Whitehorse, Yukon

Thursday, June 22, 2000 - 1:30 p.m.

Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will proceed at this time with prayers.

Prayers

DAILY ROUTINE

Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.

Are there any tributes?

TRIBUTES

Tribute to Quilts Under the Midnight Sun

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of all members of this Legislature to tribute Quilts Under the Midnight Sun. This is a display of 104 quilts, organized by the Kluane Quilter's Guild. These quilts will be displayed in 12 different venues throughout Whitehorse. The call sent out for quilters' participation was responded to by quilters from northern B.C. and the Yukon. The expertise displayed in these quilts range from first-time efforts to amazing works of art.

Accompanying our northern quilts is a display sent from a Vancouver area quilters group. Three of these quilts were fashioned in support of survivors of breast cancer. The intricate panels of the quilts were sewn by the hands of women who had survived breast cancer and by friends and families who had been affected by breast cancer. The combined effort put forward by this group of people was so overwhelming that leftover panels were sewn into six banners that accompanied the display.

Quilts will be displayed around Whitehorse until Saturday afternoon, June 24.

Speaker: Introduction of visitors.

Are there any returns or documents for tabling?

TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS

Hon. Ms. Duncan: I have for tabling a letter to the Prime Minister.

Hon. Mr. Jim: I have for tabling the following documents from Government Services: the fleet vehicle agency business plan for 2000-01; the property management agency business plan for 2000-01; the Queen's Printer agency business plan for 2000-01.

Speaker: Are there any reports of committees?

Are there any petitions?

Are there any bills to be introduced?

Speaker's statement

Speaker: Before proceeding with notices of motion, the Chair notes that yesterday, prior to giving a notice of motion, the leader of the official opposition made a comment on a previous notice of motion. That is not permitted. Members are to state only that they are giving notice of motion and then read the text of the notice of motion to the House.

Are there any notices of motion?

NOTICES OF MOTION

Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, I give notice of the following motion:

THAT it is the opinion of this House that

(1) the Yukon Liberal government has adopted as its own the budget first tabled in this House on February 1, 2000, by the previous NDP administration; and

(2) an integral component of that budget is a long-term capital plan that calls for an expenditure of $1 million in each of the next three years for the much-needed improvements to one of the Yukon major transportation arteries, the Robert Campbell Highway; and

(3) the Yukon Liberal government has refused to give this House a clear commitment to long-term capital projects beyond the current fiscal year; and

(4) this refusal is creating uncertainty for rural communities, travellers and businesses; and

(5) the Premier has acknowledged that the territorial government's finances are in a healthy state, including an accumulated surplus of at least $56.2 million as of March 31, 2000; and

THAT this House urges the Yukon Liberal government to do what it said it would do, and end the uncertainty for rural Yukon by making a clear commitment to implement the 2000-01 budget in full, including the three-year capital plan.

Ms. Tucker: I give notice of the following motion:

THAT this House urges the Government of Yukon to create an environment of open and accountable government by

(1) continuing to fund, through the Legislative Assembly vote as recommended by the Members' Services Board, the televising of the Legislature Assembly to Yukon communities; and

(2) modelling professional behaviour in the Legislature.

Mr. Keenan: Mr. Speaker, I give notice of the following motion:

THAT it is the opinion of this House that

(1) the Yukon Liberal government has adopted as its own the budget first tabled in the House on February 21, 2000, by the previous New Democrat Party administration; and

(2) one integral component of that budget is a long-term capital plan that calls for an expenditure of $750,000 in the fiscal year 2000-01 and $1 million in the fiscal year 2001-02 for much-needed improvements to the Tagish Road; and

(3) the Yukon Liberal government has refused to give this House a clear commitment to long-term capital projects beyond the current fiscal year; and

(4) the Premier has acknowledged that the territorial government's finances are in a healthy state, including an accumulated surplus of at least $56.2 million, as of March 31, 2000; and

THAT this House urges the Yukon Liberal government to do what it said it would do, and end the uncertainty for Yukon residents and visitors alike, by making a clear commitment to implement the 2000-01 budget in full, including the three-year capital plan.

Mr. McRobb: Mr. Speaker, I give notice of the following motion:

THAT it is the opinion of this House that

(1) the Yukon Liberal government has adopted as its own the budget first tabled in this House on February 21, 2000, by the previous NDP administration; and

(2) an integral component of that budget is a long-term capital plan that calls for an expenditure of $800,000 in the fiscal year 2000-01 and a base amount of $1 million in each successive year for much-needed improvements to the Alaska Highway between Champagne and Haines Junction; and

(3) the Yukon Liberal government has refused to give this House a clear commitment to long-term capital projects beyond the current fiscal year; and

(4) the Premier has acknowledged that the territorial government's finances are in a healthy state, including an accumulated surplus of at least $56.2 million, as of March 31, 2000; and

THAT this House urges the Yukon Liberal government to do what it said it would do, and end the uncertainty for Yukon residents and visitors alike, by making a clear commitment to implement the 2000-01 budget in full, including the three-year capital plan.

Speaker: Are there any statements by ministers?

This then brings us to Question Period.

QUESTION PERIOD

Question re: Forest industry, promotion of in Yukon

Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has made a commitment to improve the Yukon's economy. One of our economic bright lights is the forest industry. Recent developments in the forest sector are having a negative impact on the industry's ability to gain stable access to timber. This has resulted in a crisis situation.

My question to the Premier in her capacity as the Minister of Economic Development: what does the Premier intend to do to ensure that our forest industry continues to flourish?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda: I do believe that I had indicated to the member opposite, the Member for Watson Lake, that I would, at any time, sit down and defer to his knowledge of the forestry resources in the southeast Yukon. I am also prepared to let the opposition know that this government has stated publicly it would canvass the DIAND minister to form a Yukon forest advisory panel. Both the Premier and our Watson Lake representative have discussed this government option with the federal minister, so we are looking at options available to us with respect to timber harvest agreements in the Watson Lake area.

Mr. Fentie: Well, that's all well and good, and of course I would lend my assistance to ensuring that our forest industry continues to flourish in this territory without any problem, but we have a situation here that is a crisis situation. The Liberal government is responsible to the Yukon public for the forest industry, and they must act.

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier, in her capacity as Minister of Economic Development. She doesn't understand the gravity of this situation. Let me impress upon the Premier how critical this situation is. The South Yukon Forest Corporation now provides 125 year-round jobs in the community of Watson Lake. It injects $15 million annually into the Yukon's economy. Without stable access to timber, it may have to close its doors.

Once again, Mr. Speaker: what is the Premier prepared to do to ensure that a shutdown of South Yukon Forest Corporation does not occur?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Mr. Speaker, we are very aware of the critical situation that is occurring in the forest industry in the whole of the territory. There are a number of considerations with respect to the industry in southeast Yukon. There are a number of partners that have to be consulted, talked to and involved. There are ongoing land claims situations down there that have to be addressed. We do recognize that there has to be a quantum supply of wood to keep the industry going, and we are addressing that as we speak. We are in constant contact with the federal department that allocates the timber harvest agreements at this particular time. We are stressing to them that the industry that is occurring down there be maintained.

We still want to work, act responsibly and ensure that there is sustainable timber in the southeast Yukon, and we will work ardently toward that goal.

Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, if the Liberal government wants to act responsibly, the first thing that should happen is that the Premier should quit evading this question. The Premier has now moved economic development for this territory into Renewable Resources. That isn't how this system operates.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier doesn't get it. The Liberal government has committed to the Yukon public to improve the economy, not dismantle it. A shutdown of South Yukon Forest Corporation means a loss of 125 jobs and will have a very negative impact on Watson Lake.

Mr. Speaker, the community of Watson Lake and the forest industry is waiting for the Premier to act. Will the Premier commit right now that she will take up the issue of stable access to timber with the federal authorities and avert a shutdown of one of the Yukon's main economic engines?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Again, Mr. Speaker, I will stress that we are very aware and very cognizant of the situation that is happening within the industry down there. It is a renewable resource and it is an economic consideration that we are very aware of. We are dialoguing frequently and fervently with the federal government and ensuring that the industry is maintained down there.

We are very aware, and with all due respect to the member's concern and care for his constituents, this government is responsible to all Yukoners. We will act responsibly and be accountable to all Yukoners. That ensures that the forest industry is sustainable down there. We will keep the industry going and hopefully provide adequate employment for the existing situation down there.

Acting in a responsible way means dialoguing. It means working with the industry and with the people down there. It means working with the First Nation. We will do that. As we have promised, we will do what we say we will do. We are talking to the federal government in anticipation of accepting the responsibility wholeheartedly through the devolution process, as well.

Question re: Forest industry, promotion of in Yukon

Mr. Fentie: The situation is this: South Yukon Forest Corporation's log inventory will be depleted in a couple of weeks. Devolution is next year.

Again, to the Premier: let's look at the economy under the Liberals' watch. We have no oil and gas industry until land claims are settled. In the Premier's own words, the mining industry is in crisis due to world market conditions. Tourism is on a downward trend due to rising fuel prices, and now the forest industry is in crisis because of no stable access to timber.

Will the Premier use her so-called special relationship with the Liberals in Ottawa to immediately address the crisis in forestry and do what is needed to avert a shutdown?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Again, I'll tell the member opposite, and I have to make it very clear to the Yukon public at large: the allocation of timber harvest agreements anywhere in the territory is the responsibility of the federal government. They have agreed to work cooperatively with the Renewable Resources department in this government. We are doing that; we are, again, very cognizant of the situation and, as the opposition member has indicated, the seriousness of the situation in southeast Yukon. We will make sure that they are adequately looked after.

Mr. Fentie: The federal government has committed to Yukoners. It has committed to follow the Yukon forest strategy; the framework for developing forest management in this territory. The Yukon forest strategy commits the feds and the territorial government to ensuring stable access of timber to our manufacturing sector. The Premier is not acting on this issue, and it is the Premier's responsibility, in her capacity as Minister of Economic Development. If the Premier does not act now, 125 families will lose their ability to earn a living; everything that has been accomplished to date will be lost. A shutdown of South Yukon Forest Corporation's mill will return the Yukon to total dependence on raw-log exports, with jobs being shipped from the Yukon to B.C. and Alberta. What is the Premier going to do to avert this situation?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the federal government has jurisdiction over Yukon forests at this time. We do have a special relationship with Ottawa, despite what the opposition members have indicated in the House in the past few days. The fact is that we are very vigorously working with the federal government in ensuring that the timber harvest agreement process is moving forward. We, on this side of the House, respect the authorities and jurisdictions of other governments. We want to include the other governments, and we want to include the First Nation governments in southeast Yukon. We have to respect that there has been limited planning in southeast Yukon. We want to act responsibly to ensure that the renewable resource there will be handled in a diligent, economic and very sustainable way. We want the forest industry to grow in southeast Yukon and not deplete its resources in a -

Speaker: Order please. Would the minister please conclude his answer?

Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, this is not a question of sustainability. We have already gone through all that. This is a question of conflicting land use, and, yes, we all realize that the federal government has jurisdiction, but the Yukon government has a duty to represent and protect Yukoners' interests. The Liberal government is not doing that, and now the Premier has shuffled off economic development in the forest sector to the Department of Renewable Resources.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier used to grandstand for Yukoners in news releases, "Fentie flunks forestry." Here's the news release. But her own election platform, the Liberals' election platform, doesn't even give the forest industry honourable mention. The only failure here is the failure of the Liberals to recognize how important forestry is to this territory.

Will the Premier commit to this House and the people of Watson Lake that she will do whatever is necessary to ensure that the forest industry has a fighting chance to reach its potential as one of our vital economic engines?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda: The short answer to that, Mr. Speaker, is that we are doing exactly that. We are doing that at this very moment. The Department of Renewable Resources staff, along with the staff of Economic Development, are meeting with the federal government and industry interests from the Watson Lake area to address this very concern at this very time.

Question re: Gaming, expansion of

Mr. Jenkins: I have a question today for the Minister of Justice. Last evening, in debate on the Tourism budget, I raised the issue of gambling. Now, the Minister of Tourism quickly passed that political hot potato over to the Minister of Justice, which is why I'm addressing the question to her.

A consortium of Yukon First Nations are proposing to buy a store on Industrial Road here in Whitehorse, and they have expressed an interest in turning it into a 500-seat bingo hall, an aboriginal exposition area and community centre that would provide for stick gambling. While the plan itself doesn't include expanded gambling opportunities, the potential for future expansion into a full-blown casino is there, which could include slot machines, VLTs and gaming tables.

In view of the fact that the Yukon government is the licensing agency, will the minister advise the House whether or not they are in favour of, or if they are opposed to, expanded gaming in Yukon?

Hon. Ms. Buckway: Mr. Speaker, the Liberal position on gaming is quite clear. That position was expressed in a motion put forward on January 18, 1995, by Jack Cable, who was then the Member for Riverside. That motion was as follows:

THAT it is the opinion of this House that the encouragement of the expansion of legalized gambling by the government does not serve to improve Yukoners' quality of life.

That is the position of the Liberal government, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Jenkins: But there are initiatives underway here in the Yukon by First Nations and by some of the private sector to create new gaming opportunities. It could take the form of a full-blown riverboat-design casino, as was proposed in the mid-1990s on the waterfront here in Whitehorse, or it could be a gaming casino outside at Kathleen Lake. Now, all of these will be coming down the pipe.

It would appear that what we have is a Liberal government that is falling back on a motion as to their position. Is it not going to be reviewed? Is this gaming initiative not going to have due process? Will it be a yea or nay, or is it a fait accompli that we will have Diamond-Tooth Bob's at the corner of Quartz and Lost-Wages Road.

Hon. Ms. Buckway: Mr. Speaker, I am astonished at what I hear coming from the opposite side of the House. We have been roundly criticized, lo these many days, for reviewing this and that. Now the member is asking if we're going to review our policy. I can't believe it.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, it is a policy or it's a motion. What the Minister of Justice read into the record was a motion that was tabled by a previous member. They've tabled a tremendous number of motions over the time that they were in opposition, so would the minister confirm that that motion is indeed the policy of this Liberal government?

Hon. Ms. Buckway: Mr. Speaker, that motion is the policy of this Liberal government.

Question re: Mineral staking, withdrawal of in proposed parks and protected areas

Mr. McRobb:The list of broken Liberal promises gets longer every day. So much for their promise to do what they said they would do. Mr. Speaker, let's hope it's not about to get longer with the answer to this question: the Liberals said that the only way to solve the problem of mineral staking in parks and protected areas is to withdraw the land as soon as a study area is identified. Will the Minister of Renewable Resources follow through on this commitment to implement early withdrawal of mineral staking in proposed parks and protected areas?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda: As we have indicated earlier this week, we are totally reviewing the implementation phase of the Yukon protected areas strategy, as we had promised we'd do. If the member there finds that hard to believe, he can just check our platform. Within the review process, it does recognize that there are incremental steps in moving toward a protected area. If the member would have reviewed the review process - although it was shortened by the previous government, which got us into the pickle that we're in on Tombstone - then we wouldn't have had the problem we have now

Mr. McRobb: Well, Mr. Speaker, it was the Liberals who got themselves into this pickle. They're the ones who campaigned on fixing this process and implementing interim protection in parks, and now they're just blaming us. Mr. Speaker, when are they going to accept the responsibility of governing this territory and do what they said they'd do? The Premier repeatedly criticized the New Democratic government for not implementing early withdrawal of mineral staking in the proposed Tombstone Park. The evidence is clear; there are several examples documented, Mr. Speaker. I've got some of them here. Now that the Liberals are in a position to effect change, will this Minister follow through on her commitment to protect future protected areas from mineral staking by implementing the immediate withdrawal of these areas, once study areas have been identified? Mr. Speaker, I'm not looking for an answer or for him to say, "There's a process to deal with that," because what if the process doesn't recommend this? How are the Liberals going to implement their promise into this process?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Mr. Speaker, that's the problem that the opposition had got themselves into; they didn't follow the process. We are reviewing the implementation aspects of a wonderful document called the Yukon Protected Areas Strategy. Within the review, there are options that will be made, created and looked at by the steering committee as well as all original members of the advisory committee, which now includes a commitment by the mining industry to sit down and look at them as well. They will all be looked at; they'll be reviewed, and they'll be implemented properly.

Mr. McRobb: Well, Mr. Speaker, that's not what government is all about - to throw things back to process. They campaigned on these promises, but it's another broken promise. The Liberals say they will do one thing and end up doing nothing. They broke their promise on legal aid funding; they broke their promise to consult the public in identifying conservation goals before offering more land to the oil and gas industry; they broke their promise on extended care in Watson Lake; they broke their promise on relocating the continuing care facility in Whitehorse; and the list goes on. But, as you know, Mr. Speaker, there isn't time for me to repeat them now.

It wasn't long ago when the Liberals had all the answers. Now they have none. Now it's time for action. When can Yukoners check this one on delivery?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Mr. Speaker, I can't believe the member opposite is suggesting that we forego any process at all. Again, I remind Yukoners that's what got the former government into a lot of deep water, a lot of trouble.

We have publicly stated that we are going through a full review of the implementation process of the Yukon protected areas strategy. It includes all the stakeholders that were involved. The opposition member is stubbornly refusing to accept the answer as legitimate, but he really shouldn't be so paranoid.

Speaker's statement

Speaker: Order please. Order. Would you direct your comments through the Speaker, please?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Sorry, Mr. Speaker. We will get on with a total review of the process. This is going to be about a six-month action item, inviting everyone back who was originally involved, and have total buy-in again with the promise that we will implement the strategy properly.

Question re: School construction, Carmacks and other rural communities

Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. The NDP worked with school councils to develop their priority lists for major school construction projects. The previous NDP government built two schools, and the third one is in the budget and will be under construction this summer. The Liberals have promised to replace Grey Mountain Primary School in Riverdale and to build additions for three Catholic schools in Whitehorse. Will the minister commit to proceeding with the priority lists and plans for school construction in Carmacks and Pelly Crossing?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we had indicated, as the member outlined, that we will be looking at these down the road and giving them due consideration.

Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, the minister may be aware of the rural school facilities study, which assesses school needs throughout the Yukon. School councils and departmental officials have reviewed the study and plan to respond to the community needs.

Now, it's easy enough to sit in Whitehorse and ignore rural Yukon. I would like to ask the minister this: will the minister promise that he is not going to ignore the need in rural Yukon for new school facilities?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda: I can assure the member opposite that we will, in no way, ignore rural communities.

Mr. Fairclough: I thank the minister for that answer.

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the minister commit to continuing to work with school councils on major capital funding. In opposition, the Liberals feared that the school councils would compete with one another and not recognize the needs in other communities. This was not the case. Recently, the department purchased a lot in Carmacks and identified planning monies in next year's budget to build an addition to the Tantalus School in Carmacks.

I ask the minister: will the minister commit to building this school project so that students in my riding will have a better, safer learning environment?

Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Mr. Speaker, I would just also like to remind the members opposite that they didn't come into a long-term capital budget until after two years in office. We have committed, on this side, that we will, as expeditiously as possible, commit to a capital budget.

The issue that the member opposite has brought up is something that I am aware of. With all due respect to the communities, we are working with the school council in all communities. We will continue to work with school councils in all communities, as well as municipalities. We will certainly address and look after the rural communities.

Question re: Social services, cuts to

Mr. Harding: My question is for the Minister of Health and Social Services. Mr. Speaker, the recent mini-budget the Liberals brought in sent up a clear trial balloon that the Liberals are planning cuts to social services. The budget speech did not mention childcare or more funding for alcohol and drug services or how they would increase funding to fight FAS/FAE, but it had another $250,000 for more prospector grants. All this after the Liberals previously voted against the NDP budget - they now choose to own it - because they demanded immediate increases in funding in these areas.

My question for the minister: can he assure the Yukon public that there will be absolutely no cuts to social services during the term of the Liberal mandate?

Hon. Mr. Roberts: Mr. Speaker, we, as a Liberal government, are looking at all aspects of government. We are a government that will consult. We are a government that will work with Yukoners, and we will ensure that we will do what is best for Yukoners. That is my commitment.

Mr. Harding: He didn't answer the question. Last Thursday, the minister in Question Period guaranteed Yukoners that there would be absolutely no health care cuts during the entire term of the government's mandate. Today he refuses to give that commitment to social services, as we suspected, because the planning for the cuts is underway. I'd like to ask the minister: which programs and services is he planning to start chopping?

Hon. Mr. Roberts: It's interesting that the member opposite is always in his little fairyland, his little dream world; he's always making imaginative kinds of little scenarios in which people will actually believe him. I think people have caught on to him already, and he doesn't realize it. These no longer work. We will work with Yukoners. I think that's the basic understanding that we have to have. Yukoners don't want to lower their services; they want to have better services. So how does that even balance with what the opposition is trying to portray - that as a government we are cutting? We have never mentioned that, ever. That has come out of the mouths of the opposition, and they will say that forever, because basically the recognition is that we want to work with Yukoners and they didn't.

Mr. Harding: With answers like that, it's no wonder that the Premier has all the talking in the media done by the principal secretary and not the elected ministers. The minister has stood up day in, day out and said that we're going to consult and that we're going to do what's best for Yukoners. Yukoners don't believe that any more of this government.

The people in Watson Lake, whose extended care has been cancelled in two months by the minister, don't believe that. Yukoners have already seen their promises go by the wayside for FAS/FAE, for which they said funding was needed immediately. And today, if you're listening to his answers, he refuses to commit to no cuts. So let me ask him once again: can he assure the Yukon public that there will be absolutely no cuts to social services during the term of the Liberal mandate? Yes or no? It's a simple answer.

Hon. Mr. Roberts: Mr. Speaker, I don't know how many ways he needs to be told that we are basically of the party that believes in Yukoners. The member from the official opposition is always in this NDP dreamland - constantly - and, of course, the NDP message is that if we don't acknowledge them, then they don't exist. That way, the NDP has no problem to solve. They did that throughout their three and a half year mandate, and reflecting on the NDP attempts at solving any of the issues wasn't there. They didn't have to worry about it.

That, to me, is what I call "mock consultations". That's the process, Mr. Speaker, that the opposition went through. In two months, we have done far more in consultation, in working with the Yukoners, than they did in three and a half years, and basically this is just the beginning, and I lay my case open because people want to be treated as equals. Yukoners have ideas. They don't all come from politicians. To think that we should have all the ideas in the past two weeks is almost bizarre.

So again, Mr. Speaker, I invite the opposition to work with us, not against us.

Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed. We will proceed to Orders of the Day.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Speaker: We are now prepared to receive the Commissioner, in her capacity as Lieutenant Governor, to grant assent to the bills that have passed this House.

Commissioner enters the Chamber, announced by the Sergeant-at-Arms

Assent to bills

Commissioner: Please be seated.

Speaker: Madam Commissioner, the Assembly has, at its present session, passed certain bills to which, in the name and on behalf of the Assembly, I respectfully request your assent.

Clerk: Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 2000-01; An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act; An Act to Amend the Assessment and Taxation Act.

Commissioner: I give assent to the bills as enumerated by the Clerk.

Commissioner leaves the Chamber

Speaker: Please be seated. I will now call the House to order.

Government motions.

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

Clerk: Motion No. 18, standing in the name of the hon. Ms. Duncan.

Motion No. 18

Speaker: It is moved by the hon. Premier

THAT it is the recommendation of this Assembly that the honourable members Pat Duncan, Sue Edelman and Pam Buckway be appointed to the Advisory Committee on Finance and that the honourable members Dale Eftoda, Wayne Jim and Don Roberts be appointed as alternate members of the same committee.

Motion No. 18 agreed to

Clerk: Motion No. 19, standing in the name of the hon. Mrs. Edelman.

Motion No. 19

Speaker: It is moved by the Minister of Tourism

THAT the Honourable Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 45(2), be appointed Chair of the Members' Services Board;

THAT Hon. Pat Duncan, Trevor Harding, Peter Jenkins and Cynthia Tucker be appointed to the Members' Services Board;

THAT the Board consider:

(1) budget submissions for the following Votes:

(a) Legislative Assembly,

(b) Ombudsman (including Information and Privacy Commissioner),

(c) Conflicts Commission, and

(d) Elections Office,

and

(2) policy questions concerning matters such as:

(a) space allocation,

(b) staffing,

(c) caucus funding,

(d) Media Gallery House rules,

(e) seating in the Assembly, and

(f) Hansard,

and

THAT the Board fulfill its statutory responsibilities, including those in the Ombudsman Act, the Conflict of Interest (Members and Ministers) Act, and the Legislative Assembly Retirement Allowances Act, 1991.

Motion No. 19 agreed to

Clerk: Motion No. 20, standing in the name of the hon. Mrs. Edelman.

Motion No. 20

Speaker: It is moved by the Minister of Tourism

THAT the honourable Members Trevor Harding, Eric Fairclough, Peter Jenkins, Scott Kent, Mike McLarnon and Cynthia Tucker be appointed to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts;

THAT the said Committee have the power to call for persons, papers and records and to sit during intercessional periods; and

THAT the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly be responsible for providing the necessary support services to the Committee.

Motion No. 20 agreed to

Clerk: Motion No. 21, standing in the name of the hon. Mrs. Edelman.

Motion No. 21

Speaker: It is moved by the Minister of Tourism

THAT the honourable Members Mike McLarnon, Trevor Harding, Peter Jenkins and Cynthia Tucker be appointed to the Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments;

THAT the said Committee have the power to call for persons, papers and records and to sit during intersessional periods;

THAT the said Committee review such new regulations as it may decide upon;

THAT the said Committee review such other existing or proposed regulations as are referred to it by the Assembly; and

THAT the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly be responsible for providing the necessary support services to the Committee.

Motion No. 21 agreed to

Clerk: Motion No. 22, standing in the name of the hon. Mrs. Edelman.

Motion No. 22

Speaker: It is moved by the Minister of Tourism

THAT the honourable Members Scott Kent, hon. Sue Edelman, Dennis Fentie, Peter Jenkins, Mike McLarnon, Gary McRobb and Cynthia Tucker be appointed to the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges;

THAT the said Committee have the power to call for persons, papers and records and to sit during intersessional periods;

THAT the said Committee review, as necessary, such Standing Orders as it may decide upon;

THAT the said Committee, following the conduct of any such review, report any recommendations for amendment to the Assembly; and

THAT the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly be responsible for providing the necessary support services to the Committee.

Motion No. 22 agreed to

Ms. Tucker: Mr. Speaker, 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 now call Committee of the Whole to order. Do members wish to take a brief recess?

Some Hon. Members: Agreed.

Chair: We will recess for 15 minutes.

Recess

Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.

Bill No. 2 - First Appropriation Act, 2000-01 - continued

Department of Tourism - continued

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, last night we followed through on a number of different issues, and I want to recap some of those for the members opposite.

I believe that the chart that indicated the cuts to heritage over the last three and a half years has been circulated to the side opposite. There seems to be an indication that it has gone over there.

The issues of signs - that, as I pointed out last night, is one of my priorities as a minister, and that has been assigned a specific staff person in that department.

The arts act - I want to restate my commitment to tabling the Yukon arts act this fall. Given the time frames and getting the act drafted, the work has to commence immediately. That will be happening in time for the fall sitting.

As for priorities for the department, the first clear message that we've heard from the industry is that there is a lack of figures, and one of my top priorities as a minister is gathering that information and giving it back to the industry so that they can use that to make financial decisions.

As for the budget changes, we are in the process of reworking the budget so that the capital items are going to be in capital and the O&M items are going to be in O&M, instead of a sort of mishmash of the two. That's a process that has happened over a great number of years, and we're doing everything we can to make sure that that becomes clearer for the Yukon public - the money spent in tourism.

On marketing thrusts, we had quite an extensive conversation about that last night. To be clear, my priority is for the North American and European markets; that is what's going to be happening in the future - definitely over the next three and a half years. We are going to be reworking the marketing budget to a certain extent and will be requiring a Management Board submission on that.

The member opposite was asking about partnerships and the level of matching funds. The Member for Klondike asked for a chart, and that chart will be forthcoming, if he hasn't already received it. And, of course, that will be passed on to the official opposition as well. The member opposite is indicating that he hasn't received it, and they will be getting that immediately.

The other questions were around the White Pass and Yukon Route celebrations, the 100-year celebrations. Just to reiterate: this was a process that was undertaken by White Pass and Yukon Route. We have offered our support to that birthday celebration but, quite frankly, they're doing it on their own.

The Member for Klondike asked for a list of the various organizations and groups that receive marketing support in this budget cycle, a breakdown of the total programs, and how we are partnering with various organizations. That will be provided, along with some detail on the tourism north program. That's the one with Prince Rupert, Travel Alberta, Travel B.C. and Alaska.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Sorry, this isn't the fascinating speeches that we've heard from the side opposite, but it is the business of the House, which often isn't that exciting, although it is important.

On museums funding - we spoke at length about museums funding last night. To be clear, the Northern Lights Centre does not fit into the criteria for museums funding right now. We are going to be looking at that in conjunction with the museums strategy. Part of the museums strategy will also be looking at a historic resource centre and the need for that within the territory.

On the marketing of the Beringia Centre, I have instructed my staff, through the deputy minister, to be more proactive in the marketing of the Beringia Centre. That process will be starting in July.

On signage for the Southern Lakes, I have instructed my staff to get back to the Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes on that issue. It is my understanding that they have contacted your officials today.

The community tours - to be absolutely clear, I heard what the side opposite was saying last night. The side opposite was saying that the message is not getting out into the communities about whom to contact if you have a great idea for tourism, something that you want to develop, something that you want to have marketed. We have heard that very, very clearly. Our officials are going to be going out to all the communities. They have already been out to a number so far this summer. That process is going to continue throughout the fall. We're going to try very, very hard to put a human face on tourism out in our rural communities and try to make sure that people know where to get their information. Of course, that process is going to be helped by the members opposite themselves. That's their role and they certainly said last night that they are going to be doing that with us.

As for CRAFT, a very aggressive marketing group - we are going to be supporting them within the budget. $50,000 was allocated and that money will be going to that group. That's included in the industry services capital budget under strategic planning.

Economic development agreements - we are very aggressively going after economic development agreements with Canada. I said last night that we had sent a letter to Minister Manley. I checked again this morning; we haven't received a reply on that issue, but certainly the provinces are getting that money under the western diversification strategy and we aren't, so we are going after that very aggressively. We want the money too.

The Kluane regional tourism plan - the Member of Kluane, of course, is speaking highly of the tourism industry in his area - we have promised a summary update immediately, and that information is coming, I believe, today.

Mr. McRobb: As the minister knows, last night we were discussing the promotion of tourism in the Kluane area, and specifically the Haines Junction convention centre. I would like to send her this brochure I have on that initiative. It's a spare copy I have, and I'm sure she'll find it very interesting.

The Kluane regional tourism plan situation analysis, which we were discussing last night, is quite a comprehensive report that was used as a basis for discussion at public consultations and within the department. I would certainly like to thank the people in the department who worked hard to put all of this together - they attended all the public meetings and spoke to all of the tourism operators and others in the Kluane community - as well as the people who participated in those meetings.

I think this is a great document. It updates the Kluane regional tourism plan done in 1989 by the DPA group.

This report, on the bottom of page 26, recommends that government support is required in order to promote tourism in the Kluane region. Last night, the minister indicated that she has no plans in that regard yet, but I would certainly encourage the government to investigate how to fill this void and encourage tourism in the Kluane region.

Also, in this document, for the minister's information, is a list of some of the regional attractions in the area. I would just like to briefly go through some of these, starting with museums and interpretative displays. There is the Kluane museum, the Kluane National Park, VRCs in Beaver Creek, Haines Junction and Sheep Mountain. The Beaver Creek Westmark Hotel has a display. There are Beaver Creek centennial displays, the Destruction Bay display and gazebo, and visitor reception centres and research centres in Haines Junction, Sheep Mountain, Beaver Creek, and the Arctic Institute facilities at Silver City. For parks and protected places, we have Kluane National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, Shawshe, Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park, Tatshenshini-Alsek heritage river status and, as the minister probably knows, this is part of the world's largest protected area, when Wrangell, St. Elias, Glacier Bay and Tatshenshini parks are included. There is also Klutlan Glacier, Pickhandle Lake, Scottie Creek, and Mount Logan, which is Canada's highest peak.

First Nation attractions and interpretation include Kwaday Dan Kenji, near Champagne, Klukshu and Shawshe, which is Dalton Post.

Recreational events: in the summer we have the Chilkat bike race, the Pine Lake regatta and slow-pitch tournament, Trail of '42 road race, Dalton Trail Days, Jackpot Rodeo, Canada Day/Aboriginal Day. In the winter, there's the Burwash 27, Silver Sled dog race, curling bonspiels in all communities, Kluane Classic ski race, Pine Lake and Alkan 200 snow machine race.

There are festivals like the Alsek Music Festival, the Haines, Alaska art festivals and related events down the Haines Road, and Southern Tutchone gatherings, usually on a three-year cycle.

Also, for theatre, in Haines Junction at the convention centre there is often a theatre in the summer. At the Westmark Inn in Beaver Creek, of course, there's a regular theatre event. Parks Canada VRC also from time to time puts on a theatre.

There are historic sites in Champagne, Canyon Creek, Klukshu, Soldiers Summit, Silver City, Snag, and Alaska Highway monuments.

Main recreational lakes include Dezadeash, Pine, Kathleen, Kluane, Kloo, Aishihik, Kusawa and, in the backcountry, there are Wellesley, Mush and Bates, Frederick, JoJo, Tincup, Sekulman and Hutshi. Main recreational lakes are a very important attraction in the Kluane area, Mr. Chair.

Day-use areas, public campgrounds and interpretive signage include those at Dezadeash Lake, Kathleen Lake, Sheep Mountain, Congdon Creek, Aishihik Lake, Kusawa Lake, Lake Creek, Million Dollar Falls, Dalton Post, Otter Falls, Pickhandle Lake and Pine Lake. Also, there are about 25 interpretive sites along the Haines Road and the Alaska Highway.

There are hiking and horse trails throughout the region. There are also interpretive trails at Dezadeash Wetlands, Spruce Beetle, Beaver Creek and Soldiers Summit. There are also attractions at Champagne, Klukshu, Silver City, Aishihik, Burwash Uplands, and the Kluane National Park trails system. Some of the main recreational rivers, Mr. Chair, include the Tatshenshini, Alsek, Dezadeash, Kathleen, White, Donjek, Takhini, Nisling, Kluane and Takhini. And for those who haven't tried the day trip on the Tatshenshini, I would highly recommend it. I see that the minister says, "No way", Mr. Chair; I would say that it's not too wild, even for the minister. It's something she should consider taking.

The roads in the area include the Alsek and Haines highways, Kusawa, Aishihik, Snag, Dalton Post, Mush and Bates secondary roads, Alsek Pass, 4x4 and old mining roads. Wildlife-viewing opportunities include the seasonal bird migration - it's a Pacific flyway - at Duke River meadows, Pickhandle Lake, Kluane River meadows, Kluane River and Scottie Creek, and there are bison in the Aishihik area, elk at the Kusawa cut-off, sheep at Sheep Mountain, bears in the national park, Shawshe, Kluane River, and fish spawning at Klukshu and other locations.

Mr. Chair, I would also like to thank the many tourism operators and the hospitality industry in the region, who help make Kluane a very important area of the Yukon Territory and a very nice place to visit. Certainly there are many of them from Beaver Creek down through the highway lodges, including Koidern River, Kluane Wilderness Village, at Burwash Landing, the Bayshore Motor Inn, the Silver City B&B, several around the Haines Junction area and on the Haines Road - Kathleen Lake - and several between here and the Junction as well.

The point, Mr. Chair, is to ensure the minister is aware of the many attractions and facilities in this great region of the territory and to ensure that it doesn't slip her by when the government is developing its priorities for tourism in the Yukon and focusing on specific areas. With that, I would like to ask the minister: what plans does she have for the Kluane area in her tenure as Minister of Tourism?

INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS

Hon. Ms. Duncan: Excuse me, Mr. Chair, I would like to just interrupt the proceedings momentarily if I could. We have two guests who have joined us in the gallery today: Zenaida Tacorda-Rabago, who is the Consul General of the Philippines, and she is joined by Josefina Ceballos, who is the Vice Consul of the Philippines. I thank the members for allowing me to introduce them at this time.

Applause

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: I feel that I do have to respond to some of the comments made by the member opposite who always presents these rather enjoyable travelogues to us from his region. Certainly, I have heard about many of these spots on a number of occasions. To be clear, the Tatshenshini trip - I have certainly done that. I will never do it again; it was way too much excitement for this member. I know those who are not, perhaps, as faint-hearted enjoy that sort of thing. But that wasn't my cup of tea, to say the least, but it was a great trip, and lots of excitement. It's just that I prefer the indoors in a lot of cases.

The member opposite is pointing out the beauty of the area that he represents, and we were very, very clear last night. I grew up in the Yukon, I'm very much aware of how lovely that area of our territory is, and I've travelled extensively in there - even on the Tatshenshini. And, as we were saying last night, too, we are working with the local group on developing this regional plan. That was part of the process, and the member opposite knows that. The MLA has received information produced to date as reflected in the situational analysis. The Kluane tourism plan steering committee met in Haines Junction on Tuesday, June 20 - that's when we were here - to review input from the first round of community meetings. Then they worked on draft goals, objectives and tasks, and identified priority projects for the regions and the sub-regions. This information is not yet ready for distribution, but when it is, I will certainly pass that on to the members opposite.

A draft plan will be prepared for the steering committee review by the end of July and will be available for public review by late summer. And the second round of community meetings will take place in late September and the final plan will be finished by late fall.

The member opposite is indicating that we'll probably still be sitting in the Legislature, and that's just fine; although, then we won't have as much time to enjoy the scenic beauty of the area he represents.

The member opposite knows that regional plans are prepared regularly for the different regions in the Yukon, and he's indicating that he is aware of that fact. The last Kluane tourism plan was done in 1989. This one will be finished by the end of 2000. I was mentioning last night that we have to speed up that process, and not only speed it up but look at implementing these plans. We talked a number of times last night about plans that sit on shelves and could be used as bookends, and that's not a wise use of tax dollars. If we're going to get bookends, we can fashion them ourselves without using tax dollars.

If we want a plan, then we want to make sure that it works and is going to be implemented, and that's what I'm trying to do as the Minister of Tourism.

Mr. McRobb: I thank the minister for that, Mr. Chair. I'd just like to ask her if she has any plans on how the government will assist the development of tourism in the Kluane region specifically. Does she have any plans, such as perhaps implementing some of the suggestions in the regional plan, or whatever?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, we don't have an updated plan yet, so it's a little hard to make commitments about something that doesn't exist yet. What I can say is that we will be working with the group out of Haines Junction, in the Kluane region, and we will be looking at implementing those steps and helping the group bring forward better tourism opportunities within that region. Part of that might be with marketing partnerships - international as well as national.

Mr. Harding: I only have one question. Yesterday, the MLA for Ross River-Southern Lakes asked some questions about the Campbell Region Association for Tourism and received a commitment for continued funding. That group is working hard, as is the Town of Faro, to try and encourage more tourists to enter the Campbell region. So, I'm pleased that that funding commitment is continuing.

My question is specifically about a sign. It's a somewhat of a picayune issue, but it's one that has dogged us when we were in government and one that the new Tourism minister is responsible for.

It's the Columbia disaster sign on the Campbell Highway. It was taken down a year or two ago - I think two years ago - for painting. I haven't seen it. I haven't been home for a couple of weeks, but I haven't seen it replaced yet. There was a commitment from the department, when I was working in my MLA capacity, when we were in government, just before the election, to have it back out there this spring. If the minister doesn't know about it on the floor, can she please find out for me if it is finally going to be replaced? I keep hearing about it in my constituency and travellers on the road from Ross River keep asking me about it.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, that project will be completed this summer. That is going to happen.

I do have to tell the members opposite that signs were always a big issue with me when I served on the municipal level. What I didn't realize, when I became Minister of Tourism, is how much of an issue it was still going to be in my life. Signs are a huge issue in Tourism. Every community has its own opinion on what the signs should look like and where they should be located. That's why we have an interdepartmental sign committee. We work with Community and Transportation Services on those issues.

To be clear, there hasn't been enough money allocated to signage in the territory over the years. That money has not increased, and it has needed to, because the demands are certainly there. That is one of the issues that we will be looking at over the next three and a half years.

Mr. Jenkins: I thought the minister was going to suggest that they were going reprofile the signs in the Yukon. I guess we don't want to go there.

I have a few questions, Mr. Chair, on general issues. Campground stickers that are sold at the visitor reception centres are sold in blocks. A number of people, when they exit the Yukon, try to get a refund on those stickers that they haven't used. There is no refund procedure. Why not?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: I believe this is a Renewable Resources issue. Perhaps the member - what I will do is get back to the member opposite, working with the minister responsible for Renewable Resources at the next possible date.

Mr. Jenkins: I'm sort of amazed that it hasn't come to the Tourism department's attention, as it's usually the visitor reception centres that receive the brunt of these inquiries and the requests for refunds. They just don't have the ability or mechanism to provide a refund. It's kind of an overlapping jurisdiction - I recognize that - but the issue is refunding campground stickers, because they are sold in blocks and, on a lot of occasions, they're not used.

One of the other areas where there are overlapping jurisdictions - Renewable Resources, Community and Transportation Services and Tourism - has to do with our numerous pullouts, campgrounds, the boat launch ramps and the pullouts for various bits of signage in and around the Yukon, Mr. Chair. I was wondering if there were some mechanism so that all of these could be dovetailed because they really are a Tourism issue. I'm not suggesting that they move over to the Department of Tourism from the other areas because the maintenance is an ongoing requirement and is set up reasonably well, as I speak.

I was wondering if there was some way that we could have a firm understanding of who is responsible for what and that the ongoing maintenance occurs on a continuing basis - that none of the pullouts are left in a messy condition and that there is constant monitoring and, as well, that areas like the lookout at the Five Finger Rapids is maintained on a continuing basis. Complaints have been coming out of there. I guess the site is too small for parking - way too small, and the pullout is just not adequate. More often than not, the department of highways is blocking off all these little access roads to gravel pits and other areas where RVs and individuals would pull off previously. It's now posted that they're private, and cables are strung across these areas so that you can't enter them with a motor vehicle.

Given that, is there a movement to increase the size of a lot of the existing pullouts and create more around the Yukon?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I need to go back on some of the comments that the member made previously. First of all, I have travelled extensively throughout the Yukon, of course, throughout my life, but this year I have been to the VRCs in Whitehorse, Beaver Creek and Watson Lake - in the last month actually - and also, on a daily basis, I go over to the visitors reception centre here in Whitehorse and speak to the tourists and the visitors who are coming here to Whitehorse. I thoroughly enjoy that, and I'd like to ask anyone else who sits in this House to come over with me, because it's a great experience and it's lots of fun and you get a much better idea of what our territory looks like to the visitors, which is different from the way we see it.

As far as the protocol that we have between Renewable Resources and Tourism, it's a very strong connection. Certainly, when we hear complaints, they are passed on immediately to Renewable. Renewable Resources keeps us apprised of their plans. The issue of Five Finger Rapids and the other spots where there are inadequate parking spaces allocated for the visitors who want to get to those sites is a problem right across the territory, as the member is aware. It's something that we're working on.

Now, when I was in opposition, the issue of the Five Finger Rapids site in particular was very important, and I worked on that issue with the Minister of Renewable Resources at the time, and we're continuing to work on that issue.

My feeling is that we need to take more of a proactive approach from the Tourism side on a lot of these spots, and that's something that I'll be working on over the next three and a half years.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, the solution is obvious: enlarge the sites. There is an area there that could be utilized, if you want to look at Five Fingers, to expand off-highway parking. It is quite a bottleneck at certain times in the summer, Mr. Chair.

It is one of our significant sites that virtually anyone travelling the north Klondike likes to stop at, but there is inadequate parking space there, especially when you get a couple of larger RVs, motorhome sized. The same holds true for a lot of the other pullouts around the Yukon. They are inadequate. They are too small. It's going to require an enlargement of them. There is just not enough off-highway parking. I don't want the minister to stand up and say that we don't have enough space in the Yukon. We have more than an adequate amount of space in the Yukon.

So I would like a commitment from the minister to get together with her colleague, the Minister of Community and Transportation Services, and, in those areas where Renewable Resources is involved, look at the expansion of the pullouts. They can be the day pullouts or just the pullouts that the department of highways have in various areas - those with a garbage container.

If you have travelled in Alaska and seen what a pullout looks like in the State of Alaska, and you see what a pullout looks like in the Yukon, we are comparing, I guess, watermelons to peanuts. It's that much of a contrast, Mr. Chair. It is very significant. They have large, wide, turnouts. We certainly have enough area to provide for these pullouts. It's just going to take all three departments to get together. I understand the department of highways; they really don't have any interest in providing pullouts. It's not necessary, from their standpoint. From the standpoint of our visitor industry, they certainly are necessary, and from the standpoint of safety, they are very, very necessary.

One only has to travel our highways here at night time, which will - incidentally, Mr. Chair, we're on the downhill down to winter. One only has to travel our highways at night when a tractor-trailer unit is pulled off and the driver is taking his required siesta. He leaves his headlights on on the side of the road and you come toodling down along a straight stretch and you see the headlights coming. Of course you're anticipating an oncoming vehicle, and such is not the case. It is a safety issue and you contrast our pullouts here, Mr. Chair, to the State of Alaska, once again, where they have pulloffs that are well off the road; they're all well-equipped with outhouses and garbage containers. Now, we have a massive land area and we can do the job much better. So, I'm looking for a commitment, for the minister to sit down and address this issue. Will she do so, Mr. Chair?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, not only will I address the issue, but I am addressing the issue.

INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Before we move on, I just want to interrupt the proceedings minorly and introduce my constituent, Jared Tuck, who is sitting in the gallery with us today.

Applause

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Going on with the issue of pullouts and the various historic sites and outlooks where we work with Renewable Resources and Community and Transportation Services, that's something that is an ongoing process. Certainly the pullouts in Alaska are far more elaborate than ours. They also have a great deal more money than we have to deal with a lot of those issues. The other issue that is really important to remember is that we are going to be working, not only with C&TS and Renewable Resources, but we're also working with local First Nations on many of these issues. That process is ongoing and we are not the lead group in those negotiations. But, to be clear, tourism is important to everybody in the Yukon, and it's something that we're working on.

Now the Five Finger Rapids site - you come around that corner coming out of Dawson and all you can see are RVs all the way down the hill right into the pullout. Anybody seeing that knows there's not going to be a hope for them to get in so they don't stop there, and that's a problem and that's something we need to take a very hard look at.

We're going to, and we're going to be doing that on a global-issue analysis, and we're not going to be looking at one site in separation from other sites. We want to look at all of them together, and we want to do it working with the departments of Community and Transportation Services and Renewable Resources and the local municipal government or First Nation in that area.

Mr. Jenkins: I'm uncomfortable with what I have heard from the minister: we're going to look at it in a global manner. All I'm asking and requesting is that we just look at specific cases in the Yukon where we have a bottleneck and a problem. And the biggest bottleneck that I am aware of is the Five Finger Rapids. That could be the cause of a serious accident if it's not addressed, because the RVs, as the minister clearly indicated, park all the way up and around the corner and all the way down. And there's a turn in either direction; it's on a S-turn. And it's not a nice place to park. But there is a major attraction there, and I would point out that the Minister of Community and Transportation Services, the Minister of Renewable Resources and the Minister of Tourism are failing in their responsibilities if they don't address this safety issue and deal with it. It is a safety issue as well as a very important visitor attraction site.

Now, I'm sure the cooperation of the First Nations would be very, very necessary in that area because the land claims have been settled. I'm not sure as to the width of the right-of-way for the highway, but I'm sure that there must be a reserve in that area because there's a trail leading all the way down to the second lookout at Five Finger Rapids right beside the river.

So, I want much more of a commitment than saying that we are going to look at this in a global manner. That is a site that could very well have serious accidents surrounding its use, and I don't want to see that. I want a commitment from this minister that she is going to work at providing more off-highway parking and enlarging that site and doing something about it. Now, I don't know where the lead is going to come from, but between Renewable Resources, Community and Transportation Services, and Tourism, something has to happen.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, that area regularly is the site of accidents in the winter. Regardless of that particular site, it is a very dangerous area of the highway. It is something that is being looked at for a variety of reasons by the Department of Community and Transportation Services.

As far as looking at that particular site, there are many sites in the Yukon that deserve equal attention. The Five Finger site - obviously the member goes past it on a regular basis and sees the problems that are involved there. We are working on that. My commitment to the member opposite is that I will be working with Community and Transportation Services and Renewable Resources, and I will make sure that we look specifically at that site this year.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, I've travelled the north Alaska Highway, and I've been down as far as Teslin just recently and over to Faro - I guess it was in April when I went to Faro and Ross River - and I'm not aware of any other pullout in the areas where I've recently travelled that has as much potential and exposure to accidents as that Five Fingers pullout. Perhaps the minister could help me, Mr. Chair, in providing another example of a pullout that is as much of a hazard, because of its use, as the Five Finger pullout.

Champagne-Aishihik is, in my opinion, not nearly as much of a hazard, Mr. Chair, as that Five Fingers. I've probably seen as many as 30 motorhomes or RVs, lined up along the highway, as well as seen the pullout being completely full on occasion during the summer. That, in itself, is cause for concern.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I have committed to the member opposite that we will be looking at that issue this year. That is my commitment.

Mr. Jenkins: I'm only hoping that, when she's looking at it, she will be able to do something, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Chair, I have another little issue that has kind of arisen. I wonder what the minister's feelings are with respect to a head tax.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, that's not something that we're interested in at this time. However, it has been indicated to us by industry that that might be a way to support some of our tourism initiatives here in the Yukon.

Mr. Jenkins: How about a bed tax? What's the Liberal position on a bed tax in the Yukon, Mr. Chair?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: I can see that this is the member opposite's clever way of trying to get to the same point. To be clear, we're not interested in that issue at this time. It has been pointed out to us by the industry that it may be a way to finance further tourism initiatives in the territory. It certainly is used that way in every other jurisdiction in Canada, except for Nunavut and, I believe, the N.W.T.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, the minister is not quite correct. The N.W.T. is just imposing a bed tax as we speak, Mr. Chair, so that's one out of the equation.

One of the issues surrounding the head tax was that it be used to pay off infrastructure costs, like a sewage treatment system, and that was advanced in my community, Mr. Chair. I was just wondering if the minister has developed a Liberal position on implementing such a head tax to pay off capital infrastructure.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, the member opposite remembers well when we passed the new Municipal Act through this House two years ago, I believe. At that time, we looked at this issue. Under the previous Municipal Act, municipalities did not have enabling legislation to bring forward a room, bed or head tax, or whatever sort of tax - we know it's all the same thing. I do believe that they have that ability.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: The member opposite is saying that's not true, that they don't have that ability. But that's something that has been within the purview of the territorial government for a number of years. Actually, it has always been the purview of the territorial government.

I told the member opposite that, right now, we in the Yukon government are not interested in a room, bed or head tax; however, the industry - and I have just heard from the member opposite that the municipality of Dawson is interested in that initiative. If Dawson wants to negotiate with the government on that issue, they are certainly welcome to do that.

Mr. Jenkins: Just for the record, I did not state the municipality of Dawson. It was a certain proposal that was advanced to pay off the cost of the secondary sewage treatment - that a tax be implemented. The only taxing authority for such an initiative, Mr. Chair, would be the Government of Yukon. That is the only level of government in Yukon that has the authority, other than the First Nations themselves on their own lands.

Mr. Chair, there are a number of initiatives that the minister has promised to reprofile and get back to me on. I will look forward to receiving those bits of information.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I will never use the word "reprofile" again. I know that one should never say "never", but it's truly unlikely that I will talk about reprofiling a budget again.

I have committed to getting back to the member opposite on the issues that we have spoken about in the House yesterday and today, and I will.

Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Chair, there is a lot of interest, of course, from Carmacks people and Pelly in the Five Finger Rapids turnoff. When we were in government, we were looking at this in conjunction with Community and Transportation Services. There is room for an enlargement. There was interest in a commercial area off the highway right-of-way. I believe that some of that work was to be done this summer. I would ask the member if she could check into that and send any information our way, if she can.

The minister also said she would be sending information to the third party. Any type of information that she committed there, would she also send it my way, please?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Always. Any information that goes to the third party goes to the official opposition as well, similar to the practice when the members opposite were in government. Information shared with one party was always shared with the other.

This is a Renewable Resources initiative, and any information I can get on that will be shared with the side opposite.

Chair: Is there any further general debate on Tourism?

We will then move to page 12-6 and discuss corporate services. Is there any general debate on corporate services, capital and O&M?

On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures

On Corporate Services

On Operations

Operations in the amount of $1,279,000 agreed to

Chair: Are there any questions on allotments?

Corporate Services in the amount of $1,279,000 agreed to

On Heritage

Chair: Is there any general debate on heritage?

Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Chair, there seems to be quite a reduction in heritage in the O&M programming, and I was just wondering if, internally this year, there would be some money shifted over to meet the commitments that the Liberals announced.

Can we expect a big supplementary in this area this fall, Mr. Chair?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, this reduction reflects the completion of a project in that prior fiscal year, and it was a data base project funded by Heritage Canada.

Mr. Jenkins: Are there any other significant changes here? I can see the Beringia Centre as a significant reduction, but there are other reductions in operations - museums, personnel and other. Other is significant. What are we talking about in general terms, Mr. Chair?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, this was a decrease of 30 percent from the forecast due to a reduction in advertising, and that was relocated to other departmental priorities - for example, the stay-another-day program.

Mr. Jenkins: While we're discussing advertising, why is it that the heritage branch advertises separately from the Tourism department? I would have been of the opinion that we'd have one set of rules for the whole Department of Tourism and that the heritage branch would dovetail into that program on the advertising side of it. But that's not the case, Mr. Chair. We have the heritage branch out doing their own thing, and Tourism out doing their own thing.

In Tourism, we're alleged to have some very capable individuals who understand advertising and, on occasion, they hit the mark. Overall, if you throw in heritage, we have had some very poor ads, in my opinion and in the opinion of others that have been conveyed to me. I don't think Tourism should be left unscathed with the quality of some of the ads they have put out over the last few years. There is room for a considerable amount of improvement. Why is it that these two departments can't coordinate their efforts and work through one entity in the advertising world?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I discovered early in my tenure as the Tourism minister that the rules don't apply to the budget of the Department of Tourism. It would make sense to me that if you were going to have a Tourism budget, all advertising would go through one source so that you would get the maximum benefit from your dollar spent - so you're ensuring that you're not spending duplicate dollars in one place and then in another. It doesn't make sense.

The money that has passed through Tourism over the years, of course, has been well-analyzed, and it meets all the criteria. But the well-understood rules of accounting vary from what we see before us in this budget. So, what I have said to the members opposite is that I will be working with the budgeting process in this department, and we will try to get capital on one side and O&M on the other. And we will look at saving dollars by putting all of the line items together, where it's appropriate.

Mr. Jenkins: So, what the minister is saying is that heritage advertising will be dovetailed into the Department of Tourism and it will all originate from one desk after careful consultation to see what the heritage side of the portfolio requires. Is that going to be the case? Or are we still going to allow two separate entities to exist? Is the exercise to get the biggest bang and best bang for our buck, or is the exercise to create two distinct bureaucracies that are out there looking to spend advertising dollars and compete against each other? Where are we at? I would hope that where we're headed is having one agency responsible for the totality of the advertising, and the various departments in this portfolio would come under this umbrella, and one individual or one group of individuals would be responsible for all the print advertising and all of the other subsequent advertising that is required, other than perhaps posters, flyers or something of that nature that are specifically peculiar to an event or function in that department, like a specific brochure on the heritage function. But when you get out to advertise in the various trade magazines and publications, the heritage branch does their thing, the Tourism department does their thing. Is that going to stop?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: It's going to take some time to get everything corralled back into where it belongs. But to be clear: we're working on a business plan, there is already a draft business plan, and it's a team approach. So, we're looking at duplications, and we're looking at getting the most bang for our buck. These are taxpayers' dollars. We take that responsibility very seriously. We do want to get the most for our dollars. And we also are finding that there are areas in other departments that we feel should perhaps be in Tourism, or there are areas of Tourism that should be in other departments, and all of that is being looked at as part of the business plan.

Mr. Jenkins: This business plan sounds quite interesting. Is there an overview of this business plan, as to how it is progressing and what areas are being looked at? I don't need the generic answer that it's all and everything. There must be a blueprint of this business plan that we're progressing on. If so, could the minister table it?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, as I said, we are still at the first draft stage. I mentioned that earlier to the member opposite.

This government has not sat down and had a good, long planning exercise to look at their priorities for this department and all the other departments. When that process is complete, it will be compiled into the business plan for this department, as well as the business plans for all the other departments. At that time, we will be closer to getting a more finished product. As I said, we are still at the first draft stage with the business plan in this department. It's overdue, it needed to be done, and it will be a regular exercise in this department.

Mr. Jenkins: But there are efficiencies that could be achieved within the department itself, without dovetailing it back to the overall government and all the various departments. Could the minister provide the timelines for the review within her department and when they will be implemented? I am not really concerned with the total, overall view at this juncture, Mr. Chair, just the in-house department review.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I have already committed to the member opposite, and this is the third time. In the 2001-02 budget, there will be changes, and they will reflect the business plan and the priorities of this government.

Chair: Is there any further general debate? We will go into line items on heritage.

On Operations

Operations in the amount of $297,000 agreed to

On Museums

Museums in the amount of $397,000 agreed to

On Historic Sites

Historic Sites in the amount of $142,000 agreed to

On Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre

Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre in the amount of $267,000 agreed to

Chair: Are there any questions on allotments?

Heritage in the amount of $1,103,000 agreed to

Chair: Are there any questions on the statistics?

On Industry Services

Chair: Is there any general debate?

On Operations

Operations in the amount of $598,000 agreed to

Chair: Are there any questions on allotments?

Industry Services in the amount of $598,000 agreed to

On Marketing

Chair: Is there general debate?

Mr. Jenkins: It looks like we're stepping backwards in our marketing as to the total dollars committed compared to the actuals for 1998-99 and the forecasted for 1990, given inflation and the various medias that we advertise. Why are we taking a cut in this area, Mr. Chair? Why isn't there more committed? Or is the minister committing to putting more money in the public relations, the promotions and the information services and bringing it back as a nice, big, fat supplementary this fall?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, the member opposite is nothing if not consistent. The public relations activity is decreased by this amount because a major Web site update was completed in the previous year.

Mr. Jenkins:That explains one area but, overall, there are two other areas that show a decrease and just normal inflation would eat up two, three and four percent, Mr. Chair.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I believe the member is referring to promotions. The decrease is mainly due to reallocations in the operations activity for greater emphasis on advertising. So, what we're talking about is moving from one budget into another. More money for Rendezvous Canada - there was the completion of a Tourism document, the Vision for the Development of Tourism in Yukon that we tabled earlier in the session. Travel out of the Yukon has stayed the same. Summer photo shoots are continuing, and there is another decrease, mainly due to the one-time contribution for the TSN Skins Game. As for the marketing branch and information services, the decrease was due to savings in the cost of developing the vacation guide.

Mr. Jenkins: The minister mentioned moving some money from one budget to another - which other budget?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, some of that decrease is due to a change from the Asia-Pacific market into the European marketing program.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, Mr. Chair, I'm having a hard time getting my head around all of these numbers, especially when a lot of them appear in the O&M side of the equation, and a lot of it appears in the capital side of the equation for the same thing.

Now, where are we at with our total marketing budget? When you add up all the O&M and capital, or all of the various budgets it has been shuffled around to, where have we been heading the last couple of years? Are we increasing, decreasing or staying the same, and what are the numbers?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I know it's hard to glean from the information that has been passed on to the members opposite, but the numbers have stayed the same. As far as the exact figures, we can pass them on to the member opposite and the official opposition, as well.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, if they have stayed the same, how do we factor in for inflation and the U.S. dollar? A lot of these expenditures are in foreign currencies - U.S. and eurodollars or marks. So, how do we adjust for that, or does that come out of another pie somewhere? As far as I'm concerned, this marketing budget should have been indexed and increased to reflect what we're trying to accomplish. There should be more money there at the end of the day, but there doesn't appear to be. There seems to be a reduction.

We've only got one industry left that's somewhat viable in the Yukon. We've heard today that we've almost got forestry on its knees. Mining has gone, and there's no activity in oil and gas. The only way that we can ensure that our visitor industry survives is to spend our marketing bucks correctly.

I want to know where we're headed. When you add up all these pies and you factor in inflation and exchange rates, what have we been doing, in comparison to the last three years?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: At the same time, the efforts on behalf of the department to leverage dollars though partnerships has increased. Therefore, we have developed partnerships with the Canadian Tourism Commission, with airlines, with private industry and with newspapers, and those have helped us make our dollars go an awful lot further. You won't see a clearer indication of the fact that the American dollar is continuing to go up and up and up and ours has gone down and down and down. But I can say that there have been an awful lot of very innovative programs that have worked within this branch.

Chair: Is there any further public debate on marketing?

On Operations

Operations in the amount of $2,096,000 agreed to

On Public Relations

Public Relations in the amount of $182,000 agreed to

On Promotions

Mr. Jenkins: Can the minister just provide a breakdown of that line item, please?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: I previously did provide a breakdown on that line item. That was the Skins game and the decrease from the Skins games, which was a one-time transfer. I will get further detail for the member opposite on that issue.

Promotions in the amount of $1,471,000 agreed to

On Information Services

Information Services in the amount of $1,692,000 agreed to

Chair: Any questions on allotments?

Any questions on the statistics?

Mr. Jenkins:I know that the minister has committed to providing statistics on a more timely basis, and this very necessary marketing tool is very much welcomed. When does she actually expect this to start occurring? I know it's underway somewhere. When can we expect to see the results? At the end of June will we see the statistics for the end of May, or at some time during the month? What is the monthly statistic report date going to be? The 15th of the month following or the 30th of the next month? What is it going to be?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Border-crossing figures apparently are going to be available on about the 6th of each month. There is already a staff person assigned to work out numbers and work specifically on just this issue. We need numbers to support our policies, which we are also working on in the Department of Tourism.

Mr. Jenkins: That wasn't my question. When is the report date for the end of the month? It's the 6th for border crossings. What about VRC stats? When is that going to be available - the same thing, on the 6th?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, we have committed to the same date, approximately the 6th of each month - on the 6th of each month, Mr. Chair, providing that that works with staff schedules.

Mr. Jenkins: Let's not go there. Let's get a definitive day when we're going to have these statistics available. Now, I'm not looking for the minister to move out of it. If it's the 6th of the month, fine, or the 15th of the month following, fine, or the 10th of the month following, fine, but I don't need a whole bunch of caveats surrounding a date. I need a definitive date.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I was trying to be aware of the fact that there are long weekends throughout the summer, and we need to be cognizant of that. We will be posting the figures on the Web, when there isn't an issue around staff, by the 6th of each month.

Mr. Jenkins: What we have here is a stat holiday. Now, there are only three in the course of the summer. That adds an extra day. Why doesn't the minister stand up and say they'll be posted by the 7th? Because what it means is that the door is wide open if they're not published by the 15th, or we were busy and there was a stat holiday. Now, why isn't there a definitive date in there? Because it's something that everyone looks for.

If she were in the banking business, the banker would want his payment on a specific date. It wouldn't matter if there was a holiday there or not. He'd be taking it out of her account on that same date every month, irrespective of holidays.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, if the member opposite would like us to post those numbers on the 15th of each month, is that what he's saying? The 15th of each month?

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: We have committed to the 6th of each month, which is usually before the 15th of each month, and that's a better time, I would imagine, for the industry. But, if the member wants the 15th of each month, we are perfectly prepared to do that.

Marketing in the amount of $5,441,000 agreed to

On Arts and Cultural Industries

Chair: Is there any general debate?

Mr. Jenkins: Given that there's a new arts act that will be coming forward this fall, can the minister just enlighten us as to what kind of background consultation is taking place in this area?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Some of the members opposite are very much aware that most of this consultation has already taken place. We are in the drafting stage of this legislation, and we are working on it as we speak.

Mr. Jenkins: I don't see a line item for the Dawson arts centre. Can the minister tell me where the ongoing O&M is covered in her budget for the Oddfellows Hall - another good NDP initiative in my riding.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, that figure is under "transfer payments". I believe the exact figure is $400,000 for the Oddfellows Hall. I will get back to the member opposite on the exact figures.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: No, I'm being corrected, as we speak. I'm wrong, and I'm happy to admit that.

Mr. Chair, what a lovely budget that would have been, but I just changed my mind. We now have $400,000 expended, and that was some time ago under the previous administration. The ongoing O&M funding is - Mr. Chair, that amount is not readily available, but I will get back to the member opposite with excruciating detail on that line.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, we're not looking for excruciating detail on that line. We'd be happy in Dawson to accept that $400,000 odd that the minister just mentioned. It's agreed to by my colleagues here in opposition, so if that's the amount forthcoming, it would be graciously accepted.

The Oddfellows Hall has clearly demonstrated that there is a very beneficial and growing arts community that could, with a small amount of government funding, greatly improve the arts community, not just in Dawson, but in all of Yukon. A commitment was made by the previous Government Leader that they would receive ongoing O&M funding. I know it's somewhere in this budget, and I was hoping the minister could give a clear indication - I believe they need an amount approximating $200,000 a year. Is that the sum that's settled on and that the minister is aware of and has agreed to?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, the agreed-to amount is $100,000. That was the amount that was agreed to by the previous government. The $400,000 was a capital expense.

The figure of $100,000 is purely operational and there were no plans in sight for reducing that amount.

Mr. Jenkins: Just for the record, Mr. Chair, that is an ongoing commitment from this government.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, ongoing commitments are reviewed at budget time every year. The member opposite is very much aware of that. There is a commitment to arts and cultural industries throughout the Yukon, even in Dawson City, and there will be strong consideration given of that at the budgeting table.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, Mr. Chair, there is an opportunity for some coming together of the Yukon College and the Oddfellows Hall and the Dawson Arts Society for the mutual benefit of all, and I was wondering if such a review is taking place. I know it's an Education issue - Yukon College - Tourism are only involved in the arts side of the equation, but is the minister aware as to whether there's an involvement by her officials in such a review?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, we're always looking at partnerships within the Yukon Territory. For the partnership between Yukon College and the Oddfellows, we do provide ongoing funding to the Dawson City Arts Society to the tune of $100,000 a year, and we have provided that in this budget.

Is the member opposite saying that he'd like to have our officials involved in those negotiations between those two organizations?

Mr. Jenkins: No, I would be happy with a $200,000 commitment from the minister on the floor of the House for this in subsequent years. That would be more than adequate, Mr. Chair. But what is needed is a dovetailing of the Dawson Art Society - the Oddfellows Hall people - and Yukon College. There are many, many functions, and Yukon College seems to be stumbling because of a lack of commitment by the main board to fund its various operations in rural Yukon. We are not alone; it's something that is happening all around the Yukon.

So, while the programs appear to be still there, there is probably an opportunity to bring some of them together for the benefit of all. I was hoping that some sort of a review might be taking place within your department and the Department of Education, representing Yukon College, to see if this could occur. Is that happening? Is it ongoing or underway at all, to the best of the Minister's knowledge?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Just to be clear, there was no commitment for $200,000 worth of O&M every year to this particular project. That was not on the table, and it is not now.

The department is working to market the Oddfellows Hall in Dawson City. There is an involvement at that level. As far as working with Yukon College is concerned, that's something the member opposite might want to take up with the Minister of Education.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, I'm sure that the minister is aware that when I get into Education, I'm sure the minister will bounce it back to the Minister of Tourism, and I will be told that I should have debated that with the Minister of Tourism. While both of the entities are present, I just want to take this opportunity to ask the Minister of Tourism if she is aware of any ongoing negotiations between her department officials and representatives of Yukon College and the education side of the equation within her government to see something occur for the dovetailing of facilities and a working relationship in that area to enhance both entities.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, we are not fulfilling that negotiation function right now. There has been no request for that. If there is a request for that, then we will consider that request when it comes in from the affected parties.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, the Minister of Tourism has quite a letter from the Yukon College board of directors in Dawson City spelling out all the uncertainties surrounding their operations, and it's about time that all the parties sat down to see what they can do.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, we are endeavouring, as a government, to work better between departments. One of our aspirations during this term of government is that we will work better department to department, and that is what we're going to be doing.

We're very much aware of this issue. The member opposite has brought it forward and we will be discussing that with the two departments at the ministerial level.

Mr. Harding: Just to enter into the debate and provide some clarity to help the debate a little bit, I can remember attending a number of discussions with the former Government Leader and representatives of Oddfellows Hall. It is true, there was a commitment for an operations and maintenance expenditure for the Oddfellows Hall, and it was fairly substantial. The project initially was committed to on a capital basis, but there was an overwhelming success story surrounding that facility and the potential just grew and grew from something that was in its infancy seemingly just a dream. There's a lot more work to be done and I think it's important that that commitment be continued.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, just to point out, that commitment for the larger amounts was made and it wasn't indicated in this budget. The commitment is $100,000 per year; however, I do appreciate the Member for Faro bringing clarity to our discussions here on the floor of the Legislature.

Mr. Fentie: Just a matter for the record, Mr. Chair: I would like to note that I think we should commend the former NDP government for such a noble expenditure toward arts and cultural industries. To its credit, the NDP government did not decrease expenditures in this area from mains to mains.

Now, this week we heard the Minister of Tourism commit, on the floor of this Legislature, to increase the funding to cultural industries. Could she give us an indication of how much that increase would be? That's provided, of course, that the Minister of Health and Social Services hasn't got it all spent.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I think that the member opposite should remember that this government has committed to these dollars in this budget. That's our commitment to Yukoners. We are giving certainty to Yukoners by spending these dollars in Tourism in the Yukon Territory that had previously been budgeted for and that organizations have depended on. That's why we tabled this budget - to provide certainty.

As for the exact amount for the support for cultural industries, that will happen in due time. The member is very much aware of the fact that I am not going to be giving exact figures on a fall supplementary budget in June.

Mr. Fentie: I thank the minister for that. I would again like to point out that the minister clearly made a commitment on the floor of the Legislature to increase an expenditure in this area. I merely wanted to see if she could give us any indication at this time how much that expenditure increase would be.

I understand that the Liberals claim that they tabled this budget to bring certainty, but I would argue that they tabled this budget because they simply couldn't get one constructed on their own.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, the only thing that's absolutely constant in this Legislature is that the side opposite disagrees with this side. That is always the case. On occasion, we do hear some constructive criticism, although it is rare, not like when the Liberal caucus was on the other side of the floor, with good ideas constantly coming across the floor - wonderful ideas, but rarely picked up by the side opposite. When they were picked up, the government at the time took full credit for them, not giving credit for where those good ideas came from, and those good ideas came from the Yukon Liberal caucus.

Mr. Chair, the fall supplementary budget will be tabled in the fall.

Chair: Is there any further general debate?

Mr. Jenkins: Well, it's not very often that I rise and pay accolades to the NDP, but their government was responsible for the community development funding that flowed into Dawson for the Oddfellows Hall. That project is an extremely beneficial project to not just our community, but to the entire Yukon. It has tremendous potential. I might add that there are extremely low capital costs and ongoing O&M costs to this government for it. I would urge the minister to consider the routine requests that will be coming her way for increased O&M funding, because, at the end of the day, if government were to step in and duplicate such a facility, you could just move the decimal place over by at least two zeros to accomplish the same as what this Dawson group has accomplished with the funding they received. They have done a wonderful job. The urgency now is to provide O&M funding to that organization to sustain it, Mr. Chair.

I would very much urge the government and urge the Minister of Tourism and the minister responsible for Education to sit down. First of all, I'm sure the Minister of Education is going to have to sit down with the board of directors of the Yukon College in Dawson to see what their aims and ambitions are, and what they can accomplish within their limited budget. The money has to flow one way or the other, but it has to flow in a manner that's going to get the best results and accomplish the most. I would highly recommend that the Oddfellows Hall and its society be the organization very much considered for increased O&M funding in this budget.

We've heard from the Member for Faro who was very much involved in the previous government and he did indicate that there was an NDP commitment, although it translated to $100,000. In this budget cycle, I'm sure they were going to be looking at an increase in the next budget cycle, so I will anticipate that the Minister of Tourism will have some additional funds in this fall's supplementary. Can the minister provide the assurance, Mr. Chair?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: I have certainly heard the representation from the side opposite on this issue. He's quite correct; this is a wonderful organization and they've done an awful lot. They've also had help from the Department of Tourism, not only in marketing, as I mentioned earlier, but in developing a business plan. That business plan will help this organization to raise the funds that they needs for operation and maintenance of their facility.

Mr. Keenan: That twigged a memory, I guess, if I could ask the Minister of Tourism, surrounding the Dawson City Arts Society. I was up in Dawson City earlier this year for a caucus retreat, and I had a chance to inspect the hall, and it was very good. I met with all the proponents. The proponents had told me then that they had sent a request to the heritage branch within the Department of Tourism seeking a new unit, a new home, and they were refused. At that point in time, I instructed the deputy minister to find a way to make things work, to accommodate the Dawson City Arts Society. The name of the building, I'm sorry, I do not know.

I can describe it to you, and maybe my colleague from Klondike would be able to understand, but it's more at the First Nation end of First Street. There's an empty building there, next to the Tr'ondk Hwch'in office complex, right on the corner there. I went and inspected it. It looked like it was a very logical place for them to go to expand their services, because, of course, they're looking for development of cultural industries. The sawmill is the name of the building.

Now, that never did reach the ministerial ranks for a decision, and it never reached the deputy minister ranks. It was killed at the director level in the heritage branch, and I instructed that it be looked at again, and I would appreciate it if I could have some feedback on that.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, the member's quite correct. That hasn't reached the ministerial level, and I will be looking at the issues around that and get back to the member as soon as possible on that very issue, about the sawmill in Dawson City.

On Operations

Operations in the amount of $1,541,000 agreed to

Chair: Are there any questions on allotments?

Are there any questions on statistics?

Are there any questions on recoveries and revenues?

Arts and Cultural Industries in the amount of $1,541,000 agreed to

Chair: Now we continue on to capital. We'll start off on page 12-2.

On Capital Expenditures

Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Chair, just before we get into corporate services, perhaps the minister could just give us an overview of the whole expenditures, the ups and downs, and the reasons for them. I'm sure she has a briefing note there she could read into the record.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, this is quite a substantial document. What I can do is provide that information to the member opposite. Briefly, many of the figures appear to have gone down, or decreased, primarily because there were a number of revotes that came forward too late in the year to make it into the budget, so it looks like there has been a decrease. So, you're actually looking back two years for money that didn't come forward in the budgeting cycle at the proper time.

A number of projects were completed and a number that weren't budgeted for but went forward. There were other items that there was no budget for at all, but there had been the previous year. Some of those were the departmental information systems planned, for example, which was completed in December 1999. For example, there is no budget provided in 2000-01 for the LAN equipment upgrades or furniture for additional staff hired over the course of the year.

The member opposite did have quite an extensive briefing on this department in the capital area. If he would like more detail, I will certainly provide that to him.

Mr. Jenkins: Again, I take the minister back to my lack of understanding of how we could have been spending more in marketing. If you just go back to the marketing budget at $5.4 million and look at what marketing here has suffered under the capital, which, I don't know how it equates with capital, as the minister and I agreed - we have gone down to $200,000. The forecast for last year was $685,000. The actual was $207,000. We're looking at $200,000 now.

When we add it all together, we appear to be going backwards in the amount of dollars that we're spending on marketing. We have to add the capital - and it's debatable as to whether it's capital or not capital - and we have to add that to the actual total marketing budget.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I have been told again by my officials that the numbers in marketing aren't reflected well in these lines. If the member opposite would like more detailed information on the plans, it will be provided. Bear in mind that we are going through a process by which we are changing the way this department budgets. Next year, there will be some really odd figures that will come forward until that all comes into place.

I would assume that, by the year 2001-02 budget cycle, there will be far better indications of how much money we are spending in each area. There will also be a better indication of how we're working to stop duplication from one area of this department to another. It's going to happen over time, but it's a long and laborious process. It's going to take a great deal of energy on the part of the department. They are committed to that, and it's a team effort. The business plans could be developed as a group - as a team - and hopefully we will be looking at a lot of these duplications that I know the member opposite is very much aware of.

I can give you all the detail on plans that we have in place. I hope that satisfies the member's curiosity at this stage. But like I say, this is going to be a long, long process. I'm hoping to have the best we can have as far as O&M being O&M and capital being capital by the 2001 budget.

Mr. Jenkins: So, what I'm really looking for is the total amount that we're spending on marketing, and then a breakout of that component of the marketing that are partnerships and in-kind. Because that's kind of meaningless to the monies that are put forward in the House here; that's extra. But usually in the press releases that ministers of Tourism make, they make mention of the great, big, grandiose picture as to the total amount being spent on that initiative. But then it adds up a whole lot of other components that the government has no responsibility for other than that these companies and individuals have come in on a partnership arrangement or they're pooling resources for certain initiatives. So I need the total amount of YTG dollars that are committed. That's what I'm looking for, and then the total pie. In some of the press releases from the previous NDP government, when you analyze them, you had to be very good with the old pencil to figure out where we were going and how we were planning on getting there. So those are the numbers that I am looking for, and if the minister could commit to that, I'll be much happier.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: I've already committed to giving the member opposite figures on the partnerships that we've developed within not only this branch, but throughout the department, and I believe that chart has gone to him, or will go to him very, very shortly. The issue about activities versus lines, as far as marketing, that will be given to the member opposite, broken down by activity as opposed to line. That will give a much clearer picture of where the dollars are being spent.

On Corporate Services

On Marketing Initiatives

On Tourism Marketing Fund

Tourism Marketing Fund in the amount of $750,000 agreed to

Corporate Services in the amount of $750,000 agreed to

On Heritage

On Historic Resources

On Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre - Capital Maintenance

Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre - Capital Maintenance in the amount of $20,000 agreed to

On Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre - Heritage Attractions Site Support

Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Chair, could I just get the minister to send me over what is anticipated being done, like at Rampart, Forty Mile and Fort Selkirk? What are the eventual goals that we have for Fort Selkirk? I haven't been in there for a couple of years, but are we going to be improving the runway? Are we going to be doing anything more than just maintaining it? How are we going to make it into a much more attractive site? There's a tour that's run by a group. They depart right at the bottom there, by Tatchun Creek along the Yukon River, and run to Fort Selkirk. They have a tour over there. Just how are we going to improve access to that site and develop it? What's the eventual game plan?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I'm informed that there is a plan that was developed for that site. They've been working on it for quite awhile. I know that it has been a high priority with the department, and I'd be happy to share that plan with the member opposite.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, that's for Fort Selkirk, and I know that, under the land claims agreement, there's a requirement for Rampart, and I just want to know what the department is doing in Forty Mile. It has fallen into a considerable state of disrepair now. There's a road down there that the fishers use for access, but Forty Mile hasn't really received any enthusiasm by this government to protect it and do more to it. I'm just hoping that there is some possibility to address the need in Forty Mile.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, we are working with the local First Nation on that site. There is nothing budgeted this year beyond the $50,000. I can get back to the member opposite with more detail about where we are, mostly with the negotiations on this particular site.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, the issue is that Forty Mile is deteriorating very, very rapidly, and it requires attention. Is it going to get the attention it deserves, or are we just going to go and cut the brush down around the sign that says, "Under the protection of the Government of Yukon"? Which one are we going to do?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, we do have a plan for this site. It's not as complete as it could be. What we do have, we will share with the member opposite. We are committed to this site. It's much like Rampart House and all of the others. We are committed to working in and on this site with the local First Nation.

Mr. Jenkins: But there hasn't been any activity to speak of in Forty Mile for quite a number of years. The last amount of enthusiasm was back in the days that Clinton Creek was in operation, and a former member of this Legislature, Meg McCall, took great pains to preserve it. But that was the last enthusiastic approach from the Government of Yukon. Since that time, it has tapered off to nothing but maintaining a sign there, "Under the protection of the Government of Yukon", and occasionally cutting the brush down around it. So, just what is the game plan? I know there's a plan. Are you going to fund it?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, this is a joint project with the Tr'ondk Hwch'in out of Dawson City. We will be working with that First Nation on this site. To be absolutely clear, we are working with them. Where we're going will be done through negotiations with that First Nation.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, I'm not exactly positive. I know that Rampart is in the selected area of the Tr'ondk Hwch'in, but I didn't think that Forty Mile was in an area selected by the Tr'ondk Hwch'in. Perhaps the minister could correct me. Is that a land claims selection that they have in Forty Mile?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: I will read into the record what I do have in the way of notes from my department, that "core funding for Forty Mile historic site preservation, management and development. Development" - this is the $50,000 that is allocated - "of the Fortymile site is part of the land claims settlement with the Tr'ondk Hwch'in First Nation of Dawson City. Site development will be jointly planned and undertaken with the First Nation, in a cooperative exercise, in keeping with the government's direction to finalize land claims and to consult with stakeholders."

Mr. Jenkins: Another area of historic significance was out on the Alaska Highway - Silver City. I know it's owned privately by a fellow from Alaska. It has fallen into his hands through his family. Martin Dennis Victor III, I believe, is his correct name. Has there been any initiative there? I know there's a lot of controversy surrounding the right-of-way through his property, but I'll take that up with the Minister of Community and Transportation Services, so she can have her briefing notes quite readily available when we get there.

I know there has been an approach made by the owner of the area to the Government of Yukon. Has any decision been forthcoming as to whether to purchase it or not purchase it, Mr. Chair?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, there has been no decision made on that property.

Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre - Heritage Attractions Site Support in the amount of $300,000 agreed to

On Museums

On Museums Assistance

Museums Assistance in the amount of $320,000 agreed to

On Exhibits Assistance

Exhibits Assistance in the amount of $140,000 agreed to

On Artifact Inventory and Cataloguing

Artifact Inventory and Cataloguing in the amount of $70,000 agreed to

On Conservation and Security

Conservation and Security in the amount of $35,000 agreed to

On Historic Sites

On Historic Sites Maintenance

Historic Sites Maintenance in the amount of $145,000 agreed to

On Historic Sites Inventory

Historic Sites Inventory in the amount of $65,000 agreed to

On Fort Selkirk

Mr. Jenkins: I'm sure the minister has a briefing note as to what the plans are there, Mr. Chair.

We talked about it. You have a plan, but what are you going to be doing there - any buildings or any major reconstruction, Mr. Chair?

Chair's statement

Chair: Just a reminder to refer comments through the Chair.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: I will give details on that line. This project provides for the reconstruction, restoration, preservation, and interpretation of Fort Selkirk in accordance with the site management plans, and the funding includes the annual contribution agreement with the Selkirk First Nation to carry out preservation, stabilization, maintenance, fire suppression work and interpretive programs according to a workplan approved by a joint government/First Nation management group and pursuant to site management plans. Pursuant to the Selkirk First Nation agreement, the existing management plan is being reviewed with an expectation of completion in the spring of 2000.

Fort Selkirk in the amount of $180,000 agreed to

On Historic Sites Planning

Historic Sites Planning in the amount of $75,000 agreed to

On Interpretation and Signage

Interpretation and Signage in the amount of $100,000 agreed to

On Rampart House

Rampart House in the amount of $50,000 agreed to

On Canyon City Tramway

Canyon City Tramway in the amount of $15,000 agreed to

On Forty Mile

Forty Mile in the amount of $50,000 agreed to

On Archaeology

On Yukon Archaeology

Yukon Archaeology in the amount of $166,000 agreed to

On First Nations Community Archaeology Project

Mr. Jenkins: Could the minister advise the House what that is, please - and probably the next line also, on palaeontology, and what we're undertaking in that area?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: I will give detail on those lines: $25,000 for First Nations community archaeology project provides enhanced local involvement of First Nations heritage research and enhanced public understanding of First Nations heritage. In the 2000-01 budget, plans call for the implementation of a joint heritage branch with the Dawson First Nation field archaeological project at Forty Mile near Dawson City using the successful community archaeology program approach developed by the branch over the past 10 years. A non-technical booklet will be published at the conclusion of the project. Program funding will be targeted to other First Nations in subsequent years.

And for line 17, on palaeontology for $115,000, this project manages and administers Yukon's palaeontological heritage resources and provides research, exhibit and communication support to the Yukon community museums, First Nations and general public. We've undertaken to manage specific palaeontological research projects related to capital developments in Tourism and other YTG departments. Specific initiatives include the assessment of the Ross River dinosaur tracks in cooperation with the Department of Economic Development, the University of Alaska Museum, the municipality of Faro and the Ross River First Nation.

Chair: We will do that at the end. Just as a comment, because we talked about two line items at once, we have to clear them all separately.

First Nations Community Archaeology Project in the amount of $25,000 agreed to

On Palaeontology

Palaeontology in the amount of $115,000 agreed to

On Research

On Heritage Studies

Heritage Studies in the amount of $30,000 agreed to

Heritage in the amount of $1,901,000 agreed to

On Industry Services

On Industry and Regional Services

On Industry Research and Strategic Planning

Industry Research and Strategic Planning in the amount of $230,000 agreed to

On Product and Resource Assessment

Product and Resource Assessment in the amount of $65,000 agreed to

On Tourism Industry Resource Centre

Tourism Industry Resource Centre in the amount of $5,000 agreed to

Industry Services in the amount of $300,000 agreed to

On Marketing

On Visitor Reception Centres

On Multi-media Equipment

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I would like to provide some detail on that line, multi-media equipment. The multi-media equipment complements existing equipment utilized by the visitors to learn more about the Yukon's tourism industry, community attractions and history, resulting in the increased awareness of Yukon attractions to visitors, leading to higher interest in staying longer and spending more.

Basically, these are the screens that are in the VRCs that you touch, and they tell you where you are supposed to be going. They are very informative.

Multi-media Equipment in the amount of $25,000 agreed to

On VRC Capital Maintenance

VRC Capital Maintenance in the amount of $80,000 agreed to

On Development - Beaver Creek

Development - Beaver Creek in the amount of $80,000 agreed to

On Travel Equipment, Displays and Productions

On Purchase and Maintenance of Displays

Purchase and Maintenance of Displays in the amount of $15,000 agreed to

Marketing in the amount of $200,000 agreed to

Chair: As there is time and since we have one more branch to go through on the Tourism capital, do members wish to take a brief recess or go through the last branch, arts and cultural industries?

Some Hon. Members: Continue on.

Chair: There seems to be general agreement to continue on.

On Arts and Cultural Industries

On Visual Arts

On Visual Arts Acquisition

Visual Arts Acquisition in the amount of $10,000 agreed to

On Arts Centre Millennium Fine Arts

Arts Centre Millennium Fine Arts in the amount of $130,000 agreed to

On Facility Development

On Arts Centre Capital Maintenance and Equipment Replacement

Arts Centre Capital Maintenance and Equipment Replacement in the amount of $150,000 agreed to

On Film Industry

On Film Incentive Program

Mr. Jenkins: Could the minister just advise the House what the uptake on these programs has been?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, it's my understanding that we're still waiting for receipts to come in from the last German films, and then I'll get back to the member opposite with that detail as soon as we receive that.

Film Incentive Program in the amount of $175,000 agreed to

On Film Infrastructure Support

Film Infrastructure Support in the amount of $353,000 agreed to

On Film Location Guide

Film Location Guide in the amount of $40,000 agreed to

On Millennium Celebrations

On Millennium Fund

Millennium Fund in the amount of $300,000 agreed to

On Arts Centre Millennium Project

Arts Centre Millennium Project in the amount of $200,000 agreed to

Arts and Cultural Industries in the amount of $1,358,000 agreed to

Chair: Are there any questions on recoveries?

Are there any questions on transfer payments?

Capital Expenditures for the Department of Tourism in the amount of $4,509,000 agreed to

Department of Tourism agreed to

Chair: We'll now take a brief recess of 10 minutes. When we return, we'll be coming back to the Women's Directorate.

Recess

Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. We will continue with general debate on the Women's Directorate.

Women's Directorate

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, the Women's Directorate operations and maintenance budget for 2000-01 of $477,000 supports the Yukon government's commitment to the economic, legal and social equality of women. The O&M expenditures of Women's Directorate fall under the heading of policy and program development. The directorate's mandate is to integrate gender equity considerations into our government's policy, legislation and program development.

The directorate provides gender-based analysis for Cabinet submissions throughout government and works closely with the departments of Education, Community and Transportation Services, Justice and Health and Social Services on a variety of gender-related issues.

Our government believes in the importance of gender-based analysis. Departments are required to provide an analysis of the impact on women, as an integral component of Cabinet submissions. We believe that gender-based analysis is necessary to measure the impact of existing and proposed policies, programs and legislation on women and men. It helps policy-makers understand the relationship between government policy and the different social and economic realities of women and men.

The directorate works closely with the Department of Justice on policy issues around the safety and rights of victims. Directorate staff work with Community and Transportation Services' sports and recreation branch on the life-long importance of encouraging young women to participate in physical and recreational activities.

They work with Education on the importance of gender equity in Yukon schools and with Health and Social Services on policies that affect women's health and lifestyle choices.

They have worked with Economic Development on the micro-loan program. They work with a variety of departments on issues that affect youth, women and children living in poverty, victims and senior women.

They are active participants on interdepartmental and inter-agency committees to promote a coordinated approach to programs and policies that affect Yukon communities and take into account the reality of women's lives.

The allotments under policy and program development are as follows: personnel $288,000, which reflects four full-year equivalent positions: director, office administrator, policy analyst and communications coordinator. Other for $102,000, which covers programs and project funding, the administration of the Yukon Advisory Council on Women's Issues and the administration of the department such as communications, advertising, office supplies and travel, and a transfer of $87,000 is for contributions and grant funding.

The directorate continues to strengthen its links with women's groups in the community to support women in need.

This year, the government is increasing its contribution to the Victoria Faulkner Women's Centre by providing an additional $50,000 to fund the women's advocate program. The goals of this program are to assist women during periods of crisis. This means helping women obtain financial assistance, legal advice, employment services, social services and housing. The advocate provides support to women who are having difficulty accessing services.

There is also a component that provides women with the information and skills to cope with their anger and addictions during times of crisis. Most important, the program has been successful in empowering women to trust their judgment and make positive choices and decisions for themselves.

As in the past two years, the directorate will again provide the Yukon Status of Women Council with $12,000. The sum of $43,000 has been allocated in the area of violence prevention to carry out public awareness and education campaigns and to produce resource materials. A directorate publication, Options, Choices and Changes, provides a quick reference for women who are leaving abusive situations on a variety of topics. This publication has been in high demand in the territory and will have its second printing this year.

The success of the six-part radio drama on domestic violence, Breaking Free, co-sponsored by the family violence prevention unit and the Yukon Liquor Corporation, has led to the production of a second radio drama called A Little Respect, which centres on dating relationships between teens. The five episodes were written by Miche Genest, and the production was directed by Arlin McFarlane. Youth actors read the parts, and the episodes were aired on CHON and CKRW during Sexual Assault Prevention Month in May. Each episode was followed by a 20-minute discussion with the teens and counsellors. The directorate shares a federal/provincial/territorial status of women working group on violence against women.

This working group has produced two publications: Beyond the Violence: Reaching for Higher Ground and A Strategic Framework on Preventing Violence Against Women.

Currently the working group is beginning a project with Statistics Canada to develop indicators of violence against women. Young women of grit is cosponsored by the directorate and the Youth Achievement Centre, Health and Social Services, and is a program for young women who are at risk or who may have experienced violence in their lives. Over the past two years the program has been extended to two and a half weeks: one week in Whitehorse preparing for the trip, and 10 days canoeing on the Yukon River. Feedback has been excellent, both from the participants on the trip and by social workers in the communities who have seen remarkable improvements in the lifestyle choices of some of the young women who participated in the program. This wilderness experience helps build self-reliance, a respect for nature, goal-setting, and motivation. Activities include First Nation storytelling, healing circles, discussions on gender equity, abuse prevention and healthy choices. This year the directorate was approached by Outward Bound and a psychologist to jointly sponsor a women of grit program.

The directorate continues to focus energies on initiatives and projects that promote equality for young women in our society. The directorate continues to work with the Department of Education, the Victoria Faulkner Women's Centre, the Yukon Teachers Association, the Yukon College women studies, Les EssentiElles and many other partners on activities that promote gender equity in Yukon schools.

This year's Gender Equity Awareness Week in April included a gender-equity award for two schools that had successfully carried out gender-equity projects. The awards were presented at an awards night in Haines Junction and in Watson Lake in June.

I look forward to questions from the opposition members.

Ms. Netro: I have some questions for the minister on the Women's Directorate budget.

Mr. Chair, I would like to ask the minister what her priorities are for the Women's Directorate during her term in office.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Obviously, the objectives of the department are clear. They are gender-equity issues for Yukon women, safety issues concentrating on domestic violence, and funding programs that work with women in crisis. Those are very important issues to this government.

As far as looking at what the priorities of this government are in relation to this department, that is part of our planning exercise. We're going to be sitting down and talking about some of those issues as a caucus. We're going to be working together to come up with the priorities and where we want this department as well as all the other departments to go.

Some of the areas that I'm most interested in, of course, are women in sport. That's my background. For example, one of the things that I'm investigating right now is sponsoring the award through Sport Yukon that goes to the female athlete of the year. We're negotiating or talking to Sport Yukon about that. Now, that's an award that already exists in the community, and we're talking about coming in and partnering with Sport Yukon on that issue.

Also, there was a series of posters, actually, about 10 years ago, that talked about young women in sport.

For example, I believe that one of the statistics was that young women who are active in sports at least three times a week are 97 percent less likely to become pregnant, to be abused in a relationship, and to abuse alcohol and drugs. Alcohol is a drug, as well. Those are the sorts of things we are looking at.

We're looking at making some changes to the women's awards; that's going to happen this year. That was an ongoing project of the previous government. We're not making a lot of changes, obviously, to the objectives of the department, because that is what was already set out, but we will have different priorities as a government. This is a different government in power now. There will probably be minor changes to this department; it's a minor amount of money, quite frankly. Another interest of mine, personally, is senior women. That's whom I've been working with throughout most of my professional life, so working with women who are in their more mature years is an interest of mine.

Ms. Netro: Does the minister intend to continue making the prevention of violence against women a priority for the Women's Directorate?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Absolutely. A lot of the responsibility for that issue, of course, lies in Health and Social Services but obviously, it's a priority of the department in the past, and it's something we'll continue. Safety issues around women in crisis is a very important issue for the directorate, and that's why there's funding for the women's advocate in this department.

Ms. Netro: What areas would the minister like to see changed to reflect the Liberal priorities?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Well, Mr. Chair, as I mentioned earlier, we need to sit down as a caucus and look at all the issues together. Obviously, when you become the minister of any particular area, you are going to have your own personal stamp on it. As I mentioned earlier, I have a greater interest in senior women and women in sport. Those are my two areas of personal interest. Beyond that, as far as the caucus is concerned, we have yet to sit down in a planning exercise and go through our priorities for all departments, not just Women's Directorate.

Ms. Netro: Are any of the programs under review in this department?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: No, they are not.

Ms. Netro: One issue the minister has spoken about a lot in this House is increasing the legal aid budget to help women and children - the single-parent families who require legal assistance for child support and custody matters.

The Minister of Justice has refused to make a commitment to support an increase in the legal aid budget, even though this minister has issued press releases and stood in this House demanding an increase in the legal aid budget. Can the minister tell us why the Liberal government told the public that they would increase the legal aid budget and has not yet done it?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: The member opposite is quite correct. The issue of legal aid is in Justice. This is the general debate on the Women's Directorate. Funding for that initiative is not in this department. However, I can say that the matter is under review. It has certainly been up for discussion a number of times in the House already. Just because something is under review, it doesn't mean to say that funding is either going to go up or down; it means that they are looking at the service in general. I think we're going to find out, at the end of the process and after we've given it some thought - that's the way we like to operate as a government. We like to go through thoughtful processes before we throw money at things. After a certain amount of thought has been given to this subject - very little of it was dealt with by the previous government - then and only then, after it has been given the proper review, will we look at allocating the proper resources toward this important funding for women who are in crisis and for men who are in crisis.

Ms. Netro: I have another question about legal aid. When she was in opposition, the minister called for increases to the legal aid budget. This member said the NDP increases for civil aid were not enough. When will the Liberal government increase legal aid funding for women and children in need?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I think I understand where the member is trying to go with this. In other jurisdictions - and this is information that was brought to the floor of this House by me, in previous times - there are different ways of funding legal aid. Some of it is for civil and some of it is for criminal. What has happened in the past in the Yukon is under review right now.

Certainly, criminal dollars, under legal aid, have been used up so quickly for a number of high-profile cases that there was no money left for civil funding in legal aid. That's one of the issues that is under review. Do we spend all the money in criminal cases and then endanger people on the civil side of legal aid matters?

That's part of the review process, and I think it merits a fair amount of consideration. It certainly wasn't done under the previous administration, and we want to do a good job of it. We want to make sure that those dollars are allocated properly and we're getting the most bang for the buck, as we have heard the Member for Klondike refer to the dollars going through Tourism. That's what we want to do. We want to make sure that dollars are spent well in this area.

But, once again, this is the general debate under the Women's Directorate, and it is not funded under the Women's Directorate.

Ms. Netro: I realize that this can also be a Department of Justice question, but it also has a lot of effect on the women and children who use the resources at the Women's Centre.

This budget includes a $50,000 increase to the Victoria Faulkner Women's Centre for women's advocacy. Does the minister support the women's advocacy work done by the Victoria Faulkner Women's Centre?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, obviously we do because it's in the budget we just tabled. I know the person fulfilling this function right now in Whitehorse and she does an admirable job. I have gone to family court with her, and I have seen some of the issues that are there. Those are Justice issues, though. They are not Women's Directorate issues.

The issues of violence against women and helping to deal with women's safety issues are parts of the message that comes out of the Women's Directorate. That is something that I have already committed to the member opposite as being an important priority with this government, through the Women's Directorate.

I must say, though, that many of these issues cross departments, and it's important to remember that there isn't enough money in the Women's Directorate budget, by any stretch of the imagination, to deal properly with those issues. Those dollars are in Justice and Health and Social Services. For example, Health and Social Services funds Kaushee's Place, which is the women's shelter in Whitehorse.

Ms. Netro: That I understand. There are a lot of cross-issues between the Justice department and the Women's Directorate.

In conclusion, I would like to know if the amount of $50,000 will be ongoing, not only for this year but for the next few years of your term in office.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I can only commit to this year's budget. A person cannot commit beyond that. However, I can say that I strongly supported the women's advocate position when I was in opposition, and I support it on a personal basis. As to where it's going to end up on a permanent basis, I have no idea. At this stage, that's part of the planning process. It's part of the next budgeting process, that's part of the organization of the department and other departments as well.

So, I will say that, on a personal level, I very much support the women's advocate position. I am supporting it this year in a budget sense, because I have tabled this budget that includes those dollars to support that program.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, the previous member covered off most of the questions that I had. I'm still very concerned with legal aid. Are there any statistics kept of the requests coming before the various NGOs that are supported through the Women's Directorate and that deal with an analysis of what the women in question are there for, whether it's a legal matter or whether it's a different type of matter? How many require legal advice or are of a legal nature as a percentage of the total number? Is it 50 percent, 60 percent or 70 percent, Mr. Chair?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I'd be happy to circulate some figures that we do have on those issues, to the members opposite. To be clear, I'm not too sure what the member's getting at. Is he talking about the people who come through the door at the Women's Directorate or the women who use the services that are being funded by the Women's Directorate?

Mr. Jenkins: Both, Mr. Chairman. Of the total number of women who come in and visit their NGOs or visit the Women's Directorate, what percentage of their requests are of a legal nature? Because of all the requests that come across my desk, they primarily deal with the legal aid system and the shortfalls in the legal aid system and the support system, support payments and obtaining those support payments from, primarily, other jurisdictions and, in some cases, other countries. When they go to the legal aid system to ask for help, or the Women's Directorate, they're referred to the legal aid and they just get the old runaround. They're not solving the problem. There's no funding there for legal aid. So while there might be a nice office that's maintained and there are a lot of NGOs that have facilities, the advice that these women go in to attain, and the help that they go in to attain, is unattainable because of the shortcomings in the legal aid system, Mr. Chair. So while the minister might pass the buck to her colleague, the Minister of Justice, in saying that's in the other area, it's an issue that the Women's Directorate could bring to a head, because, from all of the information that has crossed my desk and all the requests, to a large degree, they concern the legal aid system and its shortcomings. Now, I know that's out of her budget, but could the minister advise what steps the Women's Directorate have taken and what initiatives they have taken to make presentation to the Department of Justice as to the shortcomings in the legal aid system.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, the referral function of the Women's Directorate takes place more within the women's advocate position, out of the Women's Centre here in Whitehorse. I understand exactly what the member is saying. I have seen women go round and round in circles and not get the services they need. That's why the women's advocate is such a wonderful position. It is a clearinghouse, if you will, for a number of different issues - some large and some not so large.

If you have children and you are in crisis, some of those smaller issues become huge issues. That's one of the things that the women's advocate tries to deal with. It sort of heads off things before they become too overwhelming.

Kaushee's delivers a lot of those programs, as well - wonderful programs in Whitehorse. I know that the shelter in Dawson City has delivered a number of programs. The shelter in Watson Lake has delivered those programs, as well. There is now a shelter in Carmacks. Those programs are delivered in those areas, and they are funded through Health and Social Services.

Issues around violence against women is dealt with at the national table, as well. It is something that is dealt with by ministers right across this nation and right around the world. The funding for a lot of those programs does not come under the Women's Directorate. They do fund the women's advocate position, which is a wonderful one - a very useful program - and one that is being very well-used here in the City of Whitehorse.

Mr. Jenkins: Thank you, Mr. Chair, but the minister has failed to answer the question. The question seemed to be answered by the words, "Well, we've appointed a women's advocate to address this need," but the need is there. It is duly recognized. It is a shortcoming, to a large extent, in the legal aid system.

I want to know what representation the Women's Directorate has made to the Department of Justice, or to whatever agency is needed, to increase the legal aid budget and address the other shortcomings in the legal aid system. Have there been any initiatives or any approaches made there, Mr. Chair?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, there have been communications and vigorous discussion between the two areas, between the Women's Directorate as well as the Department of Justice. To be clear, though, the funding for legal aid comes out of Justice, and the identification of issues happens - well, these issues aren't new. People are very, very well aware of the issues that are out there to do with legal aid. They have been there forever, unfortunately. Numbers are going down but not as much as we would like. Legal aid is doing a review, and they're looking at those numbers and they're looking at those issues and they're gathering some information, I gather, from the Women's Directorate.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, we still didn't get an answer to the question. What representation has the Women's Directorate made to the justice system - when and how often? Now, I'm not talking about vigorous discussions. Has there been a paper presented? Has there been a series of papers presented about the shortcomings in the legal aid system, and if not, why not? Because that seems to be one of the major shortcomings and one of the major issues, Mr. Chair.

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, my official tells me that there have been, and actually I know that the Victoria Faulkner Women's Centre and the Status of Women have had joint meetings with the Department of Justice. Those are groups that are funded under the Women's Directorate. They have made their case to the Department of Justice on those issues.

I hope that that's enough detail for the member opposite, and he's indicating that yes, it is.

Mr. Jenkins: That has been a discussion among the various NGOs and the Department of Justice. Has there been a paper prepared about the shortcomings in the legal aid system by the Women's Directorate and presented to the Department of Justice? Because of all of the issues before us, Mr. Chair, the majority of the ones that I'm aware of stem back to shortcomings in the legal aid system. Women walk through the door of the Women's Directorate or any of these other facilities - I'm not questioning the facilities, but they seem to get on a treadmill to a large extent and they go around in circles.

So, what I'm looking for is, has a paper been presented to the Department of Justice by the Women's Directorate spelling out these shortcomings, and if there hasn't been one, why not?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, generally departments don't lobby other departments on particular issues, but what they do do is make other departments aware of papers, for example, that have been published in that area. So, for example, a number of national papers have been published about legal aid, and those publications have been brought to the attention of the Department of Justice through the Women's Directorate.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, let's try a made-in-Yukon solution. There is a series of NGOs, all of which would probably agree that there are major shortcomings in the legal aid system, and it's impacting on women. Now, if the Women's Directorate is going to be the lead agency or one of the lead agencies - it is certainly within the purview of the Government of Yukon as a lead agency - wouldn't it be contingent upon them to assemble the documentation from the NGOs and present a paper to the Department of Justice to see if there could be some change?

The only way change is effective is if there is a desire to make change. We can sit around and discuss it, but once a paper is out there that spells out the shortcomings and the need by the department, interdepartmental things would probably move ahead. In opposition, I know that the current minister responsible for the Women's Directorate was vehemently opposed to the shortfall in money for legal aid and made a great to-do about the need for more money for legal aid.

Well, now she's in a position where she can effect change, and I would urge her to consider a paper that spells out the total number of women who come through the doors of the various NGOs and whose situation could be addressed by enhancing the legal aid system, rather than sending them to another door or hiring another advocate. The next thing we're going to hear about is that there is going to be another advocate and another office because the one advocate is dealing with the other advocate.

What we need is to address the shortfalls in the legal aid system. We can probably address a lot of the shortcomings that women are experiencing today.

Does the minister not agree?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: I totally disagree, as usual, with the member opposite.

The Women's Directorate is not the lead on this issue. It never has been, and it's unlikely that it ever will be. The lead is the Department of Justice. That program is under the Department of Justice. Does the minister, or does the member opposite - I don't know why I keep calling the member opposite the minister. He is dreaming of the next term and maybe I'm just picking up on that, and that's, of course, a fantasy of the member opposite. It's unlikely that it will ever become a reality.

The member opposite is saying that we should write a paper in the Women's Directorate and that that should be the document that the Department of Justice waits for to make changes in legal aid. We don't want to wait for any changes in legal aid. It's under review. That process is underway, and the Department of Justice is completely capable of getting information on this issue. That information has been out there forever. There have been a number of papers written in the Yukon, and nationally and internationally. And the Department of Justice is fully capable of gathering that paper together. We are not going to wait while a paper is produced on this important issue.

Legal aid is under review right now in the Department of Justice. The lead agency is not the Women's Directorate. The lead agency is the Department of Justice. The Women's Directorate funds a number of non-profit groups which have offered their expertise to the Department of Justice on this issue. And the Women's Directorate has been present at those meetings, and they have provided what papers they do have to the Department of Justice. They have done everything that they were supposed to do. That is what they've done. This is not where the program of legal aid is delivered. It is delivered under the Justice budget, and the member opposite knows that.

Mr. Jenkins: I have to disagree with the premise of the minister's argument to support her position. It would appear that she's not prepared to provide the leadership that this portfolio requires. Now, I would see this minister's role as addressing the needs of women.

Now, it's done indirectly through the Women's Directorate and through the various NGOs. We have some excellent programs in place in the various communities. Kudos to those programs. But, when you analyze the women coming through the door, at the end of the day, there are a great deal of them whose issue is the shortcomings in the legal aid system.

If all of the various NGOs and the Women's Directorate were to be singing from the same song sheet, so to speak, the Department of Justice might move. It might enhance the legal aid budget and prepare to meet the shortcomings in it, Mr. Chair. But that is a caucus decision. It's a decision of your government, and we're told it's under review. The more people who come forward and the more groups that are unanimous in spelling out the shortcomings within the system, the quicker and more responsive governments usually are. That's the point I wish to make, Mr. Chair, but the minister doesn't appear to want to hear or take heed of it.

Our responsibility, as opposition, is to keep the government accountable. There's an opportunity for this minister, through her responsibilities for the Women's Directorate, to bring all of these NGOs together and make a case for the Department of Justice, instead of saying that the paper is out there, that we don't gather paper for the Department of Justice. Make a case for the shortcomings in the legal aid system. Make a case to ensure that the Department of Justice provides more funding in this area. Of all of the issues that have come to my attention, Mr. Chair, one of the prime shortcomings in government today is the legal aid system.

So, why doesn't the minister, Mr. Chair, take the initiative and do something? I'm not suggesting she run out and hire another person to fill an advocate's role. I know it's Women's Directorate, but the saying goes, "Take the bull by the horns and do something." It can be done. I have the utmost faith in her ability should she recognize the task before her.

The issue is the shortcomings in the legal aid system. That's what needs addressing, and it impacts on the Women's Directorate and all the other NGOs.

Could I just ask the minister to do her job, Mr. Chair?

Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, the member opposite often gives good, constructive criticism to this government, and he did to the previous government as well. In this case, he's definitely off the mark.

The Women's Directorate is a support agency. It's a directorate. It has supported the Department of Justice in this review. The review will be finished and on the minister's desk in July. The member opposite is saying, "Let's wait and do a paper." No, we're not going to wait and do a paper. We are out there reviewing legal aid right now, something that didn't happen under the previous government. We have been doing more in the last two months than the previous government did in years.

It's under review. It will be on the minister's desk in July. We're not going to wait around and write more papers. The Women's Directorate is supporting this initiative. They will support the review that's being undertaken right now. They will not support another study being undertaken by the government on what's so obvious to so many people and on which there is so much available to them.

This minister is doing her job. I am providing the Women's Directorate budget, intact, as it was tabled under the previous NDP government.

The dollars in this budget will go to support NGOs that support women in crisis. The dollars in this budget will go to support the women's advocate position, which speaks to a lot of the issues that the member opposite has brought forward this afternoon.

If he's waiting for the Women's Directorate to take the lead on this issue, which is plainly way out of their mandate, then he's going to be waiting forever. That is not what's happening. The Department of Justice is, very responsibly, doing a review of legal aid, and that review/report will be on the minister's desk in July, and I'm glad it's going to be there in July; it can't be there soon enough, in my mind. I don't want to slow that process down. The Women's Directorate will not slow that process down, no matter what the Member for Klondike wishes, and the Member for Klondike and I, as usual, disagree on this subject, as well.

The Member for Klondike goes on and on and on about what he feels is the responsibility of various ministers and what he feels is the responsibility of this government and he's usually wrong and, in this case, he's absolutely wrong. The Women's Directorate does not take the lead on the review of legal aid.

The Department of Justice is doing that. If the Member for Klondike has questions in the Department of Justice, I suggest that he direct them to the Minister of Justice, who is doing the review. The Women's Directorate has been very supportive of that review; they have offered the information asked of them; they have had meetings with a number of NGOs, as well as the Department of Justice. They regularly communicate with the Department of Justice, but the legal aid budget is where legal aid programming is accounted for. When that budget comes forward on the legislative agenda, then the member opposite can certainly ask more detailed questions about what's happening in the review. I'm sure he will. I'm quite positive he will, because he is very interested in this particular subject.

Mr. Chair, I move that you report progress on Bill No. 2.

Motion agreed to

Ms. Tucker: Mr. Chair, I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.

Motion agreed to

Speaker resumes the Chair

Speaker: I will now call the House to order.

May the House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?

Mr. McLarnon: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 2, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2000-01, and directed me to report progress on it.

Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members: Agreed.

Speaker: I declare the report carried.

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. on Monday.

The House adjourned at 5:28 p.m.

The following Sessional Papers were tabled June 22, 2000:

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Canada Jobs Fund: letter (dated June 22, 2000) to Prime Minister Chretin from Premier Duncan urging the federal government to initiate discussions with the Yukon government regarding this matter (Duncan)

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Property Management Agency: 2000/2001 Business Plan (Jim)

00-1-17

Fleet Vehicle Agency: 2000/2001 Business Plan ( Jim)

00-1-18

Queen's Printer Agency: 2000/2001 Business Plan (Jim)