Monday, May 12, 1997 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will call the House to order.
We will proceed with prayers at this time.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
Are there any tributes?
In remembrance of Flo Kitz
Mr. Livingston: I rise in the House today to pay tribute to a friend, a respected colleague, and a one-time neighbour, Mrs. Flo Kitz.
She was born 50 years ago, roughly, on March 30th, 1947, and died last night, May 11th, 1997.
Flo was very dedicated to her husband, her son and her family and that's who I'd like to dedicate this tribute to.
She contributed to Yukon society both professionally and personally, was a very positive, upbeat and intelligent person, with an excellent sense of humour. She moved to the Yukon 25 years ago, shortly after her marriage to Ray Kitz. She worked as a teacher here, as a counsellor and as a vice-principal at Porter Creek Secondary School since its opening in 1982.
Flo always had the best interests of her students in mind and that's what guided her. Over the years, she led professional development activities at Porter Creek and, in the last couple of years, established the teacher advisory program at Porter Creek Secondary, which was a monumental task. It changed the school organization dramatically and enhanced student support.
She worked hundreds of unpaid hours to make the TAP program work and was often at the school in the early mornings, the evenings and on weekends - and this was after she knew that she was ill.
She received the Yukon excellence in education award for this work and for other initiatives that she undertook. She was also a member of the Association for School Health - the ASH Yukon - and the co-chair for a year, among many other community volunteer activities that she was involved in.
She organized events at school, including violence awareness and crime-prevention programs, and was famous in the last couple of years for the red licorice awards at Porter Creek, which recognized the achievements of students across the whole school. She had a knack for reaching those kids, even the hard-to-reach ones, and was appreciated for it and received hundreds of cards from students in the last few weeks wishing her well.
She became ill several years ago but maintained a remarkably positive outlook, worked on her master's in education degree despite a difficult struggle with her health and earned that master's degree in the spring of 1996, completed while receiving various cancer treatments and working full time.
She'll be greatly missed by her friends, colleagues and students, and family in the Yukon and throughout Canada and the world, for she touched many lives.
Our thoughts are with Ray Kitz and their son Jonathan, and Flo's brothers and sisters in southern Canada, and Ray's supportive family that has been here with him through these last difficult days of Flo's life. May they find strength in one another to see them through this time of grief. We thank you Flo for all you gave and for the many lessons that you taught us. We will miss you.
Mr. Phillips: I'd like to rise today, as well, and pay tribute to this very special Yukon person. I had an opportunity to know Flo and the Kitz family personally. I don't think I know anyone who was as well liked by her friends, her students and her colleagues. She worked tirelessly at her job and, even while fighting her illness as the government member has said, went back to improve her own education in attaining her master's degree.
Mr. Speaker, this is a very sad day for the Yukon. We've lost someone who, in her own view, had much more to do. I'm sure that Flo has left a strong legacy with many of us, and many people will pick up on the initiatives that she has begun.
Flo never really gave up, Mr. Speaker, although she only was with us a very short time really in the span of one's life. When she found out that she was ill, she really put in her heart and soul. Some people would give up, but Flo really put her heart and soul into her job, as it always was and even increased her efforts in that area to help others.
Mr. Speaker, Flo Kitz is a real inspiration to all of us and I'd like to express our sincere sympathy to Ray and Jonathan in their time of sorrow. We will not forget Flo Kitz.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, Flo Kitz was my constituent. She was a mother and a wife. She was an educator and a counsellor and she was an activist. I never knew Flo well, though I knew her husband Ray from my days at the city. I do have one memory of her that I will share with you.
I attended the women's awards a couple of years ago. A little late, a tallish woman, wearing a striking white outfit, topped with a turban, strode into the room. She sat at one of the front tables and, eventually, when she went to the stage to do a presentation, I realized who she was. She was confident and she was very much a stateswoman. She was wearing the turban because she was having problems with her hair. Apparently, the battle with cancer was progressing. I know what she was going through.
I know what she was going through. She lost her battle, but she was remembered not for that loss, but, rather, for her life. I pay tribute to Flo Kitz and, on behalf of the Liberal caucus, express my condolences to her family.
National Mining Week
Hon. Mr. Harding: I rise today in my capacity as Minister of Economic Development to draw members' attention to the start of National Mining Week in Canada. This week recognizes the important contributions that the mining industry makes to our economy and quality of life.
As members are aware, the mining industry is a critical component of the Yukon economy. It's the number-one industry and private-sector employer. In 1996, mining spent $110 million in exploration and development and produced over $5 million in minerals. Altogether, the mining industry accounts for a significant percentage of Yukon's economy and directly employs an estimated 1,300 people. It is the cornerstone of the economy. Often we forget how many products we regularly use depend on mining. There are obviously items such as aluminum windows, structured steel for buildings and automobiles, but also more hidden products, such as gypsum and wallboard, the copper wire that allows lights and telephones to operate and the gold and silver used in electronic equipment.
I encourage all members to participate in National Mining Week by taking the time to review the geology display in the foyer and I invite you to the open house at the geoscience office on Wednesday.
Mr. Cable: The mining industry is really the silent engine of our economy. The role it plays in our lives largely goes unrecognized. In Canada, it is a $23 billion industry and we are the world's leading exporter of minerals. Mining supports more than l,000,000 Canadians in 150 communities, and it employs directly 350,000 Canadians.
Canada is the world's largest producer of zinc and a major producer of gold, nickel, silver, copper and aluminum. What's more important, our mining companies, together with our governments, have learned how to mine while respecting the environment - something many countries have yet to learn.
I join in the salute to National Mining Week.
Canada Health Day
Hon. Mr. Sloan: I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all the health professionals in the Yukon on this, Canada Health Day.
Canada's health system is one of our country's greatest social achievements and in the Yukon we have a unique opportunity to build stronger links with our communities and to increase awareness and understanding of health and health care. This broad awareness of health and the health care system allows for greater community and individual involvement in defining health goals.
At the same time, I would like to recognize National Nursing Week. Today, incidentally, is Florence Nightingale's birthday.
Collectively and individually, nurses promote healthy lifestyles and help families cope with sickness and disease. They provide cost-effective, accessible and high-quality care.
Together, we are partners in the health challenge which, fittingly, is the theme for National Nursing Week this year.
Speaker: Introduction of visitors?
Are there any returns or documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I have for tabling the Motor Transport Board annual report for 1995-96 and 1996-97.
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: I have for tabling two legislative returns.
Speaker: Are there any reports of committee?
Are there any petitions?
Petition No. 3
Mr. Ostashek: I have for tabling a very timely petition, entitled "We demand affordable power rates". I say it's timely, Mr. Speaker, because the Utilities Board is hearing YEC's request for a 20-percent power increase today, which is mentioned in the petition.
Mr. Speaker, this petition has only been in circulation for two weeks and already has 1,029 names of Yukoners who are very, very concerned about their power rates.
Mr. Speaker, the petition will continue to be circulated and submitted to the Legislature as it comes in.
Speaker: Are there any bills?
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 101: Introduction and First Reading
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, I move that a bill, entitled Domestic Violence Prevention Act, 1997, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Member for Riverdale South that a bill, entitled Domestic Violence Prevention Act, 1997, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 101 agreed to
Speaker: Are there any notices of motion?
Are there any statements by ministers?
Community development fund: consultation completed
Hon. Mr. Harding: I rise today to announce that public consultations have been completed on the development of the new CDF, which fulfills a commitment made by our government to the Yukon public in the last election campaign. It is the policy of our government to support the development of strong, healthy communities.
In discussion with community leaders before and during the election campaign, our government recognized the need for a fund to assist with community development. Shortly after taking office, we moved quickly to establish an interim program, the community projects initiative, to meet these needs. The response to the interim program was overwhelming and reinforced the importance of a community development fund.
As part of the consultation on re-establishing the CDF, a survey questionnaire was mailed to First Nation governments, municipalities, non-profit organizations and societies. It was also available to the general public at libraries and Yukon government offices throughout the territory.
Of the 457 questionnaires mailed, 104 were returned. The information from the responses was compiled with the assistance of the Bureau of Statistics and a series of community meetings was held to clarify the results.
The consultation process asked people how they would like the CDF established to serve them and their communities. By conducting such a process, our government can respond to what communities have identified as their greatest needs.
The consultations indicated there were considerable differences between Whitehorse and the communities as to the needs the CDF should address. In rural areas, infrastructure development - and to a limited extent, employment and training opportunities - were identified as priorities by municipal and First Nation governments.
In Whitehorse, community participation was viewed as significant. It was felt that funds should be identified for planning, recreational projects and events.
This information is currently being compiled into a submission for Cabinet review, with options for re-establishing the program. The consultation process for the CDF fulfills our government's promises to involve people in the decisions that affect them and to support our communities.
It also demonstrates our government's belief that Yukon's municipalities are more than tourist destinations and single-industry towns; they are places where people have chosen to live and raise their families. The CDF will help develop strong, healthy communities by providing a way to meet identified community needs. Thank you.
Mr. Ostashek: Mr. Speaker, Standing Order 11(3), on ministerial statements, says, "A minister may make a short, factual statement on government policy."
I suggest to the member opposite that there's nothing in there about government policy. We're still waiting for the policy on the CDF to be developed. All he has done is update the consultation process, which I think is abusing Standing Order 11(3) in this Legislature.
I know that this government is smarting from the criticism that the budget has gotten from the public, as a non-job-creating budget. I know they are trying everything in their power to make it look like they are really doing something about the 15.3 percent unemployed in the Yukon. I would suggest to the minister that Yukoners are looking for some concrete actions, not flimsy statements in this Legislature.
Mr. Cable: The community development fund has, on occasion, been instrumental in helping communities develop worthwhile facilities. Unfortunately, the fund has the perception about it of being a ministerial candy store. Now, during the Economic Development budget debate, I asked the minister whether or not he would put some legislative cloth around this fund - set up a board, much in the same fashion as the business development fund has around it, and put some legislative terms of reference in the act. Now, he allowed that he would think about it, and he sort of scratched his head. Perhaps the minister could tell us if he is prepared to put this fund in an arm's-length position from the government and establish a statute to deal with the fund.
Hon. Mr. Harding: I hope, if there is such a board, it works better than the all-party committee on appointments to boards and committees.
I want to thank the members opposite for their comments. I think our statement is in keeping, certainly, with the precedents of ministerial statements in this House, as long as I have been a member. It's a statement on government policy with regard to supporting communities and developing communities. It's a concrete action that we're undertaking in that regard.
With regard to the unemployment rate, it's a concern, but we believe that unemployment has turned the corner this last month. It's on its way down, albeit slightly, but we believe we have made some significant strides, given that we've lost over 500 to 700 jobs as a result of the Faro mine shutdown, from the period of last April to this April. So, there's a long way to go and a lot more work to be done, but we're glad that it's on its way down. Incidentally, when the Curragh mine shut down, in 1993, the unemployment rate topped out at over 17 percent. Fifteen is not much lower than that, but it is somewhat of an improvement. We think we have some more work to do. Obviously we'll continue to do that. We believe the CDF will help to create some jobs in the communities, and we think that's a good thing.
European Commission/Canada student exchange
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Speaker, in his budget address on March 24, the Government Leader and Finance minister spoke about our government's commitment to being an active participant in the circumpolar world.
As evidence of that policy, I rise in the House today to announce a new study exchange involving Yukon and European students.
To initiate the Yukon College and the European Commission/Canada program for student mobility, three students from northern Sweden will come to the Yukon this fall to study at Yukon College. Students from the Yukon will travel to Rovaniemi, Finland to study at the University of Lapland.
This project is being funded by the European Commission and the Canadian government to promote better information exchange across the Atlantic. Yukon College and the University of Lapland were awarded $250,000 to develop a project that will eventually see 48 students from Europe and Canada spending one to two semesters at host universities.
On the European side, the partners are the University of Lapland in Finland, Umea and Lulea Universities in northern Sweden, and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. On the Canadian side, Yukon College, Aurora College in the western NWT, Arctic Nunavut in the eastern NWT, and the University of Northern British Columbia will participate. Students at each institution are encouraged to develop study plans that are not only of interest to them, but will also be of value to their communities.
The Yukon's first three students are Priscilla Clarkin, Bretton McKinnon and Lise Farynowski. Their areas of study are northern comparative law, northern natural history, and tourism policy and practice in Scandinavia.
The Swedish students who will attend Yukon College next year are from Lulea and Umea Universities. They will be taking courses in the college's Northern Studies program and continuing their own independent research into areas such as North American land claims and community consultation processeses. These are areas in which we excel and which are of great interest to social scientists in northern Europe.
To keep communication ongoing, the Yukon College website will be linking up with the websites of the college's partner institutions, to find out more about their programs.
This week I will meet with Dr. Esko Riepulo, Rector of the University of Lapland, and with President Sally Ross of Yukon College. I will also be present for the signing of the partnership agreement.
Mr. Speaker, northern regions have much to teach and to learn from each other.
I look forward to meeting our Swedish scholars this fall, and to finding out what our Yukon students have learned on their return. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Phillips: We, on this side, support student exchanges of this kind, but I find the ministerial statement somewhat unusual, I guess, because it's not clear in the ministerial statement where the Government of Yukon itself is involved.
It appears that the European Commission and the Canadian government are the ones who funded the project, and the Yukon College themselves have worked on some of the negotiations. It appears that the only role the Government of Yukon has is for the minister to stand up in the House and tell everybody that everyone else is involved and maybe try to take some credit for it.
So, I'd be interested in knowing from the minister whether or not, other than being present at the signing - to stand in the back and watch the individual sign the document - and to make an announcement in the House today and to maybe pretend we're involved more than we are, the minister could maybe advise us: what involvement we did have in this? Were we part of the negotiations of the Government of Yukon or was it done by just the European Commission, the Canadian government and Yukon College, which is an independent body with an independent board?
Maybe the minister could provide that information for us when she replies.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, the previous government didn't seem to consider it to be particularly important to be involved in the circumpolar world. They backed off from participating in the Northern Forum. We're very happy to be starting again to re-establish links with other institutions in the circumpolar area. This is one example of that. I am quite proud of the new study exchange involving Yukon and European students.
Speaker: This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Porcupine caribou herd wintering range protection
Mr. Ostashek: The April unemployment rate figures are in now and the Yukon economy is stagnant, with 500 fewer jobs than there were a year ago in April.
As Yukoners have told this government, there is virtually nothing in this budget that provides them with any optimism for jobs in the coming year. And other actions by this government, such as high power rates and a request for the doubling of the staking ban in the Tombstone area, are making the mining community very, very nervous.
We now have another development that is emerging, and that's the application by Northern Cross to open wellheads that have been capped for some 25 years in the Eagle Plains area and in the range of the Porcupine caribou herd.
My question is for the Government Leader. Could he advise this House what position his government is taking with respect to developing in the range of the Porcupine caribou herd? Does he support the position that was taken by the Yukon Conservation Society that there should be no development in the entire range of the Porcupine caribou herd?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I wonder if the member will forgive me and allow me to respond to so much of his preamble that I must take issue with. I think the member knows himself that that would be expected.
There's a lot in the government's budget, of course, that does deal directly with direct job creation, and there's a lot that supports the job creation in the private sector. The trade and investment strategy that the Minister of Economic Development is promoting is receiving good support from not only the business community but many others who want to expand trading opportunities with other jurisdictions. Then we have a whole series of initiatives in the training area that are sponsored by the Minister of Education that are promoting training of individuals in this territory to take advantage of economic opportunities. We have other ministers, and we have the commissioner, of course, who's pursuing local hire policy development.
There are many things in this budget besides raw spending power that do promote economic activity and do promote job creation, so I have to take issue with the member's preamble.
With respect to the subject of Northern Cross, the position that the Government of Yukon has taken is that we support due process, as the member may be aware. An environmental review was done of the wellhead testing, and there was an environmental report subsequently developed, which was published for all to see, I believe about a week and a half or two weeks ago.
We believe that, when the environmental review process is kicked in, that all people should respect the outcome of that environmental review, so that we maintain our faith in the integrity of the environmental review processes that are in existence today.
Mr. Ostashek: The minister hasn't convinced me that there are jobs in the budget that they put forward, and he certainly hasn't convinced Yukoners of that, no matter what kind of words he says in this Legislature, and we'll do a post mortem on the budget about a year from now and see, in fact, how many jobs it did create.
Mr. Speaker, I'm very concerned about the answer that the Government Leader has given here. We all support due process. That isn't the question I asked. I asked what this government's policy was on development in the wintering range of the Porcupine caribou herd. That should be a very easy question for the Government Leader to answer and let Yukoners know what the position of this government is. Do we support development after due process, or are we against development in the wintering range of the Porcupine caribou herd?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Again, the member is going to have to forgive me when he tries to bootleg some nonsensical claims into the preambles of his question about the Yukon economy and the budget that we're debating in this Legislature. There's a lot that is in this budget. We've delivered at least a couple of ministerial statements every day, announcing new initiatives that apparently don't seem to excite the member opposite but which certainly are quite innovative, in my view, having been around for a while. They not only support Yukoners' abilities to find work, and there is a fair amount of spending, too, both on the capital side in terms of direct job creation and also typically on the operation side, that supports job creation. So, we've been doing a lot to try to promote economic activity in the territory.
Of course, what we did not have was the raw spending power of the tax-and-spend Ostashek government. We've already handicapped ourselves, from the Yukon Party's school of thought, by promising not to raise taxes. So, there are certain limitations that we have to respect here.
With respect to the answer given to the member with respect to the Northern Cross application, I did indicate what the proper answer should be. We do believe in due process when it comes to environmental screening. If a particular project is cleared through an environmental screening report, it should receive appropriate permits.
We have not taken a position that any project that is in the winter range of the Porcupine caribou herd or in the winter range of any other caribou herd in the Yukon should not be eligible for permitting simply because they happen to be in the winter range of a caribou herd. But we have indicated very clearly that we believe that there ought to be an appropriate environmental review process. We believe that the federal government has announced what the results of that environmental review process are and they'll shortly be making a decision with respect to permitting.
Mr. Ostashek: I don't know what to respond to that. The minister has backed me off so I won't give him any preamble on this so that he can get up and make another political speech on his budget.
I am very, very concerned because it appears now that this government has two positions on development on the range of the Porcupine caribou herd. They came out quite clearly and said absolutely no drilling in ANWR. Absolutely not. That's what the NDP said. Now he's saying if, after due process, after we let the federal government wear it all, we're not going to get our hands dirty with this, we will respect due process.
What position is this government taking? Is there development or no development on the range of the Porcupine caribou herd? I'm talking about responsible development that has all the permitting and has passed all environmental hurdles.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Mr. Speaker, the member has quite cleverly mixed apples and oranges here in posing the question in the first place. He's tried to make the claim that the summer range, the core calving area of the Porcupine caribou herd and the winter range are all the same thing. Of course, they are not. We have opposed completely any development activity of any sort in the core calving area of the Porcupine caribou herd, both on the American side and the 10-02 lands and also on the Canadian side now covered by a national park.
So, we have been very, very consistent in that respect - no drilling, no development activity in the core calving area of the Porcupine caribou herd. Any other development work in the winter range of the Porcupine caribou herd - or anywhere else in the territory - ought to follow due environmental review processes.
In our opinion, those environmental review processes have been conducted, and a result has been given, which in this particular case have identified no significant effects on the Porcupine caribou herd at all. So, from an environmental perspective, there is no reason why the application should be rejected.
Question re: Northern Cross
Mr. Ostashek: Well, we're starting to get closer. My question again is for the Government Leader on the same issue of Northern Cross. He's right. The Supreme Court report has been prepared. It has been prepared for quite some time, and my understanding is that the Minister of DIAND, however, delayed the approval for one year, which I think is coming due now, and we're expecting to hear from the Minister of DIAND at any time.
Could I ask the Government Leader: has he apprised the Minister of DIAND of the territorial government's position, that they are supportive of Northern Cross, as long as all environmental safeguards and permits have been issued and that there's going to be no environmental damage? Has he told the Minister of DIAND that that's the government's position?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Mr. Speaker, this member sure knows how to make me nervous. I mean when he said "I agree with the member" or "He's right," I suddenly have this cold chill run down my back, and I suddenly begin second-guessing everything that I've said.
We have indicated to the federal government that we do believe in due process. We understand what the processes were that the Northern Cross proponents went through, and we have expressed that position to the federal minister on a couple of occasions through different ministers.
Mr. Ostashek: I thank the member for that answer. I believe it's important that Yukoners and business people and investors in the Yukon know quite clearly what this government's position is.
Is the Government Leader then saying that this government is taking the position that any operation that goes through the permitting process and has cleared the permitting process will have the support of this government on the winter range of the Porcupine caribou herd?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I realize that the member has run out of supplementaries, unless he's got a punchline some place. Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, this government supports due process. We understand what due process is. In advance of the development assessment process, which is being developed now, there is a sea of legislation. Any development activity has to go through a screening pursuant to that legislation. We believe in that process. We believe that it's as thorough as can exist now, prior to the development assessment process. As long as the development gets cleared through the appropriate processes in place, then this government will support that development.
Mr. Ostashek: I thank the member for that, but the member has to agree with me that due process is one thing. The territorial government has a lot of influence in the due process as to whether an application gets a yea or a nay. I believe it is important that we have that on the record. So, I just have that as a statement. I don't have a last supplementary for the Government Leader, because he has been forthcoming with his answers today for a change.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I would point out to the member that the government wants to be forthcoming with its answers, and certainly I believe that I have been, at every opportunity. As the members opposite have asked so few questions of me in this Legislature, I feel compelled to stand, once again, and just perhaps respond to members' thoughts about our budget again, or about development, or about anything else.
I won't take up too much of Question Period, Mr. Speaker, but I thank the member for that - whatever that was.
Question re: Local hire
Ms. Duncan: My question is for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. On Wednesday last week, I asked the minister why an Edmonton company had been specifically invited to bid on the provision of engineering services for the Copper Ridge subdivision in Whitehorse. Can the minister explain today, in light of this government's commitment to local hire, why the Department of Community and Transportation Services specifically invited an Alberta firm to bid on this contract?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: The member is wrong, absolutely wrong. There is absolutely no way that my department has done that.
Ms. Duncan: I understood that the department had and that is still my understanding.
I'd like to file this picture of an NDP bumper sticker from this fall's election campaign. As a matter of fact, it's taken in front of the Carpenters Union Hall, the former office of the local hire commissioner. The picture is the Yukon Party bumper sticker. It had written on it "Building Yukon's Future" - "Yukon" is crossed out and "Alberta" is written in. "Building Alberta's future". Is this the Community and Transportation Services' policy, that we are building Alberta's future?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: The member is wrong; the member is absolutely wrong. Let me explain to the member opposite - if I can use my Government Leader's words - is mixing apples and oranges and, certainly, I'm not sure which one we are taking a bite out of and I'm not sure if the member opposite knows which one we are taking a bite out of, but we certainly must make our facts certain before we bring anything to the floor of the Legislature.
I would like to say, and I will say, that on April the 16th, 18th and the 23rd, that we only advertised in the Yukon newspapers, the Whitehorse Star and the Yukon News. We did this through consultation - and also it is not a call for invitational tender, it was advertised in the Yukon; it was a public call.
What we are doing here is asking for tender criteria, which has been developed, and that tender criteria was developed with the consulting engineers of the Yukon, and certainly we do give points and extra points, in consultation with those folks again, for the numbers of Yukoners that are brought to work for Yukon content and also the knowledge of what they are doing.
So, absolutely, the member is wrong, although I must say that a firm did put in a bid for it - from Edmonton - well, the moccasin telegraph, or whatever - how they got that information, maybe somebody here shipped it down to them, or something like as such. But, certainly on this point the member is wrong.
Ms. Duncan: The request for proposal has at the bottom of it: cc'd to four firms, three of those firms are resident in the Yukon, the fourth firm - when I looked them up in the phone book - has an Alberta phone number; they are not listed in the Whitehorse phone book. That is Alberta firm and that's a request for proposal.
Will the minister confirm that the request for proposal was specifically sent to an Alberta company? Will he confirm that?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly, Mr. Speaker, I can stick to the line that I've put out and I will stick with that line. We have advertised only within the Yukon and that is where we've advertised. It is public knowledge that on April 16th, 18th and 23rd we advertised in the two Yukon newspapers.
Question re: Collective bargaining
I have some questions for the minister responsible for the Public Service Commission on collective bargaining. It is now five months since this House repealed the Public Sector Compensation Restraint Act and restored collective bargaining rights to public servants and teachers. We haven't heard anything for about six weeks on what's going on.
Now, the House is about to rise, so can the minister give us some kind of status report? Where do the negotiations sit with the teachers, for example? Are we back at the table? When can we expect this worrisome matter to be concluded?
Hon. Mr. Harding: The reason it probably hasn't been discussed is because the members haven't asked me in Question Period. Secondly, Public Service Commission debate in estimates has not come up in Committee of the Whole. I expect it will in the next couple of days, and I look forward to a full discussion. However, there are limits to what I can say, because we are still in the process of negotiations.
YTA, with regard to those discussions - there is a meeting today, as I understand, with the two parties at the table. With regard to the PSAC union, I understand that there are discussions scheduled for this coming week.
Mr. Cable: Looking at one of the news reports of March 27, the teachers were saying that they were disappointed with the attitude they were seeing from the new government. I don't know whether that means that the minister had an attitude problem or not, but can he tell us what that's all about? Were the negotiations with the teachers acrimonious?
Hon. Mr. Harding: I want to say that when the Yukon Party killed the collective bargaining in an unprecedented fashion, as a government with no accumulated deficit, we were very concerned. That's why we quickly moved in December to repeal their Public Sector Compensation Restraint Act and got back to the table.
However, I would not say that relations are acrimonious with the government - I can't speak for the president of YTA However, I can say that negotiations are tough. There are always difficult periods and difficult times in any negotiations. Certainly, we are not there to not negotiate in an appropriately tough manner at the table - that's what collective bargaining is all about.
I can also say that the parties have returned to the table, once the YTA canvassed at least some of their membership, and certainly we look forward to fruitful, respectful negotiations. I believe that there will be difficult moments, as there always are in good negotiations, but I think the point is that we've returned to the bargaining table, as we said we would do.
I've also checked, very diligently, our campaign commitments. I re-read a letter we had written to the YTA that was published in their YTA newsletter. We've been meeting the commitments we made to the letter and, in some cases, beyond.
Mr. Cable: Could the minister roll back the secrecy curtain just a little bit for the employers of our public servants - that's the taxpayers. Is this government intending to restore the wages lost to the rollback and, if so, what is the total cost anticipated to be?
The Government Leader is kind of laughing, so maybe the minister can tell us what he is laughing about.
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, Mr. Speaker, the member is asking me to go right into the table and the nuts and bolts and the numbers in the negotiations. I don't think that's a practice that's appropriate on the floor of the Legislature.
There are two parties meeting today and they're going to be negotiating and, as I said, there will be some difficult negotiations ahead, but I think the relationship is respectful. I certainly have respect for their profession and for what they do. Certainly, I hope that we can conclude the negotiations in a beneficial fashion for both parties.
With regard to the mandates, I'm not prepared to talk about that on the floor of the Legislature at this point. However, I would say that we'll be mindful of the taxpayers' interest and also mindful of the teachers, who do some very good work on behalf of the students and the parents of this territory.
So, that's the approach we're taking and, as I said, I've checked our commitments to the letter as they were published to the membership of the YTA in the pre-election period, as were the commitments of the Liberal Party and the Yukon Party. We've lived up to the letter of those commitments and, in some cases, beyond.
Question re: District governments
Mr. Jenkins: My question today is for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services.
Yukon currently has a population of 32,635 individuals. Governing that small population, there is the Government of Canada, the Government of Yukon, 14 First Nation governments and eight municipal governments. At the recent Association of Yukon Communities meeting in Watson Lake, I understand the minister raised the possibility of creating yet another level of government, districts governments.
Can the minister advise the House why he believes another layer of government, with all its inclusive bureaucracy, might be necessary?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: The member opposite is correct in his statement. I did say there could be a possibility that we would enter into negotiation if different municipalities and First Nations are willing to do so.
I certainly do have a deep respect for government and what government is supposed to be doing and how they're supposed to be following the people's direction and how they are supposed to be working forth from constitutionally entrenched documents.
I speak, Mr. Speaker, of constitutionally entrenched documents, saying that the umbrella final agreement of the Teslin Tlingit Council First Nation's agreement, the Na-Cho Ny'ak Dun First Nation agreement and the Champagne/Aishihik First Nation agreement all speak to the provision of the parties willing to sit down and negotiate and put forth negotiated programs, if you will, into a district concept. That does not mean that there will be another layer upon another layer.
Mr. Jenkins: Everyone knows that NDP administrations are fans of creating big governments, and this NDP administration is no exception. Can the minister explain to the House how his district governments would serve Yukoners better when many Yukoners are already complaining about being dragged down by too much government and too much government red tape? How will it help?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Mr. Speaker, I could go on forever about the benefits of local people making local decisions pertaining to local issues, and I should enjoy myself some day with the member opposite and when the Legislature sits I will make myself available for days and days and days so that we might be able to try and massage some of that type of thinking that was so lacking in the previous administration so that this member, when he comes back next fall, will be fruitful in his thoughts.
How is this going to help? For one thing, and I just finished saying it: local people make the local decisions.
Taking away from? Maybe somewhat - other government jurisdictions - but certainly put it into the hands of the people.
How will that help? For gosh sakes, member opposite, again I reiterate that local people making decisions on local issues is certainly an initiative that this government will do.
And are we fans of that? You betcha we're fans of that. I do believe that we'll continue to be fans of that because we are a socialist party and socialism means "for the people", working with the people, listening to the people - certainly not dictating to the people.
Any time that the member opposite would like that little massage, please let me know.
Mr. Jenkins: I'll decline the member opposite's massage today, but I would like some answers, Mr. Speaker.
Can the minister explain to the House what governments would be involved in his district governments, and what the cost would be of this additional process? How many more dollars are we going to spend on government and process?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: It certainly reminds me of my Government Leader's questions. People are starting to agree with me. Maybe not so much as agree, but it certainly scares me, because they are thinking of them in the same way.
Who would be involved? Well, certainly this government will be involved, because this government is willing, as the previous administration was not willing, to sit down. This government is willing to do that. As a matter of fact, that is, in part, why this government is sitting on this side of the House.
Who is going to be involved? Certainly we will be involved. This government, the Yukon territorial government, will be absolutely involved. Also, the people affected will be involved. If the member opposite would like to look at - I think it might be section 27 of the self-government agreement - you will be able to see the broad outline there.
As to the cost, well, again, we believe in process. We absolutely believe in due process, and due process certainly speaks that we will involve the people involved, and we will work to that end. So, those will come out. We're certainly looking forward to it being cost efficient, and certainly in the hands of the people who rightly deserve the decision-making process.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for a wonderful opportunity.
Question re: Certified nursing assistants' rehiring
Mrs. Edelman: My question is for the Minister of Health and Social Services. Mr. Speaker, my question was on the recent rehiring of the four CNAs at the Whitehorse General Hospital.
On April 22nd, the minister confirmed to this Legislature that the hospital has returned some of the CNAs to active patient care. What he neglected to mention was that the CNAs have been returned on a temporary basis until September 14th only. Why did the minister neglect to tell the House that these positions were temporary, and when will they be made permanent?
Hon. Mr. Sloan: With regard to the CNAs being returned to nursing duties, I'm expecting that when we have a report from the transition team, there will be some suggestions with regard to the staffing. Therefore, I think the hospital was probably just making sure that any decisions taken in that regard would not forestall or anticipate what kinds of decisions were being recommended by the transition team.
We are expecting an initial report in June from the transition team. As a matter of fact, today, I had a report from the ADM of Health following up a little bit on some of his meetings, and things appear to be going fairly well and he's expecting some interesting recommendations in that regard.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, there was a petition presented to the former Minister of Health and Social Services in May of 1996, and over 2,700 Yukoners signed that petition saying that they support the CNAs' efforts to keep their jobs. At that time, the NDP seemed very supportive of the CNAs' efforts to keep their jobs. Some members even put their names on the petition. Now that they are in government, that support has disappeared. What effort is the minister making to ensure that these positions become permanent?
Hon. Mr. Sloan: I think the member may be somewhat alarmist in that regard.
As she just confirmed herself, four CNAs have returned to active nursing duties. I believe a lot of the concerns for the CNAs had to do with the entire question of being moved off nursing duties and into auxiliary duties. It appears to me that at least four of them have been returned to active nursing duties. That is, I believe, a reflection of some of the concerns with regard to staffing levels at the hospital. The transition team has identified some staffing issues there that they will be bringing forward, so I am a little puzzled at the member's rather alarmist approach, but let's just wait until we see what the transition team recommends with regard to staffing.
Mrs. Edelman: Well, Mr. Speaker, I'm quite pleased that there is a transition team at the hospital, but a recent report on conditions at the hospital had this to say about the work of CNAs: "Their skills are now wasted as they are used to type in computer requests and stock shelves. The loss of CNA positions seriously compromises patient care."
Will the minister at least recognize the value of CNAs' work, not only at Whitehorse General, but at other government-run health facilities?
Hon. Mr. Sloan: Of course we value the work of CNAs. That was one of the identified concerns, as the member has said.
I have met with the CNAs on a couple of occasions. They've given me their concerns. I'm certainly aware of the question of staffing. I've discussed this with the RNs; I've discussed this with the YMA. We now have four CNAs back on nursing duties. It would be premature for me to judge what the transition team would learn in this regard, but I would imagine that they have some staffing issues, as well.
I can assure the member opposite that we value the work of the CNAs, both at the hospital and in other institutions that we have.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed. We will proceed to Orders of the Day.
Some Hon. Member: Point of order.
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Point of order
Speaker: Point of order has been called.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I apologize, but I have a legislative return for tabling that came to me half way through the session.
Is that a point of order?
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Mr. Keenan: No? Pardon me. I'm just...
Speaker: Order please. Is there unanimous consent for the tabling of the document?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: Unanimous consent has been granted.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: I'd like to table that return at this point in time.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Harding: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. Is it the members' wish to take a brief recess?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: Fifteen minutes.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
We will now go to the Department of Justice. Is there any general debate?
Bill No. 4 - First Appropriation Act, 1997-98 - continued
Department of Justice
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I am pleased to present the Justice department's main estimates for the 1997-98 fiscal year. Our O&M budget for 1997-98 will total $29,627,000, representing an increase of $513,000, or close to two percent from our 1996-97 forecast.
The increase in this year's budget is a product of contractually driven merit increases for departmental personnel, other forced-growth costs and a careful allocation of new resources to areas within the department that are of priority concern to this government. Savings in other areas have, in part, offset the new expenditures.
I would like to make special mention of our decision to enhance the resources of the victim services family violence prevention unit. The budget of this unit has been increased by $214,000 for additional personnel to help with increased workloads and to maintain and expand services to communities outside of Whitehorse.
Of the total amount, close to $87,000 will be spent on victim services. This will allow the part-time, police-affiliated victim services coordinators in Watson Lake and Dawson City to be made permanent and to have their hours of service increased. It will also allow for the creation of a .5 full-time equivalency position that will be an outreach position to other communities that do not currently have a resident victim services coordinator.
Family violence prevention will receive an increase of over $127,000, or the equivalent of two FTEs. This money will allow the unit to make the sex offender risk management coordinator a permanent position. This position is a critical component of the government's Keeping Kids Safe program.
We are also creating a half-time sex offender outreach position to facilitate the coordination of risk management teams in the communities, also part of Keeping Kids Safe.
Finally, the remaining funding will be used to create a .5 FTE family violence prevention outreach position to offer family violence programming in the communities.
The enhancement of the budget in these areas reflects the increased public demand over the last several years for services for victims and family violence prevention. As people take the step to come forward to report and deal with their victimization, it is essential that we have the capacity to offer the services they need once they do so. We must come up with the resources and we're doing that with this budget.
Another highlight of this budget is the creation of the workers' advocate position within the Justice department. This represents the fulfillment of a commitment by this government to establish a position dedicated to representing injured workers in their dealings with the Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board. The position has been situated in Justice to reflect the independence of the workers' advocate. The budget for the office of the workers' advocate is $80,000, fully recoverable from the Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board.
A third initiative that warrants particular mention is the addition to the budget of money to implement the federal government's child support guidelines. These guidelines set national standards for child support orders made under the federal Divorce Act. A total of $131,500 has been allocated for initiatives related to the implementation of the guidelines.
A child support information office phone line has been set up to provide general information.
A drop-in service provided by a child support guidelines information officer is available two afternoons a week to answer specific questions to help parents who want to change their child support orders and to provide referrals to other sources of legal information.
A one-hour free mediation information referral is also being made available. Special efforts will be made to ensure information is accessible to parents outside of Whitehorse. The budget for this initiative is 100-percent recoverable from the federal government.
As I stated at the outset, the 1997-98 budget will increase by close to two percent from our 1996-97 forecast.
Of the total budget of $29,627,000, 44 percent, or $13,312,000, will be spent on salaries and related costs. Another 34 percent, or $10,158,000, represents the cost of police services for the Yukon.
Of the remaining $6,157,000, $2,116,000 represents transfer payments to groups or individuals charged with program delivery on behalf of the department. The remaining funds of $4,041,000 are used for program costs.
The breakdown for each branch is as follows. Management services - this branch combines such functions as the deputy minister's office, finance and administration, information systems, human resources and policy into one unit - will have a budget this year of $1,376,000, which represents a small increase of $60,000. The change is primarily the result of the creation of the workers' advocate position.
Court services, which operates the Yukon court system, will have a budget of $3,474,000. Court services also oversees the maintenance enforcement program, the new child support guidelines information office and the law library. The budgeted amount is up by $97,000. The change is due to the child support guidelines costs I have already mentioned, and fees for a deputy judge to cover for a territorial court judge who has taken sabbatical leave.
Legal services provides a full range of legal services to the government, including prosecuting territorial offenses, drafting legislation, litigating civil matters and providing legal advice. The branch also administers the legal aid and native courtworker program. This branch has been budgeted at $2,766,000. The increase of $42,000 results mainly from merit increases for personnel and the inclusion of a land claims solicitor, which is 50-percent funded by the Land Claims Secretariat.
These additional costs are offset by the reduction of the litigation costs and judgments budget. This budget has been used in the past to help client departments with some of the costs associated with legal cases, such as disbursements, witness fees, judgments and court-ordered costs. These costs will now be borne fully by client departments. The $10,000 remaining in this budget will be used for a variety of very minor costs associated with trials.
Consumer and commercial services contains a number of units dedicated to regulating the marketplace. These include corporate affairs, consumer services, labour services and the land titles office. It also houses the coroner's office, the public administrator and the Yukon Utilities Board.
The branch budget for 1997-98 will be $2,574,000, which is a decrease of $67,000. The main reason for the decrease is the reduction of auxiliary support in the program director's area and an anticipated reduction in hearing costs in consumer services. These savings are partly offset by some increases, primarily in corporate affairs, which is adding a position to help with the 400-percent increase in volume over the past five years.
The community and correctional services branch provides custody and probation services for adult offenders which offer support and integration with the community. As part of this service, the branch operates the Teslin and Whitehorse correctional facilities. The branch also includes victim services and the family violence prevention unit and the territorial firearms office. The branch will be budgeted at $8,821,000.
The increase to this branch is attributable to the increased budget for the victim services and family violence prevention unit that I've already outlined, and the addition of needed staff at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. The new positions at WCC account for $236,000 of the increase for that institution. A detailed breakdown of these positions was provided to both Opposition parties as a result of the department's technical budget briefing.
Community development and policing is responsible for managing the policing services contract with the RCMP, which comprises 98 percent of the $10,157,000 budget for the branch. The branch director is also responsible for negotiating community justice contracts and for overseeing crime prevention. The branch budget has decreased by $83,000 due to savings realized under the police services contract, through streamlining and administrative efficiencies.
Finally, the department funds the independent Human Rights Commission. The budget here is $252,000. This is a reduction to historically normal levels after a one-time increase to the budget in 1996-97 to cover legal costs associated with the Madeline Gould case.
Mr. Chair, the objective of the Department of Justice includes a commitment to define and protect legal rights and responsibilities of all persons in the Yukon. All persons, of course, includes the disadvantaged, the vulnerable, and those not traditionally well-represented in the justice system. This budget is a small step toward enhancing the protection of all people by enhancing victim services and family violence programming to protect women and children from violence, by putting in place an advocate for injured workers and by implementing child support guidelines, which will address the needs of the most important but sometimes forgotten figures in marital breakdown - the children.
These initiatives, combined with the legislative program we're planning for the fall, are a significant contribution toward the achievement of our goals. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Phillips: I thank the minister for her comments.
I don't recall hearing any mention of the capital in the opening comments. It was primarily the O&M that the minister talked about, and I know other ministers have been including them in their opening statements of both. So, I hope the minister plans to raise the capital, as well.
Mr. Chair, I have a few questions in general debate. First of all, I'd like to start out with more of an up-to-date status on Bill C-68. The government's position, of course, is to join with the provinces on that, and I just wonder if the minister has anything more to add to what has happened with respect to C-68.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I don't have anything more to report than what I told the member earlier, which is that the arguments are scheduled to be heard some time during September of 1997 for that challenge, and we haven't heard of any change in the dates.
Mr. Phillips: It's too bad that we couldn't have gotten an earlier court date - like the end of May or something would have been a nice date to bring this particular subject back up into the public forum again, and talk about it a little more.
I'm sure some of us would agree that that timing would be beneficial and others would agree that they never want to see Bill C-68 raise its ugly face again. So, we'll look forward to that.
The minister talked about judges' sabbaticals, and I raised an issue with the minister last year, in December, with respect to sabbaticals, and I believe I got a document from the minister pointing out what other jurisdictions do.
The current process that we have in place with sabbaticals is a very expensive one, and I just wonder if the minister has given some thought to future changes with respect to that. I think right now we give a judge - after they work five years, I believe - then they get half a year's salary for the year they take off, and that's a pretty expensive process. I just wonder if the minister has given that some thought, and what the minister plans on doing about it.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I did, after the last budget debate, send copies of the member's question to the judiciary, who provided their thoughts on the value of the sabbatical program. The practice is not under review at present by government. Indeed, the issues of judicial independence, benefits and remuneration are before the Supreme Court of Canada at the moment, and any consideration of such things as sabbaticals ought to wait until we have the benefit of the court's advice.
I can certainly provide the member opposite with information about that case when it is heard, since I know that it was underway when the member opposite was in this chair.
Mr. Phillips: Well, maybe the minister could give us an idea when they think it might be heard, first of all, but secondly, the minister knows how I feel about it. I wanted to change the sabbaticals so it would make a little more sense and cost the taxpayer a little less money.
So, I would just like to know from the minister: what is her government's position on it? Maybe the minister could tell us that.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, Mr. Chair, I can tell the member, as I just said, that the practice is not under review at present by the government. The Supreme Court decision is expected early this spring, which was the most recent date I heard. Well, it's well into spring now, so it's believed that their decision will come down soon.
Mr. Phillips: Well, I'm a little disappointed in the minister not having a position on it and just waiting for the Supreme Court. That's an easy out, I guess, letting somebody else do your job for you, but I think the Yukon taxpayers are concerned about the wise expenditure of public funds and I think that that is an area that should be reviewed, Supreme Court or no Supreme Court, and I would hope that a minister would take the same position on it.
Mr. Chair, the individual who was in charge of the JPs - that was an issue that came up a while ago and I believe there was an extension granted. What position is the government taking with respect to chief of the JPs?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The pilot program for the senior JP, as the member has said, was a two-year pilot program. Any continuation of the program was to be a result of an agreement between the court and the government. I have had some discussions with the judiciary on the subject of the position, but we do not, as yet, have agreement about continuing the position on a full-time basis.
Mr. Phillips: Mr. Chair, we took a pretty strong stand on what the evaluation process should involve with respect to the senior JP. What position is the new government taking with respect to the evaluation? Who should do it? What should the criteria be? Who should be involved, and that kind of thing?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: As I read the ministerial order that created the pilot project, it indicates that any continuation of it would only occur if there was mutual agreement on the part of the government and the judiciary. As the member opposite himself has said, we do have a responsibility to be careful with the expenditures of public funds. We have not agreed or disagreed on the permanent nature of an appointment.
Mr. Phillips: Well, how long is it going to go on? I mean that's fine for the minister to say that there has to be mutual agreement. It's like blaming the Supreme Court for the previous problem it got.
I'm kind of asking this minister: when does the minister hope to resolve this problem and either confirm the senior JP position or look at some other option? What is the minister planning to do with it?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I can tell the member that I'm hoping that that issue can be resolved this month. I would say to the member opposite that I'm not looking to "blame the Supreme Court". What I am looking for is having the benefit of the decision of the Supreme Court, when three or four other Canadian jurisdictions have these very matters being considered by the Supreme Court of Canada. I think that the judgment should be helpful and instructive to the Yukon as to other jurisdictions.
Mr. Phillips: As soon as we reach a position or decision on the senior JP position, I wonder if the minister could let me know.
Mr. Chair, there have been some incidents with respect to circle sentencing where, in my view, the victims have not been totally included, and the minister talked here today about a focus, in this budget, to be more on victims and has actually talked about an act to protect the rights of victims somewhere down the road. So, I want to ask the minister: there was a fairly prominent case here about a year ago or a couple of years ago now, where, in the case of the circle sentencing, the four victims chose not to participate - for very valid reasons as the minister knows - and the judiciary decided to continue along with the circle sentencing despite the fact that the whole premise of circle sentencing is that the victims participate.
I wonder what the views of the minister are on that, and if the minister supports circle sentencing continuing when the victims are adamant that they not be involved, primarily in cases such as this, which was a little more serious than what circle sentencing usually deals with. This was, I believe, a sexual harassment case and the victims were concerned about being victimized twice by having to reappear in this format. I was somewhat dismayed when the judiciary decided to proceed with that format. I would just like to know what the views are of the minister on this.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The member's comments are certainly ones that I have heard often - that participants feel that they're being victimized a second time - and that isn't necessarily restricted simply to circle sentencing or to community justice. We have to strive for a justice system that is respectful of everyone involved in the process.
The community justice initiatives, such as circle sentencing, are ones that many members of the public are excited about and want to have a chance to participate in. We certainly would like to see a victims' rights statement in legislation to do with victim services, such as the crime prevention and victim services trust act that we're planning to introduce in the fall session.
Mr. Phillips: Just protecting the rights of victims, in my view, is maybe not good enough. I think there is a problem with respect to the attitude of some of the judiciary in this area.
I wrote a letter, as the Minister of Justice, to the Chief judge and expressed concerns that I had heard from many women who were very upset about the process that took place in this particular case and in others, and I can tell the minister, and I'm sure the minister heard it as well, there was a lot of anger from women about these other women being revictimized.
I got a reply from the Chief Judge, telling me to mind my own business, that this is the independence of the judiciary, and I was to not interfere. In fact, in the letter I didn't specify that particular case. I talked about cases in general where women feel victimized.
Maybe there should be a little more sensitivity from the judges with respect to the victims in these cases and especially with respect to women in sexual assault cases.
I can tell the minister that I was concerned when I wrote the letter. I was appalled and shocked at the reply when the judge told me to butt out, because it convinced me more than ever that the people involved in this judiciary who wrote me that letter need to become a little more sensitive to the plight of victims and, in particular, women who are concerned about this issue.
What I'd like to ask the minister is if she would pursue this with our local judiciary and offer them a program or initiative that I'm sure is available throughout North America and Canada to make them more sensitive to the concerns of these victims - women who maybe are sexually assaulted, women who have to go through the court system as victims and sometimes as witnesses. I know there are programs out there to help people become more sensitive to that.
All I was asking the judges was to - they don't even have to tell me or announce publicly that they are doing it. I just think there's a need for it, and I think the reply that I received from the Chief Judge pointed out that there is a need now for it. To tell me that I had no business even raising the issue is outrageous.
I was extremely upset with the attitude of the Chief Judge, and if we had formed the government and I still had the portfolio of Justice, we would have had to deal with the issue.
So, I'd like to know what this minister will do - I'm sure she's read the correspondence; I'm sure she's had an opportunity to look at the letter I wrote and the letter that the Chief Judge wrote me back - with respect to those concerns?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, first I would like to respond to the member's point related to the independence of the judiciary. It is very important that we all acknowledge that the independence of the judiciary is an important principle. There must be no political interference with the outcomes of individual cases. I know the member opposite supports that and I support that, so I just want to be clear on that point.
With regard to the member's comments about the sensitivity of judges, when I was in New Brunswick at the Justice ministers conference, I had a discussion with colleagues and with the federal minister, Allan Rock, about the fact that the judiciary, like many elements of our power structure in society, is not representative of society as a whole. There are very limited numbers of women, very few First Nations or visible minority people on the bench. That is a weakness, I think, to have a uniformly male bench.
Nonetheless, in response to the member's questions about promoting educational programs, the Canadian Judicial Council, in its annual reports, talks about some of the programs that are available to Canadian judges to deal with sexism, racism and other concerns. I've had a discussion with the Chief Judge here, indicating that he is in full support of those kinds of educational programs. I think it's an important thing to do. It's also important that the judiciary be more representative of society.
Mr. Phillips: I want to make it clear, as well. I think if the minister can take the time to read the letter that I wrote to the Chief Judge, the minister will see that I clearly did not talk about a case, but I talked generally about victims and women being revictimized. The last thing I am ever going to suggest is that a Justice minister should interfere in the outcome of any cases. All I am suggesting is that the judges should be more sensitive to the concerns of the victims.
I would comment, too, that I couldn't agree more with the minister that there should be more women and more First Nations people in the judiciary - more representative of society. But, having said that, one shouldn't have to be a woman or a First Nations person to be sensitive to those concerns.
What I was upset about with the letter I received from the judge is that it was hiding behind the curtain of judicial independence. I think that's really unacceptable, and I'm glad the minister has had discussions with our Chief Judge in the territory. What I would like to hear from the minister is that our Chief Judge, he himself, is going to take advantage of some of these programs and is going to ask his colleagues, the other judges in the territory, to take advantage of these programs because, by God, they need it, and certainly the Chief Judge needs it, by the tone of his letter, ignoring the whole premise of the letter.
So, I'd like to ask the minister if she would ask the Chief Judge to put his money where his mouth is, to really do what he says is important and that he'll take some of these programs and become more aware of the plight of the victims with respect to crime.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, Mr. Chair, I can certainly ensure that - although I expect from the member's correspondence that he refers to that the Chief Judge is already aware of the views of the critic. We do have some common interests in ensuring that all members of society are treated respectfully when they're in the courtrooms in the Yukon.
Mr. Phillips: Well, Mr. Chair, that's very diplomatic, but the bottom line is that I'm not afraid to tell the judge he's got some work to do in that area. I told the judge that he had some work to do in my letter, by inferring in my letter that I have some concerns about this area, and I was raising them on behalf of many, many, many Yukon women who were absolutely outraged at the attitude.
As I said, when I received the reply, I couldn't believe the reply. He missed the mark. Maybe if the judge wants to take some time to read Hansard, he should have another look at the letter, because the intent wasn't to change the outcome of any case; the intent was just to make the judge more sensitive to the issues that surround sexual assault and the victims who are continually revictimized in our court system today. And no one can say that doesn't happen. It happens in many cases.
I'd like to move away from that for a minute into a couple of other areas: the follow-up on sentences of individuals. I'll tell the minister a little story, and then I'll ask a question.
This was a personal issue, but I think it becomes much broader than that when you start to look at what's happening. As the minister knows, when I was the Minister of Justice a couple of years ago, I had my house broken into. Two of the individuals who broke into my house were young offenders. Two of them were adult offenders. So I'm asking this of the minister responsible for adult offenders.
There were problems with the court case. As the Justice minister, I was somewhat hampered by what I could say and what I could do, but I have to tell the minister what happened. All four individuals initially pled guilty. One has since changed his plea, moved to another jurisdiction, and everything's up in the air now. No one knows what's going on. Three of them were sentenced.
In the case of the first one, a sentence was rendered with restitution to be made in some cases. When the second case came forward, I'd heard one of them had been sentenced in June, but I only heard, as the victim, after I asked out of curiosity, about a month after, what was going on. No one informed me anything was happening. When I asked about it prior to the second trial, I was advised of what happened in the first of one of the other individuals.
I mistakenly assumed that, when the second individual came up to trial, the results of the first trial would be explained to the judge by the Crown. The results of the trial of the second individual were completely different from the first one. The judge's decision in the first one - or anything pertaining to the first one - was left out. The Crown didn't take anything in there to say that there'd been anybody else involved, and that someone else had been sentenced. So the restitution was way different than the other one. In fact, one had to pay me $175, and this was a pretty heavy-duty sentence, because they had to pay me the $175 on or before July of 1998. That's two years away.
That's ridiculous, but that's the sentence - a little disturbing. The second one had to pay $750. There didn't seem to be any correlation between them. They were all involved in the same crime. One had to pay a certain amount of restitution. The other had to pay another. It seems to me that somebody dropped the ball.
Since then, I've been following this matter, and until about two weeks ago I had heard nothing about it until I made some inquiries and asked about what was going on. And I just found out this morning that one fellow has breached his probation - he didn't make restitution in March when he was supposed to make it. He evidently went to court a week or two ago, but I wouldn't have found that out if I hadn't asked recently about it again.
So, I guess the concern I have is not necessarily about what's happening in my case. I can deal with that as a victim, but I've had the opportunity to discuss this with a lot of other people and it appears that there are an awful lot of victims out there who are not being kept abreast of what's going on in their cases, and that commitments are not made by the individuals who are charged, and I'm a little concerned about the follow-up.
Victims that I've talked to that are involved in this thing throw their arms in the air in frustration. They never hear any more about it, and I'm convinced in my mind that if I, as a victim, never hear any more about it, and the person who violated my partner's and my premises doesn't have to do anything more, then they're laughing at the system.
So, I wonder if the minister can maybe bring back to the House, or get me some information by way of a legislative return or letter, the number of outstanding violations in the last two or three years, and let me know whether or not the victims have been paid restitution one way or another - what's happening.
I know it's going to put somebody to a lot of work, but if I hadn't asked the questions here three weeks ago in my own particular case and run into a few other victims who have just thought that everybody forgot about them, nothing would have been done. And I've got to believe that the criminals are laughing at the system if no one is doing anything about it.
I know the probation people are overworked and have a lot of cases on their hands, but there's not much point in sentencing somebody to a penalty of one kind or another and then never actually having it followed through to the end.
So, maybe the minister can get back to me on how many are actually followed through to the end, whether we make sure restitution is made.
Mr. Chair, the other issue that I wanted to talk about with respect to victims is that the minister announced that there is a little more money in this budget for victims.
When I initially inquired about writing a victim impact statement in my case, I was told that victim impact statements are used more in violent cases or more serious cases. I think that's again partly due to workload and the number of individuals involved, and I can understand that, but I just want to know from the minister if that's going to change with the new money that's put in the program. Will they now be contacting people in my riding who have had their homes broken into and things stolen? The minister's going to bring in a victim bill of rights, so I would expect there would have to be some more resources put into the area to allow staff in the Department of Justice to contact the victims and make sure there's a victim impact statement and that kind of thing.
Is that what'll happen when the minister brings forward a victim bill of rights or a victim rights statement.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: First, I would just like to clarify the member's request for additional information. I understand that what he's looking for is the number of probation orders that have been breached after convictions and probation orders have been sentenced, or is he looking specifically for information related to the payment of compensation on the part of offenders to victims and whether those have been followed up on.
Mr. Phillips: I'm curious about both. They go hand in hand. If someone is given a sentence, a probationary period, as well as making restitution, do we, in all cases, deal with the breach of probation, and how do we deal with it? I know we appear in court again in some cases. And with respect to restitution, how well do we follow that up? Is there a pretty stringent process by which we follow it up to make sure that the individuals do not get away with - say, if somebody beat somebody up and broke a windshield in their car or wrecked their camera or did something and the judge ruled that they have to make restitution in the amount of the damages, I just want to know whether these have been followed up and, if they're not followed up, what happens? How many are outstanding, and what are we doing to the ones that are outstanding?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I'll certainly see what information is available to provide for the member. As he knows, the Crown attorney's function is under the federal jurisdiction still on Criminal Code matters. Also, individual judgments on cases where there is a conviction depend on a number of factors. A pre-sentence report is done on the offender, and this would look at previous convictions. So, where there might seem to be a strong similarity in a crime that has been committed, there may be differences related to the offender that would result in a different sentence.
The member's concerns about not being kept abreast of the situation as a victim who wanted to know what was happening when an offender went to court is something that I have heard before from other people. There is, in the federal system, a way of matching up a victim with an offender so that if there's a high-risk offender about to be released, the victim would be notified.
We're working in the Yukon on having a community notification protocol in place, in cases where violent offenders are about to be released.
So I'll endeavour to get back to the member with what information I can.
Mr. Phillips: While we're on the Crown devolution, it sounds to me like we're kind of hovering and haven't gone that far with it, other than that the minister has written letters to local organizations asking for their input. Has the minister received replies?
I received this letter and it has a list on here. It isn't dated, so I'm not sure whether it has gone out already and if the minister has received replies on it all, or where it's at. So, maybe the minister can bring back an update on that. And maybe she can also, at the same time, if the minister could, tell us what position the Government of the Northwest Territories is taking with respect to devolution.
I know that we were sort of hand-in-hand before trying to get devolution to proceed and I just wonder if the NWT government is preoccupied with other things, or are they kind of beating down the door the way we are with Mr. Rock and finding that Rock is a hard one to crack?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The member has touched on some of the factors that he knows very well are affecting the devolution of the Crown attorney function at the present time. There is a federal election campaign underway and I don't expect to see much happening prior to the results of the June 2nd federal election.
Nonetheless, I can tell the member that letters were sent out to groups after the federal Justice ministers conference, when I spoke with Minister Rock, and he indicated that they were willing to participate with us and to work toward devolution. Letters then have gone out seeking opinions from local groups. Some responses have been received and, generally, they were favourable.
Mr. Phillips: Well, could the minister keep us abreast of where we're going with that?
I will move on for a minute to the maintenance enforcement program. The member talked about that. I believe in the report we got from the minister there has only been one administrative sanction applied to one file. The minister says that it's due to the fact that the previous government set very restrictive criteria for application of the sanctions. The minister has changed that. I wonder if there's a chance of getting a copy of the amended criteria for doing that, and can the minister tell us how many files they're acting on now with the amended criteria? Does it have to pass an order-in-council or is it just regulation? How are we changing it?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: First of all, I intended to tell the member, in response to his previous question, that the Northwest Territories is preoccupied with Nunavut, and they will have their own director of prosecution systems as part and parcel of negotiating the separation and the creation of the new Nunavut territory.
The maintenance enforcement program and the administrative sanctions changes - the member wanted further details on that. The department has recently developed revised criteria for the implementation of the administrative sanctions that would apply to files with any arrears. This is being done in other provinces. Previously, the criteria was that before an administrative sanction could be imposed, the delinquent parent had to have made no payments. We are applying the administrative sanctions to people who are in default on their payments, so that if they're behind, I believe, for 60 days - and I can certainly bring back a written answer for the member on exactly what the new criteria are - an administrative sanction will be taken not as a last resort, but once the payments have been in default.
Mr. Phillips: Well, I can certainly support those kinds of changes that make sure people pay.
The minister mentioned the Crown devolution. It seems that they are proceeding with Nunavut. Maybe we should hint to Allan Rock that we might divide the territory in two and maybe he'll sit down with us and discuss the devolution of the Crown attorney's office. It might get through to him that way.
Well, Mr. Chair, I will look forward to seeing, I guess, six months or eight months from now, whether or not the minister has improved the recovery rate in this area. Being involved in the government that brought in the administrative sanctions, I know that it does work, but I wish the minister well in recovering that because it's important that once a decision is made on who pays, people should try and meet their commitments, primarily for the benefit of the kids, because that's what the decisions are based on in the first place.
Mr. Chair, I was looking at some of the civil litigation actions that we had and what I don't have on this list is dates. So, rather than put the minister through a whole pile of work, if they could just give me dates of any actions on this list since last September, the last seven or eight months. I'm looking primarily for new litigation, just to see if there is anything new that's cropped up here. So, if the minister could do that, that would be good.
I may have to ask this question in the Public Service Commission debate regarding the Randhawa case and the fact that it wasn't totally off the books, I believe. There were still some discussions taking place. I just wonder if the minister has any information with respect to where that is.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Justice is continuing to follow the Public Service Commission's instructions to work hard toward negotiating with Mr. Randhawa for a settlement on the remaining issues. Settlement has been reached on a number of the issues and there are still some items left to be negotiated. I think I would defer to the minister responsible for the Public Service Commission on that. I have a partial note and PSC is the responsible department.
Mr. Phillips: I'd be more than happy to take it up with the minister responsible for the Public Service Commission, but I have to remind the minister that that minister was the critic, I believe, in the last government, of the Public Service Commission, and raised the issue of Randhawa and questioned me several times on how long it was taking. So, I know that that minister will use all of her influence on her colleague to make sure that this matter is dealt with - expeditiously, I think is the word that was used in the past by others in the House. So, I would hope that the minister would proceed with that.
Another case that I understand had gone to appeal is the Smith versus YTG and that other guy.
Can the minister tell me where that is? Is it still under appeal? When do they expect it to be heard?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The case remains before the courts, and so the matter really shouldn't be discussed here in the Legislature, since it is yet before the courts in a matter of appeal.
Mr. Phillips: That was a nice try, but it's not going to work. I asked the minister when the appeal will be heard. I'm not asking the minister whether we think we'll win, think we'll lose, or whether we're going to be involved in it or what we're going to say. I just want to know when we expect that appeal to be heard.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I don't have a date that the appeal is going to be heard. If the officials that are listening do have a date for the appeal, then I expect I'll have a note shortly and I can let the member know when I have that date available.
Mr. Phillips: I do want to take the time, as well, to thank the staff of the Department of Justice. We went over there, I guess it was two or three weeks ago now. It was rather intimidating. There was a large room with literally hundreds of people around the table.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Phillips: Well, probably 20 or 24 people around the table. They gave a very good presentation on the budget and answered some of our technical questions, and I appreciate the notes we've received from the department since then, advising us of the various answers to the questions we asked.
Mr. Chair, the Yukon Utilities Board is, of course, meeting today. The process by which the Utilities Board deals with applications has been a matter of discussion in the public, as well as in this House. In fact, as recently as a few weeks ago in this House, the energy commissioner complained about the process that's in place today.
So, I'd like to ask the minister if her government anticipates changing that process in any way.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I hope the member's going to be satisfied with the answer. In many ways, Cabinet and the Justice minister are doing the same thing that the previous government came up with, which is to recruit members to the Yukon Utilities Board who are knowledgeable of the regulatory process, electrical issues and, where feasible, consensus-building approaches.
In the review of the rules governing the Yukon Utilities Board and the proposed appointment guidelines, the department, together with the Utilities Board, came up with a recommendation on what background and experience and knowledge and interest and professional education were desirable in both members of the board and the chair of the board.
I am writing, as minister, to intervener groups, to First Nations and interested parties to send them copies of the guidelines for appointment and qualifications desirable in a member and looking for nominations to the Yukon Utilities Board to follow up on responses.
Mr. Phillips: I thank the minister for the answer. I support the process by which the minister is asking interveners those questions. I was involved in the government that set up the process.
What I'm asking the minister is, they now have a new Cabinet commissioner on energy, and that Cabinet commissioner, a member of her government, has stated that it's not a great process. So I'm asking the minister, what is the minister planning to change about the process? She must be getting input from the energy commissioner, and are there any contemplated changes with the process? Are they going to go back to the intervener status we had before where we paid interveners a lot of money? Well, are we going to go back to anything that we had before? Obviously, the energy commissioner felt that that was a better way, so I just want to know from the minister what we are planning to change with respect to that process?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: As the member knows, the review he did last year surveyed the kinds of guidelines that are used in other jurisdictions and, in the Yukon, we've adopted guidelines similar to those that are used in other jurisdictions. At the present time, as Justice minister, I am participating in exactly that process in sending out letters to intervener groups. Because of the technical nature of the work, we seek people with professional expertise asking for nominations of that sort.
As far as the workplan of the Energy Corporation and all of the policy considerations that they're going to be looking at, that is not something that will have an effect on the process before us today.
Mr. Phillips: The minister also mentioned in her opening remarks about a workers' advocate, and maybe the minister can tell us where the staffing is at the present time for the workers' advocate and when we expect that particular position to be filled.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: That position is being filled by running a competition, and there is nothing to report today related to that particular competition. I can tell the member that Justice and the Public Service Commission are both involved, and that the competition has closed, and there have been interviews; however, there has not been a final decision made. So, we anticipate there could be an announcement soon, but not today.
Mr. Phillips: Can the minister be a little more definitive? I mean, are we talking about in the next week or two weeks? Does the minister want a decision by the end of May?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The present competition has not been concluded. I do hope that before the month is out we will have something definite to announce.
I have some information here related to the Smith v. Alwarid case. The date is up to the appellant. The lawyer for the appellant has delayed seeking the appeal until the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled in a similar case, called "Sylvester," from British Columbia. Setting the date is not up to the defendants in this case.
As well, I'd like to provide some information to the member related to tracking for restitution. This is in response to the questions that he was raising about break and enter at his home and about probation orders. Within two weeks of the expiry of a probation order with outstanding restitution, court registry notifies adult probation and the breach process is then entered into. Court dates are then usually four to six weeks after notification from court registry. Further, while an offender is on probation, the probation officer will encourage the offender to pay the outstanding restitution. The probation officer cannot lay breach charges until after the expiry of the condition of restitution on the probation order.
The department has contacted Mr. Phillips by phone and advised him of the status of the two adults charged and contemplates having ongoing contact with the member opposite, at his request, to keep him updated.
Mr. Phillips: Yes, that's fine, but that was as a result of me making a call and inquiring. My question was this: is it common practice to phone all of the victims as these orders are breached and let them know that something is still happening with the case, or do we just proceed on our own and try and solve the problem and, if restitution is made, we make it later?
That was the concern I had. If I hadn't stepped in, in my particular case, would there have been notification to me - I have talked to others that have heard nothing, so I just don't know if it's a common practice or not.
The ARC and the community notification agreement that the minister talked briefly about here today - have we not got a formal agreement with Probation Canada now with respect to the ARC? I know we had kind of an informal agreement that they would notify us when individuals of a dangerous nature arrived, and I know the minister talked about setting up a committee of people that might be involved in the future in reviewing this kind of thing. Where are we with that, because it's not clear from the minister's statements today whether or not we have gone much further.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: There are a couple of answers that I have for the member. There is a community notification protocol that has been developed for high-risk offenders, and those negotiations are between the Yukon government, the RCMP, Correctional Services Canada and the federal Crown attorney's office.
The ARC, the Salvation Army Adult Residential Centre, is approached when an offender may be released and is asked whether that offender could be placed at the Salvation Army Adult Residential Centre.
The federal government does have in place, notification practices that provide for a victim to be notified if the system has linked a particular victim with a particular offender.
In the recent case, and the controversy surrounding it, that was new legislation. The victim had not registered and become identified with the offender, because that particular piece of federal legislation was not in effect at the time of the crime. That has now been changed so that the victim is being notified.
Mr. Phillips: Is the minister comfortable that, say we're still negotiating an agreement with Probations Canada when someone is in our area that may be a dangerous offender - the notification agreement; we're still negotiating that with the federal government - in
the meantime, they haven't sent us any really shady characters and not told us about it? My information from an individual is that there are some considerably dangerous individuals who are on release who have come to the territory, and that we haven't been notified about it. I wonder if the minister feels comfortable in her mind or, if the minister is not aware of it, if the minister would at least ask the federal officials about, in the last six or seven months, who they have sent here and, if there is somebody of that nature, why we haven't been notified, or is the minister assured that we are notified of anyone that is of a dangerous nature?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: We do work closely with the RCMP and Correctional Services Canada. I believe that we are notified when there are any dangerous offenders being released. I believe that we are aware of it in advance, but I will certainly confirm that for the member.
Mr. Phillips: I would urge the minister and the Department of Justice to do a real thorough check of this, because I have been told that there are some individuals that are arriving here that are quite questionable and I haven't seen any notification anywhere of these individuals being around.
Mr. Chair, I wanted to slip back for a minute to the Utilities Board. The question I have is more about administration.
Last August or September, we were in the process of working out a contribution agreement for their office and their staff. Has that been done? Are they in offices? Where are their offices situated, and that kind of thing?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: We have approved that change, so the administrative responsibilities will be falling under the purview of the Yukon Utilities Board.
Mr. Phillips: Have they set up independent offices now? Where are they situated?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The Yukon Utilities Board has always had separate offices in the Horwood Mall. I believe that is still their location.
Mr. Phillips: Police commission. In the election, the minister talked about a police commission and, subsequently, has watered down what the minister felt the police commission could do. I just wonder where we are with that. That, I think, is the group of individuals that the minister wanted to set up - I think, a board - to review the actions of the RCMP. Where are we with that?
I think the minister has moved more toward the direction we were heading, with community policing, working with the RCMP and a directional statement to the RCMP. Maybe the minister can tell us where we are with that.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, this is one of those questions that seems to come around in every budget debate, where I stand up and repeat what it was that we said during the campaign and what our platform is and then proceed to tell the member how we're proceeding on it.
A Better Way platform and program indicated that, as a government, we would start a public process to explore options such as a Yukon police commission, where Yukon people could be involved in issues about policing and justice priorities and work with police and justice officials to make the system more open and accountable to the public.
Just this morning, I was in Carcross at a community policing workshop with outgoing members of the RCMP, a new officer who is being stationed in Carcross and several members of the community, including students from the school, the school principal, people from the First Nation and people from the communities of Tagish and Carcross. So, I think that we have seen continual work in Yukon communities where the public are becoming involved in policing and justice priorities.
The CAPRA model of community policing is one where we've also seen a group of 14 volunteers in the City of Whitehorse working with the police on finding ways of dealing with the problems of bush parties, vandalism and young offenders.
We're also looking at auxiliary policing. The program is already in place, and we'll be looking at giving this very valuable program a legislative base. We intend to continue making sure that Yukoners have an opportunity to be involved in setting policing and justice priorities.
We will be working with the public on that and making it possible for them to talk to us about what they think should be part of a broader police-based legislation and policing initiatives.
Mr. Phillips: Well, Mr. Chair, that sort of brings me to the next topic, and I have to tell the minister that I am very pleased to see that, with respect to the Talking About Crime and Creating Safer Communities initiatives that were started by our government and the recommendations that came out of that with respect to community policing involving the community are, I think, in my view, good recommendations for the most part. They were developed by the people out there, for the most part, and I am glad to see that this government is following the initiatives that were set out by our government and implementing many of the programs that we had already started work on.
I think that, so many times when one government comes in and another government goes out, for political expediency we throw out the baby with the bath water, but this is a case where the minister has actually seen merit in much of the work that was done and is following through with it.
So, I have a couple of questions in that area and that probably wraps up my general debate, but I do have some questions with respect to Talking About Crime.
Administrative sanctions for youth - the last update we have is March 21st. One of the areas that we talked about is the right to sue parents. Health and Social Services ingested and reviewed the proposed initiative, but they said there's no further action planned at this time. Is the minister still considering that or looking into it any further with respect to that initiative?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: No, the answer that the Health minister gave that no further action is planned at this time is also the answer that I would give.
I do have some information going back to a previous question the member asked about the community notification protocol. I just wanted to advise him that the notification protocol is in place. We are always advised by Corrections Canada when a parolee is transferred here. There has been some work to improve the system and the RCMP are advised - as well as our probation services - and are regularly briefed by Canada. Controversial cases are the subject of a special briefing. So, we do have a notification protocol in place.
Mr. Phillips: So the minister is saying, with respect to that, that the reason we've heard nothing about an individual who's been transferred here is that, in the view of the deal with protocol and the group that reviews these things, there has been no one sent here who could pose a risk to others in the territory.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: That's right. The community notification protocol looks at each case individually and makes a decision based on the risk to the community and the personal security of the offender.
Mr. Phillips: I thank the minister for that quick response. I will pass it on to the constituent who raised the issue with me so that they know they can feel safe in their community.
Citizens on patrol - that was an initiative that was recommended in the property-related crime and it was one where I think there was going to be a pilot project initiated in Whitehorse as part of the Whitehorse community policing project. Has anything else happened on it since then? I know they were looking for some volunteers but I haven't heard much from the city's perspective or from YTG's perspective whether that program has been initiated.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The feasibility study on the proposal was completed. Consideration is being given to including this initiative as part of the Whitehorse community policing project that I referred to a few moments ago.
Mr. Phillips: That's the same note that I have, which the minister just read into the record. What I'm trying to pry from the minister is that consideration has been given. This is March the 21st. Has anybody given any more consideration to this initiative since the 21st of March, or is it still just being considered?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The March date that I have is the same one; that initiative is being considered, along with others.
Mr. Phillips: The questions I'm going to be asking about these initiatives are updates from March. One of the actions, action number 4, the minister talked about, auxiliary police services in rural Yukon, the minister has sort of addressed that, talking about legislation, and I'm glad to see that's going to happen, and, as well, moving these services into rural Yukon.
Action number 5 is tripartite negotiations with the RCMP satellite detachment in Kwanlin Dun. They said a change in leadership at Kwanlin Dun and the impact of self-government have put negotiations on hold.
Now, I know Kwanlin Dun has been in the news quite a bit lately and it hasn't been in discussions with respect to tripartite negotiations. I just wonder if we have made any headway at all there. I know we were close at one time, and then it appears that things have stalled. Is it still kind of sitting on their plate waiting for other things to be dealt with?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Certainly there is still an interest at Kwanlin Dun in policing. People in the community would like to be safe and would like to see a policing model that provides regular service for them. There have been ongoing discussions with the Kwanlin Dun leadership, and there has not been a change to report.
Mr. Phillips: Okay, Mr. Chair.
On the wilderness leadership camp pilot project, I think there was a statement in the last few weeks, and the minister alluded to that project again - sort of like a little hint - one little line on the bottom of the ministerial statement that they are considering it. Can the minister give us an update on where we're at with that? Does the minister plan to initiate the camp this summer? Where does the minister hope to have the camp - just maybe an update on what's happening with it?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: There are two youth leadership projects that are being planned for this summer. One will be located in Ross River. The other will be in the Upper Liard-Watson Lake area. In both cases, we have the community involved as well as Crime Prevention Yukon and various Yukon government departments.
Mr. Phillips: There was also talk about another camp, I believe, for offenders. Is that being planned as well, or is this just the leadership camp? There was a mention in the ministerial statement about another wilderness camp. Is this the wilderness camp they talked about in that statement, because the statement talked about Ross River and Watson Lake, I believe, and then at the end, it talked about another wilderness camp that it hopes to get started later on? Is that what the minister is referring to?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: What I'm referring to are the two youth leadership camps that are essentially recreation programs for youth in the communities of Ross River and Watson Lake-Upper Liard.
Mr. Phillips: The public advisory committee for the WCC, the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. The target date to establish it is the fall of 1997. Has the minister solicited names of individuals for that committee now? What kind of process is the minister going to use for that?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I have not sent any letters out about seeking nominations to a public advisory committee for the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. I can tell the member that there are correctional inspections officers who have been appointed.
Mr. Phillips: Well, we'll leave that I guess, until the fall session and, hopefully, more will done and there will be more things happening with it.
That pretty well wraps up most of my questions in general debate. I may have some more questions as we go through line by line.
Again, I want to thank the staff at Justice for the briefing they gave us and the information that they provided. It was very useful and it answered a lot of my questions before I got into the House.
Mr. Cable: I have some questions that relate to issues that have already been raised by the critic for the Official Opposition and I'll deal with those. There are a number of other questions that I have also.
With respect to maintenance enforcement, the department provided us with a briefing and some stats that had been collected. I gather there has been just one case where the administrative sanctions have been applied in a case of maintenance arrears. There's a reference in the minister's letter to me of April 30th, 1997, stating that the criteria for the applications of the sanctions were too restrictive. I think that was dealt with briefly a few moments ago.
Could the minister indicate, specifically, what was the restrictive criteria that prevented the application of the administrative sanctions?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The criteria that was established was that, in order for administrative sanctions to be imposed, the debtor had to be in long-term default of any child support payments and considered in the never-pay category. I think that was why there was only ever one case where the sanction was applied.
The revised criteria are that administrative sanctions would apply to a file with arrears. The requirement would no longer be there that it must be a never-pay child support, but for a file with arrears, the maintenance enforcement program could seek administrative penalties. If, within 10-days' notice, the parent had not paid their child support, then the application of sanctions would apply.
Mr. Cable: I had a conversation with a member of the bar who is involved in matrimonial law, and he indicated that, on the making of one payment, the administrative sanction would be released. Is that, in fact, one of the criteria and, if so, why?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I can check and get an answer for the member on that.
Mr. Cable: I'll look forward to that together with, if in fact that is the case, an explanation of why that is the case.
The legislation has met some resistance here in the Yukon with respect to the administrative sanctions for not paying motor vehicle offence fines. Has the legislation in other jurisdictions - similar legislation relating to maintenance arrears - been successful, or has it met resistance?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The statistics indicate that administrative sanctions have been successful in reducing the amount of fines owed here in the Yukon. As well, the threat of a driver's licence sanction appears to have been quite effective in reducing the total amount of fines that become unpaid after a certain date.
I know from talking to colleagues in other parts of the country that generally it's found that, where these administrative sanctions are put in place, people become far more timely about making their payments, so that they don't lose their driver's licence or their right to license their vehicle.
Mr. Cable: When the minister and I were here in the House when the act was brought in, there was some discussion on the linkage between the Justice department and the motor vehicles branch. Has that linkage been computerized?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: No, it hasn't. There is ongoing work with the systems in Justice and the systems in Community and Transportation Services.
Mr. Cable: The question I was asking - just let me reiterate it - what does the motor vehicles branch have on record with respect to maintenance arrears? Is there an ongoing, up-to-date, day-by-day connection with the Justice department?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I don't believe that they meet day by day. I believe that they meet every couple of months. There is an ongoing attempt to match the particulars of a person convicted of an offence to that of the registered owner of a vehicle.
Mr. Cable: What the minister is saying, then, is that there is a periodic update to the motor vehicles branch? The minister is nodding her head in the affirmative.
One of the questions raised by the critic for the Official Opposition related to the police commission. I have read the press reports of the commission that were published during the election. It's not clear in my mind as to what the rationale for the police commission suggestion was. Was there some problem with the police themselves or was there some additional rationale for the bringing up of this suggestion?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, all that we're attempting to do is to make sure that police and the justice system is open and accountable to the public. We believe that Yukoners want to be involved in issues around policing and justice priorities. I think we've seen a strong demonstration of that interest in the number of people who are participating in community justice committees around the territory. Certainly, Whitehorse is only one example. I hope that answers the member's questions.
Mr. Cable: No, not really. In some jurisdictions, a police commission was set up to actually supervise and hire and fire the police. I gather this commission that the minister is talking about and that her government is talking about is more or less a committee for justice issues. It's not really a commission in the conventional sense, is it? Am I correct?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, as I indicated in response to similar questions from the Official Opposition critic, we're looking at things like a legislative framework to cover the auxiliary police. We want to make sure that the public can be involved in policing and justice priorities. That work will be ongoing throughout our term in government.
Mr. Cable: Is the minister saying, then, that if the commission is brought in it will have a legislative framework about it that will actually deal with the RCM Police as well?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, what I was saying to the member is that we are looking at giving the auxiliary policing program a legislative base and confirming the role that Yukoners want their auxiliary police to fulfill. We want to be sure that we have a method for Yukoners to be involved in setting policing and justice priorities. This could be a police commission or it might take another form.
Policing standards would be developed in close consultation with First Nations. There have been questions raised about standards of training and equipment being adopted by First Nations interested in policing their own community. There is also ongoing involvement of the First Nations policing program that the federal government has in place now. There are a number of First Nations constables in Yukon communities.
Mr. Cable: There was a news clip during the election, in the September 6th, 1996, issue of the Yukon News, when the now Government Leader put out the idea of a police commission. On page 5 of that issue of the Yukon News, the Government Leader is quoted as saying, "Such a commission would ensure that our priorities as a community are reflected not only through the administration of justice, through the police services, but right through to which cases are taken on by the Crown and how aggressively they are pursued."
Is that the thinking of the minister?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: When I'm talking to the member opposite about policing and justice priorities, and about the public being involved in policing priorities, I think I should ask the member to consider the joint leadership vision statement that we signed off with the RCMP not too long ago. We have a shared vision statement between the Government of the Yukon and the RCMP that guides the delivery of policing services within the territory. The model that's set out in that vision statement is one of support for community policing initiatives. It's one of support for Yukon First Nations, as they prepare for self-government and the rights associated in the umbrella final agreement.
So I think there is progress on that, and I think the member knows what my concerns are and what our government's concerns are and how we're trying to address them.
Mr. Cable: The reason I read the quote out is that it deals not only with the police but it appears to deal with the prosecutor. Just to reiterate the quote, the Government Leader is talking about the use of the commission and says, "... but right through to which cases are taken on by the Crown and how aggressively they are pursued." Is that what the minister's thinking about, that there will be some sort of supervisory body over the prosecutors, eventually, when they come under the territorial roof?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I can anticipate that when we do have a public discussion paper out where we're asking the public for their comments on policing priorities, the member opposite will be keen to respond and to give us the benefit of his suggestions and wisdom. I look forward to that.
Mr. Cable: I don't think the minister is answering the question. Just let me move the question over a bit, on the Crown attorney devolution. Obviously, it's not happening right at the moment. What is the resistance from the federal government? Is the minister aware of why there is resistance?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I'm not aware of any resistance on the part of the federal government at all. In fact, when I spoke to Allan Rock in February of this year, he was most attentive and interested, and he certainly indicated to me that it was unfortunate that the federal government hadn't yet acted on the Stein Lal Commission report that was reported in 1995.
He then went on to indicate that the federal government would support proceeding along the guidelines that were set out in the Lal report and that he was looking forward to seeing what the consultation process that the federal government was ready to engage in would yield results.
So, as far as I know, the federal minister is supportive of that initiative. I hope the member opposite is as well. We've had some letters back from the groups that we've written to indicating their support for devolution of the Crown attorney's function.
Mr. Cable: Let me just say to the minister that a government which indicates that it is going to supervise cases - which cases are taken on by the Crown - and how aggressively they are pursued, that raises all sorts of red flags with civil libertarians. Could I suggest to the minister that this being a very small jurisdiction where politicians rub up against prosecutors and judges on a day-to-day basis, that she consider the approach taken by the Province of Nova Scotia where there is an act to provide for an independent director of public prosecutions. I have a copy of that act, which says, "There shall be a director of public prosecutions who, amongst other things, may conduct all prosecutions independently of the Attorney General, except that the director of public prosecutions shall comply with all the instructions or guidelines issued by the Attorney General in writing and published pursuant to this act," and a little later on in the act, it says, "The director of public prosecutions may be removed from office for cause by a resolution of the Assembly" - not by the government but by the Assembly.
Could I suggest that to her for her consideration, if in fact she is actively pursuing the devolution of the Crown attorney's office? That will put the civil libertarians' minds a wee bit to rest.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I don't believe that I've taken any action that would give civil libertarians any cause to be fearful. The member is raising some concerns about how aggressively cases are pursued, and he seems to be basing that on an article in a newspaper. I could ask the member to phrase his questions on comments that I've made publicly or on actions that the Department of Justice or any of the players in the justice field have made.
I don't believe there's any reason to believe that we would support or engage in political interference with the administration of justice. I'll certainly be happy to take the member's recommendations into account and to look at models of a Crown prosecution function, but I think the member should be aware that the Yukon is the only jurisdiction where the Crown prosecution function remains with the federal government. In fact, the Yukon government has the ability to prosecute on territorial offences. It's only federal offences where the Crown attorney's office remains under the federal authority.
Mr. Cable: On another point that was dealt with tangentially, I think, by the Justice critic for the Official Opposition; this is appointments to the judiciary. Now, the Judicial Council was set up under the Territorial Court Act, and the act sets out who shall sit on the Judicial Council. There's a rider at the end of the clause at section 17(1) that sets up that: "a lawyer and not more than two other persons appointed by the Commissioner in Executive Council," which suggests that there could be lay people on the Judicial Council - not necessarily; these other two people could also be lawyers.
What is the minister's thinking on the composition of the Judicial Council? Does she feel it would be wise to amend that portion of the Territorial Court Act to ensure that there's minority and female representation?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I thank the member for that question. I'll be happy to let him know that his motion that he filed in this House that indicates that the Judicial Council should include First Nations representation and should have a woman on the council is a very worthwhile suggestion. I've provided that motion to the Supreme Court judge and the Chief Judge of the Territorial Court.
There is, at present, an aboriginal woman who sits on the Judicial Council and I think it's important, as indeed our government has made a point of saying in discussing most areas, that having a broad-based representation to ensure the interests of all Yukoners are present is a good practice.
Mr. Cable: Is the minister prepared to put those requirements into legislation so that they are not simply an option of the government?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I'm not introducing any legislation other than the budget in this session. I've indicated to the member that his suggestions are worthwhile. As far as legislative changes, I think that that takes us back to the discussions that we were having when the Opposition critic was standing up.
There are a number of issues that are being considered by the Supreme Court of Canada at the present time, so I think that might be an issue that might be better examined when we've seen what the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled and what other jurisdictions are considering.
Mr. Cable: We've had a battle in the House here over the last few weeks on appointments to major boards and commissions.
I gather there has been, recently, an appointment to the Judicial Council. There was no input sought from either the Official Opposition, as far as I know, or from our caucus. I was wondering why, with a council this important, there wasn't some input sought.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The practice in the past has certainly been to seek all-party agreement on appointments to the Yukon Human Rights Commission, and that was certainly done. We had all-party agreement to fill a vacancy. With regard to the vacancy on the Judicial Council, recently an appointment was made of a woman lawyer to that council. I think it was a good appointment. It was certainly a non-partisan appointment, and I hope the members will support it.
Mr. Cable: The appointment to the Human Rights Commission, like the ombudsman, of course, is done by this Assembly.
The minister has her option, under the Territorial Court Act, with respect to appointments to the Judicial Council, and I was wondering why there wasn't some solicitation made to other parties. I'm not questioning the merits of the appointment she made. I'm just wondering why there wasn't some contact made with the two parties, and also why we are appointing lawyers as opposed to lay persons who, assumedly, would give a different perspective. War is too important to be left to the generals and law is too important to be left to lawyers.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, I had thought that the member opposite, in his previous questions, had indicated that he would like - and in fact, had also indicated with the motion that he filed in this House - to see women and First Nations represented on the Judicial Council.
Under the present Territorial Court Act, the process is that the government may appoint a lawyer and two additional members. The other members of the Judicial Council are set up by statute to include the Chief Judge of the Territorial Court, the Supreme Court judge, and so on. Because the Territorial Court Act does allow for a lawyer to be appointed by the government, we chose to appoint a woman lawyer because there was only one other woman presently sitting on the Judicial Council.
Chair: It is now 4:30. Is there a wish to take a break?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: Ten minutes.
Mr. Cable: Now on appointments to the judiciary, under the Territorial Court Act, the minister has the power to take recommendations on justices of the peace and judges of the territorial court.
As I read the Territorial Court Act, she makes those appointments on recommendation - that's at section 16(2)(a). Is it her practice to seek recommendations on the appointments of justices of the peace?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: As I understand the process, the Judicial Council determines whether people are qualified and provides a list of names to the government. The Minister of Justice then makes an appointment from the list of qualified candidates.
As well, when there's a vacancy, I believe the practice is to canvass the local bar so that they can ensure that all of their members are aware of any vacancies.
Mr. Cable: Is it the desired practice in the minister's mind to have the Judicial Council actually interview judge applicants and whatnot?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Yes, I believe that the Judicial Council, in its process of coming up with a list of qualified candidates, would canvass them for resumes. I'm not sure whether, as a routine matter, they interview every candidate or whether they simply look at the resumes that are provided.
Mr. Cable: In the minister's mind, is that the process to be followed with respect to justices of the peace as well?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I believe that in order to provide a cadre of justices of the peace, interested members of the community might speak to members of their local community justice committee, if there is one, or they might speak to an existing JP. I know that there are a number of justices of the peace in the Yukon and that they do come from many communities. We try to have more than one or two in each community because, particularly in a small community, there are many family connections and other connections between people, so it's useful to have more than one justice of the peace available to serve in each of our rural communities.
Mr. Cable: The point that was raised by the Justice critic for the Official Opposition on the senior justice of the peace - I believe the present minister and previous minister have more information than I do. All I have in front of me relating to that job description is a Territorial Court Act regulation cut in 1994. There's a reference in the composition of the Judicial Council to the president of the Justice of the Peace Association. Is it the minister's intention to formally put in the act a position called "senior justice of the peace"?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: There seems to be some confusion on this question. What I would like to do for the member, since I am mindful of the need to respect the independence of the judiciary and mindful of the sensitivity of these discussions, is offer a briefing with officials from the department for the member to try and clear up some of his questions on this point.
Mr. Cable: Yes, I will take the minister up on that. But, before we get that far, what is the minister's intention with respect to this regulation that speaks about the senior justice of the peace? Is it her intention to keep that regulation in place?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: That's a subject on which there has not, at present, been agreement reached between the government and the judiciary. I would prefer to respond to the member's questions privately on that matter, since it is related to the judiciary.
Mr. Cable: If the minister would answer this one question, I will leave it for a private briefing. Is there some disagreement over the appointment of a senior justice of the peace?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Perhaps I can best characterize it that there has not been agreement reached between the government and the judiciary on the necessity for a permanent appointment to the bench of that nature. Discussions are ongoing.
Mr. Cable: The section setting up the Judicial Council sets out that the functions of the Judicial Council are, amongst other things, to report to the Executive Council member respecting proposals for improving the judicial services of the court on such other matters as may be referred to by the Executive Council member. That's found at section 16(2)(d). Has there been any reference to the Judicial Council on this matter of the appointment of justices of the peace, or any other matter, for that matter, relating to the improving of judicial services of the court?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: There has been correspondence between my office and the Judicial Council. I have not yet scheduled a formal meeting with them, although the members of the Judicial Council, as the member has just been reading out in his itemization of the provisions of the act, include the judiciary, and certainly I have had meetings with members of the Judicial Council without having scheduled, at this time, a full meeting between the minister and Judicial Council.
Mr. Cable: Just let me get into another allied matter; that is, circle sentencing.
Now, I gather Judge Stuart had a contract for reviewing circle sentencing given to him by the previous administration. Have the results of that contract been formalized into a report?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Yes it has, Mr. Chair, and we have received a copy of Judge Stuart's report. Copies of the report may also be obtained from the aboriginal justice section of Justice Canada in Ottawa and I'd be happy to give the phone number to the member.
Mr. Cable: It would be even better if the minister's staff could make a photocopy. That would save us making a long-distance charge on our budget.
We talked a few moments ago about sentencing guidelines. We touched on this in circle sentencing. I gather the Kwanlin Dun was talking about sentencing guidelines. Has the minister considered actually seeking advice from the Judicial Council on the formation of formal sentencing guidelines to be used with respect to circle sentencing?
There seems to be a variety of views on what should take place. I know the former Justice minister expressed a view, which has some validity, and I've heard other views in the street. There is this section that I have just read out to the minister, section 16(1)(d), which might encompass some sort of formal reference to the Judicial Council on that.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, I appreciate the member's suggestion and may follow up on that. I think the member should be aware that there have been significant changes to sentencing as a result of federal legislative changes, and so court services and the judiciary have had a number of workshops about the changes that that has meant and some new forms have had to be prepared. So, there have been changes related to sentencing and I can provide the member with further information on that since I can't seem to find the title for that particular briefing note in front of me at the moment.
Mr. Cable: I look forward to receipt of that.
On another issue, the Klassen case, I gather the minister has some views of the law provocation, and her department, I assume on her instruction, is reviewing the law of provocation. Has the minister formalized a position and has she transmitted that to the federal justice minister?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: It's not just the Yukon Department of Justice, it's the senior working group of justice officials from all Canadian jurisdictions that is examining the defence of provocation and whether it is something that meets today's needs.
What I spoke to when I put the issue of violence against women and children on the agenda at the federal justice minister's conference, was the fact that provocation as a defence seemed to legitimize anger. In some cases, provocation has been used as a defence in cases of murder or manslaughter where an accused has argued that because they were jealous they lost control and then they killed someone.
I don't believe that that's a reasonable defence and there has certainly been a number of academic and professional studies that have been done by lawyers and people closer to the justice system who have some experience with it, that indicate provocation should no longer be considered a legitimate defence, and they're recommending that it be removed from the Criminal Code of Canada. That's something that Justice officials from across Canada are looking at now and that will be brought back to the next Justice ministers conference.
Mr. Cable: Yes, I appreciate that the provinces and the federal government are looking at it, but has this government formalized a position? Does the minister take a position to these meetings on the law of provocation?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The position that I took to the meetings was the position that I've just outlined for the member. I raised a serious concern that I don't think losing your temper or being jealous because of adultery is a legitimate defence for a violent act of killing another person. That's the extent of how I've enumerated my concerns about the provocation defence.
I'd certainly be glad to provide the member with the speaking notes that I used when I was in Fredericton so that he can see exactly what it was I said there.
Mr. Cable: Perhaps the minister could indicate whether she is advocating the total elimination of the defence of provocation or just in the certain circumstances that she's outlined.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, the circumstances that I've outlined are normally the circumstances in which that defence is used. I raised the subject for consideration, and one of the options available is to completely eliminate the defence. I'm waiting for a report back from Canadian Justice officials. I know there are people studying the matter who take a view both in favour of and opposed to the defence of provocation.
Mr. Cable: On another allied matter, I think the minister has spoken out on spousal homicide, or perhaps even broader, on what you could call femicide, and amendments to the Criminal Code to deal with those issues.
Has she adopted the position on those - on either spousal homicide - the murder of spouses generally, or on the murder of female spouses?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Again, those were matters that I discussed with my colleagues at the Justice ministers conference. I think if I provide the member with the copy of those speaking notes, he'll know exactly what the proposal was.
Aside from looking at the defence of provocation, I put forward the idea that model jury instructions could be provided to juries in cases of abuse, or assault, or manslaughter, or murder, to do with spousal violation.
Mr. Cable: On another issue raised by the Official Opposition Justice critic, the report on civil litigation: is there some guesstimate - I wouldn't go so far as to say "estimate" - of the total exposure to the government on these - what appears to be 43 - cases that were listed on the handout that was given to us?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I believe that that would be difficult to calculate since, for starters, one doesn't know until a decision is rendered whether in fact the government will be liable for any costs. I can certainly ask the officials what they might be able to provide and will get it for the member.
Mr. Cable: Perhaps when the minister's department does that, they could indicate also if there are any very significant cases - cases where the exposure is over $1 million, for example. Can that be done?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I believe we might be able to provide that information for the member, but again, when cases are still before the courts, there is information that often is not going to be made public until after a decision has been rendered.
Mr. Cable: That's fine. The specific cases don't have to be identified; just the total quantum could be identified.
The next question I have is one which could be asked in the Public Service Commission debate, and if the minister feels that is more appropriate, I'd be happy to have it answered there, but going through this report on civil litigation, I noticed there are several wrongful dismissal cases - eight in number out of 2,000 or 3,000 public servants - and I'm wondering whether the managers in the various departments are given briefings on wrongful dismissal and the elements of wrongful dismissal and what causes the government to have exposure.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I do believe that that is a question that we should ensure Public Service Commission officials are taking notice of, and you could follow up in that department as to what information and what training is made available to managers regarding dismissals.
Mr. Cable: I'll do that or one of my colleagues will do that.
Now, I had asked one of the minister's predecessors - he happens to be sitting here in the House today - what instructions he had given to his department on ministerial priorities, and he produced for me a letter that he had signed on October 17, 1994. I think this is when he just took over the ministry...
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Cable: ...and I'm told that I was very happy with the letter.
Has the minister given a similar letter to her department on the priorities she would like to see addressed by her department?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I don't have a copy of the letter the member is referring to that the previous minister sent to the department. What I can tell the member is that, in ongoing discussions and meetings with Justice officials, our government's priorities and policy initiatives have been laid out. You see some of them reflected in the budget, with the increases in funding to the victim services and family violence areas.
In the legislative area, work is proceeding to create a trust fund that can be used to fund crime prevention projects and services to victims. As well, we're looking at legislation that would address the concerns of victims of violence and developing a statutory basis for the auxiliary police program.
We have a commitment to ensuring that we reduce the causes of crime by doing active things that help keep, in particular, young people from getting into trouble with the law. The youth leadership project that we announced in the House is an example of that.
As well, the member was just asking questions about the provocation defence, and officials are looking at ways that we can increase accountability and increase service to all members of the community, but in particular make sure that women who are victims of violent crime are well-treated in our system and that we have programs in place to try and reduce that violence in the community.
Mr. Cable: The minister's predecessor also provided a list of policy and program initiatives that were underway by the Department of Justice. It's a one-page document, dated April 4th, 1995, and I'll give the minister a copy of that at 5:30. I was wondering: has she prepared, or does she have, a similar document on her files, a quick encapsulation of all policy initiatives that are underway in the department?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, I don't have them on a list on one page, as the member is requesting. I do know what those policy initiatives are; they are the same ones that I just told the member about in response to his previous questions.
Mr. Cable: Well, on another issue, I had passed a note to the minister on Thursday about an issue that had arisen about four years ago relating to limitation periods for persons who had been sexually assaulted as a child. There was legislation introduced in B.C. I gave her a Globe and Mail newsclip of May 22, 1992, whereby the limitation period was removed. It recognized the trauma that causes and the limitation period started to run once the trauma was reduced and the victim became aware of his or her rights.
There was also a newspaper article that I passed on to the minister, given by the Justice minister at the time in June 1993, in which he indicated that he was looking at similar legislation.
Is the minister aware whether British Columbia actually proceeded with that legislation and, also, what are her thoughts on the desirability of that sort of legislation?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I can find out whether British Columbia has proceeded with that legislation. I am not certain of that fact. I did ask officials to check into it when I received the note from the member late last week.
It is a relatively simple thing to do. It would remove the requirement for a victim to prove when they had become aware of their victimization, which is what sets the statute of limitations in place.
I appreciate the member's suggestion and hope to be able to report some progress to him at the next session.
Mr. Cable: I thank the minister for that.
Now, there has been some suggestions, or some conversations, or some discussion, in the Yukon on a uniform family court. Where does that issue sit?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I have to tell the member that I'm not, at this time, contemplating any major changes to the court system, such as would occur if there was a uniform family court. I'm aware that there's been some study on the subject, but have not given any direction to proceed with that on an immediate basis.
Mr. Cable: One of the policy initiatives that was reviewed by the previous administration was the introduction of mediation as an alternative to court proceedings. I think it recognized that there was significant savings both in litigation expense and also in the sense of speeding up people's access to the courts, if a number of issues could be diverted in mediation.
I had the feeling that there was a fairly active exploration of that process. Where does the department sit on the promotion of mediation?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: As I'm sure the member is aware, the theme for Law Day this year was alternatives to the dispute resolution process. There was a lot of information that was put in the public arena at that time about mediation, arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution mechanisms that can be less costly than the court system.
I would note that mediation can often be a very productive way of resolving a dispute, nonetheless, in cases where there is a power imbalance in a relationship, mediation might simply serve to perpetuate that power imbalance. So, even mediators themselves are aware that it's not necessarily the mechanism to be used for all disputes.
We're supportive of it. In fact, as stated in the ministerial statement earlier this month regarding the changes to the federal Divorce Act, our government is providing one-hour referral for mediation for families that are looking at changing their support orders.
So, mediation is something that we do support.
Mr. Cable: Of course, the problems that lend themselves to mediation are much wider than simply the domestic problems. Mediation, I think, has been actively promoted in other jurisdictions as a means of solving court backlogs. Other than sort of general support or feeling for mediation, is the department doing anything to encourage it with the courts?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Something specific is being done, Mr. Chair. Mediation services are being made available for families that are looking at changing their court orders under the new child support guidelines. As well, there's an alternative measures working group, with representatives from Justice and Health and Social Services, that is looking at a post-charge program for adults.
Mr. Cable: Perhaps I could go over that with the minister at some other juncture. I don't think I'm connecting on the question here.
I have some questions on legislation, which may or may not be working itself through the procedures: the woodworker lien legislation, petty trespass legislation and animal control legislation. Could the minister tell us whether or not her department is actively working on woodworker lien legislation?
The reason I ask the question is that - and this is particularly related to Watson Lake a few years ago, when there were a number of fly-by-night operators in the bush. They left a lot of unpaid bills and a lot of people bit the dust financially because there was not viable woodworker lien legislation around.
Where does that legislation sit?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, work was begun under the previous government for a forest work security act. That work is pretty much wrapped up and the Forest Commission has taken the forest work security act to look at. As far as the specific legislative calendar, as a Cabinet we haven't approved a legislative calendar yet. There have been some pieces of legislation that we've given approval in principle to proceed with drafting on. Examples of that are victim services and crime prevention trust fund act and the domestic violence act.
Mr. Cable: What the minister is saying then, specifically with respect to woodworker lien legislation, is that this government is actively looking at it and has referred it to the Forest Commission for final comment. Is that accurate? The minister is shaking her head in the positive.
What about petty trespass legislation? Does this minister have any interest in bringing that into this jurisdiction? There are jurisdictions that have petty trespass legislation. These people don't have to be charged with criminal offences; they can be charged with some lesser summary conviction offence.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Yes, I do have a copy of the letter I sent to the member raising these questions in December of last year. The Department of Justice did not create a formal report on the subject of a petty trespass legislation. We are, however, prepared to consider its introduction during a future legislative session.
Mr. Cable: Where do we sit on animal control legislation? I know there have been some letters that have been sent to the government. I don't know whether they wound up on the minister's desk or not, or on the desk of the Minister of Renewable Resources. I think there was some, not anger but some irritation, that the correspondence had not been replied to. Could we get an update and could we get a commitment from the minister, if she hasn't done so already, to provide an answer to these people who have written to her?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, I have replied to the correspondence that I've received from the Humane Society Yukon. I'm aware that they're concerned that animal abuse be dealt with, and I think that that's a very important concern. I know, from talking with the RCMP that, in all cases where animal abuse is reported to the RCMP, they do investigate.
As well, the Minister of Renewable Resources has responded to correspondence relating to an animal health act, which has been drafted, so we're looking at animal health legislation, as well.
Mr. Cable: The regulation of animals and the protection of animals is found in a number of statutes. Is it the intention of this minister to introduce an omnibus bill, or are we simply updating all the various other pieces of legislation that sit on the books?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: That's a good suggestion from the member and, as he is probably aware, we are looking at consolidating the legislation if we can. It would be a more effective way of dealing with it.
Mr. Cable: The minister's department provided an information update on a recidivism study that's going on, and I thank the department for that.
In the body of the report - I don't know if the minister has it in front of her - on the first page, about half-way down, it says: "Research in the federal correctional system has shown that a five-percent to 17-percent reduction in recidivism is possible with those offenders who participate in the various programs offered over those who did not or refused to participate in the programs." Are we in a position here in the Yukon yet to state whether that proposition would hold here in the Yukon?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, as the member knows from the response to his question, the Yukon corrections branch is keeping statistics on participation in correctional centre programming, and is looking at ways of reducing recidivism by knowing what has worked in the past and by having this information available.
Mr. Cable: Where I am coming from is, are we in a position yet then to say that recidivism rates here in the Yukon are higher than those nationally? Has there been a definitive collection of statistics to demonstrate that and, if so, are we in a position also to determine that a very active program for offenders would reduce the recidivism rate by the figure shown in the handout - that's five percent to 17 percent?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I don't believe that the results of the survey are conclusive yet. I think that work is ongoing.
Mr. Cable: Okay, on another topic, we touched on victim of crime compensation, and I believe it's the minister's intention to bring an act in in the fall, as I think she related on a couple of occasions.
One of the news clips that came out in April indicated that there was no intention to bring back cash compensation for victims. Could the minister confirm whether that news clip is correct or incorrect?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Yes, Mr. Chair, that is correct. Generally, crime prevention programs and victim services programs are more effective than individual compensation of cash to victims of crime.
Mr. Cable: They are more effective for what?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, if the goal is crime prevention, then the intent of the legislation that we propose to introduce in the fall is to allow community groups to apply for funding for crime prevention programs. It is not our intention to reinstate compensation for individual victims of crime.
Mr. Cable: Of course, compensation and reduction of crime are two entirely different things. It was my impression - perhaps incorrect - that this government was supportive of the idea of compensating victims - at least the previous NDP government was; I believe they actually brought it in. What has changed the thinking on this?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: That program was a federally funded program and the federal government cut the funding to that program. That was when the program was eliminated.
Our proposal - and I think that our government has been very clear about this since I first mentioned it in this House - has been to establish a victim services and crime prevention trust fund that would look at victim services, not from the point of view of giving cash awards to individual victims, but would look at providing good victim services programming, available through such things as the family violence prevention unit.
Mr. Cable: If I'm hearing the minister correctly, what she's saying, then, is that it's eliminated because of funding problems; there's no policy problem with compensating victims. Is that what she's saying?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, I think that a lot of people have felt that a programming approach is a better way of looking at the problem.
Mr. Cable: On another issue, then, Bill C-41, which is the diversion of adults. What is this government doing, specifically, to make this new diversion program work? I'm looking at a handout that was provided to me, dated May 7th, 1997. Perhaps the minister could indicate what, specifically, her department is doing to make this program work?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: At the present time, pre-charge adult diversion is occurring in Watson Lake through the family group conferencing initiative. That is also occurring in Carmacks, Carcross and Haines Junction through their respective community justice committees.
The issue of post-charge adult diversion is one that is being examined by an alternative measures working group. On that working group, there are representatives from Justice, Health, Social Services, the federal Crown prosecutors office and the RCMP.
Mr. Cable: I've heard it from people working in the justice system that one of the reasons that the community work service orders and the personal work service orders don't work is that there isn't sufficient people power on the ground to follow through and make sure those people that are supposed to be doing work are, in fact, working. In fact, in some cases, it may even be becoming a joke. Is the minister committed to providing sufficient personnel to make these various diversion projects work?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, Mr. Chair, that's not a simple question to answer. There have been no new financial resources identified to support new justice programming, other than the funding that I indicated was going to be put in place to increase the staffing in victim services and the family violence prevention unit.
The Department of Justice will continue to support establishing justice projects in the communities that encourage community participation and a restorative approach and that are accountable to the community. In some cases, those services are provided by paid staff employed by the Department of Justice. In other cases, it's community volunteers who are working on community justice committees.
Mr. Cable: I gather that the persons that are primarily responsible for making sure these work orders work are probation officers. Am I correct? The minister is nodding in the affirmative.
Are enough FTEs allocated to make these programs work in the minister's view?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I believe that part of the information that we provided to the members opposite at the technical briefing was a breakdown of the organization chart and the number of people employed in various branches in the department. I can get for the member a list of the responsibilities and numbers of probation officers.
Presently, probation officers visit the communities on a regular basis to work with offenders and resource people in a community. We have probation officers who supervise offenders resident in Watson Lake, Mayo, Ross River, Pelly and Faro. Dawson City has a contract worker, and four other communities are served by visiting probation officers.
Mr. Cable: What sort of work is being done to determine the effectiveness of non-jail time - say these community work service orders on recidivism. Is there anything being done in that area?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: As far as the detail on how that question is being examined by our own correction services branch and their study of recidivism, I can bring an answer back to the member.
Generally, it is felt that sentences other than jail can, at the same time, make a real impact on the offender without being so punitive as to maybe cause them to commit more crimes.
Mr. Cable: Yes, I would appreciate being advised as to what, if anything, the department is doing in this specific area.
On the matter that was touched on briefly previously, the matter of Har Randhawa's lawsuit, this case has gone on interminably - about a decade, I think, since the gentleman first laid the complaint. The minister told me, in response to a question I raised in December, in her memorandum of January 29th, 1997, that, "A number of discussions and meetings with Mr. Randhawa have been held. This process is continuing and we are hopeful that the matter can be resolved by mutual agreement."
Now, I know this gentleman doesn't have a lawyer at the present time and I know that this is a Public Service Commission issue, in part, but not totally. The Justice department is responsible for the conduct of the case.
Is there anything that the minister can see that can be done to bring this matter to a conclusion? Can we put it to mediation or can we put it back to the Human Rights Commission to conclude it, because it doesn't seem to be going anywhere?
Chair: Order please. The time being 5:30, we will recess until 7:30 p.m.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. Is there further general debate?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I have an answer for the Liberal critic on, first of all, financial exposure in lawsuits. We do not believe that there is any case presently before the territorial government that approaches anywhere near the $1,000,000 mark, and general damages are not specified, so the quantum cannot be established under the court rules. So, it's difficult to say with certainty, but we don't believe there is any case that would approach the $1,000,000 figure that the member was asking about earlier.
Just before the break, there was a question regarding the status of the settlement negotiations on the Har Randhawa case. I want to inform the member that Justice is following instructions from the Public Service Commission, which is the responsible department. If the member is telling me that he has spoken with Mr. Randhawa, and that he is willing to have the amount of the monetary award revealed, then I can say that there was a direct payment to Mr. Randhawa in February of a significant amount of money. At the present time, the remaining items to be negotiated are the manner of calculating interest on the award, fine tuning of the retroactive salary and miscellaneous matters to do with benefits.
Mr. Cable: I have spoken to Mr. Randhawa and what I was trying to do was encourage the minister - if this case has reached an impasse - to try some other method of resolution, either mediation or a referral back to the Human Rights Commission. I'll leave the issue at that juncture.
I have one last question. A couple of months ago, there was a dustup between the minister's department and a number of charities on charges for raffles. It appeared that there was a literal reading of the regulations whereby if, say, the Royal Canadian Legion put on a number of raffles on any particular night, each raffle would have to pay the raffle charge. I think that made the point of the raffle virtually meaningless.
I was wondering if the minister had put some thought on that as to whether the regulations should be changed to accommodate organizations who are basically charitable in nature and run a number of raffles on one night.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I am not sure that it is fair to characterize it as a dustup between the department and a number of charitable organizations.
I believe that the Royal Canadian Legion had expressed its concern, but that every other community group was paying the lottery fees. It was only that the Legion had not been paying those lottery fees in the same way that other non-government organizations were paying them.
The Legion officials, after meeting with me, went back to meet with departmental officials. I believe that they have reached a resolution on the matter.
Mr. Cable: Could we hear what the resolution is?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Lottery licensing fees are not being changed. Consumer services has corrected an error that they had made in calculating the amounts being charged for 50/50 licensing fees. This correction ensures that all organizations, whether they hold 50/50 draws intermittently or regularly, pay the same amount for each draw.
Chair: Is there further general debate?
We will now go to management services, page 9-6. Is there general debate?
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
On Management Services
On Management Services
Mr. Phillips: Mr. Chair, I wonder if the minister could give us a brief outline of the line items? I have no general debate; just as we get through the line items would be fine.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The management services line item is for the deputy minister's office, finance and administration, systems administration and policy and communications.
Management Services in the amount of $1,376,000 agreed to
On Court Services
Chair: Is there general debate? Clear.
On Court Administration
Court Administration in the amount of $588,000 agreed to
On Court Operations
Mr. Phillips: I don't think anyone from this side said it cleared. The government members may want it cleared but I asked the minister if the minister could give us a description of the line item. Unless she hears us say "clear", I would like a description if possible.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The court operations line item is for the supreme and territorial court, judicial support, law library and the judiciary.
Court Operations in the amount of $2,166,000 agreed to
Sheriff in the amount of $268,000 agreed to
On Maintenance Enforcement
Maintenance Enforcement in the amount of $259,000 agreed to
On Witness Administration
Mr. Phillips: Mr. Chair, did we miss the sheriff's line there? I think we did. I think we sort of skipped it.
Chair: I believe I read that just as you rose and requested additional information.
Mr. Phillips: I was asking for additional information on the $2.1 million in court services. I didn't hear you mention the sheriff earlier and they gave us the information, so maybe it was just a - as I was speaking you were speaking. So, I didn't hear you list that line item. I just wanted to make sure we cleared it properly.
Witness Administration in the amount of $127,000 agreed to
On Yukon Review Board
Yukon Review Board in the amount of $66,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on the statistics?
Mr. Cable: Just out of curiosity, I notice that there's a very significant drop in the anticipated young offenders charges. Is that hope, or is there some basis for that? There's a drop projected of 17 percent.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I can see if that reduction is being projected because of an increase in family group conferencing and diversion programs, and bring an answer back for him.
Court Services in the amount of $3,474,000 agreed to
On Legal Services
Chair: Legal services. Is there general debate?
On Program Director
Program Director in the amount of $184,000 agreed to
On Solicitors Branch
Mr. Phillips: The minister, in her opening remarks, said we had a new solicitor in land claims who is half-time in Justice and half-time in land claims. Can the minister maybe explain what that is?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: This is a solicitor who is working full-time in land claims. The work is cost shared 50-50 between the Land Claims Secretariat and the Department of Justice, but it is a lawyer working in land claims for the Department of Justice.
Mr. Phillips: So, this is an additional solicitor - oh, Mr. Chair, I'm getting hand signals from the minister. The question I ask is this: is this the arrangement we had last year and the year before? Is there no change in the arrangement here?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The only change in the arrangement, Mr. Chair, is that the same person is employed, but they are not on contract. It has been converted to a full-time-equivalent position.
Mr. Phillips: A concern I had, Mr. Chair, with the arrangement previously was the reporting process from the solicitor that worked in the land claims branch with the director of legal services. Has this arrangement made any changes in that reporting process, or do we just sort of pay the wages or share the cost of the wages and not have much input into what happens?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: All of the lawyers do report to the director of legal services in Justice, Mr. Chair. The land claims lawyers are located in the Land Claims Secretariat, but they do report to the director of legal services in Justice.
Mr. Phillips: Well, that's fine that they report, but there was a concern before, I guess, about what was going on over there, because they work rather independently, and I'm just asking the minister if the minister is happy with the arrangement now. Is there a better reporting process or is it the same? Have there been any changes at all in the reporting process from the lawyers working in land claims and the lawyers working in Justice, because I know there is a lot of overlap with legal questions from both areas? So, I just wonder if there is a better reporting process in place than there was before.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, I believe that they do work very well together. I know that shortly after coming into office, the Justice staff, particularly the legal services, put together a briefing on land claims that involved both the lawyers in the Justice building and the land claims lawyers, and they seemed to do a good job of providing the information and seemed to have a good rapport with one another. I think that they work together well and that the fact that the land claims lawyers report to the director of legal services covers things.
Solicitors Branch in the amount of $903,000 agreed to
On Legislative Counsel
Legislative Counsel in the amount of $320,000 agreed to
On Litigation Costs/Judgments
Litigation Costs/Judgments in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
On Outside Counsel
Mr. Phillips: We reduced that dramatically in the past. As the member can see, it was $497,000 back in 1995-96. We hired some new people in the Department of Justice - a new director and others - over there. The plan was to do more of the legal work in house. Is the minister comfortable that they can do their legal work in house with this amount, and does the minister plan on increasing this in future?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Yes, we have been able to contain that work. In addition to our budget, approximately $170,000 has been committed to Justice from other departments for retaining outside counsel to help those departments on special matters. We'll continue to monitor the costs of outside counsel contracts.
Mr. Phillips: That other $170,000, is that new money this year for other departments, or was that there before?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: No, that was the previous fiscal year.
Outside Counsel in the amount of $200,000 agreed to
On Community Legal Support
Community Legal Support in the amount of $1,149,000 agreed to
Legal Services in the amount of $2,766,000 agreed to
On Consumer and Commercial Services
Mr. Cable: I asked the minister a question in December about the Canadian Securities Commission. In view of the goings on in the media about Bre-X and the tightening of securities law - or the anticipated tightening of securities law - does the minister have an update of where that proposal for a Canadian Securities Commission sits?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Yes, I have quite a lengthy update and if the member would like, I can read it into the record or I can provide him an answer.
Mr. Phillips: I have a question about casinos and bingos. Can any non-profit organization or group apply for a bingo licence or a casino licence to operate the kinds of things that, I guess, the Lions do now?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I'm just looking for the short version of the answer for the member. At the present time, non-government charitable organizations wishing to hold bingo events at a bingo hall must be members of a bingo association. Formation of a bingo association must be in compliance with lottery regulations, the Societies Act or the Business Corporations Act. There are, at present, no bingo halls in the Yukon. There are provisions in the Lottery Licensing Act for bingo associations, but what happens now is that individual charitable organizations apply separately for a licence.
Mr. Phillips: So, the member is saying that if the figure skating club wanted to run a bingo, it could apply as a non-profit organization and receive a licence and hold a bingo. The minister is nodding her head in the affirmative. Can they do the same for a casino, or is there one crew that has the licence to operate the casinos? Or is it sort of the same idea, that as long as they're a non-profit organization and they meet the criteria, they can run a casino?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Diamond Tooth Gertie's is the only licensed gambling casino in the territory. It is the case that non-government organizations can apply for an event licence to hold a casino. We see that as a fundraiser during Rendezvous that different charitable organizations will run a casino night, but that's a special-event licence.
Mr. Phillips: Yes, Mr. Chair, that's the one I was talking about. Gertie's is a different kettle of fish, I suppose, but what I'm talking about here are the types of casinos that you see that are run around Rendezvous time or other times of the year, locally around town or other places, run by, I guess, the Rotary Club or the Lions, I guess it is, and I'm just wondering, do people have to go directly to a Lions to do it, or can someone do it on their own? Someone asked me the question the other day and I wasn't quite sure of the answer, whether or not anyone can apply for a casino licence if they can supply the tables and meet all the criteria and are a non-profit organization. So, is that the case?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I believe they have to be a charitable organization in order to apply for a licence. The member's constituent could contact the consumer and corporate services branch in the law building on Second Avenue, and they could answer his specific questions.
Mr. Phillips: That will be fine. Maybe if the department just looks at Hansard tomorrow, and basically at what I asked them and provide me a written response, I can just pass it on to the individual. I don't know if they want to be taking the time to call him or not. It was just a street encounter, as most of our encounters are in the Yukon. I was cornered and asked the question, so I said, "We'll be in the debate hopefully on Monday and I'll pop the question to the minister and maybe we can get an answer."
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: There is a brochure that explains how to get a licence, and I'll be happy to have one sent to the member and he can pass it on.
On Program Director
Program Director in the amount of $160,000 agreed to
On Consumer Services
Consumer Services in the amount of $431,000 agreed to
On Corporate Affairs
Corporate Affairs in the amount of $351,000 agreed to
On Labour Services
Labour Services in the amount of $399,000 agreed to
On Occupational Health and Safety
Occupational Health and Safety in the amount of $329,000 agreed to
On Public Administrator
Public Administrator in the amount of $156,000 agreed to
On Land Titles
Land Titles in the amount of $314,000 agreed to
On Chief Coroner
Chief Coroner in the amount of $278,000 agreed to
On Yukon Utilities Board
Yukon Utilities Board in the amount of $156,000 agreed to
Mr. Phillips: Mr. Chair, before we clear this whole item, and I should have asked this question in general debate, but the Employment Standards Act was changed a couple or three years ago and I'm just wondering whether or not the minister is anticipating any changes to the Employment Standards Act?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I don't want to give the member an answer and say we may never revisit the Employment Standards Act, but there are no immediate plans to bring forward changes or amendments.
Mr. Phillips: This is the area that the fair wage scale is included, in this department. I wonder if the minister is anticipating any changes this year to the fair wage schedule?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: That's not a matter for legislative change. As the member knows, under the provisions of the Employment Standards Act, the Employment Standards Board reviews the the fair wage schedule, wage rates and minimum wage. At the present time, the Employment Standards Board has a vacancy of an employee representative, and the labour community is being canvassed for nominations for that vacant position.
Mr. Phillips: There's a vacancy for the employer side and they're canvassing the labour...
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Phillips: Okay, an employee representative. Okay, I understand. I thought the minister said "employer" side and they're canvassing the labour movement. I thought, "Well, that's a different way to go about it; it would make for an interesting proposal", but it is the other way around, so that's fine.
Chair: Are there questions on the stats? Clear.
Consumer and Commercial Services in the amount of $2,574,000 agreed to
On Community and Correctional Services
Chair: Is there general debate?
Mr. Cable: On the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, there was a comment in the media about an occupational health and safety audit, or what I had thought was an audit. I gather this is not being done. It's a more casual or less formal investigation on the health and safety issues at the correctional institute. Have I appreciated the situation correctly?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Health Canada conducted a routine health inspection of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre on the 17th of April of this year. That report recognized the efforts being made by the centre to maintain the overall sanitary and the physical condition of the building. The centre is going to pursue a suggestion made in the report that a study be conducted of any concerns related to the ventilation system, given that the centre is an enclosed, secure building.
Mr. Cable: I think the occupational health and safety personnel are involved in the investigation. Could the minister tell us exactly what they are doing?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, I'll bring the information back for the member because I don't have the full information here. I know I've seen something on that, but I don't have the note in front of me.
Mr. Cable: There has been correspondence between me and the minister, and a question put to the minister, back in December, on the ratio of auxiliary to permanent full-time employees. The minister gave me a number of responses to various questions that I asked. I gather - at the end of January, anyway - there were 51 permanent full-time employees, with a budgeted amount of $3,295,597 and 20 auxiliary employees, with a budgeted amount of $403,728.
On January 29, 1997, I received a letter from the minister outlining the total costs for the auxiliaries. For 1995-96, the budgeted costs for regular pay, overtime, shift premium vacation pay and other - whatever that is - and fringe benefits comes to something like $563,000. The actual comes to something like $922,856. For the next fiscal year - the year just ended - the total for all those items for auxiliaries was budgeted at $589,300, and the projected comes to $885,387, if I've done my math right. Now, those figures indicate the actuals and projected over the budget of over 50 percent difference, and I'm wondering why there is such a large difference between what is originally budgeted and what actually takes place at the end of the year. For two years in a row, it appears that the actuals are way off the mark.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Any 24-hour facility does require the use of auxiliaries to fill vacancies that come up. There are ongoing training opportunities available for the staff at Whitehorse Correctional. There is vacation leave available to all of the permanent staff. There are sick leave provisions in the contract, and in all of these cases where regular staff are away, there is a need for auxiliaries to staff the centre since it is a secure facility that's operating 24 hours a day.
It is difficult to predict with certainty the activity use of auxiliaries, so that's why there remains money in the budget in order to call in auxiliary personnel. In the line item in this branch, we have budgeted for additional staff in corrections to add a few permanent positions, but the use of auxiliaries will remain ongoing.
Mr. Cable: No, I wasn't questioning the need for the existence of auxiliaries. The question I was asking the minister was why is the figure as budgeted so far off the actual figure? In 1995-96, the budget figure - if I've done my math right - totals $563,000, as I indicated, and the actual is $922,000. In the following year, the budget was $589,300, and the projected - at this juncture, anyway - is $885,000. That's a very significant difference.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: As I indicated previously, it's difficult to predict with certainty exactly how much use the department will make of auxiliaries. It depends on how often staff are away for training or how much sick leave there is. So, I think that's why it's difficult to predict with accuracy exactly how much will be spent on auxiliary staff.
Mr. Cable: The number of auxiliaries that the minister indicated were employed at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre is 20. This is at the end of January, anyway, and it would appear that the budget is approaching $1 million, which would indicate that if they were making something in the order of $50,000, the auxiliaries were making almost a full-time wage. Is there any thought being given to converting some of the auxiliaries to full time? The ratios don't seem to make any sense.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: There have been some positions converted to full time in this budget; however, we do need to retain an auxiliary staff available in order to meet the requirements when permanent staff are taking leave provisions.
Mr. Cable: I will go at it in a little different way. The coroner's recommendation from the Blasdell inquest indicated that Whitehorse Correctional Centre should adopt a policy whereby staffing on all shifts ensures that there is a ratio of experienced to auxiliary/casual staff; for example, 60-percent experienced to 40-percent auxiliary/casual. I assume that means 60-percent full-time, permanent employees to 40-percent auxiliary or casual. Has that ratio been maintained? This is on the floor. I don't mean people sitting in an office - I mean people actually working on the floor of the Correctional Centre.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I'll respond to the member's question in writing, because I'm not certain that that ratio is maintained on the floor. I'll get that information for him.
I would like to advise the member that we have made changes in the existing personnel structure to add staff at Whitehorse Correctional Centre and to meet operational needs: specifically, a part-time nurse, a sixth senior corrections officer, a case manager and additional clerical support.
On Program Director
Program Director in the amount of $607,000 agreed to
On Community Corrections
Community Corrections in the amount of $754,000 agreed to
On Institutional Facilities
Institutional Facilities in the amount of $6,451,000 agreed to
On Community Residential Centre
Community Residential Centre in the amount of $176,000 agreed to
On Victim Services and Family Violence Prevention Unit
Victim Services and Family Violence Prevention Unit in the amount of $833,000 agreed to
Community and Correctional Services in the amount of $8,821,000 agreed to
Chair: Any questions on the statistics? Clear.
On Community Development and Policing
Chair: We will go to community development and policing, page 9-30. Is there general debate?
On Program Director
Program Director in the amount of $206,000 agreed to
On Police Services
Mr. Phillips: Just a question about Faro. The population of Faro now is starting to decrease again. The last time, as the population decreased, some of the services were moved from Faro to other areas or moved completely. I'm just wondering what the numbers are in Faro now with respect to the RCMP that are there and whether they are going to hang in for a while and wait for a - hopefully - positive announcement, or are we looking at a decrease in the number of officers in Faro?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The RCMP are looking at a number of factors, such as the current population level, the demand for service and caseload activity in Faro. The review will be completed in mid-June. There are no changes at the present time. When the review is completed in mid-June, we'll consider whether the need for the fourth RCMP officer is still present in Faro.
Mr. Phillips: I know they just put another officer in Carcross - can the minister tell me if there are other communities at the present time who have requested an extra officer?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: The caseload activity in Watson Lake suggests a need for additional members at the Watson Lake detachment. The RCMP are examining present resources in order to determine whether there is an opportunity to realign the service to meet current and future demands in that community.
Mr. Phillips: The minister mentioned that they were examining the caseload in Faro and that the caseload in Watson Lake sort of necessitates having a look at putting another member there. Is that the main reason they base the number of officers in a community - on caseload?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Chair, I believe it has to do with caseload and with the population base of a community.
Police Services in the amount of $10,158,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there questions on the statistics? Clear.
Community Development and Policing in the amount of $10,364,000 agreed to
Chair: We are on Human Rights, page 9-32. Is there general debate?
On Human Rights
On Human Rights Commission Grant
Human Rights Commission Grant in the amount of $243,000 agreed to
On Human Rights Adjudication Board
Human Rights Adjudication Board in the amount of $9,000 agreed to
Human Rights in the amount of $252,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there questions on the recoveries and revenue? Clear.
Are there questions on the transfer payments? Clear.
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures for the Department of Justice in the amount of $29,627,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
Chair: We will now go to capital. Is there general debate? Clear.
We will go to management services, page 9-2.
On Management Services
Chair: Is there general debate? Clear.
On Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space
Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space in the amount of $309,000 agreed to
Management Services in the amount of $309,000 agreed to
On Court Services
Chair: Is there general debate? Clear.
On Community JP/Court Support Offices
Community JP/Court Support Offices in the amount of $5,000 agreed to
Court Services in the amount of $5,000 agreed to
On Consumer and Commercial Services
Chair: Is there general debate? Clear.
On General Program Equipment
General Program Equipment in the amount of $6,000 agreed to
Consumer and Commercial Services in the amount of $6,000 agreed to
On Community and Correctional Services
Chair: Is there general debate? Clear.
On Replacement Equipment
Replacement Equipment in the amount of $83,000 agreed to
On New Equipment
New Equipment in the amount of $9,000 agreed to
On Correctional Facility Construction - Whitehorse
Mr. Phillips: Mr. Chair, could the minister just outline what that is, please?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: This line item provides for renovations to be made to the existing Whitehorse Correctional Centre. This year's budgeted expenses include updating the heating systems in the administration and program trailers, replacing the plumbing in the living units, updating the air and light systems in the remand area.
Correctional Facility Construction - Whitehorse in the amount of $145,000 agreed to
Community and Correctional Services in the amount of $237,000 agreed to
Chair: Recoveries, management services. Clear.
Capital Expenditures for the Department of Justice in the amount of $557,000 agreed to
Department of Justice agreed to
Public Service Commission
Chair: We will now go to Public Service Commission, O&M.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Chair: Is it the members' wish to take a brief recess?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: Ten minutes.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. We are on the Public Service Commission. Is there any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Mr. Chair, I just want to give a brief opening statement.
The Public Service Commission is responsible for the corporate management of human resource services in the Yukon government. Its functions cover a broad range of human resource services to government departments, employees including staffing, classification, pension and benefits, staff relations, compensation, employment equity policy and research activities, training and staff development. The department is also responsible for providing corporate personnel advice and services to Management Board and Cabinet on matters affecting human resources across the government.
The Public Service Commission's authority is contained in the Public Service Act, and its mandate flows from this act, the Public Service Staff Relations Act, and the labour relations section of the Education Act.
The 1997-98 staff complement for the Public Service Commission is 50 full-time, indeterminate positions, two part-time indeterminate positions, and seven term positions. Of the seven term positions, six are dedicated to employment equity - First Nations training corp and persons with disabilities - with the training assignments across government departments.
The O&M budget for 1997-98 is $9,611,000. This represents an approximate decrease of 13 percent from last year's forecast mainly due to a change in the accounting policy for the employee leave and termination benefits adjustment. The decision has been made to set a maximum of $30 million to be maintained in this account.
The commission is continuing with the investigation of patriating the Yukon's pension and benefits plan. Control over the terms of our own pension plan would allow Yukon public servants flexibility in plan administration, as well as the ability to tailor their pension plan provisions to such desired programs as early retirement, one of the recommendations of the Yukon Education Review Committee.
The Public Service Commission is currently involved in negotiations with YTA and the Yukon Employees Union and the Public Service Alliance of Canada.
The commission continues to support the initiatives and the devolution of federal programs to the Yukon government. The commission manages and coordinates the corporate human resource mandate on devolution projects.
The commission is also responsible for the planning and implementing of the public sector land claims training initiative. This will focus on building new relationships between governments in the Yukon, demonstrating this government's commitment to equality between genders and among races, and developing a comprehensive, shared understanding and working knowledge of land claims self-government agreements to the Yukon public sector.
This concludes my opening statements on the Public Service Commission budget and I look forward to questions in general debate.
Mr. Phillips: Well, thank goodness for word processors. I was reading right along with the minister and it was like deja vu, except there were different numbers plugged in - and I have the 1996 opening statement. It starts out, "The Public Service Commission is responsible to manage the human resources..." the same story. So, I'm glad to see that the minister has continued along with the Yukon Party document and sees that it has some uses.
I wonder if the minister could give us a little more detail on the patriation of the pension plan - where we're at with that. I know we had the unions on side, and we initiated some discussions with them with respect to the patriation. I think the stumbling block at the time was the federal Liberal government in Ottawa, which was somewhat reluctant to - well, they didn't have the money. There was a whole bunch of money in the pension plan, I understand, paid by Yukon employees, and it was really just a book entry in Ottawa. They had spent the money on other things, so they weren't prepared to give us a cheque and transfer the pension plan to us. So, maybe the minister could bring us up to speed on what's happening just with the negotiations with respect to patriation.
Hon. Mr. Harding: We're still working with the feds on the issue. There has been a joint employer/employee committee developed. They've been investigating options for patriation. The committee has reviewed proposals from the insurance industry for a stand-alone group insurance plan, and is going to be making recommendations to their membership whether or not they should proceed with patriation. Employee views will be included in the recommendation that's going to be made to Management Board. Patriation of the group insurance plans could be implemented as early as April 1997, which is this month. A more likely time frame is July 1997, and patriation of the pension plan will be a more time-consuming process. It involves more discussions with the feds.
Mr. Phillips: When does the minister expect that we'll have the kind of flexibility we need that we've talked about with our employees with respect to early retirement and these kinds of things?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Whenever the federal Liberal government gives us the money, we'll be okay, but we're just working away with them and negotiating with them and trying our best in the face of sometimes very difficult odds.
Mr. Phillips: After tonight, you may not have to worry about negotiating with them, and in a couple or three weeks, there might be someone else there to negotiate with.
Mr. Chair, another area I want to move on to is the employee survey that the government announced earlier this spring. Have we started to get replies back? Where are we at with the survey - just an update again of that survey?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Sixty-seven percent. We're still getting responses, and some kind of announcement could be made at the end of the summer.
Mr. Phillips: Sixty-seven percent have already responded? That's a pretty good response. That helps a lot.
Mr. Chair, I should have asked the minister for this earlier, but maybe the minister could provide it to me by way of legislative return or by way of a letter - the number of grievances in the past six months? I just want to get an idea if it has died down a bit or if it's up there where it was before. I know it varies. I know there was one particular instance when we were in government where one employee filed 30 grievances and it skewed the numbers rather dramatically, so it can change from time to time.
I just want to get an idea from the minister on where we're at with the grievances.
Hon. Mr. Harding: We will bring back a legislative return.
Mr. Phillips: At the same time, Mr. Chair, I wonder if the minister could provide me with a list of where we're at with the grievances that were on the books. How are we dealing with them? I know we had some extra staff and employed, I think, some contract work to deal with some of the grievances. We were trying to clean them up and I just wonder if we were successful in that. I wonder if the minister could provide that in the same letter?
Hon. Mr. Harding: It would be quite probable.
Mr. Phillips: As well, I'd like the minister to provide me with a list of all positions hired in the last seven months and maybe give me a breakdown as to whether they were locally hired or not - just an overall breakdown. I don't expect it overnight; I know it'll take a few days to put it together, but I would like to get that from the minister.
While I'm on the issue of local hire, I would like to ask the minister if he could give us an idea of what their position is with respect to local hire, and I mean local hire in the communities. There has been a problem in the past where positions come available in Mayo, for example, and the job is posted throughout government, or wherever, and someone who is working on the Dempster or working in some other area applies for it and is successful over the individual who lives in Mayo and has been sort of working part-time off and on for the government.
So, I just want to know, basically, if the government has a policy with respect to that and how do they deal with those kinds of local-hire issues?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, presently we're at 97.8 for this year for local hire. That's Yukoners hired for any positions within the public service.
With regard to the issue that was raised by the member about posting, there are certain restrictions, as the member knows as the former minister, in the collective agreement with regard to posting. Of course, those have to be honoured.
With regard to other issues that come up from time to time, we've been trying to develop and improve upon our policies. The local hire commission has, in review of some of the work that they've seen in terms of their consultations, wide ranging views from some communities where they consider local hire to be that particular community versus some communities that expressed that local hire just means Yukon-wide.
My understanding, based on the last subcommittee meeting that I attended on behalf of the local hire commission, is that they are getting ready to launch a discussion paper to come up with a more substantive consensus-built decision on how we're going to attack all those questions.
With regard to the issue of people being hired from outside the territory, since January of this year, there have been three: two ADMs in ECO and one clinical coordinator for gero-psychiatrics, Health and Social Services, so, three.
Mr. Phillips: I think the minister is probably finding out rather quickly that the local hire issue can be quite a sore point for people in the communities. On the surface, it sounds like an easy one to solve. You can just say, well, the people in Mayo, if they're an employee, they should be able to work in Mayo and get a job in Mayo. Like the member said, there are union issues and contract issues that are there. There are all kinds of seniority issues that are involved. There are people who were hired in the first place and took a rural posting so that eventually they could work in Whitehorse or in another community. A very simple solution becomes a very complicated problem.
I sympathize with the minister in trying to solve it. I dealt with it when we were there and it's not an easy one to solve, by any means. No matter what you do, you are going to make half of them unhappy. So, it's just one of those issues that happens that way.
The minister says that they have 97.8-percent Yukoners hired. What was the number prior to the government coming into office? I think it was up in that area, as well.
Hon. Mr. Harding: In 1992-93, it was 98.2 percent; in 1993-94 - this is the budget years - it was 98.5; in 1994-95, it was 99.2 percent; in 1995-96, it was 98.4 percent; in 1996-97, to date, it's 98.2. That would include, I guess, some of our term and the Yukon Party's term. It's varied between 97 percent and 99 percent.
Mr. Phillips: Just to put the minister on notice, he's started to slip a bit. He slipped .2 of a point there in the number of people. I think he should -
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Phillips: The minister said he should resign. Well, a couple more percentage points there and that may be the issue. I know, Mr. Chair, from past experience, if that member were on this side of the House, there would be shouts, hollers and screams about the downward trend that is happening and what were we going to do about it.
I will just sort of rest my case with the decrease here under this new minister and we'll live with it for now. It's not good enough yet. I know this minister wants to improve it, so we'll keep an eye on him.
The other thing I would like from the minister is a list of all employees who are on secondment since September of last year and whether or not we're paying their wages on secondment.
As well - this is more of a question - the government announced a policy earlier this year about working with First Nations and other governments and job sharing or secondment with municipalities and First Nations and those kinds of things.
I was just wondering what the intention of the government is there. Is it the intention that the government who pays the employees now will continue paying the employees? For instance, if someone from the City of Whitehorse comes into Community and Transportation Services and works for a while, the wages will be picked up by the City of Whitehorse - the government whom the person is employed by, I guess. I just want to know, really, what the structure will be, because they did talk about the job sharing with First Nations and others.
For instance, if we bring some First Nations in on some land planning issues and put them in the land department, will we be paying their wages and benefits or will the First Nation be paying them and we'll just have them job share, job shadow - "job shadow", I guess it's called - and work along with us in learning how the Government of the Yukon carries out its functions.
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, the former minister will know that we have some pretty substantive commitments in the UFA on a representative public service and reaching some employment equity goals.
The money that we've set aside in the budget is an investment toward meeting those goals. We felt we had to put some money in the area of the implementation of land claims.
We presently have a working arrangement with the CYFN and there has been extensive work done on the issue of representative public service with the feds, as well, and the territorial government, and the departments are doing a really good job of trying to work through all of the hurdles, in terms of making that implementation commitment come to life.
With the issue of the job sharing, we haven't limited it to the public sector. We're also prepared, as an initiative, to job share with the private sector as well, to ensure that more officials have a better sense of what goes on in private business and become more familiar with those issues.
However, we have only set aside the money. We have done it on a conceptual basis right now, in the context of what comitments we know are in the UFA. We're meeting with First Nation governments to work on details now, in the context of the overall employment equity discussions that were underway, started under the previous minister in light of the UFA commitments.
So, we're talking conceptually now. We haven't worked out all of the arrangements with regard to payment at all. There haven't even really been firm discussions about that, as well. Some of the examples the member raised are good questions.
There may be some overlap, as I look down the road, that may have some costs. That's why we budgeted an investment, but we look at it as an area where we are going to have to make some investment - although I don't want to see it get out of hand - with regard to our UFA commitments on a representative public service.
Mr. Phillips: Well, with the UFA, can the minister tell me then if any costs that we incur - and I'm not sure this money is in the Public Service Commission budget. I think it's in the Executive Council Office under implementation, but the minister can clarify that. The question I have is that if this is an implementation cost from the Government of the Yukon, is this something that is a recoverable from the federal government so that if, for example, the minister's number is $150,000 for this kind of thing, are we going to be compensated by the federal government for doing this, or is this just our contribution to the UFA?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Perhaps I used the wrong word when I said "implementation". The member is quite right. Implementation monies are supposed to be funded by the federal government; otherwise, this small government just couldn't afford it. I mean the feds are telling us that they can't afford a lot of the costs right now. Imagine the brunt for this little government that we have here.
What we're doing with this money is land claims training. It's increasing the understanding. When I said "implementing the claim", I'm meaning it in the sense of it's educating what commitments the Yukon government has made. We believe we have an obligation. It's not the taking down of a power, which is obviously federally funded, but it is an obligation that we have made to abide by and live with a constitutionally entrenched document, which is the UFA.
So this is an investment that we're making to train people in terms of land claims and what they mean and all of the different aspects of them. Really, we want to start with all levels of the public service right up to the Cabinet.
Mr. Phillips: Well, Mr. Chair, I can understand what the minister is trying to do, but I was under the understanding that implementation of the UFA was not supposed to cost the Yukon government any money; and in fact, in negotiations, we discussed with the federal government, and I understand that we weren't very happy with the settlement we reached, because we felt that there would be other costs, and this may be one of them that would be related to the UFA and that we would have some costs incurred.
I guess my only concern is this: are there any other costs that the minister sees that are coming down the road with respect to this kind of thing where we're going to have to be picking up the costs relating to the signing of the umbrella final agreement, and the federal government is going to be virtually off the hook for it?
Hon. Mr. Harding: It's obviously my fault for the use of the word, but the member's taking "implementation" in the formalized sense of the word. What I should have said, essentially, is "land claims training". The Executive Council Office would be the party responsible for dealing with the feds on formal implementation issues and for ensuring there is appropriate federal funding. What we're talking about doing is land claims training, which is ensuring that a document that this government has signed - like many other documents, but this one is paramount because of its importance to the Yukon - is understood by the civil service.
So, it's not implementation in the formalized sense of the word.
Mr. Phillips: I misunderstood the minister. I thought we were bringing people in from First Nations and training them in, say, Community and Transportation Services or training them in other areas. Really, what we're doing is bringing in individuals to explain the UFA clearly to government employees so that when we carry out the implementation from the various departments, they have a clear understanding of how the UFA works.
Is that what the minister is telling us?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Yes.
Mr. Phillips: Okay, Mr. Chair. Now, the minister said earlier something about job sharing with the private sector. I'm just wondering how that's going to work. There are probably a lot of hotel owners who might be knocking at his door looking for some night clerks to work at the desk for a few nights a week to try and fill in - as long as they don't tell their other employees how much they make, because that might create a problem in itself.
I'd just like to ask the minister how he sees this particular arrangement working.
Hon. Mr. Harding: It's a training initiative like any other training initiative, but it's built around something that's the focal piece or the centrepiece for the future of the Yukon, which is the land claims agreement, and it's built on increasing understanding by the public and the private sector about what's in the agreements and what they mean, and that's one method of doing it.
Mr. Phillips: I think I was under a total misunderstanding of what the minister was talking about earlier. He's not talking about somebody from the private sector coming in and learning what the government workers are doing, or the government workers coming in and learning what the private sector is doing. He's talking about someone coming into the private sector and sitting down with them and explaining the UFA and the implications of the UFA to the individuals in the private sector.
Hon. Mr. Harding: No, it could be both. We haven't worked out all the details yet. We're looking at it conceptually. As the critics in the Opposition, there'll no doubt be some more formalized work done, and then that'll be open for debate, but at this point it's still conceptual. There could conceivably be some job exchanges with regard to this as we go through it and develop the details. The whole point, the objective, is to determine a clear understanding of the obligations in the claim and a better understanding of how it affects the public and private sectors in this territory. The way that is done is still being considered.
Mr. Phillips: I guess we're going to have to wait until the program is a little more organized because I'm not quite certain where the minister is coming from, and I don't think the minister is, either. My concern is that whatever the program you develop with the private sector is, the private sector be completely and fully involved in discussions and consultation about it. I'll certainly pass this discussion on to people in the private sector.
It's an interesting concept the minister raises. I don't have a problem with people in government having a better understanding of the private sector and vice versa, but I guess it's the way you do it, and that's what the minister has got to figure out before he announces it. So, maybe my advice to the minister tonight would be to say very little on this until he kind of gets it into a form where we can present it to the public, so we don't confuse them any more than what the minister and I are right now on the subject.
Hon. Mr. Harding: I'm trying to say very little about it, but the member keeps asking me questions, and I'm trying to respond to him as best I can.
It is conceptual. None of the details have been hammered out yet, other than we know we have considerable obligations under the UFA. We have an obligation as a community to ensure that the public service has a good understanding about the land claims agreement, knows what it means to the future of the Yukon and knows what the implications are. That and land claims training, I'm certain, will be a component of it. Beyond that, we're talking conceptually, and we'll be involving people in further discussions about the issue. We're not prepared to even put out an options paper yet for discussion.
So, that's where it's at right now. I wouldn't, at this point, be making a federal case about it. I'm telling the member that it's at a conceptual point right now. I think land claims training is completely unnecessary within the culture of the civil service, given the major - as the member knows - commitments that are contained in the agreement. It's going to have a long-standing effect on how this territory operates forever.
Mr. Phillips: Well, Mr. Chair, I don't have a problem at all with the civil servants having a better understanding of the UFA.
I guess it seems that this particular idea, primarily with respect to the private sector, is so conceptual, it almost was conceived on the floor of the House here tonight. So, I kind of feel that I'm working along with the minister here on this one and we're both kind of developing this one as we go, but I'll leave that.
I don't have too many more questions in general debate. I'll reserve some of them for the line-by-line. I'm prepared to move on.
I have one last question. I asked the minister a while ago for information on FTEs and he gave me a copy of the latest quarterly report. I just want the minister to, if he could, bring me up to date if there have been any changes since the last report I've got - report number 2 - I guess, and the other one is report number 1/report number 2. Maybe the minister could make sure that I get these on a regular basis, if that would be possible, so I could keep track of changes to the civil service.
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, with regard to the updated information, we can provide that to the member.
There are other questions that he has asked us, as I understand it from my department, that we're working on providing some answers for. The member will also know, as a former minister, that the department takes a lot of time to do that. So, I apologize, but it will take some time.
I'm not opposed to providing the member with information when he wants it. I would be prepared to conduct myself in the same manner as he did with that regard.
Mr. Phillips: Well, Mr. Chair, it's almost as if I was over there and he was over here. It's reversed now and it's the same story from both sides almost, but the difference is that when I was over there, I took a lot of heat for spending money in the Public Service Commission on new computers so we could get this information faster and more accurately. So, I would hope that the new computers are up and running and that the information will flow much more rapidly than it did for the member opposite. I know we put those computers in place to help him out when he was in Opposition.
Ms. Duncan: I have a number of questions in general debate of a general policy nature that I would like the minister to elaborate on.
During the Justice debate - I trust the member was listening to it - there was a question asked with respect to the number of wrongful dismissal suits pending at present - whether or not there was training provided to individuals within the Public Service Commission with respect to wrongful dismissal.
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, there is general staff relations training that Public Service Commission undertakes. With regard to departments who make specific moves within the department, it is difficult for the Public Service Commission to be the police, essentially, for all the departments, but they do receive basic, generic staff relations training. They do that within the departments.
Ms. Duncan: I would also like to ask the minister if he could elaborate, if possible - and perhaps this is a departmental responsibility, as well - what happens afterwards? After, say, a court case is settled and - I would hate to think of it, but if there was an individual who, through their actions, has been at fault in some way - is there training provided? What is the follow-up process after that?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, I guess the long and short of it is that the punishment fits the crime. The person who has been found at fault or whatnot, in each individual case, has to undergo some kind of retribution, whether it's training or some other action. It is done on a case-by-case basis, depending on the offence or what occurred. They vary in many different ways.
Ms. Duncan: It was touched on a little bit earlier about local hire. I would just like to ask a general question in that respect. With tendering, there is a local knowledge component. For example, it might be 10 points out of 100 under the local knowledge section. How is local knowledge or local hire - is it Yukon residency; that would be a constitutional issue. How is local knowledge assessed by the Public Service Commission?
Hon. Mr. Harding: I'm told that it's dependent upon the local knowledge that's required in the particular position, as long as it's relevant and necessary to the job, and it would depend on each situation, and it's reflected in the questioning that's done in the interview process.
Ms. Duncan: The minister indicated earlier that we had a 97.8-percent local hire, which may have slipped a little, but certainly is a very good average.
It seems that whatever process the Public Service Commission is using in terms of local hire, it's working, and my question is - I've asked what that process is. The minister says it varies.
Hon. Mr. Harding: I thought the member was referring to specific jobs in, perhaps, a community. I know, for example, in Ross River the camp there has some interesting deliberations they go through when considering positions.
The policy with regard to local hire for the public service, I believe, is the same as it was under the previous NDP government and the Yukon Party, and that is that if people certify locally, then a job is offered locally. If no one is certified locally, then a job is offered outside.
Certification is done based on how the applicant meets the job description and the certification isn't completed until there's a short list made and interviews are conducted. At that point, if there's a certifiable candidate locally, an offer should be made. If there is not a candidate to be certified, there has to be ministerial approval to go outside.
Ms. Duncan: As I started to say with my next question, this process appears to be working. Is the local hire commission reviewing this process and taking it into light in their discussions?
Also, with respect to the local hire commission, does the minister anticipate any policy changes? He tells me that the same policy is in place from the previous administration. Is the government anticipating any changes?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, if you look at the wording of our commitments with regard to local hire, we have been mainly referring to capital projects and major construction works that the government undertakes in finding ways to change our purchasing and those kinds of issues.
The member is quite right, the numbers are pretty good and have been. There has really not been a lot of political heat, if you will, in this Legislature, on the issue of local hire within the public service.
However, it has come up through some of the local hire commission's consultations and there may be some policy suggestions made, although I do not think, by any means, it's the brunt of what recommendations will be coming forward, because of the pretty good track record.
Ms. Duncan: The minister indicated that there hadn't been a lot of political heat about local hire. I think he's forgotten about the land claims negotiators hired in December.
I wonder if the minister could advise this House if were there any complaints received as a result of those hirings.
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, you know, without getting into that debate right now, which would certainly spark off some political heat on both ends, in that situation, the process was as it is now, and there were no candidates certified locally according to the Public Service Commission. Now, the members may choose to believe that. Obviously they don't want to and never did, because it was a juicy political issue, but the bottom line was that the procedure hadn't changed. The policy is still the same.
Ms. Duncan: I have one last question with respect to local hire. The complaint - or observation, if you will - was raised with me by a constituent that some job positions will indicate that aboriginal applicants only need apply, and that is certainly understood in light of the government's objectives; however, this person felt that that restriction did not necessarily mean Yukon First Nations peoples, and this individual cited an incident where a First Nations person from outside of the territory was certified first as opposed to a non-aboriginal Yukoner.
Hon. Mr. Harding: Well, the policy would apply the same. If they were not a local First Nations person, it would be very difficult to become certified. If there was a local First Nations person, they would certainly be certified ahead of any other First Nations person from abroad.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, I would like to ask the minister about the devolution process - in particular, the transfer of health employees. There were some difficulties that have been raised. There are certainly always some difficulties when changes occur, but various constituents have raised different concerns such as problems with delay of final paycheques, their concerns about new responsibilities and job descriptions that have changed and haven't taken into account their personal experience on the job. Can the minister just outline for the House what steps have been taken to resolve these sorts of issues?
Hon. Mr. Harding: There are a number of issues around devolution, as the member can appreciate. It has been pretty complicated. There was some scrambling that took place as a result of the time lines and moving through with it. There was as much discussion with the unions as possible, given the time lines and the potential financial implications it had on the entire transfer, so we were a bit squeezed. If we had more time to do it over again, we would have addressed some of these things in a more up-front fashion. Unfortunately, it would have had a considerable price.
However, once people come over and they're reviewed, pay issues can be raised. The PSC is moving it through as fast as they can. I'll just read precisely what I have for a note on the issue.
"The job duties within the Yukon public service are determined by the employer. Classification is determined in accordance with existing systems, and it's based on job requirements and not on incumbent qualifications or expectations. Once employed within the Yukon public service, employees can exercise their rights regarding classification issues in accordance with the processes provided for under the Public Service Act. The exact nature of any future review commitment or employee input process that is to be undertaken by Yukon within existing authorities is under discussion between PSAC and the Public Service Commission. Affected employees will be made aware of any agreements arising from consultations with the union which will be different from, or in addition to, the current terms and conditions of employment that they shared with their previous employer."
Ms. Duncan: If I am understanding the government's response, basically what the minister has indicated is that the transfers have been made as best they can and the future is under discussion and is going to be worked on with the employees and unions involved. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Yes. It was not the best of circumstances. I freely admit that. However, had we dawdled on the transfer and not reached an agreement with Yukon First Nations, we would have missed the date. Most people felt that the feds weren't bluffing with regard to the reductions in funding that would have been available to us.
So, we're working through the issues. Health and Social Services, as I understand from the minister, is committed to ensuring that the job descriptions are accurate and reflect the nature of the work that employees are being asked to perform. And I know, because this is the employees' world and this is what they do for a living, that often it may not seem like it's the number-one priority of government with all that's happening, but it is happening and we're trying to accommodate employees as best we can, given the backlogs.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, what about the pay and benefits for these employees - in particular, the benefits? Are individuals' pensions, superannuation, time off and so on - is that all being negotiated on a case-by-case basis, and are these individuals being offered counselling as to what's the best option for them, in terms of future retirement?
Hon. Mr. Harding: The employees, as I understand it, were offered counselling prior to accepting the job. The superannuation is exactly the same and the benefits are comparable - in some cases better, and some cases a little bit less.
Ms. Duncan: I'd like to raise the issue of the survey, "The Spotlight on Diversity," with the minister. I was interested in the minister's response earlier, that there's been such a high return on the questionnaires. I was curious, though, and made some notes when the survey first came out. It talked about difficulties with the hiring process, but the survey deals with those who have already been hired. Is there any tracking or efforts toward perhaps contacting a small sample of people who were not successful?
Hon. Mr. Harding: The suggestion has some potential and some merit to investigate. The PSC has determined that the first point of attack, or identifying the information, is with the existing employees. They feel that that will turn up some very good information that would be indicative of how others outside the service would view it. I think the member's suggestion has some merit, and we can consider it.
Ms. Duncan: I'd thank the minister if he would take that under advisement and if the Public Service Commission would examine that option.
I'd like to talk about women in the public service. Does the minister have any - and I apologize if I missed them in the statistics; I didn't see them - indication, of all of the Government of Yukon employees, how many are women?
Hon. Mr. Harding: While we look for a number - I don't know if we have it; if we don't, we'll provide you with the data - the department is doing a 1990-1996 wrap-up of employment equity, planning and consolidating the figures and the numbers. Hopefully, that should be ready this spring for tabling. I want to see the department do more regular reporting to improve our reporting process on employment equity progress, both as it affects our obligations under the UFA, but also for women and people with disabilities. I can read some stats into the record for the member opposite.
Forty-eight percent of the Yukon population - this is the 1991 census - are women. As of March 31st, 1997, women represent 58.5 percent of the Yukon government workforce. The majority, 73 percent, are in the administrative, regulatory, educational, institutional and support positions. Women represent 33 percent of management positions overall and 29.2 of senior management. So, those are a few numbers.
So, in answer to the first question, 58.5 percent of the total Yukon government workforce are represented by women.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, there was some discussion and, in the mid-1980s, the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women coined the phrase, "the glass ceiling", which essentially referred to the inability of women to advance beyond a certain point. Can the minister indicate if - he's given some numbers in terms of how many women are represented at the management and senior management levels - there is some research work being done, or if it is included in this report, with respect to this issue of women advancing in the Yukon public service?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Yes, that's a problem that I think is worth some serious work and investigation. There is no formalized report as to what the reasons are. A lot of them are societal and they relate from training opportunities to gender bias that's existed in society for a number of years.
I am very interested, as a minister, in trying to develop processes that overcome that. I'm not at this point keen on, sort of, quota-type appointments. I think we should be addressing it in a more long-term fashion with some societal initiatives and some focus in the public service.
There is also some work being done, I'm told, by the department in developing a management development program that also works along those lines in targeting that issue and making sure that the tools are there and the doors aren't closed so that people can move up.
PSC is very good in that respect, certainly at the more senior management level.
Ms. Duncan: I heard the minister indicate that he was not personally interested in any sort of a quota system.
A previous NDP government appointed four deputy ministers that were specifically women. What I heard the minister indicate is that this government would not be envisioning re-instituting that policy.
Hon. Mr. Harding: There were women appointed to deputy minister positions, and quite rightfully so. However, there was a move made, I think, with good intention, that had some less-than-satisfactory political response from the general public with regard to six assistant deputy ministers, and I think that's problematic and perhaps may, at the end of the day, do more harm than good in terms of increasing people's awareness of the problem of societal gender bias.
Ms. Duncan: I agree with the minister; it was less than well-received, although I understand that the original intention was to highlight the problem, and I would also express my interest in receiving more information about the management program specifically aimed at women, and I will accept that by legislative return.
The minister also indicated that some of the difficulties might be workplace and family, and there might be societal or systemic barriers for women, and I'd like to talk about the workplace and family if I could.
Even in tonight's paper there's an article about an American survey that said, "Fully half of American women with children under 18 now work full time, and the biggest challenge they face is dealing with time pressures attendant to being a mother as well as a worker and a wife."
In 1994, there was the International Year of the Family, and there were a number of options outlined by the Vanier Institute for the family on ways we could create a family-responsive workplace. There were options such as flexible work hours and increased family leave. Could the minister provide this House, or me, by legislative return, with an update on Government of Yukon initiatives to creating a family-responsive workplace?
Hon. Mr. Harding: We'd be pleased to do that, and as we do those kinds of things, we - and I've heard it from the members opposite - should also be mindful of the gaps between the private and public sectors. I for one believe that the public sector should be able to lead with some example, but if you go too far beyond, you run into the backlash that sometimes does more harm than good, in terms of advancing those very worthy types of causes.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, I can almost swear that the minister is reading some of my questions with some of his remarks.
One of the other major issues is, of course, child care, and I'd just like to share with him some information from the Vanier Institute on the family. One quote: "Forty-one percent of working mothers in the federal public service have considered quitting their jobs because they feel they do not have enough time with their children." And, of course, day care and child care are major issues for women in the public service - for those 58.5 percent of the Yukon government's workforce.
Is the Public Service Commission examining any child care or day care issues on behalf of its employees?
Hon. Mr. Harding: I think there is a whole myriad of answers I could throw up here to this one. If I really wanted to get political, I might point a finger at Ottawa, but I think the member knows what I'm talking about there.
We would be happy to talk about some arrangements; however, workplace and child care issues are worthwhile and there's good justification, but they're also very costly. You have to weigh those things out on both sides. It is also an issue at the bargaining table, so I wouldn't want to comment too much further about it.
Ms. Duncan: I accept the minister's response to that, and I'm not lobbying for an on-site day care in this building.
The members are making comments about how we have one here. I will refrain from going further down that road.
The minister has -
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Ms. Duncan: No, what we need is more mums present.
The minister mentioned the private sector. I wonder if the Public Service Commission, in consultation with or in cooperation with the private sector, say, one of the chambers, is doing any work with respect to comparison of average salaries. This is a huge issue, and I think it's largely myth versus fact sometimes. I wonder if there is any comparison work done between public and private sector wages in the Yukon.
Hon. Mr. Harding: Yes. There are a couple of answers here. One, I think, goes back to the answer that I gave to the member earlier; that is, I believe that the public sector employees should be leading by some kind of an example when it comes to fair pay, fair benefits and reasonable working conditions. However, the debate enters into it when there are major discrepancies between the public and private sectors. When there are great leaps and bounds made and wide variances between the two, the issue of competitiveness comes into it and many other issues.
It's important that work is done comparatively and that it is done. It's also used at the bargaining table in terms of discussions with the PSAC union to point out that, relative to private sector positions, there is reasonable pay in certain areas. However, some jobs can't quite be compared directly, but that work is done.
Ms. Duncan: In the interest of speeding up the debate, I'm going to assume that it's not just pay and benefits that are compared, but it's also benefits such as flex time, leave without pay and family leave that's compared.
Once the bargaining has concluded, is it possible to gain that information?
Hon. Mr. Harding: We'll provide what we can. Some of it pertains to the private sector's confidentiality.
Ms. Duncan: One of the benefits, I suppose you could say, of working in any job is the policies that that employer has with respect to the rest of your life, not just family but also the volunteer work you do, and many, many Yukoners of course are involved in volunteer activities. We discussed earlier, in other departmental debates, what the policy was with respect to leave to engage in volunteer activities. I understood that the minister, at that time, said the policy hadn't changed between the Yukon Party government and the NDP government. Is the minister anticipating making any changes to the volunteer policy?
Hon. Mr. Harding: There has been some change, as I understand it, with regard to people leaving the service of government with pay to do work for volunteer organizations in the latter stages of the Yukon Party administration. We have kept their policy on that issue and support it as it stands right now. We've looked at some of the issues that have been identified in the context of our volunteer-pay policy, and would say that we feel fairly comfortable with it now, so there's no change being considered at the present time. However, that's not to say that we may not revisit it.
Ms. Duncan: Earlier, in one of the minister's other debates, I asked for the relocation expense directive, and that was provided to me. Is the minister or the department contemplating any changes to that particular policy?
Hon. Mr. Harding: No, there's no change at this time.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, one of the other benefits that is hotly debated in some private sector circles is the airfares that the government and some private sector employers make available to their employees as a benefit. Could I just ask the minister to explain for me how this benefit is calculated? I'm interested because, with the competition in our airlines, to some degree, we've had very vastly different fares available to Yukoners. I mean, you could get a ticket in January for $1,500, as the minister did when he went to Vancouver for the Cordilleran, or, if you're lucky, you could get one in the summer for $200. How is that fare calculated, in terms of a benefit?
Hon. Mr. Harding: It's simply a flat rate of $2,000, and if employees want to use free upgrade stickers to go business class for an hour and a half flight, it's no problem with me, whether on business or not.
Ms. Duncan: I truly regret that I have two Empress class lounge passes and I'll pass them over to the minister, as I understand his benefits have been cut and heaven knows I won't be using them.
The amount of $2,000 can be a lot for a number of airfares and I wonder if any figures separate out how much this benefit, if you will, costs the Government of Yukon each year? Is that separated out now, or could it be?
Hon. Mr. Harding: It costs a lot, and I could provide information on that, but it's all part of the negotiations, so I wouldn't want to piece meal or pass judgment on it. It does cost a lot.
A one-percent increase in pay for the overall government is roughly equal to $1.5 million, if you count PSAC and YTA. Within that, there are other benefits as well. That would just strictly be on the wages.
The change to the $2,000 flat rate was made in the Public Sector Compensation Restraint Act, 1994. Before that, it varied with the number of dependents, marital status and those kinds of factors.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, one of the members has said, "It's not an easy issue," and I absolutely agree. I remember it being hotly debated around the Chamber of Commerce board table on more than one occasion.
If I could just ask the minister - and I'm sure this is part of the negotiations, in general terms, auxiliaries and casuals with YEU and YTA - the issue of teachers on call and temporary teachers - can the minister elaborate on general terms how we deal with these individuals?
Hon. Mr. Harding: Auxiliaries are covered under the CBA, the bargaining agreement. The casuals and temporary teachers are covered under policy as opposed to the collective agreement.
Ms. Duncan: If I fully appreciate what the minister has said then, casuals - and I understsand this issue with YTA, so let's strictly deal with the casuals - are not, in effect, represented at the bargaining table. They have no voice.
Hon. Mr. Harding: Casuals are not bargaining unit members.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, there was a news report on April 14th that the Government of Canada - PSAC - had an agreement whereby employees could take leave to participate in the federal election and their pay would be covered by the union if they supported the right candidate.
That's the federal election; it's the federal PSAC, but can he tell me off hand whether or not YEU has a similar policy?
Hon. Mr. Harding: I don't know. I don't speak for the union.
Mr. Chair, I move you report progress on Bill No. 4.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Mr. McRobb: Mr. Speaker, the Committee has considered Bill No. 4, First Appropriation Act, 1997-98, and has 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. Harding: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 9:28 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled May 12, 1997:
Motor Transport Board Annual Report 1995/96 (dated May 1997) (Keenan)
Motor Transport Board Annual Report 1996/97 (dated May 1997) (Keenan)
The following Legislative Returns were tabled May 12, 1997:
Yukon Waterfowl Management Plan: explanation of purpose (Fairclough) Oral, Hansard, p. 851
MacKenzie River Basin Management Agreement: commitments; status (Fairclough) Oral, Hansard, p. 910
Copper Ridge subdivision: request for proposal for design work (Keenan) Oral, Hansard, p. 1046
The following Document was filed May 12, 1997:
Photo of a bumper sticker produced by the New Democrats during the 1996 Yukon election campaign promoting Yukon hire (Duncan)