Monday, March 24, 1997 - 1:30 p.m.
Vacancy in Vuntut Gwich'in
Clerk: Hon. members of the Assembly: on February 27, 1997, the Administrator of Yukon issued Commissioner's Order 1997/01, which reads as follows:
"Pursuant to section 17 of the Controverted Elections Act and to the report of the Hon. Mr. Justice R.E. Hudson, I hereby declare that the election of Robert Bruce in the constituency of Vuntut Gwich'in is void and set aside."
When the election of Mr. Bruce was declared void and set aside, Mr. Bruce ceased to be the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
Therefore, as required by law, nominations are invited for the office of Speaker of this Assembly.
ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Mr. Clerk, I move, seconded by the Leader of the Official Opposition and the Leader of the third party
THAT Doug Livingston, member for the electoral district of Lake Laberge, do take the Chair of this Assembly as Speaker.
Clerk: It has been moved by the Hon. Mr. McDonald, seconded by the Leader of the Official Opposition and the Leader of the third party
THAT Doug Livingston, Member for the Electoral District of Lake Laberge, do take the Chair of this Assembly as Speaker.
Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Clerk: I think the ayes have it, and by direction of the Assembly declare that Doug Livingston has been duly elected as Speaker of this Assembly.
Motion No. 37 agreed to
SPEAKER'S ADDRESS TO THE ASSEMBLY
Speaker: I would like to thank the Assembly for the honour that you have given me by electing me Speaker of this House. I endeavour to serve this House in a fair manner, as befits the Speaker's role.
I will now call this House to order.
We will proceed at this time with prayers.
O Creator, we thank You for this day and give thanks for this opportunity to deliberate on behalf of our communities and for all Yukoners.
We ask for guidance and for wisdom.
May we be good listeners, clear thinkers and careful stewards as we actively work and make decisions leading into the next century.
INTRODUCTION OF PAGES
Speaker: It gives me great pleasure to announce that the following students will be serving the House as legislative pages for the spring sitting. They are Naomi Brault, Marci Davidson, Jillian Ewert, Jackie Jules, Amy Klassen, Brianne Meister, Caitlin Moorcroft, Laura Pyke, Betsy Sinclair and Jonathan Steele from Riverdale Junior Secondary School in Whitehorse, and B.J. Horsey and Jonathan Osborne from St. Elias Community School in Haines Junction. Today we have with us Amy Klassen and Jackie Jules from Riverdale Junior Secondary School, and I would ask the members to welcome them to the House at this time.
We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
Notice of business
Hon. Mr. Harding: The House Leaders have reached certain agreements about the management of House business for this week. At this time, I wish to outline those agreements for the House. Today there will not be a Question Period. Following completion of daily routine, the Opposition House Leaders will notify the House, pursuant to Standing Order 14.2, of the items to be called when the House proceeds to private members' business on Wednesday, March 26, 1997. It is agreed that the third party may identify a motion to which notice will be provided today. We will then proceed to the budget speech and begin second reading of the main appropriation bill for 1997-98.
The Leader of the Official Opposition will move adjournment of debate and the House will then adjourn until Wednesday, March 26.
On Wednesday, the House will do Daily Routine and then go to private members' business. The business for that evening is not yet fully established, but it is intended to include second reading and the Committee of the Whole stage for the interim supply bill, consideration of a motion to recommend appointment of an ombudsman and consideration of a measure respecting Cabinet commissioners and their role during ministerial statements, Question Period and in Committee of the Whole. If time permits, we may call the interim supply bill for third reading.
On Thursday, March 27, when the House moves to Orders of the Day, we will complete proceedings on the interim supply bill, if that has not already been done, and then receive the Commissioner to grant assent to that bill. We will then resume the budget debate by continuing second reading of the main appropriation bill for 1997-98.
In order to fulfill the agreements reached between the House Leaders about the conduct of business for this week, it will be necessary, on occasion, to request the unanimous consent of the House to set aside the Standing Orders. At this time, I would request the unanimous consent of the House not to call Question Period today. I would also request unanimous consent to allow the third party, notwithstanding the requirements of Standing Order 14.2(3), to identify the debate on Wednesday on a motion for which notice is provided today.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: Unanimous consent has been granted.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
In Remembrance of George Shaw
Mr. Jenkins: I rise today to pay tribute to a long-time Yukoner and a dear friend who passed away January 12th at the age of 85. George Shaw was born in England, but his Yukon story began when he first came to Dawson City in 1937 to mine for gold. He later met Agnes in Vancouver, and they were married in 1942.
Like many who come to the Yukon, what was supposed to be for only two years in Dawson turned out to be many, many more years.
George served on the territorial council from 1958 to 1970. George was a strong voice representing the City of Dawson and the Klondike, and indeed Yukon. During the time he served as a member of council, his accomplishments were many: restored buildings, the Front Street dike, senior citizen housing, financial assistance that saw the beginning of the Klondike Visitors Association were just some.
George was first a miner, then a jeweller and went on to own and operate the Klondike Nuggets and Ivory Shop. His goldwork was world renowned and was showcased at the exposition in Montreal.
Many will also recall Shaw's formula. This formula, still in use today, was created by George to determine the purity of gold from the various creeks in the Yukon. George himself could virtually identify the source of the gold, sometimes right down to the exact claim. This formula certainly worked, as it was accepted by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
The Shaw house was always open to everyone, and George insisted on being called by his first name. George was a gentleman and a dear friend of mine. As my mentor, he frequently provided me with political advice and has played an important role in my life.
His contributions to the Yukon will be remembered as well as his sense of humour, love of life and patriotism to the Yukon and Canada.
George was awarded the Order of Canada in 1973 in recognition of his many accomplishments. George was a faithful pioneer and servant in the Canadian Yukon. He always said, "It was an honour to serve".
I would like to ask this House and members to join me in expressing sympathy to his daughters Diane, Barbara and Judy, his son-in-law, and his many grandchildren.
Ms. Duncan: I rise today to also pay tribute to George Shaw. I first met George Shaw in 1981.
At that time, knowing my interest in politics, he told me several colourful tales of his experience as a Dawson City councillor and of this Legislature.
George Shaw's stories painted a true picture of the history of the Yukon - what it was really like to try to impress upon far removed governments that we may be doing things differently in the Yukon or Dawson City, but that different way was the right way - it suited people up here just fine, thank you.
Mr. Shaw left me with valuable lessons in Yukon politics and with the indelible impression of a statesman, of an individual whose sense of community helped to build the community. He never lost sight of the people he was elected to serve. He was able to talk with crowds and maintain his integrity, long before the public questioned the integrity of politicians.
George Shaw was able, as Rudyard Kipling would say, to walk with kings nor lose the common touch. He was an individual that Yukon history was made of. George Shaw's wit and wisdom may belong to another era, another time in Yukon history. We would be wise to remember the lessons that he has left us.
Hon. Mr. Harding: The members opposite have defined a character in a person well. On behalf of our caucus we would also like to extend our condolences to the family and hope that they may get through this rough time as best they possibly can. Thank you.
Dawson City Nuggets hockey team
Mr. Jenkins: It gives me great pleasure to rise today to pay tribute to the Dawson City Nuggets hockey team. Just as the birth of the Yukon commenced with the discovery of gold in the Klondike, many of the world-class events and attractions in Canada have originated in this same region. In 1905 one of the most famous gold miners sponsored the hockey team to challenge for the Stanley Cup. Their trek to Ottawa to play these hockey games was a feat in itself. These past few weeks we have witnessed the re-creation of this trek to Ottawa and a hockey game in which the outcome was not too far dissimilar from the score achieved in 1905. As in 1905, the Dawson City Nuggets travelled by dogteam, train and by foot to Ottawa. A total of nine days and eight nights were spent on snow machines, sledding, just to get from Dawson City to Whitehorse. As for members of the original Nugget hockey team, this trek has been a great and exciting adventure for everyone involved - an event that will be remembered for a long time to come.
Special thanks must be given to the many sponsors who were responsible for making this event a reality.
The game was held on Sunday and it was a success. It drew a crowd of over 6,000 people and helped raise funds for the Special Olympics, the Heart Institute and minor hockey.
Again, congratulations to the Dawson City Nuggets. Once again, Yukon has succeeded in making a name for itself.
Mrs. Edelman: In 1905, the Dawson City Nuggets hockey team lost 23-2 to the Ottawa Senators alumni. This weekend, the Dawson City Nuggets, 100 years later, only gave up 18 goals. Mr. Speaker, give it another century and we will shut them out.
There were 6,100 fans cheering on the Nuggets this weekend; 360 of those fans received their tickets from the City of Dawson; 180 tickets went to the Children's Hospital of eastern Ontario and another 180 tickets were donated to the Royal Ottawa Health Group. These tickets went primarily to sick children, but they also went to the hard-working staff and the out-of-town families of those sick children.
Hats off to the people of Dawson and the City of Dawson staff, who worked so hard to gather those tickets. Hats off to the people of Dawson, who sent a hockey team to Ottawa, which played the game of hockey the way all sports should be played: they had fun. Congratulations Dawson. Congratulations Dawson City Nuggets. You did good.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again, it does give me great privilege and honour today to rise to pay tribute to a group of Yukoners we can all be proud of: the Dawson City Nuggets.
The Dawson City Nuggets and the many individuals and organizations that worked together to organize and support this event displayed perseverance typical of all Yukoners. In 1905, the Dawson City Nuggets made a long and difficult journey to Ottawa to play against the Senators. On March 1 of this year, the Nuggets once again left Dawson to re-create this historic event. Yesterday evening, the Nuggets and Senators played before television cameras and a crowd of 6,000 people, as has been stated before. My only regret was that we in the Yukon were not witness, visually, to this much-heralded event.
Like Yukoners everywhere, I do believe that I trusted them to do their best and the Nuggets did their very best. In Tlingit, we say [Tlingit language spoken], which simply means "to do your very best to the best of your capabilities". I do believe that that is what they have lived up to and have done. I think their actions and efforts are typical of keeping Yukon history alive and promoting our beautiful land to visitors.
On behalf of my colleagues and of all Yukoners, I would certainly like to congratulate the Nuggets and everyone who helped to make this event a success.
I was there when they started off, along with colleagues who were there. We started off with a dinner of pork and beans - a very typical Dawson City dinner - to start them off. I would like to think now that, when they are coming home, maybe all the energy that they have left now is really just for some beef and some barley. They are coming home on the 26th. I would encourage all Yukoners and all of us here that can get away to go up and greet them home and cheer them as only Yukoners can do.
Thank you very much.
Speaker: Introduction of visitors.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Mr. Cable: I would like to introduce a long-time friend of mine, and long-time political mentor. He has provided me with all my political advice - everything I know about politics, our Senator, Senator Paul Lucier.
Mrs. Edelman: I have another introduction: the former Minister of Health, and that would be Flo Whyard.
Speaker: Are there any returns or documents for tabling?
Are there any reports of committees?
Are there any petitions to be presented?
Are there any bills to be introduced?
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 4: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 4, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1997-98, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 4, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1997-98, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 4 agreed to
Speaker: Are there any further bills for introduction?
Bill No. 5: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 5, entitled Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1997-98, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 5, entitled Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1997-98, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 5 agreed to
Are there any notices of motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mrs. Edelman: I give notice of the following motion:
It is the opinion of this House that
(1) there should be legislation that deals with the profession of midwifery;
(2) the government should examine legislation and initiatives taken in other Canadian jurisdictions that deals with the profession of midwifery and its place in other health care systems; and
(3) the government should then prepare a comprehensive discussion paper for use in public consultations on developing new legislation that will provide a framework for this profession to enter the Yukon health care system.
I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that
(1) current legislation in the Yukon does not adequately protect victims of domestic violence;
(2) the government should examine legislative initiatives recently taken in other Canadian jurisdictions to assist victims of domestic violence; and
(3) the government should then prepare a comprehensive discussion paper for use in public consultations on developing new legislation that will provide a wider range of options in responding to domestic violence.
Ms. Duncan: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT this House urge the Government of Yukon to develop and implement a habitat protection plan for M'Clintock Bay in cooperation with the Yukon First Nations and interested non-government organizations and individuals.
Mr. Cable: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Territorial Court Act should be amended to ensure representation of First Nation and female members of Yukon society on the Judicial Council.
Speaker: Are there any further notices of motion?
Are there any statements by ministers?
Unanimous consent having been granted to dispense with Question Period, we will now proceed with Notice of Opposition Private Members' business.
Notice of Opposition Private Members' Business
Mr. Phillips: Pursuant to Standing Order 14.2(3), I would like to identify the item standing in the name of the Official Opposition to be called on Wednesday, March 26, 1997. It is Motion No. 13, standing in my name.
Mr. Cable: Unanimous consent having been granted earlier, I would like to identify, pursuant to Standing Order 14.2(3), the item standing in the name of the third party to be called on Wednesday, March 26, 1997. It is Motion No. 40, standing in the name of the hon. Member for Riverdale South.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Bill No. 4: Second Reading
Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 4, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. McDonald.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Bill No. 4, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1997-98, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 4, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1997-98, be now read a second time.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Mr. Speaker, hon. members, it is my privilege this afternoon to present a budget to the House that reflects our government's confidence in the future of the Yukon, and provides a positive direction as we move towards the next century.
This budget confirms our pledge not to raise tax rates or impose a health care premium and still permits us to maintain the high level of public services that Yukon people expect and need.
In defining our priorities for the next fiscal year, we have been mindful that territorial revenues from the formula financing agreement have been severely constrained by the federal government.
Although employment in the Yukon has been rising steadily on a year-to-year basis, the recent increase in the unemployment rate is a stark reminder of how important the Faro mine is to the economy.
The closure of the Anvil Range Mine is a major challenge to a new government. It underlines the need for greater diversification.
We are confident that the company and the Faro operation are both viable and that a solution to the current difficulties will emerge to permit operations to begin again.
At the same time, the mining industry is traditionally volatile. Experience has taught us to take a cautious, responsible approach to predicting government revenues.
The challenge for our government has been to realign spending priorities so that we can create the most jobs and accomplish the greatest possible benefit for Yukon people with the resources available.
As the Yukon moves into a new era of responsibility for its own affairs, our government has developed a forward-looking budget that preserves our high standard of education, health and social services.
It demonstrates the steps that we have taken to shield municipalities and non-governmental organizations that receive territorial funding from the negative impact of federal cutbacks.
In addition, this budget indicates our government's firm commitment to jobs, training and the development of a stronger, more diversified economy that provides meaningful opportunities for Yukon workers and Yukon businesses. It includes a substantial investment in affordable housing and community development, in our young people and in the working people of the territory.
Mr. Speaker, although the Yukon remains free of accumulated debt, it is important not to mortgage our future by making commitments now that cannot be honoured later.
The biggest challenge we face is to establish a public spending pattern that meets current realities and will also be sustainable in the future.
My colleagues and I have done that by preparing a budget that meets our commitments on the programming side and is responsible on the fiscal side.
The total budget for fiscal year 1997-98 seeks authority for an expenditure of $452 million dollars, which represents almost $50 million dollars less than the 1996-97 year's anticipated expenditure.
Operation and maintenance expenditures total $363 million, which represents an increase of $8 million, or approximately two percent over the current year. This is largely due to the transfer of community health programs to territorial jurisdiction under the phase 2 health transfer and to the devolution of responsibility for Arctic A airports. These additional responsibilities are funded through an increase to the formula financing transfer from the federal government.
When these program devolutions are factored out, it is evident that we have been able to hold the line on operation and maintenance costs. In fact, we have reduced them slightly.
On the capital side, there is a major reduction in gross spending, due in large part to the completion of the Whitehorse General Hospital and the winding down of the current phase of the Shakwak agreement for reconstruction of the North Alaska Highway.
This reduction is also partly due to the very heavy expenditures in last year's budget, which the previous government financed by drawing down a large portion of the surplus it had at the beginning of the 1996-97 fiscal year.
Mr. Speaker, I am seeking authority from the Legislature for a total capital spending of $88.6 million, of which $33.8 million is recoverable from other sources. Our net discretionary spending on capital projects, therefore, will be $54.8 million. This represents a substantial investment by this government in jobs for Yukon people.
While this is a decrease of slightly less than $20 million from the 1996 forecast, we will make an earnest effort to see that Yukon workers and Yukon businesses derive greater benefit from public spending.
On the capital side, there is less emphasis than in recent years on expenditures for internal government operations such as cars, computers and office furniture.
An amount of $5 million has also been set aside for contingencies.
The combined 1997-98 budget for capital and operation and maintenance calls for a deficit for the year of just under $10 million. This will leave an accumulated surplus, or bank account, of $15.3 million, which is double the surplus predicted in last year's main estimates.
This is not a huge comfort zone but, at three percent of total spending, it allows us to absorb an unforeseen reduction in revenue and still keep the Yukon debt-free.
With anticipated year-end lapses - in other words money budgeted but not spent - I believe the budget proposals in the 1997-98 main estimates represent a reasonable and responsible level of spending. Certainly, last year's level of deficit would not have been sustainable and, if continued, would have left the territory extremely vulnerable. A $10-million deficit level can be sustained given the historic level of year-end lapses. This will allow government to meet its obligations to provide quality public services to the people of the Yukon with no need for cutbacks or public service layoffs. It allows us to create jobs through capital works, such as schools, roads and community facilities, while working with Yukon people to develop balanced long-term capital plans for future years.
I emphasize that this will be achieved with no territorial sales tax, with no increase in income tax, business tax, commodity tax rates, and with no increase in property tax rates, and with no health care premium. This fulfills a major commitment to Yukon people.
Mr. Speaker, last autumn, our government made many other commitments, which I am proud to say we are meeting. We said we would restore the fundamental right of free collective bargaining to Yukon teachers and other public employees. We did this at the start of the session by repealing the Public Sector Compensation Restraint Act, 1994. Negotiations with the Yukon Teachers Association have begun, and we will sit down and negotiate in good faith with the Yukon Employees Union when collective bargaining commences.
We said we would bring about a new era in government relations among territorial, federal and First Nation governments. This has already begun on various fronts, including formal meetings between First Nation leaders and the government caucus and Cabinet.
One direct result of this new climate of cooperation and trust was the signing of historic agreements between our government and 14 First Nation governments. These relate to how we deal with the federal government on the transfer of Northern Affairs programs to Yukon control.
There have also been very productive exchanges with the federal Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs on a number of issues, including land claims, forest policy and the oil and gas transfer.
We said we would create a workers' advocate position to help injured workers deal with their claims and get through what often seems like a frustrating process. We have done that.
The Public Service Commission is currently recruiting a workers' advocate, who will report directly to the Department of Justice.
We said business and labour groups would be properly consulted on the appointment of a chair for the Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board. This too is underway.
We said we would provide predictable long-term funding to non-government organizations that receive financing from the territorial government. We are doing that. The Minister of Health and Social Services has met with many of these organizations to discuss their needs. Government has approved a plan to provide predictable funding, and we will be discussing it with NGOs in the near future.
We said that the important services provided for so many years by the operators of Maryhouse and St. Joseph's shelter for men should continue. We have provided those services directly through a temporary arrangement since the beginning of the year. The Department of Health and Social Services is currently working with community organizations on a more permanent arrangement to assist homeless men and women in Whitehorse.
We said we would help the Victoria Faulkner Women's Centre find a suitable, permanent home. We are doing that. The Yukon Housing Corporation and the Women's Directorate have been working closely with the centre and a solution is not far off.
We said we would give Yukon people more of a voice in issues about policing and justice priorities. The Minister of Justice conveyed the concerns of Yukon people about violence against women to her federal, territorial and provincial counterparts. They unanimously endorsed her proposals for studying how the Canadian justice system addresses this issue.
In cooperation with the RCMP, we are also expanding community policing initiatives.
Mr. Speaker, these are a few of the commitments we have already honoured in the short time we have been in office. There were also several obligations, passed on by the previous government, that we will honour, even though they have a considerable ongoing impact on both capital and operation and maintenance budgets. These include grade reorganization, the Beringia Interpretive Centre and the new downtown visitor reception and Tourism business centre.
Commitments under the centennial anniversaries and centennial events programs will also be honoured. These items alone have a cumulative impact of over $11 million on the main estimates.
This is a crucial time in the life of the Yukon. Decisions made now will have a significant impact on the territory well into the 21st century. Our government has made an unshakable commitment to place the settlement and implementation of First Nation land claims and self-government agreements at the top of the public agenda. We believe that this is the will of the Yukon people, so that we can move forward together with certainty and a sense of confidence in a shared future.
To date, four First Nations are beginning to implement their final agreements. Another three - the Ta'an Kwach'an, the Selkirk and the Little Salmon-Carmacks First Nations - are very close to concluding their land claims and self-government agreements. The remaining seven First Nations with whom we are negotiating, along with the federal government, have given a clear signal of their desire to see these agreements concluded quickly and honourably. This is our mission and we are moving to bring those negotiations to a successful conclusion.
Resources of the Land Claims Secretariat have been increased to add another negotiating table. With a new chief negotiator in place and two new principal negotiator positions about to be staffed, we are prepared for a major increase in negotiating activity during the coming year. Our government will also continue to work cooperatively with First Nation governments and the federal government to negotiate the orderly transfer of Canada's northern affairs programs to Yukon control.
All the three orders of government want to proceed quickly with this process. It is our intention to have the terms of that transfer in place by next year.
Once again, the 1997-98 budget allows for increased focus on the devolution process so that these time lines can be met. At the same time, we are working to achieve greater control of our own destiny. We will also keep our eyes on our wider horizon.
In spite of our relative isolation geographically, Yukon people are very much a part of the modern world. Global market forces affect us just as they affect the rest of the world. This is particularly evident in the two major areas of our economy: mineral resources and tourism. By the same token, we share the same responsibility to protect the environment as does everyone else.
In the five months since we were sworn in, my colleagues and I have taken significant steps to demonstrate our commitment to act as good neighbours to the surrounding jurisdictions of Alaska, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.
The Minister of Community and Transportation Services recently visited Yellowknife to explain the Yukon's plan to keep the Dempster Highway open year round. After a capital outlay of $500,000 this year for snowdrift control, this plan will save $400,000 per year in O&M costs.
There have been several meetings with British Columbia officials to discuss mutual areas of concern, including shared highways and the impact on Yukon operators of impending deregulation in the B. C. trucking industry.
Last week, we were honoured to host a delegation of legislators from Alaska. Their visit coincided with an announcement that both Houses in the Alaskan Legislature had unanimously passed a resolution requesting Congress to allocate $94 million to complete the remaining 170 kilometres of the Shakwak reconstruction project.
I have written to the Governor of Alaska seeking his formal support for that request, and we look forward to meeting in the near future to discuss many matters of mutual interest. In my letter, I raised a number of issues with the governor, including our ongoing concern about the future of the Porcupine caribou calving grounds and the 1002 lands of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Our government continues to support the efforts of the Vuntut Gwitchin people to oppose oil and gas development in this critical wildlife habitat.
I also met recently with the Mayor of Skagway to discuss Yukon's interest in promoting public access to the port of Skagway. Our government recognizes the importance of this port to the territory's economic future, particularly as we examine the possibilities of developing markets for Yukon products in the Pacific Rim countries.
In January, the Yukon took part in the Team Canada trade mission to South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines. That experience made it obvious that there is much our government can do to assist Yukon businesses to explore trading opportunities abroad for their goods and services. In the long run, this creates employment for Yukon people.
Since participating in that trade mission we have had discussions with various local business people about what form that assistance might take. We will be stepping up those efforts this year.
The Minister of Economic Development has followed up on the Team Canada mission by discussing potential Asian markets with the Asia Pacific Foundation and the British Columbia government officials.
The Minister of Tourism has just returned from Germany and Switzerland where he met with key members of the tourism industry in this important marketplace, to promote the Yukon as a tourist destination. He also initiated discussions towards finding solutions to the critical issue of securing direct air access from Europe to Whitehorse.
The minister also represented our government at the founding conference of the Arctic Council in Norway. We are hoping to be able to host the council's second annual conference in Whitehorse next year.
This affirms our determination to play an active role in circumpolar activities through avenues such as the Arctic Council and the northern forum.
Pursuing such activities vigorously and responsibly will help to improve future economic prospects for the territory and allow us to acquire valuable information about our world. It will also help ensure that Yukon's voice is heard on the global stage.
Mr. Speaker, this government believes that Yukon people are entitled to good services from their government and that all communities deserve our recognition and support.
This is particularly true when a community experiences a major setback as Old Crow did recently with the loss of its school to fire. The response of this government was immediate and well coordinated.
I would like to express sincere gratitude to the hundreds of people from around the territory, and across Canada, who gave so generously to Old Crow in its time of need.
I would especially like to thank the Canadian Forces Northern Command for arranging to have a Hercules transport plane made available to deliver necessary school supplies and furniture to our most northerly community.
At the same time, I would like to pay tribute to the many people in Old Crow and within our public service who responded to the emergency with such evident concern and dedication.
Our government will continue to work with the people of Old Crow to ensure that their needs and wishes are respected in the design and construction of a new school.
To begin the planning, $500,000 has been set aside. This budget also allocates $700,000 to replace teachers' residences. This work will take place this summer and will provide training opportunities and jobs for Old Crow residents.
Just as our government responded quickly to the situation in Old Crow, we also responded quickly to last November's surprise announcement from the Anvil Range mining company that it was temporarily shutting down its mining operation in Faro. An interdepartmental working group was quickly assembled, with help from the federal government, to make sure that the needs of the people of Faro were addressed promptly and in a coordinated fashion.
That team continues to work with the residents and our government has been discussing with the mining company possible ways we can assist in getting the mine up and running again.
On a longer term basis, our government vowed to restore the community development fund, which, in the past, provided opportunities for Yukon communities to improve infrastructure and provide jobs and valuable work experience for their residents. We are honouring that commitment by including $2 million for a new community development fund in the 1997-98 budget.
In keeping with our pledge to involve people in the decisions that affect them, we have begun consultations to learn first-hand from people in the communities how they want to see the fund structured and administered. While the final terms of reference will be designed after consultation, the CDF is expected to be the kind of vehicle that would allow such projects as the Kluane First Nation's proposed community centre in Burwash to be realized.
To provide for immediate needs prior to the establishment of the community development fund, our government introduced a special program this winter called the community projects initiative. With a budget of $1 million over two years, the CPI will assist a wide variety of community groups to launch projects and job training, upgrading of community facilities and cultural events.
I am pleased to announce that we will maintain municipal block operating grants at the current levels despite federal cuts to the Yukon. In many provinces, similar cuts have been passed down to municipal governments.
The capital budget also reflects a commitment of $11.2 million to complete the current phase of the Shakwak project, including the White River bridge. It includes over $4 million with the much-needed improvements to the South Alaska Highway, $2.7 million for the Campbell Highway and another $2.5 million for the Top of the World Highway. In addition, the Yukon government's financial participation in the Whitehorse sewage treatment project continues in the amount of $1.3 million and in the reconstruction of the South Access Road in the amount of $3 million. We will continue to work with the community of Dawson City regarding capital projects that can be undertaken in future years once community priorities have been determined. The same process of community-based decision making will apply to other Yukon communities as well.
I am also pleased to note that we have earmarked $408,000 as the territory's share of this year's Canada/Yukon infrastructure program. We expect that our contribution will be matched by both federal and municipal governments and will help create jobs for Yukon people in their own communities.
In rural Yukon, the Department of Community and Transportation Services will initiate consultations with residents about the level of facilities and services they would like the territorial government to provide. The rural services policy paper, which will outline a variety of issues and options, will be circulated within the next few months. Our government recognizes that Yukon people want a choice in terms of the land that can be developed for housing. The department will continue to ensure an adequate supply of urban, serviced housing lots, and has allocated funds in this budget to plan future development of country residential lots.
Mr. Speaker, our government also recognizes that access to decent shelter is a fundamental requirement for all people. There is clearly a need for housing that is within the means of families of various economic levels. In that regard, I am pleased to announced a major new affordable housing initiative to address the needs of many mobile home residents.
The Yukon Housing Corporation is working with Department of Community and Transportation Services and the City of Whitehorse to finalize a mobile home strategy that will be introduced during this sitting. It will deal with a wide variety of issues, including health and safety concerns, availability, tenure and cost of land and access to financing to purchase land.
The Yukon government will review health and safety regulations, as well as the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords. The government is also prepared to enter into partnerships with the municipal and First Nation governments, the private sector and individuals to expand the options available to mobile home residents.
Mr. Speaker, Canada's cherished social safety net is under considerable pressure. Drastic cuts in education, health care and basic social services have occurred in many jurisdictions. Our government believes we have a moral obligation to ensure that Yukon people continue to have access to the highest possible standard of health, education and social services. This is reflected in our budget. Total expenditure in these three areas is $201 million, which represents 44 percent of our total spending for 1997-98.
In the area of health and social services, this budget shows an increase of $8.8 million in operation and maintenance expenditures. Most of this is a result of the agreement we concluded earlier this year with the federal government to complete the transfer of community health care to Yukon control.
As of next Tuesday, all health care in the territory, except for programs that the Department of Indian Affairs provides to First Nations people, will be administered by the Yukon government. This is a big step toward assuming full responsibility for our own affairs. It also gives Yukon people the opportunity to develop a health care system that is more directly responsive to community needs and wishes. In accepting this challenge our government is committed to respecting the priorities of Yukon people in the design and delivery of our health care system.
As you know, Mr. Speaker, the new Whitehorse General Hospital is nearing completion. This budget maintains the current expenditure level for the hospital. At the same time, we are providing capital funds totalling $643,000 for renovations and equipment at Macaulay Lodge, the Thomson Centre and McDonald Lodge in Dawson City for the benefit of Yukon seniors.
There is also an increase of $526,000 for continuing care. The Department of Justice will spend an additional $160,000 for the family violence prevention unit and $80,000 more for the victim services. These combined expenditures will allow the department to provide more comprehensive services to communities outside Whitehorse. Many of the Yukon's essential social services are provided by community-based non-governmental organizations. The development of a stable funding base to allow these organizations to plan their operations on a long-term basis is underway. In the meantime, we have generally set their funding for this year at existing levels, and higher in some cases.
One of the government's most important social roles is to provide our young people with tools they need to be successful in life. Universal access to high quality public education is one of the pillars of our society. Yukon people have a right to be proud of their educational system, and our government will continue to treat it as a priority. Educational spending accounts for $93 million, or 21 percent of the total estimated expenditures.
The Department of Education capital budget for the 1997-98 year shows a total expenditure of $13.2 million, including over $8 million for construction and renovations, much of it associated with the Whitehorse grade reorganization. This includes $3.5 million to renovate Porter Creek Secondary School and $3 million for other school renovations, including the former Christ the King Elementary School, which will now serve as a temporary annex to F.H. Collins Secondary School. Besides the work on the Chief Zzeh Gittlit School, an additional $650,000 has been set aside to upgrade F.H. Collins.
Because we believe our children deserve a safe, secure environment in which to learn, the Department of Education will continue its safe schools initiative.
I am very pleased to announce funding for two major educational projects being undertaken this year. The first is a reading recovery/early intervention program, which is being funded by $400,000. This program is designed to provide practical support for school-age children at risk who often experience severe frustration related to their inability to learn at the same rate as their peers. Whether their difficulties are rooted in medical or environmental factors - or a combination of circumstances - it is important to implement remedial strategies as early as possible to help them function to the best of their abilities.
This investment now will reap benefits down the road both for individuals and for society.
Another major way that we are investing in young people is by creating a youth works program. This involves setting aside $200,000 to help prepare young people for life and work. During the election campaign, we said young people should have a direct say in programs carried out on their behalf. The youth works program demonstrates that principle.
Young people from around the territory will design and administer youth works in association with the Department of Education. They will make the hard decisions about the criteria to be established and what projects will be approved.
Mr. Speaker, the issue of child poverty has received a great deal of attention across Canada in recent months. These statistics are shocking, particularly in a country that has one of the world's highest standards of living. As you know, provincial and territorial social services ministers have reached an agreement in principle with the federal government for a national child benefit program, which was announced in the federal government's recent budget.
Acting on a motion passed unanimously in this House, the Minister of Social Services played an active role in the discussions leading to that agreement. Nevertheless, like many other jurisdictions, we are not happy that the federal government does not intend to implement this program until July of 1998. We will continue to press for an earlier start date.
In the meantime, I am announcing measures that this government is taking immediately to address the needs of Yukon families. We will maintain the existing children's dental program. We are also setting aside $270,000 in new funds in this budget to provide optical care and prescription drugs for school-aged Yukon children from lower income families. Purchasing these items is sometimes not possible, because the parents cannot manage the initial cash outlay.
The department will also provide $30,000 in this year's budget to extend the hot lunch program that is now operating in some Yukon schools. It is hoped that school councils in the community will join us in this effort, which is not only part of our anti-poverty strategy, but also a practical investment in the health and well-being of our young people. This $300,000 investment will complement funding that will be freed up once the national child benefit program comes into effect.
I am not the first Minister of Finance to point out the need to strengthen and diversify our economy. This government is taking concrete steps to accomplish that goal. When our government was sworn into office five months ago, I introduced a new way of conducting public business by setting up four Cabinet commissions.
This approach allows us to put the skills and energy of government private members to work on four areas of priority to the Yukon people. Each commission has the potential to have a profound effect on the Yukon's future economic development.
The budget for the commissions comes from reallocating resources from departments that were already doing policy work in those areas. This form of interdepartmental activity will be a characteristic of our government because it is an effective and efficient way to use public resources.
The Yukon Hire Commission is responsible for exploring ways to ensure the public spending, specifically in the all-important construction sector, and provides significant benefit to Yukon workers and Yukon businesses. Part of the commission's role is to examine government contracting and purchasing practices to make sure that Yukon businesses are being treated fairly. Another task is to identify the training required to allow Yukon people to get good jobs. The Yukon Hire Commission has held a number of initial meetings with business and labour groups, as well as with First Nations and representatives of Yukon College. Recently it began a series of informal discussions in various communities and will continue these community sessions throughout the spring.
The Energy Commission is responsible for a number of significant policy areas, particularly the development of a comprehensive energy policy for the territory. By this summer, the commission will review and make recommendations about electrical rate relief in consultation with the Yukon public. By January of 1998, it will make recommendations on ways to streamline the Yukon Utilities Board process and encourage public participation. It will also be responsible for helping to identify and assess practical and environmentally responsible energy alternatives, such as microhydro, wind, solar, waste wood and geothermal generation of electricity.
The commission has also begun informal consultations with various groups and has begun a series of community visits to develop a direct understanding of how energy issues affect Yukon people and to seek their advice. In the meantime, our government has extended the existing rate relief program for another year and adjusted it to equalize its effect across the territory and encourage energy conservation by consumers.
The Yukon Forest Commission has the major task of helping to develop a made-in-Yukon policy. This policy will benefit all Yukon people once responsibility for natural resources is transferred from federal to local control. The Forest Commission is charged with working to bring about a partnership among the federal, First Nations and territorial governments. It will also help ensure that voices of all stakeholders are heard in forest policy matters.
This includes forestry industry representatives, conservation groups and other forest users who are participants in the Yukon Forest Advisory Council. His goal is to help create a policy framework that will encourage the development of a sustainable forest products industry, while ensuring that intrinsic forest values are maintained for future generations.
A draft Yukon forest strategy is being prepared jointly, and will be released for broader public consultation later this year.
The commission responsible for the development assessment process has also been extremely busy and productive. Its task is to help establish a coordinated process for assessing the environmental, social and cultural impacts of any proposed developments such as a mine, a logging operation or an oil field.
The development assessment process is intended to create a one-window approach to assessing potential developments. It involves regulations that now fall under the jurisdiction of the federal, territorial and First Nation governments.
The commission has participated in target workshops for municipalities, industry and other groups that will ultimately be affected by DAP legislation. The deadline for completion is set for this December 19th.
These four Cabinet commissions have a vital role in helping to create a climate of positive economic growth and responsible, sustainable activity for the Yukon's future.
Our government is demonstrating its ongoing support of the mining industry that contributes so much to our economy. At events such as the Geoscience Forum, Cordilleran Roundup and the recent convention of the prospectors and developers associations, our message has been consistent. The Yukon welcomes responsible mineral exploration, development and production activity and the jobs that it brings.
We will maintain our support for the mining sector, including the infrastructure commitments to Viceroy and BYG Resources. The government will continue to support the Yukon mining incentives program and the geoscience program.
Because of our commitment to ensure that mining takes place in an environmentally responsible manner, our government will continue to support the Whitehorse mining initiative.
Mr. Speaker, at a time when so many people are coming to the Yukon to help us celebrate the decade of centennials, we cannot forget the major impact that tourism has on our economy.
This summer we will be able to enjoy a number of imaginative events related to the Year of Transportation theme.
One of the first visitors to the Yukon this year was the British High Commissioner to Canada, Mr. Anthony Goodenough.
His gift of some fine Welsh gold and his knowledgeable comments about George Carmack, Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie confirm the impact that the Yukon Gold Rush of 1898 has had on the world's awareness of our territory.
As we prepare to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the gold rush, our government is taking steps to help broaden the focus of tourism-related activities.
This year, for example, the department will contribute $60,000 to assist the First Nations Tourism Association. The heritage branch will provide $50,000 for development of work on Rampart House as part of our commitment to the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation to designate this as a territorial historic site.
One major area for potential growth is ecotourism. As a destination for pristine wilderness adventures, the Yukon is second to none. This presents exciting opportunities for local businesses and First Nations and has a tremendous potential to help diversify our economy. In that context, I am pleased to point out that the Department of Tourism will spend an additional $250,000 this year on joint marketing initiatives with airlines to help make it more convenient for overseas visitors to experience the Yukon.
Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the valuable social, aesthetic and economic contribution that the arts community makes to the Yukon. A tangible demonstration of this recognition is a five-percent increase in the annual grant to the Yukon Arts Centre to assist in meeting its programming objectives. I am also pleased to note that the Yukon has now become the second provincial or territorial jurisdiction in Canada to have a comprehensive arts policy.
Mr. Speaker, our government has made it clear that we believe in supporting and cooperating with the small business community. One example will be unveiled for the public shortly when the Canada/Yukon business service centre opens its doors. Our investment of $30,000 in this centre is money well spent. It will give local businesses direct access to information and services that will help them succeed. At the same time, it will help to make people outside the territory aware of what Yukon business people are doing.
Another example of our support for small business is to develop a regulatory code of conduct that will simplify regulatory processes, reduce red tape and assist people to understand what is required of them. This code will set out what steps government departments and agencies must take to ensure that people have a chance to participate in setting the rules that affect them. While the regulatory code of conduct will apply in a wide variety of areas, it will benefit small businesses significantly. Development work will begin this year.
Mr. Speaker, it is also important for Yukon businesses to find external markets for their goods and services. This will bring new job opportunities for Yukon people. It is a process that takes time and it is important to begin developmental work now.
This year, the Department of Economic Development will work with the business community to establish a trade and investment diversification strategy for the territory. The department will invest $200,000 for this purpose this year. We are particularly interested in supporting small Yukon enterprises that have a potential to bring value-added products to markets.
In that context, we will continue to support the agricultural community's efforts to develop an abattoir in a suitable location. The presence of a federally inspected meat processing plant would offer tangible benefits through the marketing of Yukon-grown meat.
These initiatives in mining, tourism, cultural industries and small business demonstrate our confidence in the Yukon's future. By investing now to help bring balance and diversity to our economic activity, we will expand opportunities for Yukon men and women to find meaningful employment.
Mr. Speaker, today I am announcing initiatives our government can take for the future of Yukon people. In the Speech from the Throne on December 4, we promised to work with community leaders, industry, educators, First Nation governments and the federal government to identify opportunities for upgrading apprenticeship and training programs. To honour this commitment, the Department of Education, in association with the Yukon Hire Commission, government departments and Yukon College, will develop a Yukon training strategy during the fiscal year. The goal of that strategy will be to respond to the many training needs of industry, labour, governments, non-governmental organizations, social assistance recipients and individuals who are entering or re-entering the workforce.
While the development of that strategy proceeds, we will help meet training needs by investing $1 million to set up training trust funds. From this fund, the Department of Education has allocated $200,000 for the youth works program and $300,000 this year for a mine training trust fund. This is designed to ensure that Yukon workers are in a position to take advantage of opportunities in the mining sector and that mining companies will have ready access to trained workers here in the territory. Details of the mine training trust fund will be announced after consultations with industry, labour, First Nations and community leaders.
Completion and implementation of land claims and self-government agreements creates an increased demand for specific areas of training. There is also a need to familiarize people with obligations that arise from these agreements. We believe that there is much our government can do to assist in that regard.
This year, the Public Service Commission will invest $250,000 to help provide opportunities for people to gain experience in public service, to share training programs with other governments, NGOs and the private sector, and to develop a common understanding of land claims agreements. It will provide opportunities for employers from other governments, from non-governmental organizations and from the private sector to gain valuable training and work experience with the Yukon government. It will also explore opportunities for Yukon government employees to gain experience with other governments, NGOs and private sector employers.
For example, an urban planner working with the City of Whitehorse might be given an opportunity to work for six months in the Yukon government's lands branch. Similarly, a First Nations economic development officer might choose to work with the consumer and commercial services branch of the Department of Justice on a one-year secondment.
With the cooperation of other governments, NGOs, labour, business and industry, this process could lead to wider opportunities for employee exchanges and shared training. We believe such opportunities would do a great deal to break down barriers between people and to assist public bodies to meet employment equity goals.
Mr. Speaker, at a time when the federal government is reducing its commitments to post-secondary education, I am pleased to report that our government is maintaining its commitment to Yukon College and the Yukon apprentices program.
Yukon College has indicated its intention to pursue the possibility of taking over some of the training programs sponsored by Human Resources Development Canada. At the same time, our government continues to encourage the federal government to increase its financial commitments to training and post-secondary education.
Another indication of the importance our government places on training is the approval of $125,000 under the community projects initiative for a construction training program sponsored by the Kwanlin Dun First Nation. These are all practical ways to supplement the efforts of the Yukon Hire Commission to provide training and work opportunities for women and men in the Yukon.
Mr. Speaker, we often hear it suggested that societies must choose between economic development and a healthy environment. That is an artificial argument. We have an obligation to future generations to build a strong, sustainable economy and to protect the natural environment. It is for this reason that we directed the Yukon Development Corporation not to permit the Yukon Energy Corporation to draw down the water level of Aishihik Lake, the remaining two feet allowable under its water licence. One reason for making this decision was to permit environmental studies on the effects of power generation activities on the lake to be completed. While we are committed to protecting Yukon's lakes and rivers, that decision was not easily made.
We also had to make a decision about the controversial Aishihik caribou recovery program. After consulting with a wide variety of Yukon people in the area affected, our decision to proceed was made reluctantly. We've made a commitment that after the wolf kill aspect of that program is completed, the entire five-year program will be subjected to a rigorous, independent scientific evaluation. We expect the evaluation to provide concrete information that will help us to plan how to protect wildlife species and their habitat without having to resort to such drastic and intrusive measures again.
Mr. Speaker, circumstances force us to respond quickly in these two cases. However, our government strongly believes that with good, long-term planning we can anticipate difficult issues and make reasoned, responsible decisions in consultation with Yukon people.
Consistent with our approach - the long-term planning for future generations - we are committed to protecting Yukon's distinct and unique environment. It is important to note that only six of Yukon's 23 distinct ecoregions are currently represented in the territory's system of parks and protected areas. That will change during the life of this government. The designation of parks and protected spaces will be a cornerstone of this government. This is a multi-year commitment that will involve extensive and broadly based public consultation.
To begin this process, the Department of Renewable Resources will begin developmental work this year on a comprehensive protected areas strategy for the Yukon. Part of our commitment for protected areas is a major extension of the boundaries of the Tombstone Territorial Park. The land claims and self-government agreements with the Tr'ondek Hwech'in First Nation, which we hope to complete this year, will include establishing a process for setting those boundaries. We expect the park will qualify as a distinct ecoregion within the protected areas strategy.
Mr. Speaker, I expect all Yukon people will want to be involved in the exciting process of identifying Yukon parks and protected areas. The decisions of the day will have positive consequences for Yukon far beyond our lifetimes.
In other initiatives related to environmental protection, we recently introduced regulations under the Environment Act that gave the territory authority to clean up contaminated sites and take action against those found to be responsible. This year will also see the adoption of the Greater Kluane Land Use Plan, which may serve as a model for the development of similar plans in other regions of the territory.
Our government also perceives a new leadership role in both environmental and economic issues being assumed by the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment. A reorganized YCEE will be asked to review both the Yukon Economic Strategy and the Yukon Conservation Strategy, as required by law. It is important for the YCEE, as one of the territory's key advisory bodies, to represent a wide cross section of Yukon people. It is equally important that it considers issues in a thoughtful, balanced manner.
With every budget, and particularly with the first budget of a new government, community expectations rise. This budget is no different. While I might wish that our government could meet every expectation that Yukon people have, it is not possible to do so. Some people would like our government to cut taxes, but we can't do that while our revenues are under constraint and the demand for services and infrastructure remains high. Some people would like us to build a new jail or a new administration building or a new school in their community all in the first year of our mandate, but we can't do that either, not without creating a massive debt that would significantly limit our options in the future.
Some people would like us to pick up the tab for health, education, social services and other programs that the federal government has abandoned or curtailed. But again, circumstances do not allow us to do that, no matter how much we might wish we could.
Some people would like us to slash electrical rates, even at the risk of seriously jeopardizing the health of the publicly owned electrical utility. But it would be irresponsible to do that, and Yukon people would not tolerate such recklessness.
Some people would like us to accomplish, in the first few months of our mandate, everything we said we would do during the next four years, but that is an unrealistic expectation.
Having said all that, Mr. Speaker, there are many things our government can do, even at a time of financial constraint. We can set priorities that will allow us to create a pattern of expenditure that can be sustained into the future, and we can do it without raising taxes or imposing health care premiums. We can settle land claims and self-government agreements. We can work cooperatively with other governments to assume federal programs and give Yukon people more direct control over their affairs. We can take steps to diversify our economy and create jobs. We can provide new housing opportunities for people whose financial means may be limited. We can maintain a high standard of education, health and social services, even when funding for these basic necessities is being eroded elsewhere. We can provide predictable funding to non-governmental organizations that deliver necessary services. We can invest in young people and give them hope for the future. We can work with our partners in education to set priorities for school facilities and programs. We can act decisively to reduce child poverty while working with other jurisdictions on long-range plans to help low-income Canadians. We can demonstrate our confidence in the working women and men of the Yukon by providing better training opportunities. We can act decisively to protect our environment and create parks and protected areas for future generations to enjoy. We can even honour expensive commitments left to us by the previous government.
Most importantly, we can provide government that is forward looking and outward looking to help Yukon take its place in the modern world.
Mr. Speaker, we can do all these things and more. We can do these things by listening to Yukon people, by working with them, planning with them, and acting in a way that earns their trust and support. We can do these things because this budget allows us both to meet the realities of today and to chart a positive course for the future.
For that reason, Mr. Speaker, I commend this budget to the House and ask all members to give it their support. Thank you.
Mr. Ostashek: I move that debate be now adjourned.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Leader of the Official Opposition that debate be now adjourned.
Motion to adjourn debate on second reading of Bill No. 4 agreed to
Special Adjournment Motion
Hon. Mr. Harding: I move that the House, at its rising, do stand adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, 1997.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Government House Leader that the House, at its rising, do stand adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, 1997.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Harding: Sorry, Mr. Speaker, I was caught up in the excitement.
I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, 1997.
The House adjourned at 2:47 p.m.