Tuesday, April 2, 1996 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will proceed at this time with silent prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
Are there any introductions of visitors?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Speaker: I have for tabling a report of the Chief Electoral Officer on by-elections held February 5, 1996.
Are there any other returns or documents for tabling?
Are there any reports of committees?
Are there any petitions?
Are there any bills to be introduced?
Are there any notices of motion?
Are there any statements by Ministers?
This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Students Financial Assistance Act, amendments
Ms. Moorcroft: I have a question for the Minister of Education. The Yukon Party government prepared its legislative calendar for the fall 1995 session that it never got around to holding. It prepared its calendar last June. Within the Department of Education, amendments were proposed to the Students Financial Assistance Act. What amendments was the government proposing for the Students Financial Assistance Act?
Hon. Mr. Nordling: I do not know.
Ms. Moorcroft: This Minister has been a Member of Cabinet for the last couple of years. Do they all just forget what happened when they walk out of the door?
It says that these amendments were expected to be controversial and it, "was unlikely that they would be ready to be introduced in the next session." Can the Minister tell me what amendments to the Students Financial Assistance Act the Yukon Party was considering?
Hon. Mr. Nordling: No, and no matter how much the Member insults me, I do not have the answer to that question.
Ms. Moorcroft: With the Liberal budget cuts threatening the very existence of publicly funded post-secondary education, students and their families need to know what financial assistance will be available to help them pay the increased tuition fees. People are getting tired of the fact that this government does not know what it is doing, or will not tell us what it is doing. Why will the Minister not tell us what the government is planning to do? Is it because the Students Financial Assistance Act amendments will hurt Yukoners?
Hon. Mr. Nordling: It is not that at all. As the Member should know, it was this government that introduced the Yukon excellence awards that are helping students considerably.
I have signed several letters congratulating students. Some have accumulated up to $2,000 through the awards for their post-secondary education. This is something the previous government was opposed to; it called the program "money for marks". Now it wants the government to assist students financially. The government is doing that. We have not reduced any of the money available through the Students Financial Assistance Act and the government has added to it. I think Yukon students are pretty well off.
Question re: Apprenticeship Act, amendments
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister is not answering the question. He is posturing.
I would like to move on to the Apprenticeship Act amendments that are also referred to in the legislative calendar. Could the Minister tell us if he is able to recall what amendments the Yukon Party was proposing to the Apprenticeship Act?
Hon. Mr. Nordling: No, I cannot, but I can tell the Member that the government has more apprentices working now then ever. The territorial government, through the Department of Education, has taken an aggressive position, far more so than before with respect to the apprenticeship programs. I think this has been quite successful, and we will have many more skilled Yukoners than we had previously.
Ms. Moorcroft: I do not think one can call it an aggressive position when the Minister does not know what is going on in the department. The Apprenticeship Act amendments were expected to be controversial. Will the Minister tell us why the government considered the Apprenticeship Act amendments to be controversial?
Hon. Mr. Nordling: No, I cannot tell the Member the answer to that question. Again, no matter how many times the Member stands and repeats the allegation that this government does not know what it is doing, the record on the apprenticeship program speaks for itself, and it has been very successful.
Ms. Moorcroft: It seems that the government does not think that the amendments would be of value and it is not bringing them forward because it is not prepared to defend the amendments in the House. I would like to ask the Government Leader, since the Minister of Education does not seem to know what the Yukon Party had in mind with either one of these acts, what amendments the government is considering to the Student Financial Assistance Act and the Apprenticeship Act, and why are the amendments controversial?
Hon. Mr. Nordling: I believe I have answered the questions as much as need be. Maybe I should go on to say that not only that, but the government is working with First Nations and other groups with respect to apprenticeship and training. I do not think that the Member opposite has anything to be concerned about in that regard.
Question re: National unity
Mr. Cable: I have some more questions for the Government Leader on the national unity debate. Yesterday in Question Period we learned that it is the Government Leader's view that it is not time yet to be holding public consultations in the Yukon with respect to the national unity issue.
We saw in the last few years what happened when the people were brought into the discussions on that issue, after the fact rather than before, when the Charlottetown Accord was rejected. The people told their politicians that they did not want to rubber stamp some deal made in the back rooms by politicians. Would the Government Leader be more specific than he was yesterday when he evaded the question, saying he did not see Yukoners taking a lead role? Does he see taking advice from Yukoners on the issue - consulting with Yukoners - before he puts any position forward on the national unity issue on behalf of Yukoners?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I think consultation with Yukoners is great and that is what this government has been doing for three years, even though we have been criticized severely by Members opposite for not consulting. We will continue to consult with Yukoners. I believe it is the Prime Minister's duty to play the lead role in the national unity issue. We have been urging him to call a first ministers conference so we can find out what he wants from us and what he wants to hear from Canadians before we go to the next referendum.
I do not believe that the Member for Riverside is going to be able to convince Yukoners that the Prime Minister did a great job just by saying that the Yukon Territorial Government Leader should play the lead role in the national unity issue.
Mr. Cable: For a gentleman who has been talking about bottoms-up Confederation, I am surprised that he is taking a passive role in this whole issue.
In yesterday's Globe and Mail, there was an article on Mr. Romanow and the approach he is taking to the issue. He was treating the issue with a lot more than the casual interest that the Government Leader is taking in it. He said, "Ottawa and the provinces will soon have to exchange some key jurisdictional powers ... that there will have to be some constitutional initiative, and that Quebec's unique status in Canada must be recognized."
Does the Government Leader agree that the issues identified by Mr. Romanow are some of the major issues that need to be considered?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: It is not often that I agree with a socialist leader, but this is one time I do. These are the very issues that we are trying to get the Prime Minister of Canada interested in, so that we can have an intelligent debate across this country about what position Canada should take in the next referendum in Quebec.
Mr. Cable: The Government Leader has been on the sidelines carping at the Prime Minister for several months. Of course, that was reiterated today.
Mr. Dion, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, is setting up a meeting with the premiers - I gather, after the British Columbia election. What agenda does the Government Leader intend to take to that meeting? If he does not have one, can he tell the House if he is going to sit back and take a passive role?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: We certainly are not going to act like the Prime Minister of Canada did when he said not to worry, that everything was under control, and then almost lose the referendum.
I have already spoken to Mr. Dion, about six weeks ago. I voiced my deep concern that northerners were not being listened to or consulted on any national unity issues, such as the regional veto that the Prime Minister established across Canada, and insulted everyone who lives north of the 59th parallel - one-third of Canada - by not taking them into consideration.
Question re: Mining training
Ms. Moorcroft: I would like to ask the Minister of Education some further questions about training.
We have heard that at least two mining companies are recruiting field assistants and technicians by interviewing students at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Can the Minister tell us why mining companies are not holding recruitment drives at Yukon College?
Hon. Mr. Nordling: No, I do not know if that is true. I do not know if they have contacted Yukon College or if there are students at Yukon College who could fill those positions. I do not necessarily accept the Member's allegation that they have not been in touch with the college to look for prospective employees.
Ms. Moorcroft: I would like to ask this of the Government Leader: when he is out hobnobbing with mining companies in Vancouver and Japan, encouraging them to invest in the Yukon, does he also encourage them to hire Yukon residents who have taken survey technician and other relevant courses at Yukon College?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I want the Member to be able to rest comfortably, knowing that the Government Leader does in fact promote Yukon hire - always has and always will. I would like the Member opposite to recognize that it was this government that brought back the apprenticeship program that was cancelled by the previous administration to train people to take jobs in the mining industry. It is this government that worked to set up training trust funds with First Nations and mining companies so that there would be a trained workforce for the companies in the Yukon.
Ms. Moorcroft: I would rest easy if the Government Leader can demonstrate the government's nebulous support for Yukon job opportunities to concrete action. The apprenticeship program was an in-house apprenticeship program for hiring people within the Yukon government.
Can the Minister then tell us if the government presents a list of suggestions to mining companies, listing what they should do to find local workers? Can the Minister tell me how the government actually encourages the hiring of Yukon residents?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The Member opposite has left the impression that the apprenticeship program is to train people for government jobs, and that is simply not the case. The apprenticeship program that is being run under the highways branch is to train people so that they can go out into the workforce. Their job is finished when the apprenticeship program is over with; they are not hired by the government. This is a project that this government took to train people to be available to the private sector.
Question re: Mining training
Ms. Moorcroft: The record will note that the Government Leader did not address the question at all on how it encourages mining companies to hire local people.
I would like to ask the Minister of Education a question. The Northern Tutchone Council is looking for support now, in order to offer mining training in Mayo, Pelly and Carmacks. It is obvious from the Minister of Economic Development's earlier responses to these questions that the one line in the industrial support policy about supporting training does not mean anything. He indicated that Economic Development has no responsibility to support training.
Perhaps the Minister of Education can tell us if his department is prepared to support the Northern Tutchone Council's proposal for mine training through Yukon College.
Hon. Mr. Nordling: That is being discussed right now. The Department of Education is prepared to support the Northern Tutchone Council's request for training for mine workers in that area. We have not settled yet on if it will be through money to Yukon College or if it will be through a training trust fund whereby money can be levered from mining companies, too, and the course offered at the college, but we are in discussions right now with the Northern Tutchone Council to work something out in that regard.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Government Leader's response to questions about the Northern Tutchone Council training was to suggest that, because none of these mines is in production, he could not make a commitment to the training. Surely this government knows that there are jobs in exploration before the mines go into production. Does the Minister of Education believe that training should be offered prior to the production stage of a mine?
Hon. Mr. Nordling: I think the Member has the issue a bit confused. The Northern Tutchone Council and the Department of Education were anxious to get something in place. We had hoped to get this in place during the last fiscal year. If we were going to set up a training trust fund, we had hoped to do it before March 31. We were not able to do that, so there is no panic because there is no mining activity in the area at this moment. The mines are still in the permitting stage. In the Ross River area, there are mining companies hiring and, with respect to a trust fund for them, it was more urgent than for the Northern Tutchone Council.
Ms. Moorcroft: Let me remind the Minister that at a Yukon Geoscience Forum held in 1994, the Yukon Chamber of Mines president said it was unfortunate the territory did not use its slow time to do its homework on local training, and that the Yukon should use this time to train people to be ready for future mining jobs.
The Minister should make the commitment now to support the Northern Tutchone Council's mine training proposal, and I am going to ask him to do that.
Hon. Mr. Nordling: I answered that question in response to the first question, when I stated that this government has made the commitment to assist the Northern Tutchone Council with training for mine workers. How it will be done has not yet been established, but we are discussing this with the council at this moment. An agreement has been reached, and a precedent has been set with the Ross River group. We are not starting from square one. I expect that an agreement is very close.
As I stated to in response to the Member's last question, there are no mining companies looking for trained workers in that area at the moment, so it is not as if it has to be done within the next day or two.
Question re: Public inquiry, legal opinion on
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Government Leader. We discussed a motion in the Legislature asking for a public inquiry. It came to our attention during debate last evening that the government is seeking a legal opinion about the public inquiry motion that was tabled in the Legislature last week.
Last evening, the Government Leader said that the issue could be seen as a partisan political issue and that it was important for the government to seek legal advice before making a decision about how to proceed. Could the Government Leader tell us who made the decision to obtain a legal opinion?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The Member said there was some discussion in the House yesterday and she is right. It was my decision to seek a legal opinion that would not be perceived to be sought for purely partisan, political reasons. I think it is very important in this case because there have been some very serious charges levelled, and they need to be handled in an appropriate manner.
As a result, I asked the Department of Justice to do several things for me. They were asked to advise me on what the test would be for calling a public inquiry, and then to seek an outside opinion if the evidence presented falls in line with the test that the Department of Justice feels needs to be addressed to call a public inquiry.
Based on that decision, we have sent the information to the Deputy Minister of Justice in Alberta. That department will be reviewing the information and getting back to us. This is being completed at no cost to the government with the proviso that this government reciprocate in kind, if requested to do so.
Mrs. Firth: We all know that this government could launch a public inquiry, just by the stroke of a pen, with an order-in-council from Cabinet, any day, any time, for whatever reason they want. They did not do that; they chose to bring a motion in this House and debate it in a public forum here in the Legislature.
I would like to ask the Government Leader this question: when did he decide to get this legal opinion?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Again, the Member leaves impressions that are totally false. The motion was not brought forward by the government.
Some Hon. Members: (Inaudible)
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I draw to the House's attention a ruling that was made by a previous Speaker, under an NDP government, on April 27, 1992, in regard to allegations that were being made by the Member for Riverdale South of conflict of interest in this House. His ruling was that the proper procedure for charging a Member with an offence is to move a substantive motion containing the charge and a proposal for dealing with it.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister, with all that obfuscation, still did not answer the question of when he decided to get the legal opinion. When did he decide to get the legal opinion?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: That is a real heavy-duty question, Mr. Speaker. This was after the motion was debated in the House, probably about two days ago.
Question re: Public inquiry, legal opinion on
Mrs. Firth: I have another question for the same Minister about the same issue.
So, after the Minister had the motion debated in the House, after the government-sponsored motion by the Member who was going to have a great deal of influence and clout and participate in caucus meetings of the government - on the front page of the Yukon News, everyone in the Yukon was told that this Member was still a part of the government caucus, with a very active role.
I would like to ask the Government Leader why he decided that he had to have a legal opinion after the motion was debated in the House. Was it because he received criticism from his Yukon Party members? Did he receive criticism from individuals who had been named in the motion? Why did he decide, after the motion had been debated in the House, that he needed some direction as to how to proceed with the motion?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: Let us clear the record first. This was not a government motion. This was a private Member's motion. Please, I ask the Member for Riverdale South to look at the motion. It was a private Member's motion. It was brought forward in the context of a ruling that was given by a previous Speaker in this Legislature, Mr. Sam Johnston, when he was trying to discipline the Member for Riverdale South for her questions of conflict of interest, which were stated in an inappropriate manner.
Mrs. Firth: It is a nice try, but it is not going to work. There is no one out there who does not believe that the Member who sponsored the motion is still taking an extremely active role in this Yukon Party government and that he is supporting the Yukon Party government and is part of the Yukon Party government. When that motion was tabled, the Yukon Party government supported the tabling of the motion and the motion.
I do not care what the Government Leader says, that is -
Speaker: Order. Would the Member please ask the question.
Mrs. Firth: I will ask my question to the Government Leader. I know they are dying not to be tarred with this.
Speaker: Order. Question, please.
Mrs. Firth: My next question for the Government Leader is this: he has two lawyers in his caucus - one who sponsored the motion and another who has just called a public inquiry. His Justice department is not giving a legal opinion about this issue. Why did he have to seek another legal opinion about the issue when he has two lawyers and a whole Justice department to advise him about the matter?
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: The Member opposite can rant and rave all she wants. She needs to read the motion. It was a private Member's motion. It was not a government motion, whether or not this side of the House supported the motion put forth is irrelevant. It was a private Member's motion just as every second Wednesday is allotted to this side of the House.
In my judgment, such an important step as calling a public inquiry should rarely, if ever, be subjected to a vote in this Legislature. The reason is that the decision should be as free as possible of whatever may be termed political considerations or motives.
Mrs. Firth: The Yukon Party government just killed a skunk on the floor of the Legislature. This one really smells.
Speaker: Order. Would the Member please refrain from making those marginal remarks like "smells". I am not asking the Member to withdraw it, just to cool it.
Mrs. Firth: This one has an odor that lingers in the halls of this building.
The question that is begging to be asked - I know the Government Leader finds this embarrassing - is this: why did this government not get a legal opinion before it tabled the motion in the Legislature and had its representative stand up and talk for two and a half hours about the motion? Why did it not get a legal opinion beforehand if it is such a serious matter, as the Government Leader says it is? Why did it not get this legal opinion prior to bringing the motion forward to the Legislature.
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I have stated twice -
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Mr. Ostashek: I wonder if the Member would like me to answer the question; I could sit down, it really does not matter to me.
The motion was brought forward in the proper form following a ruling made by Mr. Sam Johnston, the previous Speaker in this Legislature. Also, the Member who presented the motion said that he was working on this right up until the last minute.
I did not have all of this information until such a time as this motion was debated in this Legislature.
Question re: Canada Employment Centre funding transfer
Mr. McDonald: Another respected name has been taken in vain, Mr. Speaker: one of your predecessors.
I have a question for the Minister of Education. The Yukon and federal governments have engaged in quiet, high-level discussions about the transfer of funds for the Canada Employment Centre to the Yukon jurisdiction. What exactly are the Yukon's objectives with respect to service delivery to the unemployed in the context of the transfer discussions?
Hon. Mr. Nordling: I do not know if I have details of that in the thick briefing book I have. I will have to get back to the Leader of the Official Opposition with a response. I have not been involved in the talks.
Mr. McDonald: For the Minister's information, his officials were meeting with Canada Employment and Immigration Commission officials last week. They were talking about the transfer of a large portion of their services to the Yukon government's jurisdiction. The employment centre itself has faced some serious reductions in personnel - people who are available to help the unemployed - in the last year. Can I ask the Minister what level of service the Yukon government is going to be inheriting? Will it be the level of service before or after the federal cutbacks?
Hon. Mr. Nordling: I do not know because I have not spoken with the officials. I do not know the outcome of those meetings. I will, however, take the question under advisement.
Mr. McDonald: The Canada Employment Centre has been promoting more self-serve facilities, as a way to save money, and has even discussed cost recovery, to recover some of the operating costs from its clients - unemployed people. This is happening at a time when there is virtually no employment counselling happening at the Employment Centre for people who are out of work.
Can I ask the Minister - in the context of the discussions they are having with the federal government - which of the new management directives, which have already been employed by the federal government, will be adopted by the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Nordling: Again, I will take the question under advisement. I certainly cannot imagine that our position will be that we will have cost recovery from unemployed people.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed. We will proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Notice of Opposition Private Members' Business
Ms. Moorcroft: Pursuant to Standing Order 14.2(3), I would like to identify the motions standing in the name of the Official Opposition to be called on Wednesday, April 3: Motion No. 105, standing in the name of the Leader of the Official Opposition; and Motion No. 66, standing in the name of the Member for Faro.
Hon. Mr. Phillips: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. Is it the wish of the Committee to take a brief recess?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will take a brief recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. We will continue with Bill No. 10. We are on Community and Transportation Services, general debate.
Bill No. 10 - First Appropriation Act, 1996-97 - continued
Department of Community and Transportation Services - continued
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have some answers to questions that were asked yesterday. The first question was, "What is the difference between the size of the new building and the old Dawson highway yard." The old building's combined floor area is 15,224 square feet and the new building is 15,810 square feet. Equipment storage, office space and mechanical repair areas are amalgamated under one roof in the new building. Service bays and office space size complied with equipment sizes and Management Board directives.
As to how much has been budgeted and spent to date on the Marsh Lake sewage feasibility study, the branch estimates that in total that it has spent $69,800 on the study.
In the supplementary budget, there was an additional requirement of $5,000 for the Marsh Lake sewage disposal study. The question was, "Was that $5,000 for a public meeting? Can the Minister tell me what the amount covered?" No, it was not specifically for a public meeting. The additional $5,000 covered the costs for our consultants to prepare and distribute a newsletter prior to the first public meeting and to contract with our consultants for additional technical support on planning issues related to population projections and the estimation of sewage volume.
In answer to the question about whether or not the department is prepared to put hidden-intersection signs on both sides of the highway, the transportation engineering branch has looked at the intersection and found a requirement for one sign to be installed on the south side of the bridge. The foreman has the sign and will be installing it today or tomorrow. Site distance is adequate for southbound traffic and, therefore, concealel-intersection signs are not required there.
In answer to the question about who is responsible for the maintenance of the Clear Creek Road, the Clear Creek Road is at kilometre 611 of the Klondike Highway. The transportation branch maintains 40 kilometres of the road. This road receives summer maintenance only. There is no winter maintenance. There are placer miners who work seasonally in this area. The Clear Creek spring road opening was completed on Saturday, March 30, 1996.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Yukon Driver Control Board made a report to the Minister in November of 1995. The report contained a number of recommendations. One of the recommendations was to revise the act, the regulation and the policy with regard to impaired drivers in order that all drivers convicted of impaired driving should appear before the board.
The board also wanted to see increased education and rehabilitative programs for impaired drivers and implementation of an interlock system to enforce a .02 alcohol tolerance requirement. Could the Minister tell me what actions have been taken to deal with the recommendations of the Driver Control Board?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Nothing has been done to implement the recommendations at the present time. The department is evaluating the recommendations to see how they can be set into the regulations.
Ms. Moorcroft: Has the government decided if it supports some or all of these recommendations?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I stated that the government is evaluating the recommendations at the present time.
Ms. Moorcroft: Last summer the government put out a number of press releases in relation to highway construction contracts. The government indicated the amount that Yukon companies had been awarded for highway projects, and they also show that the LaPrairie Group Contractors of Prince George, British Columbia, was awarded a $9 million contract.
Could the Minister provide us with the total dollar value of highway construction contracts that have been awarded to companies within the Yukon, as well as companies from outside of the Yukon.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We would have to get that information. I do not have it right here.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the Minister know if more of those contracts are awarded to local companies, as opposed to companies that have their headquarters outside of the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The majority are awarded to Yukon companies. I might mention that the LaPraire Group that the Member mentioned is from Prince George. It has had offices here for a considerable time and has done a lot of work in Faro when Curragh Resources was operating.
Ms. Moorcroft: The department has provided us with some information about the number of lots that it is developing, both in Whitehorse and elsewhere in the Yukon. Who determines what kinds of lots the government will develop?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: In Whitehorse, it is determined in consultation with the real estate people; in the municipalities, it is determined in consultation with the town councils.
Mr. Sloan: Just to follow up a bit on some of the questions we had on lot development, can the Minister give us an idea of how many lots were developed within the city boundaries last year?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Not just now, but we can get back to the Member in a few moments, if the Member wants to continue.
Mr. Sloan: While we are on that topic, how many lots will be developed in the coming building year, as well?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We said yesterday there would be about 130 lots. Those are lots with only water and sewer. We can deal with those specifics in the budget when we get to the line-by-line debate if the Member likes.
The number of lots scheduled for completion will be 324 urban residential, 79 country residential, 13 industrial, 4 multiple residential and 10 commercial lots.
Mr. Sloan: Are those lots yet to be developed, are they presently being developed or were they developed last year?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: They are lots that were developed last year. This year in Whitehorse, we will be working on developing 130 lots, but will only be installing the sewer and water at the present time.
Mr. Sloan: How many of the residential lots last year were sold? Can the Minister also give us the approximate value of the sales?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: About 110 lots were sold, but I do not know what the value is. I can get that for the Member.
Mr. McDonald: In order to clear up one small item, I would like to ask the Minister about airport devolution and cost recovery.
When the Minister announced the transfer of the Whitehorse and Watson Lake airports, he mentioned that there was an operating loss in excess of $4 million associated with the airports. He went on to say that this was a situation that would be corrected. We did not know what that meant, specifically, although it sounded a whole lot like the Minister wanted to eliminate any operating losses associated with the airports, so that they were at least breaking even.
Within the next couple of days, we asked the Government Leader what the Department of Community and Transportation Services' position is on this subject. The Minister reinforced his previous remarks by indicating that it was important to balance the books. That can only lead to a reasonable conclusion that this is a situation where the Minister feels that the operating loss is not acceptable, that this should be considered a cost centre and that there should be cost recovery - in his words, that the books should be balanced.
There are a number of ways of balancing the books, of course. Presumably, either expenditures are cut or revenues are increased, and there are a number of different ways of doing both. The Government Leader dropped the hint that there could be the sale of lands at the airports because, I presume, the airports do incorporate a lot of land. So, there could be a sale of raw lands associated with the transfer of the airports.
Obviously, that is not a long-term solution. Once the land is sold, it is gone. As well, an awful lot of land would have to be sold to make up for a $4 million operating loss on an annual basis.
Can the Minister explain precisely what is going on, now that he has been given the opportunity to do this on his own?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: On March 20, 1996, I announced that we had successfully negotiated the transfer of the Whitehorse and Watson Lake airports. I answered a question about the transfer posed by the Member for Mount Lorne and my response was that we do not intend to have a $4.7 million debt each year. That could be corrected. The airport has been operating an annual expenditure deficit in the range of $4.7 million. This amount covers both O&M and capital requirements, and therefore fluctuates on an annual basis. The debt is related to how the airport was funded in the federal system. In the transfer agreement, we have been successful in obtaining funding to cover the deficit. There will be no new cost to the Yukon government that is not funded as a result of this transfer. We will be receiving annual funding of $5,050,000, including revenues of $555,000. This is enough to cover the operating and capital costs at the Whitehorse and Watson Lake airports. With this negotiated funding, we intend to operate the airports at the present level of service and with no increase in user fees.
The Opposition has stated that my response implied that we intended to cut service or increase user fees. I want to state clearly that we intended to do neither and I am sorry if my message was misleading. It should, however, be clear that this government will endeavour, as it does in all areas, to provide the service as efficiently and as effectively as possible. I want to stress that even if changes are achieved, efficiency measures will not be undertaken without first consulting with stakeholders.
I now wish to table the transfer agreement we have negotiated, along with a summary of its highlights and some background information on the Whitehorse and Watson Lake airports.
Mr. McDonald: I accept the Minister's apology and thank him for his information.
Ms. Moorcroft: I have some questions for the Minister about the Sports and Recreation: Towards 2000 document that he tabled in the House not too long ago. The draft summary of findings and strategies for action dated March 14, 1996, proposes to introduce a number of major changes to the administration, funding and programs of Yukon sports and recreation. A preliminary review of this document shows that there will be new funding arrangements, strategies to include greater involvement of First Nations, strategies to encourage women and girls to become more actively involved in sports and additional responsibilities for Sport Yukon.
Does the Minister accept the recommendations and strategies of this report?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have sent the report out and I will not give my own personal opinion until the people of the Yukon have had a chance to look at the report. I might mention that the paper that we put out has been distributed already, and more are going to be published. It should be quite interesting to see what is brought back to us.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister knows that we have had representations from people asking for more funding of arts groups. I would like to ask the Minister if, in this review, he can explain whether or not arts groups will potentially receive increased funding for arts-related activities.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As I have said, I am not going to get into any debate that might influence people on the street. I want people to come back with their comments, because it is their paper. The people involved in recreation and arts are the ones who have to live with this and I would like to see the document when they have reviewed it; therefore, I do not want to make any comments and influence what might be said.
Ms. Moorcroft: These strategies involve internal changes for the most part, but they are not necessarily geared toward administrative and program streamlining. The document states there will be no additional funds added to existing budgets to implement these strategies. Could the Minister explain where cuts will occur within the sports and recreation branch to pay for these initiatives?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We will have to see what the people say. We have a limited amount of money. They know that and we have told them that. Now we want to see what the people want us to do. If they want us to cut a certain area and not another, we would like to know.
Ms. Moorcroft: Perhaps the Minister can explain, since he is not willing to go into any details about how they make changes, when these initiatives will be drafted into new or existing programs and what the time line is for their implementation?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: They will be out to the people for some time. When they come back, we will look at them. The department will draw up recommendations, which will be given to Cabinet.
Ms. Moorcroft: Is there a deadline for the responses from people in the community, or is it open for the next six months or so? Does the Minister have an answer to that question?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I think there is a deadline, but I am not sure. I will get back to the Member on that.
Ms. Moorcroft: The report recommends that new and emerging communities, such as Mount Lorne, Marsh Lake and Upper Liard, should be provided with recreation funding support. The Minister has stated that he accepts this report and, subsequently, its declaration that there will be no additional funding to implement any changes.
Knowing this, can the Minister explain if recreation funding for other communities or programs within the sports and recreation branch will be reduced to pay for the recreation funding for new and emerging communities?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: As I said, I am not going to do anything that would influence this in any way, but I will say that if the Member had read the book, she would have found a formula set up as to how the money would be divided according to the populations of each community.
Ms. Moorcroft: This fall, the Whitehorse area gravel deposit report was brought forward. I would like to ask the Minister how discussions are going with local First Nations and hamlet councils regarding the gravel deposit report?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The gravel pits inside the city are frozen so they will be protected for the city. For gravel pits outside the city, we will be negotiating with the city and interested groups of people in the area.
Ms. Moorcroft: Could the Minister explain what he said about the gravel pits within the city being frozen?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The city requested that we protect these because they are in the city. The city must use its community plan and that is what we did.
Ms. Moorcroft: How are the discussions going then with hamlet councils, community members and First Nations outside the city? Is the government preparing to take the gravel deposits from outside the city limits and develop and use them for the gravel that is required within the city?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Use of the gravel from pits outside city limits will be negotiated with people in the area, and those that are close to the highways where gravel is needed will have some priority.
Ms. Moorcroft: Do they have a deadline for when they want to develop some of these gravel reserves outside the City of Whitehorse? Have they identified in what order they want to develop the gravel reserves outside Whitehorse?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Not to my knowledge, except for the ones that the highways branch uses. The highways branch has gravel pits protected all over the Yukon so that they can be used by the road crews. They are protected and used strictly by the highways branch.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister cannot tell us when they expect to develop some of these gravel quarries. Have they identified a preference for which sites they would like to develop first?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No. The three pits on the South Access Road are estimated to have enough gravel for 12 years. There are other pits at McLean Lake and more gravel has been found there as well. It is not a pressing matter. There is quite a bit of gravel in the area.
Ms. Moorcroft: I would also like to ask the Minister whether or not we can receive an assurance from him that the views of the people in the communities will be respected. If local First Nations, hamlets or community residents are opposed to expansion of some of the gravel quarry sites that have been identified, or are totally opposed to having a gravel quarry developed, is the government going to respect that position?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We would have to consider every situation on a case-by-case basis. I am certainly not prepared to say that no gravel will be taken from pits. However, there would definitely have to be consensus with residents in the area.
Ms. Moorcroft: I guess that is the best commitment I am going to get from the Minister; he is going to seek a consensus from the people living in the area. I hope that will be the case.
I would like to move on to another area. The Carcross-Tagish First Nation asked for a review of trucking regulations following an accident that spilled thousands of litres of gasoline near Tutshi Lake. Has there been a review of the regulations that dealt with that spill, and have there been any more spills?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I do not know of any other spills on that highway to the present time. The regulations did not have much to do with the spill that occurred in that area; it was attributed to blowing snow and it was difficult for the driver to see.
Mr. Joe: I have a question for the Minister about recreation. A joint council meeting took place in Mayo some time ago. At that time, a youth centre was discussed, but the village council does not have the funds in its budget for the construction of a centre.
I have been travelling around in my riding. Sometimes I am invited to a meeting or maybe a New Year's party or a dance. I always see kids hanging around where dances are taking place. A youth centre is very important for young people to have for themselves.
There are always problems whenever there are the most needs. I do not know why. For the useless things, money always floats around.
Another thing I found out was that the group home in Mayo was shut down. It was working well at one time, so I do not know what happened. Now, all the kids are going back to foster homes.
When it is run by a First Nation, it knows how to look after youth who are having problems. At least, they can have some traditional food, fish and things like that. It does not cost that much to feed them. I do not know what the real problem is. Maybe the Minister will tell me why the group home was shut down.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The group home falls under the social services department, and not mine. I cannot speak about that.
With respect to the youth recreation centre, Mayo, as with all other municipalities, is given money, which is to be used for recreation. They are not treated as are the unorganized communities, which receive grants from the government.
Mr. Sloan: I would like to know on what basis municipal grants and, to a lesser extent, the hamlet grants are given. Is there a base rate and then a per capita figure?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am not smiling at you about this. That is a question that a lot of us are asking. It is a very complicated thing.
The Member for Mount Lorne, I believe, and I attended a meeting a year ago where this was discussed, and I am not sure that she or I were any brighter after the meeting than we were before it.
I cannot explain the thing, but what I can do, if the Member would like, is to make arrangements for someone to come and explain it to the Member. It is broken down into about four different things. It is really complicated, and I do not think that even the municipalities understand, because their grant changes up and down. However, I can certainly have someone who is an expert on it come and talk to the Member. He is one of the only ones I know who really knows all of it. If the Member would like, I can certainly arrange that.
Mr. Sloan: I will take the Minister up on that offer.
My next question on that - and perhaps the briefing might assist us in this as well - is this: how often is that grant reviewed or adjusted? Is it done on a yearly basis? I know the Government Leader spoke about census figures; is it tied into census figures?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The calculation of population is annual. The rest of it is in legislation. Even some of the members of the Association of Yukon Communities are not happy with it, but it is in legislation. To change it, we would have to change the legislation. So far, we have not had enough pressure to even look at it.
Mr. Joe: I want to go back to the subject of youth centres. I tried to explain to the Minister that what I really need is information about how to get a youth centre. I want the Minister to tell me that, and maybe I will look into it. The village council does not have the funds.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I sympathize with the Member. However, that is the regulation. Communities are given a block sum of money for recreation and we have nothing to do with how they spend that money except to ensure that it is on recreation. It is that simple. We do not build in municipalities. The municipalities look after themselves with the block funding they have.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Member for Whitehorse West was just asking some questions related to funding for communities and for the Association of Yukon Communities. The Association of Yukon Communities responded to the budget by pointing out that it does not take into account the rate of inflation for municipalities, that it does not set up any land claims fund to offset economic shortfalls as a result of those claims, and that it does not provide enough money for highway upgrades. I would like to ask the Minister what, if anything, he has done to meet with the Association of Yukon Communities to try to resolve some of the communities' problems.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It was in legislation. We have held the legislation and kept it there. It is just about the only area in Community and Transportation Services that has not been cut. We have held it and held it. I might also point out that the cheque is being given in a lump sum, so that interest is made for all the time that money is there. There is money enough for 12 months and they make interest on that.
Everyone had to cut, and they have been cut the least of any.
Ms. Moorcroft: During the budget briefing, when we were discussing community funding and projects, we asked about the Canada/Yukon infrastructure works program. There is no new funding in the budget for that particular program. Does the Minister have anything to report about his efforts to try and increase the monies available through that program for municipalities to do infrastructure work?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The federal government has not put any more money into it. At the present time, there is no money there.
Ms. Moorcroft: We have been hearing about the Trans-Canada Trail, which will go through the Yukon. At the same time, the City of Whitehorse is also working on amending its bylaws and coming up with the trail plan. Can the Minister tell us what his department is doing to help see the Trans-Canada Trail exist through the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The Trans-Canada Trail is a private organization. As for the trails in the city, we cooperate with the city and put the trails wherever it wants them.
Ms. Moorcroft: Can the Minister elaborate on how his department is working with the city to put the trails wherever it wants them?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: If the city identifies an area where it wants us to put in a trail, we work at it to get it mapped out. The city can then proceed from there.
Ms. Moorcroft: Let us go back to the Trans-Canada Trail. Is the department working with the proponents of the Trans-Canada Trail to help them use the land they prefer for that trail?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: To our knowledge, the government has not been approached. When they approach us, we will take a look at the ideas and try to help them if we can.
Mr. Cable: I have some questions about the South Access Road and its proposed realignment. Yesterday, the Minister mentioned that there were three options being examined for the extension of Hamilton Boulevard toward the main part of the city. What are the three options being examined?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We would have to get a map out. Many of them are in the same area, and I do not know how I would really describe them. All of the exits come out at Hamilton Boulevard and meet the Alaska Highway.
I received one set of maps today, together with the whole functional agreement. We would like to distribute the maps, but the maps will have to be shared due to their size. Submitting all of the copies normally required by the Legislative Clerk would kill a lot of trees. If it is agreeable to Members, we will distribute one set of the maps to be shared among Members.
Mr. Cable: That is fine with me, and I am sure it is fine with other Members of the Opposition, if I could speak on their behalf.
Could the Minister be more specific about where the options are located? Are they to the south of the present South Access Road?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Perhaps this information will help the Member. There is one alternative access south of the one that we are going to use, which exits directly by the South Access Road, and there is one to the north of the South Access Road. There is a possible alternate access on each side of the one that has been selected. I do not know if that helps very much, but I have that information. I will obtain it for the Member during the break.
Mr. Cable: That would be useful. I gather one of them is close to the Ice Lake area. Lobird trailer court is adjacent to Ice Lake - is that not correct?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I do not know what he means by "close", but it is in that vicinity. It is not right adjacent to it, or anything like that, but it is in that vicinity.
Mr. Cable: Were the three options that were described - wherever they are - all costed with some degree of accuracy?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, there was a differential cost made on all of them.
Mr. Cable: I am sorry. What does the Minister mean by that? Does he mean that he took the present configuration that has, I gather, been agreed upon and costed out the over charges for the other two options? Is that what he was saying?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, that is the approach we took. The access to the south has quite an outcrop of rock that would have to be blasted, which would increase the price. The siting from the highway was not very good.
Mr. Cable: The configuration agreed upon, the extension up the present South Access Road by Yukon Gardens, does not involve a substantial rock moving charge - is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There is some, but not as much as we figure there would be in the one to the south. If we chose the south one, we would have to have, at a later date, two sets of traffic lights, and it would be coming back toward the quarry area and would cause a problem there. Another problem would be to reroute the South Access. We agreed with the city that we would not do that.
Mr. Cable: After the break, could the Minister table the cost of each of the three options that were described?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We will get it and put it on the desks of the three leaders, rather than table it.
Mr. Cable: I do not want the book. I just want the final three numbers. Can they be made available?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I can read out the three numbers without getting into trouble over it.
Mr. Cable: The Minister mentioned some cost consideration in the choosing of the option that was chosen. Were there any other considerations besides cost that dictated where the routing would take place?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The one main one, the one the city was concerned about, was that we joined directly on to the South Access Road, which makes sense to me, and it certainly did to the city council.
Mr. Cable: Is the Minister saying it was the city that drove the decision on the routing?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No. Nobody drove anything. We sat down and talked it over. Their staff and our staff talked it over, and it was agreed that that is the best place to put the road.
Mr. Cable: What has been the reaction from the adjacent land owners in the area?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Actually, there has been none lately. We did hear concerns from the Yukon Gardens, and I suspect they will still exist, but besides that, nobody has said anything at all to me about going through there.
Mr. Cable: Just to be clear, we have established that the decision was reached by some consensus process between the city and the government on the location. Were there any considerations besides cost that entered into the decision?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The other consideration was that we line it up with the South Access Road so that we did not have to start changing the route on this side of the highway. If they do not join together, there will be two accesses for traffic on to the Alaska Highway instead of just one.
Mr. Cable: I assume that the agreed-upon option would cause realignment of the South Access Road, and therefore there would only be one set of stop lights. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That is quite correct, but the price would increase and we would have to construct another section of road to go down both sides of the highway.
Mr. Cable: Will the numbers that the Minister is going to table reflect that incremental cost?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I will table the numbers as best we can and there will also be some opinions from the functional study as to why it was put there.
Mr. Cable: I have questions on a couple of other matters.
During a budget briefing... Go ahead.
Ms. Moorcroft: I thank the Member for Riverside for letting me finish a couple of questions related to the South Access Road.
The Minister said that he would bring down a copy of a report for us to review, but that he did not have extra copies. Will the Minister be providing us with copies of the design study?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, that is the functional plan with the maps.
Ms. Moorcroft: Schedule A, which refers to some specifics of the reconstruction of the South Access Road, refers to a climbing lane. It also states that the Yukon, if requested by the city, will provide a design to rural arterial standards. Has that design been completed, and, if so, will the design be provided to the city?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The government is not certain if the city has that portion of the plan yet. As the Member knows, the transfer went into effect yesterday and the government does not move quite that fast.
Ms. Moorcroft: The schedule also refers to the secondment from the Yukon of two qualified personnel to Whitehorse for the management and supervision of the construction of the South Access Road project on a cost-recovery basis if requested.
Has the city made the request to second two qualified personnel from the Yukon government for this project?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, it has not.
Mr. Cable: I want to follow up on a somewhat similar point. With respect to the three options that were being discussed, were the financial implications to the City of Whitehorse the same in each case?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: If we had done the South Access, it would probably have cost more, and the city would have had to pay for it. Our agreement is $8.1 million over two years. That is it; it has to be done for that.
Mr. Cable: The Minister is saying, then, that whatever option was eventually chosen, the City of Whitehorse would have had the contribution made to it for the work capped at $8.1 million? Is that constant with respect to both the option that was chosen and the other two, as well?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That is correct.
Mr. Cable: On another topic - this may have been dealt with earlier - during the budget briefing on the Minister's department, I believe the deputy had indicated that Justice and Community and Transportation Services computers could not yet talk to one another and that may be causing some problems on this issue of parking ticket default and licence prohibition that we have worked out. Is it anticipated that at some juncture these computers will, in fact, be able to talk to one another?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I hope, quite frankly, that the day that computers start talking to each other, some of us are not around. They drive me nuts. Every year, they seem to be out of date and we have to get new ones.
We are working very hard to try and get the ones from the city, the ones in Justice and ours all working together. I am not an expert on computers, but those who are tell me that eventually they will get this to work. However, after seeing the television get knocked out all over Canada, I am not sure about all this. We can send guys into space, but we cannot keep television working. I wonder about computers sometimes.
Mr. Cable: I share the Minister's opinion, but I am sure that one realizes that when there is a municipality being integrated with two government departments, there is the possibility of confusion or a slip-up, where someone's licence could be lifted inadvertently.
When does the government anticipate that there will be full integration of the three sets of computer systems?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We do not have an exact date. I could not even tell you exactly what the problem is because it is a technical problem that is beyond me. I know that they have been working very hard on it. Although it is on a smaller scale, the system between the camps and the radio phones has certainly streamlined the work done by the highways branch. So, I have no fear that some of these smart people with technology know-how will get this going as soon as possible.
My deputy minister is going to gamble and say it will be done within the next two to three months - he said that; I did not.
Mr. Cable: Get him on the record in Hansard.
The Association of Yukon Communities has put out a list of questions to the various party leaders, and I assume that the Minister's leader has received a copy. There are 10 questions, and I would like to go over some of them - one of which was touched upon; namely, inflation-proofing the block funding grant. From what the Minister said, I gather that the inflation-proofing is not in the mill at any time in the future. The Minister is shaking his head. The question was posed in terms of the four years that some party might be in power. Is the Minister saying that, at no time during the next four years, the block funding grant will not be inflation-proofed?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I would not even comment on that because I do not know who is going to be here in the next four years. I would not want to put someone, other than myself, into a mess caused by something I said. It does not make sense. We have not seen that list of questions the Member is reading from. That might tell me something.
Mr. Cable: To fill in the Minister, I got this from the Liberal Leader. I will give the Minister a copy, in the event that he has not had a discussion with the Government Leader on the topic.
One of the other questions had to do with the new Municipal Act being drafted by the Association of Yukon Communities and the Government of Yukon. When is that exercise going to be completed?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We hope it will be brought into the Legislature in the spring of 1997.
Mr. Cable: A couple of specific questions were asked by the Association of Yukon Communities, and I believe this issue has been debated in the House before. Does the government see vesting municipalities with any residual powers, as opposed to the specific powers that are usually laid out in municipal legislation?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We have never seen those questions. Besides, that is a debate for the Association of Yukon Communities, and I am not prepared to start debating it in the Legislature.
Mr. Cable: I do not want to debate it. I just want to ask some questions. I want to find out what the Minister is doing on the Municipal Act. What is being done in the area of municipal powers? There are a couple of questions asked in this questionnaire, and probably the Minister will find that somewhere locked in the files of the Yukon Party is this list of questions.
Let me just read out question 4 so that we can deal with some specifics. "The general agreement of the AYC-YTG committee writing the new Municipal Act is that municipalities need more freedom and flexibility in such areas as economic development, and less paternalistic control, such as bylaw approval. What would your position be on modernizing the Municipal Act to give the municipalities the freedom and flexibility necessary to operate most effectively in the 1990s and beyond?"
Has the Minister and his department worked out a policy response in that area? This is not a new issue. It has been in this House before, in some context.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have been around a long time but, as I said, I am not going to make statements here on something that should be debated by the Association of Yukon Communities. That association is an important part of the committee that we established for this legislation, and it asked for this debate to be in May at Carmacks; I would prefer the questions be asked there.
Mr. Cable: I am sure, as the Minister appreciates, that I have no standing at that meeting, but I do have standing in this House - and I am standing - so I would like to find out what the policy considerations are with respect to those issues. Does the Minister, as a matter of policy, anticipate that the issue of municipal powers will be substantially reviewed in this forthcoming act, which will be presented to this House - not up in Carmacks to the meeting of the Association of Yukon Communities?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I suspect that the debate with the association's people there will pretty much influence what is in the legislation because they have been working on the legislation. I have certainly asked the department to cooperate, and the department has worked very hard with them. There may be some places where there are disagreements but, on the whole, I believe it is going along fairly nicely.
Mr. Cable: Is there a list of issues that the Minister could provide to the House that are being dealt with in the committee's discussions between the Association of Yukon Communities and the Yukon government?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This is the greatest setup I ever saw. We have the executive director of the Association of Yukon Communities, a formal Liberal Candidate, sitting in the gallery, and the Member opposite is trying to set me up. I do not want to talk about it any more.
Mr. Cable: Oh, are they here? Oh, hi.
Even if this is, as the Minister scurriously alleges, a setup, surely the people who represent an organization are entitled to some answers.
One of the other questions put forward in this document is about funding for the Association of Yukon Communities. I understand that the core funding has been frozen and land claims funding has been dropped. Is it the Minister's intention to continue with that sort of funding - zero-increase, core funding and the complete elimination of any land claim funding?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The funding is going to remain the same as it has in the past. The one-time grant consisted of $50,000, and that is all of the funding the association will receive.
Mr. Cable: Let us move on to a different topic. I would like to ask a few questions about sewage.
Is the Whitehorse sewage system project on budget and on time?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Both the territorial government and YTG are working together very closely. I sincerely hope that this is a project that will come in on budget. It is a great asset for the City of Whitehorse.
Mr. Cable: There was an article in the paper the other day about the Marsh Lake sewage system. What caused the government to examine this problem? Were there some pollution problems or health concerns identified?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There were some health concerns raised. The other issue was that sewage from the area was being hauled into Whitehorse and it was felt that this was rather unfair.
The government decided to undertake a study to see if anything could be done about it and decided to have sewage disposed of in that area. This will help the residents in that area, because the cost to haul sewage to a disposal area in their area will not cost as much as it would cost if the sewage had to be hauled into Whitehorse, combined with charges from the City of Whitehorse to process the sewage.
Mr. Cable: I presume that this will be a lagoon dump for people picking up sewage from the various residences around Marsh Lake?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, that is the way it will work.
Deputy Chair: Are you ready for line-by-line debate? Are you ready to move on to the Office of Deputy Minister?
Ms. Moorcroft: I have a question for the Minister on the highway signs regulations. I would like to ask him if he can tell us where those are at the present time and when he expects them to be completed.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Requests for input went out to the public and were responded to. There was quite a bit of disagreement on some things. They are being reprocessed and will go back to the public again.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the Minister know when they will be ready to go back to the public?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have no idea when they will be ready.
Deputy Chair: General debate on the department is now finished. Are you ready to go on to general debate on Office of the Deputy Minister?
On Office of the Deputy Minister
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The Deputy Minister's Office provides leadership and direction to the Department of Community and Transportation Services in accordance with government priorities. It is responsible for alliances with the Ministers and the Minister's staff.
I am ready to go to line-by-line debate.
Deputy Chair: Shall we proceed line by line?
On Deputy Minister's Office
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The $247,000 for personnel includes salaries, wages and benefits for the deputy minister's secretary and administrative support staff. There is $13,000 for Other, primarily deputy ministerial travel - $1,000 in Yukon and $6,000 outside the Yukon. There is $3,000 for communications - $1,000 for non-consumable assets and $2,000 for other program needs. The O&M comparison with the previous year indicates that there is no change.
Deputy Minister's Office in the amount of $247,000 agreed to
On Emergency Measures
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Emergency measures coordinates emergency preparedness and response in the Yukon. Emergency measures preparation trains volunteers in the communities and works with other organizations, such as the Government of Canada, local government, Indian bands, and so on, in preparation to respond to disastrous situations. Emergency response leads emergency response teams in actual emergencies.
The highlights include $131,000 for personnel, which includes salary, wages and benefits for a director and a part-time administrative assistant; $159,000 for Other; $58,000 for travel - $52,000 in Yukon and $6,000 outside Yukon; $60,000 for contract services; $7,000 for program materials and supplies; $11,000 for repairs and maintenance; $16,000 for communication; and $7,000 for other requirements of the program.
There has been a decrease of $173,000 from 1995-96 to 1996-97, mainly due to unbudgeted funding requirements for emergency measures response performance in 1995-96 and support from the Canadian Coast Guard for training not available in 1996-97.
Emergency Measures in the amount of $290,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The communications branch provides operation and maintenance of the Yukon VHF radio communications system for the Yukon government and the Government of Canada, as well as the television and FM radio transmitters delivering CBC services and facilities shared with groups operating in the public interest.
The communications branch represents Yukon interests in national policy making and regulatory forums on communications issues. The communications branch serves all Yukon people by ensuring that private and public communications services needs are met.
There is $218,000 for personnel, which includes salary, wages and benefits for the director, radio system administration clerk and the communication technology manager. There is $177,000 for Other, $25,000 for contract services, $169,000 for repairs and maintenance, $33,000 for utilities, $424,000 for communications, and $21,000 for various other small items, offset by $495,000 in internal recoveries.
Compared to previous years, this is a decrease of $14,000 from 1995-96 to 1996-97; a $27,000 reduction in community TV and radio repairs and maintenance is due to the upgrade of facilities to a reliable standard, which was completed in 1995-96. This is partially offset by an increase of $8,000 in utilities and a net increase in various other areas of $5,000.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister and I have had a lot of correspondence on various communications issues so I am sure he was expecting at least one question relating to the communications line item. I know the Yukon government did make an intervention at the recent CRTC affordability hearings. Something the Minister and I have been working on is ways to ensure that the best possible local phone service is available to Yukon residents. One of the issues my constituents have brought forward is that of Northwestel providing a locality rate where there are a number of customers within a certain geographic area, and as the density and population increases - in the Carcross Road area, for example - the people in that area would like to benefit by getting a locality rate phone structure instead of being charged the mileage charges. That is an issue that I have raised directly with Northwestel, the phone company.
I would like to ask the Minister, since that particular issue was not covered in the department's submission to the recent CRTC hearings, whether or not the government would be prepared as well to advocate the case on behalf of Yukon residents to have a cheaper phone service available.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I will take that under advisement.
Ms. Moorcroft: Can the Minister tell me when he might respond to that?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Just as soon as I can tell the department what we want.
Communications in the amount of $395,000 agreed to
Office of the Deputy Minister in the amount of $932,000 agreed to
Deputy Chair: Are there any questions on the statistics? We will move on to corporate services branch. Is there any general debate?
On Corporate Services Division
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The human resource branch provides direction, guidance and support services to department managers in the area of human resource management. The branch coordinates and provides personnel-related services for the branch.
The 1996-97, the O&M budget consists of $344,000 for personnel, which includes salaries, wages and benefits for a director, two personnel assistants, two personnel officers and an administrative assistant; $34,000 for Other; $6,000 for travel within Yukon; $6,000 for communications; $7,000 for fees, memberships and various departmental incentives, et cetera, and $5,000 for other programs.
There is a decrease of $31,000 from 1995-96 to 1996-97. The reduction of $50,000 is due to a one-time employment equity initiative in 1995-96, which is not specifically identified for 1996-97. The department plans to continue supporting the initiative by providing opportunities through its regular programs wherever possible. This reduction is partially offset by an increase for other activities to improve the effectiveness of the branch.
On Human Resources
Human Resources in the amount of $378,000 agreed to
On Finance, Systems and Administration
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The finance, systems and administration branch carries out coordinates and directs financial administration and systems-related functions for the department. The branch provides direction, guidance, and support services to departmental managers in the areas of finance, systems and administration.
The 1996-97 operation and maintenance budget consists of $723,000 for personnel. This amount includes salary, wages and benefits for the director, nine intermediates and one part-time, casual, financial accounting and administration staff. There are two recording and index clerks, one system administrator and one system analyst on secondment. There is $33,000 allocated for Other; $6,000 for contract services; $3,000 for repairs and maintenance; $13,000 for supplies - this amount includes the deputy ministers office and corporate services as a whole; $8,000 for communication; and $3,000 for other program items.
In comparison with the 1995-96 budget, there is an increase of $18,000. There is an increase of $26,000 for salary and wages, resulting from the secondment of a systems analyst from the information services branch of Yukon Government Services, which is offset by a decrease of $8,000 in various other areas.
Ms. Moorcroft: I believe this is the line that covers an increase in salaries and wages with the secondment of a systems analyst from information services. We had some questions in general debate relating to the use of computers in the department. I would like to ask the Minister about integrating computer systems between the Department of Justice and Department of Community and Transportation Services.
I asked a number of questions during general debate about the fines and the improvement in payment of fines because of the administrative sanctions that have been imposed by withholding driver's licences and vehicle registration. I understand that part of the problem with getting the information back is that the computer systems are not compatible between the two departments. What time frame does the government have in place to change that?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I thought we answered that once when the deputy minister told the Member that it would be two to three months before they are working together. The deputy minister said that. I am not prepared to take that one on as the Minister.
Ms. Moorcroft: The plan then - when the Minister stated that his deputy had said they would have two or three months to bring these systems up to speed - was to integrate the Community and Transportation Services system with the Department of Justice system. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, we want to get our system and the one in the Justice department - as the Member for Riverside had said - talking to one another.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the department plan to integrate its computer system with any department other than the Department of Justice?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We will only integrate with the ones we need to. We are already integrated with the Finance department at the present time.
Finance, Systems and Administration in the amount of $756,000 agreed to
On Policy, Planning and Evaluation
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The branch provides legislative policy, program development and related support to the department. The highlights are $296,000 for personnel, which includes salaries, wages and benefits for a director and three policy analysts; $8,000 for Other; $5,000 for contracts services; $2,000 for communication and $1,000 for other training, reference material, et cetera.
In comparison with other years, there is an increase of $7,000 from 1995-96 to 1996-97. There is increase of $5,000 in contract services and $2,000 in salaries and wages.
Policy, Planning and Evaluation in the amount of $304,000 agreed to
Corporate Services Division in the amount of $1,438,000 agreed to
On Transportation Division
Hon. Mr. Brewster:
Maintenance, engineering and administration of the transportation division provides administration services for the highway maintenance branch and the transportation engineering branch. The O&M budget of $1,356,000 ifor personnel, which includes salary, wages and benefits for 14.21 staff in highway maintenance administration and 7.2 staff in transportation engineering administration; $269,000 for Other; $66,000 for travel - $46,000 in Yukon and $20,000 outside Yukon; $67,000 for rental expenses; $31,000 for supplies; $64,000 for communications; $21,000 for other training, conferences, fees, et cetera; and $20,000 for various other requirements of the program.
Compared with previous years, there is an increase of $4,000 from 1995-96 to 1996-97, which consists of various small items.
Mr. Sloan: Can the Minister give me an idea of just how many people are involved in the engineering division - how many people are involved in planning, the development of highways and future highways?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I can give the Member the number under O&M now. When we get to capital, there will be some more. There are 7.2 staff in transportation engineering administration O&M and 14.21 staff in highway maintenance administration. In capital there will be some more, which I will highlight when we get there.
Chair: Are we prepared to go line by line?
On Maintenance and Engineering Administration
Maintenance and Engineering Administration in the amount of $1,625,000 agreed to
On Highway Maintenance
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The O&M budget consists of $11,560,000 for personnel, which includes salary, wages and benefits for the maintenance of highways that are the responsibility of the Yukon government. There is $19,628 for various operational expenditures, other than labour costs, and for program materials, including charges for use of equipment under the road equipment reserve fund fleet.
The O&M comparison with previous years indicates an increase of $22,000 from 1995-96 to 1996-97. This minor increase is mainly the result of various increases and decreases. The increase is $204,000 for additional maintenance of the Anvil Mine road, over and above what was required in 1995-96 forecast. This is part of the $1 million increase over the 1995-96 budget.
The devolution of Government Services property management for building repairs and maintenance at the various camps resulted in a $528,000 increase.
These increases are offset by savings of $47,000 on maintenance costs for various roads through the use of improved methods and a reduction of $363,000 in the amount of BST rehabilitation required in 1996-97 compared to that in 1995-96, and $300,000 in maintenance costs for the South Access Road, not including our estimate due to the devolution negotiations with the City of Whitehorse.
Ms. Moorcroft: The increase due to the devolution of the Government Services property management for building repair and maintenance of the various camps has been given as $528,000. Can the Minister tell us whether or not the same personnel are doing the building repair and maintenance at the various camps, or if it now has staff from within the Department of Community and Transportation Services doing it?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: What happens is that the money comes to us, but the Department of Government Services still does the work, because it has crews in Haines Junction and Watson Lake. The one in Watson Lake travels to Ross River.
Highway Maintenance in the amount of $31,188,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This consists of $796,000 for personnel, including salaries, wages and benefits for two staff in administration, four staff in operations and three observers in communications in Old Crow. The personnel budget also includes $296,000 for internal labour charges from the highway maintenance branch for maintenance work on airport runways; $1,484,000 for Other; $38,000 for travel, consisting of $26,000 within Yukon and $12,000 for travel outside Yukon, including for community aerodrome radio station (CARS) training; $783,000 primarily for CARS contract service; $73,000 for repairs and maintenance; $32,000 for rental expense; $66,000 for runway maintenance supplies; $155,000 for utilities; $38,000 for communication; $277,000 for internal charges and road equipment; and $22,000 for various other programs.
There is an overall decrease of $29,000 from 1995-96 to 1996-97, as a result of the completion of the Schwatka Lake study in 1995-96 for $10,000. There is a net reduction in salaries, wages and others of $19,000.
Ms. Moorcroft: The funding for the community aerodrome radio station training is recoverable. We have had a lot of discussions over the past couple of years about the number of changes, such as the federal government devolving programs like these and reducing the funding for many of them. Does the Minister know when Transport Canada plans to complete its change to a board of directors and a non-profit corporation for airports?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am not sure when they will do it, but they are now working on the legislation for NAV, which is a non-profit organization and will be taking over the operation of it.
Ms. Moorcroft: For the Hansard record, could the Minister indicate what "NAV" stands for and what the name of this new non-profit agency will be.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: They just took the three letters, N-A-V - NAV Canada is what it is.
Airports in the amount of $2,280,000 agreed to
On Transport Services
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Transportation services develops, administers and enforces the transportation regulatory regime in the Yukon. The operation and maintenance budget consists of $2,071,000 for personnel. This amount includes salary, wages and benefits for four staff and administration, 14 staff in motor vehicles and 18 staff at weigh stations. There is $482,000 for Other expendituress; $58,000 for travel - $39,000 for travel in the Yukon, and $19,000 for travel outside of the Yukon; there is $19,000 for honorarium; $46,000 for contract services; $26,000 for repair and maintenance; $76,000 for rentals; $90,000 for supplies; $30,000 for program materials; $33,000 for utilities; $50,000 for communication; $40,000 for other various public awareness education programs and membership fees; $14,000 for other program needs. There is an increase of $91,000 from 1995-96. There is $83,000 in personnel costs due to temporary position vacancies during 1995-96, which are planned to be fully utilized in 1996-97, including funding for the French language service position, and $8,000 in various other activities.
Transport Services in the amount of $2,553,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions about the statistical data before we carry the total?
Transportation Division in the amount of $37,646,000 agreed to
On Municipal and Community Affairs Division
Chair: Are there any questions in general debate?
Mr. Cable: I have some further questions about the Municipal Act. I provided the Minister with a copy of the document that I referred to in general debate. I do not know if the Minister has had a chance to look at it or not, but I will ask him some specific questions from among the questions posed by the Association of Yukon Communities.
Are there any major, outstanding issues separating the municipalities and the Minister's department on the redraft of the Municipal Act?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, not to our knowledge. Usually if there is one, the department will come to us to say what it is about. I suspect that there are some minor issues that must be discussed. I have talked with a number of rural mayors and councillors about it and they seem to think it is going quite well. Nothing goes perfectly, but they seem to think it is going well.
Mr. Cable: Does the Minister have a target date as to when it will be turned over to the Justice department for redrafting?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I have said before it will come into the Legislature in the spring of 1997.
Mr. Cable: I appreciate that and I thank the Minister for reiterating that, but of course it will have to be redrafted. I imagine that that is going to be a very lengthy process, because it will have to go out to the stakeholders for review after the redrafting. I am wondering if they had any target date for handing it over to the lawyers? I am sure as the Minister knows, sometimes lawyers take their time in doing things.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, I know about lawyers taking their time. I do not have a problem with that.
I guess all I can say right now is that the whole operation is in the hands of the municipality. After the department people finalize theirs, it will go to the lawyers, and yes, it will have to go back out to the stakeholders.
Chair: Are we prepared to go line by line at this time?
Mr. Joe: I have a question for the Minister about the Municipal Act. My question is this: what differences will the Minister find between First Nations and municipal governments? In Mayo, the Na-Cho Ny'ak Dun and the Village of Mayo are doing a study on how well the First Nations are doing.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I believe that the Member is asking about the cooperation between the First Nations and the municipalities. Mayo seems to have a very good relationship. I would hope that that would move into some of the other areas. Haines Junction and the Champagne-Aishihik Band seem to get along fairly well. It is just a matter of the municipality and the First Nations. They are the two that are the closest. They will have to try to get along as well as they can.
Mr. Joe: I have one last question. There seems to be a dispute between the First Nation and the municipality. What does the Minister plan to do about this in order to help them work together to build, say, a bridge and those kinds of things?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The government can only do so much. It is up to the people in each area who live with each other, know each other and have coffee with each other. They are going to have to get along together. The government can only encourage. The government cannot force the issue. It is up to both the First Nations and the other cultures to get along, overcome their differences and then come to the government to tell it what they want.
According to the Municipal Act, to change things, the government has to be involved. Somehow, that has to be changed in order for First Nations and city councils to work together. Something has to be changed so that there are not always disputes between the parties that they are stuck with.
I know they will work together some time in the future, but something will have to change now.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The AYC has never asked me to open up the legislation again. It is working on the new Municipal Act; it might change things. I do not know everything that is in it; I have not seen it. It might change things, but I do not know.
Ms. Moorcroft: During the general debate, I was asking the Minister some questions relating to the sport and recreation summary that is out for public consultation at the present time, and I would just like to ask him to clarify one thing. I asked about the recreation authority status for the Liard First Nation, for the Hamlet of Mount Lorne and for other areas that have outstanding requests for recreation funding status. Is the Minister putting off all decisions on that until after the department has received comments back on the recreation paper?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, I am.
Ms. Moorcroft: So, for the unorganized communities or areas that have outstanding requests, whether they go back three years or six months or whatever, they are not going to be getting an answer, and the Minister does not have a date yet as to when the department can expect a response to the recreation document so that they can make some decisions - is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We will be getting back to the ones who have come in and talked to us about it when the sports paper comes. However, it may be completely changed; I do not know. I suspect that it will not be, but one never knows what people out there are going to say. They may change some of it on us.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the Minister expect that this might be completed within the next three months?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The first round may be completed in two to three months and regulations written; then it has to go back out to the people to be okayed again. It also has to go to Cabinet. I cannot predict how long it is going to take to do all that.
Ms. Moorcroft: Within this division, we see not only community recreation funding but also support for community land use plans and municipal planning and zoning. Could the Minister provide me with a list of all of the communities where there are land use plans or zoning exercises being worked on now?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, I can do that.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the Minister have an idea about how many are underway? We have had some debate on some of them over the past couple of days. The Minister might have a total.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There are about six or seven that are in progress. Does the Member want them named?
Ms. Moorcroft: I just asked the Minister if he could come back with a list that identifies the specific land use plans that are being undertaken and at what stage they are at in the process.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, I can provide that information for the Member.
Mr. McDonald: I would like some clarification on a point the Minister made yesterday with respect to the provision of services and infrastructure to communities that fall within the category of First Nation communities or First Nation precincts.
The Minister made some reference to the claim that, after self-government, the First Nation communities would be on their own. The statement seemed to imply that the Yukon government would not have any further responsibilities. Could the Minister provide us with a more definitive policy statement on this matter?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There are certain things that fall under territorial control and certain things that fall under federal control. The federal government is not going to pass everything over to the territory, because it has cut the budget and there are certain things the federal government is responsible to the First Nations for.
For instance, there are issues such as sewage. We are working in conjunction with the First Nations. The territorial government has been trying to get a sewage treatment process in place for Pelly, but environmentalists and other agencies seem to keep blocking progress. It keeps trying.
The territorial government will be going into Old Crow this year and putting in money to improve dumps and things like that. That is this government's responsibility, but there are other things that are not the territorial government's responsibility, and the federal government seems to think it is going to be able to bail them over to us. However, the federal government is not prepared to put forward any money and that has to be settled between the First Nations and the federal government.
In many of the communities, the territorial government has constructed firehalls, sewer and water systems, and recreation programs. There are a number of things that have been done and they are all treated the same, but there is some responsibility with the federal government. The federal government cannot walk out and leave everyone; it just does not make sense.
Mr. McDonald: Presumably, when the claim is settled, there will be some attempts by the federal government to precisely define what ends its fiduciary obligation to the First Nations, and how that might be settled through the land claim agreements.
Of course - as the Minister quite rightly mentioned - this does not, in any way, permit the Yukon government to abandon its ongoing responsibilities to citizens of the Yukon and communities of whatever origin in the Yukon.
However, it does open the question about what the clear line of responsibility is. Can the Minister clearly delineate what is a Yukon government responsibility now and into the future, and what category of responsibilities he was referring to when he said that the federal government should not be trying to pass these responsibilities off to the Yukon government at some future date?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: At the present time, each request is assessed on its own merit, in terms of needs and responsibility - whether it is the federal, or the territorial or First Nation government, or a property owner - in priority and affordability. In so doing, the Yukon government works to contribute to needed improvements in community service without assuming inappropriate legal or financial responsibility of the federal or a First Nation government.
Mr. McDonald: It is a good first start, but it does not delineate the category of responsibilities that are considered Yukon's and those that are considered to be federal responsibilities.
I will not press the Minister right now to find them off the top of his head, because I would like as considered an opinion as possible, perhaps incorporating the Land Claims Secretariat's vision of this. Would the Minister be prepared to commit to bring such a list to us, so that we have a clearer notion of what the government is referring to when it speaks of its ongoing obligations of providing municipal infrastructure?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I will certainly try, but quite a bit of that would fall under the land negotiation branch, which is dealing with the federal government and the First Nations. I will do my best to see what I can bring back.
Mr. McDonald: I appreciate that. Obviously, I am specifically interested in the community infrastructure on what would be considered to be First Nation precincts and that which would be eligible for YTG funding on settlement lands - post land claims agreements. If the Minister can provide us with what he specifically considers to be the Yukon government's ongoing responsibilities, I would appreciate that.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I will do my best to get it.
Ms. Moorcroft: We have had some questions about land development and the number of lots that are available, and the government has provided us with lists of which lots are available where. I would like to ask for an update of the historical analysis of lots developed and sold. For the department's information, I can send over the legislative return we received in 1993, which gave a breakdown by year of the numbers of lots developed, by type - whether they were urban, residential, mobile home, country residential, recreational, and so forth. Could the Minister just give a commitment that he will provide an update of that information for me?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, I will.
Ms. Moorcroft: During the budget technical briefing, I also requested some information on the garbage dump maintenance arrangements, and I want to follow up on that. It seems that the maintenance done by highway maintenance is of a comparable dollar value to the maintenance done by contractors. Can the Minister tell me why they sometimes use contractors and sometimes use the highway maintenance personnel?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Usually, if there are contractors in the area and their prices are much the same as ours, they are given the job of looking after the dumps and so on. We charge out a rate on every one of our transportation vehicles that is working, and it is comparable - in fact, some of it is a little higher than private industry. We are looking after six and private contractors look after 11.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Hamlet of Mount Lorne has a volunteer group that takes recycling to Raven Recycling depot in Whitehorse. I think there is a lot of landfill diverted by that volunteer recycling project. Can the Minister tell me if that occurs anywhere else?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I am not sure how many, but I am positive that Beaver Creek and Haines Junction do. I know of a recycling project in Watson Lake. They must take the products to be recycled somewhere, but I am not quite sure where.
Ms. Moorcroft: Is the department doing anything to encourage more communities to separate hazardous waste and to put any materials that can be recycled into recycling bins or buildings?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That would be under the authority of Renewable Resources and the municipalities. They must sort that out.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Klondike Valley Quigley dump has a contract value of $17,000, which is significantly higher than any of the other maintenance contracts. Does the Minister know what volume of waste there is at the Quigley dump, and does he know why the contract value is so much higher for that particular waste disposal site?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The Quigley dump takes in all the waste from the Klondike Valley and some of the waste from Dawson City. We are responsible for the people in the Klondike Valley and the city is responsible for the others.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the department have any idea of what the annual volume of waste is for any of these dump sites?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Not to my knowledge.
On Assistant Deputy Minister's Office
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The Assistant Deputy Minister's Office provides guidance, direction, support and leadership to program managers within the division.
The 1996-97 O&M budget consists of $220,000 for personnel, which includes salaries and benefits for the assistant deputy minister, secretary and policy officer; $9,000 for Other; $4,000 for travel - $2,000 in Yukon, $2,000 outside Yukon related to the annual conference of ministers responsible for local government; $4,000 for supplies and $1,000 for other memberships, et cetera.
Compared with other years there is an increase of $56,000 from 1995-96 to 1996-97, resulting from the addition of a policy officer position.
Ms. Moorcroft: There is $1,000 in this for "memberships, et cetera". Could the Minister tell us what membership fees are paid for by the government?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I will have to bring that back. We have a list but I do not have it with me.
Ms. Moorcroft: Perhaps the Minister could bring back as well, then, the positions that benefit from the memberships?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, I will do that.
Assistant Deputy Minister's Office in the amount of $229,000 agreed to
On Lands and Property Assessments
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Of this budget, $1,005,000 is for personnel, including salaries and benefits for seven positions in land disposition and nine staff in property assessment and taxation; $117,000 for Other; $24,000 for travel - $22,000 in Yukon and $2,000 outside Yukon; $11,000 for contract services; $27,000 for rental expense; $14,000 for supplies; $14,000 for advertising; $16,000 for communication; and $11,000 for other program needs.
The amount of $2,041,000 for transfer payments is for the home owners grant payments.
The increase of $95,000 from 1995-96 to 1996-97 is mainly a result of an increase to the home owners grant budget of $87,000. The balance of $8,000 is due to various operating cost increases and decreases.
Mr. Cable: I was looking at the assessment statistics. There appears to be a large jump from the 1994-95 actual total assessed value, which at that time was $1.75 billion. From the estimate here, it is $2.142 billion. Was there a major reassessment in the last year?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That is mainly because of Anvil Range now being in operation, and there are more buildings.
Mr. Cable: Does the Minister's department project future assessed values of Yukon properties?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, it does not.
Mr. Cable: Between the period of 1994-95 and 1996-97, was the mill rate changed?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, there was not.
Mr. Cable: The reason I ask - and maybe there is a logical explanation for it - is that the general property tax revenues do not seem to track the total assessed values. They seem to have gone down between 1994-95 and 1995-96, yet the assessment seems to have increased substantially. Is there an explanation for that?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I will have to come back to the Member with that information.
Ms. Moorcroft: I guess it does not do to try and figure things out based on the statistics one sees before them. Another Member was just asking if there had been a major reassessment because the dollar value of such properties has gone up a lot. The Minister indicated that there had not been an awful lot of reassessments and that that increase was mainly due to the Faro mine. I notice, however, that there were 40 complaints before the Assessment Review Board in 1994-95, and the statistics page is anticipating that there will be 100 complaints before the Assessment Review Board, both in the 1995-96 year and the 1996-97 year. Is there any reason for that increase?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: When we do the budget, we do not have the assessment numbers.
Ms. Moorcroft: So, the Minister does not know why they anticipate 100 complaints in the coming year, when there were only 40 in 1994-95?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Forty is an actual number, whereas 100 is an estimate.
Lands and Property Assessments in the amount of $3,163,000 agreed to
On Public Safety
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Public safety branch provides for public health, safety and protection through application and regulation of building, electrical, mechanical and fire codes and standards. The fire protection section assists in the provision of fire protection service and advice to communities. The branch administers zoning regulations in rural Yukon communities and designated municipalities.
The O&M budget in the amount of $1,057,000 for personnel includes salaries and benefits for 16 staff and administration, electrical and mechanical safety, and building/ plumbing and fire protection areas; $450,000 for Other; $61,000 for travel, consisting of $52,000 within Yukon and $9,000 outside of Yukon; $45,000 for honoraria for fire volunteers; $37,000 for contract services; $42,000 for repairs and maintenance; $113,000 for rental expense; $70,000 for utilities; $42,000 for communication, and $35,000 for various other requirements of the program.
There is an increase of $158,000 from 1995-96 to 1996-97 that is mainly due to a devolution of funding responsibilities for building repairs; there is $24,000 for pool vehicle rental; and $112,000 from Government Services to the department. There is an increase of utility costs for the firehalls in the amount of $14,000.
Ms. Moorcroft: Is the public safety branch still conducting all electrical inspections in the territory?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, it is.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the city conduct electrical inspections within the City of Whitehorse or the City of Dawson, or does the public safety branch conduct those inspections?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, they do not.
Public Safety in the amount of $1,507,000 agreed to
On Sport and Recreation
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The sports and recreation branch encourages and supports the development of sport, community recreation and fitness. The operation and maintenance budget consists of $332,000 for personnel and includes salary and benefits for one administration position that is not staffed, two community recreation staff, one sport and fitness staff and the director; there is $124,000 for Other expendituress; $34,000 for travel - $24,000 for travel in the Yukon and $10,000 for travel outside of the Yukon; there is $16,000 for contract services; $37,000 for repairs and maintenance; $9,000 for program materials; $12,000 for communication and $16,000 for various other program requirements; $992,000 for transfer payments for contributions to various recreation and sports; $80,000 to Yukon recreational groups; contribution to local authorities is $217,000; Yukon sports governing bodies is $433,000; Sport Yukon core funding, $115,000; elite athlete coaching and officials grants, $45,000; and $102,000 for various other small contributions.
This is a decrease of $140,000 from 1995-96 to 1996-97, mainly as a result of a contribution payment for the Arctic Winter Games administration and travel of $171,000. The Western Canada Summer Games, in the amount of $25,000, and the Northern American Indigenous Games, in the amount of $30,000, are not required in 1996-97.
They are partially offset by increases in salary and wages of $11,000, mainly due to reclassifications, devolution of property management for building repair and maintenance and proposed service rentals. There is $28,000 in increased funding, with $5,000 to the Yukon youth investment fund; $12,000 for a contribution to local authorities; $23,000 to sports governing bodies.
Chair: We will take a brief recess at this time.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. We are dealing with the Department of Community and Transportation Services, Bill No. 10. We are the line item of sport and recreation. Is there any further debate on this line item?
Ms. Moorcroft: In the breakdown of the funding for this line item, the youth investment fund came up. This is where it appears. Five sponsoring government departments have contributed to this fund. Can the Minister tell me who took the lead role to set it up?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I think Health and Social Services, Justice and our sport and recreation branch are the three departments that got together and came up with the idea. Health and Social Services led it off.
Ms. Moorcroft: Who was involved in deciding which projects would share the $62,000 in the Yukon government's youth investment fund?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We will have to get back on that; we are not quite sure.
While I am on my feet, I will answer the question about the $1,000 for membership fees. There is $400 for the intergovernmental committee on urban and rural research. This is an organization supported by every province, territory and the federal government through Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which provides research services on urban and rural development and land planning issues. The annual fee is based on population. Another $100 is for the Institute of Public Administrators research organization on public administration topics published in quarterly collections of related articles made available to departmental staff, and there is $100 for the Yukon Gazette on behalf of the division.
Ms. Moorcroft: I thank the Minister for that information.
I would like to go back to the youth investment fund. Can the Minister tell us how often this fund will award money to projects?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I do not think this department makes those decisions, but I will check on that. If it is, we will come back with that information. Otherwise, we will tell the Member which department makes those decisions. I think Health and Social Services has the lead role in that.
Sport and Recreation in the amount of $1,448,000 agreed to
On Community Services
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The community services branch fosters the development of local government in the Yukon. The planning section develops local area plans and accompanying area development regulations for unincorporated regions of the Yukon, along with providing support services for municipal planning and zoning.
The operation and maintenance budget consists of $595,000 for personnel, which includes salary and benefits for the director, 4.4 full-time equivalents in community planning, and three full-time equivalents in community services. There is $81,000 for other expendituress: $21,000 for travel in the Yukon; $16,000 for supplies; $7,000 for contract services; $8,000 for rental expenses; $16,000 for communication and $13,000 for other program requirements. There is $14,593,000 for transfer payments; $11,470,000 for comprehensive municipal grants; $3,000,048 for grant-in-lieu of property taxes; $25,000 for hamlet operation and maintenance grants; and $50,000 for the Association of Yukon Communities.
There is an increase of $144,000 from 1995-96 to 1996-97, which is the result of increases to salary and wages by $102,000 due to the addition of a secretarial position and filling of three positions that were vacant for part of 1995-96. This is offset by a reduction of a part-time planning clerk.
Transfer payment is increased in grants-in-lieu of property taxes by $59,000, and there is a net increase of $13,000 in Other.
Ms. Moorcroft: The Minister was going to bring back the information on the six land use plans that are presently being developed around the Yukon. Do the staff in this branch do all of that work in house?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We do quite a bit of the work in house. We also have consultants that we hire for different projects.
Ms. Moorcroft: Does the Minister have information on which plans are being done right now and what consultants have been hired to work on them?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, we do not have those yet. Does the Member wants to know about the consultants, too?
Ms. Moorcroft: Yes, I would like the Minister to bring back the names of the consultants that have been hired and the dollar value of the contracts, so that we can see what is being spent over and above the money that we have just seen go into the budget for personnel.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, we will do that.
Community Services in the amount of $15,269,000 agreed to
On Engineering and Development
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Municipal engineering provides technical service to unincorporated communities and municipalities on request and handles the orderly development of land. The branch provides maintenance of water, sewage and waste disposal systems for unincorporated communities throughout the Yukon.
The mosquito control section manages the aerial application and assists participating communities with a mosquito control program. The operation and maintenance budget consists of $269,000 for personnel and includes salary and benefits for two administration staff and $134,000 for internal labour charges for highway maintenance; there is $442,000 for other expenditures: $13,000 for travel in the Yukon; $226,000 for contract services; $42,000 for repairs and maintenance; $19,000 for rental expense; $74,000 for utilities; $56,000 for internal charges and $12,000 for various other equipment.
With respect to the operation and maintenance in comparison with other years, there is an increase of $52,000 from 1995-96 to 1996-97 as a result of a municipal service officer position being vacant for three months in 1995-96; there is $11,000 for the devolution of building repairs; pool rental vehicles from Government Services, $28,000; and an increase in unincorporated communities for repair and maintenance of water delivery and sewage eduction vehicles, $13,000.
Mr. Joe: I would like to know about the mosquito control program and how many communities applied for this funding last year. The mosquitoes were really bad in our community last year.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Last year there were 1,102 hectares sprayed in 12 communities. This year we are estimating that there will be 1,100 hectares sprayed in 11 communities.
Mr. Joe: So the Selkirk First Nation did not have mosquito control last year? The Minister said 12 communities.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I do not have a list of the communities that did it. Does the Member know if they applied? If they did not apply, they would not receive it.
Mr. Joe: I do not know how to go about it. Does one have to apply for it?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I will alert the department that the Member wants to apply for it for the Pelly area. Someone will be in touch with the Member.
Engineering and Development in the amount of $711,000 agreed to
Chair: Before we carry the total for the branch, are there any questions about the statistics pages?
Ms. Moorcroft: I have a question I would like to bring forward before the municipal and community affairs division is cleared.
The amount for the departmental land claims line item is zero, so the line item was not called. Last year, $97,000 was budgeted for this line item and $162,000 was spent in the previous year. I would like to ask the Minister why there is no funding in place for departmental land claims this year.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The land claim person concludes his term on March 31, and we have now worked it into the different branches of the department. It will now be conducted, not by one person, but by separate individuals in the other branches.
Ms. Moorcroft: Has it been just one person in the past? Could the Minister tell me what it was that they were largely responsible for doing?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: There was one person there and he was advising on the land claims and doing related work. He was a coordinator for land claims.
Ms. Moorcroft: How is the department assured that the work will be done within the other branches?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We are convinced that we can do it with the number of personnel that we have. We can advise the land claims people whenever they need advice on land.
Municipal and Community Affairs Division in the amount of $22,327,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures for the Department of Community and Transportation Services in the amount of $62,343,000 agreed to
Chair: We will now move on to capital estimates on Office of the Deputy Minister on page 3-2. Are there any questions in general debate? Are you prepared to go line by line? We will go line by line at this time.
On Capital Expenditures
On Office of the Deputy Minister
On Deputy Minister's Office
On Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The deputy minister's office provides leadership to the department in management and development of policy and in the planning and delivery of programs and services to the Yukon public. It organizes, directs and manages the department in an effort to contribute to government goals and to achieve departmental objectives. Office furniture, equipment and space is budgeted at $9,000 for the purchase of two workstations.
Ms. Moorcroft: Did the Minister just say that the $9,000 was for two workstations?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: That is correct.
Ms. Moorcroft: Are those replacements, or are they for new staff?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: They are replacements.
Ms. Moorcroft: Perhaps the Minister could tell me what is in a workstation for a value of $4,500. There must be more than a table and a chair.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I will try this, but I am not sure if I can handle it. They are computer workstations, and there is a computer with the workstation. I will read out what they are. This minor 1996-97 expenditure for the purchase of two workstations is proposed for the deputy minister's office. This equipment is required to replace outdated equipment not capable of running current versions of software due to its limited memory and disk storage capacity. The proposed workstation will overcome this limitation and improve operational efficiency, enhance sharing and copying capabilities of electronic files. These shared opportunities exist within the departments throughout government and external agencies based on the deputy minister's office adopting current information service branch standards for the computer workstation and software.
Ms. Moorcroft: I think I heard the Minister saying that these workstations would allow the staff to exchange electronic files. Is that exchanging electronic files between departments? Is that what we were talking about earlier when we were asking about the sharing of information between the Departments of Justice and Community and Transportation Services electronically rather than with a paper trail?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: These two workstations are for the assistants to the deputy minister, and they have to translate letters from the director of aviation at Haines Junction and other such places, through the different branches in the department, and transfer it into tapes.
Ms. Moorcroft: I recognize that the information management systems do not fall under the Department of Community and Transportation Services. However, whenever we see a large amount of money being spent on computer workstations, I have to ask whether or not they are going to have to be upgraded or changed in order to fit in with the systems that are being put in place elsewhere; for example, the system upgrade that is necessary to enable Justice and Community and Transportation Services to work together on the collection of fines and the imposition of administrative penalties through motor vehicles.
Has there been an overall plan put in place for computer systems? Should it not apply here?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is for adopting current information services branch standards for computer workshops and software. They are trying to get on to a regular standard.
Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space in the amount of $9,000 agreed to
On Emergency Measures
On Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This branch coordinates emergency preparedness and response and the training of volunteers in communities, and works with other organizations, such as the Government of Canada, local government, Indian bands and so on, in preparation. It leads emergency response teams in actual emergencies; for example, the Old Crow fire evacuation and, after that, the Pelly evacuation.
Office furniture, equipment, systems and space budget of $10,000 is for the acquisition of two personal computer terminals to be used by emergency measures personnel and the emergency operations centre officials.
Emergency measures has two main projects for 1996-97: emergency measures operation material for $50,000, which is required to acquire materials designed to foster and enhance institutional, community and governmental readiness for major disasters; and $35,000 is budgeted to equip the joint emergency operation centre with an alternate communications system to augment voice and radio links and to assist unincorporated communities with local emergency operations centre development. Other 1996-97 projects include emergency measures equipment for $20,000; dangerous goods response kit for $20,000; and $20,000 for a Watson Lake emergency command vehicle.
Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
On Emergency Measures
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Emergency measures has two main projects for 1996-97. There is emergency measures operation material in the amount of $50,000 required to obtain materials designed to foster, enhance institutional, community and government readiness for major natural disasters.
There is $35,000 budgeted to equip the joint emergency operation centre with alternative communication systems to augment voice and radio lengths and to assist unincorporated communities with local emergency operation centre development.
Other projects include emergency measure equipment, $20,000; dangerous goods response kits, $20,000; and Watson Lake emergency command vehicle, $20,000.
Emergency Measures in the amount of $145,000 agreed to
On Community TV and Radio
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This provides operation and maintenance for the Yukon VHF radio communication system for the Yukon Territorial Government and the Government of Canada. It provides operation and maintenance for television and radio transmitters delivering CBC services. These facilities are shared with groups operating in the public interest. The branch represents Yukon interests and national policy making and regulatory forums on communication issues. The branch serves all Yukon people by ensuring that private and public communication service needs are met. The communication and television radio budget of $10,000 is for equipment replacement. This project is for the replacement of obsolete television broadcasts and other equipment and shelters that are uneconomical to repair.
Ms. Moorcroft: I note that the department spent more money last year repairing and replacing community television and radio facilities. When this money is spent, can the Minister indicate how many systems might be left that still need repair?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We have spent money for the last couple of years doing upgrading, and they should all be pretty well upgraded now.
Community TV and Radio in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
On VHF System
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The VHF system budget of $45,000 consists of two projects. The mobile portable replacement for $20,000 is to cover the replacement of worn out and obsolete units that are used in Yukon territorial government vehicles. Multiple department and mobile radio system funding of $20,000 is to purchase shelf interface modules and a mobile data interface system to permit the transmission of voice communication and electronic data.
VHF System in the amount of $45,000 agreed to
Office of the Deputy Minister in the amount of $219,000 agreed to
On Corporate Services Division
Chair: Are there any questions in general debate?
Are we prepared to go line by line at this time?
On Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This line item provides support to departmental program managers in areas of finance, systems and administration functions. The highlights of the furniture, equipment and systems budget of $15,000 is for enhancement to the budgeting, financial reporting, leave accounting and to various other department financial processing systems.
Ms. Moorcroft: Can the Minister tell me how many, if any, workstations are being purchased with this $15,000?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This is just for general upgrading. We do not have the exact number.
Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space in the amount of $15,000 agreed to
Corporate Services Division in the amount of $15,000 agreed to
On Transportation Division
Chair: Are there any questions in general debate?
We will go line by line at this time.
On Transportation Facilities
On Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This branch is to provide division programs with automated equipment systems and office furniture required to support the program; plan, construct, operate and enforce the transportation regulatory regime for which the Yukon government is responsible; and to conduct an upgrade of transportation maintenance camps and workshops to maintain Yukon territorial government transportation equipment and provide related services to other government departments and agencies.
The main project under furniture, equipment, systems and space's is computing equipment and systems, which consists of four subprojects. Transportation engineering has $46,000 for the continuation of the record-drawing system and to purchase three personal computer terminals and one laser printer; airport has $8,000 for the purchase of a workstation and the wiring for airport locations; transportation services has $67,000 to provide maintenance and enhancement to meet changing demands in the vehicle registration system.
There is a data base and the motor transportation board, the driver record system, the carrier profile system and the weigh scale station system and for the purchase of five workstations and a printer and transportation maintenance. There is an amount of $16,000 to purchase work stations for three grader stations and upgrade various local area networks, hardware and software. The two other projects are office equipment and furniture for $16,000 and office accommodation, $24,000, for transportation engineering and transportation maintenance.
Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space in the amount of $177,000 agreed to
On Regulatory Facilities
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Regulatory facilities has a budget of $15,000 to provide weigh scale and vehicle inspections stations with upgrade and repair work necessary for ongoing regulatory enforcement.
Regulatory Facilities in the amount of $15,000 agreed to
On Maintenance Camp Facilities and Equipment
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Maintenance camp facilities and equipment has a budget of $470,000, which consists of three projects. It has a facilities budget of $200,000 for the replacement and upgrading of existing maintenance camp facilities. There is a camp maintenance budget of $145,000 to provide highway maintenance camps and workshops with minor upgrade work necessary for ongoing operations. Sundry equipment has a budget of $125,000 for the purchase of new and replacement of small equipment, such as survey instruments, portable scales, water pumps, chainsaws and hand-operated power tools, et cetera.
Maintenance Camp Facilities and Equipment in the amount of $470,000 agreed to
On Transportation Engineering and Planning
On Transportation Planning
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Planning and transportation develops studies and analyzes them for identifying capital and O&M requirements. The budget of $300,000 provides funding for the transportation capital planning section. This section is responsible for examination of transportation facilities, needs and capital requirements.
Mr. McDonald: I have heard some concerns from surveyors and engineering companies about the lateness of tenders being let, not just by this branch but by the department, for survey work and oftentimes the tenders are let in September or October for projects that had been approved in the budget itself. This, of course, puts some of the survey work into the wintertime and increases people's costs and obviously makes the whole project more difficult. Does the Minister have a response to that? Has he heard those concerns?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Actually, none have come to me but it is quite possible. I will look into it and see if the contracts are put out that way. They have a great deal of money to put out at that time, so it may be. The Member's request is reasonable and I will certainly talk with the department about it.
Mr. McDonald: I appreciate that. Of course, the survey work that I refer to is all of the survey work, some of which is done by the lands branch and some of which is done by the transportation and engineering branch.
One other concern that was expressed was that for large highway projects the local surveyors feel there is an assumption on the part of the branch that local companies cannot do the work, and the department goes to outside companies on the grounds that they have the expertise - they do not feel that local people have the expertise. Has this concern been raised with the Minister?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, this concern has not been raised with me, but I will also look into that for the Member and get back with some information on both subjects.
Mr. Harding: Do we find any project-specific funding in this line item? For example, does transportation, planning and engineering provide an overall look at the Yukon, or would it be specific with regard to a specific road in terms of engineering?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: This is for planning and transportation development studies and analyses for identifying capital requirements and resulting changes to operation and maintenance requirements for the Yukon. The funding will cover the cost of both in-house staff salaries and consulting services for transportation planning.
The project provides funding for the transportation planning section responsible for the examination of needs for transportation facilities. The section encourages public participation in transportation planning. This function was included in the planning budget for transportation engineering until 1986, when it was changed to be shown as a project under highway construction. Planning and engineering separately identified this work and now indicates an increased emphasis on the importance to divisions operations.
Mr. Harding: Does this branch do any work on the discussions with Cominco proponents of the Kudz Ze Kayah project regarding the potential need for expansion of the Campbell Highway from the Kudz Ze Kayah turnoff, through Ross River-Faro, to the Faro portion of the Campbell Highway?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Yes, it is part of it. Other parts of the branch also worked on that with both mining companies. We are looking at the road to see what can be done to improve it, and and we are also trying to find out when those mines are going to start running.
Mr. Harding: Are there any potential cost estimates at this point or have any options been identified as being preferable to the other? I understand it can potentially be done in two ways - going out the other way toward Watson Lake or going through the Ross River-Faro area. Of course, we would obviously prefer the Ross River-Faro option for the economic activity that road improvement would bring.
Have there been cost estimates done and a preferable option identified?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: We have rough estimates, but we have still received no decision from either one as to which way they want to go: whether they want to go the Skagway way or go to B.C. Rail. That is about all we know.
In one conversation I had with Cominco, I was told that we would have one year's lead time from the time that it was ready to begin, but we are already surveying and trying to take out a few of the corners on the narrow parts. It is not good enough for when the trucks start running, but it is a start to realign it.
We do not know which way they are going to go. I do think, in fairness to them, that they do not really know at the present time either, or about the costs involved with whichever way they go.
Mr. Harding: Does the extra work and straightening corners that the Minister is talking about go in the operation and maintenance or the capital budget?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It goes in the capital budget.
Hon. Mr. Devries: Naturally, in Watson Lake, the only way its residents think the ore should go is through Watson Lake.
Mr. Harding: If they had a good MLA, they might win that argument - just kidding.
I would like to ask the Minister if he could give me some of the preliminary cost estimates - with the understanding that they are just ballpark figures - so that I know what we are looking at for dollars.
Hon. Mr. Brewster: I will do that. I would also like to go on record as saying that I am not favouring either one of them - I am neutral.
Transportation Planning in the amount of $300,000 agreed to
On Transportation Engineering (materials and inventory management)
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The budget of $460,000 consists of two projects: transportation engineering support and highway inventory management in the amount of $260,000 for several small items, such as engineering that arises on short notice for minor projects, reconstruction projects too small to list separately, and the replacement of small items; land and land granular resource management in the amount of $200,000 for the management of all land required in the delivery of the program, such as the rights-of-way, et cetera, identification of granular material sources, and the development and maintenance of granular site use plans.
Ms. Moorcroft: I would like to ask the Minister if there are departmental funds available to help improve highway access from driveways on to highways, if needed, in this line item?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: No, there are no such funds in this item at all.
Ms. Moorcroft: If it is not in this item at all, I would like to ask the Minister whether or not it is in the departmental budget in another place?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Primarily, it is the responsibility of the owner to join their roads to ours. They have to come up to our standard, but they supply a road up to there. If there is an exceptional case, we will look at it, but ordinarily it is up to the owners to come out to the road. It is not our road; it is their road.
Transportation Engineering (materials and inventory management) in the amount of $460,000 agreed to
On Highway Construction - Non-YTG funded
On Alaska Highway
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The reconstruction of kilometre 1364 to kilometre 1966 has $25 million allocated for the reconstruction to standard with BST surface on all unimproved portions north of Haines Junction. The project is recoverable under the Shakwak project.
Alaska Highway in the amount of $25,000,000 agreed to
On Campbell Highway
Hon. Mr. Brewster: The Campbell Highway reconstruction and BST from kilometre 0 to kilometre 50 has a budget of $100,000 to BST previous reconstructed areas from kilometre 31 to kilometre 33, and kilometre 45 to kilometre 50. The project is cost shared at 50 percent under the Canada/Yukon strategic highway improvement program.
Ms. Moorcroft: I would like to ask the Minister if he could tell me - I guess I should wait and ask him under the same highway under Yukon government funding - when the government plans to reopen the Tuchitua maintenance camp?
Hon. Mr. Brewster: It is now open and it will stay open during the summer.
Campbell Highway in the amount of $100,000 agreed to
On Top of the World Highway
Hon. Mr. Brewster: Due to the time, I move that you report progress on Bill No. 10.
Motion agreed to
Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of the Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Millar: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 10, First Appropriation Act, 1996-97, and directed me to report progress on it.
Speaker: You have heard the report of 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 acting Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 5:29 p.m.
The following Sessional Paper was tabled April 2, 1996:
Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of the Yukon on two by-elections held February 5, 1996. (Speaker Devries)
Transfer Agreement of Yukon Arctic A Airports from the Government of Canada to the Government of Yukon (effective March 20, 1996); Agreement Highlights; Backgrounder for Whitehorse and Watson Lake Airports (Brewster)