Thursday, January 26, 1995 - 1:30 p.m.
Clerk: It is my duty, pursuant to the provisions of Section 24 of the Legislative
Assembly Act, to inform the House of the absence of the Speaker.
Deputy Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will
proceed with Prayers.
Deputy Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors?
Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Nordling: At the request of a number of my constituents, I have for tabling a list of names of supporters of Dr. Don Branigan who would like to see an investigation to determine whether his rights and freedoms under the Canadian Charter have been contravened by what they perceive to be a publicly funded campaign against Dr. Branigan by some members of the medical community.
They have asked me to table this document, signed by hundreds and hundreds of Yukoners and people from outside the territory, so that all Members of the Legislative Assembly are aware that this is a matter of principle for them, and is of great concern. They want all Members to know that there is considerable support for Dr. Branigan.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I have a letter that pertains to the same issue. It is a
letter responding to the many letters we have received from Yukon citizens regarding Dr.
Deputy Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Are there any Petitions?
Are there any 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?
Yukon Excellence Awards
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I rise today to announce the intention of a new awards program for Yukon Public school students, one which will not only reward them for their scholastic achievements, but provide substantial encouragement for them to stay in school and go on to post-secondary studies.
The Yukon Excellence Awards will be given to those students in grades 8 through 11 who score a mark of 80 percent or higher on departmentally administered cumulative assessment examinations, and to grade 12 students who receive 80 percent or higher on the B.C. provincial exams. The award will be $100 for each subject in which a grade 8 student achieves that level of performance, and will increase by $100 per grade, so that a grade 12 student will receive $500 for each subject in which she or he scores that well.
An important feature of that program is that the Yukon Excellence Awards are not in the form of cash. Rather, they are in the form of a reimbursement for tuition, fees and books payable when the student has officially enrolled. It is also important to note that these awards will not affect a student's eligibility for any other grant or scholarship, including the Yukon grant.
At the present time, cumulative assessments in grades 8 through 11 exist only for mathematics. However, depending on the development of a comprehensive assessment plan, as announced in the department's action plan response to the education review, additional assessments may also be put in place for science, language arts and social studies in the next few years. In that case, grade 8 students who achieved an 80 percent standing in all examination subjects for the remainder of their school days, could each accumulate as much as $9,200 in awards by the time they graduated from grade 12.
To my way of thinking, that kind of saving on one's post-secondary education provides powerful incentive, not only to the student to work hard and stay in school, but to parents to get actively involved in their children's education and performance.
To kick the program off in fine style, we will shortly be awarding the first Yukon excellence awards, retroactively, to those students who achieved an 80 percent standing in the 1993-94 grade 12 provincial exams, or in the grade 8 through 11 mathematics assessments.
With current enrollments and levels of performance, we expect to register about $182,000 in Yukon Excellence Award vouchers per year, once all assessments are in place. Obviously, however, the purpose of this program is to encourage scholastic achievement, and we would be delighted to discover we seriously underbudgeted in this area.
I look forward to the response of the Members opposite.
Ms. Moorcroft: I feel that the Minister's last statement, that he was looking forward to the response of the Members opposite, is really true. The ministerial statement is, in a way, like a trick question.
Any initiative that encourages all Yukon students to remain in school and pursue higher education is a good initiative and will be supported by our caucus. However, whenever a new program is announced, we look to see where it is reflected in the budget. Where is the money in the budget for this program?
The Minister stated that they were kicking off the program by making it retroactive, but I could not find any reference to it in the supplementary budget for the previous fiscal year or in the new budget. Did the government know that this program would be going ahead when the budget was being prepared or is there going to be another amendment to the new budget to reflect this program?
The Minister referred to the education review and the development of a comprehensive assessment plan. The Minister knows that diagnostic testing has been a subject of some debate in this House. There is a debate among educators about whether cumulative assessments are a good approach to take in fields outside of math, such as language arts, the sciences and social studies, which the Minister referred to in his ministerial statement. I hope that the review that was recommended in the education review and will be getting underway will be a true consultation. Is it a fait accompli that cumulative assessments will be extended to other program areas when educators, parents, school councils and others have not yet undertaken the review that was recommended by the education review?
It is important that students achieve and be given encouragement to do well. I do have
to express a concern that it may be a disincentive if additional pressure is put on the
students. They may not try if they think they will fail.
I think that this initiative does sound like a good initiative. It talks about giving
financial benefits to students for doing well, but there will be a number of questions
about it to which I am sure the Minister will respond.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I thank the Member opposite for her very qualified support with regard to the issue of whether or not there is a separate line item in the budget for this initiative. Of course not, because this is a new program and the budget was prepared some months ago.
With regard to the position taken by that party regarding the development of the cumulative assessment for students in all the core subjects - the main subjects, the required subjects in school - I guess we have somewhat of a different philosophical approach to education. We come from the point of view that we do not only measure input, and when we have one of the more expensive education systems per student in Canada, it is very important to measure output as well.
Question re: Kluane Game Sanctuary, access road
Ms. Moorcroft: My question is for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. Both the Minister of Community and Transportation Services and the Minister of Tourism have received copies of a petition opposing the proposed five-kilometre access road to the boundary of the Kluane National Park through the Kluane Game Sanctuary. I understand that the Minister of Community and Transportation Services has suggested that he is backing the project and a petition will not change his mind. Can the Minister tell me what information he has in his possession that makes him support a road that at least 190 people in his constituency oppose?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: On April 27, 1988, it was moved by the Hon. Member for Whitehorse Riverdale North that "It is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon should urge Parks Canada to improve road access into Kluane National Park in order to enable more tourists to see the sights and prolong their stay in the Yukon."
In the same vein, I have a letter signed by all the NDP to Ms. Sue Burton, who was the mayor at that time, and the Hon. Dave Porter supported me solidly all of the time.
Ms. Moorcroft: You just never know what this Minister is going to say when you ask him a question. Regardless of the statement that he just made, let me ask him a question and see if I can get an answer to it. Has the Minister of Community and Transportation Services consulted with any of the concerned residents about this proposed road?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This debate has been going on for probably eight or nine years and I have spoken personally to many people out there. Most of the people I have spoken to were surprised that a meeting was held a week ago. Nobody, except certain groups, was aware of it.
Ms. Moorcroft: I wonder whether the Minister was at the meeting. He does not really seem to want to tell us what he is up to. He has even said that he does not know what consulting means and that, if it means he has to knock on everybody's door, he has to admit he cannot do it.
I understand that one of the reasons why this road has been proposed is to encourage tourists to stay in Haines Junction longer - presumably to spend more money in the community. Can the Minister of Community and Transportation Services tell me how he sees a five-kilometre road, heading nowhere, encouraging people travelling the Alaska Highway to spend their money in Haines Junction?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The assessment review that is going on right now will determine all those facts and determine whether the road will help the environment if it goes ahead. That process is being undertaken by a group organized by Tourism and by the National Parks people.
Question re: Kluane Game Sanctuary, access road
Ms. Moorcroft: I believe the Minister must be referring to a committee that includes representatives of the municipalities of Haines Junction, Champagne-Aishihik, Bear Creek and a number of other parties that have almost finalized the terms of reference for this proposal.
Has the Minister seen a copy of those terms of reference?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: In the first place, this is a Tourism matter, not mine, for the time being, and, no, I have not seen it.
Ms. Moorcroft: It is a tourism situation, not a road situation, so I guess that shoots my theory that the Minister wanted to get involved in this Cabinet shuffle and be responsible for roads so that he could see this new road go through.
Can the Minister explain to us the process that this proposal would go through before
it is finalized and the upgrading of the road occurs?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: On any of these kinds of issues, especially when there are new roads going into areas like this, we have to go through an environmental process. We are complying with that and working with Parks Canada. There will be opportunities for all those involved to have input into the process. I believe it is quite a public process.
It is a normal process to determine whether or not it is feasible to put in a road into that area.
Ms. Moorcroft: On the subject of that normal public process, the Minister of Community and Transportation Services stated this morning that he will respect the decision of the environmental impact study on this project. Will the Minister assure the House that he will stand by that statement when the review is complete?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: If it is decided that it should not go in, and it is a reasonable decision, then, yes, I will support it.
Question re: Anvil Range Mining, water licence
Mr. Cable: I have some questions for the Minister of Renewable Resources, with his environment minister hat on.
The Water Board is hearing a submission by Anvil Range Mining on their water licence. There is a number of participants. Is the Yukon government a participant in the present hearing?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: Congratulations are in order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for your new position today. We will not talk about the robe until the break.
With regard to the question, I am not aware of anyone from my department either submitting an intervention or appearing before the board as a witness. I can check that at the first opportunity. If that is not correct, I will advise the House.
Mr. Cable: In view of the fact that this government will be taking over land and resources sometime in the next three to four years, one would have thought that there would be more than a casual interest in the subject, because this is our major mine and reclamation has been a sore point for some time.
Has the Minister had an opportunity to review the reclamation security agreement negotiated between the mine corporation and the federal government? If so, does the Minister agree with the agreement?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Yes, we were consulted very early in the process when the agreement between Indian Affairs and Anvil Range was being drawn up. We did have some input into the mine reclamation agreement.
Mr. Cable: I will take that as a "yes".
There has been an indication from the Anvil Mining that there will be amendments sought to the water licence. Does this government intend to intervene at the hearings that will be taking place and put forward the Yukon territorial government's position?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I am not aware that we are intervening. I understand that they are looking for an extension of time until they have the final mine abandonment plan in place, although I could be proven wrong. It was supposed to be in place by December 31, 1994. They were looking for an extension. They are taking over an agreement that was started by the previous company, and they have enhanced it to where there will be a substantial amount of money put into a mine reclamation fund. There also needs to be a plan around that. I understand that is the amendment for which they are looking.
Question re: "Streamlining Utility Regulation in the Yukon"
Mr. Penikett: I have a question for the Minister of Justice. I would like to ask him why the research and drafting of the document, "Streamlining Utility Regulation in the Yukon" was performed by an official of the Yukon Energy Corporation, rather than by someone from the Department of Justice?
Was there no one in the Department of Justice with any expertise on the Yukon Utilities Board issues?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It was felt that the individual had some background in that area and could draft up several options. It was simply that - an options paper to provoke thought in people's minds. It was not the position of the government. It was seeking some options, from one end of the spectrum to the other. I think that people who looked at that document and attended the meetings considered it to be that.
Mr. Penikett: It struck others as a bit like sending the fox to decide the fate of the chickens.
At the time this project was initiated, the same person was the Minister of Justice and Minister responsible for Yukon Energy Corporation, the Justice deputy minister had at one time been on the Yukon Energy Corporation board and the author of the draft report was a Yukon Development Corporation/Yukon Energy Corporation employee. Was the government, and the Minister, in particular, at all concerned about appearances of conflict of interest?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: No, what we wanted to do was draft a document that gave several options, and we used someone who had some background in that field. I think it was received that way by the group and they are proceeding in that manner. They have gone through a couple of steps now and are working on some recommendations for Cabinet.
Mr. Penikett: Perhaps the Minister could explain, then, why submissions were accepted in advance from both the private utility and the public utility, but not from other interest groups, such as the Utilities Consumers Group?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I can take that question as notice and get back to the Member.
Question re: "Streamlining Utility Development in the Yukon"
Mr. Penikett: When the Minister is checking into that issue, I wonder if he could also inquire about whose idea it was originally to have the Yukon Utilities Board streamlined. Did the original proposal come from the Alberta Power Corporation and who, in particular, was responsible for the suggestion that electrical utility rates might be regulated by the Alberta regulatory board, rather than by a Yukon board?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It was Cabinet's decision to look at options for streamlining the Public Utilities Board process.
Mr. Penikett: We are asked to believe that the Yukon Cabinet of the Yukon Party was seriously proposing that Yukon Electrical rates would be set by an Alberta regulatory authority over which we have no authority. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: No, that is totally incorrect.
Mr. Penikett: I want to ask the Minister then, why that was proposed by his Cabinet as a suggestion?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: That was not proposed by Cabinet. We only need to look at the last general rate application hearing, which to my understanding, from all the information I have seen, added three percent to the consumers' power bill. The rate set is far more per capita, in percentage terms, than any other rate hearing that has been held in Canada in recent history.
I think it is incumbent upon governments, when we see something like this that is not working properly, and is a great cost to the ratepayers, that we do whatever we can to address the issue and get input from all the people. That is exactly what happened in the hearing process into the streamlining of the Utilities Board, and that was to see what the different interest groups had to say about the subject.
Question re: "Streamlining Utility Regulation in the Yukon"
Mr. Penikett: When the Minister responsible for the utility answers questions about what is going to happen to the Utilities Board, it is clear who is calling the shots here. Does this government not acknowledge that the interveners, in the last round of hearings, saved Yukon consumers $10 million, which was far more than the cost of the hearing itself. Does the Government Leader, the person responsible for running the public utility, not understand that?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: It seems that the Leader of the Official Opposition does not understand that those goals could have been accomplished in a far more efficient manner if the system was made to operate in a more efficient manner. Right now, it operates in an adversarial way, where everything is like a Supreme Court of Canada. It is not run like that in other jurisdictions. We are looking to see what we can do to the system so that everybody can be heard, and that the ratepayers get the best possible deal and are not charged another three percent on their power bill for a general rate application.
Mr. Penikett: If we are to take the Government Leader's statement seriously - who, I would note, is not even supposed to be responsible for the Utilities Board but suddenly appears to be, as well as the utility - can I ask him why his government does not accept the proposal advanced by several people, such as myself and, I understand, the Member for Carcross-Southern Lakes on one occasion - that the most efficient way to achieve the objective he has just stated is to have the utilities themselves pay the cost of the hearings?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The Member has given one option, which I do not think is a valid option. These rate applications should not be cumbersome processes and they should not be held every year or 18 months.
If we look at other jurisdictions, general rate application hearings are held every three, four or five years. Most of these things can be accomplished by having a better system of communication between the user groups, the intervenors and the utilities and a better exchange of information. At present, we have a courtroom-style process, in which everything is subject to cross-examination, and we have consultants and lawyers filling their pockets at the Yukon ratepayers' expense.
Mr. Penikett: I suspect there would be fewer lawyers and fewer accountants involved if the utilities had to pay the cost for their own lawyers and accountants.
The concern here is, of course, that utilities have got the government's ear and the consumers have not. A few minutes ago, we heard that everybody was given a voice. Perhaps the Government Leader can explain - since we previously heard that all the intervenors in this process were invited to the regular review seminar - why I, who submitted an intervention to the Minister before the deadline, was not invited to participate in the discussion?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I can get back to the Member on that.
Question re: RCMP, 24-hour service in rural communities
Ms. Commodore: My question is for the Minister of Justice.
My question is with regard to the problem of accessibility of the RCMP to rural residents after hours. As the Minister is aware, some detachments do not operate 24 hours a day. Any need of the RCMP must be made through a toll-free number to the Whitehorse RCMP. This has been mentioned often in the House by the Member for Tatchun. This causes delays in situations that could be emergencies.
I would like to ask the Minister if he can tell us whether or not this problem was discussed during the RCMP budget, to find out if there are ways to improve this service. It is a concern that has been registered very often, as I am sure it has been to the Members on the other side of the House, as well.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: No, it was not an issue that was raised. I thank the Member for raising it now. If the Member has specific incidences, I would certainly want to look into those fairly quickly.
I am not presently aware of any specific problems that this has created. I understand that the RCMP has set up, as the Member says, a toll-free line and telephones in the various communities for quick responses. If the Member has a specific concern, I would like to know about it.
Ms. Commodore: There are many incidences where there have been concerns because of delays. The Member for Tatchun mentioned a three-hour delay in a medical emergency because they were unable to make that contact.
I would like to ask the Minister if, when he has discussions with the RCMP - they do know that there is a problem - they can discuss the changing of some working hours. The detachments are usually closed in the evenings, when the need may be the greatest.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The next time that I meet with the RCMP, I will certainly raise the issue that the Member has brought forward and see if we can get a satisfactory change to whatever they are doing. As I said, I have not had a specific complaint land on my desk with respect to this issue. If the Member does have an outstanding complaint, I would be happy if she would let me know about it.
Ms. Commodore: I guess the Minister has not been in the portfolio long enough to have received a lot of the complaints that we hear about. They have been happening for years. In the mid-term report, there was some indication that there had been many new initiatives introduced by the government to reduce crime. I would like to ask him if he could let us know what some of the initiatives pertaining to the rural communities were, because it appears that crime has not been reduced in the rural communities.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I will be making a ministerial statement on crime and vandalism next week. At that time, I will try to get some information from the Member to deal with that issue.
Question re: Young Offenders Act
Ms. Commodore: My question is for the Government Leader. According to the Yukon Party four-year plan and the Yukon Party mid-term report, changes to the Young Offenders Act is a priority. The mid-term report stated that they have lobbied the federal government to tighten up the Young Offenders Act. Can the Government Leader tell us what action the government has initiated through its lobbying efforts? What exactly has been done? I am asking the Government Leader, because it was a Yukon Party promise, and there is a problem about who is responsible for the Young Offenders Act. There is a question about whether or not the Minister responsible for the Young Offenders Act is a real Member of the government.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: This is the responsibility of the Minister of Health and Social Services, but I attended the Justice Ministers meeting in Victoria over the last few days on behalf of the Minister. We dealt with this issue. The Yukon supports the changes in Bill No. 37, Young Offenders Act, to tighten it up. As well, we did express some strong concerns to the federal Minister of Justice regarding the justice committee that is going to review the rest of the act, and the fact that the committee is not coming to the Yukon. I had the support of all of the other provinces and territories in that request, and the federal Justice Minister said that he would take that up with the Parliamentary committee.
Ms. Commodore: The Minister has already indicated that he supports the proposed changes to the Young Offenders Act. Some of those changes are very severe and include some pretty harsh punishment for individuals from 12 to 17 years of age. I know what the Minister's promises were, but I would like to ask him whether or not he has had any discussions or consultations with any groups in the Yukon in regard to their position on changes to the Young Offenders Act. We are dealing with young people.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The Minister of Health can answer the question about consultations. However, just for the Member's information, Bill No. 37, An Act to Amend the Young Offenders Act, had the full support of all provinces and territories, including all the NDP jurisdictions.
Ms. Commodore: I already understood that; he mentioned it during his last answer. I would like the Minister to tell us exactly what kind of consultation he did. I would like to know whether or not he sat down with First Nations groups. I would like to ask him whether or not he sat down with the individuals who represent these young people, to find out exactly what they are saying. It is important that it is supported right across the country, but we also have to know what Yukoners are saying.
I would like to know whether his government has heard from any of these groups in regard to these changes.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: We have undergone a lot of consultations with all kinds of citizens groups. We meet, from time to time, with the Advisory Council for Indian Child Welfare. It takes a great interest in these issues. They have gone to view the Young Offenders Facility, and they keep me informed as to their thoughts about that.
I think it is important to note that the so-called increased punishment that the Member speaks about really deals with dangerous young offenders, and that is an area that does not show up much in Yukon crime. Certainly, the provisions regarding youths who are charged with murder are provisions that we support.
Again, the incidence of that type of crime up here is quite low.
Question re: Contracts, sole sourcing
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Government Leader. Last evening, I attended a Chamber of Commerce function during the dinner break when we were sitting in the Legislature. Of course, there was much discussion by people there about the events in the Legislature over the past week. Many concerns were expressed to me about the fairness of the contracting process. Aside from the other issues, one concern that was of particular interest to business people was the aspect that, although we have rules in place with respect to sole sourcing, the Cabinet Members sat down and sole sourced a contract for almost $400,000. This raised a lot of eyebrows and concerns about potential abuses. People felt that the contract should have been tendered.
Yesterday, the Government Leader said that Cabinet always has a difficult decision to make when it comes to sole sourcing. I would like to ask him if he could tell us today how many times the rules have been bypassed and Cabinet has sole sourced purchases?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I could not tell the Member at this moment. It has not happened very often. On occasion, we do sole source contracts for various reasons. If Mr. Speaker would allow me, I would just like to speak about that contract and perhaps point out for the Member what we were faced with.
We had a Xerox dealer in town who could service the machine. Had we put it out to tender, the only other company to bid on it would have been one from outside. Had the outside company submitted a lower bid, we would have been involved with having to bring that company in from outside to service the machine.
Mrs. Firth: That is another entire debate, and one we will get into in Government Services. I am specifically concerned about the interest local businesspeople have in the Cabinet sitting down and sole sourcing contracts. I would like to ask the Government Leader to bring us back all of the contracts that have been sole sourced solely by Cabinet decision.
I would also like to ask the Government Leader if he could tell us when he will have that information for us.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I can try to get the information for the Member. The Member may want to ask each Minister, as we get to each department, about how many were sole sourced in each department. That might be the quickest way to get the information, but I will endeavour to get it for her. I cannot tell her right now when I will get it back to her.
Mrs. Firth: I want to make it very clear that I am not interested in all the sole-source contracts. I am just interested in the ones where the Cabinet specifically made the decision to sole source.
There should be some limits on sole sourcing and structured tendering regulations should be in place and should be followed, not only by government officials who tender, but also by the Cabinet. The concern that was expressed to me last evening is that there are going to be potential abuses in the future.
I would like to ask the Government Leader if he will give us - the business community and the contracting industry - some assurance that in the best interests of maintaining the integrity of the contracting process, Cabinet will not be sole sourcing contracts for these huge amounts of money.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: No, I will not, because there are occasions when it is required. We do try not to do it. If there are reasons not do it, we certainly do not do it. We would prefer to see our business people here in the Yukon receive the contracts, but there are occasions when it must occur.
Question re: Historic resource legislation
Mr. McDonald: I have a question for the Minister of Tourism. I think it is fair
to say that not much has happened to provide protection for our historic resources since
the O'Connor House, which was featured in the Whitehorse walking tours brochure, was
bulldozed last May. I have received copies of a number of letters to the government urging
it to proclaim a historic resources act without delay. Can the Minister tell us what the
Hon. Mr. Phillips: At the present time, I believe that the final drafting on some changes is being completed. At that time, we will be consulting with the heritage community, and then I hope it will be tabled in the House shortly after that.
Mr. McDonald: The Minister has been very imprecise about times in the past and he is maintaining that tradition today. Can the Minister tell us precisely when we might expect some legislation before the Legislature? Is it going to be while we are sitting? Is going to be in the next month?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It will certainly be in this session.
Mr. McDonald: I hate to have to use my supplementary questions like this. This session lasts until 1996. Is he saying that the government will table the amendments to the Historic Resources Act before April or May, 1995?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: That brings back memories of a former Minister of the NDP, who is in "this session" in a response to a question concerning a document, and we did not see it for months and months. I will say it will be this sitting. It will be before we adjourn this spring - June or July, or whenever we adjourn.
Question re: Historic resources legislation
Mr. McDonald: I want to ask the Minister about the proposed changes. Clearly, he has carried out consultation on those changes, and I am assuming he knows them well. Can the Minister tell us the essential important changes being considered for the act?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It has not gone out for final consultation yet. That will be done as soon as we get it back from Justice and it goes through Cabinet. We will go from there. I would like Cabinet to discuss it before I release it to the Member opposite.
Mr. McDonald: There is a great deal of concern in the heritage community. I know the Minister can appreciate that the proposed changes that are being considered now are actually much more severe than the housekeeping amendments that he had identified in the past.
Can the Minister tell us if any fundamental changes are being proposed that would change the designation of what an historic artifact or site is?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I would prefer to discuss it first with my Cabinet colleagues. Once it receives approval and we go out to discuss it with the different groups, I will be more than happy to make a copy available to the Member opposite.
Mr. McDonald: A large number of people will be extremely interested in every detail of the proposed changes, and I will certainly be one of them. I would like to ask a question of the Minister about discussions held with the City of Whitehorse.
The City of Whitehorse sent the Minister a letter recently, indicating that it believes that the Yukon government should be taking the lead role in providing heritage legislation before it passes its own bylaw. Can the Minister tell us whether or not he has had discussions with the City of Whitehorse particularly on the protection of our heritage buildings in Whitehorse, and whether or not he agrees with the city's assessment that it must wait for the Yukon government to act first?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: My understanding is that, even under the previous government, the city was advised that it could go ahead and create a heritage bylaw without the Historic Resources Act being in place. That has not changed. We still believe that a heritage bylaw can be created. The city prefers that the act be in place, but my understanding of the issue is that the city has the ability to go ahead and create a heritage bylaw. Our officials have been in contact with the city with respect to identifying certain buildings in the City of Whitehorse and setting up a process - which failed the last time, by the way, because of a clerical error - through which heritage buildings could be identified and possibly protected before they are torn down or demolished.
Question re: Canada Council, arts consultation
Mr. Penikett: I have a question for the Minister responsible for opera, ballet and the arts. In November, the Canada Council announced a plan for consultation with the arts community and the public in developing a strategic plan, and meetings were scheduled across the country from November 22 to December 14, but this schedule did not include the Yukon.
Can the Minister responsible for the arts branch tell this House why the Yukon was excluded from this process, and what he did about it?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: Yes, we were excluded. We were certainly disappointed that we were excluded. The director of the arts branch immediately wrote a letter to the council and requested that Yukoners be involved in the process.
Mr. Penikett: In order to be involved, I understand that Yukoners were expected to catch a bus to Yellowknife to attend the meetings, and that members of the arts community in the Yukon were only informed of the consultation six days before the meeting in Yellowknife, giving them barely enough time to pack their bags. Can the Minister tell us when he knew of the Canada Council's plans, and why he did not play a larger role in coordinating the event, so that Yukoners would have had a chance to express their views in this consultation?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I would have to check the record to find out when I actually knew of the particular incident in question. I will bring that information back to the Member. I know that once we found out when it was happening, the arts branch acted quickly in trying to put together the Yukon's concerns. I will prepare a legislative return for the Member advising him of the chronology of the event.
Mr. Penikett: I thank the Minister very much, because he knows that there is widespread concern in the arts community about lack of support for the arts by both the territorial and the federal government.
Does the Minister not agree that every step should have been taken, given the circumstances, to ensure that the arts community here had a chance to voice their concerns about this lack of support - financial and otherwise - to the Canada Council during this consultation?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The Member has it all wrong. I think that the arts community
is very appreciative of the enormous amount of work that this government has done for the
arts community in the territory, and is very supportive of it. The federal government has
cut back all the programs to the arts community, not this government. We have been very
supportive of the arts community. We are one of the few , other than Quebec, that will
have an arts policy in place in the near future.
Deputy Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed. We will proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I move that the Deputy Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Deputy Speaker: It has been moved by the Government House Leader that the Deputy Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Deputy Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Deputy Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. Is it the wish of the Committee to take a brief recess?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Deputy Chair: We will take a brief recess.
Deputy Chair: I will now call the Committee to order.
Bill No. 3 - Third Appropriation Act, 1994-95 - continued
Community and Transportation Services - continued
Deputy Chair: We will continue with Bill No. 3, Third Appropriation Act, 1994-95, general debate on estimates for the Department of Community and Transportation Services.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have some answers that we did not have yesterday.
On the painting of the firehall in Ross River, Government Services had waited until they could get a local contractor to paint the building. It has to be done by March 31, and they have now located a local contractor in Faro to do the painting.
On the fire alarm system, Northwestel and the contractors are now in Ross River working on it. It should be ready by the end of next week if all the parts are available. Meanwhile, the pager system is working.
I also have, and will pass it to the other side, "Toward a New Municipal Act" by the Association for Yukon Communities and some information about mobile homes. I have made one for each Member on that side of the House.
Mr. McDonald: I do not know what kind of information is being passed out but I
will just ask the essential questions once again, on the line of questioning I raised
I had asked about land availability in Whitehorse that could be identified low-cost lots, trailer parks, and that sort of thing. Can the Minister give us some information about that please?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We have not been able to get that from the city yet. We will get it, I assure the Member, by Monday.
Mr. McDonald: The Mobile Home Review Committee members includes Yukon Housing
Corporation representatives, the Real Estate Association, the City of Whitehorse and
trailer park owners, along with one representative from the Whitehorse Mobile Home Tenants
Association, which has not yet been formed. This association has not even come into being
yet. Obviously, when it comes to representation from the Department of Community and
Transportation Services or from mobile home tenants, there appears to be somewhat of and
under-representation. What is the Minister doing about that?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: In the first place, the committee was formed by Yukon Housing Corporation, so that question should be addressed to that Minister. However, I can say that the Department of Community and Transportation Services will have the electrical inspector there to comment on electrical work in trailers.
Mr. McDonald: Does lands branch warrant a place? Is the Minister fighting like a dog to get its participation in this committee?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The lands branch is presently working directly with the city. I would hope that it would coordinate between the two groups somewhere along the line.
Mr. McDonald: The Minister is saying that the City of Whitehorse is going to speak for lands branch when it comes to committee meetings - is that right?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, I did not say that. I said that the city and the lands branch are now working together to coordinate the land in the city, and we hope that, when they come up with some of their ideas, they will be working closely with the other committee that the Yukon Housing Corporation has formed.
Mr. McDonald: The City of Whitehorse is on the committee. I see Bryce Walt, Rob
Roycroft and Bernie Phillips are on the committee. Ultimately, any land development that
is going to take place, unless some new land development procedures are undertaken, is
going to be done or headed by lands branch. Is the Minister saying that the relationship
between the City and the lands branch is so good that, once this committee makes some
decisions, there will be no delay in getting lands branch to act?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The City of Whitehorse and the lands branch work together continually. This is ongoing and, I suspect, was happening even with the previous government. They will coordinate their work with the Yukon Housing Corporation committee that is trying to find low-cost land for the trailers.
Mr. McDonald: I will pursue this later in another forum. I will read through the material for now.
Ms. Moorcroft: I would like to start out with a point of common agreement we seemed to end on last night. The Minister said he agreed with the Member for Mount Lorne when we were discussing the issue of affordable land being available to meet a variety of needs.
It is important to have a construction industry and to have lots available for it. It is also important to have affordable land available for the average Yukoner. That includes trailer owners, who are often trapped. The only way that a low-income family can afford property is if there is low-cost land available for them. This also includes Yukoners who want to build their own homes. They want to just buy a lot.
The Minister was talking about land outside of city limits and how he would apply
development costs, including water and sewer. I have to point out that in country
residential neighborhoods, even within city limits, it is the home owners who are
responsible for their own water and sewer. Certainly, outside of city limits, that is
largely the responsibility of the home owner, not of any local form of government.
Can the Minister tell me, more specifically, how he will support making land available at cost to people?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As I said, it depends on where you are, and what size lot people want. It also depends on what people want on the lot. There are certain areas where people get their own water and sewer, and these are the types of lots that would probably sell around the $20,000 mark instead of being as highly priced as the ones in the city that include sewer, water and lights and such things.
Ms. Moorcroft: In previous debates, the former Minister had suggested - maybe it was a trial balloon - selling land to developers for $1.00. I had asked him if that was the case, whether he would support selling land at the $1.00 cost to a private home owner who wanted to develop it. What does this Minister say about that notion?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No. I have said about five times in the House that we must recover our cost, or the other taxpayers would have to pay the cost when we develop lots for other people.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the Minister have the existing land-pricing policy with him?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, we do not.
Ms. Moorcroft: Can the Minister tell us what commercial land presently sells for? Is it sold at development cost or market value?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It would depend on whether it was in Whitehorse or Haines Junction. It is sold at the higher price, either at the development cost or the market price.
Ms. Moorcroft: What is the reason for selling it at the higher price?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We want to recover our money. If the market price is higher than the development cost, does the Member not think that the taxpayer should make a little bit on the land as it goes through? It belongs to all of the taxpayers of the Yukon, and we should recover something on it.
Ms. Moorcroft: We support that the land should be sold at the development cost. The problem with the policies now - a problem that the Association of Yukon Communities, for one, has spent a great deal of time discussing - is that there is not a consistent approach. The Minister cannot even tell us what land is sold at market value and what land is sold at development cost, and what the rationale is for the difference between them.
How is agricultural land sold?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We have an agricultural policy that states that land has to be sold at market price. It can be reduced by 50 percent for the physical work done in breaking and clearing the land and seeding it.
Ms. Moorcroft: What about the pricing of industrial land? Is that sold at market value or at development cost?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is much the same as commercial. It is either the market value or the improvement value, whichever is the greater.
Ms. Moorcroft: Let me give the Minister an example of why we want some questions answered.
The Village of Haines Junction is increasingly frustrated by the impediments to economic development in the community. It has presented an example of a company being told that 4.5 hectares is worth approximately $35,000 for commercial use in the municipality. At the same time, outside city limits, the land is worth $1,400 a hectare.
Can the Minister tell us what the department is looking at in developing a land-pricing policy? How is it going to solve the concerns raised by municipalities and residents of the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The two pieces of land the Member is talking about are federal land. The agreement was with the federal government. I have had a little experience with this, as I have written some letters about it. I understand the last assessment by the federal government has been reduced considerably. It
is federal land, not territorial land.
Ms. Moorcroft: Can the Minister tell us the nature of the letters he wrote and what he suggested to resolve this situation?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We wrote letters. We also talked with the land assessment people and others. I know the individual went to the expense of bringing in an appraiser from outside to get the land priced at a fair price. Each piece of federal is apparently, going to be dealt with individually. We would be much happier if we could get the land transferred to the Yukon government and get it all under the control of one government.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister mentioned that the purchaser had to bring in an appraiser from outside the Yukon. How is land valued now?
Hon. Mr. Brewster:
Usually we send our appraiser out to have a look at it and assess its value. If the people buying it are not really in agreement, we sit down and talk with them to find out their reasons for not wanting to pay the price. We try to negotiate a price, without giving away the house during the process.
Ms. Moorcroft: How many appraisers are there in the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: If we are talking about the private sector, I think there are two. I know there is one and I think there is one other, but I do not know for sure.
Ms. Moorcroft: When the Yukon government appraises land, does it send out the
private appraiser or does it have the in-house expert to do it?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We send one of our own, but he is an assessor, he is not the appraiser.
Ms. Moorcroft: How do they negotiate an agreement between the parties when there is difficulty? The Minister has talked about sitting down and having to settle a dispute if there are different ideas about what the value of the land should be. How do they go about that?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Usually appraisers are brought in and they make a decision between them.
Ms. Moorcroft: Last night, the Minister gave us an example of land development and referred to eight rural residential lots that would cost approximately $160,000 in the Mount Lorne area. Can the Minister tell me when they are planning to release that land?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are just getting ready to start developing it. I would suspect it would be later in the fall before it is available.
Ms. Moorcroft: That raises a question or two about the hamlet of Mount Lorne/Carcross Road local area plan. I am sure the Minister has been briefed on the fact that that plan began before 1993. It has now been before the government for over a year.
When the plan was presented to him, the former Minister was assured that it would go through the House quickly, and that he did not see any problem with asking his colleagues to support it. This plan involved a great deal of consultation with neighbourhood residents. There was a local committee that included representatives from the federal government, the Yukon government and the residents of different neighbourhoods, and there were a number of public meetings held. A fairly workable compromise was reached on most contentious issues and then the plan went off to the government.
Now the hamlet has been told that the government has to do a Cabinet submission, and that it is not yet ready. The question that I have been asked, and I would like to ask the Minister, is this: why has this plan not gone to Cabinet yet?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Quite frankly, it has taken a long time to go through the system. I have asked that it be fast-tracked, and I hope to get it into Cabinet as fast as I can. I agree with the Member. I was out there and met the people. They have worked very hard on it and I think that it is a good plan. Just about all the people there seem to agree with it.
Ms. Moorcroft: There has been a lot of speculation about why the plan has not gone to Cabinet yet. Of course one consideration will be that there are Kwanlin Dun and Carcross First Nation land claims in the same area. Another consideration is that one of the recommendations is to withdraw land in the area from placer staking, and that is a federal jurisdiction. I would like the Minister to answer how those concerns are being dealt with.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are unaware of any problems with First Nations. We are still working with the federal government to sort out the problems involved in the placer mining issue.
Ms. Moorcroft: It is certainly nice to hear that the government is unaware of any problem with the First Nations, although that does not necessarily mean that there is no problem; it just means that the Minister is unaware of any. The people to whom I have spoken in the hamlet have indicated that there may be a conflict with First Nations having land selections in some of the proposed development areas. The hamlet would be willing to revisit the development areas and work around them. Can the Minister tell me whether the government will be proceeding with releasing lots in the hamlet area before the plan receives Cabinet approval?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, we would not release that until we get it, but I will give my promise that it will be fast-tracked. That should be shortly. I will also check with land claims to see if there is a problem, but there was no problem at all the last time I talked with them.
Ms. Moorcroft: I thank the Minister for that.
I would like to ask the Minister about the Hootalinqua North land planning area. The Minister is probably aware that there have been previous plans, new plans and discussion groups with the residents. They have split it up into four different zoning areas, and then into six different zoning areas. Can the Minister tell me what is happening, and can he give me a description of where the planning stands and what the zoning proposals are for the different areas?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We have divided them into areas: Takhini, Shallow Bay, Grizzly Valley and Deep Creek. People in those areas are now voting on how much land they want. For instance, the Hot Springs has a vote for the percentage they want, and the Mayo Road has another one. We are working with them to get their regulations in.
I suspect that, after seeing some of the votes, we will see different types of people wanting different things. We had a vote that was sent to everybody in the Hot Springs area, and they all came in differently. Some wanted three hectares lots, others strongly wanted six hectares. Each one seemed to be a little bit different.
We are judging them and we are going to be making decisions on some of them very shortly.
Ms. Moorcroft: When the Minister says that they are holding a vote on the percentage of land, what does he mean? Are they having a vote about what size of lot they should have, or having a vote about how many lots should be developed? How are these votes being conducted?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We formed committees and had them meet. Most of the lots are in the six hectare area, but some people wanted to divide them down into three hectares. When they met, no consensus was reached, so we had the Bureau of Statistics send out a vote to each household. We received a 95-percent response on our first try, and it was quite apparent that the majority wanted it left at six hectares.
Ms. Moorcroft: When a vote was sent out to each household, what records were used to ensure the department was catching everyone? Were property owners the only ones to vote, or did renters who live in the area have a vote? How many people were able to express their preference in this vote?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I think it was done through land titles. I have a pamphlet that I will bring in after the break and send over to the Member that shows the breakdown of the vote.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the Minister know whether renters participated in the vote, or whether it was only property owners? Does he know how many people voted?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am not sure, but I would suspect that it was mainly property owners. As you know, in those areas, two dwellings are permitted on a lot. Now, whether residents of both dwellings were able to vote or only the people whose names appeared on the land title, I do not know. I will have to check that.
Ms. Moorcroft: I would like to go back to some questions regarding decisions made on land use, the Federal/Territorial Land Advisory Committee and the Land Advisory Review Committee. The Minister provided me with a list of who sits on that committee, but I was also interested in what the terms of reference are for those committees and how they make decisions on land development. Does the Minister have any of that information?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I do not have any right now. It is a federal concern. I will get it and bring it to the House for the Member next week.
Ms. Moorcroft: They are, in a sense, federal committees because the federal government sits on them, but there is territorial representation on them, as well. We do want to know how land permits are issued, how land is developed, how the decisions are made and what the Yukon government takes into account.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The territorial people sit on the committees for advice and to try to get things going in the direction we want. However, control is pretty well in the hands of the federal government.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the Minister have any ideas on how to improve the quality of land administration services to the general public?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, I have a few. To get them all into effect is difficult, but I am working on it. Being a landowner who has spent 45 years to get one piece of property, I realize that we have some real problems. The placer miners and squatters are residing in Dawson and other places. Every time we do anything we have to deal with the federal government to try and resolve problems.
The Member can rest assured that, before I leave here, some of these things are going to be solved.
Ms. Moorcroft: That is something I had hoped to hear, but I was hoping to hear more detailed information from the Minister about how he proposes to do that. It is like pulling teeth.
Can the Minister elaborate on what he sees as more effective administration of land development?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is a matter of continually talking and trying to get an agreement between us and the federal government.
In the case of the one at Dawson, I have made it very plain that the placer miners there also have to be protected. It is a three-way street and, with the City of Dawson, it is a four-way street. It is a matter of getting everyone to agree so we can get some of that land.
For example, squatters are on land that they got under a placer mine claim, although they are not actually placer mining. I do not blame people for this. I have seen it all over the Yukon. People could not get land, so they got a placer claim and squatted on it, knowing they did not have a placer mine going. However, that was the only way they could get land. If one does not give people a chance to get land, they will go out and find a way to get it. I surely do not fault them for it.
I want to be fair with all of them, if we have any say when they are moved or given property. It was not their fault that they had to do this.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister just said they had representatives from the city, the federal government and the Yukon government. Is the Dawson First Nation involved in those discussions? Does the Minister generally make a point of including First Nations in discussions that have to do with land development and the lease of land?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We certainly do not object to First Nations being there. In the few cases where we had to make a decision, I have made sure the First Nations were consulted before we went further. It would be honest to say that once in awhile there is a slip. It is a new process, and once in awhile we bungle it, but we do our best to see that it does not happen.
Mr. McDonald: I am interested in this particular subject. The squatter policy was approved while I was associated with the department. I am fully aware of the situation with respect to placer squatters.
I would first like the Minister to clarify one of the remarks he made about not wanting to object to First Nations being there. That is different from encouraging them to be there. Can the Minister clarify that so there are no misunderstandings? He makes it seem as if he would not kick them out of the room but, at the same time, he would not invite them. That is what it sounds like, but I am sure that is not the way it is. Could the Minister explain?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As I have often said in this House, I often do not get my words to say what I mean. I certainly would not kick them out. I have lived with them up here for over 50 years, and I have a great deal of respect for them.
The placer claims in the Dawson area are under federal legislation. I have no doubt that the First Nation in Dawson will be consulted before any moves are made in that regard.
Mr. McDonald: Who is leading the discussions in Dawson about placer squatters? Is it the federal authorities? Is it the mining recorder? Who is involved and who is taking the lead role?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The federal government and the territorial government are still talking to decide what to do about moving them and what property they are going to get. I asked that my people have this settled by spring, so that we can move the people onto whatever land it is that they are going to have. We have been working very closely with them and with the MLA, who is very vocal about this. He wants to make sure that the people get a fair deal. We both agree on that, so we do not have any arguments. We hope that by spring we will at least have the committees working on it so that we can start to survey other lots in the area.
Mr. McDonald: I am happy to hear that the MLA and the Minister are not having disagreements. That is one potential conflict resolved.
However, I am thinking about the issue of who is leading the consultation. The Minister indicated that YTG and the federal government are working together. That is good news, but it is not precise enough for my purposes. I want to know who is involved and who is taking the lead role. Who is responsible, in the final analysis, for taking action? Is the authority to act on claims going to be devolved to the Yukon lands branch from federal jurisdiction? Is it going to be the mining recorder? Is it going to be the federal lands people? Who precisely is involved here?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That is exactly what we are trying to settle now. As the Member knows, placer mining claims are federal. We are trying to find out what we can do about the squatters on them. I also have to remind the Member that the City of Dawson and the First Nation will have to be involved in this in order to get some terms of reference. It will probably end up that there will be four different groups involved before it is completely over.
Mr. McDonald: We have not established the rules and responsibilities of any of the four; we have only established that there should be at least four governments involved in the process. Did the Minister say that he wanted this result by spring? Was he referring to the spring of 1995?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, I think the Member will find I am a very impatient man. Some of this has been going on since 1898 and I think it is time it was cleaned up.
Mr. McDonald: I appreciate the gusto the Minister is putting into it, but the Minister will appreciate that there have been a lot of predecessors who seriously tackled really large problems. They went into a project with gusto and had to face the fact that time limits were breached. The only way I have of assessing whether or not the Minister actually has a chance of success is to explore what precisely is happening.
Obviously, this is going to be a complicated area. It was complicated 10 years ago, 20 years ago and 40 years ago. There is a whole range of different classes, in a sense, of placer squatters to consider, and not everyone should be treated in precisely the same way, whether it is based on the length of time they have spent on the claim or how much mining they are actually doing. Some have put homes onto legitimate claims that are being worked. Others have used the placer claim simply as a ruse, justified or not, to get land and have never pretended to be miners.
Obviously, there are different classifications of property to consider and there are a lot of issues to address. If we do not have a sense of who is in charge, who precisely is involved, terms of reference, and how this is going to be structured, yet want it all by spring, I would suggest that is optimistic, to say the least.
Is there anything the Minister can tell us he is doing? I think he mentioned that he is going to get people talking. Is there anything besides getting people talking, and driving them to draw their own conclusions about this, that would suggest to us there is actually going to be success on this front?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I wish the Hon. Member over there had not turned around and shot me down. I had a dream that perhaps I could do some of this. My deputy minister sits here beside me and the Member as good as tells me I cannot do it.
I believe that one should go at things with everything one can. If one goes with the attitude that since other people got shot down it cannot be done, then one is not doing one's job. I believe that if I keep working at it I will get results. I do not think I am going to change the Yukon around tomorrow or the next day, and I do not expect to, but if I keep harping, and asking, and pleading, and perhaps screaming once in a while, perhaps we will get some of it done. We will not get it all done, I realize that - of course that depends on how long I live and how long I stay in this Legislature. That makes a difference, too, does it not?
Mr. McDonald: It may very well. I do not want to deflate the Minister's "I-think-I-can" attitude, because it is always nice to see enthusiasm, even from somebody as world-weary and experienced as the Member opposite. However, there is also a point to be made about not raising people's expectations unnecessarily. We have discussed numerous examples in the Legislature, even during the last few weeks, of raising people's expectations when perhaps the results cannot be achieved by any realistic, hard-nosed analysis of what the problems are, who has to be brought together and who will be involved.
Is there a federal commitment? Where is the federal commitment that they are going to
see this thing done by spring? Is there a federal commitment that they are going to make
this a priority and ensure that everybody is involved?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: My deputy minister informed me that they have twice met with the director of DIAND, and also feels that he has that enthusiasm to move some of this forward.
The Member said something to the effect that we should not build up expectations. As a politician, I think it is sometimes good to build them up. If we have enough people out there screaming, sometimes the bureaucracy backs off quickly and decides that these people mean business this time. I do not think we should just run around and say we cannot do anything. We should say we are going to look at it, we are going to go after it, and perhaps I may need your help somewhere along the line.
Mr. McDonald: If the Minister meant my help, he is always welcome to get it, if he asks.
I do not know what the Minister means by wanting to get the bureaucracy to back off. Presumably, his bureaucracy is working for him and the government, and should not have to be backed off anything.
There is an issue about raising expectations. I was told last spring that land use planning exercises were going to be conducted and completed, and that all kinds of wonderful things were going to be done. In the North Hootalinqua area, the Minister - who is also the representative for the area - said that this is a campaign commitment, and he was absolutely resolved to do this, and that he had all the enthusiasm in the world to accomplish wonderful things. Once the cold-weather day or the next year rolls around, and an assessment of what has actually been accomplished is done, we fall short of what we were expected to see as results on that planning exercise.
I am not saying that the Minister should not be going into something like this with gusto. Obviously, the squatter policy was a major project, and it required a lot of enthusiasm from the political level, the bureaucratic level and the public. There is a lot of public education needed. There is a lot of work involved.
If the Minister thinks he can do it by spring, he is going to have to acknowledge and accept that, if he is still the Minister at this time next year, somebody is going to be asking him how the placer residents are doing. They will no longer be placer squatters; they will all be placer residents - or most of them will be - and they will all be living on their own property. The details, like who pays for the surveys, will all be worked out. I am convinced that, if the Minister says that that is going to be the result, I will believe him.
I will be here next year, too.
With respect to overall planning in the territory, the Minister indicated that he is going to resolve a lot of land problems simply by digging in, rolling up his sleeves and showing some leadership. Having been responsible for the lands branch for quite awhile, I know that is one necessary element to see change, but it is not the only one. Generally speaking, but particularly in the area of land use planning, what are the government's priorities with respect to land use planning? What is it going to do under the umbrella final agreement and under its own legislation? What has the government done in the last year and what are its plans for the future?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I would like to see that we end up with a surplus of land, especially in the City of Whitehorse, so we do not always have to jump the gun at the last minute. I would also like to see more farmland available. I think we can work on that. We also have to work on these things with the First Nations, because they have land in and around the city.
I also want to say that the Member is trying to put words in my mouth. When I said that I would like to see it get going, I did not mean that all those lots in Dawson would be surveyed by next spring. I meant that we will be ready to begin surveying by then. With respect to the placer miners who are there legitimately and entitled to some land, we will have some other land or some other type of settlement for them so we can begin surveying as planned - I am talking about the land these people are not mining, but just living on.
Mr. McDonald: So, on the placer squatter situation, the Minister is saying that
he expects letters of offer to be made to all eligible placer squatters in the Dawson
area. How it plays out after that - whether or not people pay or we get the surveys -
comes later. However, in terms of all the policy considerations and all the discussions
that are going to take place between levels of government, including the First Nations,
these will be resolved and letters of offer will be made by spring. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Not necessarily. We have not gone that far yet, but we would be in a position where we would know the terms of reference and where we were going, and we know that the four levels of government are working together to finish this.
Mr. McDonald: The expectations are becoming more modest now. There will not be any surveys and there will not necessarily be a letter of offer, but the terms of reference for the working arrangement among the four levels of government will be decided by spring. Is the Minister saying that how they work together to address the policy problems will be established by the spring?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I would hope that it will be decided by spring and that we can begin next summer to start surveying that land and to see that the placer miners are satisfied with whatever we can do for them.
Mr. McDonald: So the terms of reference for how the committee will work together will be established by spring and they will have resolved the policy problems by the summer - all policy problems jointly between them. Is that the target?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: If the Member is going to keep pinning me down to dates, I am just going to say "in the future".
Mr. McDonald: That is not good enough. I am sorry, but it is not good enough, because there is a lot at stake here. I have been on the government side year after year where that Member pinned us down, because he had a right to pin us down to dates.
I am not saying that the Minister absolutely has to live by them. I am saying I want to get a sense of what kind of commitment the Minister is making. I was under the impression when we first started this discussion that, by spring, placer squatters in Dawson would be living on their own property. Now I get the impression that policy issues will be addressed by summer.
My concern now is that, while there is commitment - which is a good first step - there is not a lot beyond the commitment. That is why I am asking this. I am not trying to pin the Minister down just because I am being bloody-minded. I am asking it because there are some good reasons to pin the Minister down. Because he is the Minister; he is responsible. Can the Minister give me a little more detail?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: To begin with, I said that I had asked for it to be fast-tracked. The director of Northern Affairs and the deputy minister are now talking about it. I know that there have been conversations about it in the Dawson area. We are moving as fast as we can.
It is my hope - that is not a guarantee; I have hoped for lots of things in this world and failed - that we can work with the ones in the Callison subdivision first and get that straightened out. We would also like to get the country residential areas straightened out, so that if Loki opens, there will be some property up there to put houses on.
Mr. McDonald: I am happy to hear that. It is a different subject. Obviously, having property available for further development is important. If Loki proceeds and miners are expecting to build houses, or if the company builds houses, there obviously has to be land available for them to do that.
I am thinking about squatters. That is the issue that I am interested in seeing addressed. I recall that, when the squatters policy was first developed, the issue of placer squatters was removed from the general squatting situation, because the federal government made it fairly clear that it is the responsible agent for placer squatters. The government said that if there is any abuse of placer claims, or people using placer claims for purposes of putting upa residential unit, when they have no real intention of mining, that it would address that. The government said that it would be tightening up on that.
Obviously, things have changed. The Minister has made a commitment to do something about it, but I am still unclear as to what kind of commitment the Minister wants to make, and what he wants to do about it. Is he is saying that he has a federal commitment to make this issue of placer squatters a top priority? The Minister is shaking his head. Perhaps he can explain.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, I would not speak for the federal government. I am just saying that they seem to be interested. They seem to be working with the deputy minister. That indicates to me that we are over the first hurdle. If we can get the federal government working and prepared to help us - and, as you know, placer mining is their jurisdiction - we can make some decisions and go to the city and First Nation to try to solve the problem for everyone. I still want the people who are on that land to get a fair deal.
Mr. McDonald: This is only a precursor to the discussion that I know we are going to have on the Whitehorse waterfront soon, because, while I am more than prepared to let this very imprecise commitment get shot off into mid-space to see what the public service can do about it, I cannot let that happen on the waterfront. My reasons are probably obvious: my constituents live there. Ultimately, we are going to have to deal with that. However, I will wait until the Government Leader is sitting in the chair next to the Minister, because he has also agreed to answer questions on that subject.
When we are talking about placer squatters, are we talking about placer squatters around the territory, or are we talking about placer squatters only in the Dawson area?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: At the present time, we are mainly talking about the ones in the Callison area, where there are some legitimate placer miners and there are some who just moved in there and really are not legitimate.
Mr. McDonald: It seems to be a very site-specific area. We are not talking about a placer squatting situation, we are only talking about the Callison area. Does the Minister's department and Dawson City intend that the area ultimately be used for residential land development? Is it for that purpose that the city needs to resolve the local squatting situation?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, it is for an industrial area and a subdivision. If we can solve that, we have one foot on first base, so to speak. Then we can begin looking at other areas if we need that land. At the present time, some of that land is needed fairly badly for residential and commercial areas.
Mr. McDonald: It did not take anything less than one-half of an hour to focus this discussion. I was under the impression that this was a much broader commitment. I thought that the Minister was being very aggressive and looking for some real change in terms of placer squatters around the territory, and that it was all going to happen by the spring.
Clearly, it involved Callison subdivision only. There are a few squatters there. The Minister has a commitment from the federal government, which, as he says, seems to be interested in dealing with it, and, it is hoped, this apparent interest from the federal and other governments will turn into a real, true, working interest by the spring. By summer, perhaps they will have worked out many of the policy issues. Ultimately, the treatment of the local squatters in the Callison area will be resolved this year sometime and land development will take place for use by, among others, Loki Gold employees. Is that basically the issue?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Number one, I did not say I have a commitment from the federal government. I said that working with our government is interesting. I am not committing the federal government to anything. I learned that a long time ago. One does not commit it to anything, because it can change its mind overnight. The federal government seems very enthusiastic about working with us. We have a good working relationship right now. I know that I will be here next fall, so if I have not succeeded, then I know who is going to be climbing all over me. That is quite all right; it is why I am here.
Deputy Chair: Is there any further general debate?
Ms. Moorcroft: I have been listening with interest to the last bit of dialogue. We are certainly getting into a discussion about planning and what is planning. I am quite interested to pursue this Minister's view further. Planning is generally viewed as a rational process that helps local area residents make decisions and form policies to guide the growth and development of their community. I have certainly seen only one example in the Mount Lorne area of how keen people are to participate in that process. It is not a matter of stopping development, but a matter of determining how and when the development will proceed.
A number of people in Dawson have a keen interest in the planning in that area. That includes the Klondike Rural Residents Association. We had some debate with the former Minister in the previous session about the Dawson City boundary expansion. The Yukon Municipal Board had indicated that the wise course of action would be to hold off on expanding the Dawson boundaries until after the land claims were resolved. Nonetheless, the government expanded the Dawson City limits and the land claims negotiation with the Dawson First Nation are still happening.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We do no planning for the City of Whitehorse, Haines Junction, Watson Lake or Faro. They all do their own, so there is no reason for one place to be different from the others. On top of that, the Member is correct that when we started to bring this other land in it was ours, so we had to work with them until it was turned over to them. It is now the responsibility of the City of Dawson.
Ms. Moorcroft: Is the planning department not providing planning services to incorporated municipalities? Is it looking at doing that on a fee-for-service basis, or is it encouraging municipalities to do that through private enterprise?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: They do their own planning in the municipalities and work through their councillors.
Ms. Moorcroft: Why did the government want to relocate the Dawson positions back to Whitehorse? The Minister just said that we do not do the planning for the municipalities in Whitehorse, but we are going to bring the position back to Whitehorse. Why is that?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The reason is because we do all the planning for the unincorporated areas and other different areas in the Yukon.
Ms. Moorcroft: What are the plans for the department? What is it planning to have the employee do in Whitehorse? What are the operational requirements of bringing a position back to Whitehorse?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We have potential planning in the areas of Takhini, Shallow Bay, Grizzly Valley, and Deep Creek.
Ms. Moorcroft: Just a few minutes ago, the Minister was saying that those were virtually completed. There are presently planners in the Whitehorse area.
The Klondike area is one where the city is growing. The government is acknowledging that with the anniversaries coming up. I believe that local area planning will have to continue. The Minister has just been talking about the involvement of the federal government, the Yukon government and the Dawson First Nation. The Klondike Placer Mining Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Whitehorse all want to see the opening of more land and the resolving of surface and sub-surface rights issues. The municipality even expressed an interest in having a planner involved in that.
Can the Minister tell me if there will be a plan to travel to Dawson on a regular basis to offer the Yukon government's assistance on those matters?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There may be, from time to time, as some of the land is transferred to Dawson City.
Ms. Moorcroft: A number of people in the Dawson area have reported to us that the Member for Kluane has told people that that employee is being moved back to Whitehorse for political reasons, as she was moved to Dawson for political reasons in the first place. Could the Minister explain that to us.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There are lots of rumours about things I do. I am not going
to discuss personnel matters at all. It is certainly not true that I have ever made that
statement, and I challenge anybody to show that I did.
Ms. Moorcroft: I believe the Minister misheard me. What I said was that the Member from Dawson has been reported to have made those comments.
Can I ask the Minister to tell the House what his views are on the decentralized positions in the community of Dawson and how he sees the function of land use planning and land management being carried out in the future?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I thought I said this several times. We do not have planners in any other municipalities and we are not going to have one in Dawson.
Ms. Moorcroft: How does the Minister see the function of land use planning and land management being carried out in the City of Dawson in the future? As I have said to the Minister before, the department's officials have been involved in creating the Klondike Valley district land use plan, have worked on the Klondike Valley area development regulations and have been asked by the City of Dawson to continue having that kind of involvement. So how does the Minister see the function of land use planning and land management still being carried out in the Dawson area in the future?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As I said, the city will do it. We own the land but when the city says it wants it developed a certain way, we either do that or make an agreement with it to do the development itself - whatever the city wishes.
Mr. Cable: I have just a few touch-up points on the issue of planning.
As the Minister I am sure knows, there has been an ongoing, not battle, but discussion surrounding the Stevens subdivision. What has happened is that there is a central planning authority here in the City of Whitehorse and there are a number of people around the periphery, who do not really have statutory access to what is going on in the City of Whitehorse. They are affected by the City of Whitehorse's actions and, of course, the city's residents are, by the same token, affected by what is going on around the periphery.
I notice that the Association of Yukon Communities' submission to the Minister, which
he was good enough to table earlier, carries an item - number 18 at page 10 - that seems
to address that problem in a larger sense, in terms of regional planning not only for land
but also for services.
Is the Minister opposed to solving the problem of the contests that go on between people just around the periphery of a municipality and the municipality itself? Does he intend to actually bring in amendments to the act, or a special planning act, that would allow people to have a voice in decisions that are made within municipalities?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As I said, we are looking at that document to see what we can put into it. I assured the Association of Yukon Communities that the City of Whitehorse had just as big a voice as anyone else. When we take the amendments to them, we will see what they decide on it. I agree completely that it is a problem. The Member mentioned the Stevens subdivision, and I sincerely hope that once the gravel study is done by the end of July we will be able to proceed one way or the other in that area.
Mr. Cable: Let us take it out of the context of the Association of Yukon Communities' submission. Does the Minister believe that planning for land use - let us leave out services and whatnot - in and around municipalities should be integrated so that people on both sides of the borders have a voice in what is happening on the opposite side of the border?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I wish I had the answer for that but quite frankly I do not. I am taking a good whipping over trying to figure it out. If the Member asks again in about three or four months, after I have gone through some of this, I may have an answer for him.
Mr. Cable: As the Member for Mount Lorne said, it is not a trick question. It is a fairly straight-forward question. Other jurisdictions deal with it legislatively. They have statutes that integrate planning, generally in the context of two communities, side-by-side, but perhaps not in the sense of a community with surrounding people. Does the Minister not think that an integrated planning process would have prevented the Stevens subdivision hullabaloo that took place?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Integrated planning is all right but one must have a form of government, or someone, that can control it. I think the Member would agree that, right now in the Yukon, we are running into the problem of everyone wanting their own area and not wanting anyone else around, and a line between them does not seem to be very much. Although it is supposed to be a boundary, it sometimes does not work that way.
I think the Member is particularly talking about the Stevens subdivision, and I hope we can resolve that one this summer, after we find out if there is more gravel elsewhere.
Mr. Cable: I am not suggesting creating new levels of government or planning boards to solve these problems. They are fairly straightforward, I think. Would the Minister not agree that there was, in fact, a planning problem surrounding the proposed creation of the Stevens subdivision, insofar as it related to the people around the periphery of the City of Whitehorse near that proposed subdivision?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I went to a number of meetings where I did not speak, but I did sit and listen, and miscommunications were everywhere. There was no doubt about that. If people had done the planning a little better, I do not think we would be where we are now. It is regrettable; however, maybe we have all learned a lesson from it. As I sat through the meetings, different information was coming out that people had never seen before or were not consulted about. There was a leak somewhere. I am not blaming anyone in particular. I hope that we have learned from this experience that everyone be given the facts at the same time.
Mr. Cable: Again, this is not a trick question, but would the Minister agree that there was a lack of statutory access to the decision makers by the people immediately outside the city boundaries?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Actually, the people outside the city boundaries do not have a legal right, but they certainly made it very clear that they had a right, whether or not it would have stood up in court. I am very happy that it did not have to go that route. There has been a cooling-off period, so I hope the matter can now be settled and that everyone will be fairly happy. People are never completely happy, but I hope that we can get them halfway there.
Mr. Cable: I think that is the very point: the people did not have a legal
access to the decision makers. The City of Whitehorse is surrounded by many people living
on its periphery. Does the Minister not think that it is a problem that these people do
not have a legal right to planning decisions made within the city boundaries that affect
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This is something that we would have to talk about with the City of Whitehorse and the Association of Yukon Communities. I would go by their recommendations. The city is a very important part of the AYC. If they came up with an agreement like that, I would certainly look at it.
Mr. Cable: Am I to understand that the Minister and his planning officials are simply taking a passive posture on regional planning?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The AYC discussed it in their paper, and we looked at it. It will go back to the AYC. I have no doubt that the Mayor of Whitehorse will have her say in it. I hope the AYC, among all of them, can come up. Almost every municipality has this problem, not just Whitehorse. I have been to Teslin, and they have more people outside their municipality than they do inside. It is a problem, because they use the garbage dumps and everything else. It is a big problem in the Yukon and it seems to be getting bigger. I am hoping that the AYC can come up with an answer. I am sure that municipalities that have to deal with this every day are much more alert to what is going on than we are.
Mr. Cable: The AYC speaks for the people in the communities; it does not speak for the people in the surrounding areas.
I do not want to belabour this point, but there is no statutory access to the decision makers within the municipalities. If the Minister is going to take a strictly passive posture, I would suggest that he is not representing the people outside of the municipal boundaries.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Ibex and Mount Lorne are members of the AYC, and they are not municipalities. They have been invited, and they are certainly listened to.
Mr. Cable: Perhaps we will leave that debate for another day. We are not getting anywhere. We will leave it, then, that the AYC is driving this particular part of the planning process.
On another matter, we talked yesterday about labour coefficients, and my recollection, as it turned out, was not exactly as I thought. I had written the Minister's predecessor a letter about some information I thought I had from the Canadian Construction Association. As it turned out, it was from somebody in Employment and Immigration Canada who had been referred to me by the Canadian Construction Association - a person by the name of Mr. Stoll. In fact, the Minister's predecessor had replied to the inquiry, but it is unclear as to what was actually done.
I would ask the Minister's predecessor if he would contact this Mr. Stoll at Employment and Immigration Canada to review the labour-coefficient figures that had been given to me. He wrote back, "Departmental staff will contact Mr. Stoll, if required, during the analysis of local data." Then there were some qualifications on the figures that were given to me.
Does the Minister or his deputy know if that was followed up?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We felt it was better to do what we did with the highway
contracts and get actual figures from the contractors. I inquired around a little bit
today before I came into the House about where I could go to get the other information for
the Member. I am not sure, but if we can get a name, we will see if we can do something on
that matter. We feel our figures for construction on highways is fairly accurate, because
the contractor used payrolls to get the figures for us.
Mr. Cable: I did some back-of-the-matchbox calculations on the numbers that were given to me yesterday. If there are 2,000 working hours in a year, which may or may not be the case, it works out to about $160,000. The Minister's deputy is probably better at mathematics than I am. I believe that was a figure that was quoted for the building construction by the Minister's predecessor. I do not think that the labour coefficients are going to drive a lot of decisions, but I would expect that they would drive a winter works program decision-making process.
Let me just ask how the winter employment projects were set up. When the Minister and his colleagues look to create jobs in the winter, where do they start? Do they sit down and say that roads will create a certain amount of jobs and construction will create a certain amount of jobs? How do they do that?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: To start with, we form a committee. It is a little different philosophy, and perhaps we should be using a name other than winter works. We consider projects that we would be doing the next year but which we can move ahead of schedule. On the highway, which is one of the better examples, we were able to get contracts out late because of the weather, and most of the workers were able to work until just about Christmas. In fact, I know there were some people who were complaining that they were not going to get a big holiday at Christmas because of the weather. That one worked out pretty well.
We looked at other things that we needed and were going to do this year, and then advanced them into last year's budget to get them done during the winter. An example is the crane that we are putting in. The side opposite says that it was brought in from outside, and I agree. Winter is a good time to do this, although it has been a warm winter and the people could have worked outside. One cannot ordinarily do that at this time of the year. This project employs a number of welders to put the equipment together and get it set up. Another reason that this is a good time to do this is because a lot of the equipment that has to be repaired during the summer is not in there now, so the shops are a little slow.
Mr. Cable: I understand the general gist of that. I am just wondering what the Minister and his colleagues use as a rule of thumb for job creation? If it is not coefficients, is it something else or is it pretty well played by ear?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am speaking now for the Department of Community and Transportation Services. We used information gathered over the summer about projects that we would like to advance, and then we proceeded to advance them. That is just this one department. I am not speaking for my colleagues.
Mr. Cable: I do not want to beat this to death, but the Minister's predecessor wrote to me, in response to this inquiry on labour coefficients, and he said - I am sure that the Minister has not seen this letter, so I will read a portion of it - "The first and foremost consideration in capital budget preparation is to utilize the limited capital available to the best advantage of most Yukoners. In my view, this places a priority on highway construction, because such investments contribute to all Yukoners through reduced direct and indirect highway-user costs and reduced highway operating and maintenance costs, thereby providing immediate and lasting benefits."
Now, the Minister and his colleagues have been accused of being road builders, to the exclusion of building builders, which may or may not be a fair observation. I wonder if the quote that I just read is the present Minister's posture, the inference being that roads are better than building construction.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am not shooting down building construction. We have to have it. It used to take me nine to 10 hours to travel to Beaver Creek, and now I can do it in four hours. I would say that it is worth it, although there are lodges complaining that they are not getting any welding work and so on that they previously made a living on because the road is so good that breakdowns do not happen. The trip between here and Haines Junction used to be a two to two and one-half hour trip. If a policeman is not around, it can now be done in an hour and 40 minutes, and one does not get tired. It is a good road.
This will bring in more tourists. The tourists I talk to cannot believe the good condition of our roads, quite frankly. Unfortunately, where we are building the new one at Beaver Creek kind of shoots this down a little, but let us face facts. The road has to be roughed up in order to make it a better road. When you are cutting down mountains and moving boulders, the traffic has to be able to pass through or it will not come. I think that every year will find more traffic coming through, and the travellers are really amazed when they find that there are only 30,000 people in the territory and we have a road like that. They can hardly believe it. In fact, I have lots of them ask me why we do not put a toll tax on at Watson Lake in order to help pay for our roads. They say that it is done all over the United States and most Americans agree that they have to pay toll taxes. Unfortunately, the agreement that was signed with the Americans on the Alaska Highway states that a toll tax cannot be put on it, so we lost that one.
I think roads are very important. If the mines that are projected go ahead, these roads are going to pay off, because people are going to be able to travel on them and they are going to be safer without gravel - kicking rocks in everybody's face. I think roads are very important to keep all the communities together.
Mr. Cable: I agree with the Minister. I have travelled to the northern states and to British Columbia. Our roads are good. I think that is the very point. Why is the main focus on roads if ours are good? I will leave that for a public debate sometime.
I would like to touch on one final issue, and that is on the Municipal Act amendments. It is my understanding that municipalities cannot create their own commissions, such as waterfront commissions, or, as in the case of the City of Whitehorse, capital city commissions. What does the Minister think about that? Is he prepared to vest municipalities with the power to create other corporate bodies?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: At the present time, I would be very cautious with that. If they did that, they would have to operate under the same rules as this government so that they do not get into something in which they would start losing taxpayers' money.
Mr. Cable: I am not suggesting they go out and incorporate widget factories; I am suggesting they have the right to incorporate utilities commissions, or waterfront commissions, or capital city commissions, which are things that have a separate legal life to them. Does the Minister have any inclination toward that right?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It would really depend on what it was. I have talked with the
Mayor of Watson Lake a number of times. They say the cost of supplying their own power
would be lower, but if one looks at it, they would then have the cost of having linemen on
call 24 hours a day and bringing in operators. The way it works with a single, big company
is, if a disaster occurs somewhere on the lines, a crew and equipment can be there
immediately. I do not think our communities are in a position to invest that much money. I
doubt it would be cheaper, because they are doing it on a smaller scale. I will be the
first to admit that our electricity cost is too high. Although the communities seem to
think they can bring the cost down, I do not think they can. They have never shown me
anything to prove that they could do it.
Mr. Cable: We have spoken about waterfront commissions in the City of Whitehorse and capital city commissions. Assuming that the necessary accommodations can be made with the First Nations level of government, is the Minister prepared to consider vesting, say, the City of Whitehorse with the power to create such a commission as a separate legal body?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I would really have to consider everything that is involved in it and have some experts look at it to make sure they are not just going off on their own, and then have to bail them out later on if they cannot make it work.
Mr. McDonald: I want to first ask the Minister about a small thing. The information he provided to me on Yukon Housing Corporation letterhead made reference to the minutes of a meeting on January 17. It said that the minutes were attached. They may have been attached to the original briefing note but they were not attached to the copy that was sent to me. Can the Minister provide me with the minutes of that meeting?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The Member would have to talk to the Minister responsible for Yukon Housing. He supplied me with the papers.
Mr. McDonald: Thank you.
Now, going back to lands, the Minister indicated that, as a general proposition, he wanted a surplus of developed land. He cited as an example more farmland. Can the Minister tell us what that means? Are we going to have a huge surplus or a tiny surplus? What is the Minister looking for? What are the ballpark targets?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I would like to have a surplus that would last us about two
years, especially in the City of Whitehorse, where there is substantial building. In some
other areas, we might not need quite that much. As for farmland, I think the agricultural
branch would have to estimate where the farmland is and how many people they think really
want to farm it.
Mr. McDonald: The Minister is saying that in areas where there is a fairly quick takeup on residential lot purchases he would like a two-year surplus of lands, meaning at least two years' worth of sales in the bank. Can the Minister tell us what the average annual purchase of residential lots in Whitehorse is?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We will bring back the exact figures right after the break. I presume, Mr. Deputy Chair, that we are going to get a break at some time?
Mr. McDonald: Yes, I think the Minister needs one. Perhaps we could even have one in a couple of minutes.
When the Minister comes back from the break, can he also provide me with some details on the land inventory, particularly in the Whitehorse area, but I would like it territory-wide as well, by class of land. I know this information is very readily available. I used to be able to get it with a phone call, so I know the Minister can also. I would like to know what the land inventory for Whitehorse is, particularly in fully serviced residential lots, and what the government expects it to be in a year's time, so we can get a sense of the continuum. Can he provide that for me?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We will do our best to get all that information.
Deputy Chair: Is it the wish of the Members to take a brief recess at this time?
Some Hon. Member: Agreed.
Deputy Chair: We will take a brief recess.
Deputy Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
We will continue with general debate on Community and Transportation Services.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have a list of current lots and lot types by community as of November 23. We will have a complete updated list for the Member on Monday, including private lots for sale in the city. I also have for the Member for Mayo-Tatchun a complete breakdown of the money that the Department of Community and Transportation Services is putting into that area. If it is easier for the Member, I can give that to him.
Mr. McDonald: Can the Minister give us a dollar value of what the total land inventory is for Whitehorse and for the territory?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We will get the complete list for Monday.
I believe the other question the Member asked was the approximate number of lots that were sold in the Whitehorse area last year. It is between 100 and 120.
Mr. McDonald: I will wait for the other information. Did the Minister have a chance to speak to the Minister responsible for the Housing Corporation about the minutes to the meeting of January 17?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I did talk to him, but not about that. I apologize. I will put that on my list.
Mr. McDonald: I will wait for that information. I an interested in the general subject of land use planning. I note that we have touched briefly on some of the things that are happening in the North Hootalinqua planning area. Can the Minister tell us what the plans have been for regional and district planning in the territory? Does the government have any plans to undertake that level of planning?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Renewable Resources does the regional planning and we do the planning for subdivisions and lots.
Mr. McDonald: As I understand it, Renewable Resources does regional planning and district planning is undertaken by the lands branch, so the question is this: are there any plans to do that planning?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are working on one in the Klondike Valley out past the city toward Rock Creek, and we are prepared to do one in the Ibex area if the people of Ibex really want it.
Mr. McDonald: Is the Klondike Valley land use planning process a continuation of the planning process that has been going on there for years and years?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is not exactly a continuation. The first one was in the Callison area and now we are moving down toward the Rock Creek area.
Mr. McDonald: I understood that there has actually been planning going on. Perhaps I will let the Minister review the exact situation with his department. Perhaps he could give me a status report of the exact planning activities that are being undertaken in the Klondike Valley to Rock Creek. Can he undertake to do that?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, I will.
Mr. McDonald: With respect to the Ibex Valley planning process, is it a process or is it a plan to develop a process?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: At the present time, we have no planning going on there. We are willing to do it if the Ibex council and residents want it done.
Mr. McDonald: As I understood it last spring, the situation was that there was a fair amount of activity in the Hootalinqua North area under the auspices of the Hootalinqua North district plan.
This district plan was referred to in a legislative return we received last January, and it indicated that it has been accepted as a technical advisory land use document only. It goes on to say that the actual processes used will vary, depending upon the needs of a specific area. It said that the department had a planner on staff to assist area residents, as requested.
What is the status of the Hootalinqua North district plan right now?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The Hootalinqua plan is exactly as he has said, but we have gone beyond that now and, are dividing the area into Takhini, Shallow Bay, Grizzly Valley and Deep Creek. Each will have its own plan.
Mr. McDonald: Yes, indeed, the legislative return refers to the many planning processes. It concludes by saying, "by the end of March 1994'' - that is about this time last year - "It is anticipated that the committees in the Yukon government will have determined the nature of land development and project-specific plans will be in place. Based on this process, actual development projects will be carried out during the summer of 1994'.' Can the Minister give us a list of the development projects that were carried out in the summer of 1994?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We formed committees. Quite a few had different opinions. I think we are getting it straightened around now, but some of them have differences. The percentage is very close in some; in others the percentage is very wide apart. We have been trying to get them together and to come to a decision. This is really what we do want. It is starting to appear that each little district is going to be a little bit different. There seems to be different groups of people in each area.
Mr. McDonald: What is the Minister trying to tell me? Is he trying to tell me that there are no development projects being carried out at all? Has anything actually happened since last spring?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That is actually what I am telling you. We did have some plans to get started, but because of the meetings with the people, none of them got off the ground at all.
Mr. McDonald: On this particular subject, it is interesting to note that there are a number of Members in the Opposition benches who suggested to the previous Minister that his enthusiasm probably outstripped his ability to perform. I think it is pretty obvious that that concern was correctly placed when it comes to the anticipated results of this planning process last spring.
Does the Minister expect that there are going to be any results, in the sense that development projects may be undertaken in the North Hootalinqua area in the near future? After all of this energy being expended by area residents and by the government, can we expect that the land will be identified for development purposes?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We planned to do some lot and agricultural land development there, but because of the results of the vote in the Takhini survey, we have to develop 15-acre parcels now, so some of our plans will have to be changed.
Mr. McDonald: What has to happen for the government to feel comfortable that the planning process is complete and it can actually undertake development projects in the North Hootalinqua area? What is the performance indicator for telling the government that there is a green light for development?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I would hope that we can get moving on the agricultural lots quite soon. With the vote that came out, they have to be 15 acre lots, and we hope that we can adjust it by the summer and get some of those lots out.
Mr. McDonald: I am thinking about this in terms of a general proposition. What signal does the Minister have to receive from the three committees in the area? I presume they are all operating. Can the Minister correct me if I am wrong? What signals does he have to receive in order to undertake the development work?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I think we are going to have to work with each area by
itself. As I said, they all come out with something different. Takhini, Shallow Bay and
Grizzly Valley are very active; Deep Creek is not very active at the present time.
Mr. McDonald: In order for development to take place, are they seeking a plan that will identify land for potential development, after which they will feel they have the green light to undertake development, or do they have to get committee approval to undertake any specific development project - or both?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: They have always said that we were going to go ahead with development in any case. We did have a problem with what size they wanted. A lot of people said three aces, some said five acres, and some said 15 acres. In the Takhini area particularly, we know now that it has to be 15 acres - I think the vote was about 77 percent in favour of staying at 15 acres.
Mr. McDonald: Perhaps the Minister could check with the lands branch on what the approval process is for the department to proceed. The Minister indicated that their objective is to develop land, and that it is going to happen whether people like it or not. I want to know what that entails and how that relates to the powers that the committee has to direct the development activities. Can the Minister check with the lands branch on that question? I would like him to be precise. I do not want there to be any misunderstandings there.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes.
Mr. McDonald: The Ta'an Kwach'an First Nation is very interested in this area and has been very vocal about development projects in this particular area. I understand that they have not yet finished land selection. I know that they have taken great exception in the past to many of the development practices by the government. They have even requested an audit of all land development decisions for the past 15 or 20 years. Obviously, they take an interest in what happens. The Minister indicates that more agricultural projects are just around the corner. Is this being stickhandled through the Land Claims Secretariat as well? Is he comfortable that there will be no explosion from the First Nation that has an interest in the area?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is our impression that neither one of the First Nations has much of a problem with the land that we are planning to develop in that area.
Mr. McDonald: Just to make it clear, the agricultural land that the Minister has referred to, and that they have identified in the North Hootalinqua area, is land that the First Nations agree should be developed and should be released - am I right or wrong?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: They did not actually say they agreed, but they did not indicate that they had a problem with it, either.
Mr. McDonald: I am sure the Minister will appreciate that that distinction, however fine, is extremely important. The land selection situation in the Whitehorse area has been volatile at times, and does not need to be made more volatile. If the Minister has the assurances from the First Nations that this is not going to be a problem, then I will take his word for it. Given that this planning process has been going on, has there been a freeze on agricultural land applications in the area during this period?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: In the Whitehorse area, we tried to stay away from spot applications by keeping agriculture in one area.
Mr. McDonald: The government was not accepting any new agricultural land
applications that were not in some sort of agricultural subdivision - is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That is what we were trying to do.
Mr. McDonald: Is that a policy that applies territory-wide right now: whether or not the government will accept spot land applications or if they will try to focus agricultural land applications into what we otherwise term agricultural subdivisions?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No. That was mainly in the Whitehorse area. If it was tried in some areas, I think the Member would be very upset because I believe that spot agricultural people, like it or not, have to go where the soil is. One does not place a farm on land because it is close to something; a farm is placed on land where there is good soil. That is a mistake government has made in the past. Because it was convenient to a highway, a farm was located there, but the soil was no good. I think one should find the soil first and then make it agricultural land.
Mr. McDonald: Obviously, we are not talking about a Saskatchewan grade of soil
virtually any place in the territory, with the probable exception of Dawson and Mayo. The
Minister is not saying, though, that any agricultural subdivision his department is
planning in the Whitehorse area would be on anything other than the best soil in the area.
They are not trying to stick a subdivision on the Canadian Shield are they?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, it is tested by the agricultural branch, but there is some intensive agriculture that does not need that type of soil or that much land to be farmable.
Mr. McDonald: I had a case of a constituent who was seeking land in the North Hootalinqua area and had asked whether or not, if he were to get the agreement of the First Nations and the hamlet council in the area, he could have his application processed, or at least be received, and he was told no. Is it the position of the government, irrespective of whether or not he can get First Nations support and local government support, that, no matter what, the department will not even acknowledge or receive an application?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are trying to get away from spot applications in the Whitehorse area because of the number of people wanting 15-acre lots to live on and the fact that land close to Whitehorse is getting really scarce.
Mr. McDonald: Perhaps one might have made that argument 10 or 15 years ago, too. There is obviously a fair amount of land right now that is tied up for agricultural purposes. The reason spot land transfers were permitted was not only to take the best advantage of the available soils, but also to ensure that the configuration of the land being requested was actually going to support a particular kind of agricultural operation.
A certain amount of land was required in order to support certain kinds of farming activities. Obviously, if the Minister is proceeding with 15-acre parcels only in the Whitehorse area, then essentially the government has decreed that the Whitehorse area has already saturated its ability to support large farming activities. Ultimately, the only kind of farming activity that would be encouraged at this point would probably be farms that were not land-based, in the sense that they need many acres to undertake grain production, for example, or something of that nature. Instead, they are moving to the smaller, intensive agricultural activity. Has the government come to that conclusion, and have they made that conclusion known to the Agricultural Association?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Some of that should actually be referred to Renewable Resources. I can say that in the Takhini area, 77 percent of the people asked for lots of that size. They are not all farming, either. The Member is right, though, that it is a large piece of land, but that is what they voted for. That is the case in only one of the five areas down there.
Mr. McDonald: Of course, I am referring specifically to agricultural land. Obviously, land is being released for residential purposes and I have not taken a position, one way or the other, on that. In terms of the agricultural land, there is the distinction that it cannot be subdivided and there are other restrictions on what has to happen to that land in order for it to qualify as agricultural land. I am referring specifically to that.
To the Minister's knowledge, has the government taken the position that no more large farming operations will be permitted with the available land, and instead it will it go to smaller, more intensive agricultural parcels until that agricultural land is used up? Has the government come to that conclusion?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Actually, the agricultural land, as you know, has been turned over to the Department of Renewable Resources, so I would suggest that when that budget comes up that the Members ask that department's Minister about this.
Mr. McDonald: In rugby, when you are just about to be tackled, you punt. So, I will follow the punt and raise the issue again in debate in Renewable Resources. He does not have to supply us with any details, but can the Minister tell us whether or not, under the land claims agreement, there have been any requests to do district or regional planning? Is any work in those areas anticipated?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There might have been some joint planning but we do not recall any at the present time.
Mr. McDonald: I do not have any more questions about land just at the moment, but I do have other questions.
Ms. Moorcroft: I would like to ask the Minister some questions about quarries. He has indicated that they are preparing a quarry report and I would like to know what they are looking for in doing that inventory. Are they simply preparing a report on what is happening within the Whitehorse area, or are they also looking at a territory-wide inventory? What do they have in place and what are they working on?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are looking at an inventory just in the Whitehorse area.
Ms. Moorcroft: Is the Minister going to include the Stevens area in that? Is the
inventory going to be within the city boundaries, as well as outside city limits? Could
the Minister tell us how much longer the McLean Lake and the Ear Lake sites will be in
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, the one in the Stevens subdivision is included; it is just outside the City of Whitehorse boundaries. We are not sure how much longer the McLean Lake quarry will be in use, and we estimate the Ear Lake site at 17 years longer.
Ms. Moorcroft: Did the Minister say he was not sure how much longer the McLean Lake site was going to be in use?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I do not have the information on it yet. I have not been dealing with that one very much.
Ms. Moorcroft: What do they have for an inventory of gravel quarries in the Yukon, outside of the Whitehorse area?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We have inventories along the highway for rebuilding the highway. There are quarries as close as possible to most municipalities for gravel for roads. We pushed this a little faster because of land claims, as we wanted quarries as close to the highway as we could. That is about all we have right now.
Ms. Moorcroft: I know that more than one Member of the Opposition has raised the issue of the Ear Lake area with this Minister and other Ministers. We have received correspondence from constituents who have suggested that it would make a nice park. There is certainly recreational use in the area already. It is a bit of a conflict with the quarry operations and the gravel plant there.
The Minister just indicated that there is another 17 years of gravel in that area. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Skookum and General Enterprises have indicated that they have 17 years left. Annie Lake Trucking has a lease for two more years. It has found a new bed of gravel that it estimates will be depleted in two years. While it is doing that, it has to do certain reclamation around the area, in preparation for beautifying the lake area.
Ms. Moorcroft: We have been discussing land planning in different areas quite a bit this afternoon. The reason for raising the issue is that the recommendation has been made to us that there be recreational use of that area. It is a nice lake for swimming and a good recreational site.
Has any work been done - or would any work be supported - to plan to take advantage of the recreational use of the area and to ensure that there is reclamation, so that when the gravel operators are finished, the land will be available for other uses?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The contractors have to do reclamation work to our satisfaction every year. The City of Whitehorse is looking at the Ear Lake site right now.
Ms. Moorcroft: How is the Yukon government supporting the work that the city is doing there?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Our reclamation program is reviewed by the city, and we work with the city very closely in that area.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the Minister have any more details? Can he let us know what it is that they are doing and when they might have it completed?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The reports for the quarry are done to make sure that they have the right backslopes and keep it cleaned up. That is a responsibility of ours, and we see that the contractors do it. We are working with the city, and if it wants certain things done on the land that we have gone by, that will be worked on.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister says that they are working with the city. Perhaps he did not hear the question the last time I asked it. I wanted him to describe the plan for us. What planning is taking place, and how are they working with the city? Is this going to go to an area development scheme? What is the nature of the discussions that they are having with the city and of the planning that they are doing?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, we are not getting into development. The communities are responsible for doing their own development. We will see that reclamation is done. What it wants to include and design in its plan is up to the city.
Mr. Penikett: I just overheard something about 17 years being left on the General Enterprises lease. I am confused about this, but Mr. Cormie would know, so I want to get it on the record. When I was on city council about one million years ago, if I remember correctly, General Enterprises was squatting on the property at the corner of the Alaska Highway and the top of the South Access Road. General Enterprises wanted the Yukon government to sell it the land, so it went to city council to be rezoned so that YTG would sell it. There was a long debate about the desirability of winding-up gravel leases in that area, so that the area of the South Access Road could be reclaimed and beautified as one of the main entranceways to the city. I think successive city councils spoke about the desirability of reforestation, and so on. A 17-year lease sounds as if it must have been -
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Penikett: Okay, the Minister is going to explain this. It is not a 17-year lease. There is a 17-year supply left.
What I would like to know, and maybe he could explain it, is what is the status of the leases in that area? I know there has been a concern about other sources and the developing of other supplies, and people in the business need to have a secure supply, but how is the department managing this conflict between the public desire to clean up the area - beautify it, see the leases end, Ear Lake protected, the entrance to the city beautified, et cetera - and the need of the gravel operators to have a secure supply. Can he give us a big-picture sense of what is going on here?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Maybe I was wrong in what I said. They have an estimated 17
years of gravel. The study that was conducted recommended that they go to 1996, and we
have given them a two-year lease. What we are doing is ensuring that the reclamation is
being done on the back of the pit, particularly around Ear Lake. As the Member knows, they
pay so much a cubic metre for their gravel, which goes into a fund that goes back into
reclaiming the land.
Mr. Penikett: This will not surprise the Minister, but a great number of my constituents travel that road every day and are deeply interested in the future of that area. Would it be too much to ask the Minister if he would file a legislative return, giving a sense of the big picture to a lay person - not to a contractor or gravel operator - of what the joint planning with the city has produced in terms of that area: the completion of the leases, the clean-up of the pits and renewing the vegetation in that area.
As the Minister knows, even though there is supposed to be a buffer of trees, tree-cover between the road and the gravel pits is thin. Temporary residences - mobile homes and so forth - of the people involved in the gravel business are quite visible from the road, which I understand was not the original intent at all.
Because I am asked about this all the time, as are other Members in the area, I would like something that I could actually hand to my constituents that says what is going on and what the government's plan is.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, we will get that back to the Member as soon as we can.
Mr. Penikett: I have another topic. I would like to know what this Minister's plan is in respect to hazardous wastes. As you know, the previous Cabinet had at one point decided, based on representations from a number of interests, including the City of Whitehorse, that a hazardous-waste site should be outside the city. Accordingly, it appointed a committee of people from a number of areas, but not from the city, to sit on a panel. Subsequently, someone in Community and Transportation Services decided that my constituency would be the ideal place for a hazardous-waste site.
They did not consult with the MLA, even though I was the Government Leader at the time, but that is beside the point.
As the Minister knows, the concerns of area residents and the consultation about it, led the department to want to establish - properly, I think, to be more cautious - a very secure facility with a high degree of safety measures. It wanted to build a fenced area, an impermeable concrete pad and a metal-clad building of such a high standard that there would be little risk of the product in storage leaking out into the soils and into the water in the area.
At the end of the day, we ended up with an extremely expensive proposal, but we had mollified many of the critics in the area because, in the end, the site was to be located at least two kilometres from any residence. Not everybody was happy with that proposal, but I think there were more people happy than unhappy.
Subsequently, the Minister's colleague decided it was too expensive a proposal, and there was discussion about shipping the product elsewhere. We do have the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, which was passed under the ministry of my colleague, the Member for McIntyre-Takhini, and which governs the transport of such goods. I do know that the facility in Swan Hills, Alberta, has advertised itself as being available to dispose of PCBs and other wastes for not just Alberta but also for other jurisdictions in Canada. That is a subject of continuing controversy in the nation.
Many of the fears of citizens about the accumulation of these products were claimed to be alarmist by some people, because these are products that are under people's sinks, in their garages, or in small quantities in industrial sites.
Nonetheless, I think there is a reasonable concern about some of these things getting into the groundwater, but I must confess that, since the change in ministry, I am not clear where the government is going on this any more. Could the Minister spend a few minutes telling us what he is doing about hazardous wastes, what he is doing about temporary storage, what he is doing about shipping, what he is doing about disposal, and so forth?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Hazardous-waste responsibilities were transferred over to Renewable Resources last spring. I can tell the Member, though, that the PCBs - as I was Minister then - have all been shipped out to Swan Hills. The waste tank is now sitting in the middle of town, in the Marwell area, but it is kept pretty well cleaned and dried out. It is pumped out regularly and shipped out, but that properly should be addressed by the Minister of Renewable Resources, because it was transferred last spring.
Mr. Penikett: My sense is that this is the Minister still responsible for
Transportation, this is the Minister still responsible for Municipalities, this is the
Minister still responsible for dumpsites or garbage pits, where many of these things are
still ending up, so I would suspect that, notwithstanding the transfer - I assume, seeing
it as somehow connected with the Environment Act, which is good - this Minister
must have some kind of continuing interest in the problem of disposable wastes, including
This Minister must have some kind of continuing interest in this problem of disposable wastes, including hazardous wastes. Has the Minister discussed the resolution that was passed by the Association of Yukon Communities on the question of hazardous waste collection - the problems of liability, the problems of transportation, the problems of costs for municipalities, and so forth?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As I said, most of it has been transferred over to Renewable Resources. As far as the municipalities go, we have not had any problems there that I am aware of. They have their waste oil tanks, and they are a problem when they want them cleaned out. Some of that material has been pumped out and taken outside.
Mr. Penikett: I know it is the case that there have been hazardous wastes dumped at the Whitehorse municipal dump over the years. I would be surprised if that was not also the case in some of the rural municipalities. I would be further surprised if there is not a problem in dumps that exist in areas beyond municipal jurisdiction, in other words, within the jurisdiction of the Minister. Does he not have any sense of what is going on here and what the government's plans are?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This department used to go around periodically and pick up the material there, but all of this has been transferred over to Renewable Resources.
Mr. Penikett: This bothers me. We are not just getting a policy vacuum here, but we are actually getting an administrative one.
I understand that it is the expressed view of the municipalities that they do not have legislated responsibility to collect hazardous wastes, to hold them, store them, ship them and that this is a responsibility of YTG. If it has been transferred to the Department of Renewable Resources, which, as far as I know, has announced no programs, no new measures and no initiatives in this area, who is doing anything about the problem that I suspect many citizens would still consider significant? Has the Minister, as my colleague would say, punted, or dropped the ball on this subject completely, or copped out and said this has nothing to do with us any more - it is all Renewable Resources' responsibility? Renewable Resources, except for the Environment Act, does not have responsibility for some of the areas we have mentioned.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Renewable Resources was given our staff and everything else last April. The whole program was transferred there. It was very plain. There were announcements made of the fact that the staff was transferred.
Mr. Penikett: The Minister did not transfer the responsibility for the transportation of dangerous goods, did he?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, we are still responsible for the regulation of hazardous waste, and it is working fine. We have not had any problems with the regulations. As I said, when I was there, we shipped the PCBs out to Swan Hill. Nobody got excited about that. I think the Member will find that there are very few PCBs left in the Yukon.
Mr. Deputy Chair, I ask that you report progress.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Deputy Speaker resumes the Chair
Deputy Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Deputy Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Millar: Mr. Deputy Speaker, Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 3, Third Appropriation Act, 1994-95, and has directed me to report progress on it.
Deputy Speaker: You have heard the report of the Deputy Chair of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Deputy Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Deputy Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Deputy Speaker: This House stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Monday next.
The House adjourned at 5:29 p.m.
The following Sessional Paper was tabled January 26, 1995:
Dr. Branigan: open letter dated January 26, 1995, from Minister of Justice re procedure
for dealing with medical complaints (Phillips)
The following Document was filed January 26, 1995:
List of names requesting an investigation of the actions taken in respect to complaints laid under the Medical Profession Act against Dr. Donald Branigan (Nordling)