Thursday, February 9, 1995 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will proceed at this time with silent Prayers.
Introduction of Pages
Speaker: Today, it is my pleasure to introduce to the House two new Pages from St. Elias Community School in Haines Junction. Please welcome Megan Freese and Christa Egli to the House at this time.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have for tabling a legislative return.
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: Whitehorse General Hospital, overcrowding
Mr. Penikett: Our office has been receiving complaints that because of renovations, budget restraints and a cutback of hospital beds from 83 to 59, hospital staff are suffering from stress and low morale, and patients are being inconvenienced by overcrowding. Can I ask the Minister if he has heard any similar complaints and what he is doing about them?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: No, I have not. There is some inconvenience due to the construction of the new hospital. I have been very pleased with the manner in which the staff and patients have been coping with the inconvenience, but I have not heard anything about there being a shortage of beds.
Mr. Penikett: There are going to be questions with a growing population and a shrinking number of hospital beds in the community. I wonder if the Minister can confirm that, while the old hospital had 83 beds, there are currently only 59 night beds available in the old hospital - there will be only 45 in the new hospital - one of the reasons for the crowding is that medical ward beds are being used by dementia and extended-care patients.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: In the first place, the capacity of the Thomson Centre has been expanded. To my understanding, there are more spaces available to be opened up should the need arise, and we will be looking into that fairly soon. That was the result of last year's winter works program. The wing that had previously been a shell was upgraded so that it could be used.
With regard to the number of beds, the details given by the Member opposite certainly do not coincide with my recollection, so I will have to come back with an answer.
Mr. Penikett: These numbers are ones that I have obtained after excruciatingly painful efforts to get them from people involved in the Minister's department who do not seem to be very free with information these days.
Is the Minister aware that, according the Alzheimer's support group, there is a backlog of 17 cognitively impaired people who are at risk and who need care, while at the same time we hear there are 14 empty beds in the Thomson Centre at the moment?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I am pleased to receive the Member's representations and I will look into them.
Question re: Whitehorse General Hospital, overcrowding
Mr. Penikett: I am concerned about what policy is in effect here. It seems from constituent reports that I have received that the hospital is overcrowded, while beds in the Thomson Centre lie empty. I am concerned about who is making such decisions, especially when I understand that the Minister agreed to or decided to integrate the top-level management of the centre.
As the Minister knows, it costs in excess of $850 per day to keep people on the medical ward. As I understand the situation, with proper residential care or home care programs we could be providing this care for much less cost, or at least that is what was intended.
Has the Minister been consulting with patient groups, nurses and doctors about these changes? If the Minister has not been consulting with these groups, has the hospital board been consulting with them? Who is making the decisions?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: One problem that we have regarding the Thomson Centre and the hospital is that the hospital is administered by an independent board, which is the hospital board. We want to implement the same type of management for the Thomson Centre so that there will not be any imbalances. We are also in the process of encouraging the hospital board to look at outpatient programs and the like.
I will look into these things. As the Member opposite knows, the transfer is not going to occur for some months and I will try to ascertain what difficulties are taking place. I thank the Member for his representations.
Mr. Penikett: The Minister seems blissfully free of information on this subject, but I wonder if I could ask him to respond to a constituent complaint that I have received today, to the effect that the reason that beds are lying empty at the hospital centre is due to budget restraints by the Minister and the inadequacy of funds to hire the staff to put the beds into operation and to provide care to the many people who need the care.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: Since we have been in office, we have been introducing additional beds, both in the Thomson Centre and in Macaulay Lodge. We opened up eight beds in Macaulay Lodge last year about this time, and we have done a capital project that will allow us to open up additional beds in the Thomson Centre. I will look into the situation. I wish that the individuals or groups involved had consulted with me. Certainly, my door is open at any time. We will get to the bottom of it, and act accordingly.
Mr. Penikett: I would like to ask the Minister a related question. He has indicated that if the beds are not available in the hospital, the pressure will be transferred to other facilities, including home care and outpatient care. I would like to ask the Minister if he is satisfied that there is sufficient staff in the home care program to provide the kind of support needed if, as I understand it, it is now the policy to move, for example, gall bladder patients - a very common operation - to reduce their stay in hospital from five days to three days or, in a recent case, to one day? Is the Minister satisfied that we do have the non-hospital based care levels sufficient to take care of these people in their homes if they need it?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: We are in the process of trying to ensure that our standards are equal to any of the standards in the country with regard to available beds and outpatient programs. We have been increasing our commitment to the whole continuum of care and will proceed in that direction. I will review the situation that the Member has put to me as being a crisis, and ensure that the availability of beds is reasonable.
Question re: School councils, liaison
Mr. Cable: I have some questions for the same Minister, with his Minister of Education hat on. The Education Review Committee made a number of recommendations to the Minister, and I refer him to recommendation 65, which said that "...an autonomous designated position be established to liaise with and to provide current information to members of Yukon school councils." The action plan that was put out by the department had this by way of response: "The department will immediately designate the public schools branch support services division as the liaison and information source for school councils for the 1994-95 school year."
Could the Minister confirm that a senior employee with the Department of Education has been appointed to this autonomous position?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I have to come back with that. I believe it has occurred. I will double-check it and come back.
Mr. Cable: The recommendation for autonomy would suggest that a person outside the Department of Education be appointed to meet the recommendation that there be some independent body to liaise with the school councils. Has the Minister rejected the concept of autonomy that was suggested in the recommendation?
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The issue has been the subject matter of consultation and discussion between the chairs of the school councils locally and officials in the department. I do not believe a final decision has been made.
Mr. Cable: It is my understanding that a final decision had been made, but I could be proven wrong. Has the Minister instructed his department officials to liaise with the various stakeholders, other than the stakeholders that he just referred to? By the other stakeholders, I mean the Yukon Teachers Association and the teachers themselves.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I personally am currently in consultation with the teachers and school councils. I have met with the F.H. Collins teachers on various issues. I will be meeting with the YTA in the near future. These are issues that will be discussed.
Question re: Umbrella final agreement, proclamation
Ms. Commodore: My question is for the Acting Government Leader. Yesterday, I asked questions in this House regarding CYI's accusation that this government broke the law by violating a term set out in chapter 16.7.16 of the umbrella final agreement. This government's disrespect for Yukon First Nations has now received national news coverage, and I predict in the end it will probably become a national disgrace. Can the Acting Government Leader tell us if he has read chapter 16.7.16 of the umbrella final agreement, and has he sought legal advice to determine if the government has in fact broken the law?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The government has lived up to the commitments of the umbrella final agreement.
Ms. Commodore: The Minister probably has not sought legal advice, then. My supplementary is to the Minister responsible for Renewable Resources. In a letter of understanding to the Minister, dated October 12, the chair of the Council for Yukon Indians, Judy Gingell, states the following: "Regarding the game farming legislation that is presently under a 60-day public review process ending October 12, 1994, this legislation must not be passed until the new Fish and Wildlife Management Board is implemented. This board needs to assess the effects of game farming on the fish and wildlife of the Yukon, and cannot do so failing an adequate review of the issue." This was completely ignored by the Minister in his response. Did the Minister consider that the request was not worthy of mention in his response to the Chair of CYI, dated October 25?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: There was a Fish and Wildlife Management Board in effect all during the consultation process. I know that the Fish and Wildlife Management Board and the CYI had the opportunity to comment - and did - on the regulations.
Ms. Commodore: The Minister is completely ignoring my question. I do not even think he read his own letter. In the Minister's response to CYI, he also stated that the game farming regulations will proceed in keeping with the provisions of the Environment Act regarding public review and commentary. I would like to ask the Minister if the reason he chose to ignore chapter 16.7.16 of the UFA was because he was doing it according to the Environment Act.
Hon. Mr. Fisher: There was a 60-day review. I believe that is what the Member is referring to. The Fish and Wildlife Management Board had a subcommittee that reviewed the game farming regulations during that 60-day period, as well as having also reviewed them and commented on them prior to that. They provided us with a further comment.
Question re: Umbrella final agreement, proclamation
Ms. Commodore: My question is for the Acting Government Leader. We are days away from the effective date of the proclamation date of the umbrella final agreement. According to CYI, the government has already broken the law regarding chapter 16.7.16 of the UFA. Can the Acting Government Leader tell us if this government will continue to ignore the concerns of the Yukon First Nations after the date of proclamation, as it has done up to now?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No law has been broken by the government. We have proceeded with the process and we have broken no laws.
Ms. Commodore: This government is completely ignoring the serious breakdown in relations with Yukon First Nations. Now that its actions have received national news coverage, does the Acting Government Leader agree that the government now has a very serious problem on its hands? It appears that it does not realize that.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is quite apparent that there is some difference between us. The government is required to consult, and the government has consulted.
Ms. Commodore: Each and every one of us in this House is a representative of people in our riding, including First Nations. It appears that there is no consideration for that representation from the other side of the House.
Does the government intend to sit down with CYI to talk about this breakdown in relations? The umbrella final agreement is being proclaimed next week, and there are already serious problems. What is the government going to do about this?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are not aware of any major breakdowns.
Question re: Game farming regulations
Mr. Harding: Perhaps when the government is served the paper, it will get notice of a major breakdown.
Not only have the game farming regulations been inadequate from a consultative point of view, they do not even cover all the game-farmed native species in the Yukon. The Minister of Renewable Resources told me the reason for this was the result of an agreement between the department, the industry and "some members of the public", to use his exact words.
Why did the Minister allow the industry to tell the department which species would be covered by the regulations?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I find the question quite interesting, because a great portion of the consultation was done during the Members' opposite term of office. I am not sure why the three species were settled upon, but I will find out and bring that back for the Member.
Mr. Harding: I do not know why this Minister would bring in regulations on game farming when he does not even know what is contained therein. He cannot even answer the simple questions about why some species are not covered. Under the previous government, a much broader range of species was covered, and there was a moratorium because of concerns raised by people in the Yukon.
If the CYI, the Yukon Conservation Society, the Yukon Fish and Game Association and numerous individual Yukoners have raised concerns about the game farming regulations, why would the Minister bring regulations in that do not adequately cover the number of native species some game farms have presently?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: The animals that are presently on game farms in the Yukon are covered under the regulations. These cover all the animals that are on game farms at this present time.
Mr. Harding: That is not the case and the Minister knows it. We have been around and around with this in debate. There are a number of game farms that have a wide range of native species and only a few of them are covered. The Minister told me that and said they were for wildlife viewing, but these animals can be sold for offspring in essentially the same way as game-farmed animals.
Why would the Minister bring in these regulations when they do not adequately cover all the native species that are presently on Yukon game farms in this territory?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: There are only three game farms in the Yukon. The animals that are kept for game-farming purposes are covered by and named in the regulations: Rocky Mountain elk, wood bison and muskox.
Question re: Lands Act amendments
Ms. Moorcroft: The territorial Lands Act allows the Minister of Community and Transportation Services to control and dispose of Yukon land. It covers land pricing and cancelling agreements for land sales, and it governs the seizure of private property. Our discovery last night that amendments to the Lands Act are on their way back to Cabinet for a second time deserves not only a question but an answer from the Minister, who is also the Acting Government Leader.
What kinds of changes to the Lands Act does Cabinet have in mind?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I do not discuss what I am taking to Cabinet.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister talked about amendments. He talked about the possibility of a whole new Lands Act. They gave their Speech from the Throne and talked about the Historic Resources Act and the Employment Standards Act, and all of those. I presume they talked about them in Cabinet, too. They only talk to Cabinet; they do not talk to the Yukon public. Rewriting the Lands Act is a huge political project, and it will affect virtually every Yukoner. Will the Minister give some notice of what his intent to rewrite the Lands Act means?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The Yukon people will be consulted. It simply involves a few amendments to the Yukon Act, and I will not discuss them until they have gone to Cabinet. They will then go out to the public.
Ms. Moorcroft: This government is not trustworthy when it comes to consultation. It is clear from their track record that they will not voluntarily consult with Yukoners in a meaningful way. Before I ask him how they are going to consult with Yukoners, let me ask him this: what principles are they going to be working from in devising a new Lands Act?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We can discuss that on the floor of the Legislature. We are going to make a few amendments. The amendments will go out to the public as soon as they have gone through Cabinet.
Question re: Xerox DocuTech 135
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister responsible for Government Services. It is a question for an update on the one-of-a-kind mega-machine - the Xerox DocuTech 135 - that was installed in the Queen's Printer in December. I would like to ask the Minister to tell us how many hours a day this machine is actively cranking out thousands of documents and papers?
Hon. Mr. Nordling: I do not know that. It is an interesting question. I will find out and let the Member know.
Mrs. Firth: We could try zero. I understand that there has been a test run. When the technician set the DocuTech up, 8,000 papers were run through it, but it has been virtually inactive since - except to have pictures of it taken by the media. I would like to ask the Minister responsible if there is an individual in the department who is trained to operate the DocuTech?
Hon. Mr. Nordling: I am not certain. I think there are individuals in the department who can operate it, but I know that there will be more training on it.
Mrs. Firth: If there are people there who can operate it, why is it not being operated?
Hon. Mr. Nordling: That was the interesting question that I will try to find an answer for, and I will get back to the Member.
Question re: MacRae access road
Mr. Penikett: It is my painful duty to ask another question of the Minister of Community and Transportation Services about the Yukon Party president's road at MacRae. This morning, I received a letter from the City of Whitehorse that says, "The service road was constructed on the Alaska Highway right-of-way and to YTG standards, and not city standards, because of these reasons: the city declined to accept maintenance of the service road..." It goes on to say that the maintenance costs are now being borne by the Minister's friend, the developer. Can I ask the Minister how it is that the Department of Community and Transportation Services got the poor developer into the situation where neither the city nor the territory are paying the maintenance costs, but he is, and that he is paying them because the territorial government proceeded to construct this road in the wrong manner.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: A letter of understanding was sent to the developer by the City of Whitehorse on September 29. It lays out the relationship between the developer and the city. One of the agreements was that the road frontage would be cleared by the developer or the city.
Mr. Penikett: The city's letter, signed by Mr. Douglas Raines of the department of municipal services, signed to Mike Johnson, director of the transportation and maintenance branch, says quite clearly, "The original initial acceptance of the roads and maintenance responsibility was based on the road being constructed on private lands and transferred to the city. This has not happened in this case."
Can the Minister explain how they fumbled this project in this respect, as well?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Perhaps the Leader of the Official Opposition can explain to me how the developer had to get permission from the city engineer before the road was constructed.
Mr. Penikett: It is probably because the road was in the city. As the Minister said in a letter to me some months ago, it was a city road and subject to city standards. Later, in the Legislature, he told us that it would be maintained by the city. None of those statements, of course, turned out to be true.
On another matter regarding this same, fascinating project, can the Minister tell me how it was that he was persuaded to tell the Whitehorse Star that, "A letter signed by the former Minister of C&TS and described as departmental policy was not the policy of the Government of the Yukon." This is the first time in 1,000 years of parliamentary history that a letter signed by a Minister and described as policy was...
Speaker: Order. Would the Member please ask the question.
Mr. Penikett: Sure, Mr. Speaker. The Minister for Carcross-Southern Lakes is asking for a break. We would like to give them a break. We are doing our best.
Can the Minister of Community and Transportation Services - the Acting Government Leader - explain that to us?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have repeated over and over again for three weeks now that there was no policy regarding frontage road, because we had never done one before.
I might also point out while I am up here that if one remembers, the former government put in 200 access roads for $1 million.
Question re: Government telephone directory
Mr. Cable: I have a question of rather pressing importance for the Minister of Government Services. An acquaintance of mine went up to the front desk upstairs and asked for a telephone directory, and was told that he could not buy, steal, borrow, or have a government telephone directory. What is the reason for that?
Hon. Mr. Nordling: I am not certain. My understanding is that the telephone books should be available if requested. There was a concern expressed that they should not simply be handed out to the public unless they were specially requested or needed.
I do not have a problem with the telephone book being given to any member of the public who requests it. I will find out for the Member why there are no telephone books available. Perhaps they are out of them at the front desk, or perhaps someone has described it as a policy. It is certainly not my policy to keep our telephone book out of public hands.
Mr. Cable: I am happy to hear that, because the Minister's affiliate, the Yukon Party, has been beating the public service drum for some time.
There was a good government committee struck some time ago. Is the Minister prepared to hand this matter over to that committee, if it is still in existence, to let them determine independently whether or not the public should have a copy of this secret phone book?
Hon. Mr. Nordling: Yes, I am prepared to turn it over to them for that determination, with a strong recommendation from me that that is exactly what should be done.
Mr. Cable: Now this gentleman who was asking me about the phone book went so far as to say that he would even pay for a phone book - two or three dollars - if necessary. Is the Minister prepared to put this proposition to the committee also?
Hon. Mr. Nordling: Yes, I am certainly prepared to do that. That may get more action than me advocating that we simply give it to the public.
Question re: Faro mine, environmental protection
Mr. Joe: This gave me a break to ask a question. I have a question for the Minister responsible for the environment.
The Faro mine is a concern. Many people come to me to talk about it. They are concerned about the tailings pond, which is full of deadly poisons. It will kill fish, or even people, if it gets into the Pelly River. I would like to ask the Minister if they are keeping in touch with the federal government about the tailings pond?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: Anvil Range Mining has to put together an abandonment plan. I am not sure what the actual time line is on it, but there is an abandonment plan as part of the whole reopening of the Faro mine site, and it will contain recommendations and requirements with respect to the tailings pond.
Mr. Joe: This is very important. There are people downstream on the Pelly River, especially in Pelly Crossing, who are ice fishing, especially during April when the grayling spawn where the creek comes out. This is very important.
Can the Minister tell these people that the government will keep an eye on the tailings pond to make sure that the land and water will be protected?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: Yes, we will be monitoring those activities.
Question re: Agriculture, cold-storage facility
Mr. McDonald: The remarks of the Minister of Renewable Resources in the paper last night seemed to have caused quite a stir in the agricultural community, according to four people I spoke with during the intervening period. They were concerned that the Minister's comments that a cold-storage facility was not needed were made because it was the Minister's assessment of his own needs for his market garden.
On behalf of the government, not as a market gardener, can the Minister tell us if the government's vision of infrastructure for the agricultural community in the territory includes a cold-storage facility?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I have no problem at all with the Agricultural Association putting up a cold-storage facility. If the association is requesting money from government, that is all well and good, depending upon what program we have available. However, I believe the Agricultural Association needs to prioritize its requirements and requests.
Mr. McDonald: I am not sure what to make of that answer. I am asking the government what its position is on the cold-storage facility because I want to know what the government's position would be if it were asked for money. The Minister responded by saying that if they apply that is all well and good. What does that mean? Does it mean that association would receive favourable treatment if that is their highest priority? Does that mean that the government feels that a cold-storage facility would, in fact, do the industry some good and would be a worthy investment for public money?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: If the Agricultural Association were to apply for funding for a cold-storage facility or any other type of infrastructure, there would be certain requirements with respect to business plans and feasibility, and so on. All I am saying is, yes, if the association proved a need, proved industry support, and proved that it is a viable facility, then I would see the thing as being a favourable opportunity for the association.
Mr. McDonald: With the utmost respect, the industry heard all that when it came to supporting the abattoir. It learned it needed a feasibility study and a business plan, which it completed. The association understood the abattoir project to be a high priority with the Yukon Party. It understood that the Ministers were going to get personally involved in the project. However, none of that produced an abattoir.
Could the Minister tell us why he was unaware that the industry had made application for the abattoir project through the Canada/Yukon infrastructure program? Could the Minister also tell us whether or not it was the case that he told the group about the $200,000 that Renewable Resources had committed at the meeting in December with Agricultural Association representatives?
Hon. Mr. Fisher: I do not recall if I actually told the association about the $200,000, but I do know that the director of the agricultural branch attended one of the Agricultural Association meetings, also in December. At that time the recommendation from the Agricultural Association was to scale down the size and cost of the abattoir to somewhere in the $300,000 range. So it came as quite a surprise when I found out the association had applied for the $1 million facility.
Response re: Whitehorse General Hospital, overcrowding
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I thought it important in my capacity as Minister responsible for Health and Social Services to advise the Health critic that a Page has delivered the actual statistics for the month of November 1994. There were 57 beds in operation, and the percentage of occupancy was 66.5 percent during that month.
Point of Order
Mr. McDonald: The standard practice for Question Period is that Members from the Opposition are recognized when they have questions to ask, and Ministers respond with answers. If the Ministers have some information they would like to table, or provide to the House in order to explain government policy, they have the opportunity while answering the questions, they have the opportunity in tabling of returns and documents, and they have the opportunity in Committee debate, as everyone else does. Unfortunately, Question Period lasts only 40 minutes. It is a time for Opposition Members to ask questions.
The normal course of events, as I understand it, is that when a Minister finishes answering a question, the Member of the Opposition, who has a question to pose, is recognized as the next order of business. It is not to say that the Minister may not have useful information, but there are opportunities for the Minister to provide that information outside of Question Period, or in response to a question when it is asked.
Speaker: My understanding is that this has happened in the past. If it happens, the Speaker should not count the time that the Minister gives the explanation as time in Question Period. We will add another two minutes to the time. That is my understanding of what has been done in the past. If the Minister wants to complete his statement, that is fine.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: I would certainly like to, Mr. Speaker. You are quite right. The Member opposite has, on occasion, while on his feet, answered previous questions.
Speaker: Order. I would like the Minister to complete his statement and not get into anything else at this time.
Hon. Mr. Phelps: The statistics from the Hospital Board are as follows: beds set up in the hospital in November - 57; percentage of occupancy for the month - 66.5 percent.
Question re: Gratuities
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister of Tourism. Yesterday, the Minister of Tourism tabled in this House the travel list from his department, which lists travel that was paid for by non-government agencies and by the private sector. There are five trips on this list. Obviously, this is a contradiction with what the Minister of Government Services said when he made the comment that there was quite a bit of this kind of travel in Tourism. I would like to ask the Minister where the rest of the list is, if there is quite a bit of this kind of travel. I do not think that five trips constitutes quite a bit.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I called the Member and explained this to her on the phone, but I will explain it now for the record. Tourism does get other trips, which are considered free trips - they are called familiarization trips - and are not anyone from the department going anywhere else, but are what the airlines provide us to bring journalists and travel agents here so that they will write stories about the Yukon.
The Member requested information about trips made by Tourism officials that were paid for by the private sector. That was the information that was provided to the Member. Every single travel record of department officials was gone through before it could be determined which ones were actually paid for by the private sector, and the ones on the list I provided were the ones paid for by the private sector or other organizations.
Mrs. Firth: There is one on the list here that was paid for by the private sector - Canadian Airlines International. The Minister reinforced this theory about there being a lot of travel, when he did a frenzied interview with the media, saying that if these trips were banned, it would be disastrous for the tourism industry; that it would be very detrimental to the Yukon, and that costs would rise dramatically. Can the Minister tell us how he substantiates those strong comments, when the list he has provided us with today has one trip on it? Does the Minister not think he was overstating the case a little bit?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It is becoming quite obvious to the general public that the Member for Riverdale South knows little about tourism marketing - or cares to. The Member has been critical of every marketing initiative this government - and, I think, even the past government - has undertaken.
What I was indicating at the time is the concern I have with the Member's zealous work to try and stop all trips by any government employees or any free trips the government receives. What I was pointing out is that we do some cooperative marketing initiatives with our partners, which are critical for us. Every other jurisdiction in the country does the same thing, but they have a bigger advantage because they have more than one airline. I was pointing out that if we had to discontinue those kinds of trips, it would be very costly to us, and the people in the tourism industry in the Yukon would suffer because of it.
Mrs. Firth: As usual, when the Minister cannot defend himself, he attacks me and the other Members in this Legislature.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mrs. Firth: Defend yourself. Stand up and tell us what a great job you are doing.
Speaker: Order. Would the Member please carry on with her question.
Mrs. Firth: I will carry on with my question if they will stop interrupting me and extend me the courtesy of allowing me to ask my question. The Minister was quite hysterical when he stood up, and said that if these trips were banned, it would be absolutely disastrous for the Yukon Territory - likely no tourists would ever come here again. He was in a frenzy.
Speaker: Order. Would the Member please ask the question.
Mrs. Firth: I will ask the question. Can he substantiate his frenzied, hysterical comment, in light of the fact that there is only one trip on the list that was paid for by the private sector?
Hon. Mr. Phillips: The only one in this House who is outrageous or in a frenzy is the Member for Riverdale South. She does not know what she is talking about. She accuses us of attacking her, but that is her modus operandi. She attacks everybody in the House; she attacks civil servants. It is an open field for her; she attacks everybody. I think that the general public is getting fed up with the negative approach of that Member.
Speaker: Order. Would the Member please conclude his answer.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: It would be very serious to the Department of Tourism if we were no longer to accept any familiarization trips or if we were no longer to do cooperative marketing with our partners. There would be a lot of opportunities missed by Yukoners. That is why I am concerned about the issues that were raised by the Member for Riverdale South, who knows nothing about what she speaks.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed. We will proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
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. Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. Is it the wish of the Committee to take a brief recess?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will take a brief recess.
Bill No. 4 - First Appropriation Act, 1995-96 -continued
Community and Transportation Services - continued
On Office of the Deputy Minister - continued
On Emergency Measures - continued
On Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space - continued
Chair: Mr. Penikett, on a point of order?
Mr. Penikett: I will not raise it as a point of order; I will just ask a procedural question of the Minister.
I am fascinated by the statement of the Minister in the media to the effect that a statement by a Minister does not represent government policy. I am absolutely floored by the prospect of the difficulty of finding out what government policy is if statements by Ministers are not government policies, especially since we are not allowed to be told what goes on in Cabinet. I do not know how we are ever going to find out what government policy is. What I would like to know is when, in this department, since we are talking about this Minister's responsibilities, as I understood them, can we debate that question? When can we ask about when is a policy not a policy, and why is what the Minister says not a policy, because my understanding is that traditions of Cabinet solidarity and ministerial responsibility throughout parliamentary history have been when the Minister says something it is treated as government policy, but this Minister says that is not the case. I am in a state of complete confusion. It is very important that I get this sorted out, at least for myself, and before we get through this department.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: When we get to highway construction, would the Member like to debate it there?
Mr. Penikett: I do not want to cause the Minister any concern or heartache. I do not wish to rehash or go over the MacRae question. The Minister has given some more information today and I appreciate that. What I do not understand is this proposition or statement by a Minister who does not represent government policy. That is what bothers me, so I appreciate the offer to debate it when we get to the highway construction line.
Chair: It is clear that there is no point of order. The Member has withdrawn the point of order. We will continue with the line item - office furniture, equipment, systems and space.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This coordinates emergency preparedness and response in the Yukon, creates volunteers in communities and works with other organizations - Government of Canada, the local government, Indian bands, et cetera, in preparation; it leads emergency response teams in actual emergencies.
The office furniture, equipment, systems and space budget of $10,000 is for the acquisition of two personal computer terminals for use by emergency measures personnel and emergency operation centre officials.
Emergency measures' major projects for 1995-96 are emergency operation equipment, $35,000, to equip the joint emergency operation centre with alternative communications systems and map and visual display equipment with geographic information system applications, and $30,000 to assist the City of Whitehorse in acquiring a special emergency command dangerous goods response vehicle, estimated to cost $200,000.
Other 1995-96 projects are emergency measures equipment, $20,000, and dangerous goods response, $10,000.
I believe we read that last night. Is it clear?
Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
On Emergency Measures
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Mr. Chair, this is the second time that I will have read emergency measures details.
Chair: It has not been cleared yet.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The main projects for emergency measures during 1995-96 are emergency operation equipment, $35,000, to equip the joint emergency operation centre with alternative communication systems, maps and visual display equipment, with geographic information systems application, and $30,000 to assist the City of Whitehorse in acquiring a special emergency dangerous goods response vehicle, estimated at $200,000.
Other projects for 1995-96 are emergency equipment, $20,000, and dangerous goods kits, $10,000. The $10,000 is for the acquisition of two PCs to provide suitable work sites for emergency measure personnel and emergency operation centre officials, as well as for use by volunteers trained to support headquarters.
The $20,000 is allocated for emergency equipment, strategical and emergency supplies in keeping with emergency communication plans, as well as Yukon disaster committee priorities negotiated agreements pending to service commitments to preparedness on federal land.
The $10,000 allocated for the dangerous goods response kit includes pre-positioning in 12 areas of the Yukon some essential specialty supplies for use by first responders in their reconnaissance of assessment control and containment of a petrol spill discharge.
The $35,000 is allocated as follows: for emergency equipment operation to equip the joint emergency operation centre with an alternative communication system to augment voice and radio links, $20,000; map and visual display equipment, $10,000; with geographic information system application, $5,000.
Ms. Moorcroft: I was trying to hear everything the Minister said when he read out that note, but I did miss a couple of things. Could he explain what the project was on federal land?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: At the present time, we look after this. I can give an example in the Old Crow area. We put our emergency people in there and evacuated the people in the area to Inuvik, and did a lot of work like that, which was a federal responsibility. We are now having a problem getting an agreement with them, where we are paid when we go on to federal land to do work. So, we are trying to make an agreement with them that, when we go on to their land, they give us a certain amount of money back for our work on that land.
Ms. Moorcroft: Is the funding for the negotiations of that process? Is that what the funding was for?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It was to keep that equipment for us to use on federal land. We will recover $5,000 out of the $20,000.
Ms. Moorcroft: What was the increase for? I listened to the Minister describe the various amounts of money that went to various programs. There is a 20-percent increase on the line item, and I would like to know what that is for.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We do not usually show that in the capital estimates, because they are for different projects, which vary each year.
Emergency Measures in the amount of $95,000 agreed to
On Community TV and Radio
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This is to provide for the operation and maintenance of the Yukon VHF radio communication system for YTG and the Government of Canada. It provides, operates and maintains television and FM-radio transmitters and delivers CBC services, a facility shared with groups operating in the public interest. It represents Yukon interests in national policy making and regulatory forums on communications issues and serves all Yukon people by ensuring that private and public communications services meet our needs.
The community TV and radio budget of $20,000 is for equipment replacement, to construct a communication equipment shelter and to purchase electronic equipment.
Community TV and Radio in the amount of $20,000 agreed to
On VHF System
Hon. Mr. Brewster: VHF system replacement consists of two projects: mobile portable replacement for $145,000 to cover the replacement of worn out and obsolete units that are used in YTG vehicles and multi-departmental mobile radio system funding of $25,000 to purchase shelf interface modules and mobile data, interfaced to permit the transmission of electronic data.
VHF System in the amount of $170,000 agreed to
On Prior Years' Projects
Prior Years' Projects in the amount of nil agreed to
On Corporate Services Division
Chair: Is there any general debate?
On Office Furniture, Equipment and Systems
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This is to provide support to the departmental program manager in areas of finance systems and administrative functions. The budget of $19,000 is for enhancement to the financial reporting and leave accounting system to set up an interface between accounts payable, transportation moves and the general ledger, and to purchase two personal computers to run the leave accounting system.
Office Furniture, Equipment and Systems in the amount of $19,000 agreed to
Corporate Services Division in the amount of $19,000 agreed to
On Transportation Division
Chair: Is there any general debate?
Mr. Penikett: Let me explain the problem that bothers me. It is not just in connection with this line in the budget, but it arises from consideration of the events at MacRae and the public statements about it.
I would like to review our experience. Two Members on this side of the House had complaints from constituents. We wrote to the Minister responsible, who responded to both MLAs. One statement in one letter subsequently turned out not to be the case, and the Minister corrected the record before the House - admittedly, three or four months later.
We then had a statement by a Minister that there was no policy in a particular area, but a letter from the former Minister to another MLA was provided to us, which seemed to contain a clear statement of departmental policy.
Yesterday, there was a statement in the Whitehorse Star newspaper, in a story by Brigitte Audet, quoting the Minister as saying that - I am paraphrasing - the letter may have been departmental policy or that Minister's policy, but it was not government policy, because it had not been approved by the whole Cabinet.
I may be wrong, but my sense of the chain of accountability of Ministers to Legislatures, and of the responsibility of Cabinet solidarity by Ministers to their colleagues and the traditions of our system, are that when a Minister makes a statement it is assumed to be a statement of government policy. Indeed, Cabinet government is meaningless without that understanding.
Since we have also been told by this Minister that he will not discuss what goes on in Cabinet - which is fine, as Cabinet confidentiality is another principle - there is no way for Members of the Legislature to find out what government policy is, except by asking questions of Ministers. So, when Ministers make statements, and especially when they describe them as statements of policy, we have to take them seriously. In parliamentary tradition we take them seriously, because if a Minister misleads the House deliberately, the tradition is that they can be challenged on that score and may forfeit their seat.
We are dealing with a very serious matter. We are also dealing with our basic understanding of the relationship between Ministers and egislatures, and Ministers and Cabinets.
I am bothered by the notion that a Minister can make a statement to a reporter, or even inside the House, that a letter from a colleague who previously had that post, which the colleague describes as a matter of policy of his department, was, first, not a policy because it had not been approved by the Cabinet, and, second, that it is only a policy when it is approved by Cabinet. That is a problem because the Minister said he will not discuss what goes on in Cabinet, so we have no way of knowing, until we see orders-in-council, what is discussed and what is not discussed in Cabinet. We only have a clue as to what was discussed in Cabinet when OICs are issued.
My view is that the situation I would prefer when a Minister makes his statement is that it is a statement of policy by the Minister, not only of that department but for the government. The reason we divide government into departments is to provide some coherence, some ability for us to understand what is going on, to understand the government has many functions and many and varied activities.
The proposition that when a Minister makes a statement of policy, and we do not know whether or not it is government policy - that it may or may not be government policy - it raises the possibility of making nonsense of our whole proceedings because most of what we do here is asking individual Ministers, what the policy is.
If we ever had a situation where the Minister said, "Well, that is my policy but it may not be the government policy," that would represent a fundamental change in our system of government. It would mean that Cabinet solidarity is out the window. It would mean ministerial responsibility is not the thing we imagined it to be.
I am trying to do this in a general way and not in an adversarial way because it is a pretty basic question. I want to understand
where the Minister is coming from when he says a letter, written by his colleague on government letterhead, which talks about departmental policy, is not government policy because his understanding of this is profoundly different from mine.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: In February 1993, the department had a policy, which is quoted in Mr. Fisher's letter of November 1, 1993, stating that we would not do any more access roads, and that they would be up to the individual to do.
The MacRae road is a frontage road, not an access road; it is a frontage road. It is seldom that this has shown up elsewhere. We are trying to define a policy and this one was in place, and we really did not have a policy covering frontage roads, only access roads. W
hen I spoke with them, I was talking about frontage roads, not access roads because technically, the access roads have nothing to do with that. We went on to another road and that road was the access road.
The Pump House Road was the access on to the Alaska Highway. There is a difference between the access roads and frontage roads. They are two different things. We had no policy because, frankly, I do not know if it was ever done in the Yukon before where a developer wanted do it that way, but it was decided to put a frontage road in instead of having nine access roads on to the main highway.
Mr. Penikett: I am obviously not explaining myself well. If the former Minister had said clearly in his letter, "I have decided, as Minister responsible for this department, to change the policy in respect of the financing of private roads," which is what we now seem to understand the situation to have been, that would have been something we would have understood. If the Minister had come to the House in the next budget and said, "This is a policy that we have changed in presenting the budget," or if he had communicated clearly that this was a major policy change in some way, we might not have agreed but we would have understood what he was doing.
We would also have understood if the present Minister had said, "We have different policies with respect to access roads and private roads." If he had said that clearly, we could have understood it, but that is not what the Minister told the newspaper. I am not asking any more, at least for the time being, about MacRae or the particular situation. I am talking about something much deeper.
I am talking about the system of parliamentary government we have, the system of ministerial accountability and Cabinet solidarity - two important principles in our system. As I understand that system, Ministers are assigned a departmental responsibility. They are elected as MLAs but they are appointed as Ministers, they are assigned a departmental responsibility. Within the framework of law and general government policy, a Minister may make policy for the department, with the advice of the deputy and others. When he makes a pronouncement about that policy, it has not quite the force of law but it is taken seriously. When the Minister states such a policy in the House, we accept the Minister's word and we accept what he says as government policy.
It has never been my understanding that every single policy on every single item in every single department would be a matter that would be sent to Cabinet. There is no point in having individual Ministers. We might as well have a presidential system if there is only going to be one policy-making body. We clearly understand that a Minister of a department can make policy in that department, within the framework of the law.
We also understand that our system requires Cabinet solidarity. No matter how frank and how brutal and how tough the discussions are at the Cabinet table, our system depends on the fact, on the understanding, that once a decision is made at the Cabinet table every Minister lines up behind it, whatever their views were in the discussion. There is only one government policy. All Ministers speak in defence of that policy, but Ministers have particular powers within their departments to make policy for those departments.
The requirement in our democratic system is that they account to the House for those changes, and when they make changes, they report the changes to the House, announce the changes to the House and defend the changes in the House.
I am not now talking about the particular issues surrounding the MacRae frontage road or the particular issues surrounding private access roads. I am talking about the statement the Minister made, or appeared to make, to the media that his predecessor's policy statement could not have been a policy statement for the government, because it did not go to Cabinet.
The Minister does not seem to understand the problem. Let me explain the problem in this way. If this Minister now gets up in the House and says to us that the government's policy is X, we are bound to take it seriously that that is a legitimate statement of government policy. If six months or a year from now - let us say, for example, that Mr. Nordling is the Minister of Department of Community and Transportation Services - the Minister stood and said, No, X was never government policy, it was Mr. Brewster's policy; it was never approved by Cabinet so it was never a government policy",
I am sure that the present Minister of the Department of Community and Transportation Services could see that it makes nonsense of our whole parliamentary system. It fundamentally contradicts what most of us understand the system to be.
I am not saying this in partisan terms. This is a serious problem. I do not understand what the Minister meant when he told that reporter that the previous Minister's letter, which used the word "policy" was not a government policy. In our system of government, one cannot separate departmental policy from the government. When the Minister of Community and Transportation Services speaks for the Department of Community and Transportation Services, he speaks for the government in its highway and municipal affairs capacity and its role, as the people in the communities refer to it "as the ministry of towns and trucks".
What the Minister has done is to raise some questions about the legitimacy of his role. What he said, in essence, is that whenever he tells us something in the House we now have to ask a second question, "We know that is your policy, sir, but what is the government's policy?" That seems to me to place us in a ridiculous position.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Well, in the context that the young lady was talking to me, I was talking about frontage roads, not access roads. However, if I mixed my words up I apologize to the House. That is all that I can do.
Mr. Penikett: I am not trying to embarrass the Minister. I do not want him to apologize; I am not looking for an apology. I want to understand what he meant when he said that a letter, which describes departmental policy, issued by his predecessor, was not government policy. That does not fit with my understanding of the way government is supposed to work. I do not understand what he meant by that.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I just said that I was wrong, I apologize and I cannot do anything more about it. Does the Member want me to go out and drown myself or something?
Mr. Penikett: The most unkind thing I would ever want the Minister to do is to actually have to attend Question Period. I would not want to wish him anything worse than that.
I do not want to press the point, but is the Minister saying what I just described, as my understanding of the way the system works, is correct and that he simply misstated himself in that article, so that in the future, when the Minister says something is policy, we know it is government policy?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have been in the House for three weeks standing up and down and up and down. The reporter came into my office during the little break I get, and I said the wrong thing. I apologize. I cannot do anything more than that.
Mr. Penikett: I thank the Minister for that. I just want to say that the reporter is a good reporter, and I am not complaining about that. I will just leave it at that.
Ms. Moorcroft: I have some questions related to the breakdowns of the community funding in the capital budget of the Department of Community and Transportation Services. I am just looking for that, but cannot find it, so perhaps I will ask the Minister about another subject.
We had some questions asked in Question Period about the Kluane Park road. I believe this is an upgrade of an existing road, that is approximately five kilometres long, and takes people to the gates of the park. I would like the Minister to describe for me what is happening with the environmental assessment, who is involved on the committee, and what the environmental assessment will look at.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: In the first place, this road has not been built, and it is not a five-kilometre road. It is an old road that has been used for years and years. It now goes through the Nygren subdivision, although it had not been planned that way. It is about two to three kilometres from there and is being built higher up, so that the creek is not fanned out. They hope to put culverts in to keep it from fanning out, as it does below. Where the road is being built across the creek, it does not fan out, so they think that is the safest place to build the road.
The committee is made up of representatives from Tourism, Community and Transportation Services, Parks and all of the different federal regulatory people. I do not think the committee has even met as yet.
Ms. Moorcroft: Is the Champagne-Aishihik First Nation represented on that committee?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: They are not on that committee, but they will have their input when that committee goes out to the public.
Ms. Moorcroft: What exactly is the committee doing? What are they working on and what is its end goal?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Its goal is to see if it can feasibly build a road across the creek to the park boundary, where there is a large hill that overlooks the Alsek River. Right now, it is doing a study to see if there will be any damage in doing it. They have not done this, as yet. To my knowledge, it has not even met yet. However, I have been assured by Parks Canada that there will be public meetings.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the Minister know if the terms of reference have been finalized for the environmental assessment? Does he have an idea how long the process will take to complete?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We have not seen a terms of reference yet. I did hear that they hope to have it this summer, so that if it goes ahead, it can begin later in the summer.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister stated that the committee is going to be looking to see if they could put in a road across the creek. What kinds of things will they be looking at? Can he describe what an environmental assessment would encompass?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: An environmental assessment, as I understand it, would be an examination to find out if anything would be hurt or destroyed if a road is built. In the case of the creek, they have examined the higher area, where it remains in one creekbed. Down below, it fans out to about a mile and one-half or two miles across. There would be much damage there. Also, the road would be washed out all the time. Up higher, it stays in one creekbed as it comes out of the mountain. They think they can cross it at that point. The environmental study will tell them whether or not that is true.
Ms. Moorcroft: Could the Minister describe how the Champagne-Aishihik First Nation will be involved in the process?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It will be involved publicly. If it had asked, it could have been represented on the committee. I am not aware of how that committee was made up, but no one in that area would object to the First Nation being on it. With land claims, it has quite a bit to say about what happens near a national park.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister is quite right about that. The land claims also has something to say about how First Nations are involved in road construction in the area, particularly close to a park and to their traditional territory and settlement lands. Can the Minister make the commitment that he will be consulting with the First Nation - by consulting I mean under the specific terms described in the land claims legislation - before making any decisions on the road project?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I would like to point out that I am not making the decision. The committee makes the decision. Yes, I will phone the Champagne-Aishihik First Nation tomorrow morning.
Ms. Moorcroft: In Question Period, I asked the Minister if he would stand by his statement that he would respect the decision of an environmental impact study of this project. The response was, "If it is a reasonable decision, then I will respect it." That leads me to ask if the Minister will decide whether or not it is a reasonable decision. How will he make that decision?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I will not decide it at all; the people in the Kluane area will tell me that.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister is not going to make a judgment call on whether or not he agrees with the environmental assessment, but will abide by the decision - is that the case?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Unless there is a very strong demand by the people in the Kluane area that they do not agree with it. They hire me; they fire me, not the Legislature.
Ms. Moorcroft: Part of the role of an MLA is to follow the laws that are in place. I sincerely hope that, whatever decision the environmental assessment review process comes up with, the Minister will not override it if he disagrees with it.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I would not override it anyway. It is about land that is in the park. I am just saying that if the people of Kluane do not feel they had a fair hearing, and people in Denmark and other places made a decision for them, I would cross that bridge when I came to it.
Ms. Moorcroft: Could the Minister explain to me how people over in Denmark would be making the decision? I did not quite follow that.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There are a bunch of people on the petition from Germany and other places in Europe. There is one signature from Pond Inlet, and I do not know how it got up there. My daughter and son-in-law live there.
Ms. Moorcroft: Is there any funding available in this budget for the Kluane Park road project? If the environmental assessment review process was completed during this year, could money be moved from other roads, for example, or from some line item in the budget to cover work that might be done on the Kluane Park road?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: By the time the assessment is finished and the design process is finished, it would be too late for it to be done this coming fall.
Ms. Moorcroft: I would like to move into some questions I have related to the community distribution capital budget. On page 15, there is an item identified as transportation costs for land granular resource management for $160,000, and then about two-thirds of the way down the page there is another land claims quarry identification for $100,000. I would like to ask the Minister if he could tell me where these are, whether they are both for quarry identification - when it says "land granular resource management", is that something to do with quarries - and what relationship there may be between them.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We do not have all that information here. We will try to get it and bring it down after the break.
Ms. Moorcroft: The last item on this page is called "rehabilitation of unauthorized land use". It is under the community services budget so I will just give notice to the Minister that I would like to have explained what that means.
There is $150,000 shown for South Access reconstruction and paving. Can the Minister give the breakdown? I know he said in the past that they want to fix the one bad corner. Are they talking about doing a realignment, or are they just going to repave the surfaces, which are quite bad and quite dangerous for the entire length of that road? I would like the Minister to give me the detail on what the South Access reconstruction and paving covers.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No. We plan to just resurface it around that one bad corner and pave it. However, if we think we can go ahead withthe redesign for the hill, then we will not do it. We will put that money back. If we can negotiate with the city on their share, then we will go ahead with the whole hill in future years.
Ms. Moorcroft: I noticed that there is $165,000 for the Teslin airport. That is substantially higher than the amount of funding for all the other airports around the territory. Can I ask the Minister to explain what that is for and why the amount is so large? I believe the amount for the other airports is $25,000 or $30,000.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Most of that would come out in the line-by-line debate. I realize that the Member wants a general debate on that, but we have the details in the line-by-line debate. It takes time to go through everything and find the information.
Ms. Moorcroft: I will wait for the line-by-line debate to ask about that.
We have discussed the fuel-purchase policy, and I brought forward some concerns that had been passed on to me, not just by station owners in the southern Yukon, but by service station operators in the northern Yukon, as well. I would now like to ask the Minister some questions relating to the fuel-purchase policy.
One service station owner, who has recently been fairly vocal about some complaints he has with administration of the policy, has had the government business taken away from him. Initially, he received a threatening letter, saying that he was not open for the required number of hours, or that he opened too late, and if this were to happen again, he would lose the fuel- purchase policy and would not be eligible to have any government vehicles purchase fuel from him. A short while after that, a letter was received by him stating that, because the station had been closed for a week or 10 days in early January, around the Christmas season, he would no longer be receiving any government business. I do have to point out that this was the highway fuel station that was the low bidder on the contract, and that was selling fuel cheaper than other stations in the area.
We have debated this before. The intent of the policy is that gas should be purchased for government vehicles at the lowest price possible. I agree with that policy. The question that I would like to ask relates to the loss of business that this station operator has seen. I would like to have an assurance from the Minister that when they enter the bidding process for fuel purchase again - it is done on a three-month basis - all station operators, regardless of disciplinary action that has been taken by the government in the past in its fulfillment of the fuel-purchase policy, will not be detrimental to the process of allowing that station operator to successfully bid for fuel purchase status again in the future.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I will not bother discussing the time that he was closed. I will just repeat what was said in the letter, "I regret to inform you at this time the department will not be purchasing your fuel for the remainder of January to the end of March term, as the Spirit Lodge has not been open for business during normal hours, as required by our policy." That indicates to me that when March arrives, he will be able to bid. But I must also point out, as I have done a number of times, that he is outside the two-kilometre radius and vehicles will fuel up only when necessary as they go by his place.
Ms. Moorcroft: How does the department define "when necessary"?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: When the vehicles are working in that area, or have made a long trip and have very little fuel left. I must point out that the department has used him when it worked on the road in that area.
Ms. Moorcroft: Because I have had complaints related to me from several station operators in that area, can I ask the Minister if he could attempt to provide for me with a breakdown of the fuel-purchase receipts from the different stations, so that we could see what the dollar value is for the service stations in the area?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We looked at that the last time the Member requested it, but, unfortunately, White Pass does not break it down that way and it is not prepared to give us its figures. All we have are the slips that come to us. We are not able to break them down by community and gas station.
Ms. Moorcroft: Can I ask the Minister if other station operators, who have had all their government business taken away from them in the past, might again be eligible to be considered for the fuel-purchase policy?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I know of no person who, if they stayed within the policy, had the fuel-purchase policy taken from them, if they were the lowest bidden. They get to bid every three months. Everyone who has a gas pump can bid every three months.
Ms. Moorcroft: I would be quite happy if these complaints were not coming forward and if we did not have to be getting into this debate. I will just make a representation that we would like to see the fuel-purchase policy applied fairly and equitably to all.
Last week I asked for some information regarding Duncan Drive, the road that goes to Golden Horn School and other areas of the subdivision there. This is a subject that I have written letters to the former Minister about. This is a subject that has been raised in this House for a couple of years now.
The road is quite bad. It sees a lot of traffic. In particular, there is one very sharp corner where there is a collapsed culvert in the road. I know that the Minister has had the same calls of complaint that I have had.
Constituents of mine have had to buy tires more frequently than they should have because they drive that road every day or twice a day. The Minister indicated that he was going to be bringing something back from the branch to address those concerns about the poor quality of the road.
I would like to ask him a simple question: when is Duncan Drive going to be improved, preferably chipsealed, and be in safe condition for driving our school children to school?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As a matter of fact, I looked at some drawings today. There are two possible ways it can go. However, I would have to object. I think the road is safe as it is and that it is up to standard.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister just said that the road is safe as it is.
On the corner that I have mentioned, where there is a collapsed culvert under the road, there is a speed limit reduction to 20 kilometres per hour. This is due to the fact that the road is so poor there, I would think. Can I ask the Minister when the government is going to make a decision on how the department is going to improve that road?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It will be some time in the future. I will ask the superintendent to check the culvert the Member is talking about and bring the information back to me.
Ms. Moorcroft: Whenever we ask the Minister if he can do something, he says that it will be some time in the future. Some time in the future can be long after the Minister is gone from this place.
I would like to ask him when he is going to fix the road.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I just saw the diagrams today of the two possibilities. We have never had time to discuss them. It will be some time in the future. I am sorry.
Ms. Moorcroft: Perhaps I could ask the Minister this: why was it today that he first saw the diagrams of the possibilities when I have been making this representation on behalf of my constituents and asking these questions for more than two years?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I wrote a letter telling the Member that I would try to get back to her at the end of January. If the Member checks the record, we have been in the House most of the time since. Perhaps it is because I am an old man that I cannot keep up with it all.
Ms. Moorcroft: I do not want to make this Minister responsible for his predecessor's actions, but the fact is that this is a concern that has been around for at least a couple of years. This is the government that campaigned on the promise that it would do the planning necessary to ensure that the transportation and education needs are brought together. They said that when there is a school, there is going to be a safe road to it. They said that if there is going to be land development and increased population that they would be expanding the schools ahead of the need instead of behind it.
I brought forward a legitimate concern, on behalf of my constituents, to have the road improved to the school where there is a lot of heavy traffic, and nothing has happened for the last two years.
Can the Minister tell me if the funds will be available in this year's budget to improve Duncan Drive or to take an alternate route, if that is what they decide to do?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As I have indicated, I only saw the diagrams today and the cost estimate has not been given to me, which would indicate whether or not the government can handle it. That will determine which way we go.
Ms. Moorcroft: In September, the Minister announced that he is taking action on some of the requests made by the Association of Yukon Communities. One of those requests was about increasing the speed limits on some Yukon highways. Could the Minister tell me what he has done about that request?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There are only a few areas of highway that meet the standards to allow vehicles to travel at 100 kilometres per hour, and that is the area from Whitehorse to Swift River and on the Haines Road.
It would cost the government a great deal of money to upgrade the remaining roads to meet the standards to increase the speed limit to 100 kilometres per hour. It is quite possible that the speed limit on the section of road from Whitehorse to Swift River could be increased to 100 kilometres per hour. The problem with the Haines Road is that much of it lies within the boundaries of British Columbia, and the Yukon does not control that portion of the road, although we do maintain it. We are presently negotiating to get the road on the same terms as we have with the Skagway Road.
There are other sections of road that are good, but they are in small sections and we feel that if we put up 100-kilometre per hour signs and then immediately reduce the speed limit within 10 to 15 kilometres, the government would experience some problems.
Ms. Moorcroft: Has the department conducted studies to determine if and where it would be safe to increase the speed limits on all Yukon highways?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There have been no actual studies, but the engineers have reported to us which highways they felt would be safe for 100 kilometres per hour. There are only two sections where they feel they could successfully increase the speed limit to 100 kilometres per hour.
On Transportation Facilities
On Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This is to provide provisional programming for the automated equipment systems and office furniture required in support of programs, to plan construction operations and enforce the transportation regulatory regime for which the Yukon government is responsible. Also, it is to construct and upgrade transportation maintenance camps and workshops, to maintain Yukon government transportation equipment and provide related services to other government departments and agencies.
This budget of $339,000 consists of $95,000 for computing equipment and systems for transportation engineering for the continuation of the record drawing system and to purchase three computer-assisted design workshops, three personal computer terminals and one laser printer for central workshop moves inventory. There is $24,000 to purchase three personal computerized terminals, one laptop and three printers for transportation services. There is $99,000 to provide maintenance enhancement to the vehicle registration system and the national collision databases to enhance or redevelop the existing driver record system and to purchase two workstations, two mainframe terminals, a mainframe printer and transportation maintenance. There is $52,000 for phase 2 implementation of the maintenance management system and to purchase three workshops.
The other two projects here are $44,000 for office equipment and furniture and $25,000 for office accommodation.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister referred to improved records systems and new computer equipment relating to records in the motor vehicles branch. Is that a system that is designed to fit in with the proposed amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act that will allow for the penalty of withholding a motor vehicle registration for a vehicle owner who is in default of fines?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No. There is money for that in another budget. This money is for records and computing in another part of the system.
Ms. Moorcroft: Could the Minister tell me in what part of the budget the money for the records system that I was just describing is?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I believe it would be under the Department of Justice. They will administer that if the amendment is accepted.
Ms. Moorcroft: There is no upgrade necessary to Community and Transportation Services equipment in order to implement this new system. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The Department of Justice would give us the money to update the system.
Ms. Moorcroft: Will the Minister of Justice be making that clear and bringing it forward in the line-by-line debate, in Justice?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I do not know if it is actually in the budget yet, because the budget was made up before that amendment was brought to the Legislature - the budget was made up before we came into the Legislature. It may be that they have been able to move money around. The Member will have to ask the Justice department.
Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space in the amount of $339,000 agreed to
On Maintenance Camp Facilities and Equipment
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The maintenance camp facilities and equipment budget of $612,000 consists of: engineering design, $95,000, for planning, field survey and detailed design of facilities development project; capital maintenance, $317,000, to provide highway maintenance camps and workshops for minor upgrade work necessary for ongoing operation - miscellaneous facilities and major facilities maintenance have been combined to create this project in 1995-96; and sundry equipment, $200,000, is for the purchase of new and replacement small equipment, such as survey instruments, portable scales, water pumps, chainsaws and hand-operated power tools.
Maintenance Camp Facilities and Equipment in the amount of $612,000 agreed to
On Transportation Engineering and Planning
On Transportation Planning
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Under planning and transportation development studies and analysis for identifying capital and O&M requirements, the transportation planning budget of $425,000 consists of transportation capital planning for $300,000 and provides funding for the transportation planning section responsible for the examination of needs and capital requirements for transportation facilities. The transportation strategy for $125,000 is for the preparation of a comprehensive, long-term transportation strategy for the Yukon.
Transportation engineering consists of two projects: transportation engineering support and highways inventory management. The sum of $260,000 is allotted for several small items, such as engineering on minor projects that arise on short notice, reconstruction projects too small to list separately, and replacement of small items. This project, starting in 1995-96, includes condition surveys and miscellaneous design formerly under highway construction: other roads. There is $200,000 under land grant or resource management for the management of all lands required in the delivery of programs, that is, right-of-ways, et cetera, and the identification of source granular materials developed and maintained for a granular sites use plan.
Mr. Joe: Does this include the Carmacks bridge design?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Is the Member asking if the bridge is going to be painted and fixed up?
Ms. Moorcroft: Does transportation planning and engineering, which the Minister just gave a breakdown of, include any funds for any engineering or planning work on a new bridge at Carmacks over the Nordenskiold River?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Sorry about that. I was on the wrong bridge. The planning for that will come in under the Freegold Road.
Transportation Planning in the amount of $425,000 agreed to
On Transportation Engineering (materials and inventory management)
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Transportation engineering consists of two projects, transportation engineering support and highway inventory management, $260,000, with several small items, such as engineering on minor projects that arise on short notice, reconstruction projects too small to list separately, and replacement of small items.
The project started in 1995-96 and includes condition surveys and miscellaneous designs formerly under highway construction, other roads.
In land resource management, $200,000 is required for management of all lands acquired and delivery of programs, and the identification of sources of granular material development and maintenance of granular material sites.
Transportation Engineering (materials and inventory management) in the amount of $460,000 agreed to
On Highway Construction
On Non-YTG Funded
On Alaska Highway
Alaska Highway in the amount of $32,000,000 agreed to
On Top of the World Highway
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The Top of the World Highway main budget item of $3,496,000 is for reconstruction from kilometre 81 to kilometre 93, including earth work, base course construction, minor culvert installation, production of aggregate and BST. The balance of $100,000 in 1995-96 is for an extensive gravel and granular materials search in advance of a large crushing and stocking program. Projects are 50-percent cost shared under the Yukon strategic highway improvement program.
Ms. Moorcroft: I have to ask whether the large granular resource is going to be over anybody's existing placer claim.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Not if we get there first.
Mr. McDonald: Can the Minister tell us what the total costs projected for the Top of the World Highway reconstruction are, and at what stage we are?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: If we calculate from the beginning in 1990-91 and complete it in 1997-98, the total costs will be $14,846,000. We will recover $6,924,000. The rest is federal expense.
Mr. McDonald: The highway will be completely rebuilt in two more years after this year. Is that correct? Can he tell us what the American government's plans are for the Taylor Highway on the American side and what their immigration plans are for border crossings? When are they going to be opening their borders?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The Top of the World Highway will be completed, but there is one section that had been done before that we are not doing right now. We do not feel it is worth the cost of trying to get that section done.
They have let the big contract for this year for the Taylor Highway. Two years ago, we met with them and they were going to beat us to the border. They sure lost that one; they have not even really started.
As for Customs, I think that would depend on them as to when they will open and when they will not. It is really not in our jurisdiction; we do not have much control over that.
Mr. McDonald: We will deal with Customs first. What is the United States' position about federal Customs? Do they believe that the road should be open earlier than is currently the case? What is the situation in terms of their maintenance of the road - when they start the maintenance in the spring and when they want customs to be open for border crossings?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The state highways department is not very keen to have it open much earlier than it has been in the past.
Mr. McDonald: Are the attempts by the City of Dawson and others to encourage earlier opening and later closing of the road not being well-received by the State of Alaska?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, and not by the state highways department, either, It is not eager to open the road early and close it later. I must point out that the State of Alaska is about one year behind us on the highway contracts. I would hazard a guess that once the highway is in the same condition as the Top of the World Highway, there will be a great deal more pressure to have the road kept open longer.
Top of the World Highway in the amount of $1,798,000 agreed to
On Other Roads (Freegold Road)
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Under other roads, the main project for the 1995-96 year is the Freegold Road, at $2.6 million, to reconstruct 10 kilometres. The Freegold Road project is 50 percent cost recoverable under the Canada/Yukon strategic highway improvement program.
Two other projects include miscellaneous construction and reconstruction. There is $150,000 for various road upgrading requests and $200,000 for Two Mile Hill for a legal survey and landscaping from Industrial Road to Fourth Avenue.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister said that the main project included the Freegold Road at $2.6 million and the line item is for $1,300,000. Could the Minister explain to me if the federal portion was calculated into the $2.6 million, or if he is referring to another year's budget?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That is correct. The other $1,300 - there is one under YTG funded roads and there is one under non-YTG funded roads.
Mr. McDonald: I have a couple of quick questions about the Freegold Road. Precisely what 10-kilometre stretch is going to be under construction? The Minister mentioned that 10 kilometres was going to be built. Could he tell us which 10 kilometres that is? Secondly, can he give us some sense of the date when the decision will actually be made to spend this money? We understand that the government is waiting for some signal from Carmacks Copper. When do they anticipate it will be?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I just wish we knew, then we could decide what we will do. They have not indicated anything to us. We thought for awhile they were going to go ahead, but now we are not too sure. We are mainly just waiting to see whether they are going to go or not.
Mr. McDonald: If they make a decision not to go and this money is not spent on the Freegold Road, is there a commitment from the federal government to allow the money to roll over to a future year for a different project?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We would have to discuss that with the federal government in order to address something reasonable. We would hope they would do it.
Mr. McDonald: Could the money be lost if the work is not done? The government has no agreement that allows them, if circumstances dictate, to redirect the funding to another project in another year?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I think we can redirect it to another project but probably not in another year. It would probably have to be in the same year. If the project was reasonable, then the federal government would agree to it.
Mr. McDonald: Where is the 10-kilometre stretch?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We do not have the exact number, but it is within the first 20 kilometres from Carmacks.
Mr. McDonald: Could the Minister send us a map of the stretch of road that is being reconstructed and its relationship to Carmacks Copper?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes.
Mr. McDonald: The Minister indicated that there is a small amount of money available for landscaping Two Mile Hill. Could he repeat the amount of money he has identified?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is $200,000.
Mr. McDonald: What sort of landscaping work has to be done on Two Mile Hill? I understand this is a stretch from Industrial Road through to the Second Avenue lights. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Fourth Avenue. It also includes a legal survey of the road.
Mr. McDonald: I guess that is where Second Avenue and Fourth Avenue meet. What is going to cost $200,000? I am a little surprised at the price, which is why I am asking the question, given that the lights are in, the road is in. There may be grass and shrubbery to go in, but what is going to cost $200,000?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The legal survey is one part, and the other is to carry on down the Industrial Road to Fourth Avenue to hydroseed and landscape that area.
Mr. McDonald: I know one constituent who would love to see the legal survey. How much of the total amount is the legal survey and how much is landscaping?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We do not have those figures here. We will have to bring that back for the Member.
Mr. McDonald: When the Minister comes back with that information, could he also provide a little more detail on how the landscaping costs are going to be broken down? I would appreciate knowing that. I know there is some concern about the cost of the project as a whole. I would not want to brag that we will be spending over $100,000, to hydroseed that property. Presumably the Minister will let us know. Can he give us a more detailed breakdown?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, I will get a breakdown on it. I should add that the city is very keen that we do this; I guess that is because it is our money. Anyway, they want it done.
Mr. Joe: I asked the Minister if there was going to be a new Carmacks bridge. The answer was no, one comes up under the Freegold Road. Can the Minister explain this?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The bridge will not be built if Carmacks Copper does not go in. We have not consulted with the people on where they want it. We have to go out to the community before I am personally satisfied which bridge we are going to use. There is only going to be one bridge - one place or the other.
Mr. Joe: When will the Minister consult with the people?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We sent out questions that we wanted answered. We are waiting for them to write back. I explained that I cannot go out on Mondays or Wednesdays, and that it has to be on a Tuesday or Thursday. I am not quite sure when they will write back and ask us to come.
Mr. Joe: I think the people of Carmacks are waiting for you. I think next week you should phone and find out.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I do not know if that is a threat and whether I should have my armour on or not. I used to have some friends out there, but the way the Opposition talks, I may not have any friends left. I will go and find out.
Mr. McDonald: On the Freegold Road project, what portion of the money slated for the reconstruction would be dedicated to the bridge reconstruction?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: If you are talking about this year, the maximum we would be doing would be to design the bridge, when we decide where it is going to go - if we go that far. Right now, we are waiting to see what is going to happen with the mine out there.
Mr. McDonald: Can the Minister tell me what the total cost of the bridge would likely be? What is the ball-park figure for the bridge reconstruction?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is in the letter that I sent to him, but I cannot remember it now. I have it and I will bring it back after the break.
Prior Years' Projects in the amount of nil agreed to
On YTG Funded:
On Alaska Highway
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The sum of $7.6 million has been allotted for the south Alaska Highway reconstruction from kilometre 1008 to kilometre 1634 to do comprehensive upgrading on the B.C.-Yukon border, near Watson Lake, to Haines Junction. Work includes reconstruction, BST, hydroseeding and related work.
Alaska Highway in the amount of $7,600,000 agreed to
On Klondike Highway
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There is a budget of $200,000 for the Klondike Highway for design work for the section from the Callison subdivision, through Dawson City, to the ferry landing, kilometre 705.5 to kilometre 712.3.
Ms. Moorcroft: I heard a lot of complaints about the Klondike Highway, near Minto, being a real mess this summer. Can I ask the Minister if anything will be done in this budget to address it?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I guess I am a little puzzled about exactly where the Member is referring to. I drove over it at least four or five times this summer. The only place construction was going on was where the road was sliding. That certainly was not bad. They were trying to put gravel on the side to widen it out. I probably should have some more information to know exactly where it was.
Mr. McDonald: Can the Minister tell us - I realize this is an operations expenditure, but it is related to this - what BST resurfacing is going to be done on the Klondike Highway in the coming summer?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Information is gathered by the foremen in the fall. It is then compiled and discussed. That final decision has not been made yet.
Mr. McDonald: How much money is slated to be expended in BST resurfacing on the Klondike Highway for the coming year?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I can give the Member a rough estimate, but we do not have the final figures. I can bring those back.
Mr. Joe: I would like to talk about problems with the road from Minto to Yukon Crossing, especially midway to Yukon Crossing. The road is very narrow and has a soft shoulder. One time I was driving home for the weekend that way, and I saw someone pull over on to the shoulder and get stuck. It looks good in some places, but it is so narrow that people have problems with it every year.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We have not done any construction in that area for some time, but I will get back to the Member about it. The Member has driven on the road, and so he knows full well what condition it is in.
Klondike Highway in the amount of $200,000 agreed to
On Campbell Highway
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The Campbell Highway budget of $325,000 is for slide reconstruction at kilometre 554.
Mr. Harding: I have already raised some concerns with the Minister in this session, during Question Period, and in debate in Committee of the Whole about what I consider to be the inadequacies of the operation and maintenance BST re-surfacing projects that the government is planning for the Campbell Highway.
Certainly, the surfacing money budgeted for the Campbell Highway - $325,000, a reduction of 38 percent from last year, and there was very little done on resurfacing work last year - is an issue of concern to the major employer in the community, because it wants to have a road in a fairly well-maintained condition when it starts hauling ore this summer, or fall at the latest. It is a safety concern for my constituents who enjoy having a solid driving surface in the winter that meets BST standard.
Also, during those seasons when the road does tend to get a bit muddy, it makes the driving quite dangerous at times.
While we know that it is impossible for the government to pay for the whole stretch from Faro to Carmacks, we would like to see a further commitment to that area of the Campbell on an ongoing, yearly basis. We would like to see that commitment carried out over time, in particular with the mine starting up again in the very near future. We believe that the justification for not doing it is limited.
The Minister indicated to me earlier in this session that the contingency fund of roughly $8 million is a potential source of BST surfacing money for that stretch of highway. It was approximately three weeks ago when I asked him. Since that time I have made that representation. Could he tell me some more about the possible plans for surfacing work and also any new plans for resurfacing work on existing BST on that stretch of the road?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No. At the present time, the only complaints I have heard - and they are justified - is that if the big trucks are running there will be rocks flying, which is a real problem, and in a heavy rain it does get a little muddy. Our main project right now is to get the slide reconstruction and that part of the road at kilometre 554 fixed up so that it is not washed away.
Mr. Harding: Is the Minister saying that nobody is justified in making comments regarding the condition of the highway and the muddiness, and that they are not making legitimate points about the requirement of BST, which we have on so many other highways in the Yukon? I do not understand that.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am not saying it is not justified. I am just saying that money for all that BST is not in this budget.
Mr. Harding: What about the contingency fund? The Minister indicated to me that was a possible source of additional revenue and could be directed toward this. I understand it is not something that has been identified as an expenditure, but there is obviously a contingency fund and I hope the Minister will put some of that money toward BST work and further resurfacing BST work, as he indicated he might. Will he?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I wish I had that contingency fund, but it belongs to the whole government and I am only one person in the government. We need more money just to handle the O&M on it right now. Once the trucks start, we will have to increase our O&M considerably.
Mr. Harding: I am concerned about this. The Minister told me during Question Period one day that he would be looking at the contingency fund, but today he is leading me to believe that that particular route for increasing the surfacing of BST and the resurfacing of BST on the Campbell Highway has been closed to him, I assume by Cabinet.
We have a considerable amount of surfacing going on - $7.6 million on the Alaska Highway, in addition to $32 million of non-YTG funded money - and the tremendous amount of $39.6 million for the Alaska Highway this year. There is $1.8 million for the Top of the World Highway, and there is also going to be some capital work done to the tune of $1,650,000 on other roads, which I would assume is the Freegold Road. This astonishes me. I am not sure why they would choose to put that kind of money into the Freegold Road when we are going to have all the traffic from Ross River and Faro, and the mine traffic, on the Faro to Carmacks stretch.
I am quite confused about the priorities of the department. Why would it be unprepared to take some money either from the contingency fund or from the other roads and put it on the Campbell Highway, which is obviously in need of some upgrading? It should be entitled to some after two years without it.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As the Member knows, this budget was made up before we knew that Anvil Range Mining was going to open. We are going to have to go to them for money for some of the O&M. As I pointed out, it is not my fund; I have to go through Cabinet, and there are four or five others going to Cabinet at the same time.
Mr. Harding: Did the Minister say he is going to have to go to Anvil Range Mining to get some money for O&M?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, I have to go to Cabinet to get it.
Mr. Harding: I misunderstood what the Minister said. I thought he said that he had to go to Anvil Range Mining for some O&M money. I thought for a second he might be referring to payments for bulk haulage or something like that.
Is there money identified in this budget for the Freegold Road? Is it the "Other Roads" line item?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes it is, and it is already committed if Western Copper goes in.
Mr. Harding: The Minister said that the reason there is no surfacing money in the budget for the Campbell Highway is because the Anvil Range production decision was not known to the government. Yet, as far as I am aware, there is no production decision on the Freegold Road at this time either. Why would the Freegold Road be identified for funding and the Campbell Highway not be identified for funding? Surely, the government knew that this mine was coming to fruition in the sale closure for the last nine months or so, or, since the Anvil Range and other mine bidders were announced.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We cannot compare the two roads. The Freegold Road is just a simple gravel trail and trucks could not get over it. The road into Faro is certainly passable. We are going to have to try and get about $900,000 or more to keep the maintenance up on the road with the traffic that is going to be on it this fall.
Mr. Harding: I have trouble accepting that from the government, because we have received two or three explanations for the Freegold Road and the identification of money to be spent on it.
Regarding the Campbell Highway, the government has known for a long time that that decision was coming. I am upset about the lack of planning. I thought that we had held off for a couple of years with no surfacing work or BST on that stretch of the road. When I was upset with the 1993-94 budget because of the lack of funding for that road, I was told, at that time, that as soon as the mine was going to be up and running that they would commence with a surfacing program that was similar to the one undertaken by the previous government, which did a lot of work on that highway when the mine was running.
I would say to the Minister that I hope that he investigates the possibility of using some of the contingency fund for the surfacing of the Campbell Highway for the benefit of my constituents, the constituents in Ross River and the people involved in mine traffic.
The road will become quite busy this year. In the spring, summer and fall, the area of the road that is not surfaced does become a bit of a problem, not just with flying rocks, but also the muddiness can also become a safety problem. It gets quite - for lack of a better word - goopy at times, and can become a safety issue. I have almost had a couple of accidents myself on it.
Given the comments that the Minister just made about having trouble finding money in the budget even to maintain the Campbell Highway, I am getting somewhat concerned about the commitment to this particular highway.
I will leave him with that representation on behalf of my constituents. I look forward to a later time in this session when I can again stand up and ask the Minister about whether or not he has succeeded in extracting a commitment from the rest of his Cabinet for some surfacing and resurfacing work to be done on the Campbell Highway.
Campbell Highway in the amount of $325,000 agreed to
On Dempster Highway
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The Dempster Highway has a budget of $200,000, which is for the replacement of small and large diameter culverts near kilometre 20, and from kilometre 400 to 430, north of Eagle Plains.
Dempster Highway in the amount of $200,000 agreed to
On Top of the World Highway
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am going to read this again. I have already read it once but I will do it again.
The Top of the World Highway has a main budget item of $3,496,000, and this is for reconstruction of kilometre 81 to kilometre 93, including earth work-based course construction, minor culvert installation, production of aggregate and BST. The balance of $100,000 in 1995-96 is for an extensive gravel-granulated material search in advance of a large crushing and stockpiling program. Projects are 50-percent cost shared under the Canada/Yukon infrastructure improvement program.
Top of the World Highway in the amount of $1,798,000 agreed to
On Bridges - Numbered Highways
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There are two main projects for 1995-96. They are the Yukon bridge at Dawson for $400,000, for which any further work will be dependent upon the decision made on the option for improving the Yukon River crossing. The funding will be used for either the design and construction of a new bridge or toward ferry improvement. Major bridge repainting will be $400,000, which is for the repainting of steel-structure bridges to prevent corrosion and deterioration of components.
Other 1995-96 projects are bridge assessment, in the amount of $150,000 for the inspection, assessment and rating of all bridge structures on a rotating schedule to determine load-carrying capacity and state of repair of each structure. The design for the replacement of the existing Nares River bridge is $160,000, and there is $26,000 for the Fox Creek bridge.
Mr. McDonald: Did the Minister say that there would be work done on the Nares River bridge? Could he explain what that is all about?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are making a design for the replacement of the bridge in the future. It will cost about $160,000.
Mr. McDonald: What would the replacement costs for that bridge be? What is the problem with the bridge? Could the Minister explain what the concern is?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The engineering analyses to date show that the existing structure cannot permanently support the heavy loads it is now subject to as a result of the use of the south Klondike as an industrial route. Current plans are to develop a design for a replacement structure, but not to implement construction until monitoring shows the life of the existing bridge to be ended.
We estimate that it will cost about $3.7 million dollars in 1997-98.
Mr. McDonald: So, the government believes that the useful life of the bridge, at this stage at least, is probably another three years, I guess. What is the reason for conducting the engineering assessment now?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We want to complete the design so that if it does not go quite that far we are prepared to start moving on it.
Bridges - Numbered Highways in the amount of $1,136,000 agreed to
On South Access
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The budget for $150,000 is for resurfacing the section south of the railroad crossing.
South Access in the amount of $150,000 agreed to
On Other Roads
Hon. Mr. Brewster:
Under other roads, the main project for the 1995-96 year is the Freegold Road, at $2.6 million, to reconstruct 10 kilometres. The Freegold Road project is 50 percent cost recoverable under the Canada/Yukon strategic highway improvement program.
Two other projects include miscellaneous construction and reconstruction. There is $150,000 for various road upgrading requests and $200,000 for the Two Mile Hill for a legal survey and landscaping from Industrial Road to Fourth Avenue.
Mr. McDonald: I have a brief question about the landscaping project. Is the landscaping completed from Industrial Road up to the Alaska Highway and along the Alaska Highway? Is this the final portion of the project?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As I said before, it is from Industrial Road to Fourth Avenue. There might be a little more to do on the Alaska Highway, but we are not sure about that yet.
Mr. McDonald: So, there is only incidental work to be done on the Alaska Highway, but the work from the Alaska Highway to Industrial Road is complete. The $200,000 in this budget is simply for the Industrial Road section around to the point where Second and Fourth Avenues meet. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That is my understanding, but I will confirm that with the Member later.
Mr. McDonald: Does this landscaping involve putting in an underground irrigation system?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, it does.
Other Roads in the amount of $1,650,000 agreed to
On Aviation/Yukon Airports
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This line item is responsible for maintaining the Yukon government airport system. The main capital projections for airports in 1995-96 are as follows: $60,000 for planning and engineering to carry out planning, surveying and studying work; $100,000 for the Dawson airport to replace the snowblower; $175,000 for the Faro airport for a runway, taxi apron, resurfacing and a snowblower shelter; $165,000 for the Teslin airport for a runway, taxi apron, resurfacing and a wheel chair ramp. Another 1995-96 project is $35,000 for the Haines Junction airport to install an aviation refueling facility and a storage shed.
For the Beaver Creek airport, there is $15,000 for a wheel chair ramp. At the Mayo airport, Ross River airport and Carmacks airport, there is $12,000 each for installation of aircraft radio-controlled aerodrome lighting.
Mr. Harding: A lot of my constituents are concerned about having an airport operator in Faro. What does the Minister know about the long-term commitment to having an airport operator in Faro? Can he also tell me how the $175,000 capital works project at the airport in Faro will be coordinated?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is for resurfacing an apron and for a snowblower shed. Rather than having the snowblower come from downtown - the Member probably knows more about this than I do - it will be right on the site, which will save costs and rent. Regarding the surfacing, there is $100,000 for crushing and the work will be done next year.
Mr. Harding: I asked about the status of the airport operator, and what the Minister can tell me about that.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That is Transport Canada's responsibility. It gives us the money and tells us the hours of operation. It will always be that way; it will not change when we take over the airports.
There is no indication at the present time that they are closing the one down in Faro.
Mr. Harding: Did the Minister indicate to the federal government that he feels it is important and a priority to have an airport operator there?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The department certainly would be pushing that, because it is the only one left between the two communities.
Chair: We will take a brief recess at this time.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Is there further debate on the line item?
Ms. Moorcroft: Just over the break, the Member for Mayo-Tatchun was talking to me about the concerns we have heard from the people in Mayo about the Mayo airport and the possibility of losing four or five jobs there. I see in the community breakdown that the Mayo airport has $12,000. I had asked in general debate about the $165,000 for Teslin airport. There seems to be a wide variety in the amount of funding the different airports receive. I would like to ask the Minister if he could explain that and also if he could say anything regarding the Mayo airport that might give some hope to the people there that they will not be losing their jobs.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: One of the reasons is that Teslin and Faro are getting money to bring them up to standard. Mayo has been in existence a long time and has most of the equipment and facilities in place. As for the employees there, they work for Transport Canada and we can only keep them working there as long as Transport Canada gives us the money and tells us what they are going to do.
The money going into Mayo is for installation of aircraft radio control aerodome lighting, which is a light the pilots can activate from the air.
Ms. Moorcroft: Could the Minister explain the upgrades for the Teslin airport?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It includes a crushed stockpile of gravel, for $150,000, a wheelchair ramp and a passenger/cargo shelter for $15,000.
Airports in the amount of $586,000 agreed to
Transportation Division in the amount of $50,579,000 agreed to
On Municipal and Community Affairs Division
Mr. Harding: I would like to bring a couple of constituency matters to the Minister's attention here.
The Anvil Range mining property, formerly the Curragh mining property, has a significant number of batteries, both of an industrial and automotive nature, on the property - I would estimate approximately 150 batteries. I have received some inquiries from people who work for the company who want to know how they could dispose of these batteries. It is my understanding that they have contacted Raven Recycling and the recycling centre is prepared to take some of the batteries. However, I would like to know what area is reserved by the Yukon government for the storage of hazardous or special solid wastes like this.
What regulations would need to be complied with? Are there any government programs that would help them carry out their duties for the safe storage of these batteries?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: With respect to handling batteries, the policy is that they be stored until a clean-up is done, at which time they are brought in and taken away. The regulation they fall under is the Dangerous Goods Act. The Department of Renewable Resources is responsible for most of this, and not the Department of Community and Transportation Services.
Mr. Harding: The Minister has given me some information. I am asking this question, I guess, under the line concerning solid waste. Can the Minister give me some information as to when the clean-up might occur?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That will be looked after by the Department of Renewable Resources some time in the spring.
Mr. Harding: I thank the Minister for that, and I will follow that up with the Minister of Renewable Resources. I think I will send him a note of the details, and perhaps he could give me an in-depth response that I can pass on to the people responsible for removing these batteries, or who are developing a process for their eventual removal. They may have to wait until spring.
The next issue that I want to ask the Minister about is industrial lot development in Faro. In the 1993-94 budget, which was a $126,000,000 budget, there was only $45,000 allotted to Faro in the capital budget. I expressed a great concern about that. I thought there could have been more done by this government in the capital area to provide some infrastructure and jobs for Faro. I do not want to get into that debate right now.
At the present time, these lots have not materialized. My understanding is that there were three lots scheduled, for a cost of approximately $15,000 each. I believe that later the amount was raised to $50,000 for three lots. I received a letter from the government that said the government had the money reserved and was just waiting for the municipal council to act - by the word "act", I guess the government meant that they had to agree to some plan, but I am not sure exactly what that plan was. I am looking at the list of lots scheduled for completion in 1995 that the government provided for me, and I do not see any reference to Faro at all, and this includes industrial lots. I want to know, from the government's perspective, at what stage of development are the industrial lots that were scheduled for Faro?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: At the present moment, there is no money in the budget for that. However, if the council wants us to go ahead with those, we will find the money to start the process.
Mr. Harding: Rather than getting into a debate about this now, I will ask the Minister to ask his department to research a letter I received from the Minister that was more specific. The letter told me that the money was there in the budget, and that they were just waiting for approval from the town. The letter said that I should tell my constituents who were looking for industrial lots that the money is all there, and they just need to go and talk to the town council. If the Minister could have his department research the letter I received, he could then inform me of the status of the situation when we come back into the House next week.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, we will do that, but I would like to also point out that the money is not in this budget - the budget we will be running on until the end of this month - but we will look at that when council writes to us. I am sure we can do something.
Ms. Moorcroft: I have a couple of questions related to the breakdown of the community funding in this capital budget. I will ask the Minister to be patient on this first one.
On page 16, it lists, under municipal and community services, the solid waste program regulations, for $15,000, and the solid-waste facility for $100,000. The Minister has indicated that that has now been transferred to Renewable Resources. I would like to ask what progress was made on the solid-waste program regulations. Were they completed in 1994-95? That is the first item on that page in the capital community distribution.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There is a public document being released very shortly. The deputy ministers are now finalizing it, and it will be released to the public shortly. The department actually involved is Renewable Resources.
Ms. Moorcroft: Another question that I had given the Minister notice of is under municipal and community affairs. It shows $15,000 for the rehabilitation of unauthorized land use. I am interested to know where this unauthorized land use took place, what it was and what is involved in rehabilitating it.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is not necessarily in one big place. The money is there for any small spills that we can clean up. It could be done any place in the Yukon.
Ms. Moorcroft: I notice that it was zero in the previous year. Perhaps the Minister could explain what kind of eventuality they think they might have to deal with. Can he give an example of what this money might be spent on if it is just put in there for contingency?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: To provide funding for clean-up and site restoration, resulting unauthorized land occupancy, squatters' non-compliance with land use authorization and a host of other unauthorized activities. Sites requiring clean-up are identified through monitoring authorization complaints. These costs are not recoverable.
Ms. Moorcroft: I thank the Minister for that and I guess he will not have to read it again when we get to the line item.
I had asked earlier about the granular resource management for $200,000, which is under transportation. Under community services there is land claims quarry identification, for $50,000. Can the Minister tell me what this is and where it is?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is to conduct quarry site identification in the affected land claims areas that are near communities throughout the territory. Field testing is now underway on a priority basis to ensure that there is an adequate supply of gravel at each site. The field testing work is being done by contract and will continue in 1995-96.
Ms. Moorcroft: I have a few questions related specifically to the Mount Lorne area. There was $35,000 last year for the Mount Lorne local area development regulations. We have seen the final version of the plan but we have not seen the regulations yet. The Minister has already stated that Cabinet will approve it before it proceeds.
There are a number of land-development initiatives in Mount Lorne that I would like to follow up on and inquire about. Where is the Mount Lorne agriculture for $260,000? Is that one large parcel or a number of smaller ones? Could the Minister give me some details?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Questions like that are answered in the lines. If it is not answered when we get to the appropriate line, I have no problem with the Member bringing the matter up. However, I think the Member will find that most of the answers are in the lines.
Ms. Moorcroft: Okay, I will ask specific questions during line-by-line debate. When I look through the capital budget, I do not see a lot of land development. The two areas where there is an increase in spending are recreational and agricultural, but there is a reduction in spending for residential land development. We have some concerns about the availability of affordable land for Yukoners. Why is there a reduction in the residential land development budget?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This year we have budgeted $8,310,00. In 1994-95, it was $11,410,000. In the Copper Ridge area, there is a water reservoir tank, which is as big as this place. It is built out of cement. The extra costs of approximately $2 million were for all the equipment needed to pump the water, et cetera.
Ms. Moorcroft: I would like to inquire about another community plan. Last year, $50,000 was spent for the Golden Horn community plan. In correspondence with the former Minister, it was a small plan that I believe was conducted strictly by departmental officials in the area extending from the Golden Horn subdivision toward the Yukon River bridge. Can I ask the Minister if he knows what happened with that plan - whether it was completed and whether I might be able to get a copy of it?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We will check with the department and if it is completed I will get the Member a copy right away.
Ms. Moorcroft: We have had some calls about RVs parking in quarries. It is pretty tempting for an RV to stop and just park in a gravel quarry. It can be quite a health risk. What is the department doing to control the use of gravel quarries by RVs?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I would have to agree with the Member that it is a problem. It has been a problem almost since I came here, and so far it has not been solved. I know cases where ditches and windrows have been built but the RVs seem to climb over them anyway, or some people will shovel it out so that several can get in. I do not know the answer. We have lots of trailer courts where they can stay but these are people who just will not pay the extra money to stop at the facilities. Lots of times when I come in in the mornings I will see probably seven or eight that are all parked illegally between Haines Junction and here. It certainly would not pay to have an officer running around chasing them away because I do not know where they would go, and I really do not know the answer. We have put signs up all over and, I have to be truthful, they are ignored. Just like Yukoners ignore signs, the visitors ignore signs, and I do not really have an answer for it.
Chair: Is there further general debate?
On Public Safety
On Office Furniture, Equipment and Systems
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The public safety branch provides for public health, safety and protection by maintaining buildings, electrical, mechanical and fire code standards. They assist in the provision of fire protection services and advice to communities. The branch administers zoning regulations in rural Yukon communities and designated municipalities.
The office furniture, equipment and systems budget of $16,000 is for the purchase of two impact printers, cabling, two workstations and related software.
Office Furniture, Equipment and Systems in the amount of $16,000 agreed to
On Major Facility Maintenance
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The major facility maintenance budget of $18,000 is for the ongoing maintenance of firehall structures and the systems within that are attached to the structures.
Major Facility Maintenance in the amount of $18,000 agreed to
On Fire Protection
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The fire protection budget consists of three major projects: firehall construction at Burwash for $200,000 to replace the existing log firehall located at the Burwash Landing Resort with a centrally located building. There is also money allotted for the purchase of firetrucks for the Tagish and Ibex volunteer fire departments, at a cost of $140,000 each.
Other projects include fire preventive clothing totalling $80,000. This expenditure provides funding to equip volunteer fire departments to the standard of fire protection policy. There is $45,000 under communication, which includes the provision of telephone interconnection systems for two Yukon communities. There is $22,000 for a tanker rebuild conversion and $13,000 for a high-volume portable pump and firehose, for the Klondike Valley firehall and for the purchase of a thickness tester to determine the thickness of metal in undertaking boiler pressure inspections.
Ms. Moorcroft: I was looking up the Burwash budget to see if the entire cost totals $200,000.
Does the firehall in Burwash have a private septic disposal system, or does it have honeybuckets? What is the system there?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: To be quite truthful, I do not even know if it is going to have a bathroom. The existing one does not have one. I will have to check into it. Some disposable material is hauled to Destruction Bay. We are looking at a system that will be closer to them, too.
Ms. Moorcroft: I know that the department is trying to get a system into Burwash, and that is why I was inquiring about it. Does the firehall have running water, or do the tanks and trucks have to be filled at a creek?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: If the Member is talking about the new firehall, we are hoping to get a well for it.
Mr. McDonald: Is the department purchasing firetrucks in accordance with the practice that was employed in the past - that the oldest trucks get replaced first? How was the determination made to purchase the firetrucks for this coming year?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The fire marshall made a recommendation. There are two new ones coming for the two new firehalls. The other truck should be replaced as they become about 20 years old.
Mr. McDonald: Is it the Minister's opinion that the trucks that are being replaced are the ones in the greatest need?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes. The two new ones will go to the two new firehalls. The ones that are deteriorating the fastest will be replaced.
Fire Protection in the amount of $644,000 agreed to
On Recreation Facilities
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The recreations facilities program provides for recreation community facilities in accordance with the established capital standard.
The recreation facilities consist of two projects: the community centre roofing and insulation in Ross River, at a cost of $50,000 to repair the roof and address the condensation problem in the arena, and $75,000 for the repairs and the replacement of the existing recreation facilities and equipment in unincorporated communities.
Mr. McDonald: We had a discussion about this line item last year in the context of a discussion about the end of the community development fund. We were led to believe that the needs that had been met by the community development fund would be met through a line item in the budget. This is one of those line items - "Recreation Facilities".
The communities are aware that the community development fund is no longer going to continue. What is the department doing to elicit the needs from the various unorganized communities to ensure that it will be picking up the slack through a line item in the budget?
We were assured last year that there would not be less activity in supporting community facilities like this, but we would be voting on them on a project-by-project basis. I would assume that we will be picking up our activity in supporting community facilities, but we will be doing it through line items like this. Unfortunately, this year is not a good example of that. It appears the expenditures are going down.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It works two ways. The staff consults with the unincorporated communities or the communities can write in. Whether or not it is successful, I do not know, but believe me, the Kluane area unincorporated communities often have letters on my desk.
Mr. McDonald: I would bet there are other communities also making requests.
Now that the one opportunity they had to do it by themselves through the community development fund has been closed off, they will presumably look to the department to pick up some of the slack through a line item in the budget.
Will it be the government's policy to tender all contracts to improve recreation facilities as a general tender - the way it normally does for government projects - or will it transfer the responsibility for some projects to the communities and allow them to undertake the management?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We have no overall policy. If the community decides it wants to do it, we would make arrangements that way, otherwise we would do it.
My experience has been - and I have spoken to residents of Beaver Creek and Destruction Bay on this - that they feel that most of them who do the volunteer work, such as the presidents of the community clubs, also have a job to do. They feel that they just cannot handle this as well. Therefore, they sometimes prefer that the government departments do it. Ibex and Mount Lorne did the opposite. They contracted, but they also volunteered a lot and built those two pretty fast.
Mr. McDonald: There are certainly different preferences in different communities. I know some communities like to do the contracting themselves because they can ensure that local people get the jobs, which is extremely important to them - probably as important as the final product itself.
In terms of soliciting proposals from the communities - the Minister indicates that the community advisors are out taking in suggestions - is there going to be increasing activity in the capital budget in this line item in the future years? I note that it is not happening in this budget year but what does the Minister anticipate will happen?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is not only the advisors who do this. I would expect any of the staff to. In the spring, when we are out of the Legislature, I would like to travel around to the communities. I have encouraged the department officials who are out there to talk to people to see what they want. They then have to do a sell job to us on which is the highest priority. That will at least get the people involved, because they know what they want better than we do.
Mr. McDonald: I agree with that. The community development fund is kaput this coming year.
Let me put this in its proper context. Last year we had a discussion about what the government was going to do to pick up the slack for this year. The concern was that, with the knowledge that the community development fund would be wound up, there would be a need to address community needs through line items in the budget.
I believe there was some assurance from the previous Minister that there would be some discussions last year with communities, so we would not have a year where there would be very little addressed in terms of meeting community priorities, and we could see a less painful changeover to the new system.
What has happened in the last year to pick up the slack, so we can get a better sense of what the community priorities are for this coming year?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There is $200,000 there for community facilities improvement. I know of one project in Ross River and one in Beaver Creek, and there are probably others that I am not aware of right now.
Ms. Moorcroft: Carcross.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, there is one in Carcross. I think that, over the years, the communities have learned that if they want to get in on these projects, they have to start hollering to get money allocated out of town.
Mr. McDonald: I do not want to spend as much time this year as we did last year on this. I thought that last year we had some sort of understanding that we were going to be more aggressive in meeting community needs, like those of Beaver Creek, Destruction Bay and the other organized communities that have needs. I was expecting to see the government proposing to spend more money in this particular area, because I recognized that the community development fund no longer existed.
It would have been a perfectly legitimate thing for the government to come in and ask for a fair amount of money in this area. The fact that it is not there suggests that either the communities have not been saying what they want, the government has not been asking what they want, or that somehow there has been poor communication. I make that point partly because we spent a long time discussing this last year, and partly because I know there are needs out there that are not going to be addressed this coming summer.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I agree. There are needs out there that have not been addressed, but they will be there in 10 years from now, too, as the communities grow bigger and want more and more. There will always be someone coming after us for these things. There is a fair amount here. It is a decision to make. I guess here is where we disagree. I think they have got it.
Mr. Chair, I move that you report progress.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Abel: The Committee of the Whole 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. Monday next.
The House adjourned at 5:29 p.m.
The following Legislative Return was tabled February 9, 1995:
MacRae frontage road: options for access, developer's responsibilities, private driveway access policy, frontage road construction policy (Brewster)
Oral, Hansard, p. 834 to 838