travel club. The last thing we need is another junketing body.
I want to ask a two-part question. It may be better for me to ask them together so that the Government Leader understands the link.
Privately, I had some communications from old associations with a number of people in the circumpolar world, who had, if you like, concerns about the direction of the Northern Forum. Some of those focused on the question of the particular staffing decisions, the excessive influence of one governor and his leadership of the body and the tendency for it to become effectively - let us put it this way - Alaskacentric. That governor is no longer in office; there is a new governor in Anchorage, and that may have some impact on the staffing of the organization, given the American system.
I wonder, therefore, if there is any possibility, given the new political situation in Alaska, that YTG might review its position in respect to the Northern Forum, and especially its potential usefulness to us. I ask the question because the government was, for a while, developing a lot of very useful inter-jurisdictional agreements between Yukon and Alaska, and between Yukon and Northwest Territories. There were even some good agreements in education between the Yukon and Scandinavian countries. Among the circumpolar Education Ministers, which I did not mention, we had a rare opportunity to sit as a jurisdiction and, in some cases, with the national Scandinavian governments, and benefited from their experience of teaching science and other subjects at this latitude.
The general question, then, is whether the government might be reviewing its association with the Northern Forum in the light of political developments in Alaska.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I just want to go on record at this point as saying that I thought the former Governor of Alaska was a very visionary gentleman and had a lot of good ideas, and I did develop a fairly good working relationship with him. The one area where we were not in agreement involved the benefits of Yukon participating in the Northern Forum. Will we be reviewing our position? Most certainly. We are monitoring what is happening in the Northern Forum. I hope to meet with the new governor in the very near future, and I will discuss that issue with him and see what his views are on the Northern Forum. I will keep a very open mind on it - let us put it that way - but in light of the financial realities that are facing all Canadians today, we have to be certain that this is a worthwhile project before we spend taxpayers' dollars on it.
Mr. Penikett: That is fine. There was a time when I actually felt the forum could be of more value to us than, say, a trip to China. We all have to make these evaluations and I want to say for the record that, while I very much enjoyed the company of Governor Hickel and found him an entertaining and gracious person, there were few subjects on which I found quick agreement with him, but that is perhaps not surprising, given our different generations and philosophies. For the record I would say that, even in my time of government, some decisions were made about the Northern Forum, including major staffing ones, about which we, as a contributing body, were not consulted at all, and I had a lot of problems with that.
I would point out that these things do evolve. During Governor Cooper's time, Mr. Hickel's predecessor, the early work on the forum was such that there was active and enthusiastic participation at senior political levels by many of the sub-national circumpolar jurisdictions. Indeed, a number of Canadian jurisdictions that have lost interest in it in recent years, such as Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and so forth - even, at one point, Quebec - were quite interested in the potential of the body - and I do not want to speak for them - but their enthusiasm waned because of the way the body was evolving.
I make no more point than to make representation that it probably is a good idea to wait and see. Things may change with a new administration and there may be some possibilities there that we can realize.
I would ask though, for the record, if the Minister could get back to us - and there is
no urgency on this - on whether we will be participating in any processes arising from the
Helsinki initiative on the environment, the Circumpolar Agricultural Conference, the
Circumpolar Health Conference, the Circumpolar Education Ministers Conference - I do not
know what has happened to that one; I have not heard much about it recently - and a number
of other such organizations that were initially pleased to have us participate and which
were doing useful work. It was a real honour for us to host the Circumpolar Agricultural
Conference here. It was quite an important event for people in that field.
Can I move on to an issue related to this question of relationships, to a broad question of protocol. As the Government Leader knows, there was criticism of the failure of the senior people in the government to visit the Kluane First Nation when they were in that nation's traditional territory at a Cabinet retreat. There have been other occasions where there have been comments or criticism of this government on protocol questions. Does the present government have a policy on protocol questions about the recognition of other levels of governments when they are visiting communities and about the formalities, and so forth? Yukoners are pretty informal people, but there are occasions where doing the polite and proper thing is important to the conduct of public business.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: We certainly do. I just want to say that any time any of my Ministers or I go on a community tour, before going on the tour we contact the various groups in the area - governments, be they First Nations or municipal governments - and try to set up meetings with them to discuss problems. As I stated last night in debate, we are now in the process of developing a First Nations relations policy that will address protocol as well as other issues that we have to deal with during the implementation of land claims, and the new relationships that we - all of us in Yukon - will be facing with the finalization of land claims.
Mr. Penikett: It would be very interesting to see the results of that.
Why is it that, under this government, Opposition MLAs are not invited to events in their own constituency when they are official government events?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I do not believe that is correct. I know we have informed the Member for Mayo-Tatchun any time that we were going to be in his area, and we have done the same for the Member for Faro. We have notified him when we were going to have a meeting there, so he could participate in it.
I do not believe that is a valid criticism.
Mr. Penikett: I can give a personal example. There was an opening of a senior citizens housing unit by the Yukon Housing Corporation in my constituency not too long ago. People from Ottawa were invited, including the Senator for the Yukon, who occasionally visits here. I was not invited.
This has been an issue that has come up elsewhere in the country. The Mulroney government, whatever else people may criticize it for, was absolutely assiduous and scrupulous about making sure that any elected person was included.
Under the Government Leader's administration, is there any written policy on such a matter?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I do not believe there is any written policy. It is just something we should do, and it is something officials look after. I will let the Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation speak for himself, as I am not about to speak for him.
When we are travelling, we do make a point of notifying the MLA of the riding when we are going to be there.
Ms. Moorcroft: On the same point, I am pleased to hear the Government Leader acknowledge that they should invite the MLAs to events in their ridings. There were a couple of events in my riding that I attended because I heard of them by means other than from government Ministers. One was the opening of the Swan Haven interpretive centre and viewing site, and another was the opening of the Golden Horn school gym. I was aware of both those events because I am aware of what is going on in my riding, but for neither of them did I receive an invitation to attend from a Minister.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I will discuss that representation with my Ministers.
Mr. Penikett: The Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment has, of course, been involved in the gambling consultation and some other projects. I was curious about a statement I read recently about the arts consultation. Originally the Government Leader, with great flourish - I enjoyed this in Question Period - responded to a question from someone and spoke about the importance of the arts, the economy, and that that is why YCEE was doing this arts consultation. It was very important, but now seems to have fallen between the cracks. Can the Government Leader tell us something about what happened there?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I believe that when we began the sectoral review of the economy of the Yukon, the YCEE decided to focus on the arts sector first. That was the first of the sectoral reviews that were to be done. It is also my understanding that because of debate and questions in the House, which alluded to the fact that there had just been a large consultation done on the arts community and that it would be ludicrous to go ahead with a review of the arts sector first, without discussing the matter with me, it was decided to change the order of the meetings, and the one on mining was held first. I believe that the reasons for wanting to do the review on the arts first were very sound and, in my opinion, it should have been carried out because there had just been consultation, which was available, carried out throughout the Yukon with respect to the arts, and the process would not have to be repeated.
Mr. Penikett: That is very interesting, on a number of counts. I am pleased to see the council indicating that kind of independent judgment, but it is of course curious because, as far as I know, we have not heard a peep about the arts policy that the consultation was about since the consultation was done. Perhaps it is going to be announced next week or the week after or something, but we will talk the Minister responsible about that.
One of the other projects that the YCEE has been working on has been the limited consultation on the amendments to the Environment Act. This was work that was commissioned by the Government Leader in a letter of instruction to the chair. Some people found the manner of consultation curious, because of course the whole essence of the Environment Act is that policies, including the development of regulations, should be the subject of wide public consultation. Indeed, the manner of the consultation proposed was inconsistent with the spirit of the act itself. Also in the letter from the Government Leader to the YCEE was a somewhat gratuitous remark - I guess it was designed to be an insult, but I do not know for sure - about the Opposition and how the council was to conduct the consultation on the Environment Act in a certain way. It implied that the Opposition - I do not know whether it meant the Official Opposition or if that famous rabble-rouser from Riverside was included in these ranks - those of us who had been in the Legislature, in some cases, for many years were not capable or competent to carefully consider the issues that were under review.
I would like to hear the Government Leader's thoughts on that. They are a concern to us, because it seemed to us that the review, at first blush, was initiated by some demands from the Chamber of Commerce that the act be eviscerated. Having seen the draft changes, from the Department of Renewable Resources, they seem to be the product of a much more bureaucratic agenda.
In any case, the instruction for the Council on the Economy and the Environment to avoid the Opposition seemed, to us to be a bit unnecessary. I do not know why it was even raised with them. If the government wanted to keep the Opposition out of it, I do not know why that was not communicated directly to us. A number of us on this side were struck by the tone and language of the letter; we wanted to know the reason for it.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The Opposition has leveled accusations at the government, stating that we do not give a damn about the economy.
The Member is absolutely right. The chamber did make a request of the Department of Renewable Resources to review the act. We were intending to relay to the council, through the letter, that we did not want to make this a political football. As the Member opposite has seen from the amendments, there was no gutting of the act, which was something the Opposite accused us of wanting to do.
Essentially, we wanted to bring the act into line with other jurisdictions in Canada. We wanted to clear up some of the language in it, which even the department found needed correcting. As a result of that, we wrote the letter to the Council on the Economy and the Environment stating that we did not want it to become a political football.
Mr. Penikett: I have a lot of problems with this notion. Would the Government Leader not agree that amendments to a major piece of legislation such as the Environment Act are, by definition, political issues, and should be of interest and concern to all Members of the Legislature, not just Members of the government side and the body it appoints?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The Member opposite is right. All Members of the Legislature will have the opportunity to debate these amendments when they come forward.
Mr. Penikett: That is true. However, the Government Leader, in his statement a moment ago, seemed to imply that the issue of harmonization was, for example, a mere bagatelle. However, with respect to the Environment Act, it is an absolutely central issue.
The Government Leader, who is a careful listener of CBC Radio, will know that there was a professor from an Ontario university on the morning show a few weeks ago, talking about how the Yukon Environment Act was probably the finest piece of legislation of its kind in the country. He remarked that it set a higher standard, in some respects, than did the environmental legislation in other jurisdictions.
Therefore, the notion that we were going to harmonize with other jurisdictions - in other words, lower our standards - is not a minor issue, it is a very big one. It seems to me that not just Members of the Legislature, or just interest groups, or just the people who are members of the Council on the Economy and the Environment, but indeed many citizens in my constituency would like to have a say about something like that. Therefore a limited or truncated consultation might not be in the public interest. Would the Government Leader not agree with that?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I believe that the council has done a fairly extensive consultative process. They have talked with the different stakeholders. They have listened to representation from the stakeholders. They are now in the process of reviewing that information and drafting the amendments, or making recommendations on the amendments and submitting those recommendations to us. I believe that they are even considering taking their recommendations back to the stakeholders. I am not certain of that, but I believe that this is so. In one of the meetings I had with the chair, I was told that that was something they were discussing internally, and that process would take place prior to the final recommendations being made to Cabinet.
I believe that in this instance, while the Member opposite may not fully concur with that forum, or the process that we used, there has been enough consultation to cover this. On the harmonization issue, I just want to say that while the Member is right - and that was probably what was causing concern for the Chamber of Commerce - we were too far ahead in the field. As a result of that, they asked for a review.
There were some very valid concerns being raised. As the Member opposite will agree, I am sure, time does not stand still, and one of the largest concerns being raised by industry is that we have a fairly level playing field across Canada on environmental issues and that the standards do not change dramatically from one jurisdiction to another. The current Environment Ministers appeared to agree with that position and have agreed to work to harmonize environment acts across the country.
Mr. Penikett: For the record, I want to say that this is a question of huge concern to me. When I was a child here, there used to be a very popular bumper sticker that said, "I do not give a damn how they do it outside." There is still very much of that sentiment surviving in the Yukon. Some of us used to take some pride in the fact that we were not just behind the times, always playing catch-up with the rest of the country and always out of date, but that, in some respects and in some important policy matters, we led the nation - we were pioneers and innovators; we were creative; we were pathfinders and trailblazers.
It is true that time changes things. The direction in most of the governments in the western world on environmental legislation in the last few years has been to improve the legislation, not to make it worse. They have been doing that even in the face of initiatives that are hostile to the environment, such as free trade agreements, which tend to push harmonization down to the lowest standard so that everybody ends up having the environmental standards of the jurisdiction with the worst legislation.
I am one Canadian who does not like that at all, and one Yukoner who does not want to see us being harmonized down - dumbed down, as the newspapers call it - to the lowest standard. The Government Leader may say that the Ministers all agree on environmental legislation, but I will call a couple of the Ministers I know and find out if that is true, because there is a huge difference between the environmental legislation in Alberta and that in some of the other jurisdictions. There is a huge difference in attitude toward the environment.
I will just mention to the Government Leader that we have had the former Minister of Renewable Resources, a Member of his Cabinet, say that he supported the Environment Act. The Yukon Party had nothing in its mandate about downgrading the standards of the Environment Act in its platform. Since the election, I guess the Chamber of Commerce has seen that there are some malleable Ministers on the side opposite, and so might want to reduce the standards, and it is their right to do that. It is their right to argue that. My problem is that it should not be done without broad public debate. The Government Leader is quite right that the stakeholders have been consulted - that is good. I am not objecting to that. However, the stakeholders are groups that have been consulted. That is good; I support that.
What I am speaking about today is the right of citizens, as individuals, to have a voice. I can tell the Government Leader, just from a meeting I had yesterday with some young people, that there is a huge interest in environmental questions right now. The younger the citizen, the more interested they are, and the more they will be severely annoyed at the idea that legislation like the Environment Act might be amended without them having a say. The question is this: the Council on the Economy and the Environment does its work and consults with the groups - the stakeholders - but when does the ordinary citizen get a say?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I was always of the opinion that the different stakeholder groups were made up of ordinary citizens of this country. I can understand the Member's philosophical beliefs and position, and he is entitled to them. However, I also believe that we ought not to put ourselves in the position where we have legislation that is so restrictive that we cannot develop an economy in the Yukon, especially in such an area of Canada that is so dependent on monies from other governments for its survival.
We have to find the balance of protecting the environment and allowing the economy of the Yukon to expand, without stifling it. We talk about attracting jobs to the Yukon, and Members opposite have been very vocal in their criticism of this government for not doing enough in that area.
Well, we cannot do that with one hand while, with the other hand, we are telling the people coming up here that we are part of Canada but our restrictions are more severe than what is the norm in the rest of Canada. I do not believe that is the proper approach to this. I believe we can protect our environment and expand our economy without damaging that environment, as long as we have some reasonable rules in place. That is what industry in Canada is telling governments, and governments are responding to that.
Mr. Penikett: I have a number of problems with what the Government Leader has just said.
First of all, he is dead wrong on the law. Having had something to do with writing the law, I know for a fact that the YCEE is not constituted to represent the views of individuals. It is specifically structured in law to represent the views of a broad range of interests. The YCEE does not represent the views of any more than a dozen or so individuals.
The Government Leader is shaking his head. I know the law, and he does not, because he is already breaking it, and I do not want to get into that argument with him again. We will have to wait until there is a government that has some resect for the law before we can deal with that.
Let me deal with the issue. T
he Government Leader does not seem to understand the round-table approach. This is that all voices are heard, everybody gets to be heard, and they talk things through until they reach some kind of a consensus. That is the whole idea behind sustainable development, an idea that seems to have been abandoned in favour of a mega-project approach by the government opposite; however, that is the idea of the law and the whole thrust of sustainable development.
The problem people in the community and on the street have is that this government only listens to a few people in the business community. That is the criticism. The Government Leader may not agree with that. The idea that not just the other voice is heard, but the voices of citizens on something like this are, is important.
Let me say something about the final little jibe about business wanting to reduce the restrictions. Business always wants to reduce restrictions. Business wants cheap labour. If they can get away with minimal environmental standards, if there are costs associated with them, obviously that is what they want. But, in a democracy, there has to be a balance between the interests.
It is wrong-headed to approach environmental issues simply as a question of restrictions. Our Environment Act is a good piece of legislation, in part because it is not negative in its approach.
We should value the wilderness and the natural beauties of this territory and recognize that they are the most valuable asset we have. It is that wilderness and those natural beauties that are going to bring tourists here by the millions, not a Beringia Centre or a gambling casino on the waterfront.
The Government Leader has been in the business. I talk to tourists who come here. They are not going to come here to gamble or to see the Beringia Centre. They come here because we have something that few places in the world have left - wilderness and natural wonders and, if I can use the expression, world-class mountains and world-class rivers and world-class wilderness. That is why they are going to come here.
Chair: Is there further general debate?
Mr. Penikett: I have one last question. I was just noting a CBC news item today about the statement by the federal Environment Minister, Sheila Copps, and would like to draw it to the attention of the Government Leader. It referred to the arctic environment and to the arctic nations and to the problem of global warming, which we will get back to at some point because there is an international agreement on global warming and CO2 emissions that would have some bearing on the discussion of the Division Mountain coal project.
We were just today provided with this Boards and Committees Directory, dated December 1994. It is very interesting and very useful but does not contain the most essential information we would like about boards and committees, which is of course a list of the names of the people who have been appointed to them. Could I ask the Government Leader if we could have such a list?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Yes. Quite clearly, the Member can have such a list. The
reason for the list not being included in the directory is that, as the Members opposite
are aware, the people sitting on the boards are constantly changing. Anyone can get a list
just by contacting us. We will be updating the list of names on a quarterly basis, rather
than trying to update the handbook on boards and committees.
Mr. Penikett: That is fair enough. I appreciate the Government Leader's commitment, and I hope that we have that before we clear the ECO mains.
Can I ask the Government Leader if the per diems for each of the boards and committees are contained in a single document, and if we could we have that too?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I am not sure if the Member is looking for a total cost. If he is just looking for the per diems, they are in the policy, and we can get them for him.
Mr. Penikett: Yes. If the Government Leader has the total costs, we would be interested in them. What I am really interested in is the rates of the per diems for the different boards. May I have an undertaking to be provided with that? If it is imbedded in a policy document, we should be able to get that pretty quickly.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: There is no difficulty with that.
Mr. Penikett: I hope these things are not as the Government Leader said, about the per diems constantly changing. It does raise a question about why they are not listed in the book. If we get the document tabled, I guess we will not pursue that ad nauseum - as they say in Carmacks.
Can I ask the Government Leader what is happening with decentralization? The ECO, in the good old days, used to co-ordinate decentralization policy. I do not know whether decentralization is dead for financial reasons, or just in a coma, or on hold, or on the back burner. Can the Government Leader speak to that?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I do not believe anything has changed on decentralization since I spoke to it during the last budget debate. We believe in decentralization, but there has to be a net benefit to the communities, without undue increased costs. For whatever reasons, that sometimes did not work that way in the past.
We do not have a person appointed to be in charge of decentralization any more. It is looked at on a department-by-department basis. Whatever makes sense to be put in the communities will be put in the communities; what does not make sense to be put in the communities will not be put there. It is as simple as that.
Some of the decentralizations that have occurred in the last few years include three positions on the Anniversaries Commission being relocated to Dawson City. Many positions were relocated to Teslin as a result of the new correctional facility that was started by the previous administration. There will be further opportunities in the communities if and when we get a forestry transfer. As well, there are positions being created in the communities that will be, in our opinion, long-lasting positions in the areas of community-based justice and health care reform.
They are jobs that will not disappear from the communities as easily as they would if we embarked on a program of transferring people from Whitehorse to the communities. It is sometimes difficult. That is where decentralization is at this point.
Mr. Penikett: I want to make it clear that the reason we embarked on a decentralization policy was to produce a net benefit to rural communities.
Can I ask the Government Leader to explain what he meant by the decentralization of positions that will occur as a result of health care reform? I have a reason for asking the question. Everywhere in the country, health care reform has become a code word for cuts in the medicare program. I do not understand what is being discussed here.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I cannot shed any more light on it, at this point. I suggest to the Member that he take it up with the Minister of Health and Social Services when we get to his department.
Mr. Penikett: It does not sound like decentralization to me. Perhaps there is something else afoot here.
Is it still the policy of the government, as it was under the previous administration, that, when it comes to decentralization, positions should be relocated to rural communities, rather than people, or has the policy changed?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: No, quite clearly it should be positions. However, what we will not do is decentralize a position at a time when it is filled. If it is a position in Whitehorse and is filled, even if we entertain the idea of decentralizing it, we would wait until the position is open. If we could find another place for a person, there might be some merit to decentralizing the position. We do not want to get into a situation where we have to find jobs for people because we are decentralizing their position.
Mr. Penikett: Given that the Government Leader has described the opening of the
correctional facility in Teslin - a project of my colleague, the Member for Whitehorse
Centre - and the potential transfer of forestry, which is an ongoing project that was on
the decentralization plan of the former government, there is at the moment no
decentralization plan under which the government has some objectives that would see the
transfer of positions, even if they become vacant. He has said that he will wait until
they become vacant. If there is a policy, it is opportunistic; there is no coordination,
planning or targets in the government's decentralization policy at this time.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The Member is quite correct. We do not have any targets, and I think that if it is going to cost us more money, it would be foolhardy to embark on that at this point until we know the reality of our financial situation. If it is a net benefit to the community, we will transfer the position. If it is not, we will not. It is as simple as that.
I do have for tabling now the per diems for the different boards.
Mr. Penikett: I want to thank the Government Leader. I think it was the great American president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who said that civilization costs money. From the point of view of rural communities, decentralization, while it might have some initial costs to the territorial government, was of very significant economic benefit to rural communities. Whenever one travels to the communities, one hears statements of regret from municipal politicians that that program of the previous government has not been continued. Can I ask the Government Leader if he has had, at any time since his election, a meeting with the Association of Yukon Communities executive, at which the decentralization matter has been formally on the agenda?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I am not certain if it was formally on the agenda, but it is a topic of discussion with the Association for Yukon Communities and with different municipalities when we meet with them.
Mr. McDonald: I am very interested in decentralization, having been a long-time supporter of the concept and having represented a rural community in this Legislature for a decade, knowing that the focus of attention for providing government services and staffing government jobs has been Whitehorse dominated, at least since the 1950s.
The request consistently coming from communities for better than a decade and one-half has been for the government to redress this imbalance and provide some creative energy in ensuring that some of the jobs that are being created all the time in virtually every department in new activities should be located in rural communities, given that the communication link between communities is now such that they can allow a decentralized office to operate quite efficiently within a government network.
Having listened to many of the Minister's colleagues in the Legislature for many years telling the previous government that whatever they were doing was not enough, that there should be more respect shown to communities and more initiative taken to decentralize even more government activities, I am absolutely baffled by the position the government is currently taking.
The Members for Watson Lake, Kluane, Ross River-Southern Lakes and Riverdale North, who were Members in the previous Legislature, have either had a massive change of mind or have lost the arguments inside government caucus about the value of decentralization.
I know there were some concerns about the cost of some of the decentralizing activities the NDP government had undertaken in the past, but there was never any hint by anyone that the Yukon Party's position was that there should not be agressive decentralization.
I am puzzled by the Yukon Party's position. I am concerned about this reversal of its position. I know that anyone who represents a rural riding knows that this position is not shared by community governments. Having spoken to all community governments, I know this to be the case. I know that the government is out of step with popular opinion in rural Yukon on this score.
I am a little bit puzzled by the Government Leader's suggestion that only jobs that are vacant would be considered to be available for transfer. This suggests that if one were to move an office function from Whitehorse, for any reason, all the jobs would have to be vacant in order to move the office function. If the government is not going to wait until all the jobs are vacant in order to transfer the office function, it would clearly result in chaos. Obviously this is not something that would receive a lot of public support, let alone internal government support.
I just note this for the record. I would be more than happy to hear the Government Leader's response to this. Even though he did not participate in a lot of the debates that took place in the past on this subject, I would like to hear his response. Having been the beneficiary of huge concerns leveled by the Yukon Party, while in opposition, about how fast the government was going to decentralize its operations, I would have to express surprise at what the Leader of the Official Opposition has characterized as being a comatose position taken by the Yukon Party, while in government.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I said quite clearly that our position has not changed from what it was a year ago when we had this same debate, and it will probably not change in the future. We believe that we are doing a fairly good job of decentralization. It is not moving as quickly as some people would like, but I think it is more important to create jobs in a community that are going to be lasting jobs, filled by people who want to be in that community, and to make sure that when that job is transferred there is enough work out there to keep that person busy. That is the approach we are taking. We do look at new jobs being created, but I will draw it to the Member's attention that he need only review the personnel figures of the government to see that we are not hiring a whole lot of people and creating new positions, as he said. There are a certain number of replacement positions. That goes on in government all the time, but we are not creating a whole lot of new positions outside areas such as staffing the extended care facility and staffing the Teslin jail.
Mr. McDonald: New functions are being created all the time. I am not saying there is a net increase. Actually there is a net increase, but I am not saying there is a net increase to the government's personnel complement. I am not trying to make that argument, but I can tell the Minister one thing. If, for example, the NDP government ever announced that there was going to be the creation of, say, a mining facilitator, I can guarantee there would be a call from the Yukon Party, while in opposition, to investigate the placement of that mining facilitator near the mines - in Faro, perhaps.
Obviously those days are history, and history is history and today is today, I suppose.
The Minister has indicated that we must face the realities of the financial situation that is upon us before we consider decentralization. Even he will have to admit that the situation that exists right now is extremely positive, at least for the coming year. Surely he believes that the Liberal Member will protect our financial situation in the long term, and surely his claim about good negotiating skills is going to equally ensure that we are, at a minimum, given fair treatment.
Having said that, though, can the Minister tell us whether or not there are any plans
afoot in any particular area for a move to decentralize a position or positions? Does the
government have any notion to transfer any positions in the coming year?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I am not aware of any to which we are going to transfer that position. If we get control of forestry over the next year, there is going to be some realignment of where the positions are located. I believe that there will be net increases in Watson Lake and Dawson City.
I do not want to get into a long debate about finances or the reality of finances, except to say that any government that is making long-range plans that will cost extra money and does not know from where the money is going to come, would be sticking out their necks. An article in the Globe and Mail, which is one of about 20 or 25 that have appeared in the last six months, talks about Canada's financial situation and what the think tanks and financial gurus in the country - and the world - believe we have to do to correct the situation. I do not believe it matters how skilled a negotiator someone is if there is nothing left to divide.
Mr. McDonald: What I failed to do, and I apologize for this, was to smile or make note of the fact that my comments about the Liberal Member protecting us or about the negotiating skills of the Government Leader were absolutely rippling with sarcasm. To suggest that the Yukon government was going to be in some way immune from federal budget expenditure cuts is ludicrous, to be sure, despite the bravado - maybe not by the Liberal Member but certainly by the Government Leader - about how he is defending Yukon's interests in the big city. I apologize for that; I should have smiled when I made that comment.
The Minister indicated that in the forestry transfer there may well be a transfer of positions to other locations. Does the government have an operational plan in place? Does it have some sense of where the employees should be placed? Is there some consideration being given to transferring employees from Whitehorse to Watson Lake or other communities, such as Mayo or Dawson? Is that part of the government's current thinking?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: That question would probably be better answered by the Minister of Renewable Resources when we get to his department.
Mr. McDonald: It is a devolution question in the context of negotiations between the territorial government and the federal government, where there is some hint that the government may have an operational plan for the forestry transfer, which might incorporate some sense of what it wants to do with the employees. Clearly the employees have an interest in that.
Does the Government Leader simply not know what the situation is with respect to the forestry transfer? Does he not know whether or not there is an operational plan in place?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: That is right. I am not sure that there is a complete operational plan in place. From discussions I have had with the department regarding the transfer of forestry, I know there would be a net increase of employees in Watson Lake and Ross River. I do not have all the details, which is why I suggested it might be better answered by the Minister of Renewable Resources.
Mr. Penikett: I would like to finish the decentralization question by asking the Government Leader if he, or one of his Ministers - perhaps the Public Service Commission Minister or the Minister of Renewable Resources, if that would suit him better - could give us a document that talks about the number of positions the government believes have been decentralized in the last couple of years. The reason I ask is that the Government Leader includes things like the Teslin correctional facility on the list, which is fine, and he mentioned others today, but it would be useful for us to have some totals before the Public Service Commission debate.
As I recall, the objective of the previous government was to move 100 person years from Whitehorse to rural communities in three years. The first-year moves were on schedule, more or less. Of course, we suffered an electoral accident and were unable to implement the third year of the plan.
Has the Government Leader's department, either through the offices in this building or the Ottawa office, recently retained any public relations advisor or consultant on any issue?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: No, we have not.
Mr. Penikett: The government is saying, then, that they have not retained any public relations consultants on any issue whatsoever through the Executive Council Office. The reason I ask is that I recall that, under the last Conservative government, there was a man - a political operator - by the name of David Humphries, who was retained for public relations advice by that government. Is there no such person on retainer to the present government?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: No, there is not. There is no one in either the main budget or the supplementaries for that purpose. A while ago, I believe we had a person in Ottawa for a very short time. They did some work for us on the SARS agreement. That was all.
Mr. Penikett: I would like to know who that person was. How much was the contract?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I do not know that. It was all in a previous budget and was discussed in the House. His name was Rick Logan. He worked for us for a short when we were attempting to complete the SAR agreement and a couple of other agreements.
Mr. Penikett: I guess the major expenditure on non-public service public relations advice would be the Cabinet communications advisor - is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I guess the Member is correct; we do not have anyone else.
Mr. Penikett: I would like to ask a couple of questions about the role of the Cabinet communications advisor.
From time to time, Members here had a few concerns about the previous incumbent. It was not with regard to the skill with which he did his work, but about whether or not he was serving two masters at times. It is my view, and was the view of the communications advisor who served our Cabinet, that his duty was to serve the Cabinet in the capacity of an executive of the Government of the Yukon, but felt that, under no circumstances, should he be doing anything that resembled party or partisan political work.
I would like to ask the Government Leader about his views on that question. I ask him this in the context of the fact that we have been struck, for example, by the partisan tone or the political chippiness of letters that we get from Cabinet Ministers. I believe this is unprecendented. Whatever partisan feelings are in this House, it is normally the convention in Canada that letters from Ministers must be fairly neutral and professional in their language. That does not seem to be the case here.
I am interested in whether or not the chippiness, or more gutter-political tone, in
some of the letters is a result of professional communications advice or if it is simply
an individual initiative by the Minister. I am also interested in whether or not the
Cabinet communications advisor, who is of course paid by the taxpayers, is involved in
partisan or strategic discussions involving the Government Leader and the Principal
Secretary and Mr. Livingston, who are basically political appointees. Can the Government
Leader speak to that question?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I would say that almost anyone who works in the political office is a political appointee. If the government goes, they go. Their jobs are not secure, so all of them are political appointees, but the Cabinet communications advisor advises Cabinet on communications issues. That is the role that he plays in our organization.
Mr. Penikett: From the Government Leader's point of view, the Cabinet communications advisor is just one among several of his political advisors.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I use him for advice on communications issues, yes.
Mr. Penikett: I would like to know if the Cabinet communications advisor, who is paid out of this budget by the taxpayers, participates in discussions of political strategy and advises the government on matters of partisan politics.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I am not sure what the Member is trying to get at. I just said that the person advises Cabinet on communication issues.
Mr. Penikett: That is a very imprecise answer. Let me ask the Government Leader a very concrete question. Did the Cabinet communications advisor have anything to do with writing the mid-term report?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I have no idea, but I can tell the Member that anything that goes out is reviewed by everybody up there, and they all have input into it. The caucus is the Yukon Party caucus. It is certainly not the NDP caucus.
Mr. Penikett: The Government Leader is missing the point. We have separate roles here. The Legislature is not a department of government. The Legislature has a separate vote. Each caucus is provided with a finite sum of money for doing caucus business, caucus work, caucus research, caucus publicity and caucus productions. It was never intended that, in addition to the allocation for the Yukon Party caucus, which is voted on in this House and debated, that the caucus should also have access, for partisan political purposes, to funds that are voted for the Executive Council Office. If the Government Leader does not understand that, I think he has a very poor understanding of what we would otherwise call conflict-of-interest questions, or questions about the proper expenditure of funds in this budget and voted by the Legislature. I want to ask the Government Leader who took the pictures in the mid-term report? Who did the layout? I have already asked him how much it cost.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I do not have that information. I will get back to the Member with it.
Mr. Penikett: On behalf of the Official Opposition, can I ask that this item be stood over? I would serve notice that we intend to introduce an amendment to the budget on this particular matter
Can I ask the Government Leader about the internal audit function, or the management improvement function? In his first year in the government, the Government Leader was kind enough to table a number of the internal audits that had been completed in the previous year. Can I ask the Government Leader if he would be prepared to do the same now?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I believe that what we have been tabling is the compliance audits, and we have no difficulty in doing that again.
Mr. Penikett: Could I ask the Government Leader what proportion of the time of this branch has been devoted to compliance audits and what proportion to other work?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Very roughly, about half and half.
Mr. Penikett: Could the Government Leader indicate to us something of the nature of the other work - not the compliance audits, but the other work?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The Bureau of Management Improvement has completed a series of compliance audits and reviews of departmental programs and activities in its first full year of operation since 1991. Six compliance audits on cost-share agreements with the federal government are included in the 1994-95 work plan. The six that have been completed are the economic development agreement, Yukon Legal Services Society, strategic highway improvement agreement, native courtworker program, construction contribution agreement and Inuvialuit final agreement. In addition, the department has completed several other reviews of departmental programs and activities at the request of either Cabinet, Management Board or the department.
All audit reviews have been completed with staff resources, with two exceptions. One was for the economic development agreement, which was undertaken by a local private firm because an audit was requested before there was an auditor on staff. On the advice of the Auditor General's office, we contracted a local firm to complete an audit of the court reporting contract so as to avoid any perception of conflict of interest that might arise if the government were to conduct an audit of the contract that is subject to legal actions against the government.
A 1995-96 work plan is underway to develop a work plan for the Bureau of Management Improvement for the 1995-96 fiscal year. A call letter is being issued to departments and corporations to identify potential projects. The list will be reviewed by the Deputy Ministers Review Committee and the Audit Committee prior to being submitted to Management Board for approval.
The 1995-96 work plan will be completed before the outset of the fiscal year.
Mr. Penikett: I thank the Government Leader for the answer. To what extent was the compliance audit of the economic development agreement program coordinated with the major economic development agreement project review, which I understand has been going on for some time and which involves a handful of local consultants?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The audit I just spoke of was a financial audit, which is required by the federal government to verify the funds that have been released under the program. We are also involved in the larger audit of the economic development agreement programs, and I believe that review is to be completed before the end of this fiscal year.
Mr. Penikett: I understand both those facts. My question was: to what extent was work on those two audits coordinated, or was there any coordination between the two?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I do not believe there was any coordination between the two, because the financial audit is ongoing.
Mr. Penikett: The Government Leader mentioned another audit that interested me, that of the court reporting system. We know there was a lawsuit launched against the government about the transcription services. To the Government Leader's knowledge, is that lawsuit proceeding?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: To the best of my knowledge it is still proceeding. I have heard nothing about it recently.
Mr. Penikett: Are there any other new lawsuits in which the Executive Council Office or the Government Leader's office is involved?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: We are not involved in the court reporting lawsuit. It is between the Department of Justice and the company.
Mr. Penikett: Again, that was not quite the question I asked. I asked if there were any other new lawsuits, but I guess the answer is no.
I would like to switch to French language services for a couple of questions before I turn the Government Leader over to the tender mercies of my colleague, the Member for Whitehorse Centre, who will ask about the claims.
I noticed in the budgets before us that there is reduced federal funding under the French language services, and I think the Government Leader may have mentioned this. Does he know why that is, or whether there was any formal consultation with the French language community, l'Association Franco-Yukonnais, or anyone else about the funding needs for this program?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The cuts, to date, have been built into the agreement that we have with the federal government. My understanding is that there will be some cuts to the French community. As a result of that, the department is in discussion with the French community on that issue at this time.
Mr. Penikett: Who is the person who is in contact with the French community?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The director of French language services.
Mr. Penikett: Can I ask one last question about the French language services? Has there been any change in the pattern of use of the French language services, the translation services, and so forth? Let me ask a more precise question. To what extent does the Government Leader's office use the French language services? I guess it is a question of protocol. For example, if the Government Leader gets a letter in French from the Premier of Quebec, is it the practice of this government to reply in French, as I understand protocol requires? Is the service being used to provide those translations?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The Member is right. Yes, we do reply in French and my understanding is that there has been some increase in the number of French letters and replies that we have had to make.
Mr. Penikett: Is that because of the advent of Premier Parizeau, or is it because of a huge increase of letters from French-speaking jurisdictions about things like the wolf kill? What is the reason for that?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: We have just calculated this to be a general increase and
probably is a result of people being more familiar with the fact that the Yukon government
does offer French language translations.
Ms. Commodore: I have a couple of questions regarding devolution, and I will be asking some questions about land claims. My first question is in regard to the devolution of the Crown attorney's functions. I realize that the Minister of Justice would play a large role in any negotiations concerning the Crown attorney's functions. In May of last year, I received a letter from the Government Leader in response to my question about whether or not the Council for Yukon Indians was involved in any consultation or any negotiations regarding the devolution of the Crown attorney. In May of last year, he wrote me to let me know that CYI had not been sent a letter inviting them to participate. I would like to ask the Minister if he might update me on what is happening regarding the involvement of the Council for Yukon Indians in this devolution process.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I do not know that. Maybe the Minister of Justice can bring the Member up to date on that when we get to his department. I know it is one of the devolution issues that arises every once in a while - I think we had a debate on it here in the House the other day. I guess I am not convinced that the federal government is really sincere about devolving the Crown attorney's functions to us. They do go through the motions every once in a while. I am sorry, but I do not have any more information about that for the Member right now. I can either get back with it, or the Minister of Justice should be able to answer it when we come to his department.
Ms. Commodore: I would like to request that the Government Leader update me on the Crown Attorney's functions. I would also like to know whether or not he has, since May 3, 1994, sent a letter to invite the CYI to participate. It is one of the issues they are interested in - the issue of aboriginal justice, circle sentencing, and such. It is a high priority with them. Would he possibly pass on to his Minister of Justice that I require the information? I do not think it would be that hard to find the information. I would like to have it before debating the Justice department.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I will do that for the Member opposite.
Ms. Commodore: I have a couple of other questions regarding the issue of gun control legislation. I do not know whether or not the Department of Justice is allocating any money for lobbying, which they have sworn to do in the motion that was debated in this House. The Government Leader, in his very strong and passionate speech, promised to fight this legislation to the bitter end. People are asking me how far he is determined to go to fight it to the bitter end. I do not know what he meant by that, but because he is the Government Leader, and because he made the statement, there is a process that has to take place. I asked him in Question Period whether they were going to be making representations to any legislative bodies, whether they might be traveling to Ottawa to make those representations and whether they intend to do more than have the Minister talk to the federal Minister of Justice at the ministerial meeting this month. I would like to know if that is the extent to which they will go because that does not appear to me to be fighting it to the bitter end. Do they have a sensible plan in place to do that? If they do, is this plan coming from the Executive Council Office through the Government Leader?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: We quite clearly said that we would do what we could to get this legislation either amended, repealed, or not put forward by the Minister. We were sincere about that, and we are going to do more than just have the Minister of Justice make representations to the federal Minister of Justice. He has already done that. There are going to be some Justice Ministers from various jurisdictions - I believe Saskatchewan is one that is very adamantly against this legislation, as well as Alberta - throughout Canada at the Justice Ministers' meeting. To my understanding, they are going to get together by themselves to try to come up with a strategy to continue to keep pressure on the federal Minister until he sees the folly of what he has embarked upon. I am prepared to bring this up at any ministerial meetings that I attend, if I have the opportunity. Whether or not we would be appearing before the parliamentary committee remains to be seen. That is an option that will be open to us, but until such time as the federal Minister introduces the legislation into the House of Commons, it would be premature to make those decisions. We will be monitoring this and we will be using any ministerial forums available to us to continue to keep pressure on the federal Justice Minister.
Ms. Commodore: The Government Leader speaks on behalf of a large number of people in the Yukon, but a number of other people are in favour of the legislation, as it is being presented by the federal Minister. I wonder whether or not the Minister has heard from any of those individuals. I know how he feels, and I know how his caucus feels. I also know how other individuals feel about the gun legislation. So, there are different views.
I asked the Government Leader whether or not he is going to be implementing a consultation process in the Yukon in order to find out what Yukoners are saying, and not just the people who are against the gun control legislation. Is he going to be consulting with other people? I know that we had a debate in this House and everybody voted for the motion that was presented by the Member for Vuntut Gwitchin. It was a very good motion, and it was very difficult for anyone not to support it. That is exactly what I supported when I voted for it.
I did not make a statement to fight gun legislation to the bitter end because I was only voting for what was in that motion. Certainly, there is a lot of support for that kind of an idea. Since the debate in the House, I have spoken to a few individuals - not many - who are concerned about what is happening and are a little concerned about the outcry from across the country from those people who are violently opposing the legislation. I suppose you might call them pacifists, or people who simply do not like guns. I would like to find out from the Minister whether or not he intends to seek other views from other people, other than his own.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I do not believe that I am expressing only my views. What I said is that a motion was unanimously passed in this Legislature, and that is what I am going to relay to everybody I can - that this motion was debated on the floor of this Legislature and was unanimously supported by the Legislature. We represent the people of the Yukon. When we stand up in this House and vote, we are representing not only our views, but the views of our constituents - what people have been telling us. So, I feel very strongly that when we have the support of this Legislature, we are speaking on behalf of Yukoners.
For the Member's information, I have not had any representation made to me by the opposite side of the argument, and there are two sides to every argument. Let me put it this way: there are some legitimate concerns in the major cities in Canada over the violence that has been inflicted upon our citizenry. They are very concerned and see this as the answer to their problems. We, in the rural areas of Canada, do not see it in that same light.
Again, I have had no representation made to me from the other side, and do not know what the merit would be in embarking on a large public consultation process at this point.
Ms. Commodore: The Commissioner of the RCMP was in town last weekend, I believe. He made the views known from that sector and talked about the legislation in a different light than the Government Leader did. I was just wondering whether or not he has any opinions of his own about what the RCMP Commissioner said.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I believe the RCMP Commissioner was saying the same thing that police forces across Canada are saying. They believe that this is another tool they will have for tracking weapons, and that may well be so, but I can also tell the Member opposite that, although those statements were made by the Commissioner of the RCMP, I know statements have been made in the Yukon by members of the force who do not believe that that is the answer. This is not a black- and-white situation and there are no easy answers. We just believe that the federal Justice Minister has not taken all views into consideration in his proposed legislation.
Ms. Commodore: It appears that, even though the Commissioner said it, it does not mean it is so. That could also apply to this Legislature - because the Government Leader says something, does not mean it is so, because other people think differently.
I would like to go on to gambling. I know it has already been discussed, but I have a couple of short questions.
The Government Leader has had some meetings with individuals about the gambling casino
and a report was done by the YCEE that seemed to contradict what the Government Leader was
doing with the results of some of the submissions made to them. My question is in regard
to the consultation he had with the CYI. He said he spoke to the Teslin First Nation at
one point a long time ago, and that they were sort of interested in it but the elders were
not. He also mentioned that he spoke to David Joe. I am not sure whether he spoke to him
because he might have been representing CYI, but when he had the meeting with David Joe,
did he talk about the recommendation in the YCEE report that indicated that there should
be some involvement by First Nations in regard to policies, regulations and laws? Was that
part of the discussion?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: It was part of the discussion we had. We also talked about the whole issue of gambling. When I met with Mr. Joe, I am not certain if the YCEE report was out, but it was during that time period. I will have to check the dates of that meeting. It may have just been released.
We discussed it with him. We expressed our concerns about a proliferation of casinos across the Yukon, which we do not believe is in the best interests of Yukoners. We are more interested in having control and regulation. We do not want Las Vegas-style casinos in the Yukon.
Chair: Order please. Is it the wish of the Members to take a brief recess at this time?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will take a brief recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Is there further general debate on the Executive Council Office?
Ms. Commodore: I have questions about gambling, and we may be able to spend more time on this another time.
I would like to ask the Government Leader about land claims. Last year, when we were in the House, there was a lot of dissension in the public, especially with Kwanlin Dun and Ta'an Kwach'an. There was a lot of talk about the land being used for the sewer and about the waterfront. There appeared to be a lot of anger then, and we had a lot of discussions in this House with regard to how the government was not working with First Nations people.
There was a lot of anger expressed by Kwanlin Dun with regard to the manner in which they felt they were being treated by the city. It appears we now have a city council that is a little bit more open to discussions with Kwanlin Dun about the land in question, and that is a positive thing.
Can the Government Leader update me on any consultation that is taking place? At one time, I know it was felt that too many decisions were being made by the government on land selections, and there was a lot of anger among First Nations. Right now, it appears that they are in negotiations and a lot of things are happening.
Could the Government Leader update me on what is happening?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I will start with the Ta'an Kwach'an. The negotiations on the Ta'an land package are nearly complete. Their selections have received interim protection, and the maps are available for review by the public. Negotiations of the Ta'an selections on the waterfront were set aside while discussions dealt with the rest of their land package. We expect that negotiations on the waterfront and other aspects of their final agreement will begin again this month.
Regarding the Kwanlin Dun negotiations, the Kwanlin Dun has been presented with an overall community land package for consideration. As it reviews its options, negotiation work is continuing on other elements of the final agreement and the rural land selection. Planning of the waterfront has not begun, and the Yukon government would like to see the planning process begin in the near future, with the cooperation and participation of all interested parties, including the Kwanlin Dun First Nation and the Ta'an Kwach'an.
That is about where it stands right now. There has been a community land package tabled with the Kwanlin Dun and we are waiting for a reply on land issues. Negotiations are going on in other areas of the final agreement.
Ms. Commodore: The Government Leader was taking a lot of flack from Kwanlin Dun. We know that they were very angry about a lot of things that may or may not have happened. It was very difficult for us in the House to try to get from the Government Leader exactly what the problem was and how he was involved. I would like to ask him whether he has had any meetings with the chief and council and negotiators from Kwanlin Dun in regard to the land selections and to talk about some of the concerns they had.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: We had a meeting last summer with a representative from Kwanlin Dun, a representative from the Ta'an Kwach'an and a representative from the city in regard to the waterfront. That was the last meeting I had directly with a representative of the political wing of Kwanlin Dun.
I have not met with their negotiators at any time; I leave that for our negotiators. As they get closer to a package, it may be that I will have to get involved in the final stages of negotiation, but I would prefer to leave it to the negotiators to work out. They have been given parameters within which to operate, and I do not believe that my interference would help to settle the outstanding concerns any quicker. They have all the information on it. The whole land package has to be looked at, and I do not have the minute details of each one of those land selections. As we get very, very close, it may be that I will have to step in.
Ms. Commodore: The Government Leader has just said that he has left the negotiating up to the negotiators. That sounds fine. What often happens is that when First Nations are in negotiations, they wonder whether or not the negotiators are speaking on behalf of the government on every issue or if they are the views of the negotiator. Can the Government Leader tell us whether or not he has had a briefing from the negotiators about certain issues regarding land claims? Has the Government Leader been briefed on what some of the problems might be? When we were in government, that is what would happen. We would get a briefing from the land claims people. They would talk about certain issues where there was a problem. There might be a case in which the First Nations were seeking more land than the government was prepared to agree to.
The Government Leader read me a response and gave me an update on what was happening with the two First Nations groups. I would like to know whether or not he has personally sought any information from the negotiators on any subjects that might be controversial. Has he expressed the government's position on that?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Yes, I receive briefings on a continual basis - almost weekly - regarding the stage of the negotiations and what problems are arising.
I also have just received an extensive briefing by the Land Claims Secretariat on the entire land package for the Kwanlin Dun. I have been briefed. I know that there is a feeling sometimes that the negotiators do not have the authority to complete a land package. I always try to refute those accusations and make it clear that the negotiators do have the authority to negotiate a complete land package. If they run into obstacles, they can come back for direction, but they have been given the parameters under which they may carry out their negotiations. We leave them to do that; that is why we hired them.
Ms. Commodore: Does the Government Leader often hear from the negotiators, seeking further direction when agreements cannot be met? Has that happened very often?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: It has not happened a lot. As we get closer to the final land package, there have to be some trade-offs made, and they have to see if those are acceptable to the Cabinet. As we get closer to the final package, I expect there will be more and more of that.
Ms. Commodore: Does the Government Leader have any idea when settlements might be made? It has been more than two years since the last agreements were done, and we are into the third year of this government's mandate. We would all like to see land claims settled in the next little while, so does the Government Leader have a time table he hopes to meet with regard to settling land claims with Yukon First Nations?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: To put it in simple terms, the sooner the better. We must be realistic about this, and I believe the assistant deputy chief of the Kwanlin Dun said the same thing the other day in an interview. One of the toughest settlements will be with the Kwanlin Dun because of the municipality of Whitehorse. The Kwanlin Dun needs to have some economic opportunities and lives within the municipality, in the urban centre of the Yukon, so land selections are that much more difficult. When will we be done? I do not know.
I can bring the Member up to date with regard to the bands we are negotiating with right now. There are five First Nations negotiations underway right now: the Kwanlin Dun, Ta'an Kwach'an, Little Salmon-Carmacks, Selkirk and Dawson. These negotiations are at various stages of completion.
I have already talked about where we are with the Kwanlin Dun and the Ta'an Kwach'an. The Dawson rural and community land packages have been finalized, and much progress has been made on the other chapters of the final agreement. With the recent completion of the community lands package, it is expected that the pace of negotiations will quicken, as they are clearly on the way to reaching a final agreement. We are fairly optimistic about what is happening in Dawson City right now.
In the Little Salmon-Carmacks talks, progress has been made on the final agreement negotiations. They will be wrapped up quickly when negotiations resume. Land negotiations will progress better once the First Nations complete tabling of its land selections.
In Selkirk, negotiations are proceeding on all areas of the final agreement, including land, self-government, and fish and wildlife.
The remaining First Nations, Kluane and Carcross, are preparing for negotiations in the very near future. I have seen advertisements in the paper where Kluane First Nation has been advertising for holding community meetings for positions on land claims and so on. Ross River recently indicated that it may wish to start negotiating under the umbrella final agreement. Liard First Nation is not prepared to negotiate under the umbrella final agreement. White River First Nation is under receivership and not able to participate in negotiations at this point. That is where we are with negotiations today.
Mr. McDonald: I just have a couple of brief questions about Kwanlin Dun's negotiations. Can the Minister tell us whether or not it is the case that the Kwanlin Dun land selection has at this point boiled down to the selections on the waterfront? Is that basically the stumbling block? Is that what is holding us up?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: It is deeper than that. That certainly is one of the outstanding issues, but it is not the only one. I think we could say that we are probably 85 percent of the way there on community land selections with the Kwanlin Dun, but there are still some major outstanding issues that have to be resolved.
Mr. McDonald: Are these outstanding issues broader than just the waterfront land selections? Are there other things as well in terms of community land selection that are causing us to be unable to sign a land agreement with the Kwanlin Dun?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Yes, there are other issues besides the waterfront. As I said, a land package was tabled for the Kwanlin Dun, to which they have not officially responded yet. A lot of the delay centres around some of the selections, the size of some of the selections and the different areas of the city. There is more than just the waterfront. If it were just the waterfront, that is probably an issue we could resolve in an expedient manner, but there are still other major issues outstanding that have to be resolved.
Mr. McDonald: Can the Minister give us a thumbnail sketch of the City of
Whitehorse's involvement in land selections? Are they kept abreast of the land selections?
Are they aware of the problem areas associated with final land selections in the
Whitehorse area? Do they accept the government's position with respect to where the
stumbling blocks are? How does the City of Whitehorse fold into the discussions?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The City of Whitehorse is fully involved in it. I am not certain if this is still the case, but they used to have a person at the secretariat on a regular basis. I do not know if they are officially back at the negotiating table, but they are fully briefed on what is happening. We have to take their concerns into consideration, as well. It is what makes negotiations that much more difficult, especially in a place like Whitehorse.
Mr. McDonald: There is no doubt that the discussions are complicated.
Can the Minister tell us what the position of the City of Whitehorse is with respect to land selections? Has their participation indicated that they are supportive of the government's position during the land selection process? Can the Government Leader give us some sense of what is happening there, please?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I cannot go too far on this because of the confidentiality of the negotiations, and I would hate to put another stumbling block on the road to reaching an agreement. If I could summarize it by saying that they have their concerns with some of the selections. An open dialogue goes back and forth as to why the government may agree to some selections that they are not totally impressed with. There are a lot of trade-offs, but we try to keep them fully involved. In the final equation, everybody has to be satisfied, as much as possible, in order for these land claims to work.
We try to keep the players involved, and we listen to their concerns. We then explain why we cannot meet those concerns, or adjust our position so that the concerns can be addressed. They have some very valuable input.
Mr. McDonald: What is the target date the Minister is shooting for to resolve the land selections, particularly in the waterfront? We know that there is development pressure there. There is pressure to plan and do something. When does the government plan to have the land selections wrapped up?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I wish I could tell the Minister that. I believe that the First Nations have to be prepared to get down to the short strokes and get it done. It could happen. It could probably happen at any time, or it could take a while. I cannot speculate on a date; I just do not feel comfortable doing so.
The Member is smiling. I think he knows the reason why.
I also cannot separate the waterfront land and leave the rest of the land package. We have to deal with the community land package in its entirety.
Mr. McDonald: During Question Period, the Minister of Community and Transportation Services tossed the Minister responsible for land claims the ball when it came to deciding the options for the residents' future on the waterfront, and made it very clear that, even though the land on which the residents are living is not claimed under the land claim, nor are they living on anything other than Commissioner's land. Somehow this has become a land claims issue, as far as Community and Transportation Services is concerned. The options to decide the future of these residents are now, I suppose, in this Minister's court.
I have a lot of questions about those options. I had planned to put them to the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. Luckily, I have been told that I am now talking to the right Minister.
Can the Minister tell us what discussions have taken place respecting the future of
those residents? What consultations does he anticipate having with the residents in the
near future to outline their options?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I am not so sure I appreciate the Minister of Community and Transportation Services throwing me that political football, but he is partly right. It has to be discussed at the land claims table to a certain extent, because we do not know what the final selections on the waterfront are going to be and, until we do, I do not think we can deal with the other issue the Member opposite is concerned about. It is a very valid issue, and the residents are concerned about what is going to happen to them.
Perhaps I should tell the Member that I will bring back a briefing note and not get into trouble, but I would like to say that I do not believe we can deal with the issue of the residents on the waterfront until such time as the final land selections are completed, so we know where they are situated and on whose land they are on.
Mr. Chair, I move that you report progress.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. May the House have a report from the Chair of the Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Abel: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 3, entitled Third Appropriation Act, 1994-95, and directed me to report progress on it.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chair of the Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Bill No. 59: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 59, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Phillips.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that Bill No. 59, entitled An Act to Amend the Small Claims Court Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Justice that Bill No. 59, entitled An Act to Amend the Small Claims Court Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion for third reading of Bill No. 59 agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 59 has passed this House.
Bill No. 83: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 83, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Phillips.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that
Bill No. 83, entitled An Act to Amend the Business Corporations Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Justice that Bill No. 83, entitled An Act to Amend the Business Corporations Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion for third reading of Bill No. 83 agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 83 has passed this House.
Bill No. 43: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 43, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Phillips.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that
Bill No. 43, entitled Electronic Registration (Department of Justice Statutes) Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Justice that Bill No. 43, entitled Electronic Registration (Department of Justice Statutes) Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion for third reading of Bill No. 43 agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 43 has passed this House.
Bill No. 61: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 61, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Phillips.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that Bill No. 61, entitled An Act to Amend the Legal Services Society Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Justice that Bill No. 61, entitled An Act to Amend the Legal Services Society Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion for third reading of Bill No. 61 agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 61 has passed this House.
Bill No. 35: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 35, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Fisher.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I move that Bill No. 35, entitled An Act to Amend the Agricultural Products Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Minister of Renewable Resources that Bill No. 35, entitled An Act to Amend the Agricultural Products Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion for third reading of Bill No. 35 agreed to
Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 35 has passed this House.
Speaker: We are now prepared to receive the Commissioner, in his capacity as
Lieutenant Governor, to give assent to certain bills that have passed this House.
Commissioner enters the Chamber, announced by the Sergeant-at-Arms
ASSENT TO BILLS
Commissioner: Good afternoon. Please be seated.
Speaker: The Assembly has, at its present session, passed certain bills to which, in the name of and on behalf of the Assembly, I respectfully request your assent.
Clerk: An Act to Amend the Small Claims Court Act, An Act to Amend the Business Corporations Act, Electronic Registration (Department of Justice Statutes) Act, An Act to Amend the Legal Services Society Act, An Act to Amend the Agricultural Product Act.
Commissioner: Thank you, Mr. Clerk.
Mr. Speaker, Members of the Assembly, I am pleased to assent to the bills as enumerated
by the Clerk.
Commissioner leaves the Chamber
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 5:19 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled January 17, 1995:
Boards and Committees Directory (December 1994) (Ostashek)
Northwestel Inc. Tariff Application Notice No. 507, dated December 8, 1994 (letter
dated January 6, 1995, to chairman of CRTC from the Government Leader) (Brewster)
Boards and committees rate categories (dated October 1991) (Ostashek)