Dawson City, Yukon
Saturday, June 13, 1998 - 10:00 a.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
At this time, we will proceed with prayers. I will say prayers in my native language.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
INTRODUCTION OF SPECIAL GUESTS
Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure for me today to introduce two former Members of this Legislature who represented the Klondike so well for quite a number of years.
What is unique about this event today is that both of these Members are seated on my extreme right. They are normally on my left but today they are on my right.
Fred Berger represented our riding from 1974 to 1978. Fred and his wife Palma, who are here with us today, are also Mr. and Mrs. Yukon this year.
Mr. Speaker, Art Webster represented this riding from 1985 to 1992 and served our riding well. Art is here with us today.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to draw Members' attention to the presence in our gallery of a number of people who are gracing our Chamber today.
The first is the Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations, Shirley Adamson.
I would also like to draw the attention of members to the presence of three Consuls General who are visiting the Yukon: the Consul for the United States, Jay Bruns, and his wife Katherine; British Consul Ian Kydd and his wife Louise; and the Consul for the Federal Republic of Germany, Peter Maier-Oswald.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: It gives me great pleasure indeed this morning to introduce the Chief of the Tr'ondek Hwech'in First Nation, Chief Steve Taylor, and the Mayor of Dawson City, Mayor Glen Everitt.
Speaker: Introduction of Bills.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 100: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by Mr. Ostashek and Ms. Duncan, that Bill No. 100, entitled Yukon Day Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Mr. McDonald, seconded by Mr. Ostashek and Ms. Duncan, that Bill No. 100, entitled Yukon Day Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for Introduction and First Reading of Bill No. 100 agreed to
Unanimous consent requested
Hon. Mr. Harding: Mr. Speaker, based on an agreement among the House Leaders - who always work most amicably and well together - I would request the unanimous consent of the House to set aside the provisions of Standing Order 55(1) in order to allow the House to consider Second Reading and Third Reading of Bill No. 100 on this day.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: Unanimous consent has been granted.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Bill No. 100: Second Reading
Clerk: Second Reading, Bill No. 100.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by Mr. Ostashek and Ms. Duncan, that Bill No. 100, entitled Yukon Day Act, be now read a second time and that it stand ordered for Third Reading.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Mr. McDonald, seconded by Mr. Ostashek and Ms. Duncan, that Bill No. 100, entitled Yukon Day Act, be now read a second time and that it stand ordered for Third Reading.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Mr. Speaker, we are here to commemorate a very special event in the history of the Yukon Territory: our one hundredth anniversary as a Territory in Canada.
One hundred years ago today, the federal government created a separate political entity, known as the Yukon Territory. Until that time, the Yukon had been a district of the Northwest Territories, which also included Alberta, Saskatchewan and the current Northwest Territories, and other districts.
Of course, Mr. Speaker, as you know, the history of the Yukon goes back long before then, perhaps as long as 30,000 years. Until 1839, the entire population of the Yukon was made up of First Nations people.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to support a Bill that encourages us to recognize and celebrate the lives, traditions and cultures of all Yukoners, past and present.
The arrival of European newcomers about 150 years ago imposed dramatic changes on the land and its peoples in a relatively short period of time. First came European explorers. Then the fur traders arrived and began setting up trading posts. They were followed by Catholic and Protestant missionaries.
The biggest impact was still to come: the prospectors.
In 1885, after gold was found in paying quantities on the Stewart River, about 200 prospectors crossed the Chilkoot Pass, including a young man from California, named George Washington Carmack. Eleven years later, in the middle of August 1896, Carmack and his two companions, Skookum Jim Mason and Dawson Charlie, made their historic discovery on Rabbit Creek, which they renamed Bonanza.
The Yukon hasn't been the same since.
When the first Klondike millionaires arrived in Seattle and San Francisco the following year, the word "Klondike" became famous around the world.
By the summer of 1898, Dawson was the largest city in Canada west of Winnipeg and north of Seattle. More than 30,000 people had risked everything, including their lives, to come here in the hope of finding their fortune.
It was during the Klondike Gold Rush that the Yukon Territory came into its own as a political entity within Canada. Since 1895, Yukon had been a separate district of the Northwest Territories. It was nominally administrated by the territorial government in Regina and was virtually ignored by both the Northwest Territories government and the federal government.
The gold rush changed everything, as both governments saw a huge revenue potential for gold and liquor taxes, and the power struggle began. The federal government simply asserted its authority. On June 13, 1898, it passed the Yukon Territory Act, which established the Yukon as a separate Territory with its own executive, legislative and judicial authority.
Since that time, there have been many changes in the status of government in the Yukon. The members of the first Territorial Council were all appointed government administrators and their meetings weren't open to the public. Ottawa, at the time, had no intention of permitting any kind of self-government in a turbulent community where the majority of residents were Americans.
In any case, the government believed that, once the gold was gone, the newcomers would leave. It couldn't have been more wrong. In fact, many of the descendants of those who arrived in the Yukon one hundred years ago are here today.
In August of 1899, in response to complaints by residents, the federal government amended the Yukon Territory Act to allow the first two publicly elected members to join those appointed to the Territorial Council. Dawson City remained the capital of the Yukon Territory until 1953, when the seat of government was transferred to Whitehorse.
It is in honour of this heritage that the Legislative Assembly of the Yukon is holding this Special Sitting and ceremony here today.
In those days, one hundred years ago, the federal government had refused to sign treaties with Yukon First Nations people because it didn't want to give up land for a reservation on which gold might later be found. Today, we are negotiating modern treaties and developing positive government-to-government-to-government relationships with Yukon, Federal and First Nation governments.
I would particularly like to congratulate the Tr'ondek Hwech'in people, who have just ratified their own land claims and self-government agreement under the Yukon First Nations umbrella final agreement. Among the many benefits of that agreement for all Yukon people, now and in the future, is that it will permit the establishment of Yukon's first natural environment park at Tombstone.
Mr. Speaker, we're pleased to welcome people today from all over the world who are among those who come here to learn more about the gold rush, to enjoy the magnificent outdoor experiences the Yukon presents and to learn more about our rich history and cultural heritage.
This is a special day for Dawson City and for the Yukon as a whole. I would like to thank the City of Dawson and organizations such as the Klondike Visitors Association for welcoming us here for this special sitting.
It is a great pleasure to support this Bill, which proclaims June 13 as Yukon Day. Our government believes it is appropriate that, in the words of this Bill, Yukon Day shall be a day on which the citizens of Yukon are encouraged to reflect on the history and heritage of the land and its peoples and to celebrate the lives, traditions and cultures of all Yukoners, past and present. Our government believes it is important to use occasions such as this to rededicate ourselves to working together to build a strong, positive future for all Yukon people and all Yukon communities.
Mr. Ostashek: Mr. Speaker, today is truly a historic day and will be in the history of the Yukon.
I want to start today, Mr. Speaker, by thanking the constituents of Porter Creek North for allowing me the honour and the privilege of representing them here today in this Legislature.
The recognition of June 13 as Yukon's Birthday was a long-standing quest by a former Speaker of this Legislature, Don Taylor, who represented Watson Lake for many, many years. He was on a mission to see that June 13 was recognized as Yukon's Birthday and we are helping to fulfill that quest of his here today.
I think it's only fitting that I pay tribute to a former member for Klondike, David Millar, who moved a motion in the Legislature in 1995 urging the government to give official recognition to June 13 as Yukon's birthday.
And, Mr. Speaker, while I'm paying tribute, I believe we must also recognize a third-generation Yukoner, Mr. Willard Phelps, who served in this Legislature as a third-generation Yukoner. His grandfather served in the first elected Legislature in Yukon and his father also served as a Member of the Legislature.
"Birthday," Mr. Speaker, is defined in the dictionary as a day of origin. Yukon's day of origin as a distinct geographical entity was one hundred years ago, on this very day. That was the day the Governor General proclaimed the Yukon Territory Act and gave birth to our Territory. But the Yukon, of course, has existed from time immemorial. Archaeological evidence points out that there were First Nations people in the Old Crow area some 30,000 years ago, in the Kluane Lake area some 10,000 years ago, and in the Pelly River area some 8,000 years ago.
So, Yukon's history is far longer than the one hundred years that we're celebrating today. Nevertheless, it is a very important day in the political evolution of our territory.
Prior to the gold rush, Mr. Speaker, there were Russian and American fur traders who came in from the west, and there was the Hudson's Bay Company that came from the east, with men such as Robert Campbell. And we also had the whalers in the Herschel Island area in northern Yukon.
Mr. Speaker, some of the historical revisionists have portrayed the Klondike Gold Rush as being a non-native event, when in fact two of the three co-founders of gold on Rabbit Creek on that famous day in August were Yukon First Nation people: Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie. Their discovery, together with George Carmack, caused the gold rush that led to the creation of our Territory.
Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to congratulate Chief Taylor and the Dawson First Nation on the ratification of their land claim agreement, a modern day treaty, and working in cooperation with all Yukon citizens to make a better Yukon for all of our children.
June 13, Yukon Day, is a day that holds great significance for the people of the Yukon in the past, the present, and for those in the future. It is a day on which people of the Yukon will have the opportunity and the time to reflect on the truly remarkable past and to project their dreams and their hopes for the future and for a better tomorrow.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: It is my pleasure today to speak in support of the Yukon Day Act.
I would like to provide a brief historical perspective.
The intent of the debates in the Spring of 1898 on an Act to provide for the government of the Yukon district was to provide a tentative system of government that was as simple as possible, because, if I may quote from the debates then, "at least nine out of every 10 of the population are foreigners and they are not permanent residents."
Indeed, the legislators of the day commented that the people in the Klondike, "have gone there for the purpose of becoming as wealthy as possible and, as soon as they have acquired the amount of wealth that they desire, then they will withdraw from that Territory."
Some people may share that sentiment one hundred years later. I've heard it often but it doesn't often happen that way. All of us who come to the Yukon find that we want to stay and make our homes here. Indeed, there is a lot more treasure in the Yukon than the gold in the creeks. Our land, our water and our wildlife are very important to Yukon residents. They provide for subsistence harvesting, recreation, and tourism opportunities.
Its population is the greatest treasure and greatest strength of any state.
A hundred years ago, the federal parliament established an act to provide for peace, order and good government and the administration of justice through the office of a Commissioner acting under the direction of the Minister of the Interior. The aboriginal population who were living here saw enormous changes as 40,000 people rushed to the Klondike. First Nations governments were not recognized, and enormous social disruption took place.
The implementation of First Nations self-government and land claims agreements marks a new political climate in the Territory. We are striving to educate our youth to understand and respect differences. The diversity of our heritage is an important value to all of us and an important component of this Bill.
In 1898, women were not eligible to vote or to hold office. As you can see, Mr. Speaker, there are three women in the Yukon Legislature. I hope it does not take another one hundred years before the Legislature does become more representative of the population.
Many recent histories have recognized the contribution of women at the time of the gold rush. To no one's surprise, women were doing everything, as they do today; they were active in business, healing, family and community life. All of us who have the honour of representing the people of our ridings are proud of the work we are able to do as we continue to take on more responsibilities as a government.
I would like to thank the Town of Dawson City for their hospitality as we celebrate this centenary.
Ms. Duncan: I'm honoured to be a Member of the Yukon Legislature on this historic occasion. It is my pleasure to rise to speak on behalf of the people, as the Member for Porter Creek South and as the Leader of the Yukon Liberal Party.
Today, the Act before us is a celebration of a political event: the creation of the Yukon as a Territory of Canada. The event is part of a much larger Canadian and world historical event, the Klondike Gold Rush, just as Yukon is part of a larger picture, the country of Canada.
The Yukon Territory Act was passed by Canada's House of Commons and assented to on June 13, 1898. What would the members of that House have said in debate in 1898 about this important date in our history?
I believe they might have spoken about a land - although I suspect few had seen it - rich in minerals, wealthy in opportunities, and strengthened by its peoples. One hundred years later, we must look to those who have grown with us and loaned us their talents. Today is an opportunity also to offer our thanks to them: Members of the Legislature, executive committee members, and Cabinet ministers after the 1979 Jake Epp letter.
It's the most recent history that comes immediately to mind - people like Hilda Watson, the Member for Kluane; Meg McCall, the Member for Klondike; and Andrew Philipsen, the Member for Porter Creek West, who served Yukon with the best of their ability and their knowledge; the former Member for Watson Lake and former Speaker, Don Taylor, through his reminders to Yukoners every year on June 13 that this was a day for celebration and a fundamental day in Yukon's political history.
There are leaders in Yukon's political life outside this Legislature who have strengthened Yukon and challenged us. Elijah Smith, if only you knew that Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow presented the greatest inter-generational, intergovernmental opportunity to do what every elected politician begins their political life to do: to make a difference in the daily lives of people. His work, and that of people like Harry Allen, made Canadian and Yukon history. Future history will judge us and challenge us by how well we implement the land claims settlement and agreements such as we are celebrating today, as reached by the Dawson First Nation.
While some honourable members in the House of Commons might have spoken about the potential mineral wealth of the territory of the Yukon, I doubt any of them realized that, in the following one hundred years or so, 12.5 million ounces of gold would come from this great land, valued at about $4.4 billion in 1998 dollars. And that's just the gold.
The silver history of Keno and Elsa near Mayo, copper in Whitehorse, the lead-zinc of western Yukon - Yukon's mineral wealth and its oil and gas is a story like the Yukon's, in that it has only just begun. Yukoners have always appreciated the wealth of our wilderness. Evidence collected in the Bluefish Caves in the riding of Vuntut Gwitchin, Mr. Speaker, indicate the ancestors of Yukon First Nations people have inhabited this region for at least 30,000 years, sharing it, harvesting it, appreciating it.
The world is beginning to see what we see, once again, with a visitor industry that continues to grow. Yukoners take great pride in sharing our world - the Tombstone Mountains and Kluane National Park - with the world.
Just as those who spoke in 1898, in 1998 I see a wealth of opportunities for Yukoners. I see a land that's strengthened by the people who have come before us and, most importantly, Mr. Speaker and fellow Members, I see hope.
As we celebrate and honour the Yukon and our past, let us toast our future together.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Mr. Speaker, indeed it is a pleasure to be able to stand here and to speak to the Yukon Day Act.
Firstly, though, Mr. Speaker, before I elaborate too much on the one hundredth anniversary, I'd like to speak to the time immemorial, the time that was passed, with the First Nations people of the Yukon Territory. I'd like to thank them for their spiritual ways of providing the stewardship that would allow us to be here today to practise a government structure based on the values that they have. It is indeed a pleasure to be here.
Mr. Speaker, I don't have much to say other than I think that now, one hundred years later, we're coming together and we're working together with the indigenous people of this land. We're looking to the true values of what we need to keep the Yukon as it was in the past, to pass on into the future - that is the land, that is the water, that is the air, that is the animals. It is indeed such a pleasure to be a proud part of that so that we can evolve with the Yukon as it is today.
Mr. Speaker, I'm very, very proud of the trail-blazers that came before myself - people of the First Nations land - Margaret Commodore, Danny Joe, Sam Johnston, Johnny Abel. And there certainly might be others, but I'd like to pay tribute to those many fine leaders who have passed before us and proven their leadership before us so that we might be able to carry on and go on to the future as we are today.
I'd like to say, Mr. Speaker, that on this one hundredth anniversary, one hundred years later, our job is not done. We must continue to work to evolve so that we will be able to hold and preserve the integrity of the Yukon as it was in the past and take it into the future, based on the principles that we all have and share in common.
I'd like to take this time to thank the Chief and the Mayor for the hospitality that was provided to all the people in the Legislature, to the wonderful people all sprinkled throughout the Klondike region. It's certainly a wonderful place to be and a very fitting place to hold a Special Sitting.
Thank you very much indeed, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Mr. Harding: Mr. Speaker, there's a song that I often hear on the radio, performed by a local artist. I hear it driving home from work and it's called Another Day in Paradise.
If you stop and listen to the words, it's kind of a humorous song. It talks about car plugs being busted off when the weather's so cold and Yukoners heading out to their cottage on the weekend, and it explains a lot about what Yukon really is and what Yukon means to me.
Yukon Day is a day when we can think about and reflect a little bit about what it does mean to be a Yukoner. We can think about First Nations culture and ancestry, and the contribution that has been made to the Yukon by aboriginal people. We can think about the people who, in my riding, work in the mining industry and, around the Yukon, the placer miners, hard-rock miners, people working up at the Viceroy mine right next door here; people working in Watson Lake in forestry around the Territory; the public servants who do so much good work here on behalf of the Yukon people; and also people who work in the tourism industry to try to continue to expand our attractions and to bring more and more people here to share with us, and contribute to our economy, what we already know we have.
Also, on Yukon Day, I think of campers heading out in a mad rush on the weekend, Friday afternoons, pulling boats, heading for places around the Yukon. If you're ever around Two Mile Hill on Friday evening, you'll notice that that's probably the only time that the whole entire stretch of road is chock-a-block full of vehicles, and it's usually campers and boats. I know, in my riding, on Friday afternoon or when shifts change, people are heading out to enjoy this Territory and what we have, to get out and do a bit of fishing.
The Yukon is about moose hunting in the fall, and it's about that first fish in the spring when the ice comes off. It's about 40 below in the wintertime, and 25 above in the summertime. It's about potlatches and festivals throughout the summer that we all know, we all reflect on. We build our lives around them and go to them, enjoying them and being together, experiencing the Yukon.
The Yukon's about a still-water day on Marsh Lake or Little Salmon Lake and blue skies and people relaxing. And it's about hard work, a pioneering spirit. It's about the promise of things such as the land claim and it's about traditions, culture and history. Essentially, it's a melting pot of peoples from all over Canada and the rest of world, who have come together in a relatively short period of time to do amazing things.
And I'm very, very proud to be a part of that and I want to continue to work with my colleagues in this Legislature and the people of the Yukon to further improve this Territory.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Phillips: When was I thinking about what I could say here today, I was thinking about the significance of this particular event - one hundred years of the Yukon history in government - and in discussion with my wife I realized that this is a bit of a family history day as well, because fifty years ago this month our family came to the Yukon. Unfortunately, I didn't climb the Chilkoot Trail - and my father didn't - but, Mr. Speaker, we certainly have been here a while and dearly love this territory.
Mr. Speaker, keeping with our tradition in our Legislature in the Yukon, I do have a minor friendly amendment that I would like to propose to the bill. I'm just kidding, Mr. Speaker. I don't want to give the Clerk a heart attack.
Mr. Speaker, today I would like to establish a new tradition on Yukon's birthday. In keeping with the invitation of Bill No. 100, encouraging Yukoners to reflect on the history and the heritage of this fine land and its people and to celebrate the lives, traditions and cultures of Yukon past and present, I want to take this opportunity to encourage all Yukoners to visit the many wonderful and informative museums and cultural centres that we have throughout this territory. Many of our visitors often know more about the Yukon than we do when they travel here because they take the opportunity to go into our museums and visit the cultural centres.
I think it would be a good tradition to establish in the Yukon - that every June 13 Yukoners themselves would take the opportunity to learn more about our very rich history. The Yukon is bursting with gold-star destinations, like the George Johnston Museum in Teslin; the Transportation Museum, the Old Log Church and the MacBride Museum, all in Whitehorse; this Dawson City Museum; the Keno Museum; the Binet House in Mayo; and Burwash. There are museums all over this territory that tell people about the history of this great land.
In addition to the interesting exhibits in the museums, we've built many cultural centres throughout the Territory. I know the Dawson First Nation and Chief Steve Taylor are working on a fine project down on the river now and I encourage people to take advantage of that in the future and visit those particular attractions.
Mr. Speaker, I want to encourage Yukoners to get out and see what the Yukon is all about and learn more about our history. I think this would be a good tradition to establish today: that every June 13 would also be Yukon museums and Yukon cultural history day, where we would go out and learn more about our Territory.
Mr. Speaker, like many of us in this House here today, I love this land. It's been a great place to live, it's been a great place to raise a family, and it does have a great future.
But there is one individual who could describe the Yukon, I think, in words better than many of us, and that is the poet Robert Service, who came to the Yukon for a period of time and he was caught, like most of us are, by the spell of the Yukon. I'd like to take an opportunity, in closing, Mr. Speaker, to recite one verse out of the Spell of the Yukon, which I feel says a lot for me and says a lot for a lot of other Yukoners and visitors who come to this great land, and it goes like this:
There's a land where the mountains are nameless,
And the rivers all run God knows where;
There are lives that are erring and aimless,
And deaths that just hang by a hair;
There are hardships that nobody reckons;
There are valleys unpeopled and still;
There's a land - oh, it beckons and beckons,
And I want to go back - and I will.
Mr. Speaker, Robert Service says it very well in that poem.
Mr. Speaker, thank you to the Mayor of Dawson and the Chief of the Tr'ondek Hwech'in for inviting us to this land.
Happy Birthday, Yukon.
Hon. Mr. Sloan: Mr. Speaker, in keeping with the traditions of this House, the Member for Riverdale North tried to get me to give up my few minutes. I won't satisfy him on this day.
This is indeed a very pleasurable occasion, and I, too, would like to express thanks to Chief Taylor and the Tr'ondek Hwech'in for their hospitality on their traditional lands; thanks to Mayor Everitt; and I would also like to thank our host, in this case the Member for Klondike, Peter Jenkins, for the hospitality that has been shown to us.
This is a particularly interesting time. It's a particularly interesting occasion, because not only are we, in a sense, recreating history but I think, in a very real sense, we're also living history with the ratification of the Tr'ondek Hwech'in agreement.
We talk here about the development of this Territory in political evolutionary terms; what we're seeing now, over the past couple of years and I believe in the next couple of years, will be true political, social and economic evolution as our First Nation systems come to participate much more fully in the life of this Territory. And I think the Tr'ondek Hwech'in are an indication of the kinds of society that we have an opportunity to build in the Territory.
It is particularly fitting that we're here in this Chamber today. It's also particularly fitting that we're also in a museum where we can see downstairs some tremendous exhibits of not only our human history in this Territory but the fascinating geological interests of this territory. And when we look back over the eons that this territory has existed, the titanic geologic forces that have shaped the land and since given us our mineral wealth, it's truly quite inspiring.
As well, when we look back and see the struggles that our First Nations people have had over the millennium in developing their culture, I think this is a good place for us to see that. We see as well the development of European history in this Territory. We note the development of such things as the arrival of the Northwest Mounted Police, the gold seekers, and we also see how this Territory has developed in a very real sense politically.
I represent a riding which didn't exist one hundred years ago. As a matter of fact, Whitehorse itself was rather a very minor spot on the river. The area that is now my riding, Whitehorse West, was the traditional land of the Kwanlin Dun people and we have an opportunity here to see the history. The history is so much alive and so close to us. And we also have individuals in this territory - older individuals - who are living history. I've had an opportunity over the last few days to be meeting with some of these elders and seniors who represent that continuum of history in this territory.
I'm very pleased to be here today to speak on behalf of the Yukon Day Act, and I would urge speedy passage of this Act.
I would once again like to express my appreciation to the people of the Klondike for their sterling hospitality.
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: It is a pleasure for me to speak to this Bill.
Mr. Speaker, the Yukon Territory is God's country. We have a beautiful country that has plenty of wildlife, great fishing, a rich mineral resource, and a growing tourism industry. Most of all, we have beautiful people here who have worked together over the past while and have developed Yukon to what it is today.
In my riding of Mayo-Tatchun - the home of the Northern Tutchone people - we have mining communities and we have First Nation communities that still practise their culture and traditions.
In the Town of Carmacks, home of the Little Salmon-Carmacks First Nation, they have been preparing for and have been very active in the mining industry, particularly with B.Y.G. and Western Copper. The town itself has an incredible potential for growth. It's the home of individuals such as John McGundy and elder Roddy Blackjack, who have played a significant role in history as strong, vocal individuals on land claims and other matters.
Pelly Crossing, home of the Selkirk First Nation - this community has grown strong over the past years. They are involved in economic activities such as mining and have a strong desire to be involved in economic activities. This is evidenced by the recent business of mushroom picking and their agreements with the mining community and Minto Resources.
They have a great heritage - the Selkirk First Nation - with the community of Fort Selkirk and the healing centre at Tatlmain Lake. They also have people who truly need to be recognized, like Tommy McGinty, a much-respected elder, and Danny Joe, who is a former MLA of my riding; also, Eliza and Ira Van Bibber, known for their pioneering spirit.
Mayo, home of the Nacho Nyak Dun - the Village of Mayo and the Nacho Nyak Dun have demonstrated a willingness to work together for the benefit of the community. Again, I need to draw recognition to Chief Robert Hager who, for over 20 years, has played a significant role in the development of land claims and self-government, and, most recently, Chief Billy Germaine, who, as many know, is ill, and I wish him a speedy recovery. He has demonstrated strength and wisdom which is greatly appreciated from such a young man.
Mayo, Keno and Elsa are historical mining communities and former stomping grounds of our Government Leader, Piers McDonald. They have spectacular scenery, with an abundance of wildlife - in particular, whistler marmots. They also have unique butterflies that have not been found anywhere else in the world. Stewart Crossing and Little Salmon are highway grader stations. They have dedicated people who maintain our highways and choose to live in an environment that they enjoy.
Mr. Speaker, the Yukon's history in recent years has an interesting new chapter. First Nations have final agreements and self-government agreements, and this will mean a significant change in the way in which governments operate forever. Not many people, I believe, really realize the significance of these agreements.
Approximately one hundred years ago, First Nations people began voicing their concerns about the land. Chief Jim Boss, in 1902, wrote to the King and voiced his concern and asked that something be done. Most recently, in 1970, First Nations began negotiations and, as a result of successful negotiations, several First Nations agreements have been completed. And I can see, not too far in the future, that all First Nations will have agreements in place.
I was very glad to hear that Tr'ondek Hwech'in had ratified their agreement last night. One hundred years ago, they felt the impact of mining in their territory and since then have negotiated an agreement that gives them significant power in what happens within their traditional territory. I congratulate Chief Steve Taylor and the Tr'ondek Hwech'in people on their efforts and achievements.
I ask that, when celebrating Yukon Day, June 13, we never forget the people who played a significant role in the development of the Yukon, and in particular the aboriginal people who now, with agreements in place, play a significant role in today's politics.
We have a legend amongst aboriginal people, a person whom we have seen give good direction and wisdom throughout his years, and that is Elijah Smith, followed by Harry Allen. I've mentioned a few people in my riding but there certainly are many prominent aboriginal leaders in the Yukon who have developed communities to where they are today with a bright future ahead of them.
I ask Yukoners, together, to continue to preserve and protect our land for the future use and enjoyment of future generations.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Cable: Mr. Speaker, the Bill before us encourages us to reflect on the history and heritage of our Yukon land and its peoples. One hundred years ago, a culture, primarily European in nature, was thrust into the midst of the indigenous aboriginal culture. A culture whose members then focused on the extraction of a metal from the ground came face to face with a culture whose members had a different relationship with the land. Over the last one hundred years, the members of the two cultures have slowly grown together and have exchanged cultural values, to our benefit.
While we celebrate the lives, traditions and cultures of all Yukoners, it is interesting to reflect on that growing together. And while we do that, it is also interesting to reflect on the changing face of this Legislative Assembly.
A hundred years have passed since our Territory was carved out of the Northwest Territories. If we take a walk through the past, down the corridors of this building, we can see how the face of our Assembly has changed over the last one hundred years. The early Councils were made up of adventurers, who had come north seeking gold or to do business with those people who were looking for gold - men who were transient by nature.
Today's Council still has many Members who were born elsewhere. There are Members from Shelburne, Nova Scotia; Belfast, Northern Ireland; High Prairie, Alberta; and even two from Toronto, Ontario. These are people who have been lured north, not by a quest for gold but for a different type of enrichment. But today's Council also has Members who were born in the Yukon, with roots that go back many millennia. Today's Council also has Members who have spent most of their lives here and who were educated here. In many ways, we are representative of the changing face of the Yukon.
Mr. Speaker, this Bill and the creation of Yukon Day will give us the time each year to reflect on the changes of the last one hundred years, the changing face of the Yukon and our growing together as a community. It will be my pleasure to support the Bill.
Mr. Fentie: It is, indeed, a pleasure and an honour, Mr. Speaker, to speak briefly to this legislation before us today. For me, it's also very rewarding to be a participant in bringing to reality a desire and dream of a predecessor of mine and a long-time Speaker of our Legislature, Mr. Don Taylor.
There is a great significance in designating June 13 as Yukon Day. It is designating a day for us all to take time to reflect, Mr. Speaker - to reflect on the fact that, for the First Nations people of this territory, a way of life was changed forever, to reflect on the fact of the contribution of those hardy souls and pioneering spirits that came to this Territory seeking fortune. It's also a day for us all to reflect and to reaffirm our commitment to continue to work together to build a better and brighter future for all people in this Territory.
Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure to support this legislation and, on behalf of my constituency, Watson Lake, gateway to the Yukon, I will be voting in favour of Bill No. 100.
Mr. Livingston: Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise to support the Bill today, without amendment. All Members who have spoken this morning have spoken eloquently about reflecting on our history and our heritage. I think, Mr. Speaker, that also leads us into shaping our dreams for the future of this great Territory.
We do have much to celebrate. We have the wild lands, unequalled anywhere in the world. We have our richness of resources, both natural resources and social resources. And most of all, we have our people, people who have lived in this land for many millennia and also the newcomers.
Mr. Speaker, it is with honour that I represent the riding of Lake Laberge, which really is a microcosm of the Yukon. It is both urban and rural. The Ta'an Kwach'an for generations have lived on that land and have developed ways of living on that land, ways of thinking about balance and being in balance with the many forces on the land and in their lives. It also contains some very historic stretches over this last one hundred or one hundred and fifty years, where people traversed around the Whitehorse Rapids and then they would get back on the Yukon River and head down Lake Laberge and the Thirty Mile and stop overnight at Hootalinqua and then head on to the Klondike gold fields during the gold rush.
A good many newcomers came to the land, Mr. Speaker, from many lands around the world, and they brought with them many ways of doing things, many ways of thinking about the world that they lived in - a variety of perspectives from many different places.
Today, Mr. Speaker, in my riding, as across the Yukon, we have people who live a traditional lifestyle, we have miners, loggers and sawyers, farmers, teachers and nurses, artists, musicians and people who work within government to provide a variety of services to Yukoners across this Territory.
It is this diversity, Mr. Speaker, diversity in terms of ways of thinking about things, diversity in ways of doing things, that really is that rich tapestry that is our strength in the Yukon today. And, Mr. Speaker, I believe that that strength of a variety of people from a variety of different backgrounds, working in partnership, working together, partly as a result of the umbrella final agreement that was signed 10 years ago but with a spirit, I think, of some common themes and common goals that gives us much hope for the future and much reason to celebrate.
It is with pleasure, Mr. Speaker, that I support Bill No. 100, and I look forward to voting for it in this Legislature.
Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Speaker, this Bill, the Yukon Day Act, I am sure will be proclaimed today and I would like to use this opportunity to offer the Yukon a Birthday gift. That present would ultimately take the form of having Dawson City declared a world heritage site. The City of Dawson, at the instigation of Pierre Berton and Pierre Dalibard, former director of Heritage Canada, have already taken the first step in applying for this designation.
The world heritage site program was established by the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage adopted by the United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization in 1972. Dawson City qualifies in at least three of the categories that are included. There are six categories in total.
Should Dawson City be approved and added to this list, it would be in very distinguished company.
In Canada, the historic area of Quebec City and the old town section of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, are world heritage sites.
The benefits, Mr. Speaker, of having Dawson City added to this distinguished list would mean it would become more widely known, adding to the enhancement and lure of the Yukon, and would present many more opportunities for all Yukoners. This world-class designation, I am sure, would also require Dawson City to have an expanded airport and a bridge across the Yukon River.
Mr. Speaker, I believe this present to Yukon could be forthcoming in a relatively short period of time, unlike the one hundred years it has taken to recognize officially the Birthday of one of the most scenic, beautiful and historically colourful places in all of Canada, with its greatest asset its people, both First Nations and those of us who have chosen Yukon as our home. What a present, what a gift for Yukon, Mr. Speaker.
I'd like to conclude by thanking my constituents for giving me the opportunity to represent them here in this Legislature - the Klondike, the birthplace of the Yukon.
I'd also like to offer my congratulations to the Dawson First Nation, Tr'ondek Hwech'in, for having ratified their land claims agreement yesterday.
I will be supporting this Bill, Mr. Speaker, and I take this opportunity to wish Yukon a happy Birthday.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Hardy: Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge the presence of a respected elder, Mr. Percy Henry, in our midst here. Thank you for coming, Percy.
Everyone is thanking a lot of people here, and that's a wonderful experience. The names are flowing like water down a waterfall. I also have some people I would like to thank and they are people we often overlook. They are the workers throughout this Territory. They are the people who came up here and gave their lives. They worked in the mines, they drove the trucks, they built the buildings that we sit in. They are the people who serve behind the desks that we go to, and have for one hundred years. They are the people who are often never mentioned when we talk about the history of the Yukon.
They are the Yukon, too, and I'm very, very honoured to be part of that. It means a lot to me when I walk down the street and see the elders who have worked and see the seniors who have given their life for the Yukon and have a long history. It's important that we recognize those who quietly work - like our Clerks in the centre of this Chamber.
We also talk about the history, and I feel there's also a new millennium coming and we have to look forward. As we recognize our past, we learn from our mistakes, and we also have to take that and advance forward. I'm thinking of the challenges that face us today. The environment is a huge challenge. The economy that we're facing now has become global and the Yukon is now part of that global village, as they call it. And what we do here has an effect outside. But what happens outside now affects the Yukon.
I look around and I see many people of many ages here but very few youth. What we have to do is bring the youth in, because many of them graduate - as my son is graduating today; many of us have our children graduating - and a lot of them leave the Territory. We have to bring them back. But when they do leave, we have to allow them to take the knowledge that we have here and spread it throughout the world. The environment is facing extreme pressures and we have a lot to offer. Let's never forget that. Our history is very rich.
I'd also like to recognize somebody whom I received tremendous inspiration from, and that is Tony Penikett, former Government Leader, and Margaret Commodore, who represented the riding that I now represent, Whitehorse Centre, for many years in a tremendously honourable way. There are other people I'd like to recognize: Martha Louise Black who represented us on the federal scene and did it so well and is so much part of our history; Erik Nielsen, who, I believe represented the Yukon for 28 years, and we do have to recognize that; Audrey McLaughlin, definitely a trail-blazer for women out of the Yukon, along with Martha Louise Black; and of course somebody who inspires me every day of my life, my partner, Louise Hardy, who is now the MP for the Yukon.
The Yukon is more than just a quest for wealth. It's also a home with diverse values and ideals that we all share and we learn from each other. It's more than the rugged individualist, as often is painted. It's a collection of values and beliefs and, yes, even spirituality, a spirituality that I have seen brought forward so beautifully from the First Nations as well as the spirituality that we all carry within ourselves. This is a land that is very deep in that.
The last one hundred years, I believe, has brought about some absolutely devastating change to the First Nations' lifestyle but they have risen above that and have come through. And I hope, as we look forward, the next one hundred years will be a little gentler to all of us.
I'd like to close with a poem, as my colleague on the other side did. It's not from the Yukon but it speaks to me about the Yukon and it speaks to me about the future, about our youth, about ourselves and how we live. I am only going to read a small part of it:
Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt - marvellous error! -
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?
I look forward to the next one hundred years.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, we are Yukoners and very proud of it, and we should be proud. We survive and even thrive in a cold and unforgiving land. The Yukon is breathtakingly beautiful. In the winter, when the ice fog comes up over the river and the sun rises, it's enough to take your breath away. And it's awe-inspiring when the fireweed covers the bottom part of the mountains. When you're skiing on a deserted trail or when you're boating on a 120-mile lake system, it suddenly hits you almost by surprise. You realize again why you decided to live in the Yukon. And, of course, a quick trip to Toronto and those 16-lane highways is a pretty decent reminder also why you live in the Yukon.
Yukon's First Nations people have lived here for thousands of years. They crossed from the land bridge between what is now Alaska and Russia. They built trade routes, developed legal and clan structures and gained traditional knowledge of the land. The gold rush brought the first major influx of Canadians, Americans and Europeans to this land, with their final destination being right here in Dawson City one hundred years ago.
The next foray of large numbers of people into the Yukon came during the building of the Alaska Highway. The economic benefits from the building of this vital route through to Alaska are still evidenced today in the Shakwak agreement. This has been an economic boon to Yukoners to the present day and, even though it's over fifty years since we built the highway, indeed many of Whitehorse's older buildings and lakeside cabins still boast original building materials stamped "Property of U.S. or Canadian Government".
Yukoners are warm-hearted people, and perhaps to make up for the climate that's the way it has to be. People never leave you stranded in the winter. We are a group of volunteers constantly working to better our communities.
We do have a few quirks, however. I have never seen a Yukoner go through a parking lot without first checking the back of pick-ups for large dogs that might lunge out at you. And I've never seen a Yukoner who's been here for any length of time use an umbrella when it rains. Because, as you know about Yukon weather, if you don't like it, just wait five minutes.
Speaking of weather, there seems to be a widely held belief that if we do get a good summer, like we are getting this year, well, somehow we have to pay for that, with a very, very cold winter. And that doesn't make sense.
Yukoners are, on average, younger and better educated than any other group of Canadians. We also have the highest murder rate, alcoholism rate and unmarried birth rate in Canada. These are not statistics to be proud of but they are typical of what is still a frontier land.
Like many other resource-based regions, we are also in a constant economic boom-and-bust cycle. Right now, we're in a bust cycle, but we'll survive. That is how we define ourselves and that is why we live here. We're Yukoners and it's who we are.
So it makes sense, on the one hundredth day of this Session, in Bill No. 100 on the one hundredth anniversary of the Yukon Territory Act, to set aside one day a year to commemorate the land that we love, the Yukon.
Mr. McRobb: Good morning, everybody. I'm pleased to rise today in support of the Yukon Day Act on behalf of my constituents in the Kluane riding. I would also like to thank them for giving me this honour.
Many of my colleagues have spoken to the Yukon as a whole and to their own ridings and the people of the Yukon in general. I would like to focus on my riding of Kluane, which is a fundamentally important part of the Yukon Territory. What makes it so, Mr. Speaker? Well, let me tell you the ways.
Its many beautiful rivers, including the Alsek, Donjek, White, Duke, Klukshu, Tatshenshini. Its many pristine lakes: Kluane, Kathleen, Kusawa, Aishihik. Its many glaciers - Donjek, Walsh, Klutlan, Kaskawulsh. Its beautiful mountains, scenery, rich culture, history, and present-day attractions. Kluane National Park.
But most of all, Mr. Speaker, it is the people in Kluane who really testify to the importance of this area to the Yukon. I'm speaking about the people who live in the communities of Beaver Creek, Burwash Landing, Destruction Bay, Haines Junction, Canyon Creek, Champagne, Mendenall, Ibex Valley, as well as those who live along the Fish and Jackson Lake roads, the Haines road, Kusawa road, the north Alaska Highway, and yes, Mr. Speaker, the Aishihik Lake road.
Those are who make the Kluane area what it really is.
And on their behalf, Mr. Speaker, I would like to invite all Yukoners as well as all visitors to the territory to come to Kluane to see what I'm raving about here today.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I would like to give special recognition to the constituents who have a long heritage in the territory. I'm speaking about the members of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, the Kluane First Nation and the White River First Nation, who, in part, form the Territory's third level of government which has been established in recent years. I'd also like to recognize the Village of Haines Junction and Hamlet of Ibex Valley Council, which formed local governments.
Mr. Speaker, it's unfortunate that my time is so limited today because there are many individuals who specifically deserve recognition but I'll save that for the next centenary.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: Are you prepared for the question?
Some Hon. Member: Question.
Speaker: For historical purposes, the Chair will call for a recorded vote. Mr. Clerk, would you kindly poll the House.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Agree.
Hon. Mr. Harding: Agree.
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Agree.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Agree.
Hon. Mr. Sloan: Agree.
Hon. Mr. Fairclough: Agree.
Mr. McRobb: Agree.
Mr. Fentie: Agree.
Mr. Hardy: Agree.
Mr. Livingston: Agree.
Mr. Ostashek: Agree.
Mr. Phillips: Agree.
Mr. Jenkins: Agree.
Ms. Duncan: Agree.
Mr. Cable: Agree.
Mrs. Edelman: Agree.
Clerk: Mr. Speaker, the results are 16 yea, nil nay.
Speaker: The ayes have it. I declare the motion for Second Reading carried.
Motion for Second Reading of Bill No. 100 agreed to
Bill No. 100: Third Reading
Clerk: Third Reading, Bill No. 100.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by Mr. Ostashek and Ms. Duncan, that Bill No. 100, entitled Yukon Day Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Mr. McDonald, seconded by Mr. Ostashek and Ms. Duncan, that Bill No. 100, entitled Yukon Day Act, be now read a third time and do pass. Are you prepared for the question?
Some Hon. Members: Question.
Speaker: Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the motion for Third Reading carried and that Bill No. 100, entitled Yukon Day Act, has passed this House.
Motion for Third Reading of Bill No. 100 agreed to
Speaker: We are now prepared to receive the Commissioner, in her capacity as Lieutenant Governor, to grant assent to Bill No. 100, entitled Yukon Day Act, which has passed this House.
Commissioner Gingell enters the Chamber, accompanied and announced by her aide-de-camp
ASSENT TO BILL
Commissioner: Please be seated.
Speaker: Madam Commissioner, the Assembly has, at this ceremonial Special Sitting, passed a certain Bill to which, in the name and on behalf of the Assembly, I respectfully request your assent.
Clerk: Yukon Day Act.
Commissioner: I hereby assent to the Yukon Day Act as enumerated by the Clerk.
I am pleased to have been able to grant assent to the Yukon Day Act as passed by this Assembly today. The Assembly is to be commended for setting a day aside on which all Yukoners are encouraged to pay tribute to the many different cultures in this land that we now call home. We are fortunate to have such diversity in our peoples, from those of the First Nations to those who have come to this land in more recent times.
It is to be desired that we all make the greatest effort to know and understand each other's history, culture and hopes for the future. We must continue to value and celebrate our respective cultural differences, based upon mutual respect and understanding. For example, the modern Yukon treaties are the constitutional foundation for our mutual respect in this Territory. The more we can come to understanding and sharing, the more success we will have in building and nurturing a society that is healthy in every respect, be it on the economic, social or political level.
I believe that an annual celebration of Yukon Day will assist in achieving that goal.
I thank the Assembly for choosing this way in which to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the creation of the Yukon as a separate Territory in Canada.
Commissioner leaves the Chamber, accompanied by her aide-de-camp
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
Special adjournment motion
Hon. Mr. Harding: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by Mr. Phillips and Mrs. Edelman:
THAT the House, at its rising, do stand adjourned until it appears to the satisfaction of the Speaker, after consultation with the Government Leader, that the public interest requires that the House shall meet;
THAT the Speaker give notice that he is so satisfied, and thereupon the House shall meet at the time stated in such notice and shall transact its business as if it had been duly adjourned to that time; and
THAT, if the Speaker is unable to act owing to illness or other causes, the Deputy Speaker shall act in his stead for the purposes of this order.
Speaker: You have heard the motion moved by the Hon. Mr. Harding and seconded by Mr. Phillips and Mrs. Edelman. Are you prepared for the question?
Some Hon. Members: Question.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: The House will now stand in recess for a brief period.
[During the recess, the Speaker, Hon. Robert Bruce, on behalf of the Yukon Legislative Assembly, presented an Arthur Pequegnat antique clock to the Dawson City Museum and Historical Society to recognize the ceremonial Special Sitting held in the original Territorial Council Chamber. Mrs. Pat Reid, President of the Society, accepted the gift and graciously thanked the Assembly for the timepiece.]
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
Hon. Mr. Harding: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by Mr. Phillips and Mrs. Edelman, that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Mr. Harding, seconded by Mr. Phillips and Mrs. Edelman, that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned.
The House adjourned at 11:25 a.m.