Monday, June 5, 2000 1:30 p.m.
THE FIRST SESSION OF THE THIRTIETH LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF YUKON, CONVENED IN THE ASSEMBLY CHAMBER AT 1:30 P.M. ON MONDAY, JUNE 5, 2000
Clerk:"To all to whom these presents shall come or whom the same may in any wise concern
"Know ye that under and by virtue of the power and authority vested in the Commissioner of the Yukon Territory, the Assembly of the said territory is summoned to meet for dispatch of business in the Yukon Legislative Assembly Chamber, Territorial Administration Building, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, on Monday, the 5th day of June, A.D. 2000, at the hour of one-thirty oclock in the afternoon.
"All of which all persons concerned are required to take notice and govern themselves accordingly.
"Given under my hand and seal of the said territory, at Whitehorse, Yukon, this 18th day of May, A.D. 2000.
Commissioner of the Yukon"
REPORT ON MEMBERS ELECTED
Clerk:Pursuant to the provisions of the Elections Act, the Commissioner has been informed of the receipt of Returns to Writs for the general election conducted on the 17th day of April 2000. These returns show that the following members were duly elected:
Electoral District of Faro Trevor Harding;
Electoral District of Klondike Peter Jenkins;
Electoral District of Kluane Gary McRobb;
Electoral District of Lake Laberge Pam Buckway;
Electoral District of McIntyre-Takhini Wayne Jim;
Electoral District of Mayo-Tatchun Eric Fairclough;
Electoral District of Mount Lorne Cynthia Tucker;
Electoral District of Porter Creek North Don Roberts;
Electoral District of Porter Creek South Pat Duncan;
Electoral District of Riverdale North Dale Eftoda;
Electoral District of Riverdale South Sue Edelman;
Electoral District of Riverside Scott Kent;
Electoral District of Ross River-Southern Lakes
Electoral District of Vuntut Gwichin Lorraine Netro;
Electoral District of Watson Lake Dennis Fentie;
Electoral District of Whitehorse Centre
Electoral District of Whitehorse West
Signed by Patrick L. Michael, Clerk of the Yukon Legislative Assembly.
Commissioner Judy Gingell enters the Chamber announced by her Aides-de-Camp
Clerk: I am commanded by the Commissioner, in her capacity as Lieutenant Governor, to state that she does not see fit to declare the causes of the summoning of the present Assembly of this Territory until a Speaker of this Assembly shall have been chosen according to law, but today at a subsequent hour she will declare the causes of the calling of this Assembly.
Commissioner Gingell withdraws from the Assembly accompanied by her Aides-de-Camp
Motion No. 1 Election of Speaker
Clerk:Hon. members, nominations are invited for the Office of Speaker of this Assembly.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: I move, seconded by the leader of the official opposition and the leader of the third party, that Dennis Schneider, Member for Whitehorse West, do take the Chair of this Assembly as Speaker.
Clerk: It has been moved by the Premier, seconded by the leader of the official opposition and the leader of the third party
THAT Dennis Schneider, Member for Whitehorse West, do take the Chair of this Assembly as Speaker.
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Clerk: The ayes have it, and Dennis Schneider, Member for Whitehorse West, is by direction of this Assembly duly elected as Speaker of the Yukon Legislative Assembly.
Motion No. 1 agreed to
SPEAKERS ADDRESS TO THE ASSEMBLY
Speaker:I would like to express my thanks to the Assembly for the great honour it has given to me by electing me to be its Speaker.
As I take responsibility of the Chair, I first wish to publicly acknowledge my predecessor, Robert Bruce, the former Member for Vuntut Gwitchin, whom I have known for many years, and who served this Assembly and the people of the Yukon. On behalf of the Assembly and all Yukoners, I thank him and say to him and his family, "May health and happiness be yours."
I also wish to thank my constituents in Whitehorse West for having elected me to represent them as their member of this Legislative Assembly. As well, I would like, at this time, to extend my personal gratitude to the table officers, as well as the staff of the Legislative Assembly for their support.
As your Speaker, I welcome all members of the Thirtieth Legislature. Eight members are new to this Assembly. Elected public offices place incredible demands upon both individuals and their families. Each of us represents all of our constituents, regardless of their political affiliation, cultural or linguistic backgrounds.
We have been elected to serve not only our constituents, but all the people of this magnificent Yukon. We have pledged ourselves to that service and, in turn, as your new Speaker, I pledge myself to the service of this Assembly.
Mr. Clerk, will you please advise the Commissioner, in her capacity as Lieutenant Governor, that the Assembly is now prepared to hear the Speech from the Throne.
Clerk withdraws to ask Commissioner to return
Speaker: We are now prepared to hear the Speech from the Throne.
Commissioner Gingell enters the Chamber accompanied by her Aides-de-Camp
Speakers address to the Commissioner
Speaker:Madam Commissioner, the Members of the Legislative Assembly have elected me to be their Speaker and I recognize the important duties now given to me. If, in the performance of those duties, I should, at any time, make a mistake, the fault is mine and not that of the Assembly, whose servant I am.
At this time, so that all members of the Assembly can best carry out their duty to the Yukon, to their country and to the Queen, I would claim for them their undoubted rights and privileges, especially freedom of speech in their debates, access to your person when necessary, and your favourable consideration of their proceedings.
Response by the Commissioner
Commissioner:Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to declare to you that I believe in the duty of the Assembly and, not doubting that the Assemblys proceedings will be conducted with wisdom, temper and care, I grant and allow the Assemblys constitutional privilege. I assure you that the Assembly shall have ready access to me and that the Assemblys proceedings, words and actions will receive from me favourable consideration.
Please be seated.
SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Commissioner:Mr. Speaker, Members of the Legislative Assembly, honoured guests and visitors: it is my pleasure to welcome you to the opening of the First Session of the Thirtieth Legislature.
Hon. members, on April 17, 2000, Yukon people bestowed upon you the privilege of representing them in this Legislature for the next four years.
On behalf of all Yukon people, from Beaver Creek to Watson Lake and from Old Crow to Carcross, I would like to thank each of you for the commitment you have made to serve the public. For those of you who are joining the Legislature for the first time, I would like to extend a special welcome.
As your more experienced colleagues may have informed you, in recent years the Yukon Legislative Assembly has begun each day with a prayer that asks that you may make only sound, fair and wise decisions on behalf of all the people you represent throughout the Yukon. It is to be hoped that this will continue to be the guiding principle of all members.
In the months ahead, the new government will undertake a comprehensive review of spending priorities. That review will result in a second supplementary budget, which will be introduced in the fall sitting of the Legislature. That session will begin with a Speech from the Throne that will outline in far greater detail the priorities of this government.
As an interim measure, this session of the Legislature has been called to obtain spending authority for the current fiscal year. This will be accomplished with the ratification of the first appropriation bill for 2000-01. Further, members will also be asked to approve a separate piece of legislation that amends the Income Tax Act. The result will be a two-percent reduction in territorial income tax for the 2000 taxation year.
In addition, a supplementary appropriation bill will be introduced that targets some immediate priorities of the new government. Members of the new Legislature will also be asked to approve the bill that amends the Assessment and Taxation Act.
The legislative agenda for this session has been designed to deal with pressing matters; namely, the spending authority for the government. As I previously indicated, the government will be bringing forward a comprehensive legislative and physical package during the fall sitting.
Hon. members, thank you, and I wish you well in your deliberations.
Commissioner leaves the Chamber accompanied by her Aides-de-Camp
Speaker: At this time, I will call the House to order.
We will proceed with prayers.
Speaker:Heavenly Spirit, Creator and Leader of all people, on the opening day of this First Session of the Thirtieth Legislature, we ask for guidance and wisdom in our deliberations during the coming days. We pray that you will help us to work together in a spirit of cooperation and in the best interests of all Yukoners. Amen.
Please be seated.
INTRODUCTION OF PAGES
Speaker: I am pleased to announce that the following students will be serving as legislative pages for the summer sitting. They are Stephanie Beasley, Dino Rudniski and Wade Stewart from F.H. Collins Secondary School and Rowan Hall, Tara Martin and Darcie Profeit from Porter Creek Secondary School. Today we have with us Stephanie Beasley and Wade Stewart. I would like to ask members to welcome them to the House at this time.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Speaker:It gives me great pleasure to introduce to this House a former Speaker of this Legislature, John Devries, who represented the constituency of Watson Lake.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 1: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Ms. Duncan:Mr. Speaker, I move that a bill, entitled An Act to Perpetuate a Certain Ancient Right, be introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Premier that a bill, entitled An Act to Perpetuate a Certain Ancient Right, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 1 agreed to
TABLING SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Speaker:I wish to inform the Assembly that I have received a copy of the Speech from the Throne, which I will now table.
CONSIDERATION OF SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Hon. Ms. Duncan:Mr. Speaker, I move that the Speech from the Throne be considered on a day following.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Premier that the Speech from the Throne be considered on a day following.
Motion agreed to
Ms. Tucker: Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform the House, pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 26(2), that consideration of a motion for an Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne will take place on Tuesday, June 6, 2000.
Speaker:I would now ask whether the House is prepared to elect a Deputy Speaker.
Motion No. 2 Election of Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committee of the Whole
Ms. Tucker:Mr. Speaker, I move
THAT Mike McLarnon, Member for Whitehorse Centre, be appointed Deputy Speaker and Chair of the Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. government House leader that Mike McLarnon, Member for Whitehorse Centre, be appointed Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Motion No. 3 Election of Deputy Chair of Committee of the Whole
Ms. Tucker:Mr. Speaker, I move that Scott Kent, Member for Riverside, be appointed Deputy Chair for Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. government House leader that Scott Kent, Member for Riverside, be appointed Deputy Chair for Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 2: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Ms. Duncan:Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 2, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2000-01, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Premier that Bill No. 2, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2000-01, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 2 agreed to
Bill No. 3: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Ms. Duncan:Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 3, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2000-01, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Premier that Bill No. 3, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2000-01, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 3 agreed to
Bill No. 21: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Ms. Duncan:Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 21, entitled An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Premier that Bill No. 21, entitled An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 21 agreed to
Bill No. 22: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Ms. Buckway:I move that Bill No. 22, entitled An Act to Amend the Assessment and Taxation Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Minister of Community and Transportation Services that Bill No. 22, entitled An Act to Amend the Assessment and Taxation Act, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 22 agreed to
Bill No. 2: Second Reading Budget Address
Hon. Ms. Duncan:Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 2, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2000-01, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Premier that Bill No. 2, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2000-01, be now read a second time.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce today a budget for the fiscal year 2000-01.
The budget presented by the previous government is being retabled in its entirety.
The spending priorities were spoken to at some length when the document was initially tabled.
The timing of the election call created uncertainty for many Yukoners, including contractors, business people and non-government organizations. Yukoners desire and deserve certainty, particularly as we begin our busiest season for construction and tourism.
We are adopting this budget in order to cause as little disruption as possible to the economy and to government operations. It is for this reason and this reason alone that we are proceeding with the numbers before us.
The main estimates for 2000-01 are comprised of total expenditures in the amount of $508.7 million, including a contingency of $5.9 million. This includes $398.7 million for operations and maintenance, and net expenditures of approximately $58 million for capital.
I would further say that while the accumulated surplus is presently in a healthy state, there are challenges ahead, as was illustrated by the long-term projections presented by the previous government. These showed that surplus being drawn down to a very low level over the course of the next several years. If current spending patterns continue, the surplus will only be $4.5 million at the end of the 2002-03 fiscal year. In a manner similar to other jurisdictions, our health costs are escalating rapidly, and there are a number of other pressure points that are going to have to be dealt with shortly.
As was noted in the Speech from the Throne, we intend to spend the next number of months reviewing departmental budgets and programs. The result will be a supplementary budget that more accurately reflects the priorities of our government.
Mr. Speaker, in spite of the challenges that this budget presents, I am committed to creating an environment where Yukoners can move forward with certainty. By introducing this budget, we can move on to the important business of meeting the mandate that the people of the territory gave to us on April 17.
Monsieur le Président, Mr. Speaker, günilschish, thank you.
Some Hon. Member: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Point of order
Speaker:The hon. Member for Klondike, on a point of order.
Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a point of order.
While Bill No. 2, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2000-01, has been presented by the Minister of Finance, the supporting budget documents tabled with the appropriation bill contain the names of ministers of the Twenty-ninth Legislature who are no longer responsible for the financial affairs of government departments. Our system of government is based upon ministerial responsibility and accountability. How can a previous minister, who is no longer a minister or even a member of this House, be held responsible and accountable for the budget that was tabled in this House today?
Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw your attention to section 6 of the Financial Administration Act, which outlines the responsibilities of an Executive Council member. Section 6(2) states that each member of the Executive Council is responsible for the management of the financial affairs of his/her department under the general direction of the Executive Council member and the Management Board.
Further, under section 73 of the Financial Administration Act, the section dealing with offences states that a public officer commits an offence who (a) in connection with the performance of his duties respecting public money wilfully makes or signs a false entry certificate requisition, return or any other document.
Mr. Speaker, Im not a lawyer. I do not know if the tabling of this budget document containing the names of previous ministers is legal or not. My concern is the respect for parliamentary tradition and the proper way of conducting the financial affairs of this territory. I would ask, Mr. Speaker, that we review the proceedings of other legislatures in Canada to determine if there is a precedent for this action.
The estimates for fiscal year 2000-01 were tabled by the previous NDP government, but they were not debated or voted on by the Legislature prior to dissolution and the calling of an election. To allow for the ongoing needs of government after the election call and until a new Legislature assembled, interim supply was sought under section 19(1) of the Financial Administration Act in an amount that approximated three months expenditure.
These estimates were the governing partys blueprint for running the territory for the next 12 months. With government being the only engine of significance to sustain our economy at this time, this document is of extreme importance to every citizen and was the basis of the previous governments appeal to every Yukoner, notwithstanding that notice was given by the Liberal Party during the election that they would follow through with the NDP budget for the fiscal year, if elected.
Tabling the budget document with the original authors names attached does not relieve the government party from responsibility for the consequences inflicted upon Yukon by its adoption. In fact, it sends a message that seems to say, "You elected us, but we are without time or competence to construct a budget of our own, so NDP policies and procedures will have to prevail for another year." This is a complete change, and sets in motion events that, over the long term, can have serious consequences for the principle that governments stand or fall on money bills they author.
In keeping with appropriate parliamentary procedures, I would suggest the following: that this government table an appropriation bill at this session to cover the amount of the special warrants, plus another three months supply and, along with this, table a copy of the previous estimates of the previous NDP government, indicating that spending would follow the guidelines set out therein only until the fall sitting of this Legislature when a budget for the balance of the fiscal year will be tabled.
Mr. Speaker, the eyes of Yukoners are upon this House and its deliberations on this very important matter.
Speaker:Order please. The Chair will take the point of order under advisement. A ruling will be provided for the House in the next few sitting days.
Mr. Harding: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and welcome to your job.
Mr. Speaker, I move that the debate now be adjourned.
Speaker: It has been moved by the leader of the official opposition that debate now be adjourned.
Motion to adjourn debate on second reading of Bill No. 2 agreed to
Ms. Tucker: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. government House leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 2:02 p.m.
The following Sessional Paper was tabled June 5, 2000:
Speech from the Throne (Speaker)