Wednesday, February 8, 1995 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will proceed with silent Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
Recognition of appointment of new Governor General of Canada
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I rise today to welcome the new Governor General of Canada, His Excellency Romeo LeBlanc, to his post and wish him well on behalf of all the people of the Yukon.
At the same time, I would like to thank the outgoing Governor General, the Right Honourable Raymond Hnatyshyan, for his dedicated service to Canada. We wish him and his family well in other ventures.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I have documents for tabling.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Are there any Petitions?
Are there any Bills to be introduced?
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Are there any Notices of Motion?
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Game farming regulations
Mr. Harding: I have a question for the Minister of Renewable Resources. Last December, I raised the issue of improper consultation about game farming regulations with that Minister. The issue is that the Yukon Party used a letter on game farming from a Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board member in October of 1994 as consultation. This was long after September 16, and after the Minister expired the board.
The government then uses this letter from one member of an expired board to justify that it had consulted a legally constituted board on game farming. We believe that, in failing to consult as outlined in the umbrella final agreement, it has broken the spirit of the law. How does the Minister expect people to believe that the board was consulted in October, when the Minister killed the board the month before?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The consultation process for the game farming regulations took place from 1987 up to and including 1994. From the time it was established, the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board did have the opportunity to review the proposed policy and the regulations many, many times.
Mr. Harding: That is simply not true. The umbrella final agreement demands that the board must be legally consulted. There was a sub-committee established and that sub-committee could not have consulted in accordance with the law, because the Minister expired the board before the sub-committee could report back to the main board. Therefore, the legally constituted body could not have taken a position.
Will the government suspend its policy and regulations pending further consultations with CYI and the Fish and Wildlife Management Board in accordance with the law?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: No, we will not suspend the passage of the regulations.
Mr. Harding: It is abysmal the way this government chooses to ignore the views of so many Yukoners. Now they have stacked the Fish and Wildlife Management Board with an avid lobbyist for the game farming industry for a five-year term. Why would the Minister put someone on a board whose private business interests lie in the domestication and enclosure of wildlife, rather than in its protection and wise use, which is the board's first priority?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: We have a diverse range of interests represented on the Fish and Wildlife Management Board. We have business people, we have a biologist, and we have at least two members who are members of the Yukon Fish and Game Association. I am very proud of the appointments that have been made.
Question re: Game farming regulations
Ms. Commodore: My question is for the Acting Government Leader regarding the game farming regulations.
On February 6, the government announced the approval of its game farming regulations under the Wildlife Act, and it said that the regulations were the result of public discussion and consultation that began in 1989. The next day the Council for Yukon Indians issued a press release accusing this government of once again breaking the law, and violating the terms set out in chapter 16.7.16 of the umbrella final agreement. I would like to ask the Acting Government Leader if he believes that to be the case.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I believe the intent of the umbrella final agreement was followed in the consultation process, and I would like to point out once again that that consultation process started when the policy first began to be developed in 1987. I think it finally went into effect in 1988. That was the interim policy. Throughout the development of the regulations and the policy, the Council for Yukon Indians and First Nations were involved.
Ms. Commodore: I was asking the Acting Government Leader, who I understand is replacing the Government Leader today - I am asking questions of him in that capacity.
This is to the Acting Government Leader: according to the press release, the Council for Yukon Indians is seeking advice to determine its recourse against the Yukon government's action, including, if necessary, legal action. Does the Acting Government Leader agree that this is a very serious action by the Council for Yukon Indians and, if he does, what does the government intend to do about it?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I agree with the Member opposite. If the Council for Yukon Indians decides to follow that course of action, it will be serious. Again, I want to point out that the Council for Yukon Indians has been involved since as far back as 1987. The difference here is that the Council for Yukon Indians is completely opposed to game farming in Yukon, and it felt that it was not consulted properly on the question of whether or not there should be game farming.
Ms. Commodore: It is another example of this government not really giving a darn about circumstances in the public. It appears that there is a serious breakdown in the relationship between this government and the CYI due to a lack of consultation by the government with the CYI. There have been accusations that this government has violated the umbrella final agreement. I would like to ask the Acting Government Leader how the government intends to deal with the breakdown of the relationship with CYI, because it is serious.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I disagree with the Member opposite that there has been a breakdown. I maintain that we are following the intent of the umbrella final agreement.
Question re: Yukon Energy Corporation, rates
Mr. Cable: I have some questions for the acting Minister responsible for the Yukon Energy Corporation. On Monday, the president of the Yukon Energy Corporation appeared before the House to answer questions on the operations of the corporation. From the information he provided, it looks as if the Faro mine will be providing additional revenues in the amount of approximately $3 million per year. That is over 10 percent of the corporation's sales. From what the president said, it looks as if the corporation will be building back up its financial reserves.
Does the acting Minister and the government agree with the policy of building up the reserves rather than the lowering of the electrical rates?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Of course not. The issue regarding the setting of rates by the Yukon Energy Corporation is one that will be determined by the Yukon Utilities Board. Once the revenues have been determined and the new cash flows start coming in, there will be hearings with the Yukon Utilities Board about what the rates ought to be.
I am certainly pleased with the eager anticipation shown by the Liberal leader with regard to the economic boom that is coming to this territory, thanks to the diligent work done by Members on this side. However well founded his forecast is, it still is a bit premature to change the rates.
Mr. Cable: Perhaps we can use that hot air to fuel a few boilers to create some electricity.
The rate relief program, which was announced in October, 1993, will come to an end later this year. This was money that comes out of the ratepayers' pockets, gets circulated around in the Yukon Energy Corporation, mostly, and then goes back to the ratepayers in the form of rate relief. Will the government be extending this program beyond the end of this year? If so, will the money be coming from the taxpayers or from the ratepayers?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Once again, I commend the Member opposite for his eager anticipation of good times ahead. However, until the rate is set and we have the facts upon which to hold the hearings before the Utilities Board, I really cannot say with any accuracy what will transpire. I would think that, if there are additional revenues flowing to the Yukon Energy Corporation, the first thing that would happen would be a rate decrease. Then, the subsidy arrangement would be withdrawn. Whether or not those things take place before the end of year is something that I cannot forecast at this time.
Mr. Cable: The president indicated, of course, what I thought was an increase in revenue of $250,000 a month. Surely there must be some projections for the future. What does the Minister see as the forecast for rate levels at the end of the rate relief period? Can we expect rate reductions? Can we expect rate increases? Can we expect the rates to be held at the same level?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Again, the mine is not going into full production for some time to come. Once it is in production, and once the cashflow is determined, it will be appropriate for the utility company, Yukon Electrical, to go before the Public Utilities Board, asking for a change in the rates. That will be adjudicated upon after all the interventions take place.
Question re: Zoning changes, rural
Ms. Moorcroft: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. On January 30, an order-in-council came into effect that establishes two new zoning categories just outside Whitehorse city limits. By creating a multiple rural-residential zone, this regulation allows for as many as 25 cabins to be rented out on Lot 608 on the corner of the Mayo Road and the Hot Springs Road.
Did the government talk to the City of Whitehorse before setting up a pocket of urban density just two miles from the municipal boundary?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I suggest they did, but I will confirm that for the Member.
Ms. Moorcroft: We would like confirmation of it.
First Nations have stated that zoning amendments could be detrimental to their interests, and that they do not support haphazard and poorly planned land development. Why did the Minister not consult with First Nations before proceeding with the zoning changes?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We consulted with them. I tabled copies of the letters, which were not answered. There were also public meetings, and the Hot Springs committee agreed with the subdivision plan for that area.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister did not consult. By the definition of "consultation" in the umbrella final agreement, the government has to give notice of the matter. The letter he tabled said nothing about multiple rural residential zoning or commercial general zoning. It talks about possibilities for development.
Why did the Minister not wait until he had a response from First Nations to the limited information the letter provided before the zoning was changed?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: How long are we supposed to wait? We waited quite awhile but did not receive a reply.
Question re: Zoning changes, rural
Ms. Moorcroft: This Minister seems to have absolutely no regard for the law. The law requires that you consult with First Nations. You have violated all three considerations: giving notice, ensuring that the notice is received and waiting until a response is received before proceeding. It is not good planning; it is favouritism. It is legitimizing what has been illegal land occupancy without consulting with the municipality and the First Nations. I do not think a 38-percent response to the questionnaire - with only 48 percent of the residents in favour of this zoning - indicates overwhelming support from the residents, either.
How much power do residents really have to shape land use decisions?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The residents voted on it. The Hot Springs committee, which was working in that area, and the people within a two-kilometre area were consulted, and they had no objections to it.
Speaker: Before the Member asks a new question, I would like to remind her not to refer to the Minister as "you", but to say "the Minister".
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister has tabled the information with the breakdown of the responses to the questionnaires, and it does not indicate overwhelming support from the residents.
The development on this parcel of land is very haphazard, and there are numerous safety concerns for both electrical and building code violations in what could be described as sub-standard housing. When Cabinet approved these regulations last week, did they also set in motion a schedule for inspections and compliance with the public safety standards?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I do not discuss what went on in Cabinet.
Ms. Moorcroft: Let me ask the Minister this: is the government prepared to deal with ensuring that the housing on that lot - the 25 cabins that can be rented out to Yukoners who want to have a place to live - will be in accordance with the building codes and the electrical codes so that we have safe housing?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Once it becomes a regulation, then that will have to come. The reason we did this is because some of the buildings were put there in 1987. We tried to straighten around a situation that has been there for many, many years.
Question re: MacRae access road
Mr. Penikett: I have a question for the Acting Government Leader. This is not the acting Government Leader on the right, or the acting Government Leader on the left, but the Deputy Government Leader in the centre - at the centre of this controversy anyway.
Contrary to stated government policy, the Department of Community and Transportation Services provided a $20,000 subsidy for a private access road to the Alaska Highway at MacRae. The Minister has kindly provided documents about this transaction, which are signed by Mr. Bob Walters.
Can I ask the Minister whether or not this is the same Mr. Bob Walters who was president of the Yukon Party?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I presume it is.
Mr. Penikett: What a surprise. Could I ask the Minister, as a matter of policy, if he would henceforth agree to meet with any developer, whatever their political persuasion, to negotiate government subsidies for private access roads, as the government has done in this situation?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is not a private access road; it is a frontage road. As we have said two or three times in this House, if another situation such as this arose we would certainly look at.
Mr. Penikett: I am not sure how to read that answer. "In an identical situation" means that if another supporter of the Member opposite applies for subsidy the government will do it again.
How does the Minister explain the contradiction between what this government did last September by agreeing to this with the very clear policy letter signed by the Minister of Community and Transportation Services on November 1, 1993, which states "departmental policy with respect to access to highways requires that the costs of access construction are the responsibility of the applicant." How does the Minister square what the government did in this case with the written, stated policy?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Under the policy, from 1986 to 1992 approximately 200 access driveways were built by the Yukon government at a cost to the taxpayer of $1 million. This is a road frontage and it is looking after other people's property besides his.
Some Hon. Members: (Inaudible)
Question re: Abattoir
Mr. McDonald: I have a feeling we will be discussing that at length.
I have a question for the Minister of Renewable Resources. The Minister's announcement that $200,000 was sitting in government waiting to be dedicated to the abattoir project was quite a surprise to many of the people in the agriculture industry with whom I have spoken. They only know of the $50,000 in the Renewable Resources capital estimates.
Is the Minister aware that the Yukon Agricultural Association submitted its proposal for funding to the Canada/Yukon infrastructure program for the full amount required, and does he support that application?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I have not seen the recent application that went to C&TS.
Mr. McDonald: Could the Minister tell us precisely where that $200,000 he referred to is located?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: We made a commitment previously that, if the Agricultural Association was going to proceed with the abattoir, we would come up with a maximum of $200,000. I believe we have it identified in the Renewable Resources budget as a $50,000 item for this year; however, we have made a commitment that the money would be found if they indeed proceed with an abattoir.
Mr. McDonald: That is a very, very awkward, strange and weird budgeting practice, but I will leave that for a Committee debate.
Can the Minister tell us, given that he has indicated that the agriculture industry has to come up with some equity contribution of its own, precisely what equity contribution is required from the industry in order for the application to receive approval by this government?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I believe we established that a year or so ago at 10 percent of the project cost.
Question re: Gratuities
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister responsible for Health and Social Services. I had a very interesting morning talking to hearing supply companies, and I might just give the Minister the information that they were less than pleased when they heard what perks their competition was offering here in the Yukon.
I would like to establish some dollar amounts. I was able to find out that hearing aids alone cost between $200 and $900. In our budget, we are going to be disbursing about 230 hearing aids this year, so people can do their own calculations. It could be quite a sizeable expenditure. That does not include the really expensive hearing testing equipment, which can cost thousands of dollars. I would like to ask the Minister if he can tell us if all of the hearing supply equipment was purchased from a company called Starkey, as he said on the radio this morning.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I cannot at this time. However, I will look into the Member's question and report back.
I think that it is important to note that this is a personnel matter. It was travel that was not authorized by the department, in this case. It is being looked into by the Public Service Commission and the department, under the conflict rules.
Mrs. Firth: That does not mean that I cannot ask questions about it. I would like to ask the Minister this question: since this is a very competitive industry, and it involves lobbying, free tours, trips, and a certain amount of deal making, does the Minister know how many hearing supply companies do business with the Government of the Yukon? If he does not know, why does he not?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The reason I would not know is because this has not been an issue in any policy changes since I have been the Minister. The previous policy was set by the previous administration. That administration authorized three separate trips paid for by Starkey, and I have copies of the sheet signed by the previous Minister, Joyce Hayden. I would like to table one set of these copies for distribution, without the names of the three employees on it, and I will ask the Page to send over the other copies to the Member.
Mrs. Firth: I am asking this Minister questions about things that have been going on under his nose for the last two years. There is not anyone in the public who compares a trip to Hawaii to a tour of a factory in Mississauga. I would like to ask the Minister about the current list that Government Services has of current hearing aid suppliers that have standing offer agreements with this government to supply equipment. There is a list of five, some of which I spoke to this morning. They told me that they did very, very little business with this government. The Starkey company is not on this list. Can the Minister explain how that could be?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Of course not. The position is very simple. The Member opposite brought to light a situation in which employees took unauthorized travel. We are looking into it. The issue is a personnel matter. We are looking into the appearance of conflict of interest. I do not order anything on behalf of the department. I do not go around and make diagnoses on behalf of the doctors; I do not tend to the wounded on behalf of the nurses; I do not do any social work; and I am not a very good typist. My job is to direct policy. That is what I do. We are looking into this, and we will certainly straighten out the appearance of conflict that currently exists.
Question re: Gratuities
Mrs. Firth: I have another question for the same Minister regarding the same matter, which the Minister does not seem to be taking very seriously, because he has not done one bit of homework to find out what the circumstances are. In this question, I am speaking on behalf of hundreds of employees who follow all of the rules and the business community that has watched any claims of fairness in the contracting process collapse before its eyes in the last three weeks. The Minister has admitted publicly that it looks like a conflict of interest. People are asking me what happens when the rules are broken. Can the Minister tell us what is going to happen? Will there be any disciplinary action taken here?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services is currently carrying on an investigation in consultation with the Public Service Commission. The conflict rules set out what kinds of sanctions can be applied; what kinds of appeals through grievance can be launched. I would like to make it very clear that the reason we have the senior person as Public Service Commissioner, in a position where she or he enjoys a 10-year contract, is so that they can be above political interference. It is improper for a politician to get involved in a hearing of this matter, and I do not intend to.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister should not have been making the comments on the radio this morning about conflict of interest and trying to be the noble person who was going to stop all these bad activities. "I am going to put a stop to it,'' he said. "I am sending out a message loud and clear. This is one that employees will not need any help in hearing. No more free trips."
My concern is with the message that this government is sending out to the other employees who follow the rules, who are being tarred with the same brush. Is the Minister going to be taking any disciplinary action with respect to this issue?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: This has gone into the theatre of the absurd, I guess. We have safeguards in our system to ensure that politicians do not, on a political whim, get involved in ruining the lives of people who work for government.
That is why we have a Public Service Commissioner who has a security of tenure so that that person cannot be lobbied or pushed around by politicians on that side of the House or this side of the House. We are talking about fairness here. We are talking about people's lives. We are talking about something that, on the face of it, has the appearance of conflict of interest. It has been thoroughly investigated. Hearings will be heard. The people involved will be treated in a judicial manner and not be exposed to a kangaroo court as the Member opposite would have it.
Mrs. Firth: The absurdity here is this bunch of guys. When the Government Leader stood up in the House and said, "The Member is notorious for bringing in false allegations", all of them cheered, the Minister opposite included. They cheered and cheered. This was happening in his department, right under his nose for two years. He has not even done any homework to see what is going on.
I would like to ask the Minister when he is going to take this seriously. He obviously does not take it seriously.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Speaker: Order. Will the Member please ask the question.
Mrs. Firth: He does this all the time in a patronizing way.
Speaker: Order. Will Members please allow the Member for Riverdale South to have the floor and to ask a question.
Mrs. Firth: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I would like to ask the Minister when he is going to take this issue seriously. When will he do some homework to find out what is going on? There are all kinds of rules in place to ensure that this does not happen.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mrs. Firth: An investigation, the Minister of Tourism says.
Speaker: Order please. Will the Member please allow the Minister to answer the question.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Well-
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Speaker: Order. The Minister of Health and Social Services has the floor. Will everyone else please be silent.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: To use the favourite catch phrase of the Leader of the Official Opposition, and recognizing that the Member opposite broke the law by giving a preamble in the second supplementary question, I would like to deal with that breach of the law first.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The allegations that she often misled the House with her rhetoric was made as often - if not more often - by the NDP when it was in power than by Members on this side. I would invite them to go to the record and look it up - you can look it up, as they say.
I do not believe in politicians conducting star chambers, particularly against defenseless individuals. I think that we, in this House, have power that should be curbed. I have stood up here many times and criticized Members for naming people who cannot defend themselves in the House. I am confident that justice will be done and that proper investigations and hearings will take place. It would be entirely improper for me to place myself in the role that is properly that of the Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services and the Public Service Commissioner.
Question re: Abattoir
Mr. Cable: Speaking of abattoirs, I have some questions for the Minister of Renewable Resources. The Minister's department periodically puts out a publication, called "Infarmation". In the last one, during the fall of 1994, the Minister signed the face page. In that quarterly bulletin, the Minister said, "My government will continue to work closely with industry in a number of areas. These include identifying areas of agricultural land, planning of these areas, marketing, development of appropriate infrastructure, extension services, and development of policies and legislation."
What does the Minister see as the development of appropriate infrastructure?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I think the Member is getting at whether or not an abattoir is considered to be infrastructure. Yes, I believe those types of facilities could be considered infrastructure, as could roads into planned agricultural areas, and so on.
Mr. Cable: Earlier, the $200,000 commitment by government for the abattoir was raised. In the media last week, the Minister was quoted as confirming the $200,000, but it was conditional upon a commitment by the agricultural industry. By way of follow-up, could the Minister be more precise about what he sees as a commitment by the industry?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I think I have already indicated that. Some time ago, we advised the industry that we would require approximately a 10-percent contribution from the industry toward the abattoir.
Mr. Cable: I will assume that with the $900,000 project the Minister is looking for $900,000 worth of cash.
On the appropriate infrastructure definition, does the Minister see support of a cold-storage facility falling under the statement that he had in the face page of the Infarmation Quarterly Bulletin?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: Yes. In my definition of infrastructure, a cold-storage facility probably could qualify.
Question re: Abattoir
Mr. McDonald: I have another question for the Minister about the abattoir. The Minister appears to be somewhat schizophrenic about his support for the project. He has let his skepticism be made fully known to media representatives, but has not yet let the Agricultural Association know about his skepticism. Their information about the abattoir project and the government's $200,000 commitment was made known to them through the media. Can the Minister tell us what kind of close working relationship the Minister has with the Agricultural Association that would allow this essential information to come through channels, other than the normal government channels that have been established over the years, to the Agricultural Association?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I am somewhat surprised that the information the Member opposite has is to the effect that that information came from the media. I had a meeting with the president and the secretary-manager of the association shortly after Christmas, I believe. We discussed a lot of things for at least a one-hour period. I am quite surprised that that is the information the Member has.
Mr. McDonald: I am really surprised, too, because by that time it had already made application to the Canada/Yukon infrastructure program for the full amount of the abattoir project; obviously it was not aware that there was $200,000 in some other pot someplace else, not yet budgeted for, that could have contributed to the project as well. I am surprised about the breakdown in communication. I understand the Minister is having some internal trouble in his own riding, if the paper is any judge, with respect to communication with the agricultural industry.
The abattoir requires land. Can the Minister tell us what he has done to resolve the land problem, in terms of siting for an abattoir, which was raised in the Legislature last year?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: We reserved a piece of land and I believe the lot number is 563. I may stand corrected on that, but it is a piece of land on the Takhini River very near to the Takhini River access off the Hot Springs Road. There has been a reserve put on that piece of land for agricultural infrastructure.
Mr. McDonald: Carrying on with the continuing theme about consultation with First Nations, is this particular lot that the government already put a reserve on acceptable now to First Nations in the area who are going through land selections?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The piece of land in question was one that was not a selected piece of land, essentially because there was an agreement for sale on it by another party at one time or another. I do not know if the Agricultural Association has consulted with First Nations. It is reserved and there would have to be a change in zoning. The consultation would take effect if and when the Agricultural Association makes a move to construct some facility on that land.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
GOVERNMENT PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS
Motion No. 22
Clerk: Item No. 1, standing in the name of Mr. Millar.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Member for the Klondike
THAT, as the Yukon Territory was created by the Yukon Territory Act on June 13, 1898, this House officially recognize June 13 as the Yukon's birthday.
Mr. Millar: It is a distinct pleasure to rise today to present this motion to the House. I want to dedicate this motion to a former long-serving Speaker of this House, Mr. Don Taylor, of Watson Lake. He has worked for years to have Yukon's birthday, June 13, 1898, recognized in an appropriate fashion.
As the MLA for Klondike, it is perhaps fitting that I present this motion because, as Members well know, the original home of the Yukon Legislature was located in the old Territorial Administration Building in Dawson City, Yukon's first capital city.
I suspect most Yukoners are unaware of Yukon's birthday or of the events and circumstances leading up to the creation of the Yukon Territory on June 13, 1898. Yukon's birthday has been overshadowed by many other centennial events. Yukoners talk about the 100th anniversary of the Northwest Mounted Police, the discovery of gold on August 17, 1896, and about the centennial of the world famous Klondike Gold Rush in 1898. There appears to be little awareness that on June 13, 1998, the Yukon will be celebrating its 100th birthday. I believe this motion will help address this major oversight.
Former Commissioner of the Yukon Territory, James Smith, stated in the forward to Prelude to Bonanza, by Yukon author Al Wright that, "Being aware of our history allows us to have a better understanding of where we are today and where we are capable of going tomorrow."
Today, I would like to take a few minutes to talk about our history and how the territory came into being. I want to dispel the myth that Yukon's history has been short but exciting. It has been exciting, but far from short.
My friend and colleague, the MLA for Vuntut Gwitchin, and the Member for Mayo-Tatchun must find this short-sighted perception of Yukon's history somewhat amusing. A
rchaeological research has indicated that their predecessors were at Old Crow 30,000 years ago, at Kluane Lake 10,000 years ago, and at Pelly River over 8,000 years ago.
The Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre will help Yukoners have a much better understanding of this prehistoric period.
Yukon First Nations were here to greet the first fur traders: first the Russian and Americans from the west along the coast, and then those from the east who were with the Hudson's Bay Company.
Robert Campbell established Fort Francis in 1842, and then built Fort Selkirk near the junction of the Pelly and Yukon rivers in 1848. In 1847, Alexander Murray established Fort Yukon at the confluence of the Porcupine and Yukon rivers. In subsequent years, fur trade expanded, and a number of new trading posts were established: Fort Reliance, in 1874, at the present site of Dawson; at the mouth of the Stewart and Fortymile rivers, Fort Selkirk; and on the Sixty Mile River. The fur trade became the basis of economic life in the Yukon until the coming of the gold seekers.
There are many misconceptions about the discovery of gold in the Yukon. One of the misconceptions is that the discovery of gold happened literally overnight, when in fact the search for gold went on for nearly a quarter of a century.
I would like to draw the Members' attention to a new book, Gold at Fortymile Creek, by one of my constituents, Mr. Michael Gates of Dawson City. He has chronologized the events that led to the Klondike discovery, and shows that it was actually the result of two decades of concentrated effort.
In 1898, when the stampeders were climbing the Chilkoot Pass and utilizing other avenues to reach the gold fields in the Klondike, the land they were entering was neither unpopulated nor unknown. On August 17, 1896, when George Carmacks, Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie found the richest concentration of placer gold the world has ever known, there were already over 1,000 miners exploring for gold in the territory. These historic events led to the creation of the Yukon Territory as a district region within Canada.
Prior to the creation of the Yukon Territory under Canadian federal statute in 1898, the territory's legal base was bound to Canadian and British statutes, which encompassed much larger geographical areas. While the Quebec Act of 1774 and the Constitution of 1791 do not make specific references to other parts of North America, the British assumed that their law presided over all of North America, including the Yukon.
The United Kingdom passed the Union Act in 1840, which reunited the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada and provided for the governance of Canada. Most of North America, north of the 49th parallel and west of Upper Canada, was utilized by British, American and Russian fur trading companies. For a time, the jurisdiction over Yukon was uncertain. However, the emergence of the British-owned Hudson's Bay Company as a dominant fur trading company, and a series of British and Canadian statutes, set the ground work for the Yukon becoming part of Canada.
The statutes included the Rupert's Land Act of 1868, which transferred the lands, powers and authorities of the Hudson's Bay Company in North America to Her Majesty, the Queen of England. These lands included what is now known as the Yukon. The temporary government of Rupert's Land Act of 1869 provided for the Government of Canada to make temporary governance of the Rupert's Land region before it was transferred to Canada. When Rupert's Land, which included Yukon, was to be admitted under the Dominion Act, this temporary act states that the region shall be known as the Northwest Territories. In 1870, a British order-in-council officially transferred the ownership of Rupert's Land in the northwestern territories to Canada.
The order-in-council provided compensation to the Hudson's Bay Company for the extinguishment of company lands, rights and privileges in the region. The schedule to this order highlighted Canada's interests in respect to the northern regions and outlined its intentions to encourage the development of governing institutions of the north analogous to those in the Canadian provinces. The schedule also committed Canada to compensate Indian tribes for settlement lands in a manner that conformed to established, equitable principles.
The other British order-in-council in 1880 affirmed that all islands and territories adjacent to North America be annexed and be part of Canada. This provided the initial basis on which the Yukon acquired Herschel Island. In 1895, Canadian Order-in-Council No. 2640 divided the Northwest Territories into four districts. One of the districts was the Yukon. The districts were created to organize the unknown region for settlers and for postal services.
The Canadian Proclamation of August 16, 1897, created a separate Yukon judicial district. The Yukon judicial district was constituted and declared to be a separate territory by the Yukon Act of 1898. On June 13, 1898, the Yukon Act was given royal assent and became law.
I will open my debate on this motion by dedicating it to Mr. Don Taylor. I would like to conclude my remarks with his own words. "There can be no doubt that the discovery of gold on Rabbit Creek in 1896 assured a most important and significant period of Canadian history. It resulted in the emergence of Yukon first as a judicial district, and shortly thereafter as a separate and distinct territory of the Dominion.
"Webster defines 'birthday' as a day of origin. Yukon's day of origin was June 13, 1898, when the Governor-General proclaimed the Yukon Act, giving birth to our territory. Accordingly, this day holds great significance for the people of the Yukon, past, present and future. It signifies the very special relationship we enjoy with fellow Canadians across this great land and it reminds us of the distinctive contribution that the people of the Yukon have made, and continue to make, to the common good of our nation. It is a very special day on which the people of the Yukon will have an opportunity to reflect upon a remarkable past and project on hopes and dreams for our future together."
Mr. Penikett: I always enjoy birthdays, or at least I did for the first half of my life.
The idea of celebrating the birthday of the creation of the Yukon as a separate political jurisdiction is one that has merit, although, of course, as the previous speaker mentioned, people who are sensitive to the very long traditions of the people who have occupied this area for many thousands of years will not place the same importance on this date or this event as does the population that has arrived more recently. Indeed, what is significant about the creation of the Yukon territory in 1898 is that, in many ways, it was a completely botched piece of legislation. This is a matter about which the Member for Carcross-Southern Lakes and I have spoken in this House before.
The people who drafted the legislation completely screwed up the definition of the Yukon's boundaries, so that we originally ended up, at least in law, with no offshore. It left considerable doubt about what the offshore boundary with the Yukon and Northwest Territories was and, indeed, as everyone knows, there remains an ongoing dispute with Alaska about the offshore boundary. That, of course, arises from a problem of a treaty between Russia and Britain in 1825.
The Member for Klondike is quite right, of course, that gold was discovered on Rabbit Creek when the gold rush began, but of course there had been gold seekers in the Yukon before that at Fortymile and other places.
The Yukon Territory was not, let us admit, an entirely noble project. We, here, are glad that it was done and that we are a separate jurisdiction. We can be proud of the fact that, indeed, as a result of the gold rush, our Legislature is older than Alberta's or Saskatchewan's. That is something that is almost unknown in western Canada. However, the Yukon was created as a separate jurisdiction for a number of reasons. Even though the Liberal government of the day somewhat screwed up the drafting of the bill - was careless - it had a legitimate concern about the policing of this area, given the huge number of Americans who were entering the area, and was worried about Canadian sovereignty and Canadian jurisdiction in this field.
There was also a less salutary concern, and that was that there was a battle royal between the first premier of the Northwest Territories - Frederick Haultain, a Tory - and one of the great Liberal political operators in western Canadian history - Clifford Sifton, from Saskatchewan - over the possibilities of liquor revenues being generated in this area from the Klondike Gold Rush stampede. I think it would only be honest to say that both the Northwest Territories government and the Canadian government were covetous of those liquor revenues.
The Yukon Territory was created for that reason, at least in part. As we know, the proclamation of the Yukon Territory Act on June 13, 1898, was preceded by the creation of the judicial district on August 16 in a Privy Council Order of 1897. The August 16 date is reminiscent of the August 17 date, which is the anniversary we commemorate the discovery of gold.
The Member for Klondike also made mention of the Rupert's Land transfer order-in-council in 1870. What should not be forgotten about that order is that it repeated and carried forward the obligation contained in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 that stated that, before land could be sold for settlement, a treaty would have to be made with the First Nations here. That is why there are lawyers who argue that in the Yukon Territory the land claims negotiation had a foundation not only in common law, or in the theory of aboriginal rights, but that there was also a statutory obligation to negotiate a treaty here before settlement occurred. It is interesting that we are debating this motion today, just a few days away from a celebration that is going to pay tribute to the fact that we will have proclaimed a modern treaty with Yukon First Nations many decades after it was supposed to have happened.
It is always problematic to pick anniversary dates. They tend to be arbitrary. One can trace Yukon history to many different sources and beginnings. The Member for Klondike quoted Prelude to Bonanza, but another Yukon-educated historian, Kenneth Coates, tends to talk about the history of settlement here in his books as beginning in the north on Herschel Island with the whalers and moving progressively south with the Klondike Gold Rush, and ultimately to the major impact on southern Yukon, which happened as a result of the construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942.
All of these dates are mileposts, or important dates to note and celebrate. I do not think that there is anything wrong with having a party on June 13, 1898. It is quite appropriate for us in this Legislature to celebrate the fact that our Legislature is not one of the younger legislatures in western Canada, but one of the older legislatures, even though the history of democracy here has not been an easy passage. We have had some periods when we were - as they would say in the labour movement - placed under administration.
Of course, it is important for us to understand a very awful constitutional reality. Our existence as a territory, until quite recently, was based in a federal statute that the federal government had the right to amend at any time. Our toehold in Confederation was weak.
Along with many other Yukoners, I was deeply concerned about the partriation of the Canadian Constitution in the early 1980s, because one of the things that did was to make the question of changes to our territorial boundaries in the advent of provincehood subject to the consent of seven provinces with 50 percent of the population. In other words, we became subject, for the first time, to the general amending formula in terms of major constitutional changes here, and I believe that was an unfortunate step backwards.
When we were created as a separate political jurisdiction in 1898, I believe there was a wide-spread belief by people here that the territory would continue to grow at the pace it had in the early days. I think it is very clear, from research in Ottawa, that the federal government believed that the gold rush was a temporary aberration and that we might not endure as a separate jurisdiction for very long.
Well, we are still here today, and ironically - thanks to the Yukon land claims settlement and the self-government agreements, which will be entrenched in the Canadian Constitution next week by virtue of section 35, which allows constitutional protection in the land claims part for modern treaties - I think our distinctive identity in the Canadian Confederation is probably protected more by that event than by many other things.
As a purely practical matter I do not believe that Canada could or would abolish the Yukon.
As a purely practical matter, even though some of the premiers are vague about exactly where Whitehorse and Yellowknife are, I do not believe many of them would today seek to downgrade our situation or deny us our place at, for example, the First Ministers conferences, but it has been reason for concern that the Canadian Constitution itself places our situation in doubt by virtue of giving the power to decide our future to the Prime Minister and to the provinces rather than to the people of this territory. As long as I am involved in politics, that is something I will continue to fight.
For all sorts of reasons, First Nations people are likely to feel quite ambiguous about celebrating this event when, in historical terms and in terms of justice and equity, they feel the proclamation next week is a far more consequential event and is worthy of much more enthusiastic celebration.
I do not take a hard position on that. I say only that this is an anniversary we can and should celebrate, but we should also keep in mind that it is one among many that are worthy of celebration here as we finish out this century.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I intend to speak briefly on this subject. First, I would like to thank the Member for Klondike for bringing the motion forward. I would especially like to thank Don Taylor, who has worked so hard for many years, allowing us to be at this point where we would recognize this day. I know that Mr. Taylor is a great Yukon historian who has followed this for many years, and he will be very pleased to see that we are dealing with this issue.
I can agree with many of the comments made by the Leader of the Official Opposition, especially with respect to First Nations. I do not think that what we are doing here today is, in any way, to diminish the great day next week. I understand it is going to be on Valentine's Day, which is a very appropriate day, and I hope that we can do something special on that day as well. I think it is a very significant day in Yukon history. Many of us have grown up here over the last 20, 30 or 40 years, and other First Nations people for hundreds and thousands of years, and it finally looks like the end is in sight; there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
To get back to the motion we are dealing with today, the Yukon Territory was created by the Yukon Act on June 13, 1898. I would like to deal with this more from the perspective of the Minister of Tourism as we look toward the decade of anniversaries, or the anniversary celebrations that we are now carrying on. Through the promotion of the decade of anniversaries, a global stage is being set in the Yukon. It is one in which people from all over the world will become more aware of the Yukon, and many will be invited to come to see our Yukon, not just over the next few years, but for many years to come.
I have to admit, I went to school here and graduated from the high school here in Whitehorse. I cannot recall ever dealing with this as a significant point in Yukon history. We did not have a lot of Yukon history in school at that time, but I do not think anyone from that era knew that June 13 had any significance whatsoever.
I think this will allow us to inform the general public of the fact that, 100 years ago on June 13, 1898, something significant happened that gave us the ability to start to work toward responsible government in the territory.
We are very fortunate in the Yukon. We have had 100 years of free government within the Dominion of Canada. We have the freedom to negotiate land claims with Yukon First Nations; we have had the freedom to manage our own renewable resources and the freedom to set educational guidelines for our children. Now we have the freedom to recognize and celebrate our history by officially adopting June 13 as the Yukon's birthday.
As I said earlier, it is important to do this today. No one is, in any way, suggesting that it be another public holiday, but I think it should be a day when Yukoners are reminded, in one way or another, that it was a significant date in the history of Yukon. Other significant dates will be those when First Nation people, who have been here for thousands of years, arrived here, and dates with respect to the signing of the First Nation land claim agreement. I think this is one of many historical events that are going to take place over the years in the Yukon Territory.
I am very pleased that the Member for Klondike, with coaching from Mr. Taylor of Watson Lake, has brought this forward, and I would urge all Members of the House to support this motion.
Ms. Commodore: This motion has been on the Order Paper for a long time, as have a lot of other government motions, and we wondered if they were ever going to be coming forward to the House to be debated. I know that this is a symbolic gesture on behalf of the Member for Klondike, and that he has been lobbied by the former Speaker of this House to come forward with it.
It appears that we are in a decade of centennials, where so much time, effort and dollars have gone into celebrating these centennials, such as that of the RCMP, the Klondike Gold Rush, and the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Highway. One wonders, when we celebrate these anniversaries, if anyone ever stops to consider the implications resulting from many of those things.
The Member for Klondike talked about some history of the Yukon. On behalf of the Member for Vuntut Gwitchin, he mentioned that there certainly was a history prior to the gold rush and prior to the proclamation of the Yukon Act, but we do not see a lot of emphasis put on that prior history, and we worry about it. I think that some of the responses we heard today in the House - and in past Question Periods - from Members of the government, gave no indication from that side of the House that concerns of the First Nations people were of importance because that is the impression that 6,000 First Nations people get.
It is all well and good to celebrate Yukon's birthday. I think that the Member for Klondike was very serious and emotional, and had his hand on his heart when he was doing it, but we have to consider the many problems that we are facing right now in this House. I get very distressed and quite disturbed when I have to sit here and listen to the nonchalant attitude in the answers from Ministers when they talk about consultation with First Nations. One Member, for instance, said: "we wrote them a letter and they did not answer'' and that was the consultation.
We talk about the celebration of the Yukon's birthday, but when we celebrate 100 years of the proclamation of the Yukon Act, we have to wonder exactly what has occurred in those 100 years. No one ever realizes that that might be something to take into consideration. For instance, if the Member for Klondike, who is very serious about introducing this motion, spoke to some of his aboriginal friends in Klondike, what was their reaction to it? Did they say, "go ahead and do it; we are right behind you; we think this is great?"
When we talk about the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Highway, does anyone ever consider the devastation that occurred as a result of it? I can tell you, because I have been here a long time, that there are certain aboriginal people who rue the day that the Alaska Highway started because of the devastation it caused to our women and to our aboriginal people in general in the Yukon. I worry about that.
The Member for Klondike did talk about a number of things that have happened, but I wonder, when he introduced this motion and when he was lobbied by his friend from Watson Lake, whether or not they considered any of the concerns that we do have in regard to the concerns that have been given to me by some of the First Nations people. If we are celebrating the Yukon as a free government, and we talk about the land claim and how we were able to negotiate it, as the Member for Riverdale North indicated, they had to deal with a lot of problems about what the Yukon government and the Canadian government did to our First Nations people.
For instance, they had free use of the land and there was a relocation of many of those First Nations groups. Many children were taken away and put in residential schools. There was no concern for the amount of land they were using and we are all aware of what happened to Kwanlin Dun when it was in the City of Whitehorse. Every year, land was taken away and governments allowed that to happen.
When we talk about something as important as this could be, does anybody ever recognize what governments have done to the people who were here for thousands of years before 1898? I do not think that is taken into consideration.
I have to make those concerns known. The former Speaker of this House may not like what we are saying, and that is unfortunate, but that is exactly what aboriginal people are saying - that, despite the comments that were made by the speakers from the side opposite, there really is no commitment to the fact that First Nations people have been here for years. There was no consultation.
Perhaps when the Member for Klondike gets up to speak, he can tell us how he consulted with, for instance, Steve Taylor in Dawson about how we are going to celebrate this birthday and how much support he has from those people.
Although it may be important in the history of the Yukon that we are in a decade of centennials and it has to be known, let us not forget what has happened in those 100 years.
Not everybody is pleased with the history of the Yukon and what it has done to people here. If the government can satisfy itself and say with great pride and authority that everything is hunky-dory in regard to the First Nations people who were here hundreds of years before the proclamation of this act, and it feels free to do that, then perhaps some people might agree with what it is doing today.
I wonder if the First Nations people, as a whole, can honour this day. I wonder if they felt it was important enough to debate in this House. I am not sure if that is the case. I know the government believes everything it does is done in the proper manner, according to the umbrella final agreement. I get very discouraged about that and about their so-called consultation. If we even believed the government was serious, it might be more comforting to us.
When I hear the response to questions in this House with regard to certain things the government has done, and in regard to their non-commitment to economic development for aboriginal people, one has to wonder where the government is coming from.
The Government Leader is not here, and we are not sure who the Acting Government Leader is.
I would like to know if anyone from that side sat down with someone from CYI to talk about this birthday. Perhaps some history of it has to be made available to individuals. As has been stated, how many people know that June 13, 1898, is the birthday of the Yukon? The Minister of Education just said he graduated here and knew nothing about it.
I would like to voice my concern with regard, once again, to the lack of consultation with CYI. This is something that is part of our history. When we continue to do things in this House that affect all our constituents, they have to know that we are speaking on their behalf when we stand up in this House. I sometimes wonder if that is important to them. It sometimes appears that it is not.
I could go on and on about the history of the Yukon and what it has done to the aboriginal people in this part of the country. I could spend whatever time I have allotted on that, but I will not do that. I just want to let Members know that there is a concern out there as to how they are going to celebrate this birthday and how much money will go into it. There are millions of dollars already going into other celebrations that will be happening. Already, $40,000 has gone into a trip to Europe for the Minister of Tourism. The Minister stands up today and says that it will be great for tourism. I suspect that it will be, but I have to say that we should be realistic. We should look at some of the situations that the government does not seem to notice. It is great to stand up and say it is great because tourists are coming to see the Yukon. However, sometimes when they come, they also get a chance to see the real Yukon and the devastation that has occurred. They see the things that are not being done in terms of social problems.
I was speaking to an aboriginal person last night, who was very concerned about the breakdown in some of the communities with regard to their social programs. The Minister of Justice and Health and Social Services says he has done more for less; they certainly believe there is less, but so many programs are disappearing. The 100 years of a free Yukon, as the Minister of Education said, has a lot of history to it. It is not just a proclamation. There is much more to that and I think that has to be taken into consideration.
I would have expected a motion from the government with more substance to it. All of us could have stood here and talked about something that would that would have been of more benefit to Yukoners emotionally, economically and socially. However, if the Yukon has a 100th birthday coming up, I guess it is going to happen.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Despite my age, I guess I am still young and naive. I honestly believed that we finally had a motion that everyone in this House could support. I thought it would be less than controversial.
I guess the NDP and the previous Speaker want to bat 1,000 on being anti-everything and undercut every initiative that this government has brought forward in its budget and throne speech. They voted against the budget and all the good things that the budget holds for people throughout the Yukon of every race and walk of life. I guess that they just could not dare to let the opportunity for some kind of unity pass without a lot of rhetoric and cheap shots.
I think that is unfortunate. I look at the motion; it states, "That this House officially recognize June 13 as the Yukon's birthday." It does not talk about setting aside a day, or any kind of celebration, or any kind of expenditure of money, as was a required influence upon which the previous speaker based some of her observations.
However, I know there are some Members in this House and on the side opposite who are positive about some things. I applaud the Member for Riverdale South for supporting the Yukon Excellence Awards. I applaud the Liberal Member for supporting the budget in principle. I do not applaud him for leading the crusade against scholarships for Yukoners, but that is something that we can deal with at another time. I would anticipate their support for this motion.
I did want to say a few positive words about this birthday. I used to like birthdays and still enjoy them when they involve grandchildren. I would like to say that I, too, want to recognize Don Taylor who spent more than 20 years in this House serving not only his constituents in Watson Lake, but constituents throughout the Yukon. In fact, when Mr. Taylor first ran and served in the Legislature, his riding included not only Watson Lake, but it included Teslin and Ross River. There were not very many Members when he first entered politics here and times changed dramatically while he was a Member.
I had the privilege of serving for a brief while in 1974 and 1975 as Mr. Taylor's Deputy Speaker and as Chair of Committee of the Whole. I was always impressed, and continue to be impressed, with his concern that democracy and democratic rights and responsible government in the Yukon be equal to the democratic rights that are enjoyed by people in other jurisdictions in Canada.
It is kind of interesting that we were carved out of the Northwest Territories in 1898. Some of the prairie provinces were carved out later from the same Northwest Territories. We got off to a pretty good start. By 1910 we had our first wholly elected Territorial Council. This was despite the fact that, in the view of most observers, the economic base of the Yukon was dwindling and people were leaving. The population had shrunk a great deal by the time the 1909 elections took place and the first wholly elected Council was sworn in.
Things really languished in our march toward responsible government in the Yukon; nothing much happened for a long time. It is interesting though, that our first wholly elected Council was elected and sworn in about 60 years before the same thing happened in the NWT.
The jurisdiction first created was really the last in the march toward responsible government, for various reasons.
In the period beginning in the mid-1960s, a new concern arose in the minds and hearts of many people in the Yukon, which was that we were being treated as a colony by Ottawa and that we were pretty well ignored with regard to our concerns about issues of local concern. I can recall returning here to set up a practice in law. I returned here for several reasons, which I will not get into at any length. One of the key reasons, however, had to do with the southern lakes and having spent my youth with, not only my father, but some Indian elders and others, who were quite famous in their own right in Yukon history.
When I returned, a controversy was going on that had to do with permits being granted to a speculative mining company. The mining company intended to denude the forests around those lakes, including Atlin Lake. The company had brought in a huge machine, which resembled a huge pair of scissors, to cut down trees and actually performed a trial exercise about four miles south of Carcross on Tagish Lake. Virtually everyone in southern Yukon was adamantly opposed to what was happening. Virtually everyone in the Yukon believed, with total sincerity, that, if allowed to proceed, this enterprise would destroy the lakes forever.
Yet we had no way of stopping what was occurring. I remember that clearly, and I recall what saved Tagish Lake and Atlin Lake and Bennett Lake and Nares Lake and Tutshi Lake and Racine Lake from this devastation. The mining company in question, which also had other mining properties - one being where Pacific Sentinel is now, north of Carmacks, and another being down around Fort Nelson with copper properties - became overextended in those two ventures and went bankrupt. That is the only reason we did not have that devastation. Otherwise, it would have occurred.
That is what woke me up rather quickly upon my return and engendered my keen interest in seeing that responsible government and equal representation came to Yukon, and the sooner the better.
I remember at that time meeting Don Taylor, whom I had known slightly from before then, but not well, and meeting people such as Ken McKinnon and Erik Nielsen, all of whom were in full stride in the campaign to bring responsible government to Yukon. This had been going on for a period of time before I returned to the Yukon permanently, which was in 1970, and one of the prime movers behind it was the Commissioner of the day, Mr. James Smith. He had taken a delegation comprised of the entire elected body of the Yukon Legislative Assembly with him to Ottawa and they had been lobbying and working tirelessly to bring us away from this colonial situation. It was at that time that I became involved in my somewhat modest way.
When I ran in 1974, virtually every candidate ran on at least one common platform, and that was that we should have responsible government in the Yukon. I talked very briefly in this House, not long ago, in response to a statement made by Mr. Speaker about one of the historic events that occurred in 1974.
What I really want to say is, that period from the mid- 1960s until the famous letter of Jake Epp in 1979, was an era in which there was a tremendous struggle for democratic rights here. When one looks back at the birthday in 1898 to see that kind of development occurring, after such a lag in our history, it is, at the very least, interesting. It certainly is appropriate that Mr. Taylor's steadfast devotion to achieving responsible government be mentioned by Members here.
I have mentioned this before. As people know, I am sure, despite whatever rhetoric we hear in the House from time to time, have always supported a land claims settlement for our aboriginal people. I do what I can to listen and represent all First Nations people, particularly, of course, the First Nations people in my riding. I think that, rather than be judged by a Member opposite in that task, I prefer the judgment of the people I represent. That takes place during elections, as everyone well knows.
I have often stated, and I think I talked about this in at least one speech here, the very important role that Indian people played in the events that led up to the gold rush and the creation of the Yukon. Skookum Jim, who lived much of his life in Carcross and Tagish, is credited by most people for the original discovery on Rabbit Creek. Of course, he spent most of the rest of his life using Carcross as a base. He never in his life stopped prospecting. Not only did he discover that gold rush, as I have mentioned here, but he also made the discovery just outside of Burwash. He staked the discovery claim there, which led to a gold rush as well, and to the trail being established and built up between Whitehorse and Champagne, all the way to Silver City at Kluane Lake. It was probably one of the most important discoveries in predetermining the trail and direction the Alaska Highway took.
I would suggest that had that discovery not been made and that transportation route established as a result of Skookum Jim, perhaps the main highway to Alaska would have gone up the Tintina Trench and followed what is now known as the U.S. Army Railway Survey Line. However, that is just speculation on my part.
In speaking about First Nations people involved in this event, I want to say that I knew Chief Patsy Henderson. He was with Skookum Jim and stated that he found the first nugget. He was only 16 or 17 at the time and not permitted to stake a claim because of his age.
Patsy Henderson was truly a great chief. He gave an interesting talk for tourists who passed through Carcross. Part of it was on the gold rush history; part of it was about the Tagish and inland Tlingit ways before the white man came. Some of his descendants are involved in placer gold mining to this day, and there are all kinds of First Nation families involved in placer mining - on their own, with their own outfit, or working for others.
It has to be acknowledged that part of the history that led to this birthday coming about, I think must be acknowledged, was as a result of activities undertaken by some very gifted, intelligent First Nation leaders of the day.
The severing or cutting away of the Yukon from the Northwest Territories certainly was not perfect, and the Leader of the Official Opposition in his speech today - which I took to be positive; I am sure he will vote in favour of this motion -
referred to some of the problems regarding the ownership or jurisdiction off the north coast of Yukon, and that certainly is a concern, because we were carved out. There is a great body of law that would suggest that the Northwest Territories still has jurisdiction offshore, although we know for sure that we have jurisdiction over Herschel Island.
The Leader of the Official Opposition also spoke about the whaling industry and its history in the north, suggesting that that is where things started. I beg to differ with the Member - certainly it was earlier - but it was early and had a very important impact, not only on the Inuit, but on the people of Old Crow.
I think that birthdays, when proclaimed, should be happy events. I certainly feel that this is a positive motion. I recognize that our history has not been perfect. It has been far less than perfect in the treatment of some of the peoples who live here before, and certainly some of the First Nation people. Human beings are not perfect, even when we try to be. Our history certainly has its dark side, as does the history of virtually every other jurisdiction, not only in Canada, but throughout the world.
I do not want to dwell on that. We have a happy occasion coming up very shortly in the signing of the proclamation of the land claims settlement and the treaty with our First Nations people, which has been a long time coming.
If I remember correctly, the first plea for this was back in 1902, if I remember correctly from Chief Boss at Lake Laberge. Ninety-three years is a long time.
Therefore, I am pleased to endorse and support this motion. I thank the Member for Klondike for bringing it forward. I am sorry it engendered a lot of partisan debate, but these things do happen and a birthday is a birthday nonetheless.
Mr. Cable: I would like to open on a positive note by commending the Member for Klondike for bringing the motion forward. A birthday is something to celebrate, but without being a wet blanket, I think it is also incumbent upon us to look at the history of the last 97 years to see where we have been and where we are going.
The Yukon was carved out of the Northwest Territories by enactment of the Yukon Act. The act was subject to some amendments that have been made from time to time. The Jake Epp letter, which some of the previous speakers have spoken about, has acted as the constitutional framework for the Yukon. The act, which was enacted in a place called Ottawa, really had little bearing on the day-to-day lives of the original inhabitants. It was enacted primarily to ensure that there was some order brought to the lives of the wave of transients who were entering the territory at the time, so that this wave of transients were conducting themselves in a more or less lawful manner. It was enacted by Parliament some 3,000 miles away in Ottawa, where the Members of Parliament were living in a vastly different environment, almost a different world from both the original inhabitants and the new wave of transients.
Prior to June 13, 1898 - in fact, some 30,000 years prior - the human species first arrived in the Yukon. Some 30,000 years later, a different group of this species arrived from a different society and with different values. Much to the bemusement of the original inhabitants, this new group of people was chasing little specs of a coloured metal, which gave rise to the gold rush.
One of the paradoxes was that not many of the newcomers got rich, either materially or otherwise. Even less of the original inhabitants got rich in either sense. There were a few people who were enriched by the experience.
While I do not have any trouble supporting the motion, I think it is wise to put it in perspective. I think we should see it as a watering hole in our Yukon lives, a celebration that will someday be replaced by something more important. The celebration supporting next week's proclamation of the land claims legislation, and the celebrations that will accompany the eventual obtaining of provincehood, will be, in the scale of human events, of much greater significance, and will have the added advantage of being inclusive of nature.
I thank the Member for Klondike for bringing the motion forward. I want to say to him that it will be a useful celebration and it will enhance our tourist ventures. I hope it will act as some focus for bringing the original inhabitants and this new wave of transients together for the future.
Mr. Joe: Today we are speaking to a motion put forward by the Member for Klondike. Sometimes we have to be thankful for something that we have done in our country. I am very proud to say that our country is the Yukon. I think we have come a long way since my grandfather's day, and that is something to be proud of.
The Member for Klondike mentioned the history of our First Nation people, which goes back to thousands of years ago.
Today, I am living in a new world compared to my great-grandfather's day. In 100 years, they will be saying again that they have come a long way. Sometimes we get some good things and we are thankful. We have to be thankful that we are this far, anyway. You want to celebrate 100 years, so I will support you 100 percent.
The Member for Klondike mentioned my name as the Member for Mayo-Tatchun. I think I and the Vuntut Gwitchin should be very proud on behalf of our First Nations.
That is all I have to say.
Speaker: If the Member for Klondike now speaks, he will close debate. Does any other Member wish to be heard?
Mr. Millar: My closing remarks on this are going to be quite brief. I would like to thank the Member for Mayo-Tatchun for his remarks. I must say that until he got up and spoke I was a little concerned about how this issue had been taken and really politicized by the Member for Whitehorse Centre. She was quite right when she said I was quite sincere in bringing this motion forward and that it was heartfelt. It is, and it was, and I am not going to dwell on that, thanks to the remarks made by the Member for Mayo-Tatchun, which I appreciate him making.
I would, however, just like to say that I am aware, as is everyone else in this House, that the Yukon's history has not been perfect. I do not think one will find history anywhere that has been perfect. I want to make it clear that my intent in bringing this forward is just the fact that it is a birthday, something that did happen in our history. It is part of our history.
As the Minister of Tourism pointed out, I also went to school here and I do not ever remember hearing it. As a matter of fact, until it was brought to my attention by the former Speaker of this House, Mr. Don Taylor, I was not even aware of it, and I am just trying to raise that profile. I am not asking for us to spend a whole bunch of money on it. I am just asking people to celebrate it and be aware of it in their own way, as they would recognize birthdays in their own families.
That was my intent. I am not trying to diminish what is going to happen next week with the land claim. That is a very significant event that I am sure is going to receive a lot more publicity than this birthday will.
That is all I would like to say.
Speaker: Are you ready for the question?
Motion No. 22 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
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.
Chair: We will take a brief recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Bill No. 4 - First Appropriation Act, 1995-96 - continued
Community and Transportation Services - continued
Chair: We will be discussing Bill No. 4, First Appropriation Act, 1995-96. Is there any debate on the office of the deputy minister.
On Office of the Deputy Minister
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I would like to table some answers to questions.
Ms. Moorcroft: I would like to request a few moments to take a look at the answers that are being provided and come to the right page in the operation and maintenance book so that I may find out what program areas fall within the office of the deputy minister.
Just as a general matter of policy, this is a question that I will be raising with the Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission when we get to his department. The Government Leader has stated in the past that the government wants to reduce the use of casual employees in its workforce. This department is one of the larger departments in the number of staff that it employs, so I would like to ask whether the Minister supports the principle that the use of casuals, as a category of employee, should be avoided as much as possible.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I thought that we were on line-by-line debate.
Chair: We are on general debate on office of the deputy minister. After this, we will move on to line-by-line debate.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: May I have that question repeated, please?
Ms. Moorcroft: The question is whether the Minister supports the principle that the use of casual employees should be avoided as much as possible.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We use casuals mainly where someone is required for a short period of time. For instance, in the summer we bring in people for two or three months, and we try to use casuals for those positions.
Ms. Moorcroft: I have a question for the Minister regarding community airports. I recognize that the transfer of the Watson Lake and Whitehorse airports is a separate level of negotiations. We have had some debate about that in general debate, and I am not going to get into that again now.
I would, however, like to ask the Minister about reports that there has been lax enforcement of aviation rules. In particular, there was an article that reported that the National Transportation Safety Board blasted the federal regulators about poor enforcement. Has the government expressed its concern for the safety of Yukoners to Transport Canada? If so, can the Minister tell me how and when it was expressed?
Chair: Order. I want to remind the Members that we have finished general debate. We are now debating the office of the deputy minister.
Ms. Moorcroft: I would like to ask this question under general debate under the office of the deputy minister. I believe that we do have an opportunity for general debate before we get into the line-by-line in the various program areas.
Chair: Was the Member speaking about the transportation division? That comes later. Right now, we are dealing with office of the deputy minister. This is getting confusing.
Ms. Moorcroft: I am looking at the program objectives for the deputy minister's office, which do cover policy making and regulatory forums on communication matters.
I recognize that the whole discussion of airports gets into both communications and transportation matters. I have given the Minister notice of the question. If the Chair would like to rule that it be answered in the transportation division, that is fine with me.
Chair: Yes, I would prefer that the Member ask questions under that heading. It would be less confusing.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The deputy minister's office provides leadership and direction to the Department of Community and Transportation Services in accordance with government priorities. It is responsible for liaison between the Minister and the Minister's staff. The highlights are that in comparing the O&M with previous years, there is no change from 1994-95 to 1995-96. The 1995-96 O&M budget consists of $230,000 for personnel, including salary, wages and benefits for three staff, the deputy minister's secretary and the administration support assistant. The amount of $17,000 for Other is primarily for: deputy minister's travel, $2,000 in the Yukon and $7,000 outside the Yukon; $4,000 for communication; $2,000 for non-consumable assets; and $2,000 for various smaller items.
Ms. Moorcroft: On the subject of emergency preparedness, I would just like to note for the record that I received the information on the costs for the 911 signs. There are four signs on each highway entering the 911 area, each of which are eight feet by 12 feet, with a cost of $5,072 - with additional smaller signs, the total is $6,672. I would like to thank the Minister for providing that information.
On Deputy Minister's Office
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The deputy minister's office provides leadership and direction to the Department of Community and Transportation Services in accordance with government priorities. It is responsible for liaison with the Minister and the Minister's staff.
Compared with the operation and maintenance budget from previous years, there is no change from 1994-95 to 1995-96. The 1995-96 operation and maintenance budget consists of the following: $230,000 for personnel, including salaries, wages and benefits for three staff: the deputy minister, a secretary and an administrative support assistant; $17,000 for other, primarily deputy minister travel - $2,000 in the Yukon and $7,000 outside the territory; $4,000 for communication; $2,000 for non-consumable assets and $2,000 for various smaller items.
Deputy Minister's Office in the amount of $247,000 agreed to
On Emergency Measures
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Emergency Measures coordinates emergency preparedness and response in the Yukon. In preparation, it trains volunteers in communities and works with other organizations, the Government of Canada, local government, Indian bands, et cetera, in preparation to respond to disaster situations. It leads an emergency response team in actual emergencies.
The operation and maintenance comparison with other years is as follows: a decrease of $11,000 from 1994-95 to 1995-96 due to a reduction in casual salary of $4,000. The 1994-95 forecast included $3,000 in additional funding for response to the Rock Creek flood in Dawson. The 1995-96 operation and maintenance budget consists of $118,000 for personnel, which includes salaries, wages and benefits for a director and a part-time clerk; $162,000 for other; $69,000 for travel - $3,000 for an employee and $60,000 for other in the Yukon; $3,000 for an employee and $3,000 for travel outside the Yukon; $60,000 for contract services; $16,000 for communications; $7,000 for program material and supplies; and $10,000 for smaller amounts.
Emergency Measures in the amount of $280,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The communications branch provides operation and maintenance of the Yukon VHF radio communication system for the Yukon government and the Government of Canada, and the television and FM radio transmitters delivering CBC services. The facility is shared with groups operating in the public interest. The branch represents Yukon's interest in national policy making and regulatory forums on communication issues. The communications branch serves all Yukon people by ensuring that the private and public communications service meets our needs.
The O&M comparison with previous years shows a decrease of $7,000 from 1994-95 to 1995-96. There is a reduction of $15,000 in community TV and radio contract services, as no issues are anticipated to go forward to CRTC in 1995-96. This decrease is offset by an increase in salary and wages for merit increases. The 1995-96 O&M budget consists of the following: $215,000 for personnel, which includes salaries, wages and benefits for the director, radio system administration clerk and program manager, communication technology; $196,000 for other; $25,000 for contract services; $207,000 for repairs and maintenance; $25,000 for utilities; $431,000 for communications; $20,000 in smaller amounts; and $512,000 for internal recoveries.
Ms. Moorcroft: Has the Minister taken a position on the proposed federal cuts to native broadcasting? It is certainly a public service in that it provides radio service to the rural communities. CHON/FM and Nedaa could have to reduce their programming as a result of the proposed Liberal budget cuts. Has the government taken a position on that?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am not too sure that they definitely know that that has happened. I recall in other years personally receiving letters from them, and wrote to the Ministers. I have not had any communication with them on that issue this time.
Ms. Moorcroft: Would the Minister be prepared to support native broadcasting in the Yukon in any way he could if there are budget cuts?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Any support I could give them in lobbying Ottawa for more money, yes, I would. We would not have money in our budget to take it over.
Mr. Cable: I believe the Minister said there was a reduction in funding for applications before the CRTC. Did I hear him correctly?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, that is right. We do not know of any more that will go forward 1995-96, but we have one right now, of course, that is going ahead on February 17.
Mr. Cable: This is the Northwestel application that is being talked about in the House. Is the Minister saying that the monies were voted in the last budget?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, that is correct. The budget we are debating now starts on March 31.
Mr. Cable: I do not think the actual hearing is anticipated to take place for two or three months. I think the interventions actually close on February 17, if I have the dates right. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The first part of it is on February 17.
Mr. Cable: When does the Minister anticipate that the actual hearing will take place? Will it be within this budget year or the next one?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Actually, the CRTC has not indicated that it will give us that hearing except there, and we are asking for a public hearing so all the people can have a say.
Mr. Cable: I believe the Minister indicated that he was either thinking about, or was favourable to, working with the Association of Yukon Communities and the Utilities Consumers Group in working for a public hearing. Is that the Minister's present posture?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We passed on the information we have received from the CRTC to the Association of Yukon Communities, and we are working with them.
Mr. Cable: Initially, the Minister did not want to tip his hand as to where the government was coming from, and I think he was suggesting that there was some lawyer talk going on in trying to squeeze out his position. Is the Minister willing to give us some hint about how he is going to handle this application? It seems like a very important application, particularly in view of the fact that there are proposed large layoffs. A number of people are anxious to know what our government is going to do.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Indicating that there are lawyers involved, I can tell Members a funny story. I went to a dinner meeting the other day. I have never met the Mayor of Skagway. He came over and started talking to me with another person. I was introduced, and I told him that he talks just like a politician. Everyone laughed, and then I found out he was the mayor. I am obviously a pretty good judge. I do not think a lawyer could hide behind the words he used or the words I use. That is what I meant with what I said.
As for the hearing, the papers will be going before Cabinet next week. Then, I will ask Cabinet if they would give permission to let them out.
Mr. Cable: Is the Minister saying that they would be released to the public?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes. They will go to Cabinet and then I will see if they can be released. If they can be, I will personally ensure that the Member receives one.
Communications in the amount of $411,000 agreed to
Office of the Deputy Minister in the amount of $938,000 agreed to
On Corporate Services Division
Chair: Is there any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The human resources provides direction, guidance and support services to departmental managers in the areas of human resource management. They coordinate and provide personnel-related services for the department.
I will go through the highlights of the O&M in comparison with previous years. There is an increase of $45,000 from 1994-95 to 1995-96, mainly as a result of funding allocation for a training opportunity for a First Nation candidate at middle-management level in support of a future self-government implementation initiative being undertaken by the government.
The 1995-96 O&M budget consists of $395,000 for personnel, including salaries, wages and benefits for a director, two employee service clerks, two personnel officers, an administrative assistant, and the funding for the training of a First Nation person for a middle-management position. There is $14,000 for other, $6,000 for travel in the Yukon, $6,000 for communication and $2,000 for smaller items.
Ms. Moorcroft: Can the Minister explain what the training position for First Nations management is? Is that a training position within the corporate services division, or is it a training position conducted under the personnel authority of this branch for someone who is going to work in transportation or community services?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are trying to get a First Nations person into middle management. We have had brief discussions with Champagne-Aishihik and we will be talking with the other First Nations. The idea is to have them come and work for a certain period of time - we do not yet have the terms of reference as we have not talked to all the First Nations. They can then go back and use the experience to help in the self-governing process. I think we all agree that they need to have some trained personnel. We would like to start with this program so that they can get an idea of how to work in middle management.
Ms. Moorcroft: Is this an entirely new program, or is it being conducted under the auspices of the Native Training Corps or the employment equity policy?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is our own private program.
Ms. Moorcroft: I would like to ask the Minister if he can describe what areas the branch works on when it does legislative policy and program development.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is policy and planning that makes the policies and advises the whole corporate services division.
Ms. Moorcroft: After reading the program objective, I understood that it was to provide policy and program development and legislative support to the entire department. Does that include transportation? Does it include community services? Does it include land claims?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Actually, they attend to this for the whole department, including transportation and everything else. That is in the policy, planning and evaluation branch line item, and I have no problem discussing that if Members wish to do so.
On Human Resources
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The human resource branch provides direction, guidance and support services to department managers in the areas of human resource management. They coordinate and provide personnel-related services for the department.
The operation and maintenance costs are comparable with previous years. The increase of $45,000 for 1994-95 to 1995-96 is mainly a result of funding allocated for training, opportunities and a First Nation candidate at middle-management level position to support future self-government implementation initiatives being undertaken by the government.
In 1995-96 the operation and maintenance budget consists of $395,000 for personnel, including salary, wages and benefits for a director, two employees, a service clerk, two personnel officers, an administration assistant and the funding for the training of a First Nation middle-management position. There is $14,000 allocated for other expenditures, $6,000 for travel in Yukon, $6,000 for communication and $2,000 in smaller amounts.
Ms. Moorcroft: Can the Minister explain what the self-government initiative is that he just referred to in that description?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I just got through explaining that we are bringing a First Nation person on to train with us for a year, and then he or she will go back to work on their self-government. They will then have a year's training on self-government work. This is the second time I have been around this issue.
Ms. Moorcroft: Can I ask the Minister to please not get excited? I have certainly been finding it frustrating to ask the Minister to describe programs and policies of this government in general debate here over the last few days - weeks. The First Nation training position that I asked him to explain was referred to in one sentence of his description. He then referred to a self-government initiative, and I did not hear the entire sentence when he read it out the first time. I just wanted to ask him to clarify and explain if those were two different initiatives, or if they are one and the same.
Thanks for the explanation and do not get excited. We have quite a few lines to go yet.
Human Resources in the amount of $409,000 agreed to
On Finance, Systems and Administration
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I will do my best not to get excited. I am a very calm man and I very seldom get excited, and I will see that I stay that way.
The finance system administration branch coordinates and directs financial administration and system-related services for the department. It provides direction, guidance and support services to departmental managers in the area of finance systems and administration.
The O&M comparison with previous years shows an increase of $1,000 from 1994-95 to 1995-96. This is the result of various small items. The 1995-96 O&M budget consists of the following: $697,000 for personnel, which includes salary wages and benefits for a director, nine indeterminate and one part time casual finance accounting administration staff, two records management clerks and one system administrator; $41,000 for other; $13,000 for supplies, which includes deputy minister's office and corporate services as a whole; $8,000 for communication; $36,000 for contract services, of which $25,000 will be recovered through internal recoveries; $5,000 for repairs and maintenance; and $4,000 in smaller amounts.
Finance, Systems and Administration in the amount of $738,000 agreed to
On Policy, Planning and Evaluation
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The branch provides legislative policy and program development and related support to the department.
The O&M comparison with previous years shows a decrease of $8,000 from 1994-95 to 1995-96; $4,000 is due to a reduction in salary wages and $4,000 is due to a reduction in communication and others.
O&M in the 1995-96 budget consists of: $294,000 for personnel, which includes salary, wages and benefits for director and three policy analyists; $3,000 for other; $2,000 for communication; and $1,000 for other - training reference manuals, et cetera.
Ms. Moorcroft: In general debate, the Minister indicated that he would be prepared to describe a little more fully the legislative policy and program development work that this branch provides. I am aware of the Municipal Act amendments and Motor Vehicles Act amendments. I would like to ask if there are any other legislative projects the policy, planning and evaluation group is working on, and just generally in what policy areas they expect to be active.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: They make up our policies on different things, such as the regulations for Mount Lorne. They go through it and get it ready for Cabinet. At the present time, they just completed the motor vehicles policy, which will go out to the public shortly. They also do the initial stages of legislation before it goes to Justice. They do planning for different items. If we had a problem, they would do the planning to see what our options were.
Ms. Moorcroft: Can the Minister tell us if there are any plans to bring forward new legislation, or amend existing legislation that falls under Community and Transportation Services in the 1995-96 fiscal year?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There is the Motor Vehicles Act, Lands Act, and the Municipal Act. They also make up the regulations for the different subdivisions, as well as the highway regulations.
Ms. Moorcroft: What sort of amendments to the Lands Act is the government considering?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This went to Cabinet once, but it has to go back again. We are trying to get a more streamlined piece of legislation. We are not satisfied with the present one as it is rather cumbersome. It will be going back to Cabinet again very shortly.
Ms. Moorcroft: Has the Minister or the department talked to interested parties on these proposed Lands Act amendments? Have they talked to the Association of Yukon Communities or First Nations?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, we are not at that stage yet. They are trying to get permission to amend it in some places. When Cabinet gives permission, they will go out to the people with it.
Ms. Moorcroft: I would just like to caution the Minister that any amendments, particularly to any statutes that regulate the disposition of land in the territory, are ones that there should be a full consultation on, in accordance with the umbrella final agreement.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We will be consulting with the people.
Mr. Cable: Is the group we are now talking about responsible for the strategic plan?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, it is not.
Ms. Moorcroft: The program objective indicates that one of the responsibilities here is to undertake corporate and strategic planning. Can I ask if this branch was involved in the authorship of the Community and Transportation Services strategic plan that we debated for quite some time in the last session?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: They were involved a little, but it really belongs to the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs.
Ms. Moorcroft: What kind of strategic planning does this branch engage in then? Why is that listed as one of the responsibilities of the division?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: If they were working, as they are with the transportation division, they would do the strategic planning and such things as how we approach the public recommendations to Cabinet and options of which way that the Cabinet can go on certain things.
Ms. Moorcroft: Are they doing strategic planning for Cabinet and not necessarily for the department?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, they are leading the transportation and motor vehicle studies that we are working on now. They come up with a policy on how we should go to the public, which way we should do it, how many hearings there should be, and in which community, and if we are going to print pamphlets and advertise - anything like that to advance the legislation that we want to move on.
Ms. Moorcroft: What the Minister seems to be indicating to me is that providing corporate and strategic planning relates to legislative initiatives and policy and program development, which seems a little at odds with the way the objectives read in the budget book. I have no wish to engage in a long debate about this. I just want to point out that I do not find the remarks particularly relevant to what I read here in the book.
Policy, Planning and Evaluation in the amount of $297,000 agreed to
Corporate Services Division in the amount of $1,444,000 agreed to
Chair: Is it the wish of the Members to take a brief recess at this time?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will take a brief recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. Is there further debate on the transportation division?
On Transportation Division
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Mr. Chair, are you on Maintenance and engineering administration?
Chair: Is there further debate on Transportation Division?
Ms. Moorcroft: I would just like to clarify for the Minister. I believe that we got to the the transportation division. We have not yet begun general debate in the transportation division, so I was prepared to hear the Minister's opening remarks on this division.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have very little to say on it. Maintenance is comprised of of the different highway camps along the highway, and it includes the engineers who help build the roads. It generally includes anything under the transportation division. One group is the engineers; the other group is the highway camps that looks after roads, and such things.
Ms. Moorcroft: I would like to ask a question related to the transportation regulatory regime for which the Government of Yukon is responsible. I had earlier asked the Minister to respond to the concern that has been raised about lax enforcement of aviation rules. I would like to ask if the government has expressed its concerns for the safety of Yukoners to Transport Canada, and how.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The developments in the transportation regulatory regime deal mainly with vehicles on the highway, it is not necessarily for aviation. On the aviation side, we have expressed concern about the AWS. The other one that you may be talking about is that the transportation division in Ottawa indicated that some of the airplanes were not up to standard. Regulations are a federal issue, and we just finished speaking with the director of transportation in Haines Junction. The board that reviews those regulations is an autonomous board that is separate from both governments.
Ms. Moorcroft: The fact is, the National Transportation Safety Board expressed some concerns about unsafe planes and the lax enforcement of aviation rules. I think that the government should express concerns to Transport Canada when the air transport of Yukoners is a safety concern.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: In speaking with the director of transportation, the government has received no formal indication of any problems, period.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the government not take an interest in matters of federal jurisdiction where the transportation safety of Yukoners is involved?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Of course we do. We have protested about the AWOS. We have protested about CARS. The group that is complaining about air maintenance is an autonomous body that runs separately from the government. It is a federal organization. Our director has just informed us that he has received no complaints at all.
Ms. Moorcroft: I note that one of the program areas is to provide transportation-related infrastructure and services on a cost-recovery basis to individuals, commercial and public organizations. Is it a policy of the government that transportation infrastructure is provided on a cost-recovery basis?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes it is.
Ms. Moorcroft: If that is the policy of the government, can I ask the Minister why that policy was not adhered to on the MacRae access road?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are really beating this to death. However, we can start all over again; I have no problem with that. That was an unusual case, and there is no policy stopping an individual building an access on to the highway. We asked that he not do it. He built a frontage road that crosses other people's property besides his own, so we felt that the collector road to provide only two access roads was the responsibility of the territorial government. He could have built access roads straight on to the highway, but we did not want that. We thought the arrangement we made was in the best interest of safety, and we have had nothing but problems because of it. There is no policy, and there are no regulations to control this yet.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister said the policy was to provide transportation infrastructure on a cost-recovery basis to individuals and to commercial and public organizations. That is what it says here, and the Minister confirmed that that is the policy.
The Minister then stood up and said a policy was a policy unless there was an unusual case. I know this has been debated during Question Period and the budget debate, and I do not want to get into a long exchange with the Minister. I am just going to summarize that sometimes it is a policy; sometimes it is not. A policy is a policy, unless there is an unusual case. I guess that is what we will expect from the government.
I have some questions for the Minister relating to the Kluane Park Road. Is there any money in this budget for the proposed improvements to the Kluane Park Road?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That would be in the capital budget.
On Maintenance and Engineering Administration
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This provides administration service for the highway maintenance program and for transportation engineering and capital projects. The operation and maintenance comparison with previous years is an increase of $61,000 from 1994-95 to 1995-96, mainly as a result of funding for the training of a First Nation candidate in the middle management position in support of a self-government implementation initiative by the government. In 1995-96, the operation and maintenance budget consists of $1,395,000 for personnel, which includes salaries, wages and benefits for 14.51 staff in highway maintenance administration and six staff in transportation engineering administration. There is $267,000 for other; $67,000 is for travel - $47,000 in the Yukon and $20,000 for travel outside the Yukon.
There is $8,000 for rental expenses; $32,000 for supplies; $62,000 for communications; $23,000 for other - training conferences, fees, et cetera; and $24,000 in small amounts.
Maintenance and Engineering Administration in the amount of $1,671,000 agreed to
On Highway Maintenance
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Highway maintenance promotes the safe and efficient movement of people and commodities by ensuring road and highway conditions are maintained to a national standard. It provides transportation infrastructure and services to individuals and commercial and public organizations where alternative sources are not available at a reasonable cost.
The highlights for O&M comparison with previous years are as follows: a decrease of $737,000 from 1994-95 to 1995-96 due to a reduction in activities that are not directly related to the road surface but to activities such as brush and weed control, and cleaning and reshaping ditches.
The 1995-96 O&M budget consists of the following: $9,144,000 for personnel, which includes salary, wages and benefits by highway maintenance charged to various highway activities; $21,499,000 for other, for various operation expenditures other than labour cost and for program materials, and includes charges for use of equipment under the road equipment reserve fund fleet.
Highway Maintenance in the amount of $30,643,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The airports branch is responsible for supplying safe and adequate airport facilities for Yukon communities, the aviation industry and the traveling public.
I will list the highlights in comparison with previous years. There is a decrease of $106,000 from 1994-95 to 1995-96, resulting from an operation services reduction of $18,000 due to new employees at a lower wage scale, engineering costs being applied directly to a project and a reduction in communications costs. Field maintenance costs have been reduced by $38,000 at various airports through the development of runway maintenance standards and a $40,000 reduction in contract communications costs through the closure of CARS stationed in Ross River. There is $10,000 in smaller increases and decreases.
The O&M budget consists of $877,000 for personnel - salary, wages and benefits for two staff in administration, four staff in operations: an airport caretaker in Dawson and three contract observer communications in Old Crow. The personnel budget also includes $335,000 for internal labour charges from the highway maintenance section for maintenance work on airport runways.
There is $1,339,000 for other; $44,000 for travel; $28,000 for Yukon and $16,000 outside Yukon, including community aerodrome radio service training and $686,000 primarily for cars, contract sales and services $41,000 for rental expenses; $60,000 for supplies primarily for runway maintenance. There is $158,000 for utilities and $35,000 for communications. There is $292,000 for internal charges and road equipment and $23,000 for various smaller items.
Ms. Moorcroft: In the breakdown the Minister just read, he referred to the CARS program. Will the CARS program be operated again in Watson Lake this summer?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As Members know, the CARS program is operated by the federal government, and it tells us where to put the people. We hope to have a three-month program for Watson Lake next year, but we are not sure.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the Minister know when those negotiations might conclude with respect to whether or not, as an interim measure, the Watson Lake airport can count on having a CARS program again this summer?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We do not usually have an answer until the end of March.
Mr. Cable: Is the devolution of airports handled through the Minister's department or through the new land claim devolution person appointed in the Executive Council Office?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is a combination of the two - one person from land claims and our director of aviation in Haines Junction.
Mr. Cable: Did the Minister say the devolution of airports is handled by this person in Haines Junction?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is handled by two people - the director of airports at Haines Junction and the person who has been appointed to devolve the airports to us from Ottawa.
Mr. Cable: What is the line of authority? Are those two persons reporting to the deputy, who is sitting beside the Minister, indirectly, or do they report to Mr. McTiernan?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The director of transportation reports to the deputy minister and Mr. McTiernan reports to Cabinet.
Mr. Cable: I was wondering about the two gentlemen the Minister just talked about, who were involved in the devolution of the airports. What is the reporting structure? Is it to the deputy minister, or is to Mr. McTiernan - as far as the devolution of airports go?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Mr. McTiernan oversees all devolution. There is the director of airports who reports to the deputy minister and he and his staff in Haines Junction do all the technical work.
Mr. Cable: Do we have a time line on the devolution of the Whitehorse airport?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are aiming for a deadline of April 1, 1996.
Airports in the amount of $2,216,000 agreed to
On Transport Services
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Transport Services serves to develop administration and enforces the transportation regulatory regime in the Yukon. O&M comparison with previous years shows a decrease of $244,000 from 1994-95 to 1995-96, mainly due to the Haines Junction/Cassiar weigh scale station scheduled to be closed March 31, 1995. The 1995-96 O&M budget consists of: $2,034,000 for personnel, including salary, wages and benefits for 4.5 staff administration, 13.4 staff at motor vehicles and 18.2 staff at weigh scales stations; $481,000 for other; $56,000 for travel; $30,000 for employees; $10,000 other in the Yukon and $16,000 outside; $20,000 for honouraria; $33,000 for contract services; $65,000 for rental; $99,000 for supplies; $33,000 for program materials; $38,000 for utilities; $59,000 for communications; $40,000 for other various public awareness education programs; and $26,000 is smaller amounts.
Transport Services in the amount of $2,515,000 agreed to
Transportation Division in the amount of $37,045,000 agreed to
On Municipal and Community Affairs Division
Ms. Moorcroft: Considering the debate we have been having on municipal and community affairs subjects, I thought the Minister might have something prepared for us to open up general debate with on this division.
A short while ago the Minister referred to proposed amendments to the Yukon Lands Act. I would appreciate it if the Minister could give us a framework for what the government is proposing to change in the act.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am not going to say too much because these changes have not yet come before Cabinet. Basically, the intent is to streamline the act and to be in a position to have legislation ready to handle devolution.
Ms. Moorcroft: How would the government streamline the legislation? Would the government change the process by which people apply for land?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are trying to streamline the legislation so that it is less cumbersome. People often complain that there is too much red tape. By initiating these changes, the government will be ready with streamlined legislation when it takes over more land devolved from the federal government.
Ms. Moorcroft: Could the Minister explain what he sees as being obstacles in referring to red tape? Is it the number of committees that a land application has to go through?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As I stated earlier, this legislation is in the process of being brought before Cabinet, and I am not going to get into a debate about this legislation until it has gone through Cabinet. The Cabinet makes the decisions, not me.
Ms. Moorcroft: It is that same old song again. It seems to be a pretty common defence for the Minister to say that they might talk about that in Cabinet, they will talk about that in Cabinet or they have talked about that in Cabinet, so he cannot talk about it in the House. I think that the Minister should be accountable for his budget, and should not be quite so defensive in responding to the legitimate concerns that I represent on behalf of my constituents and that I hear from members of the Yukon public all the time.
I am not asking the Minister to divulge any top secrets. I am asking him about the general direction that this Minister and his department - or even this government - is going in.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am trying to get rid of some of the red tape and have some legislation in place, so that when we get the land through devolution, we will be able to start the exercise on that land.
Ms. Moorcroft: What red tape is the Minister referring to?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We want to get rid of duplication. Now, when people want to get land, they have to go through a federal process as well as through our process. We would like them to simply have to go through us. That would be a great saving. It would certainly help the public if we could cut down the number of committees, so that there is only one committee to go through instead of five or six.
Ms. Moorcroft: What else does the Minister consider is a problem with red tape?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I think that would be enough. If I could get that through there would be a lot of people in the Yukon who would throw their arms around me and be really happy, because land is really hard to get right now.
Ms. Moorcroft: How is the Minister planning to consult with First Nations on his proposed changes to the Lands Act?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As I said, once we get it ready and we have clearance from Cabinet, we will go out and consult with the people. When I talk about people, I mean First Nations and everybody. To me, people are people. We will consult with everybody.
Ms. Moorcroft: To me, people are people, and to me the law is the law, and the umbrella final agreement is now a law in the Yukon. The provisions of the umbrella final agreement - although I think we have a moral obligation to follow them now - will be coming into effect on February 14, and I would point out to the Minister that that is before we complete the operation and maintenance budget for the 1995-96 fiscal year that we are debating here.
I think the Minister has just got far too cavalier of an attitude. The Minister should read the definition of "consultation" provided there.
Is Cabinet going to have a retreat so that they understand the meaning and the obligations of the umbrella final agreement at some time in the near future?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I think we understand it, and we are doing our best to stay within it.
Ms. Moorcroft: The fact that we have been in debate for weeks on this particular department is enough proof that it is not clearly understood. The debate we have had on the order-in-council that creates two new categories of land zoning in the Laberge area is one example. The Minister insisted that he consulted on that zoning change because he sent a letter to Kwanlin Dun and the Ta'an Kwach'an, but the letter did not even refer to the two new zoning categories of multiple rural-residential zoning and commercial general zoning. How can the Minister stand there and say that he has consulted and that he will consult?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We sent letters out, we had public meetings and it was advertised that we were going to do this.
Ms. Moorcroft: This whole issue has just been an example of how poorly prepared the Minister is for this debate.
Initially, my colleague, the Member for McIntyre-Takhini, asked about the agricultural land developments in the Laberge area, and asked if the Ta'an Kwach'an had been involved, as we knew they had an interest in it. The Minister said that they had no problem with it. When we checked into that assertion, we discovered that the Ta'an had not really been asked and that they did have a concern about agricultural land development in that area.
The Minister then provided us with a letter, dated July 9, that was addressed to every resident and property owner. It looks like junk mail to a First Nation, which is not just another property owner. A couple of days later he came in with a letter, dated August 19. It talked about the proposed development. This very brief letter only talked about rural residential and agricultural parcels. It did not say anything about multiple rural residential zoning, which allows for up to 25 dwellings on a 10-acre parcel. It does not say anything about commercial general zoning, which provides for laundromats and a gas bar. The Minister never called to confirm that the letter was received or to ask whether either of the affected First Nations had an opinion on it.
The Minister's department has received all kinds of correspondence that has indicated exactly what a great interest the First Nations takes in this kind of development.
I want to ask the Minister what plans there are for future amendments to the Lands Act. The Minister is going to consult after Cabinet makes a decision about the changes. What chance will there be for the people, with whom he says he is going to consult, to make change?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As the Cabinet is the government, I would think it should be able to see what is going out. The policy has to be made by the Cabinet, so I would think it should have the right to look at it before it goes out to the public.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister has missed the point, so I will repeat it. The Minister has indicated that he is going to consult after Cabinet makes its decision about the changes. He just stood up and defended that position, and that is fine. He has the right to defend the position that he takes. The question that I would like him to answer is this: what chance will there be for people who will be consulted after Cabinet brings forward a discussion paper, or proposed legislative changes, or whatever it is that it comes forward with, to actually be involved in making changes?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The people we send out to the meetings will come back, and if there is a strong desire to change something, then Cabinet will look at it.
Ms. Moorcroft: Can the Minister tell us how he would define the meaning of "a strong desire to change"?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is quite apparent when one attends a meeting and everyone at it wants something changed or something added. It is a message to Cabinet that Cabinet should consider including it in the legislation.
Ms. Moorcroft: Could the Minister tell us what he considers to be a reasonable period of time within which somebody who is being consulted can prepare their views, whether or not it is a municipality, an open public meeting for citizens, or a First Nation?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: At least a month and probably a little longer than that.
Ms. Moorcroft: Once Cabinet has approved it, could the Minister tell us if he is going to be bringing forward draft legislation, a draft policy, or what the substance of the document going out to the public will be?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: By holding public hearings, the government would be presented with some basic concepts, which would be brought back to Cabinet, and we would try to work these concepts into the legislation.
Ms. Moorcroft: I understand that the Minister is telling us that the government is going to conduct public hearings after they bring forward their proposed Lands Act amendments. Is that what the Minister said?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: After Cabinet gives its permission, there will be public hearings. The ideas from the hearings will be brought back for Cabinet to look at to see how they can be worked into the draft legislation.
Ms. Moorcroft: I think that is different from what the Minister said before, but I just want to try and get this one fact sorted out.
Cabinet is going to consider a Cabinet submission, and then it is going to do a public consultation on that submission. Will the submission be a draft amended Lands Act, or will it be a policy discussion paper on proposed amendments to the Lands Act? Exactly what is anticipated to come out of Cabinet for public consultation?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It has not been settled yet whether it is going to be proposed amendments or a whole new act. As it has not yet gone to Cabinet, I cannot say what the Cabinet is going to do.
Mrs. Firth: My concern is the opportunity for the public to have some input into this process. When the Minister first described it, I understood that Cabinet was going to make a decision with respect to policy, or what its policy was going to be, or what the changes were that it wanted to make. That was then going to go out to the public, and the public was going to have an opportunity to suggest changes.
Now the Minister is saying that is not going to happen, that they are going to go to the public first to get a general idea of what the public wants.
The Minister is shaking his head and saying "no". Perhaps he could lay out what the process is so that we know when the public is going to have an opportunity for input, and if it is not this way - if it is the way the Minister originally said - then I think we have to know if the government is going to be going out with some document, a white paper, proposed legislation, or a policy paper. What is it going to take to the public for consultation?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I will try again. First, the department makes up the amendments that it thinks should be in the legislation, and then it is brought to Cabinet. Cabinet looks at it and gives it permission to go to the public, in order to let the public have some input. Then, it comes back to the department. The department works on it and brings it back to Cabinet. Cabinet then reviews it to see if it is satisfied. It then proceeds from there.
Mrs. Firth: The department makes the amendments they think should be done, and then Cabinet reviews it and makes it public. In this public process, is it going to take the proposed amendments and make them public, or is it going to produce a paper that says it is looking at perhaps changing a few things here and there, and then asking people what they think about it? I want to be very clear. What is the public going to get to see?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It has not completely been decided. We have not got that far yet, but the public -
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Just a minute now, do not get hooting around here.
The public will get to look at it and make decisions on what they would like. Then it goes back to Cabinet again.
Mrs. Firth: I can assure the Minister I am not hooting around. I am trying to find out what it is that he is going to take to the public, just like I want to know what I am going to be given if I go to one of these meetings. The Minister has not been able to tell us that, and now I know why. It is because the government has not decided yet what it is going to give us. If he had said that in the first place, we would have known.
Is that going to be part of the Cabinet decision - whether it is the draft amendments or whether it is just a kind of statement of policy or direction? When will that decision be made?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I said it would be made by Cabinet.
Mrs. Firth: So, Cabinet will make a decision, and the Minister has said that the public will have some input into it and be able to suggest changes if they do not like something. Then it goes back to the department. And what does the department do with it when they get the public's opinion?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: They develop the draft legislation and bring it back into Cabinet.
Mrs. Firth: After the draft legislation has been approved, is the Minister going to consult again? Is he going to make that draft legislation public so that the public has an opportunity to look at what the government's final proposals are?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That would depend on whether or not Cabinet wants it to go back out to the public.
Mrs. Firth: Maybe I can make a suggestion to the Minister, then. I would like to suggest something. It used to occasionally be a practice in this House that when the government was proposing changes to legislation that included a fairly controversial area, which the Minister knows this legislation includes, Cabinet would consider tabling the draft amendments and giving the public an opportunity to get copies and have a look at them before they were actually included in the legislation. This would give everyone an opportunity to have some time to look at them.
I think that way the Minister will be giving everyone a fair opportunity to have some input into it. It is just a suggestion, and he can take it to Cabinet or to whomever makes the decisions about these things.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I will take your comments into Cabinet and let the Ministers review them.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister just indicated that the department makes amendments, takes them to Cabinet, and then the whole process goes on, as he has just explained it. Can I ask the Minister if he, as the Minister, or if the Cabinet, as a whole, has given any direction to the department about what kinds of legislative changes should be made and in what direction they should be going?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As the Minister, I look at the draft copy and offer my ideas. I am supposed to have, and do, an idea of what Cabinet wants and I suggest changes before it gets to Cabinet.
Chair: Do the Members wish to recess until 7:30 p.m.?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will recess until 7:30 p.m.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Is there further general debate on the municipal and community affairs division?
Ms. Moorcroft: I do have some questions about the legislative return that the Minister provided on the land application process. For starters, I wonder if the Minister could tell me the date of the document that is affixed to that.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That would be about 1988.
Ms. Moorcroft: Well, I wonder why it took a week to get here when it is only a photocopy of a 1988 document that is processed for the orderly development of land with very little back-up information that answers my specific questions.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It came down with some of the others, and we are bringing them down just as fast as the department can get them ready. I did not place a priority on it. It just came down when it was ready, as did the others.
Ms. Moorcroft: Could the Minister explain whether or not the Lands Act provisions that we were discussing before the break will have any relationship to the existing land development process. The Minister talked about eliminating red tape. One question, for example is this: will LARC be disbanded when the Minister comes forward with the streamlined process that the Minister talked about under the new Lands Act?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, I do not think we would abandon that committee. For one thing, we have to have some committee for people to go to.
Ms. Moorcroft: This information indicates that when a site is identified on federal land, E&D consults with First Nations. I do not understand that acronym. What does E&D mean?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Engineering and development.
Ms. Moorcroft: That is a branch of Community and Transportation Services that does the engineering and development. For the agricultural land applications, which are now in the Renewable Resources department, is Community and Transportation Services doing the engineering and development work?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the Minister think that, in streamlining the process, he will again be putting all of the land development under one department's responsibility? Will he be moving agricultural land applications back into Community and Transportation Services?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, we would certainly not be moving agricultural land back over here, because it has to be tested before it is agricultural land. The two departments can work together on it.
Ms. Moorcroft: This information also indicates that development within the municipality is subject to the Municipal Act, the official community plan and zoning bylaws, and occurs under development or land use permit. Development within a municipality takes place with full participation from the municipality in the planning process. What about development just outside of municipal boundaries? There has been a cost-of-service committee struck to deal with the issue of residents from outside municipal boundaries using municipal services. I would like to ask the Minister if he can explain how this planning work is conducted where there is development in the area immediately outside the municipal boundaries?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We would let the city know, but they would not be part of the decisions made outside of its boundaries.
Ms. Moorcroft: I did not get any information that indicated that city council was aware of the zoning changes in Lot 648. Can I ask the Minister whether he confirmed if his department officials or if someone from the Executive Council Office discussed those new zoning categories with the municipality?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Zoning is a different thing than developing land.
Ms. Moorcroft: Could the Minister answer the question?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We know now that the city is not in favour of development outside its boundaries, but we have to put development in there. There are a number of developments in that area now. There is an autobody shop, there is another store, and a feedlot down below that in the area.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the Minister consider that it would be appropriate and desirable for the department to at least inform the municipality, and preferably work with the municipality, when it is about to establish a pocket of urban density only a couple of miles outside city limits?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: If we were establishing a new one, yes, we would consult with the city, but if we are talking about Lot 608, we have not increased the population at all. There are the same number of people now as were there before we subdivided it.
Ms. Moorcroft: I am afraid that I have to disagree with the Minister on that. If he would take a look at the order-in-council, what it does is establish a maximum of 25 dwellings on a multiple rural-residential property. There are presently in existence 17 dwellings. Other people who live there tell me it is 22, but whether it is 17 or 22, to set a new maximum of 25 dwellings that will be allowed on a multiple rural-residential zoning lot is an increase.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We think that there may be 25 to 28 there now.
Ms. Moorcroft: When I read the newsletter that was mailed out to the residents, there was something in it about the property owners wanting to build 10 new dwellings for rental purposes. What the order-in-council actually established was a maximum of 25, which allows for less than 10 new ones, but certainly more than the existing number of dwellings.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There used to be between 20 and 22 there; now there are 25. They are all along the Mayo Road and more development is happening out there all the time.
Ms. Moorcroft: Exactly; there is more development going on out there all the time. The concern that has been raised, both by residents and by the First Nations who have traditional territories there, is that increased development should not take place outside the land claims process and the selections of First Nations lands. Why did they proceed with this increased development without the support and full knowledge of the First Nation?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The land was given to the people in 1978 by the federal government and they put all these homes there. We are now trying to make them legal so that we can get them under our regulations. The land is private land. It has been private land since 1978.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister wants to make something legal that has been illegal up until the present time, and he wants to get it under regulations. It certainly makes sense that regulations should apply, particularly, as I was asking the Minister about earlier, to have public safety codes and electrical codes and building codes apply. There is some genuine concern that sub-standard housing is dangerous.
Can the Minister tell me how they are addressing that concern?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We have spent five or six days here trying to get the coding down so that we could move trailers. They have been fighting with us so that there could be different codes. These people have been living there. They had a place to live, but now the Opposition want the codes enforced quickly. It is inconsistent. Let us make up our minds one way or the other.
Ms. Moorcroft: Let me be perfectly clear about where I stand. I do not want people living in firetraps. I would like people to have access to affordable land, so that instead of being a renter on property where they have a 20-year mortgage on a trailer, but no security in the lot they have the trailer on, they have somewhere they can keep their trailer and work to upgrade it. It is important that housing be safe on this parcel with existing housing and new zoning that this Minister has put through with an order-in-council under regulations.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I agree with the Member that the housing should come up to standard. I am quite convinced that if it is not up to standard, the people will be asked to bring it up to standard. I have no problem with that.
Ms. Moorcroft: Can the Minister tell me how they are working to bring the dwellings up to standard?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I do not know that they are not up to standard right now. No one has told me they are not. If they are not, I suspect the electrical inspectors, for instance, will ask them to come up to standard.
Ms. Moorcroft: I do not think we are going to get anywhere on that. I have made the representation that I think it is important that the housing be safe. I hope the Minister will take that under advisement and that the department will do something about bringing the dwellings up to code.
I have some questions relating to community planning. Can the Minister tell me what the responsibilities of the people employed in community planning are?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have answered that in the last couple of weeks, too. They are doing most of the community planning in unincorporated areas, not inside the municipalities.
Ms. Moorcroft: Now the Minister just stood up and accused me of being inconsistent, and he has just said that community planning takes place outside of municipal boundaries, not within municipal boundaries.
I would like the Minister to answer that question again regarding the responsibilities of the community planning staff, in the context of what the Minister said the other day, which was that they conduct surveys using aerial photography and will go to municipalities if they have certain community plans that they want worked on. What kind of work do they do?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I replied to the question the other day about aerial photography. I said, yes, we conduct it through the city, because it is done on both sides and we do the land development inside the cities and municipalities; therefore, the aerial photography would be included to assist with land planning.
Ms. Moorcroft: Land development is conducted within municipal boundaries and aerial photography within municipalities. Are any other responsibilities carried out in the municipalities?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Once in awhile, if they are asked a question by a municipality, they will help them there, but we do very, very little of it.
Ms. Moorcroft: Yesterday, when I was asking some questions about the Ta'an Kwach'an planning exercise, the Minister was looking for some information that he thought he had about Jackfish Bay. Does the Minister have that information with him today?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, we do not have that information with us right now.
Ms. Moorcroft: Could the Minister maybe get it for us for the capital budget?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We will have it here tomorrow.
Ms. Moorcroft: I would like to go back to the Association of Yukon Communities and the land pricing resolution that was passed at its fall general meeting in Mayo. When I asked the Minister about this yesterday, he indicated that it was a federal matter and not a territorial one. The resolution that was discussed at some length and passed by the municipalities was that YTG perform a review of the Yukon lands branch, including how it values raw land, inspections, enforcement and that YTG work with the federal government's Northern Affairs Program lands division and Yukon municipalities in an effort to create a consistent approach to raw land pricing in the Yukon. I think it is important that the Minister seriously address the issues that have been raised by the Association of Yukon Communities, and I would like to ask the Minister what he is doing to respond to this resolution from the Association of Yukon Communities meeting.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It will be going to Cabinet probably in the next week or two for Cabinet to look at the pricing of all lands and to change some of the policies. I hope that will be going through Cabinet in the next two or three weeks.
Ms. Moorcroft: Just to ensure that we are both operating from the same understanding, the Minister has indicated that market value is the value of a lot or parcel as determined by an appraiser. Development cost means the acquisition costs, planning, engineering, surveying, road construction, utility service and administration fees. Is that basically what the two phrases mean?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, the Member has it all covered.
Ms. Moorcroft: One of the issues that we have been debating about land availability is, in particular, affordable land being available to Yukon residents, whether land is actually sold at development cost or whether land is sold at development cost plus a profit margin. Would the Minister tell us what the profit has been on land sales over the last year, or projected for the next year?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We do not have that information with us now.
Ms. Moorcroft: That is a matter about which I had corresponded with the former Minister on behalf of some of my constituents. Although the former Minister indicated that any profit from the sale of lots goes into the government's general revenue account, I do not think it should be impossible to calculate a ball-park figure for how much profit from the sale of land the government anticipates to realize in the coming year or did generate in the past year. Can I ask the Minister if I might be able to get that?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We will look at 1994-95 and see if we can bring that information back tomorrow.
Mr. Cable: I have some questions about the strategic plan that was bandied around here quite a bit last year.
The Minister indicated earlier this afternoon that the funding for the strategic plan is found under the municipal and community affairs division. Has there been any allocation, for this particular year, for the development of the plan?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, there is no allocation for it, because it is done in house.
Mr. Cable: What was that last comment?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is done by the staff in the regular day's work. There is no specific allocation of money.
Mr. Cable: The document I have has the date of May 1993. I assume that was a draft at one juncture. Does the Minister have a copy of the strategic plan with him?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, we do not.
Mr. Cable: I have asked the Page to give the Minister a couple of pages from the strategic plan. Where does the strategic plan sit? Has it been moved forward since the draft bearing the date May 1993?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Some of the things that were recommended in it are now being put into the system.
Mr. Cable: Has the whole plan been scheduled for completion, or has that project been abandoned?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It has not been abandoned. It is being worked on by the staff. However, some of the staff positions have changed, which will change some of it.
Mr. Cable: I have given the Minister copies of pages 108 and 109 of the draft I have, which I assume is a final draft. I refer the Minister to the date, January 3, 1994. Under that it says, "Director, capital projects and engineering branch to provide preliminary terms of reference and time lines for the study on devolving land development in Yukon municipalities to private enterprise and/or the municipalities." Has that been proceeded with?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This was not a final draft; we are still working on it. We are looking at how we can work private companies and individuals into land development.
Mr. Cable: That section, I think, is under the section marked "goal", I think it is. It is under goal number 3. Is that the Minister's goal, to do just what I read out a moment ago?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is a document they are looking at. It is really not my plan, or any other's; it is just the goals they are trying to work on. There is nothing definite. It is not a final draft. It is just simply a draft that we are working on.
Mr. Cable: The verbiage talks on page 106 about an implementation of the plan according to a time line, which would suggest that at some time in the past, the devolving of land development in Yukon municipalities to private enterprise and/or the municipalities, was a goal. Is the Minister saying that he is still considering that, that it is not a firm position?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are considering it and we are working on several ways in which we may be able to do it on a trial basis, and not to completely turn it over right away.
Mr. Cable: That relates to both aspects, devolution to private enterprise and also to municipalities, does it?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We had been devolving it to the municipalities. We are hoping to put some lots out for private sector development in this way, too.
Mr. Cable: The original time line, of course, is long since gone. Does the Minister have any idea when there will be some preliminary terms of reference set up for devolving the land to the municipalities and private enterprise?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The municipalities have already had the land turned over to them if they requested it. On the private aspect, we hope to be able to make some announcements some time this spring.
Mr. Cable: Are there terms of reference for turning land over to the municipalities, or is it played on an each-case basis?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There are a couple of examples. One is the Dome Ridge in Dawson that was turned over to them, and the other is Pineridge, which was turned over to the city. If the municipalities request a block of land, we look at it; it is usually federal and if we can get it transferred from federal to us we will transfer it over to them.
Mr. Cable: Are there any terms of reference, though, covering pricing and mandatory development time lines?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, there are not.
Mr. Cable: I refer the Minister to the next entry under that date, January 3, 1994. It says that a director of land dispositions and assessments branch is to provide terms of reference and time lines for study dealing with devolving land financing to the banks. Has that been done?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That was turned over to Yukon Housing last April.
Mr. Cable: The development of the terms of reference was turned over to Yukon Housing? Or what was turned over to Yukon Housing?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No. The financing has been turned over to Yukon Housing.
Mr. Cable: I am sorry, but I do not follow the Minister. Is he saying that financing for land disposed of by the YTG is now in the hands of the Yukon Housing Corporation, not the banks?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, that is correct. This was turned over to the Yukon Housing Corporation. If a person buys a lot and wants financing, they go to Yukon Housing.
Mr. Cable: I suppose we can examine that during the Yukon Housing Corporation budget debate.
On the next page, page 109, under the date April 1, 1994, it says, "... target date for implementing the separation of Community and Transportation Services into two departments - Transportation and Municipal and Community Services ...". Is that issue alive or dead?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That is one of the reasons this strategic plan was not completely finished. Everybody has not been able to agree on this separation yet. I could say it would be very interesting, but that is about all I can say about it right now.
Mr. Cable: I am not sure what the Minister is saying. Is he saying this is a fait accompli, he is thinking about it, or what?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: If you check the Hansard, I said it was interesting.
Mr. Cable: I will check the Hansard. It will make good reading tomorrow.
I would ask the Minister to skip a paragraph and go down to the third entry under April 1, 1994. It says, "... target date for implementing linkages between GIS, agriculture, grazing, planning and assessments from the Department of Renewable Resources and the municipal and community affairs division department ...".
That appears to be talking about some sort of committee, linking the land-disposition departments and subdepartments. Am I reading that correctly?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There is some linkage now between Renewable Resources and Community and Transportation Services, where the agricultural land was turned over to Renewable Resources, but Community and Transportation Services does the surveying and development. Renewable Resources tests the property and tells us whether or not it is suitable for agriculture. That is one example of a linkage. I cannot think of any others right now.
Mr. Cable: Is the Minister saying that that particular goal has been met, or is there further work to be done?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It actually just got started April 1 of last year, and we are still working on it.
Mr. Cable: Who is driving that particular target, as it is called in the document?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The driving has a great deal to do with the departments. For instance, Renewable Resources is interested in habitat and the animals, and Community and Transportation Services is interested in land. Therefore, they have to work together to see that both objectives are met.
Chair: Is there further debate on the program?
Ms. Moorcroft: I guess I would like to start out by asking the Minister why the department has abandoned all the work that has been done in last year's strategic plan, and is not proceeding with the initiatives and the time frames that were set out in that strategic plan. Was it all just a bad dream that the department wanted to forget, or is there something better to take its place, or what?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: In the first place, it was not abandoned. It is a working paper, and a number of suggestions have been implemented and some of the departments have been changed around.
Ms. Moorcroft: I do not want to have the same debate with this Minister that I had with the last Minister. I am quite aware that a number of initiatives outlined in the strategic plan have already taken place. I am questioning why the strategic plan had never been formally adopted. It had been indicated that this document was toast. Is it back on?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The departments are still working on the document. I have stated that there are a number of things that I disagree with, but that does not mean they are not going to stay in the document.
Ms. Moorcroft: Could the Minister provide an update of the strategic planning initiatives the government plans to continue with?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: If the Member would like a status report, I could provide one. However, it will take quite a while to get it together, because the working is still going ahead on the paper and it is being adjusted all the time.
Ms. Moorcroft: I am sure that the Minister will be relieved to hear that I am not going to ask him to hold over the line items under this program until the updated report is provided. Nonetheless, I would appreciate receiving that report.
The Minister provided a statement about the land application process for us. The specific question that I had asked the Minister to respond to was how the government takes into account the implications of the umbrella final agreement and the self-government legislation in land development. Could the Minister explain how the implications of the umbrella final agreement and the self-government legislation are taken into account in the land development process as it is summarized here?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Ninety percent of our land development now is within the municipalities. We have to consult with them. The First Nation within the limits of the municipality will be consulted. For land outside of there, we have to consult with the First Nations, although that is sometimes very hard. I am not satisfied with the consultation we have now. I have not yet got an answer as to how we can include this, but we will certainly consult with them about land outside the municipalities.
Ms. Moorcroft: The land claims and self-government agreements are not just empty words and nice sentiments. It is the law in the Yukon. It is simply not good enough for the Minister to stand up and say that the consultation is not good enough now, but he does not know how to improve it. What does the Minister plan to do in order to improve this government's track record on consultation with First Nations, particularly in the area of land development?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I went through a year with forestry. I have a file on that, as does the former government, about how we tried to consult with the First Nation. We sent letters, we phoned them, we invited them and we offered to put one of them on staff and pay them if they would sit with us. They refused. Then when we got the agreement close to the signing stage, they told the Minister in Ottawa that we never consulted with them.
How can we consult if both sides do not want to go to meetings. What I have done with this department is ask the deputy minister to ensure that, from now on, any move we make is first checked with the First Nations before we move.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister cannot just prejudge the actions of the First Nations based on one experience that he has described as being unfortunate. I am pleased to hear that the Minister has said they are going to make sure in the future that, before they make any moves, they consult with the First Nations. I would remind him again that there is specific language in the legislation that tells the government how to go about that consultation. I am glad to hear that he is planning to follow the letter of the law. Can the Minister give us an assurance that the kind of disaster that took place with the recent amendments to the zoning in the Laberge area will not occur again?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am doing my best to see that we are able to talk. I have been trying to talk to Pat Joe for at least four days. I have made at least six phone calls, and she has not been available. I understand that; I am not criticizing it. I have been quite busy here and I cannot run over there, so we have not been able to talk about the situation that I told the Member I would talk to her about. It is a lesson that we are all going to have to learn. Somewhere along the line, we are going to have to see that we get in touch with each other. I am doing my best.
Ms. Moorcroft: I can appreciate that both the Minister and the negotiator for Kwanlin Dun are very busy people. Maybe I can suggest something that I would think the Minister would think of doing, if he is doing his best. If he cannot make contact by phone, perhaps he could write a letter or send a fax saying, "Here is a copy of the August 17 letter. Did you receive it? Could you tell my why you did not respond? Do you have any responses to it? This letter refers to rural residential zoning, but we have created multiple rural-residential land with commercial general zoning. What do you think of that? Can we set up a meeting?" Would the Minister consider taking some of those actions as a way of getting beyond this impasse?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are trying to do that. We have written letters, and we just have not received any answers yet. I am not placing fault with them. They are quite busy; land claims are coming, and they have a lot of organizing to do. It is just a matter that we have to keep working on this until we can get it working better.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister has written one letter, of which I have been provided with a copy. Has he written any other letters since?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That is the particular area we have been working on. I do not know of any other area where we are doing any development right now - or doing any, period. When we go into those areas, we will go to the First Nation before we get started.
Ms. Moorcroft: Previously, I was asking the Minister about the Yukon land use planning council, which is a council that is set up under the land claim legislation with representation from the Yukon government, the federal government and the Council for Yukon Indians. I asked the Minister whether it would be a public servant or a professional planner, or if they knew who that might be? The Minister's response was that the department has not thought about whether or not that person would be a public servant. Can I ask the Minister if he has thought about it and if he has offered any political direction about who would represent the Yukon government on the land use planning council?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The only place it has come up is in here. We have not discussed that at all.
Ms. Moorcroft: That just brings me back to the same questions again, about whether the Minister will fulfill the obligations under the umbrella final agreement. The Minister seems to take a completely cavalier approach to what is the law of the land.
In a couple of weeks' time, when these statutes come into force, there will be a whole host of obligations that fall into the government's realm. How is government going to deal with them?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It comes under regional land planning, which is Renewable Resources. That department does the regional planning and then we do the development of the lots or whatever is required, but after Renewable Resources has done its studies.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister cannot just pass the buck on this one. There is a lot more than regional land use planning established under that particular chapter of the final agreement, and the Minister's department is the department that is responsible for land use planning. It is the department that is responsible for zoning changes and amendments. It has made some mistakes in that area and they have made some mistakes that cannot be repeated or they are going to be in big trouble for having violated the law.
Can the Minister tell me how the department is going to go about fulfilling the obligations it will have under the land claims legislation?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The regional planning is not in my department. I am sorry. I am not trying to pass the buck at all. That is the way the system works and once they have done their regional planning, we come in there and, as I have said, we have never discussed forming that committee yet. There are going to be a lot of committees formed. They are forming as fast as they can. There is going to be a period where a lot of committees are not formed.
Ms. Moorcroft: Is the department planning to proceed with zoning regulations in small pockets of land in the Laberge area prior to a regional land use planning commission being established?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are allowed to plan in small areas under the agreement but we will, in all cases, consult with them if it is in an area where they are.
Ms. Moorcroft: I do not think I need to make it clear. I think the Minister already knows that the Laberge area is an area where the First Nations are. I see he is nodding his head and he is agreeing that they will consult. I am sure he recognizes that we will be holding him accountable for that.
We get a lot of phone calls from people who are concerned about, not just land development costs, but lot sales and ways of getting around the system and abusing the intent of the release of lots. For example, in Granger the agreement was that lot buyers would build their homes themselves or hire a contractor to build it, but we hear complaints of abuses there. Developers are buying lots and land speculation is occurring. That is the concern that we have raised. What is Community and Transportation Services doing about that?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: At the last meeting I had with the city, this was discussed. A lot of people discuss this and say certain things are happening. If we get a written letter of complaint, we will investigate it immediately.
Ms. Moorcroft: What recourse is available to the government if there is a formal complaint registered? What can the government then do about it?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I guess it would depend a lot on what the complaint was. If it were one of the worst ones, then we could take the land back.
Ms. Moorcroft: I would like to ask the Minister if he can respond to a question related to employee transfers and the whole issue of decentralization. Is the plan now to bring employees back to Whitehorse? We have heard complaints from Haines Junction, Watson Lake, Dawson City and other communities about jobs that were spread out into the rural communities now coming back to Whitehorse. Can the Minister tell me what the plan is now?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: In general, some jobs should not be located where they are, so we are bringing them back because it is more practical. Others are being left where they are, and some others are being hired to work in the communities. I know of one position that was transferred out, and that individual has to come into Whitehorse every day to get files in order to do his work. That does not make much sense.
Ms. Moorcroft: How many positions, and what kinds of positions, have been moved to the communities?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We do not have a list of them here, but I can say that there are four or five in the Haines Junction area.
Ms. Moorcroft: How many positions, and what kind, have been brought back to Whitehorse?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I can think of two that are here now and two that will be coming back.
Ms. Moorcroft: Not to delay the debate unduly, can the Minister provide a written report on the positions that have been moved to the communities and the positions that have been brought back into Whitehorse, and the reasons? I would like that to cover the last fiscal year and the 1995-96 fiscal year, so that I have a sense of where the department stands on that.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It will take a little while, but we will bring that back for the Member.
Ms. Moorcroft: In the area of taxation and property assessments, can the Minister tell me if the department has any plans to change the property tax rates or the property assessment process?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Property taxation is a decision of the Cabinet and I do not believe there is any change in the assessment process.
Ms. Moorcroft: We have had some debate in the past in the area of taxation, in particular whether taxation should be based on the level of services available or strictly on the value of the land that people are occupying. What is the Minister's position?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Our legislation requires the government to calculate tax on the value of the land.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the Minister support that principle?\
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is legislation already.
Ms. Moorcroft: Do I really have to point out the obvious to the Minister? We are in the Legislative Assembly. We are debating the budget, but we also debate changes in legislation.
We have the land claims agreement and self-government agreements, which are legislation. We have amendments to the Municipal Act and we have been debating amendments to the Lands Act. I am asking the Minister if he supports the legislation as it stands and if he supports the principles in the legislation. He has already told us that they are going to be bringing forward amendments to the Lands Act. Is the government considering amendments to the statutes that govern property assessment and taxation and does he support the legislation as it stands now?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, I support it the way it is.
On Assistant Deputy Minister's Office
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The assistant deputy minister's office provides guidance, direction, support and leadership to program managers within the division.
The O&M, in comparison with previous years, includes a decrease of $1,000 from 1994-95 to 1995-96, which is a result of very small items. The 1995-96 O&M budget consists of $164,000 for personnel. This includes salary and benefits for an assistant deputy minister and ADM secretary. There is $9,000 for other, $4,000 for travel - $2,000 in Yukon and $2,000 outside of Yukon - related to the annual conference of ministers responsible for local government. There is $4,000 for supplies.
Assistant Deputy Minister's Office in the amount of $173,000 agreed to
On Lands and Property Assessments
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The land disposition section coordinates the legislative framework of lands and regulates and manages land used actively in the Yukon. The property assessment taxation section establishes tax rates outside the municipality and provides all Yukon taxing authority with assessment services, administers the levies and collects the property taxes, as well as administering the home owners grant program.
The highlights of the O&M, in comparison with previous years, includes a decrease of $36,000 from 1994-95 to 1995-96. There is a $69,000 decrease due to salary and wage rollbacks and FTE reductions and smaller amounts in other, which total $4,000. This decrease is offset by an increase in the home owners grant budget of $37,000.
The 1995-96 O&M budget consists of $1,032,000 for personnel, including salaries and benefits for eight positions in land disposition and nine staff in property assessment and taxation. There is $93,000 for other, $16,000 for travel - $14,000 in Yukon and $2,000 outside Yukon. There is $11,000 for bonus contract; $15,000 for supplies; $16,000 for advertising; $15,000 for communication and $20,000 in smaller amounts, and $862,000 for transfer payments. This full amount is for the home owners grant payment.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister mentioned $11,000 for bonus contracts. Can I ask him to explain what that means?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is $11,000 for contract services, and it is let out by the department for various contracts.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister also referred to an FTE reduction. Could I ask him to explain that?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: One term position is being removed at the end of March.
Chair: Is it the wish of the Members to take a brief recess at this time?
Lands and Property Assessments in the amount of $2,987,000 agreed to
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will take a brief recess.
Chair: I will now the Committee of the Whole to order.
On Public Safety
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The public safety branch provides for public health, safety and protection through building, electrical, mechanical and fire codes and standards. The fire protection section assists in provision of the fire protection services and advice to communities. The branch administers zoning regulations in rural Yukon communities and designates municipalities.
The highlights of O&M compared with previous years show an increase of $23,000 from 1994-95 to 1995-96 due to a $9,000 increase to provide honorarium for new Mount Lorne and Ibex fire departments, an $11,000 increase in administration communications for MDMRS radio charges, and $3,000 in smaller amounts.
The 1995-96 O&M budget consists of the following: $1,114,000 for personnel, which includes salary and benefits for two administration staff, the director, 2.42 electrical safety staff, four mechanical safety staff, 4.42 building/plumbing staff and three fire protection staff; $301,000 for other; $61,000 for travel - $52,000 in Yukon and $9,000 outside Yukon; $45,000 for fire volunteer honorarium; $39,000 for contract services; $18,000 for repair and maintenance; $61,000 for utilities; $41,000 for communications; and $36,000 in smaller amounts.
Ms. Moorcroft: Can the Minister tell us what kind of travel is done by the members of the department?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: For the $52,000 in the Yukon, they go to the different municipalities to do their electrical inspections and their plumbing, and the fire chief goes around to check on the training. For the $9,000 outside, they would be going out for courses on special new fire equipment, or things like new codes, as the rest of Canada has.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the Minister anticipate any reduction in the electrical inspection staff in the coming year?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No.
Public Safety in the amount of $1,415,000 agreed to
On Sport and Recreation
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The sports and recreation branch encourages the development of sports, community recreation and fitness. O&M comparison with previous years is as follows: increase of $236,000 from 1994-95 to 1995-96, mainly as a result of a 1995-96 contribution payment for Western Canada Summer Games and North American Indigenous Games, $25,000 each; Arctic Winter Games administration and travel, $212,000 that was not required in 1994-95, which is offset by no Canada Games in 1995-96, for a savings of $20,000.
The 1995-96 O&M budget consists of the following: $325,000 for personnel including salary and benefits of one administrative staff, two community recreation staff, one sports and fitness staff and branch director; $90,000 for other; $40,000 for travel; $14,000 for employees; $15,000 other in Yukon; $6,000 other outside Yukon; $16,000 for contract services; $12,000 for communication; $9,000 for program material and $13,000 in smaller amounts. There is $236,000 for transfer payments for contribution to various recreational sports; Yukon recreation groups, $80,000; contribution to local authorities, $205,000; Yukon Sports governing bodies, $433,000; Sport Yukon core funding, $125,000; elite athletes coaching and officials grant, $50,000; Arctic Winter Games, $237,000; and $106,000 in smaller contributions.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister listed a number of games, such as the Arctic Winter Games and the Western Canada Summer Games, under the items that were going to be funded by this line item. Will the Western Canada Summer Games be held in Whitehorse? Can the Minister give me a report of what games will be held in Whitehorse in the coming year?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The only games I know about that we are trying to host in Whitehorse - we will know a little more after the meeting in Grande Prairie next weekend - would be in 2007.
Sport and Recreation in the amount of $1,650,000 agreed to
On Community Services
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The community services branch fosters the development of local government in the Yukon. The planning section develops and implements areas in the community land use plan and provides support services for municipal planning and zoning. There is a decrease of $125,000 in O&M from 1994-95 to 1995-96 as a result of a decrease to the grant in lieu of property taxes of $158,000. This is offset by an increase of $16,000 to salaries and wages and $17,000 to other.
The 1995-96 O&M budget consists of $575,000 for personnel, and includes salary and benefits for the director, 4.8 community planning staff, and three community service staff. These three provide specialist services to municipalities and unincorporated communities in the areas of legislation, financial services and First Nation self-government. On April 1, two positions - the community planning advisor and financial specialist community advisor - are being relocated from Dawson to Whitehorse.
There is $89,000 for other. There is $25,000 for employee and $5,000 for other travel in Yukon. There is $15,000 for supplies, $21,000 for communications, $7,000 for contract services and $16,000 for smaller amounts. There is $14,406,000 in transfer payments, $11,470,000 for comprehensive municipal grants, $2,861 for grants in lieu of taxes, $25,000 for hamlet operation and maintenance, and $50,000 for the Association of Yukon Communities.
Ms. Moorcroft: Could the Minister explain what kinds of contracts the $7,000 for contract services would cover?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: They are very small contracts. It could be for hiring a typist for a certain amount of time or someone they required to work for a week, or four or five hours or something. They are needed right away but not full time, so it is contracted out.
Ms. Moorcroft: On the subject of municipal grants, I believe that I asked the Minister if his department could prepare some kind of summary of the formula that is used to provide municipal grants. Is that something that will be coming forward for, perhaps, the capital budget debate?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I thought the Member was offered a briefing. It is a very complicated matter. Would the Member like that before the capital or afterwards?
The Member is shaking her head.
Ms. Moorcroft: The briefing will be fine in lieu of a prepared, written statement.
Mr. McDonald: I understand that the Canada/Yukon infrastructure works program is administered by this branch. Can the Minister tell us, or give us an indication of what counts as infrastructure under this program?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There is a brochure on it. It is quite long and complicated. We may have it in the thing here. If not, we would have to get it to the Member.
Mr. McDonald: I will make the question very easy so that we do not have to do too much hunting and picking through papers. Does an abattoir count as infrastructure under this program?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: They could apply. It is a federal board so it is out of our hands, but they could apply.
Mr. McDonald: They would not be turned down because this does not count as infrastructure. They may be turned down because of other or better projects, but they will not be turned down on any technical grounds if they make application for funds for an abattoir. Is that right?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Not from the department's point of view. The board may, but not the department.
Community Services in the amount of $15,070,000 agreed to
On Engineering and Development
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Municipal engineering provides technical service to unincorporated communities and municipalities upon request and handles the orderly development of land. They provide maintenance, water, sewage and waste disposal systems for unincorporated communities throughout the Yukon.
The mosquito-control section managed the aerial application in the six communities participating in the mosquito-control program.
In comparison with previous years, there is a decrease of $28,000 from 1994-95 to 1995-96. There is an administration decrease of $7,000, mainly due to reduced travel and rental expense. There was a decrease of $21,000 in unincorporated communities mainly in contract services; $15,000 because dump maintenance contracts are lower, and utilities of $6,000.
The 1995-96 operation and maintenance budget consists of: $263,000 for personnel and includes salary and benefits for two staff, and internal labour charges from highway maintenance is reduced by $127,000; $399,000 for other; $12,000 for travel - $5,000 for employee travel and $7,000 for other travel within the Yukon; $213,000 for contract services; $90,000 for utilities; $19,000 for repairs and maintenance; $19,000 for rental expenses; $37,000 for internal charges; and $9,000 in smaller amounts.
We now have some information available for the Member for McIntyre-Takhini and we can provide this information to him right after we recess.
Engineering and Development in the amount of $662,000 agreed to
On Departmental Land Claims
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Divisional land claims branch coordinates land claims, research and review procedures for the efficient implementation of land claim settlement and self-government agreements. Operation and maintenance expenditures compares with previous years. There is a decrease of $60,000 from 1994-95 and 1995-96. This decrease is mainly attributable to the expiry of the senior land advisor term position on March 31, 1995. The incumbent will return to a regular position in the property assessment and taxation branch.
The 1995-96 operation and maintenance budget consists of: $91,000 for personnel, including salary and benefits for a director and a division of land claim; there is $6,000 for other; $4,000 for travel in Yukon; $1,000 for communication; and $1,000 in smaller amounts.
Ms. Moorcroft: Why was the position of senior land advisor in the land claims branch abolished?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are trying to integrate the work with the regular staff. We moved her back to property assessment and taxation.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister read out the responsibilities of the departmental land claims area as it is written in the budget book. Is the Minister able to elaborate on what kind of work departmental land claims does to efficiently implement land settlement and self-government agreements?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: They work with the various departments of government, and they are mainly advisors to the land claims section on self-government and First Nations land.
Departmental Land Claims in the amount of $97,000 agreed to
Municipal and Community Affairs Division in the amount of $22,054,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $61,481,000 agreed to
On Office of the Deputy Minister
Chair: Is there any general debate?
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister does not seem to have any statements prepared for general debate on the office of the deputy minister. I would just like to follow up with a question or two on the issue of sports and recreation funding. The Minister referred to bringing some of the games to Whitehorse. I would like to ask him, even though that is a few years into the future according to his projection, what planning is taking place for providing the necessary facilities, and who is paying for them? Also, what kind of facilities are they going to need to be able to successfully bid to have the games held in Whitehorse?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I think we are going backward a little here. We have passed all that. They do not have the games yet. I imagine a number of other communities and provinces will be trying to get those games, and one reason we want to go to Grande Prairie on Friday is to put our pitch in for Whitehorse. One city councillor from Whitehorse is going down with us to see if we can get the games for the year 2007.
Mr. McDonald: In other jurisdictions, the suggestion that a particular city, town or region was going to host some sports games that may require new facilities is a subject of enormous debate over who pays, how much it will cost, what the impact on local facilities will be, and that sort of thing. This debate goes on before and after the jurisdiction makes a pitch for the games.
The Minister has indicated that he is going down to make a pitch for the games. In effect, he is saying that there may be some financial obligations - and we are trying to find out how much - that this Legislature and the City of Whitehorse will have to bear 12 years from now. So it behooves us to ask a few questions about what those obligations might be before the Minister actually makes the pitch. Obviously, given that the Minister has indicated his intention to advocate for the games in Whitehorse in the year 2007, he must know in general terms what kinds of financial commitment he is letting the territory in for 12 years from now.
Does it require new facilities? If so, how big are they going to be, what are the financial costs associated with them, what commitments can we expect from the federal government toward their capital costs and what commitments can we expect toward their operation costs if the facilities are bigger than those needed by the local population in perpetuity.
I am sure that the Minister has thought about this and has considered carefully all these things. I am sure that he can answer those questions now.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The city talked to me one month ago. They made it plain that this is a long way off and that there is no money. The one reason I would like to go down there is to see what it costs. A decision certainly will not be made next Friday, Saturday or Sunday. That is one reason it is so far ahead. I believe B.C. is ahead of us, according to a letter I read the other day.
One reason I am very pleased that there will be a Whitehorse councillor going down as well is because then we will have a good idea about what it would cost and what new facilities would have to be included and so on. It is about 12 years away. I would suspect that we would have to know at least four years ahead of time to be prepared for it. I believe the next one is in B.C.
Mr. McDonald: Twelve years is not such a long time. The Minister and I began politics in this Legislature only a short 12 years ago. It would be as though the government of the day had made a pitch for the games in the year 1995, and here we are, with a great big budget, trying to pay for the costs of the games 12 years later.
Obviously, this is an issue, and we should explore it a little bit. Is the Minister saying that the government will not be making a pitch for the games, that it is premature to make a pitch for the games and that this is only a fact-finding mission on the part of the Minister and the city councillor? Are they just going to go and find out what the costs are, then come back and think about it, get some Cabinet approval, and maybe even talk to the other legislators about it - if they feel moved to do so - and then, at some later time, make the actual pitch?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I do not know the agenda, but there are quite a few things to consider. In fact, one of the topics is the question about whether there should be so many games. The other provinces are bringing things like this up, and we have put a couple on the agenda. These are all things that will affect us. I am certainly not going to go down there to try to bring it up here in the next year. It is not going to happen. This is a preliminary trip. I do not think that anyone makes any decisions on this trip. At the present time, I do not know of any other jurisdiction that has applied for it, but I suspect they will show up down there.
As for me, it is the first stepping stone. The way everyone calls me Scrooge around here, you can rest assured that if it is way out of line, I will not even be wanting to back anyone. However, I will not be here in 2007. The Member opposite mentioned that it has been a short time that we have been in the Legislature. I can tell him that the last three weeks have been the longest weeks of my bloody life.
Mr. McDonald: The transportation division of Community and Transportation Services would not call the Minister Scrooge - unless he is referring to Scrooge the night after he has been visited by three ghosts, because he certainly seems quite generous in some areas.
I was under the impression that the Minister was going to Grande Prairie to make a pitch for the games, and that that was the reason for a ministerial presence at the meeting - this was going to be a major event in Yukon's life. I am surprised that it is simply a standard meeting for sports Ministers and a sort of fact-finding mission to see what hosting the Canada Games entails.
I am reassured that the Minister is not making decisions about committing this territory's facilities until we at least know and understand what those facilities may need to be, what the capital costs are, what the operational costs will be over time, and what the cost-sharing arrangement would be between governments. As I understand it, there is some federal participation, but I do not know how much. If the Minister is going to take a fiscally responsible approach, then he certainly has my support.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Thank you. I appreciate that. The Member will be getting a written report when I get back, and I guarantee I will not be asking for a whole bunch of money right away - maybe later on, but not right now. It is also going to be very interesting to see what the federal government does when the budget is announced at the end of the month. It will be very interesting to see what they have to say there.
Ms. Moorcroft: I would like to preface my question by asking the Minister to please be patient with me and not get excited about this question. I asked for some information to come back about which positions were being hired out in the community and what ones were coming back. Could I ask the Minister if that report could include the costs of those changes?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We can provide the Member with some of that information. It will not be exact, but it will be very close.
Chair: Is there further general debate on the program?
Prior Years' Projects in the amount of nil agreed to
On Emergency Measures
On Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The emergency measures branch coordinates emergency measure preparedness and response, trains volunteers in the communities and works in conjunction with other organizations such as Government of Canada, local government and First Nations. This branch is responsible for leading emergency response teams in actual emergencies for example, evacuating Old Crow during a fire.
The highlights include office furniture, equipment, systems and space line item in the amount of $10,000 is for the purchase of two personal computer terminals for use by emergency measures personnel and emergency operation centre officials.
The main projects under emergency measures main projects for 1995-96 are as follows: $35,000 for emergency operational equipment to equip the joint emergency operations centre with an alternate communications system, and NAP and visual display equipment with geographic information system application; and $30,000 to assist the City of Whitehorse in acquiring a specialized emergency command dangerous goods response vehicle estimated to cost about $200,000. Other 1995-96 projects are as follows: $20,000 for emergency equipment and $10,000 for dangerous goods response.
Mr. McDonald: Where is the emergency measures centre, and how often is it staffed?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The emergency measures office is now in the basement of this building but it is being moved over to the Lynn Building. This is what the new furniture and so on is for.
Mr. McDonald: Is this meant to be simply an office for the emergency measures personnel or is it going to be some sort of high-tech nerve centre? What is being planned?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is for offices. Also, we wanted space so that if there was an emergency, we could get an emergency team in there to take control in an emergency and give directions from that place. They are up on the second floor of the Lynn Building.
Mr. McDonald: So, this is the command and control centre that would be the first place hit when the Americans make their strike.
Is this the total amount that is anticipated for this item, or are there more plans for a more high-tech operation? Is this money sufficient?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Some of this will be completed as winter work projects. Eventually they will have a building of their own. It is being done in cooperation with the federal government and the city. Some time in the future, they will have a home of their own.
Mr. McDonald: Regarding the "home of their own", is this something the federal government has agreed to pay for, or is this a creation of the Yukon government?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The federal government has not yet agreed to pay for it, but if it is built, the federal government, the territorial government and the city will be involved in the project.
Mr. McDonald: Obviously, there are no plans in place at this point, there is just a concept that this organization would like to have its own space - is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes. At the present time we are using existing office space. The plan is for a new building in the future. With budget cuts, that may be a long way off.
Mr. McDonald: Can the Minister give us some more information about the $200,000 vehicle?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is an emergency vehicle that can be dispatched anywhere in the Yukon. It will be stationed in Whitehorse. The federal government is contributing $70,000 and the city is contributing $100,000.
Mr. McDonald: I do not understand the cost-sharing arrangement. Why is the city putting in money for a vehicle that can be dispatched anywhere in the territory? What is the reason for that? Also, what is the precise purpose for the vehicle?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The vehicle is equipped to respond to dangerous goods situations. It is equipped with communication, extraction and dangerous goods equipment and is to be available to mitigate public health and the socio-economic impact of minor and major emergencies, enhance local capabilities and mitigate problems associated with the special waste facility proposed for the Whitehorse area.
Mr. McDonald: This vehicle is only for the Whitehorse area and it is not to be dispatched around the territory - is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The vehicle will belong to the City of Whitehorse. It is zoned by them and it will be here all the time, unless there is a real emergency somewhere. It would then go out to that emergency.
Mrs. Firth: Could I just ask the Minister what kind of vehicle it is? Is it used to clean up spills of dangerous goods or hazardous wastes? Could he give me some indication of what kind of vehicle it is that costs so much money?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is a large truck that would have material and equipment to clean up wastes, particularly hazardous waste. It would be able to clean it up. It would have equipment in it to stop the waste from moving further.
Mrs. Firth: Do we require a special crew to drive and operate this vehicle?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I presume it would be managed by the Whitehorse fire department, but I suspect that eventually they would be training personnel for that at some time in the future.
Mrs. Firth: Is it going to be kept at the firehall? Is it a truck like a firetruck?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I do not know where the city is going to keep it once it gets here. It belongs to the city. It is like a big semi-trailer; it is built strong for the equipment in it.
Mr. McDonald: Can the Minister again give us the breakdown for the truck, please, the cost-sharing arrangement?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The figures I have at the present time are $100,000 for the city, $70,000 for the federal government and $30,000 for the territorial government.
Mr. Chair, due to the time, I move that we report progress.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole.
Mr. Abel: Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 4, First Appropriation Act, 1995-96, and directed me to report progress on it.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow
The House adjourned at 9:29 p.m.
The following Sessional Paper was tabled February 8, 1995:
Travel by Department of Tourism employees paid for by non-government entities: dates, destinations, purpose, cost to Tourism, travellers' names (Phillips)
The following Document was filed February 8, 1995:
Travel forms signed by former Minister of Health and Social Services authorizing three employees to travel at expense of a hearing aid company to attend hearing aid courses (dated 1991 and 1992) (Phelps)