Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - 1:00 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
We will proceed at this time with prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
In recognition of International Geographical Information Systems Day
Hon. Mr. Jim: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the International Geographical Information Systems Day, more commonly known as International GIS Day or GIS Day, for Wednesday, November 15.
This event is being held in the main YTG building lobby, from 9:00 this morning to 5:30 this afternoon.
Whitehorse schoolchildren from grades 3 to 12 will be participating throughout the day. The grade 11 class from the Wood Street Annex experiential science program have volunteered to help run the events.
Federal government representatives from the departments of Natural Resources and Indian and Northern Affairs, as well as Yukon territorial government representatives from the departments of Renewable Resources, Economic Development, Government Services and Tourism are on hand to explain the benefits and applications of GIS.
When the public goes through this exhibit, they can learn that GIS is a tool that can be used by many industries and disciplines. Uses for it include mapping wildfires from space; developing the historic layout of Dawson City; locating mineral, gas and oil deposits; making habitat; and teaching Girl Guides and children how to find their way around the Yukon.
Mapping systems will also allow us to see the devastating effects of forest fires and then look at the site a few years later to monitor the miracle of natural renewal in forest areas. This, in turn, will give us a greater understanding of the natural processes that nature has devised to repair itself.
GIS will also allow us to visualize the impact we are having on the land. This is particularly important when we are addressing environmental issues, such as the downstream effect of human habitation, and mining and forestry practices on watersheds.
I encourage all Yukoners to come out and see the interactive displays and to discover what geographic information systems are doing for the Yukon.
Speaker: Are there no further tributes?
Introduction of visitors.
Are there any returns or documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Mr. McRobb: I have for tabling a document from the former Government Services minister on rural telecommunications and telephone service. Also I have, from the same former minister, a letter to the editor regarding the Connect Yukon project.
Speaker: Are there any further returns or documents for tabling?
Any reports of committees?
Are there any petitions?
Petition No. 1
Mr. McRobb: I have for tabling a petition on the Mount Logan issue. I'm very pleased to be able to present this petition to our Legislative Assembly today.
I wish to take a couple of minutes to speak to this petition. The purpose of it, as stated, read as follows: "This petition of the undersigned shows that the undersigned are opposed to the name change of Mount Logan; therefore, the undersigned ask the Legislative Assembly to present this petition showing strong opposition to the changing of the name of Mount Logan to Mount Trudeau to the Prime Minister of Canada and whomever the Yukon Legislature deems as appropriate, for example, Chief Robert Johnson, Kluane First Nation; Chief Rick O'Brien, Kwanlin Dun First Nation and our Member of Parliament, Louise Hardy."
Mr. Speaker, the organizers of this petition gathered signatures from people in the City of Whitehorse during a short period of time immediately before the Prime Minister backed down on his unilateral decision to rename Mount Logan. In spite of that short window of opportunity, the organizer was able to obtain more than 100 signatures. Although not a large number, this represents a good indication of what the general public thought about this unilateral decision by the Prime Minister and his Liberal Cabinet. This unilateral decision was made suddenly without proper consultation or notice and without following the laws of the country which pertain to First Nation agreements. This matter became an instant issue across the country. People from coast to coast to coast became very concerned about this matter, and in some cases even outraged.
Some reasons people were upset included Ottawa's colonial attitude in treating the Yukon like a colony; how it abrogated First Nation law; how it was made without public consultation and input from Canadians, especially Yukoners, and how it put politics before reason - something Mr. Trudeau himself did not stand for.
Canadians didn't take this matter laying down. They stood up for their beliefs and principles. Some examples of their means of action include writing letters, making phone calls, sending emails, participating in call-in shows, signing on-line petitions, postings at on-line message boards, and developing Web sites devoted to this matter.
For example, Mr. Speaker, there was a www.savemtlogan.com Web site that was created by former Yukoner Harmen Keyser, who now lives in Gibsons Landing, B.C. Mr. Keyser took it upon his own initiative to create this Web site, which I believed produced more than 14,000 petitions within just a few days. More than 60,000 hits were recorded on that Web site within about a five-day period. It was shortly after that action, and actions such as this petition, that the Prime Minister backed down on this unilateral decision.
So I'd like to thank the organizers and the signatories of this petition - the organizers were Theresa Muir and her husband - and congratulate Yukoners and Canadians for standing up for what they believe in and their principles.
Speaker: Are there any further petitions?
Are there any bills to be introduced?
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 35: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Ms. Duncan: I move that Bill No. 35, entitled An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act, No. 2, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Premier that Bill No. 35, entitled An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act, No. 2, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 35 agreed to
Speaker: Are there any further bills for introduction?
Are there any notices of motion?
Are there any statements by ministers?
Initiative to amend Wildlife Act
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: I rise to advise the House of progress with the government's major policy initiative to amend the Wildlife Act.
This legislation is nearly 20 years old, and many changes have occurred during that time. This work is long overdue and is needed now to address critical management issues. We propose to facilitate the review and the implementation of the legislation over a three-year phased period. This will result in some amendments being tabled in each of the next three years. The first phase of the amendment will deal with administrative and enforcement changes designed to bring our legislation into the new millennium.
Some key topic areas to be considered in phase 1 include the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, changes to reduce red tape, and outfitting and trapping issues. The department is now in the process of creating a public consultation plan and developing a public discussion paper, which will be available for review during a 60-day public consultation period beginning in early January 2001.
The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board has agreed to become a partner with the department on this important initiative. The board's representatives are now working with department staff to coordinate the public consultation aspects of this project.
Mr. McRobb: I would like to congratulate the minister on his short ministerial statement that actually does pertain to government policy.
The official opposition looks forward to this review and will be very active in helping to ensure we have the very best wildlife legislation in the country.
Many thanks to the members of the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, without whose hard work and dedication this review would not be possible.
With the government planning to do a phased-in review and implementation of this legislation, it is essential that a well-thought-out consultation and communication strategy be developed. With that, I do have a few questions and comments for the minister.
What kind of a public consultation process is the minister looking at, and what are the timelines? If the legislation is going to be phased in during the next three years, what sections of the act will be covered during each year of legislative amendments? On the 60-day consultation period, does it cover only the first year of review topics or is it for the whole three-year period? Will the consultation include meetings in each rural community? How can the minister be so sure that 60 days is sufficient time required for public consultation? Would it not make more sense to allow enough time so everyone is heard and has an opportunity to provide their input? Other than the 60-day review, what other avenues will stakeholders and the public have to be part of formulating this new legislation? For example, will the department have an interactive Web site?
This review is an important step toward creating a lasting piece of legislation that all Yukoners can be proud of. I will be looking forward to more information regarding this review and how it will work.
Mr. Jenkins: I rise in response to this ministerial statement.
Now, Yukon Liberals, never having been in government, are suffering from a severe affliction, known as OAS - old act syndrome. The Yukon Liquor Act had to be reviewed because it was 23 years old. Now, the Wildlife Act has to be reviewed because it's nearly 20 years old. Mr. Speaker, reviews of the Education Act and Workers' Compensation Act are also underway.
When a government has no sense of direction and basically doesn't know what to do, there is a tendency to review what other governments have done. This is what this new Liberal government is engaged in, rather than trying to put Yukoners back to work by creating a viable economy. Rather than offering Yukoners the opportunity to go to work, they are being offered the opportunity to sit on a review panel and live off the per diems. This is no substitute for a job that contributes to the economic well-being of Yukon.
In addition to these reviews of legislation, this Liberal government is committed to reviewing sewer and water infrastructure needs for communities, reviewing the need for an historical resource centre, reviewing the need for a new territory-wide museum strategy, reviewing economic development programs, and reviewing protected areas strategies. These are just some of the reviews this government is committed to undertake. At last count, reviews underway totalled well over 20 and were increasing daily.
While some of these reviews may be useful, they should not be used to divert the Yukon population's and this government's attention away from what its central focus should be. And that focus has to be on the economy and creating jobs for Yukon. That's the main issue and main focus, and it's being totally ignored by this government, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, on a positive side with this review, thanks go to the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board for partnering in this review. I do have concerns about the 60-day timeline and with this legislation being instituted into the House over three short amendments to the act, rather than a comprehensive review. And then at the end of the day we bring forward a totally new focus of this legislation, or total changes. It just seems to be a patchwork-type of position this government is taking on this initiative, contrary to what they're doing in other areas.
So, there's no consistency - no consistency in addressing the economic issues and no consistency in how we're addressing these reviews. Thank you to our new Liberal government. We expected more.
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Mr. Speaker, this government has just started, so I would encourage the member from the third party to buckle up if he wants to keep up with this government's initiatives.
I very much appreciate the comments from the Member for Kluane with respect to this act. Unfortunately, I couldn't scribble down all the questions that he had asked. I very much appreciate the good will being extended to this side of the House from the member and we hope to work in amending the Wildlife Act in a cooperative way.
I do appreciate the comment of working on it in a phased way. In that way, the public can participate more proactively in this exercise, and be able to grasp the issues in bite-size pieces rather than opening up the whole of the act, which I am sure everyone in the House appreciates is a humongous piece of legislation.
One question I can answer for the member is the 60-day review period. I believe it is standard, but it is not written in stone. In order to get these pieces of legislation consecutively over the years we will have to have reasonable times assigned to the review. The review will be conducted throughout the whole of Yukon, as this government continually espouses how we work on behalf of all Yukoners. We will be conducting the review all over the territory.
The Web site suggestion is certainly worth consideration, and I will talk to officials within the department to see if that can work. It would allow for greater participation by the public at large and would also provide quicker turnaround time. Maybe we could get it done within the 60-day period.
I do regret that there doesn't seem to be support from the leader of the third party, calling it an OAS. I think it's very important that we indicate to the members of the House, and also to the public at large, that we believe in living legislation, meaning that the legislation is current and that we can work with it and that the legislation is not continually challenged in the courts, which takes longer and longer. It reflects today's attitudes and beliefs, and legislation that's 20 or 30 years old certainly has to be brought up to date. There has been a lot occur in the Yukon over the last 20 years, and it's imperative that we have legislation that we can work with for the good of all Yukoners.
I do thank the members for their comments.
Speaker: This then brings us to Question Period.
Question Re: Gun control legislation
Ms. Netro: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice on the issue of gun control. In June, the minister said that the government would have to consult with the people and obtain legal advice before they could act on Yukoners' concerns about federal Liberal gun control law. Can the minister tell us exactly what consultations have taken place with Yukoners regarding the gun law and what legal advice has been obtained?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: As we have said in this House on a number of occasions, the Government of Yukon will continue to lobby at the political level with respect to the Firearms Act. We hear from Yukoners about their continued opposition to Bill C-68 on a daily basis, and we remain in opposition to it. We continue to discuss possible options with interested parties.
I will remind the member that while we may not agree with the law and its impact on law-abiding citizens, it is the duty of the Minister of Justice and the government, as well as the people of the Yukon, to defer to the courts and Parliament.
Ms. Netro: Mr. Speaker, my question wasn't answered. There has been plenty of time to obtain legal advice and consult with people. Yukon people don't like this Liberal gun control law, because it won't prevent violent crimes, and it doesn't recognize northern culture and lifestyles. A lot of First Nation people feel strongly that charging them a fee to register their hunting rifles goes against chapter 16.4 of the umbrella final agreement - in other words, that this law breaks another law of the land.
Why has this Liberal government not taken a firm stand to support Yukon concerns with Liberal gun control legislation?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: I think we have been quite firm. We have stated on many occasions our opposition to this law. We continue to state that, and we will continue to state it in the future. As I say, we hear from Yukoners on a daily basis.
While we are looking for other avenues with which to fight this legislation, our obligation is to respect the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada and to follow the law.
Ms. Netro: Yukon people are very unhappy with the Liberal gun control legislation. Northerners are very unhappy with the Liberal gun control legislation. While the Prime Minister is here tomorrow, will this minister make a commitment to tell him first-hand how strongly Yukon people feel about this Liberal gun control law?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: Mr. Speaker, I doubt that I will have a chance to meet the Prime Minister. I believe he's fully booked while he's here. I also refer the member to the Standing Orders, and the guidelines for oral Question Period, Specific Rules, No. 2, "A question ought to seek information and cannot be based on a hypothesis or seek an opinion, legal or otherwise."
We have been dealing with the Minister of Justice on this issue - the federal Minister of Justice, not the Prime Minister. And also I would point out, once again, that the Yukon has opted out of administering this law. That happened on March 31, 1999, and the federal government is responsible for implementing and enforcing this law in our jurisdiction because of our opposition to it.
Question re: Devolution transfer agreement
Mr. Fairclough: We know where the Liberals stand on Bill C-68.
Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier about devolution. Last week, the Premier issued a devolution update to government employees that is nothing more than another lack-of-progress report by this Liberal government.
The Premier's letter blamed the latest delay on the federal election. Is it still the Premier's view that the fall election is the reason why Yukoners will have to wait another year to gain control of their lands and resources?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I provided the Legislature and Yukoners with an update on devolution and the status of devolution, and that was a complete and thorough update. There are a number of reasons why the formal transfer is suggested to take place in 2002. One of those reasons is the parliamentary legislative calendar. The other is the conclusion of negotiations. There are a number of other reasons. There are a number of points that I made in that statement to the House, and I would remind the member opposite not to take them out of context but to look at this, as we have looked at it, as a tremendously important step for Yukoners and one that we're taking after thorough consideration and full negotiations.
Mr. Fairclough: Well, Mr. Speaker, the Premier was not clear in her answers to the question. The fact is that the necessary legislation wasn't even on the House of Commons' calendar before the election was called. The so-called devolution update reports that the July deadline for concluding the devolution transfer agreement was not met. So, there is no way the legislation could even be drafted.
Was that July deadline missed because of the Premier's strained relations with the Minister of DIAND, or is it because of her failure to give Yukon negotiators a clear mandate to conclude this agreement?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Option "D" is none of the above. The situation with regard to devolution, as I fully explained in this House is - first of all - that devolution is a priority for this government. We've said that over and over and over again. It's fair to say that Yukon and Canada have reached agreement around the critical concept, if not all the details.
That process, following a final agreement by negotiators, is that the devolution agreement goes to federal Cabinet and it goes to our Cabinet, the Government of Yukon. Then the legislation goes through the parliamentary process. I have kept members advised all the way along of the status of devolution, as I have kept Yukoners advised - though this House and other methods, such as the newsletter the member mentioned - on the status of devolution. We're working on it, it's a priority for this government and we will achieve it.
Mr. Fairclough: The Premier has given mixed messages about this delay. The devolution update tries to put a positive spin on things by saying that the delay provides another year to prepare for the transfer of federal programs to Yukon. At the same time, the Premier insists that concluding devolution is one of her government's top priorities. And when she's talking to the mining community, she admits that devolution is critical in getting the economy back on its feet. Will the Premier be instructing one of her Cabinet colleagues to take some time during tomorrow's royal photo opportunity to remind the Prime Minister forcefully how important devolution is to Yukon people?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: To answer the member opposite's question for the third time and to state for the member: devolution is a priority of this government. We, as a government, are working very hard to achieve devolution, which is important to the mining industry, to wildlife, to natural resources and to all Yukoners. It's an important issue. We're working on it.
If the member wants to try and bootleg in another question and ask what I may or may not be raising with the Prime Minister, I invite him to raise that as a question. The focus was devolution, and that's within the rules. And again, for the member opposite, devolution is a priority for this government. Negotiators have reached an agreement on the concept, if not all of the details. Once they have reached that agreement, it goes through the federal Cabinet process and then it goes through the territorial Cabinet process. And at that point it will then go through the federal Parliament. Because unlike the previous government, who botched up the Oil and Gas Act transfer, we're going to do it right.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Hon. Mr. Roberts: Mr. Speaker, I would like the Legislature to join me in welcoming Ms. Morham and her grade 5 and 6 class from Jack Hulland Elementary School. They are here to witness the Legislature, as part of their social studies curriculum. Many of these students were in kindergarten and grades 1 and 2 when I was there as their last principal. So, I would like the gallery to join with me in welcoming this class to this Assembly.
Question re: Mayo-Dawson transmission line construction
Mr. Jenkins: I have a question for the Premier, in her capacity as the minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation and Yukon Energy Corporation. The decision by these corporations to proceed with the construction of the Mayo-Dawson transmission line is raising alarm bells with the general public here in the Yukon. The Yukon Chamber of Commerce has likened it to a ball and chain manacling the legs of all Yukon ratepayers for the next 40 years.
More recently, the Utilities Consumers Group has compared the project to the Argus fiasco. This project is YEC's largest undertaking ever and should have been subjected to a full capital review by the Yukon Utilities Board. A partial review done eight years ago simply isn't good enough.
Can the Premier advise the House if the Cabinet has approved this project, and will she explain why it hasn't been submitted to the Yukon Utilities Board for a review to protect the public's interest?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: The project the member opposite refers to was reviewed by the Yukon Utilities Board in 1992. The project the member opposite refers to was unanimously endorsed and recommended by a group of Yukoners charged with such a responsibility, known as the Yukon Development Corporation Board of Directors.
This particular project that the member opposite refers to is good for ratepayers through cost-savings and protection from adverse effects. It's a good investment for long-term development of Yukon's power infrastructure. It's good for the economy by creating business and employment opportunities. It's good for the environment, and it's the proper role for the Yukon Development Corporation. Most importantly, it's a great project, and it's investment in rural Yukon.
Mr. Jenkins: The minister failed to answer the question. Has it been approved by Cabinet? She did not answer the question, Mr. Speaker.
Now, it appears that we're being penny wise and pound foolish in this undertaking. If the Premier will not insist on a full capital hearing review by the Yukon Utilities Board, will she at least entertain the proposal by the Utilities Consumers Group to hold a public review under an independent facilitator, perhaps from Economic Development or some other government agency? Will she at least do that? The review that it has been subject to is eight years old. Economic conditions have changed; rate of returns have changed. The only way this project can proceed is with the front end shovelling money under the door. That's how it's proceeding. Everyone's going to end up paying either as a ratepayer or a taxpayer. It should be subject to a review. Will the minister do that?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I'm so glad that the Member for Klondike is on the record as opposing infrastructure that supports his community and other communities in Yukon. I'm so glad the member has finally publicly registered his opposition to it.
As I stated earlier, this project was reviewed by the Yukon Utilities Board in 1992. This project was unanimously recommended by the Yukon Development Corporation Board of Directors. The recommendation of the project and the status of the project to date, i.e., calling for tenders, has met with all of the requirements.
Most importantly, Mr. Speaker - and this is of fundamental importance - this is a strong infrastructure project that builds for the future, that is fully supported by this government - all members of Cabinet and caucus.
Mr. Jenkins: The minister still hasn't said that Cabinet has approved this project. That's what I'm looking for. Have they or have they not? And with respect to this project, the totality of it hasn't been looked at. There is nothing about the impact of the loss of heat to heat the Dawson City water and sewer system or the other $20 to $40 a month we as water payers are going to pay. At the end of the day, the total cost to someone resident in Dawson is going to be an increase of about $40 to $60 a month for water and sewer. That's the bottom line, Mr. Speaker. Why not give secondary power to Mayo, if we want to get off oil heat? That hasn't even been looked at. Why not give them electricity to heat their homes in Mayo at a heck of a reduced rate? None of the equation has been studied. Why not do a review? That's all I'm asking, Mr. Chair.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, moments earlier the member opposite criticized this government for reviewing everything; now he wants the government to review everything. He won't make up his mind.
The member also has clearly just stated for this House that he opposes an essential piece of infrastructure - an important piece of infrastructure - that would support his community and the community in Mayo and would build for the future. He's against that; he's against jobs and he thinks that eight of the people of the Yukon Development Corporation board, who are all duly appointed Yukoners - reasonable Yukoners whom we have asked to examine these projects - haven't done their job. The member opposite should go back and review some of his comments. This is a good project. It's good for ratepayers, it's a good investment for the long-term development of Yukon's power infrastructure, and it's good for the economy.
The only downside to this project is the fact that the member opposite needs to go back and listen to an unanimous recommendation by the Yukon Development Corporation board. Cabinet is not required to review this project. It came to the minister. Our caucus, as a group, as a team, as the government, supports this essential piece of infrastructure that will build for the future.
Question re: Alaska Highway gas pipeline
Mr. Fentie: My question is for the Premier. This week the Premier will be speaking to the Alaska Support Industry Alliance in Anchorage. Obviously, this speech will be about the oil and gas industry - the development of that industry in the Yukon and the Alaska Highway pipeline.
I'm sure the Premier realizes that she will be speaking to the converted. This group is a major, major lobby group in Alaska when it comes to the development of this particular resource. What will the Premier be telling the oil and gas industry specifically about Yukon's position on the pipeline?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Well, I'm so pleased that the member opposite has inadvertently, through his questioning, expressed support for our efforts to aggressively promote the Alaska Highway pipeline.
My message to industry tomorrow - and the member opposite may suggest, through his question, that it's somehow a waste of time because we're preaching to the converted. That's not the case. There hasn't been a final decision made on selection of the Alaska Highway route, and what I'm doing tomorrow and later today is reinforcing our promotion of the Alaska Highway route as the route. I'm restating our opposition to an offshore pipeline. I am reminding members of the Canada/U.S. treaty and the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, the easement that's registered with land titles in Whitehorse. In short, Mr. Speaker, I'm reminding them of all of the points I made earlier in my speech to this Legislature about the pipeline project.
Mr. Fentie: I think the Premier has to understand something. Due to the lack of economic leadership across the floor by this government, this is the only economic plank this territory has left. Yukoners are concerned about this particular project. Why? Because this group's mandate is to promote, solely, the benefits to Alaska of the development of the oil and gas industry, including getting to market.
Now, there are going to be billions of dollars involved in this particular project, if it happens. None of that money will be coming from the Yukon. Obviously, we'll have little control in what takes place outside of existing easements, permits, and so on.
What we're concerned about here is maximizing benefits, jobs and economic opportunities to Yukoners. What will the Premier be doing, in speaking to this group, to affirm the point with the Alaskan alliance and the industry that Yukon must maximize its benefits from this project also?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, first and foremost, I will be reinforcing the point that the offshore pipeline, as promoted by Ms. Cournoyea and Mr. Kakfwi, is not an option. That's the most important point, because there are some who are still considering it, and that is not an option for Yukon, and we vehemently oppose that. That's my foremost point. But I'm not going with problems; I'm going with solutions. The Alaska Highway pipeline route was the right choice 20 years ago, and it's the right choice today, and I'm reinforcing that point.
As for benefits of such a project to Yukon, a great number of them are discussed and outlined in the Canada/U.S. treaty, and we have pipeline unit staff who have reviewed that treaty in great detail, because as the member opposite knows, it was signed in the late 1970s, before such things as formula finance funding arrangements came into place. We're reviewing it in great detail in the Yukon context. I am not giving the Alaskans a message with respect to that. My message: choose the Alaska Highway route, because it's the right choice.
Mr. Fentie: Well, the minister's answer proves out the concern that Yukoners have. Yukoners want to make sure that this Premier and this government are going to protect their interests. We've too often seen Yukoners being shoved aside as big business rolls into this territory, builds and completes a project, while we either watch it happen - and obviously this government across the floor may even wonder what happened.
Mr. Speaker, time and time again, we've asked this government to show leadership economically. To date, we have had nothing in that regard. What message will the Premier be giving the Alaskans about the Yukon's requirements for environmental protection and socio-economic agreements with Yukon First Nations and communities on this proposed project? And let's keep in mind that the terms of the agreement that the minister has stated on the floor of this House were developed in 1979 -
Speaker: Order please. Question, please.
Mr. Fentie: - 1979 dollars.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Yes, Mr. Speaker, that is recognized. But clearly the member opposite doesn't understand that the treaty, hasn't re-examined it or had the benefit of reviewing it with pipeline unit staff. I'm happy to offer him that briefing.
Those discussions are with the people who build the pipeline. We're still at the discussion of selection of the Alaska Highway as a route. The member opposite doesn't seem to appreciate that I go head to head with other people who are suggesting there are other alternatives. We're saying the Alaska Highway route is the way to go. That's my role.
It's not the only plank in the Yukon Liberal Party government's economic platform. We're working on a number of other issues. If the member opposite would like to question us on them in Question Period, we would be happy to answer them. Instead we get these questions that are all over the map, without clear focus and without the member opposite clearly having read or understood the treaty or the discussions we are in. If the member opposite doesn't want a briefing, I would invite him to visit Economic Development's Web site: email@example.com and see for himself. My speeches are there. The information is there and all of the pipeline backgrounder, which I handed out, is all there - and it's available for the member.
Question re: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Ms. Netro: This question is for the Premier regarding the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. For 20 years, the Gwitchin people have worked for the protection of these lands. The Premier is on record as supporting no drilling in the 10-02 lands, which are the critical calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd.
Can the Premier assure the House that her aggressive support for an Alaska Highway pipeline route will not compromise her government's support for the protection of these lands?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, absolutely, and it's precisely the support for the Alaska Highway pipeline route that is in support of our position and the Government of Canada, including the current Prime Minister's position on ANWR.
I have been clear with Governor Knowles and with every Alaskan I have spoken with. The offshore route endorsed by Ms. Cournoyea and Mr. Kakfwi is not supportive of the Government of Yukon nor the Government of Canada's position on ANWR, and our work aggressively promoting an Alaska Highway pipeline route and a separate stand-alone Mackenzie Valley route is supportive and fully recognizes that position. Because what we're talking about transporting down the Alaska Highway, Mr. Speaker, is existing gas and existing production facilities to get it into the pipeline. Our position is steadfast on ANWR, and it will remain so.
Ms. Netro: The American election will have a substantial impact on U.S. policy concerning this issue. If George W. Bush becomes president, with his massive 300-vote margin in Florida, there will be no federal American protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
If Mr. Bush is declared the winner, will the Premier immediately write to President Clinton, urging him to declare the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge a federal monument before he leaves office?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite is aware, I already asked the Prime Minister this summer, earlier in our mandate, to do that very thing, and I have been assured that it has been done. And I am very aware of the concerns with respect to either of the parties, whoever is successful, whenever the election is finally declared over and there is a winner declared. I understand the concerns should Mr. Bush become the President, and that has also been something that I have watched, as the member opposite has, with a great deal of concern. Our position on ANWR has been very clear, as has Canada's.
Ms. Netro: Mr. Speaker, the Republican Senators from Alaska, as well as the Governor, are all strong supporters of drilling and the oil and gas industry in Alaska. This week, the Premier is going to Anchorage to declare Yukon's support for a pipeline through the territory to take Alaskan natural gas to southern markets.
While she is meeting with the industry, will the Premier make it clear that Yukon support for the pipeline does not include dropping our commitment to protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I already did that in September when I met with Governor Knowles. I indicated that to him when he raised it.
Mr. Speaker, I have already stood on my feet and said that I had raised this with Governor Knowles in our intergovernmental meeting in early September. I raised it with the governor then and our position is clear and has remained so. Our position, as supported by the Member for Vuntut Gwitchin, has also been supported and acted upon by Canada.
Question re: Alcohol and drug services secretariat
Mr. Keenan: Today I have a question for the Minister of Health.
Last week, the minister tabled a review on Yukon alcohol and drug services in this House. Now, this is a low-budget review, Mr. Speaker. It was done very quickly, and apparently it was adopted very quickly by this minister.
It makes a number of recommendations that could have a major impact on how alcohol and drug services are administered and delivered here in the Yukon.
Can the minister tell me what other service delivery models were explored before simply making the decision to adopt this Alberta review and to implement these Albertan recommendations?
Hon. Mr. Roberts: The review, Mr. Speaker, was on the Yukon's delivery of services. It was not a review of the Alberta services at all. We asked some of the best people in the country if they would come and help us out in looking at what we were providing in our alcohol and drug programming. The suggestion was the person who came up here and did the review. Again, it was a review of what services we as a government were providing. That was the whole objective.
Mr. Keenan: Obviously, the minister did not look at other models. Certainly, the member says that he brought in the best people in the country. Well, Mr. Speaker, I challenge him to talk to the best people in the Yukon Territory. They, too, have concerns. Now, some of those community groups are very critical of how this review was conducted. They say the consultation - which the minister takes great pride in doing - was done very scantily and did not give voice to the concerns that were heard. There have even been some suggestions that the outside experts, and possibly the minister, had a preconceived idea and went from there. So much for consultation, Mr. Speaker - I shall listen, but this is what I shall do.
Now that the dust has settled a bit for the minister, can he explain exactly how he plans to conduct further consultations and evaluations before implementing the recommendations in this review? Can the minister answer that?
Hon. Mr. Roberts: Once again, the member opposite is very good at grandstanding and fear-mongering - part of the criteria when trying to ask a question, Mr. Speaker.
The answer is very clear. The reviewer met with 80 stakeholders here in the Yukon. If the review had carried on for a couple of years, the person probably could have met with every citizen in the Yukon. But we felt we had to move fairly quickly, Mr. Speaker, because the government of yesterday did not realize that they had a problem. They did not realize that there was a major issue in drug and alcohol abuse. And, of course, when we were in opposition, we constantly tried to tell the government of the day that there was a problem. That was denial.
The report itself lists all the people who were consulted Mr. Speaker. These were very credible, very honest people who gave their points of view about where drug and alcohol is at the current time. I suppose Mr. Speaker, if you want to undermine their credibility, I guess the member opposite has done that because it's their ideas that are reflected in the report. Suggestions are made as to how we can improve it and, of course, that's where we gather expertise.
We have to have future direction Mr. Speaker; we have to work on what is positive for Yukon.
Mr. Keenan: I think the only credibility on the line in this House is the minister's credibility. The minister stands there and accuses me of fear-mongering and of accusing people of different issues - no, Mr. Speaker - then he sets it up that I have got good stage presence. All those things are moot.
What we're looking for from this government is leadership - leadership at the ground level. That is exactly what the minister was elected to do, so I would be pleased Mr. Speaker, if they could supply a little of that leadership.
The minister has ballparked the figures, changes that put the cost at $1 million a year. Now, that's not including the new building that the minister has been alluding to and that could easily be another $5 million. So, we're all familiar with the federal Liberal government's roller-coaster approach to funding and health care. We have also heard this Yukon Liberal government justifying cuts in other expenditures because of the rapidly rising costs of health care.
The supplementary budget projects a rather gloomy revenue picture for the next four years.
Speaker: Order please. Order. Will the member please get to the question.
Mr. Keenan: Absolutely Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much for the reminder. What assurance can the minister give that this more expensive approach to alcohol and drug services can be sustained economically, and does he have any guarantees of federal support in place for this initiative?
Hon. Mr. Roberts: The question of fear-mongering and theatrics doesn't have to be answered by me. When this member gets up, it is demonstrated every time.
The important part is to involve Yukoners in the future, Mr. Speaker. And in order to do that, we must know where we are at. And of course that is why we had the review done. We brought people in from outside who have another viewpoint, another idea and another way of trying to do things, and they have come back after preliminary consultation with a number - 80 people - here in the Yukon. Like I said, it could have been far more than that, but we didn't want to wait a year. The consultation has just begun.
Once we have identified the direction in which we want to go, the objective here is to go back to the communities and to continue to build with all our partners. I would hope that the opposition would also want to be part of that building. It seems like their mantra is to tear down and not go with the building and the support that Yukoners need. They need help. They needed help before, they need help now and they need it in the future. Unfortunately, the members opposite haven't got that message yet.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed. We'll proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
OPPOSITION PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS
Clerk: Motion No. 21, standing in the name of Mr. Fentie; adjourned debate, the hon. Mr. Roberts.
Motion No. 21 - debate resumed
Speaker: The motion before the House, moved by the Member for Watson Lake, is
THAT it is the opinion of this House that:
(1) Yukon people who want to work and need to work face severe hardships this winter because of the failure of the Liberal Government to address the territory's economic situation in a decisive and responsible manner;
(2) the outward migration of Yukoners to other parts of Canada to seek employment has increased dramatically since this Liberal Government took office;
(3) the Yukon Liberal Government has contributed directly to this situation through such ill-advised decisions as postponing the construction of a new school in Mayo, and failing to take action to solve the crisis in the Yukon forestry sector;
(4) this government has further aggravated the situation by abandoning programs, such as the Community Development Fund, Fire Smart, Tourism Marketing Fund and the Trade and Investment Fund, which were creating jobs in communities throughout the territory;
(5) the Throne Speech delivered at the opening of this sitting failed to provide any clear economic leadership or sense of direction to improve the territory's employment and business climate;
(6) the Auditor General's report will confirm that this government entered the current fiscal year with an accumulated surplus of more than $55 million; and
THAT this House urges the Yukon Government, as a matter of urgent priority, to convene an all-party committee to examine practical measures it can take to provide jobs for Yukon people this winter.
Hon. Mr. Roberts: I rise to oppose this motion, Mr. Speaker.
When the government of yesterday was in power, the unemployment rate went as high as 17 percent. Now, we're at 9.7 percent, Mr. Speaker. I think those figures speak for themselves.
The outward migration - it's rather interesting that in five or six months, going on seven months, suddenly everybody has just got up and left. Mr. Speaker, this outward migration started three and a half years ago - big time. I think people now have some hope. They're starting to look at the fact that this government believes in solid economic development, not the knee-jerk approach toward building our society in the future.
And Mr. Speaker, when you look at surpluses, you constantly hear of surpluses of $56 million, $64 million. What fails to be responded to is that the government of yesterday actually spent half of that surplus with their budget, and then they didn't account for a number of items in the budget that we had to put in our supplementary budget. These are all items, Mr. Speaker, that were well-known last year, and now they say we have this huge surplus.
Even in the budget speech by Mr. McDonald - the former leader - it says that there would only be a $15-million surplus after they paid all the bills. So all this talk about a huge surplus is not true, Mr. Speaker. That is not part of the process.
Mr. Speaker, I think it's very important to look at winter works programming. When the unemployment rate was at 17 percent, the NDP government did not have any winter works programming at all. They did not set up anything to look after those poor people who needed help. What are we to say about that, Mr. Speaker? Yet, our unemployment rate right now is at 9.7 and there's this hue and cry about having more winter works programming.
It's very interesting to hear about the all-party process. Mr. Speaker. We tried to work very hard with the opposition in setting up an all-party committee to review appointments to boards and committees. We wanted this to be done through SCREP but, instead, they scrapped SCREP, because they didn't like what they heard. They didn't like to work with us. We have offered that olive branch time and time again in trying to work with the members opposite, but we don't get the cooperation.
All-party means working together, and now they're calling for an all-party review. I'm not too sure we can do that, because they don't want to sit down with us and discuss the future of the Yukon. They're more interested in playing politics, fear-mongering and unsettling the issues. The Mayo school, for example - our reasons for cancelling, or postponing, that construction was very valid and built on very solid ground. As a matter of fact, the footprint is there for the school. Twenty-five years and there was no school. We put the footprint down and the school is going to be there. They say that we have curtailed or stopped construction because we don't care.
Mr. Speaker, another point that I want to raise is that there's always this issue of rural versus urban. I have visited almost every community here in the territory - as many of my colleagues have done - and I enjoy visiting the communities. They are the heart of government. They have a lot of good ideas. They have a lot of suggestions.
In every one of these communities I visited, I never saw the MLAs, the so-called supporters of the rural areas. I never saw them in the communities, and so I think, Mr. Speaker, it's very important to understand that we care about Yukoners, whether they live in Whitehorse or whether they live in the rural areas. We are representing all Yukoners.
I heard an interesting story last night. I was knocking on doors in my riding, and this senior fellow who is quite senior said, "You know, Don, I didn't vote for you last time." And he chuckled away, but he said, "I'm your boss now, and I want you to represent me." And that tells me that that's exactly what rural communities are all about: they want us to represent them because we are government. They know we want the best for all Yukoners. We're not pitting the city against the rural area. Do you ever hear that from this side, Mr. Speaker - pitting the urban against the rural? We never do that, Mr. Speaker, because we know that all Yukoners count. We are working for Yukoners, Mr. Speaker.
We recognize that more people need to get more work, and that is why that is one of our top priorities, Mr. Speaker. And to expect us to fix the economy in six months, that's absurd. We see an unemployment rate at 9.7 percent at this point, so obviously there's some trust in what we're doing. It hasn't ballooned to 17 percent, as when the NDP government were on this side of the House. So hopefully, Mr. Speaker, there is confidence building among the electorate. We are looking at both the long-term and short-term goals, Mr. Speaker. And, of course, land claims is our number one goal and objective.
We want to make sure, Mr. Speaker, that we work with all government departments. Yukon Housing has many projects in place. They are stimulating activity and action in many parts of the Yukon.
We just had a recent electrical upgrade to six staff units in Dawson City. There was the replacement of the Kinsey boiler in Dawson City. There was an electrical upgrade for 13 units of social housing in Dawson City. And a planned tender will be out this new year to rebuild a unit in Watson Lake that was damaged by fire. Interior painting is to be done in eight Hanson Street units, here in Whitehorse. There will also be some work done on the Ryder Apartments and the Jeckell Street units. Those are winter works projects, Mr. Speaker. They are not a figment of one's imagination. They are real activities. We are not digging the hole and then filling it in. We're actually accomplishing something. If that's what winter works is about for the opposition members, then we're not going there - at all.
There will be approximately $200,000 worth of office and building system upgrades this winter. This is winter works.
Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, we hear the Member for Klondike talking about more government. And just a few minutes ago, we heard the Member for Klondike say, "We need more government to do more things." Now, that same member is suggesting that we don't need the government now. Mr. Speaker, I wish the member from Dawson would get on the right rail tracks. He seems to be split on a track that's five kilometres apart.
There was a recent announcement by Anderson Exploration that there are some good seismic operations going on, some good exploration going on in the Watson Lake area. There are agreements with the Vuntut Gwitchin and other First Nations. It is estimated that a number of jobs there will result: 60 to 70 jobs this winter.
And we have talked, of course, about the Member for Riverdale South, the Minister of Tourism, who has worked overtime in bringing more activity to the Yukon in the area of movies and commercials. There could be $700,000 to $2 million spent this winter on those activities.
And, of course, Mr. Speaker, this brings a lot of money to the economy, through restaurants, food supplies, transportation and so on.
I think, Mr. Speaker, that we look at how we try to build together. We are working with Yukoners to build a future.
Expatriate Resources are doing additional exploration work this fall. They employ Yukoners, and they have provided at least 20 more jobs, Mr. Speaker.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Mr. Roberts: Well, at least it's done, Mr. Speaker, if it's over. At least they came, did what they had to do, and are looking at more objectives.
We have winter festivals. We have carnivals. We have ideas that are going to bring more people into the work tent, Mr. Speaker. We want to employ Yukoners.
We're spending at least $100,000 on highway camp facilities for maintenance this winter. We're also spending approximately $500,000 on winter gravel crushing, so we're prepared for the summer. There will also be clearing on the Shakwak project - there's another $200,000 to $300,000. And highway construction will continue on the Shakwak, employing approximately 50 workers until December, and then this will reconvene in March, Mr. Speaker. Clearing of the Whitehorse sewage treatment site - again, depending on the clearing of the water licence - will also provide winter work. Those are some of the long-term - and maybe not enough for the members opposite, Mr. Speaker, but they are at least getting people working.
We have some short-term ones. We are participating in a common forum. We've done this, and we continue to do this. This is ongoing. Working government to government, we're working with our partners. We're also looking - as the Minister of Economic Development talked about - for more dollars into the mining area, $250,000. And of course, we continue to build our mining sector, after it was devastated by the NDP government.
We have successfully lobbied the federal government to have new tax credits, and we're going to start to see some changes, Mr. Speaker, in this area. Of course, we're probably going to see this government come forward with an economic agreement with the federal government. This Liberal government is going to come forward with an economic agreement that is going to build infrastructure for the future.
The government of yesterday, Mr. Speaker, couldn't do it. For some obvious reason they couldn't connect with the powers that be. So, we languished. Our whole economy languished, and droves of people left the territory. Fortunately, the Liberals won the election and stemmed the tide.
We are looking at the stay-another-day program, the initiative to stay one more day here in the Yukon - again, another brilliant idea of the Liberal government and of our Minister of Tourism.
The Mayo school - we have heard a lot about the Mayo school. Personally, Mr. Speaker, I feel that sometimes a lot of this emotion was created by the members opposite. We understand the reluctance to have this school delayed. I understand that. After 25 years of waiting for a new school, Mr. Speaker, I can understand why they would feel left out. But when do you plan schools so that they're starting to be built in the fall? Usually that's done a year or two back so that you can start in the early spring.
Speaker: Order please. The member has two minutes to conclude.
Hon. Mr. Roberts: I think it's very important, Mr. Speaker, that we understand that winter works is an ongoing thing. It's a natural thing. It's not something we artificially create. And unfortunately the members opposite believe that if you create artificial things, it will be there forever; but it won't be.
The value of building permits is up 15 percent this year, which is a primary indicator of where our economy is going. I urge all our members to vote against this motion, Mr. Speaker, because winter works is going as I speak.
Mr. Keenan: Mr. Speaker, indeed it is my pleasure to stand on my feet and follow this speech maker from Porter Creek.
Well, Mr. Speaker, there has been so much said - 25 years planning in Mayo school - Mr. Speaker, that's wrong.
I think what I'd like to concentrate on here just for a few moments is not to rebut so much what the member opposite has said, because, Mr. Speaker, that's just simply too doggone easy. That's just simply too easy. People are suffering, Mr. Speaker, and I guess it's not at this time that you can stand and jest, because people are suffering. I said yesterday that if you feel that the unemployment rate is in the teens, you ought to get into the communities where it's in the 80s. And that's where my heart lies.
Now, the member opposite said that I have a great stage presence. I'm a bit of a ham, I guess, or however he wants to put it - I don't know. But I'd just like to take just a couple of seconds here, Mr. Speaker, if I may, and talk about what it really is, what politics is. Politics is just - I'm not sure how new the word is, but it's a contemporary word that sort of alludes to a replacement of leadership, but it does not replace leadership; politics is leadership. Politics is also emotion. Politics is passion. Politics is caring. And that's why you have emotion and you have passion, because you care - because we on this side of the House, and I do think that people on that side of the House - at least some - can show points of leadership.
Politics, Mr. Speaker, is also about self, because you have to feel good about yourself, Mr. Speaker, in order to represent people and want to represent people and to listen to people.
So, Mr. Speaker, it's also about people. It's about community. It's about the world. That's what politics is about.
Mr. Speaker, it's also about doing something. Getting out there and doing it, not just simply knocking on the doors, so a fellow could say, "I'm your boss," because I have said two or three times in this House that people are stopping me in the street, saying, "Dave, sorry we never voted for you. It'll never happen again." And walked away. I go, "Wow." Great stage presence here, great stage presence. Wow. Well, I keep this note right here for myself to try to humble me every time I need a bit of humbling. Sometimes it's quite often, but now we're beyond that. Everything, everything there is under review, because it says so right here.
We talk about the extreme hardships that people are going to be facing. We talk about the outward migration. We talk about postponing. We talk about reviewing, and we talk about the community vehicle. We talk about the $55 million. Well, I think they said the Auditor General was full of bull patties - pardon me, Mr. Speaker - that the Auditor General was full of beans. That's what the member opposite is saying, that they don't have the $55 million. Well, it was tabled here just a short while ago.
Now, Mr. Speaker, we have heard lots of drivel, I guess, over the length of the members opposite speaking about it. I would like to just say that leadership is not a part-time job. No, leadership is a full-time job, and it's not about just following the curriculum. You're not following a curriculum. You have to get out there and you have to blaze some trails and you have to develop that curriculum.
Mr. Speaker, I don't think this government is capable of doing that.
Mr. Keenan: Therefore, I would like to propose an amendment to our motion. I propose
THAT Motion No. 21 be amended by deleting the phrase "urges the Yukon Government, as a matter of urgent priority, to convene an all-party committee to examine practical measures it can take" in the final clause and inserting in its place the phrase "expresses its lack of confidence in the Yukon Government, due to its failure to use its supplementary budget to implement measures."
Speaker:It has been moved by the hon. Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes
THAT Motion No. 21 be amended by deleting the phrase "urges the Yukon Government, as a matter of urgent priority, to convene an all-party committee to examine practical measures it can take" in the final clause and inserting in its place the phrase "expresses its lack of confidence in the Yukon Government, due to its failure to use its supplementary budget to implement measures".
Mr. Keenan: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for the honorable mention. It's certainly how we feel and many of our constituents feel. And we will be on that side once again, blazing trails for the Tourism minister so she will have a blueprint to follow to enhance the territory. We will too be there, Mr. Speaker, because rest assured, I'm there.
This proposed amendment is obviously not a friendly amendment. It's not. It's not meant to be a friendly amendment. It's meant to be a shock - a little shocker to the members opposite. Because this is what I've been hearing: they thought that they could do it. They thought that for six months, and they kind of fooled some of the people some of the time. And for that, the Member for Porter Creek does deserve that Academy Award nomination, if not the award itself, because he did somewhat of a pretty job of masquerading as a leader. And because of that masquerading as a leader and following the curriculum and not being able to show leadership, we had to bring this forward. But I'm very interested to hear what other people say, and I will be speaking later on in the debate I'm sure.
Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Speaker, on the amendment, I did have some concerns with the suggestion that we look at an all-party committee to review this area. What we have in the House currently is a Liberal government that has no ideas, and has fallen on the NDP budget to address the issues, and taken it upon itself to use all of the resources previously there, with respect to initiatives and development, or lack thereof.
They've come to be known, Mr. Speaker, as not Liberals, but NDP clones. And I'm very, very concerned at this juncture that they haven't demonstrated the ability to take the $37 million budget - the supplementary budget - and do something with it, other than increase the size of government and government spending on itself.
What we see with this supplementary budget is a 6.5-percent increase in the O&M costs of government. We don't see any initiatives that are going to enhance the Yukon economy. This new Liberal government - this NDP clone government - has taken it upon itself to hang all its options on the coming of a pipeline through the Yukon.
And as I've pointed out earlier in this House, we currently have two pipelines; one between Whitehorse and Ottawa, and it's full of Liberal gas. And I'm sure tomorrow we're going to hear the big announcement from Jean Chrétien, that they're going to be pumping some money our way in the form of some sort of agreements between the respective federal government and Government of Yukon. We'll probably also hear Senator Frank Mahovlich pumping the Liberals, but at the end of the day, what do we have?
We won't have any more jobs here in the Yukon for Yukoners, Mr. Speaker. We'll have opportunities in Canada. They will be in the Northwest Territories, Alberta, Ontario. They will be elsewhere. Very few of them will be here in the Yukon.
It's pretty interesting, when I reflect on what the Minister of Health and Social Services had to expand on and his overview of this motion. In fact, I was somewhat taken aback about his term "winter works projects", what encompasses a winter works project and the benefits. It's kind of interesting that virtually all of the initiatives mentioned were government spending money on government. There were very few, if any, out in the private sector.
Now, let's look back to just a few years ago. Rather than reinventing the wheel, Mr. Speaker, why does this government not just look back and see what has worked in the past? One of the initiatives that worked - when the Yukon Party was first elected and found out that instead of a $65-million surplus that this Liberal government inherited, they had a $64-million deficit, a deficit of virtually the same amount that this current government enjoys as a surplus. The Yukon Party convened a private/public sector group, a working group, to examine ways that we could best focus government spending to create jobs in Yukon.
I guess, because it worked, Mr. Speaker, this government won't look at it or won't take it upon themselves to adopt ideas that worked. They have to go out and reinvent the wheel.
This is the new Liberal way. So, instead of having winter works, we now have winter festivals. That's the source of our employment this winter. It instills in me a lot of confidence in the government that Yukoners in Whitehorse have chosen to elect to run the Yukon. It's very, very sad that all we have to look forward to are winter festivals - no winter work.
Mr. Speaker, there have been no steps or initiatives taken to improve the Yukon economy. Yes, we're hearing about Anderson and their drilling - or not even drilling, it's a bit of seismic work. It's not going to employ a lot of Yukoners. It's mainly going to be aerial seismic work, and it's going to employ individuals and firms primarily from outside of the Yukon - so much for work for Yukoners derived from the oil and gas industry.
I guess we can go and look at what we can do to latch onto the Foothills Pipe Lines initiative. They've opened an office here in Whitehorse. The unprecedented thing has happened in that Government of the Yukon has seconded a YTG individual to the private sector. It's kind of an unusual undertaking. Usually secondments are government to government, or government to other government agencies. I'm not aware of any other occurrence of someone going from government and seconded to the private sector. But it does show determination on this government's part to do something in the oil and gas field and something with respect to the construction of the Alaska Highway natural gas pipeline.
But that, according to all knowledgeable individuals, Mr. Speaker, could be five, seven or 10 years away. That's how far down the pipe that initiative might be. And if we continue our current trend here, with the economic downturn, all we'll have surviving here in the Yukon will be government and a seasonal visitor industry - a very seasonal visitor industry.
In spite of all of the hype surrounding the visitor industry, this year we had a major downturn in that industry. And next year, unless the Liberals get their act together on the federal level with respect to gun control, unless there is a lot of initiative here by the Yukon Liberal government and unless they use that special relationship between Whitehorse and Ottawa with respect to this gun control legislation, it's going to play a further role in an additional downturn in our visitor industry.
Aircraft in Alaska, according to the federal U.S. regulations, must carry a firearm for survival. It's part of the aircraft's equipment. Coming into Canada, effective January 1, that firearm must be registered. Sounds pretty straightforward. There's a $50 fee, but the aircraft is registered in the name of the pilot, not in the name of the aircraft owner, and if the aircraft makes numerous trips on a charter basis, the pilot has to re-register that firearm each time - another $50 each time. It's not so much the $50, it's the hassle.
And the aircraft owners are looking toward business opportunities, but they can't break the law in the United States and they don't want to break the law in Canada. What are the options? The option that more and more of them are choosing is not to come to the Yukon - so much for this Bill C-68 and the benefits that are going to accrue to Canada.
It also should be further noted that Beaver Creek, the port of entry, has the second highest number of firearms entering into Canada through that port of entry of all of the port of entries into Canada. Alaskans view firearms as a tool, as a survival item, in a similar manner that our First Nations here use a firearm. It's a tool, and yet Mr. Chrétien - and his colonial ability and his colonial ways of dealing with the Yukon - has chosen to ignore all of these areas with respect to gun control legislation.
There is an opportunity for the Yukon Minister of Justice and for the Premier of the Yukon to make representation to the federal Liberals and use that wonderful, special relationship that we were told so much about during the recent Yukon election campaign, the territorial election campaign. This wonderful relationship between the Yukon Liberals and the federal Liberals was going to be the be-all end-all and it was going to - wow, everyone is still talking about it. The benefits that we've accrued, other than a few political patronage appointments, have been few and far between. In fact, I can't think of any, other than another senator, a well-known hockey player, up here, effectively out soliciting votes for the Liberal candidate.
I guess they need all the help they can get, and it's going to take a complete effort on behalf of all to do something to get someone elected.
But the bottom line is that our economy is suffering, Mr. Speaker. Our economy has gone from bad to worse, from a recession to a full-blown depression, and this $37-million supplementary budget does nothing but increase the size and growth of government.
And I'm sure at the end of the day, we're going to have an opportunity to examine all of these wonderful sole-source contracts originating in the Executive Council Office, and we're going to get a chance to examine the contents. It's going to be quite interesting, Mr. Speaker, as to the hourly rates at the onset of initiative to the hourly rates just a few months later. It would appear that the exercise is to milk it for all you can get, and get as much as you can when you can, because this gravy train is going to come to a screaming halt.
Mr. Speaker, that $37 million could have been better spent to put Yukoners back to work. That $37 million in that supplementary budget could have been much better spent, had a private/government partnership been created to examine ways. And that could have been done very, very quickly after this government was elected, Mr. Speaker, but there has to be some forethought. There has to be some forethought.
Now we have the Minister of Health administering first aid to the Minister of Tourism.
I don't know what's happening on the government side, Mr. Speaker, but it does open itself to a wide degree of speculation. Mr. Speaker, there are $37-million worth of expenditures. That is on top of the largest O&M budget ever in the Yukon Territory - ever. That is on top of over 10 percent of our population base having moved elsewhere to find work, to find jobs. We now have more government and government agencies. There are more programs that used to be delivered in the private sector being taken in-house and being delivered by government or government agencies than ever before.
That wonderful expression, "I'm with the government; I'm here to help you" now has meaning and a tremendous impact on the lives of Yukoners. The only thing I can say, Mr. Speaker, is, "Thank God, we don't have to pay for all the government we have." There is just not enough of an economy here to even begin to comprehend where we would tax that much money. The tax rate wouldn't be 100 percent. It would probably be 150 percent or more - just work and send your cheque to the government, so they can pay for the government.
It's not a very good day for Yukoners when we see this kind of initiative. And this amendment to the motion is basically spelling it out the way it should be spelled out - that they are a dismal failure with respect to economic stimulation and economic growth here in the Yukon.
There is a total lack of vision. There is a total lack of initiatives that are going to result in benefits accruing to the Yukon's workforce. The major benefits and the major attraction for Yukon's workforce are now being created in Klein's country and over here to the east in the Northwest Territories, Mr. Speaker. If one has one of those cherished green cards or a degree that's in demand, it's the United States. If you look at the exodus of our medical people or our engineers, if you look at the oil patch in Alaska -
Speaker: Order please. The member has two minutes to conclude.
Mr. Jenkins: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
If you look at who the key players are in the oil and gas industry in Alaska, it's BP - British Petroleum, headquartered in London, England. In the mining industry it's Cominco, Noranda, Teck and Kinross. It goes on and on and on. The mining companies are all Canadian. The oil companies are U.S. and predominantly British.
Mr. Speaker, a lot more could have been done. The expectations for this government were way, way up there when they were elected. It has come down, crashed and burned. I know where the fuel is coming from for the big fire that's burning this government. It's that Liberal gas in that Liberal pipeline between Ottawa and Whitehorse.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I cannot but support this motion as amended. It is a good amendment to a good motion.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Mrs. Edelman:Mr. Speaker, I do love private members' day, and it's not just because hardly anybody asks me questions during Question Period and this is finally my opportunity to speak, but because of some of the things that I hear on private members' days and the things that I get to respond to. And this is a classic private members' day.
The NDP put forward a motion today, and they've just presented a not-friendly amendment to their own motion. This is classic. I'm not too sure this has ever happened before.
Now, the amendment speaks to the supplementary budget. Supplementary budget debate is coming up later on this month. There will be an opportunity at that point for the members opposite, as they well know - although they seem to be a little unfamiliar with the rules of the House - to talk about the supplementary budget.
But, because we are talking about the supplementary budget in the amendment - the unfriendly amendment to their own motion, which is classic - let's talk a little bit about the supplementary budget. First of all, let's be clear that a good portion of the supplementary budget is to pay off NDP debt. Let's talk about some of the things: building a visitor reception centre and then not putting the money in the budget for O&M. Let's talk a little bit about unbudgeted dollars - unbudgeted dollars for health care costs, dollars they knew were coming down the pike; they didn't put them in the budget. Those are the sort of things that we're paying for as taxpayers now - the fact that they didn't budget for the obvious - $37 million.
Then the side opposite - and this is classic - talks about the unemployment rate. Let's talk about the unemployment rate. Now, what is it right now? I think it's 9.7 percent. What was it when the NDP were in power? Let me think - I think it was 13 to 17 percent. Yes, yes, it was. Those are double digits. That was the unemployment rate for when the NDP was in power, and we are paying today when the NDP was in power.
So let's talk again about the supplementary budget, and I love talking about the supplementary budget. Of course, it's probably duplicating our efforts because we are going to be talking about it, as the members apparently don't know, during the supplementary budget debate.
But here we go. Let's talk about the great things in the supplementary budget. The current level of government spending is not sustainable. If we continue at the current pace, the surplus will almost be gone within four years. That's a reality that we're all looking at - all Yukoners here on the government side, as well as the opposition.
One of the biggest items in the supplementary budget was an additional $7.2 million in health care costs. This money will be used to cover the increasing cost of quality health care - quality health care that we feel all Yukoners deserve. We are maintaining that health care as one of our seven priorities.
We're spending an additional $380,000 on highway maintenance. Over the past eight years, the amount of money spent on highway maintenance has declined by almost 90 percent - that's nine-zero percent, Mr. Speaker. The Liberal government has committed to increase the money we spend on highway maintenance, unlike the previous NDP government or the previous Yukon Party government. This was surprising, because Yukon Party governments traditionally in the past have always spent money on roads, but not that one.
Now, the Department of Tourism is getting $200,000 to launch the stay-another-day program, and it's a good program and actually common in other jurisdictions. It wasn't just my brilliant idea; it's been common in other jurisdictions as well. But it will encourage visitors to stay another day in the territory. As we know, over 80 percent of our visitors are Americans and they're on their way to Alaska. We just want them to stop either on the way there or on the way back - which is probably more likely - for another four hours. And we can get them to spend millions more in the territory by doing that.
We're spending over $4 million to cover the cost of the new collective agreement with government employees. That was an agreement that was negotiated by the previous NDP government and it was not budgeted for. We are spending $612,000 to aggressively promote the Alaska Highway pipeline. That's economic development - something that we do very well. And we're spending $700,000 to cover an increase in student financial assistance. I know that the NDP on the other side of the floor are going to vote against the supplementary budget. They're going to vote against students, Mr. Speaker.
We are committed to cutting taxes. Yukoners will see real tax cuts, not the phantom tax cuts of the previous NDP government.
By January 2002, the territory's personal income tax rate will be 44 percent of the income tax rate, and that will represent a 12-percent reduction in personal income taxes. We're cutting taxes, Mr. Speaker; the previous government did not. That also means that our tax rate, of course, will be lower than both the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. That's more money in Yukoners' pockets.
Let's talk about the comments from the Member for Klondike. He accuses this side of being an NDP clone, yet on an almost daily basis the Member for Klondike stands up and gives the position of his party, which is the exact opposite of what his party's position was in the previous government. Every day he capitulates to the side beside him - his NDP friends, his new-found friends, the people looking for a leader.
Now, the Yukon Party is giving advice, and thank you very much for that advice. This is advice from a government that cut two percent off Yukon government workers' wages and effectively got themselves down to now one member sitting in the Legislature. That is a great place to get advice, Mr. Speaker. I think the leadership of this government might be just a little bit more far-thinking.
Occasionally the Member for Klondike does give good, critical advice. His advice about the firearms and aircraft - that's something that we're investigating, something that we were aware of and already working on. But he did bring up an issue in the House, in a public way, and that was a good thing. Like I say, occasionally he does bring up good ideas.
But he also says we have too much government. So the obvious thing to extrapolate from that continued piece of advice is that what the Member for Klondike wants is for us to start laying off government workers. That's one way to reduce government. That's one way to make sure that government doesn't grow. That's not what we, as a government, are looking for. We are not trying to lay off government workers and slash the civil service in order to follow the advice of the Member for Klondike, the member who is the leader of the party that slashed two percent from the salaries of government workers.
So, Mr. Speaker, we can't support this unbelievably unfriendly amendment to the NDP's own motion.
Once again, Mr. Speaker, it's just absolutely unbelievable. Let's go through that again - the unfriendly amendment to their own motion. We can't support it, Mr. Speaker. What we are going to support, obviously, and the side opposite is not going to, is the supplementary budget.
Thank you very much for letting me speak to this incredible, unprecedented, unfriendly amendment to their own motion.
Mr. Fentie: On the amendment, Mr. Speaker, thank you.
Well, well, well. That was quite a disgusting display by the Member for Riverdale South. It makes a mockery of the situation this territory finds itself in, and the people of this territory find themselves in, due to this government's lack of leadership in our economic fortunes.
This amendment to the motion had to come forward, Mr. Speaker. In the two weeks since we tabled this motion and debated it on the floor of this House, our economic fortunes have worsened - worsened in this territory. And then we have the Premier, after a great deal of expenditure, delaying the options, extending the options on ports in Alaska and then cancelling those options. This is very, very concerning to Yukoners, because it shows a very terrible lack of vision by the Liberal government and its leader, the Premier.
Do the Liberals not realize that a key element to our economy - to a vibrant, sustainable economy in this territory - is east-west thinking and access to tidewater? This decision may have compromised this territory's economic future for a long time to come.
This could go down in history as one of the biggest faux pas any Yukon government has ever, ever implemented. There are no guarantees that the Yukon, under any agreement with the Alaskans, will have certainty of access to tidewater. We are dependent now on the Alaskans accommodating us and our needs.
They talk about rebuilding the economy. The Liberals talk about a commitment to infrastructure. That's what this was. It's now lost.
We witnessed here today, with the amendment we brought forward to our own motion, which turned the motion into a non-confidence motion against the Liberal government for their lack of leadership, their lack of leadership economically, environmentally, socially - we turned our own motion into a non-confidence motion.
These people across the floor, Mr. Speaker - the Member for Riverdale South - found it funny. They laughed at the fact that Yukoners have come to the opposition and said, "You have to try to do something." That's what this is. This is a non-confidence motion against this Liberal government's total failure in dealing with our economic situation, now and into the future.
All we're getting from the Minister of Economic Development - the Premier - and this government is a pipeline. Like a drunken sailor hanging onto a streetlight, this government has latched onto a pipeline project that may not even happen, and if it does, it could be five to seven years in our future.
This government has asked Yukoners to sacrifice for five to seven years before they can put food on their table. That's ridiculous. And we're here debating a supplementary budget that does nothing to address the situation Yukoners are in.
It's a slap in the face to Yukon people who have no jobs, who have no ability to put food on the table, who can't feed their families, who had to pack up and leave this territory to go and work elsewhere.
They make merry of this and laugh about it, thinking it's a big joke. Well, it's no joke. And I'll tell you this much, Mr. Speaker, Yukon people will remember this day. They'll remember this government's total incompetence when it comes to our economic fortunes in this territory. They will not forget. They'll also not forget that the members opposite laughed at the situation Yukoners are in. This is a non-confidence motion, because this Liberal government has lost the confidence of any Yukoners to lead this territory anywhere but backwards, and that's where we've gone.
We hear the Minister of Health and Social Services trumpet Expatriate, which is a little tiny drilling job - one of the smallest in the history of the territory - and the money was booked before the Liberals even came into office. Furthermore, it was a small company in Watson Lake who hustled that job, not this government.
They talk about Anderson Oil in the southeast Yukon. I challenge that Minister of Health to go to Watson Lake tomorrow morning and find one Watson Laker that's working in the southeast Yukon. Go find out. Besides that, the $10 million that Anderson is spending in the southeast Yukon was booked over a year ago.
When we look at Eagle Plains and the jobs that are going to happen in seismic - 30 to 60 days, three months maximum. It's all well and good, and we wish people well in Vuntut Gwitchin traditional territory, in Dawson City, in Mayo and anybody else that may be lucky enough to get a job. But the $20 million that's involved here was because of the first land sale in decades in this territory over a year ago, not under this Liberal government.
They make the claim that they're cutting taxes. Those taxes and that work began under Piers McDonald's leadership as Minister of Finance in this territory. The 12-percent cut was because of NDP work, NDP vision - not this Liberal government.
Mr. Speaker, we amended our motion - though the Member for Riverdale South obviously has missed the point - because Yukoners have lost confidence in this Liberal government to lead. That's why we amended our own motion. The member may think it's funny, but I'll guarantee one thing: Yukoners don't think this is funny. They don't think it's funny at all. They don't think it's funny when they have lost their jobs in forestry. They don't think it's funny when other people get work in the oil and gas industry and they don't. They don't think it's funny that this government hasn't come forward with one single, solitary initiative to address the Yukon's situation that we find ourselves in economically. In fact, the Liberals have worsened it by decisions they made.
This is a cold-hearted, arrogant government that has no vision and is trying to make up for that lack of vision with some ridiculous approach to our economic situation and by attaching themselves to one thing: a pipeline. There's much more than that in this territory; there always has been and always will be, and this Liberal government fails to recognize that.
Mr. Speaker, we will be supporting the amendment to this motion because, as I stated earlier, our economic situation has worsened even in the last two weeks. We have no choice but to bring forward a non-confidence motion to the floor of this Legislature. The Liberal government is doing a disservice to Yukoners. They have lost their way. They have no vision, no plan, no blueprint, and we are in trouble.
Now the Minister of Health and Social Services says winter works is a natural thing, like winter, like snow. Nothing could be further from the truth. Winter works is something that forward-thinking, competent governments implement to help Yukoners survive long, hard winters. And there is nothing - nothing - in this budget that addresses that need. That only means more people will leave; the unemployment rate will increase; the workforce will drop; investment and certainty will disappear completely. Under this Liberal government, we would find ourselves in dire straits. The picture is very grim here, and yet the members opposite laugh and joke - they think it's funny. Well, I'm going to hold them accountable for that. This opposition - the official opposition and the leader of the third party - our job is to hold them accountable for that slap in the face to Yukoners. It's a disgusting display by someone who said they were going to improve things; they were going to improve decorum in this House. It has never been worse; it has never been worse. The only difference here is that the Liberals have become government. Everything that happens in this Legislature, the government sets the agenda. It's up to us to manage our time. Things have worsened in this House - as they have - and it's solely the responsibility of the members opposite. This Liberal government should wake up to what's really going on. It's high time that this Liberal government sat down, rolled up their sleeves, and went to work addressing the real issues of this territory.
And yet, they laugh about it - big joke.
Mr. Speaker, we will be supporting this amendment wholeheartedly, and we support it because it goes a necessary step in bringing forward a non-confidence motion against this Liberal government. Yukoners, this House, the opposition, the public service and First Nations - all have lost confidence in this government's ability to lead this territory anywhere.
Ms. Tucker: Mr. Speaker, this side of the House takes the plight of Yukoners very seriously, which is why we are working very hard with the departments and all Yukoners to provide future economic opportunities, to be gained through long-term projects. I would like to remind the members opposite that their own former leader is currently investing in the Yukon and providing future job opportunities through a waterfront development project.
I would also like to remind the members opposite that there is the potential for a new transmission line. The Mayo school will go ahead in the spring, as will the Grey Mountain Primary School. We are putting money back into infrastructure programs. While the members opposite may say repeatedly, over and over and over again, many ugly and unpleasant things, we, on this side of the House, are trying very hard, with the support of all Yukoners, to try to make our future a better and happier place.
You can stand here and say all of the very, very ugly things you're saying, however -
Speaker: Order please. Would the member please address her remarks through the Chair.
Ms. Tucker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
In the long run, three years down the road, Yukoners will look at the statistics today and they will look at the statistics then, and make a decision.
When I worked for the Yukon Housing Corporation, I started tracking the number of families that were leaving the Yukon, and the number of families leaving was significantly larger under the NDP mandate than it is under ours. Right now, we have the support of Yukon people to try and do things differently.
And we are. And we look forward to the members opposite assisting us, rather than just getting tirades that are inappropriate. We support the people of the Yukon, and we expect the members opposite to help us support them as well.
Speaker: Are you prepared for the question on the amendment?
Some Hon. Members: Division.
Speaker: Division has been called.
Speaker: Mr. Clerk, please poll the House.
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Disagree.
Hon. Mr. Jim: Disagree.
Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Disagree.
Hon. Mr. Roberts: Disagree.
Hon. Ms. Buckway: Disagree.
Ms. Tucker: Disagree.
Mr. McLarnon: Disagree.
Mr. Fairclough: Agree.
Mr. Fentie: Agree.
Mr. Keenan: Agree.
Mr. McRobb: Agree.
Ms. Netro: Agree.
Mr. Jenkins: Agree.
Clerk: Mr. Speaker, the results are six yea, seven nay.
Speaker: The nays have it. I declare the amendment defeated.
Amendment to Motion No. 21 negatived
Speaker: Is there any further debate on the main motion?
If the member now speaks, he will close debate. Does any other member wish to be heard?
Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, I have a few comments on the main motion, and the Member for Klondike's surprised, but truly this is part of the job. Now, the Liberal government is providing both short-term and long-term economic development. The Yukon film industry is a growth industry. Economic benefits will be realized in both the short and long term. The film industry offers employment to individuals who are handy, for those who are willing to learn the ropes of the industry and also for those who are interested in acting, much like some of the stuff we've seen today. Now, when a film or commercial is produced in the Yukon, it can employ a number of people with a number of different skills, and many of the skills needed by the industry can readily be provided by Yukoners: jobs like guiding and equipment outfitting, food catering, and other service and supply businesses.
A single production needs up to 40 Yukoners to complete, providing as much as 1,600 person-days of employment. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on the production of commercials and millions of dollars are spent for feature-length films. The potential for realizing the benefit of this growth industry increases as Yukoners develop the skills and services needed by the film industry.
This year we have two films tentatively scheduled to be produced. The negotiations for these films can potentially provide just over $2.5 million to the Yukon economy. That's spending within the Yukon. Those are also negotiations that took place after this government came to power.
But to give credit where credit is due, much of the work that was started by the Film Commission was done by the previous government.
Two commercials have been done in the Yukon this fall. One commercial provided seven person-days of employment and that was with Everest software. The other commercial provided about 50 person-days of employment in the Yukon, and this is interesting, Mr. Speaker, because that commercial was for Las Vegas tourism. The commercials cost from $100,000 to $250,000 to film in the Yukon. That means that each commercial had a positive economic impact on the territorial economy.
Since coming into office, and this is something that our government has done, the Liberal government has seen to the opening of a new office for the Yukon Film Commission, and two more people are also working in this important economic driver. We are, I have to admit, taking advantage of high production costs in Los Angeles and the upcoming Actors Guild strike - two things that the members opposite cannot take credit for.
As I have mentioned many, many times before in this House, and others have as well, the Department of Tourism is implementing the stay-another-day program, which is estimated to bring millions more dollars to the Yukon Territory by having tourists just stay one more day. We have found that if we can get people to stay for only four more hours, perhaps coming to a festival of some sort or to some sort of activity within the territory and staying just four more hours, then they will stay another day.
Those activities can take place anywhere in the Yukon Territory, and much of the stay-another-day program focuses on rural Yukon. We are working with the Convention Bureau to promote the Yukon as a convention destination, and this will bring more visitors and more dollars to the Yukon Territory.
Mr. Speaker, when I served at the municipal level, conventions were a very important part of our economic development at that level of government. People who come here for conventions will spend 10 times as many dollars as other visitors to the Yukon Territory. In some ways they're trapped here; they have to spend money here; they want to spend money here; therefore, they're a good investment of Yukon tax dollars.
Part of the money that we're giving to the Yukon Convention Bureau is to prepare bids for conventions. That was something that wasn't done by the previous government and it hasn't been done in the past in the Yukon Territory. We're hoping that that will make a dramatic change in the way we do convention business with the rest of the world.
The NDP had four years to work on the economy - four years. They said that they would do it one job at a time; instead we lost more and more Yukoners. They left the Yukon economy in shambles. We are working hard to improve that economy.
Some of our short-term and long-term economic development initiatives are that we recognize more people need to work, and this is why the economy is one of our top seven priorities.
In winter works - and this is supposedly what this motion is all about, which the side opposite just tried to amend with an unfriendly amendment. Now in winter works this year, there are oil and gas permits and development and exploration permits, which are being issued on a regular basis.
There are winter festivals and carnivals that this government has supported throughout the supplementary budget - that would be Quest; that would be Rendezvous. These are put on by local Yukoners; they employ local Yukoners and they attract visitors from both inside and outside the Yukon Territory. There is $90,000 being spent on highway camp facilities maintenance this winter, and approximately $500,000 is being spent on winter gravel crushing. Clearing on the Shakwak project is another $200,000 to $300,000. Highway construction work will continue on Shakwak, employing approximately 50 workers until December, and then it's expected to reconvene again in March.
The clearing of the Carcross sewage treatment site, which is dependent on, of course, the approval of the water licence, will also provide winter work.
In the short term, we're just participating in the Yukon common forum with First Nations to assist the parties in addressing Yukon specific issues.
We have increased incentives to junior mining companies by $250,000.
We have successfully lobbied the federal government for a new tax credit for flow-through shares which will kick-start exploration in Yukon and we are lobbying the federal government for an economic development agreement - actually a number of economic development agreements.
The Mayo school will be built in the spring and that will provide employment. It's a capital project and it will provide employment for Yukoners.
The benefit agreements for exploration are underway with a number of different businesses and the value of building permits are, again, up by 15 percent this year and that, as everyone knows in this House, is a prime indicator of renewed confidence in the economy.
In the longer term, we're working with the Convention Bureau to promote the Yukon as a convention destination, which will bring more visitors and more dollars to the Yukon Territory.
We have been aggressively promoting the Alaska Highway pipeline route and, if the Yukon is successful in securing this route, this will result in hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars for our economy. Unfortunately, this is an initiative that the NDP have chosen not to support.
We also have been working hard on exploration for oil and gas. There are three new applications for exploration in southeast Yukon that the members opposite have alluded to.
We are increasing the funding for highway construction and maintenance and this work will employ Yukoners and assist in bringing more tourists to our territory, as well. This is money that the previous government did not allocate.
The NDP had four years to work on the economy, with little or no results. They had an unemployment rate that averaged from 13 percent to an all time high of 17 percent. They are the last people who should be giving advice on how to fix the Yukon economy. We adopted the previous government's budget. There were no winter works programs in the previous government's budget.
Lastly, Mr. Speaker, there are some people from the party opposite that do have faith in the Yukon economy and they will be doing major projects within the Yukon Territory and within the City of Whitehorse, very, very shortly. Not all Yukoners have given up hope.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Mr. Jenkins: I'd like to beg the Legislature's indulgence to allow me to introduce two of the few remaining placer miners from the Klondike: Grant Klein, the president of the Klondike Placer Miners Association, and Tara Christie. They both mine in the Dawson region. Please welcome them.
Speaker: If the member now speaks, he will close debate. Does any other member wish to be heard?
Mr. Fentie: In closing this debate, Mr. Speaker, it is evident that we, on this side of the House, have done our job. There hasn't been anything - anything - from the Liberal benches that would indicate that they know where they're going when it comes to dealing with the economic issues in this territory. We have just witnessed the Member for Riverdale South read from her notes a long litany of wonderful things that are happening. Unfortunately, just about all of those are situated here in Whitehorse.
This Liberal government across the floor has turned its back on rural Yukon. It forgets what rural Yukon means to this territory's economy. They shut down the forest industry, and they have done nothing in terms of progressing anything for the mining industry. In fact, it's even getting worse, now with the delay of devolution and the delay of land claims. They have cancelled the port options in Alaska, which could virtually landlock this territory in future, and they have done nothing whatsoever to address winter works. They have cancelled the community development fund, the fire smart program, the community tourism marketing fund, and the trade and investment fund - all vehicles that were targeted to help Yukoners survive tough economic times, especially in rural Yukon - all gone.
Mr. Speaker, I think this motion and the body of this motion say it all. There's absolutely nothing that this Liberal government is doing to address our economy, except aggressively promote the Alaska Highway pipeline, which is a very futuristic initiative.
They have done nothing to deal with the situation now and in the interim. Mr. Speaker, we'll be supporting this motion. The Liberals opposite have narrowly, narrowly survived a non-confidence motion by one vote. This territory is facing a grim, grim winter, and the members opposite sit and do nothing and make a mockery of it. They're only focused on Whitehorse and nowhere else.
Mr. Speaker, our job in the official opposition is to -
Some Hon. Member: Point of order.
Point of order
Speaker: Order please. Member for Mount Lorne, on a point of order.
Ms. Tucker: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, while it is inappropriate to mention the absence of members, the Premier and the Member for Riverside have both indicated that they would be going to Anchorage and out of the House this afternoon, so saying that it narrowly survived a non-confidence vote is inaccurate, misleading and -
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Speaker: I will allow the member to continue, and then I will ask for comments on the point of order.
Ms. Tucker: Mr. Speaker, I felt that it was necessary for this side of the House to correct the impression that was being left in the minds of Yukoners by the use of that particular phrase, by clarifying those present for the vote.
Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Speaker, there is a constant series of interruptions by the Liberal Party on issues that are not points of order. I would request that you rule accordingly, that it's not a point of order, it shouldn't have been raised, and ask them to show more consideration for the business of this House than what they are currently demonstrating.
Speaker: Order, please. The difficulty that the Chair is experiencing is that I don't believe that the Member for Watson Lake referred to the absence of any one person; however, we do have the government House leader referring to the absence of some members. It places the Chair in a very difficult situation. I find that there is no point of order, and I would ask members to obey, in the future, the rule about not referring to members who may not be in the House and try not to explain their absence. With that, I ask the Member for Watson Lake to continue.
Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, in closing, this motion and the intention of this motion was for all of us to address the economic situation that we're in, the terrible straits that Yukoners are in, specifically in rural Yukon. The Liberal government opposite refuses to collectively deal with this issue, which affects us all. Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has turned its back on rural Yukon. It has failed the people of this territory. It has dismantled our economy to a point where there's absolutely nothing left but the hope that a pipeline will be built sometime in the future.
This government, this Liberal government, has a lot to answer for, Mr. Speaker, and I'm sure, over the course of this mandate, we in the opposition, along with Yukoners, will expose the deficiencies that the Liberals have brought to governance in this territory.
Speaker: Are you prepared for the question?
Some Hon. Members: Division.
Speaker: Division has been called.
Speaker: Mr. Clerk, please poll the House.
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Disagree.
Hon. Mr. Jim: Disagree.
Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Disagree.
Hon. Mr. Roberts: Disagree.
Hon. Ms. Buckway: Disagree.
Ms. Tucker: Disagree.
Mr. McLarnon: Disagree.
Mr. Fairclough: Agree.
Mr. Fentie: Agree.
Mr. Keenan: Agree.
Mr. McRobb: Agree.
Ms. Netro: Agree.
Mr. Jenkins: Agree.
Clerk: Mr. Speaker, the results are six yea, seven nay.
Speaker: The nays have it. I declare the motion defeated.
Motion No. 21 negatived
Clerk: Motion No. 6, standing in the name of Mr. Jenkins.
Motion No. 6
Speaker: It has been moved by the leader of the third party
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the decision made by the Prime Minister to rename Mount Logan, Mount Trudeau was made without proper consultation with Yukoners and is in contravention of land claims agreements with Yukon First Nations;
THAT this House recognizes many Yukoners and numerous other Canadians have indicated that they are opposed to renaming Mount Logan; and
THAT this House urges the Prime Minister to reverse his decision to rename Mount Logan as Mount Trudeau.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, at this juncture, Mr. Speaker, I believe that we will probably have unanimous consent to this motion. It is a very straightforward motion. It spells out that there is an inherent problem in the way that the federal Liberals deal with Yukon, and that there's an inherent problem in the initial reaction of Yukon Liberals to their federal Liberal masters.
Now, if we just look back to October 4 - the day after Trudeau's funeral - Prime Minister Jean Chrétien announced that Mount Logan would be renamed Mount Pierre Elliott Trudeau. What was supposed to be a very fitting tribute to a former Prime Minister of Canada, however, turned out to be one of the biggest mistakes that that Liberal government has made, Mr. Speaker.
There wasn't any consultation whatsoever among Canadians, First Nations or Yukoners. All that was done was a phone call was made and a unilateral Cabinet decision - a federal Cabinet decision - to rename Mount Logan to Mount Trudeau was done in a matter of hours. That's it, just rubber stamp - bang.
While I can understand the personal feelings between Mr. Chrétien and Mr. Trudeau, it is the fundamental role of the Prime Minister of Canada to make decisions that take into account the concerns and views of all Canadians.
In this instance, that simply was not done. When Prime Minister Jean Chrétien first broached the idea to rename Mount Logan, the Yukon Premier told him that she supported that decision. Hey, that's a great idea. All the hype surrounding the former Prime Minister Trudeau's funeral was still evident across Canada, and he was an important figure in Canadian political society and in society itself. But what we have is a Yukon Premier that at that juncture couldn't think through the process. She just bought into the phone call and that was it.
The Yukon Premier - and I quote - went on to say, "I look at it from the position - what an honor for the Yukon to be home to a mountain peak bearing a tremendous Prime Minister's name. That's the way I see it. I indicated I would be pleased to assist the Prime Minister in his wish to do this." Of course, anything that the federal Liberals want, Yukon Liberals, after they say yes and they're jumping, they ask the federal Liberals, "How high?"
The Premier of the Yukon went on to say, and I'm quoting, Mr. Speaker, "As a Yukoner, I feel very honored that the Prime Minister would choose to recognize his friend and a great Canadian this way." It's just so fitting, making light of how Trudeau was an avid outdoorsman. There wasn't one word of concern about the removal of Logan's name from the mountain and not one word of concern about the lack of consultation with her fellow Yukon constituents. Rather, the Premier - and again I quote - stated, "I think you would be hard pressed to find a Yukoner that could tell you the first name of Mount Logan."
Very interesting. It indicates a tremendous degree of respect by our Premier of the understanding of history here in the Yukon, Mr. Speaker. Little did the Premier know that Yukoners and Canadians throughout the country were just not as enthusiastic about the proposed change and were actually more informed about Sir William Edmond Logan than she herself was. For many, the decision by the Prime Minister and federal Liberal Cabinet to rename the Yukon landmark "Mount Pierre Elliott Trudeau" was taken as simply trashing the name of one of the most brilliant surveyors that Canada has ever known.
Now, Logan was a surveyor who made the first ever geological maps of Canada in the 1800s. His name is applied to not one mountain but two - Mt. Logan, located about 125 miles west of Gaspé, Quebec, and Mount Logan, which we here in the Yukon and indeed many, many Canadians are all familiar with. It's in the south corner of Yukon. It's the highest peak in Canada, and it's the second highest peak in North America. His name is also applied to a range of mountains in central Yukon, among other geological land forms throughout Canada.
William Logan brought Canada to prominence through his exhibitions of the nation's mineral riches and was awarded numerous distinctions for his notable contribution to society. Back in 1998, William Logan was cited by Maclean's magazine as the most important scientist in Canada's history and the sixth most important figure overall in Canadian history. That's quite interesting, Mr. Speaker, given that Mr. Trudeau did appear on that list, but he did not make the top 10.
Indeed, Sir William Edmond Logan was an important individual and, despite the sentiments of our Premier, here in the Yukon, Logan was, in every way, as much of a Canadian hero as Mr. Trudeau.
Mr. Chrétien's announcement angered many geologists and prompted a letter from the Geological Association of Canada, urging the Prime Minister to reconsider the move. Now, while the Prime Minister may have good intentions, what he essentially did was set a very poor example by striking the name of a very prominent Canadian off the map, simply because he felt someone else was more deserving. I guess he looked upon the former Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, as being entitled to the highest peak in Canada being named after him. That simply wasn't the case. It has been done previously, and it has been done in recognition of a much more prominent Canadian.
For many others, the hasty Liberal decision to rename Canada's highest peak was a slap to Yukon First Nations and an utter show of disrespect for the Yukon umbrella final agreement. Now, that agreement came forward as a result of negotiations that Prime Minister Trudeau himself started and helped to initiate. Indeed, he helped to negotiate part of the UFA. He set the wheels in motion for land claims here in the Yukon. He set the wheels in motion for the initial outcome, which was the umbrella final agreement.
When we look at the umbrella final agreement, Yukon First Nations are to be consulted whenever the naming or renaming of places or features within their traditional territories is up for consideration.
The normal procedure is that name changes are made in an application to the Yukon Geographic Place Names Board, then vetted through a consultation with First Nations, and forwarded as a recommendation to the federal body that regulates geographic place names. Again, neither the Kluane First Nation nor the White River First Nation were asked so much as whether or not they supported such an initiative, or if they had any suggestions themselves as to how Mr. Trudeau could be recognized - nothing, not even a word from the Prime Minister's Office. So much for the umbrella final agreement. As the White River First Nation humbly suggested, perhaps a better way of honouring the memory of Pierre Elliott Trudeau would have been to negotiate a just land claim settlement. Only after the Liberals discovered that there was an obligation to consult with Yukon First Nations, as pursuant to the umbrella final agreement, did members of the Kluane First Nation and White River First Nation receive a call from Parks Canada to explain the name change and what had happened.
No real consultation is required under the umbrella final agreement, Mr. Speaker - just, this is what has happened and this is how it is. What we have is our colonial masters in Ottawa superimposing their decisions and opinions on top of us without even honouring laws that they helped negotiate.
Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned just a moment ago, the Liberal government also failed to pay heed to the process for the naming of geographic place names, a process that has been in place for over a century, and yet another process that the Trudeau government helped to create. If the Liberals had actually done their homework, they would have recognized that there is an agreement in which provincial and federal members of the Canadian Permanent Committee on Geographic Names all agree, that unilateral decisions will not be made in national parks and that established names that have proven acceptable and satisfactory should not be changed or altered.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I really don't know what the exercise is there for, what all of these bodies are in place for. They have been put in place after due process, due consideration by federal and territorial legislators. At the end of the day, there's a process in place for these kinds of decisions.
What we have are the colonial masters, the Liberal government in Ottawa, just saying, "That's the way it's going to be," and instructing their agents, Parks Canada, to give a considerate phone call to the Kluane First Nation and the White River First Nation to tell them that this is what has happened and this is the way it's going to be. No thought again, Mr. Speaker, was given to any national body - its role, its principles - just as there was no thought or any interest whatsoever as to how this change would affect Yukoners, including tourism operators who actually go out and advertise Mount Logan.
All we have to do, Mr. Speaker, is contrast the potential that we could receive if our Tourism department went out and did something with access to Kluane National Park and to the highest peak in Canada. But all we have is a park that was created under Jean Chrétien himself when he was Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs. It was going to be the jewel in the crown of Yukon. Some jewel, some crown - all we have are the keepers of the gates out there in Kluane National Park. Access is very much restricted and even denied.
Contrast that to Denali National Park in Alaska. It has controlled access, Mr. Speaker. What we are missing is a fantastic opportunity as a visitor destination to visit and view Mount Logan. We can't even get it right in that area.
I'm sure no one in Ottawa is going to be happy until the Yukon is virtually one big park from border to border, and mining and mineral exploration is banned, or made so incredibly tough that it just doesn't occur or take place here. Oil and gas exploration currently, over the next number of years, will approach $1 billion in our neighbouring jurisdiction, the Northwest Territories. We might see a small pittance of that, approaching $10 million or $20 million over the next four or five or six years, and then it's virtually all aerial seismic, Mr. Speaker.
Kluane National Park could be the jewel in the crown of the Yukon. If we are marketing Yukon as a visitor destination internationally, there are two things that are well-known: Kluane National Park and Mount Logan, and the Klondike - the history of the Klondike and Dawson City. Those are the two entities that we can go out and sell. One we have access to. Mount Logan is just about an impossibility to get in and have a look around. We have a whole system in place of a park, established by the federal government, restricting access and restricting control. Just how many jobs are accrued to the Yukon as a result of the creation of Kluane National Park? Virtually none, other than a few people brought in to work for Parks Canada.
But ask the First Nations in Kluane and White River how much employment has been created as a result of the creation of Kluane National Park. You'll find, Mr. Speaker, it's very little, if any. So, when Jean Chrétien, who created Kluane National Park, chose to rename the tallest mountain in Canada, from Mount Logan to Mount Trudeau, it came as no surprise to me. It came as no surprise whatsoever. It just added fuel to the fire as to how I knew Mr. Chrétien looked upon the Yukon and, indeed, Mr. Trudeau.
Mr. Trudeau was a very avid outdoorsman. Mr. Chrétien chose to look upon us as a colony controlled by Indian and Northern Affairs, and he was going to do as he pleased. If it wasn't for the change of governments in Ottawa, block funding and formula financing wouldn't have come into place. And fortunately for Yukon, it has been carried forward by Liberal governments. Previously, when we looked at our budget, officials from the Government of the Yukon had to go down to Ottawa -
Speaker: Order please. The member has two minutes to conclude.
Mr. Jenkins: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: My apologies. He has unlimited time.
Mr. Jenkins: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate that, Mr. Speaker. I did have quite a bit more to go through, and I thought I had a lot more time than the 20 minutes allocated for other subjects.
Mr. Speaker, when we look at the wonderful renaming of Mount Logan to Mount Trudeau, all it does is amplify the colonial position that Yukon is relegated to in the eyes of the federal Liberals. There isn't anything wonderful about renaming Mount Logan to Mount Trudeau. There are many, many other options that could be explored, and I'm sure this message will get through to Mr. Chrétien on his visit here tomorrow.
He's obviously up here for different reasons. I believe he's campaigning, and he's probably going to send out the message that if we, in the Yukon, elect a Liberal and send him down to Ottawa, there will be this wonderful relationship that will accrue many, many benefits for Yukon, like, "We can do what we want, when we want, as we want, when we please, because you are still virtually a colony of Canada."
Well, the old days have come and gone. We now have in place an umbrella final agreement that spells out a considerable amount of the roles of the parties - First Nations, the territorial government and the federal government. Now, it would appear that in many cases, the federal government is not honouring the terms and conditions outlined in the umbrella final agreement. Why? It doesn't make any sense to me. We agree to do something, we sign an agreement - that's the initial step in the settlement of Indian land claims here. One would only hope that one of the principal signatories to that agreement would honour that agreement.
But it would appear that there's a Prime Minister currently who just says, "Well, we'll find a way; let's just make a unilateral decision and go for it." And he's done exactly that. In spite of questioning in the House of Commons of one of the other MPs, Sheila Copps, I have yet to hear Prime Minister Chrétien rescind his decision or alter it. There has been some back-pedalling in the Liberal caucus. There have been some reviews and back-pedalling by other Cabinet ministers in the federal government, but as of yet the Prime Minister of Canada has not been forthright and said, "I have backed off on my decision to rename Mount Logan Mount Pierre Elliott Trudeau." Shame on him.
The same holds true for the committee set up on geographic place names here in Canada. How much respect is the Prime Minister of Canada paying to this body and this group, set up exactly for that purpose? Again, no thoughts or concerns were given to that national body, its role and its principles, just as though there was no thought or any interest whatsoever in how this change would affect Yukoners, First Nations and Canadians all.
Well, big surprise for the federal Liberals. That decision to rename Mount Logan Mount Trudeau resulted in one of the biggest upsets this country has ever witnessed.
According to the National Post, opinion polls show that as many as three-quarters of Canadians disapprove of the proposed name change. Now, I'm sure that at the end the spin doctors for the federal Liberals and the Premier here in the Yukon are going to have it turned right around - that we were just in the initial consultation process and it was just an idea that we floated out there. It might be a good idea, it might not, but it's got to go through due process. And then at the end of the period of time, rubber stamp it the way that it was originally envisioned by Prime Minister Chrétien.
If we look back at the National Post article, thousands of letters to the editor occurred as a result. And a Web site was created. One of the principal Web sites created was www.savemtlogan.com and that was set up so those individuals could register their protests against the change in name of Mount Logan. If we look right here in the Yukon, a local photographer, as well as one other real long-term Yukoner, spearheaded a grassroots mail-in campaign to protest Jean Chrétien's plan to rename Mount Logan. A Yukoner very close to the Minister of Community and Transportation Services is one of them.
So, it goes across all party lines, but what happened is that the leader of the Yukon - the leader of the Liberal Party here in the Yukon - did not think through the process and did not thoroughly comprehend what was requested of her. Given her short time in political office and given the short time that she has had the reins of command, it's easy to see how a long-term political master in Ottawa, very skilled in the political arena, could sway an upstart Liberal.
That's exactly what happened.
Well, these write-in campaigns, these mail-in campaigns and the Web site attracted a lot of interest. In just a couple of days the postcard campaign for that famous peak resulted in 1,200 postcards being sent out. For anyone there who has not sent one, you don't even have to pay the postage; you just address it to the Prime Minister of Canada in Ottawa. You can probably even preclude the postal code and it will get there. If Canada Post deems it appropriate to charge a surcharge for no postal code, the Prime Minister of Canada's Office will do so.
The bottom line is that the message has to be made abundantly clear to the Prime Minister that we are fed up being treated as just a colonial entity. The Yukon was created out of the Northwest Territories over 100 years ago. We have our own rules. We have our laws. We have agreements with First Nations, agreements with First Nations that are signed by the Government of Canada on behalf of Canada - actually, on behalf of the Queen. One would think that something of that importance would hold precedence and would be respected and honoured. No, it hasn't been.
Mr. Speaker, I cannot recall another time when so many Yukoners, not to mention Canadians at large, have come together in a united front to voice their concerns about one particular issue - this one little issue, renaming Mount Logan as Mount Trudeau.
Well, after it became obvious that Yukoners were not happy at all with the Liberal decision to rename Mount Logan, that's when our Premier here began to back-pedal and change her tune. She didn't say so initially. Actually it was some two weeks later, after the decision to rename Mount Logan was first announced, that the Yukon's Premier put forward a proposal to the Prime Minister that the name of Mount Logan be left on Canada's highest mountain, and that one of the other peaks be named after the former Prime Minister. I think you call that damage control, Mr. Speaker - damage control by a Premier who is feeling the backlash from First Nations and members of the communities at large, as to this federal initiative.
Now, if we go back to that time, she stated that her government would indeed support the idea of naming one of Mount Logan's peaks, so long as it would go through the respective process. Oh, back to process now. We understand that there's a process. We understand that there's a whole set of procedures in place for geographic place names in Canada. It must have been a pretty quick briefing; it took two weeks to do, Mr. Speaker. Here we have another big flip-flop from the Yukon Liberal Party, which promised to deliver better government, promised to listen all the time, and promised to consult, consult, consult.
Well, in spite of the Premier's efforts, it was a little too late and very much too little. If the Premier of the Yukon had been more thoughtful and more sincere about what Yukoners might have to say about the whole issue to begin with, then perhaps the whole country wouldn't be up in arms today, and we wouldn't be here this afternoon debating this important issue.
What really bothers Yukoners is not so much the tribute or waiting to recognize a former Prime Minister of Canada but how Yukoners were completely ignored in making the decision. That's the issue. Whole cross-sections of Yukoners were completely ignored. First Nations were ignored, rural Yukoners were ignored. The only one that was consulted was the Premier, and not really consulted, basically just, "This is what I'm planning on doing. What do you think?" And the Premier of the Yukon, being a good, converted Liberal, bought it and swallowed it, hook, line and sinker, Mr. Speaker. It wasn't even a very extensive fishing trip for the Prime Minister of Canada. He didn't even have to offer any bait, just throw out his hook and reel them in.
No one here in the Yukon was consulted. I don't think any Yukoners would take exception that we should and could recognize a former Prime Minister of Canada. That's not the issue. Mr. Trudeau played a very important role in Canadian political life. I grew up with Mr. Trudeau in the same neck of the woods, although I didn't know him personally, but I knew who he was and I knew members of his family. At the end of the day, he didn't quite have the silver spoon in his mouth, he had one of those golden spoons. He had the wherewithal to do what he wanted, and he was one of the few that was very, very articulate in both the French language and the English language.
That stood him in very good stead in Quebec and in the rest of Canada. So it's fitting that we pay tribute to an individual of Pierre Trudeau's stature. How we go about it is the part of the equation that I am concerned with. In fact, to a large degree, I am disgusted with how we are treated by our federal Liberal government in Ottawa.
It's kind of interesting, Mr. Speaker, when we look at it and look at what was said. It was probably stated so very eloquently in a letter to the editor in the Whitehorse Star on October 13, 2000. In part, it said that this colonial and patronizing attitude toward Yukon citizens, and First Nations in particular, is a disgrace, one that Mr. Trudeau would not have tolerated in his vision of a just society.
Mr. Speaker, just allow those words to sink in. They sum up the situation very, very succinctly. If anything, we will remember Pierre Trudeau for his vision of a just society. Now, we might not all agree on how we're going to achieve that and whether it is indeed just, but that was his vision, and he was relatively fair and relatively reasonable and very, very considerate of First Nation requests.
He had begun the land claims process here in Yukon.
Yukoners feel very much that a tribute is in order, but they wish to have a say in a national tribute, as do all other Canadians - probably not all others, Mr. Speaker, but most other Canadians. When it comes to our Yukon Territory, Yukoners enjoy a very close bond with our land, our mountains, our lakes and our rivers. And why not? This is our home. For many of us, we have chosen the Yukon. For many, many more, they were born and raised here, as were their parents and their parents and their parents before them.
Mr. Speaker, while I like to think that we are all, for the most part, a very generous and most tolerant people, we certainly take issue with those who wish to tell us how to live and how things are going to be, especially when those instructions are delivered from Ottawa by one of our colonial masters, who deems himself just that and portrays every evidence of being just that.
Mr. Speaker, I have chosen to bring forward this motion today as an opportunity for all members to voice their protest against the Prime Minister's proposal to change the name of Mount Logan to Mount Pierre Elliott Trudeau. It's in an effort to convince him and his Liberal colleagues to change their minds.
Now, I know there's probably going to be some Liberals meeting with Mr. Chrétien when he arrives tomorrow, and I would urge them, if they have an opportunity, to suggest to him that he reconsider and make it abundantly clear that, if there's going to be renaming or the naming of any site here in Yukon, due process and respect for First Nations be agreed to, as they must, and be followed.
It's only a simple request. There are many, many things we can do, other than having Mr. Chrétien superimpose his desires on us. I'm very hopeful that this motion will have the support of all members so that we can add to the many voices that have already spoken, and send a clear message to the Prime Minister of Canada that we are opposed to renaming Mount Logan, and that we urge the Prime Minister to reverse his decision to rename this mountain as Mount Trudeau. I'm looking for all-party support. It's a very respectful motion. It's a motion that I don't believe we will have any dissension on.
Hon. Mrs. Edelman: On October 16, Premier Pat Duncan sent a letter to the Prime Minster, proposing that one of the peaks of Mount Logan be named in honour of the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau. This action by this Liberal government set in motion the withdrawal of the federal government's announcement to unilaterally rename Mount Logan as Mount Pierre Elliott Trudeau. This action was taken after the Premier spoke with Chief Robert Johnson of the Kluane First Nation, with Chief David Johnny of the White River First Nation, and with many other concerned Yukoners.
As Minister of Tourism, which includes the heritage portfolio, I would like to assure everyone that following the proper protocol, entitled Procedure for the Handling of Geographical Names in Federal Lands in the Provinces, will give Yukoners the say that they deserve in this important issue. The Yukon Geographical Place Names Board, with whom I am meeting next week, should be contacted by federal officials prior to any formal name-change decision being made.
On November 2 the response from the Prime Minister to the Premier's letter indicates that our Premier's decision would be considered. It was never the federal government's intention to be disrespectful of the memory of Sir William Logan. Mount Logan bears the name of a man of great importance to this country.
And personally, Mr. Trudeau was my hero growing up. When he came here in the early 1970s, I got his autograph, and I treasure that. Through cooperation and communication, I'm sure that the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau can and will be honoured in a way that is consistent with his stature, that is respectful of Yukon First Nations, and acceptable to the Trudeau family, to Yukoners, and to all Canadians.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. McRobb: Well, Mr. Speaker, the member opposite had unlimited time, yet she only found it worthy to talk to this motion for about two minutes, and it's no wonder. It's no wonder, because the Liberals are embarrassed by this motion and by the Mount Logan issue. They simply don't want to talk about it. They want to sweep it under the rug. They're a housekeeping government, but what they don't like, they sweep under the rug. They're more focused on making sure everything's in order on top of their desks than they are about the priorities of Yukoners.
This issue is a very important issue. It first started on October 4. That was a Wednesday. I personally heard it on CBC radio, I believe it was late afternoon. When I went home that night, I checked the CBC Newsworld Web site, and got an article that came on-line about 7 p.m. and I emailed it out to several constituents and other Yukoners about half an hour later. Not to my surprise, I started getting responses almost immediately, and a few phone calls followed. People were very upset at this unilateral decision by Prime Minister Chrétien and his Cabinet, which abrogated First Nations agreements, which showed disrespect to Yukoners, which was very disrespectful to the Sir William Edmond Logan family, among other very insulting aspects.
The next day, while in the office, I discussed this matter, and decided that I wasn't going to take it sitting down. I started to draft a letter, which was released the next day.
In that letter it asks the Premier to reverse her support for this unilateral decision, stick up for Yukoners, inform the Prime Minister that his unilateral decision had a very negative effect on Yukoners, abrogated land claims agreements and so on. The letter even suggested the very same solution that the Premier tried to take credit for some 12 days later, Mr. Speaker. It was her idea, she said. Well, it wasn't my idea because I got that idea from somebody else, but I saw value in it, enough to include it in the letter, but I'm not claiming credit for it like the Premier tried to do some 12 days later.
Mr. Speaker, this is one of these issues that captivated the country for nearly two weeks - all over the renaming of a mountain in honour of a former Prime Minister. At the beginning, I think most Canadians felt that, because of the overwhelming sentiment toward the former, late Prime Minister, something honouring him was indeed in order. But to suddenly announce something so controversial as renaming Canada's highest mountain without consultation or without any kind of notice was an extremely controversial action. As I have mentioned, it didn't take long for Canadians and Yukoners alike to be motivated to speak out to defend what they believe in and their principles against this decision.
There are several Yukoners whom I would like to mention, because I think they deserve credit. When the Premier took credit and the senator took credit for this, they failed to mention the hard work by several Yukoners and other Canadians.
I would like to take time now to pay them respect. Earlier today, I paid respect to the organizer of a petition. I also mentioned a former Yukoner who developed the www.savemtlogan.com Web site, Harmen Keyser. There are people locally who deserve recognition, including Chief Bob Johnson of the Kluane First Nation, without whose support this issue would have been practically a done deal. Chief Bob Johnson recognized how his First Nation's rights had been infringed upon. He recognized the public anger over this unilateral decision, and he stood up for what he believed in by denouncing it. Shortly thereafter, his First Nation was supported by the White River First Nation, which echoed those same sentiments.
Mr. Speaker, there were many Yukoners. The leader of the Third Party mentioned a photographer - his name, Richard Hartmier - and the Mount Logan postcards, which made the national news and newspapers. That's all part of the whole movement that led to the reversal of the Prime Minister's decision, which, by the way, we have still not received formal notice of. I hope to address that later in my limited time of 20 minutes.
Many Yukoners participated in letter-writing campaigns, postings on Web boards, e-mails. Personally, I received dozens of e-mails from across the country and the Yukon, all expressing outrage. For the better part of these 12 days, I normally was in front of my computer in my Whitehorse office following this issue, reading press stories, answering e-mails and so on, and I was captivated by the issue, along with the rest of the country.
Mr. Speaker, I have a collection of information that fills practically a whole binder. Most of it is media articles from across the country and from Yukon newspapers.
The leader of the third party alluded to some of the comments from our Premier when this first became an issue. These were documented in the October 5 edition of the Whitehorse Star. I'll just review this quickly.
"Premier Pat Duncan heard about that dream when Chrétien called her yesterday afternoon. 'He explained the reasoning behind the gesture,' said Duncan. She hadn't realized the commitment the two had made to climb the mountain until Chrétien told her about it."
That was when our Prime Minister claimed that he and the late Prime Minister wanted to climb that mountain someday.
"Duncan thinks highly of what Chrétien has done for his friend.
"'This is a very thoughtful, kind gesture by the prime minister, who is also a personal friend grieving the loss of a friend'
"The Premier is also honoured that Chrétien wants to remember Trudeau through the Yukon.
"'As a Yukoner, I feel very honoured that the Prime Minister would choose to recognize his friend and a great Canadian this way,' said Duncan.
"She also felt the naming was special because of Trudeau's love of, and involvement in, the north.
"'It is just so fitting.' Trudeau was an avid outdoorsman.
"Duncan is not concerned about the removal of Logan's name from the mountain.
"'I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a Yukoner that could tell you the first name of Mr. Logan,' she said."
Well, Mr. Speaker, a world-renowned mountaineer, Brad Washburn, whom I have had the pleasure of meeting, responded to that by saying, "That's fine. Who cares? All we know is that he was the most brilliant surveyor Canada has ever produced."
Since this issue became a national issue over the renaming, many Canadians have benefited by increased awareness of the accomplishments of Sir William Logan. I am one of those.
There is a lot of information on Sir William Logan on the Internet and in print that testifies to his greatness. In fact, Maclean's magazine selected him as one of the 10 most influential, prominent Canadians of all time. Mr. Speaker, the former late Prime Minister didn't make that list.
Mr. Speaker, this man was a great Canadian, and his descendants and followers in the geological field and other fields all continue to honour him today. Each year, there is an award in his honour. To all of a sudden erase his name from this monument was a very disrespectful move.
Now, I have spoken about the disrespect issue, which has several different aspects: First Nations, Yukoners, the Logan family there is the Geographical Place Names Board. It was very disrespectful, and, to his credit, I would commend the Yukon director of that board for not caving in to political pressure and for standing up against this, because there is a process in place; there are procedures and boards in place to deal with geographical place names.
This whole move was very imperialistic of the federal government. We have a Prime Minister who still views the Yukon as a colony and wants to dictate how things should be up here. After all, Mr. Speaker, we're in the far corner of the country. There are only 30,000 or so people here. Who would raise a fuss, he thought.
Well, Mr. Speaker, times have changed since he was Minister of Northern Affairs. Times have changed. The Yukon has developed. We're leading the country in land claims agreements and self-government agreements. We have a territorial government that, even though it caved in on this issue, represents people in the territory.
We are not a colony any more. The federal government shouldn't view us as a colony, and the territorial government should refuse to be treated like a colony. Why did the Premier cave in, Mr. Speaker? Why? Is it a personal friendship with the Prime Minister? Why? A lot of people are asking the question even still, some time later. Why did she cave in? Why did she not speak up on behalf of Yukoners, or at least ask for some public consultation? Everybody knows the mountain is in traditional territory of First Nations. Nobody should stand for that type of treatment.
Mr. Speaker, this issue, as I mentioned, really captivated the nation. There are also on-line polls. I participated in Web site polls on the Globe and Mail, the Sympatico Web site, and the Discovery Channel Web site. The end result of all three and newspaper polls indicated that about 75 percent of Canadians were very much opposed to the renaming of Mount Logan.
This issue, as I mentioned, started on October 4, and, looking through the information I have, it indicates that it ended on October 15 - as much as we can use that word "ended", Mr. Speaker. When our Member of Parliament, Louise Hardy, questioned the Heritage minister, Sheila Copps, in Parliament, Ms. Copps indicated they would be reviewing the decision.
That prompted further inquiries, which received a more elaborate response - that the renaming definitely would not proceed for the time being.
Now, the Member for Riverdale South indicated that the Premier sent a letter on October 16. It would appear that might have occurred after the fact, Mr. Speaker - a lot of good that would do, a lot of good her letter would have done, anyway.
This issue generated thousands of objections from across the country. The Web site - www.savemtlogan.com, as I mentioned earlier today in addressing the petition - generated thousands of petition responses. In fact, that exact number is 23,000 petitions signed as of November 9. This Web site didn't even exist until about midway through that 12-day period of controversy that captivated the nation.
Another person I met in the cyber world on this issue, Mr. Speaker, is a person who spent time in the Yukon, and he now lives in Ontario. He spent a lot of time writing letters, posting on the Internet, and helping the cause to reverse this decision. I want to mention his name, because he deserves a lot of credit, and that is Mr. Edmund Hartlin, of Ontario.
And I would think it appropriate, Mr. Speaker, if I have time, to get on the record his letter that he wrote straight from the heart. It says, "Premier Duncan, I am very disappointed that you are in agreement with the decision of Jean Chrétien and his Cabinet to change the name of Mount Logan to Mount Pierre Elliott Trudeau. You will have been informed by now of the contributions Logan made to Canada, I will not waste your time in a repetition of them. You are undoubtedly also aware that Maclean's magazine two years ago rated Logan as the sixth most important Canadian of all time.
"I would like to comment on some of the statements you are quoted in the Whitehorse Star as making with reference to the name change:
"As a Yukoner you feel very honoured by Chrétien's decision. Perhaps you are aware that other Yukoners do not share your feeling that it is an honour either to you or to the Yukon.
"Trudeau and Chrétien made a commitment to climb Mount Logan. I'm not sure what constitutes 'commitment', I understand they once 'visited' the mountain and thought it would be good if they had the time and skill to climb it. Having some personal knowledge of Mount Logan and its approaches I assume they saw it from the air. There have, of course, been parties who made their way up Slim's River and over the Kaskawulsh and Hubbard glaciers to climb Logan. But the majority of climbers fly in, often to King Col, and do not feel they have climbed only part way 'up Logan'.
"I agree with you that Trudeau was an outdoorsman, for that very reason it would make more sense to me if the Trans-Canada Trail were named in his honour. Not only is it a part of the great outdoors of Canada, but it is a unifying influence on Canada of a type of which Trudeau would have approved. And, unlike climbing Mount Logan, it is something almost every Canadian has the time and skill to enjoy.
"You are quoted as saying one would be hard-pressed to find even one Yukoner who could tell you the first name of Logan. I have two comments on that, first I could give you a list of names of Yukoners who would have no difficulty in giving you his first name. Secondly, I'm not sure his first name is the most important thing to know about him. Try yourself on this list of important Canadians: Banting, Bombardier, Fessenden, Flemming, Hurzburg, Macleod, Noorduyn, Polyani, Stevenson, Rutherford. I hope you will reconsider your approval of this name change.
"I am not a Yukoner, but I have been to the Yukon 13 times and have spent a total of more than a year there. I have been very fortunate, I have spent about four months of that time in the St. Elias Mountains - an area of incomparable beauty, and about the most inaccessible part of Canada south of 60.
"There are many people, including me, who will never refer to Mount Logan as Mount Pierre Elliott Trudeau, whether or not Chrétien has the right or authority to change its name. Please reconsider and join the many Yukoners and Canadians who think that renaming Mount Logan is a hasty and ill-conceived decision."
That's the letter, Mr. Speaker, and it's dated October 8.
In conclusion, I would like to thank all Yukoners and all Canadians, everybody who contributed to this countrywide movement to send a message to the Prime Minister to stop this unilateral decision. Hopefully, Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister is here tomorrow he will verify that, in fact, the decision has been reversed.
Mr. McLarnon: I rise to support this motion in principle, but I do believe that there will be some - I'm going to propose a change later.
One of the reasons that I rise to support this motion and give it a round of discussion is that I have had two experiences in my life that would make people understand the grief of the man who asked for this and make people understand why Trudeau touched him in such a way that he would want to make a large and grand gesture. I'm asking people to understand that mistakes are made in grief and that mistakes are made in emotion that, once reflected upon later, would certainly be given due consideration and understanding by people around them.
Prime Minister Chrétien was distraught, saddened, deeply touched and his own mortality possibly identified by the death of one of his great friends, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, as I was for sure. I had a very passing acquaintance with Pierre Elliott Trudeau. He was a Prime Minister in our country who many people can claim to have met. This is a Prime Minister of the past, a Prime Minister who really did touch people.
I met him the first time when I was seven years old when he came to visit Whitehorse. Ione Christensen introduced me as a "young potential Prime Minister". That's what she said, and I realize I never will be, but that was how Ione introduced me. I shook his hand, got his autograph, asked him a question on national defence and never thought I'd meet him again.
I was fortunate enough to meet him again when I was a page in the House of Commons. When I was a page in the House of Commons, he took keen interest in meeting the young pages as we came forward. Many people knew him already. I shook his hand and reminded him of the time we met in Whitehorse, and he told me that he meets a lot of people, but precocious seven-year-olds are something he tries to forget, so I understand completely why he wouldn't remember me.
But in that year - that was the year he took his famous walk in the snow and decided that the end of his public political life would happen - I saw a man of great strength, intelligence and courage. I saw a man who was respected by everyone in the House, not just his political party. I saw a man who, when he finally talked about his walk in the snow, had to sign autographs for every member and every person he was at all associated with. The pages would continually bring these books to autograph. Once, when I brought one book to him, he turned to me and said, "I'm tired of doing this." I said, "I'd trade you for anything I have in my life." He smiled, and we laughed.
I met him again after that at Expo 86. This time he actually remembered me. We were able to go to a function together. He introduced me to a few of his friends. That was the last time I had a chance to meet Mr. Trudeau. But what I do know is that my brief impressions from meeting him lasted the rest of my life. His power and presence were certainly something that affected you.
What he also did for our country, in bringing us into the social justice that we experience today, bringing us to the tolerance that we have now - these legacies will be felt into the next centuries. So, when we think of these things what he has done for our country, and how he personally affected people - then we start to understand what grief is and why people were so moved when he died.
We watched the funeral together, an emotional charge, even for people who didn't like him. Justin said goodbye to his father, with a slow walk down the stairs with his mother. We saw Chrétien visibly shaken and we understood that he lost a friend and he lost a mentor. When I heard one interview with Jean Chrétien, the first time he met Trudeau he was a rookie Cabinet minister, and he was forced to sit down beside Trudeau and have a conversation in a four-hour flight across the country.
As a man, Trudeau was already a leader in the Quiet Revolution. He was already a person that had brought forward Quebec Nationalism to the point where Quebecers had brought and claimed their rightful place in Canadian government and they claimed their rights.
Chrétien knew nothing to talk about except, at that time, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. Fortunately, Pierre Trudeau, through his travels in the country by canoe, had been to many of the places that Jean was just about to go to. And, from that point on, they had an endearing relationship, where they camped, travelled together and worked long and tired years between them.
So, we can understand, even if the members opposite don't want to admit it, the grief that a man like Chrétien would feel having lost a mentor, having lost a friend and having lost a great leader. Chrétien, in his grief, decides to find a way to honour him - thinks of something equally as grand and has the same respect in Canada and the same pride Canadians feel - and in his grief makes a statement that that's what it would be called. We can forgive him for that. We can forgive his moment of grief. We can forgive his decision and we can also understand, in reflection afterwards, that he would consider withdrawing that and would consider listening to people.
It often takes a family member to snap somebody out of their grief and to snap somebody back to rational thought. It takes a family member often to help that person and maybe in many ways commenting that they're wrong. With this, that's what our Premier did.
With this, that's what our Premier did. And we had to ask the opposition to understand that our Premier also was at that funeral. Our Premier also saw and felt the grief. And I would also remind the opposition, before they get too haughty about what our Premier said, that there was a certain MP for the Yukon who returned to the Yukon and also said that she thought it was a good idea, and didn't change her mind until her daughter stopped talking to her.
So, let's talk about the initial grief that we all felt, the initial awe at the death of a great leader, and we should then understand what we were all feeling in the quick days, and the short days, and the sad days following Mr. Trudeau's death.
With that in mind, I understand the emotion that has been brought forward by the Member for Klondike, because essentially the Member for Klondike is asking us to tell our friend - tell Mr. Chrétien - that, after giving him his time to grieve and after giving him his time to reconsider, we now would like him to change his decision. And that's why I'm rising to support it.
I also am rising to talk about the fact, though, that there has been communication on this already, not only just from Yukoners on the streets, but from Yukoners sitting on this side of the floor. Our Premier has written and asked that the name be changed, giving very reasonable options, options that can include the First Nation governments, include the Geographical Survey of Canada, and give Pierre Trudeau the remembrance that he deserves.
Am I proud that Mr. Trudeau would be remembered in the Yukon Territory? Yes, because he will always be by me. He will always be - by Yukoners here who remember with fondness the years that he put in, visited here. He called the Yukon one of his favourite destinations.
So, do I encourage the Yukon government to come up with options so that he can be remembered in a more appropriate way? Yes, I do, and so does our Premier. In the letter of October 16, our Premier wrote, asking that the other options be investigated.
After that, we received indications that they would be investigated and that the options would be considered at the caucus level in the federal government right now. I believe it's already a fait accompli. If there wasn't a federal election - as we know in this House, during elections, hardly anybody apologizes for what they said before. If there wasn't anything, I truly believe that this wouldn't be even on the table right now, but there are generally few apologies and few changes in position in elections. So, the timing has unfortunately left us in the position of asking Mr. Chrétien to reconsider.
Mr. McLarnon: I would then propose an amendment to Motion No. 6, and I'll move it right now, Mr. Speaker:
THAT Motion No. 6 be amended by deleting the final paragraph of the motion and replacing it with:
"THAT this House urges the Prime Minister to follow through on the suggestion made by the Premier of the Yukon that consideration be given to different options regarding suitable ways in which the memory of Pierre Elliott Trudeau may be honoured by this nation."
I'll put that forward and I will sign it, and I have.
Some Hon. Member: Point of order.
Point of order
Speaker: The Member for Watson Lake on a point of order.
Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, although I haven't got a copy of that amendment, it appears just by the member's reading of the amendment that it completely changes the body of the motion. Under this House's procedures, regulations and rules, that would be an amendment that would be ruled out of order.
Speaker: Member for Whitehorse Centre, on the point of order.
Mr. McLarnon: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker, we do not believe that this substantively changes the motion. We do believe that the intent of the motion is still contained in this document. The only thing that we've done in this - the "House urges", and this still recommends that the decision be changed. This reflects the fact that work has been done already on behalf of the Yukon people, on behalf of the Premier, and that that's what we would like to put forward.
Speaker: Leader of the third party, on the point of order.
Mr. Jenkins: My reading of this amendment to Motion No. 6 - while the basic part of the motion remains, it just adds a complete follow-up and a whole change in direction. The thrust and emphasis is moving off the initial request of the Prime Minister, and we're focusing in on other options as to what we can do to honour the memory of Pierre Trudeau. And I believe that would be more appropriate in the form of an additional motion, which I would support. But the body and content of the main motion is altered significantly and added to, and altered in a very Liberal-beneficial way to amplify their direction and downplay the errors, which is not the intent of the original motion, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: The amendment, as moved by the Member for Whitehorse Centre, is:
THAT Motion No. 6 be amended by deleting the final paragraph of the motion and replacing it with: "THAT this House urges the Prime Minister to follow through on the suggestion made by the Premier of Yukon that consideration be given to different options regarding suitable ways in which the memory of Pierre Elliott Trudeau might be honoured by this nation."
Now, the Chair has informed that the practice of this House has been to have this kind of broad amendment moved many times in the past. There have often been points of order raised when the government side has brought forward amendments to the opposition motions. Opposition parties have often, complained about such amendments in the past, feeling they were much too broad.
Previous Speakers have requested the House to consider the extent to which amendments should be allowed on private members' day. However, the House has never chosen to give consideration to this issue or to provide direction. The Chair is obliged to follow the practice of this House in respect to such motions. Therefore, the Chair finds the amendment moved by the Member for Whitehorse Centre to be in order.
Mr. McLarnon: On the amendment, as I said, when I proposed the amendment - I believe that this is something we can probably receive unanimous consent for in the House. The reason why is that it has not substantially changed the motion from the Member for Klondike. It has, in fact, given us the ability to now go to the Prime Minister and say we are unanimous about this, our House has agreed that we need to change this and find another way to honour Mr. Trudeau, which does not at all include the renaming of Mount Logan. I agree that Mr. Logan is an honoured man in this territory and I agree that he deserves his place in Canadian history as well.
Why I proposed this amendment is to reflect the reality that work has been done by Yukoners and has been done by members on this side to ask that this change.
So, I would ask that the members vote for this, so that we can all cooperate and send a unanimous message to the Prime Minister, when he arrives tomorrow, that we, as Yukoners, stand for honouring Mr. Trudeau but we would like to find ways to do it in an appropriate way, with the appropriate stakeholders involved and with the proper consultation with Yukoners involved. It's this cooperation that would be required to show that this does not cross party lines, that this is an understanding of the grief that Mr. Chrétien felt for Mr. Trudeau, and also the grief the country felt as well. We will remember this on December 31, when they do the year in review on the television. We will all remember how we felt when we watched the funeral procession and heard the speech. We all remember the reflections that we went through when we heard that Mr. Trudeau had died, and we'll all want to revisit the honour that he deserves in this country.
This motion and the amendment to it would completely and utterly give us an option to - instead of dishonouring Mr. Trudeau, instead of giving him no legacy in the territory, no remembrance of what he has done for the north, for the people of this country. We now have options to at least find a way to deal with this that's appropriate for Yukoners, in the way that we would like to do it.
So I'd like to thank the members for considering this, and I know that the intent of the motion is not substantively changed, and I would hope that this would remain a unanimous vote, as we thought it would when we started, and which Mr. Jenkins asked for.
Mr. Fentie: Well, I rise to speak to the amendment, and, Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House oppose the amendment, because it does change the intent of the motion brought forward by the Member for Klondike. It's also a very underhanded attempt by the Liberals to try to make up for the shortcomings of their Premier, who got caught behind this issue and only stepped up and took a position once a national hue and cry had begun. The fact is that the Premier is not going to oppose or criticize the Prime Minister or the federal Liberal government in any way, shape or form, unless shamed into it.
Now, the impassioned tribute by the Member for Whitehorse Centre on Pierre Elliott Trudeau - there's virtually not a dry eye in the House here, Mr. Speaker. However, the issue at hand, given the original motion, is one that the Prime Minister - Prime Minister Chrétien - without any thought, without any consultation, without any in-depth look into what he was doing, rewrote history with the stroke of a pen.
That is why there is a problem with what the Prime Minister did. Now, the Liberals, in their amendment, are giving accolades to the Premier of this territory. This is not something that the Premier should be receiving any accolades for at all. This is a national, Canada-wide issue on the renaming of Mount Logan to Mount Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
The Premier, on the other hand, fumbled and stumbled around this issue, like any Liberal will, and only after being embarrassed into doing something did she speak out. Now, this amendment being brought forward by the Member for Whitehorse Centre is intended to rectify that glaring, glaring omission by the Premier in immediately standing up and admonishing the Prime Minister of this country for rewriting history the way he did, with no regard to this territory, with no regard to the First Nations, with no regard to the law of the land, and with no regard to whom the mountain is, today, named after. This is another typical Liberal, high-handed, arrogant act, without any due consideration or regard for the people of this country. This amendment, Mr. Speaker, simply changes the intent of the motion completely.
The motion as brought forward is urging this House to request that the Prime Minister of Canada reverse his decision on renaming Mount Logan. That's what the intent of the motion is, clearly stated. The amendment, however, completely removes that intent and merely states - once we get over the Premier's back-slapping by her faithful colleague for Whitehorse Centre - that we only give consideration to different options.
That doesn't mean reverse the renaming of Mount Logan. In fact, after considering many of the different options - if there are many - we may very well be left with Mount Logan having been renamed Mount Pierre Elliott Trudeau. That's not what the motion is all about. That's not what Yukoners are asking for. That's not what the people of this country are saying. They're saying, "Reverse the decision. You had no right to do it."
Now, another question that should be looked at is this: why are we picking the Yukon Territory to honour the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau? What is it that requires that the Prime Minister of Canada today choose this faraway place? Well, I'll tell you why. Because if he would have tried this in Ontario or Quebec, they would have tarred and feathered him. This has nothing to do - as the Member for Whitehorse Centre points out - with a Prime Minister stricken by grief, losing his mind for a moment, and making this decision. There is a reason why Chrétien, the Prime Minister of this country, decided to do it this way. Because in his mind he thought, "Well, 30,000 people up here in the Yukon, a faraway place. We'll be able to slip this by the country. They won't even know." And there is no way 30,000 people can carry the day in a country of 20 million plus. How big of a mistake that thought was, because it's evident that this raised the ire of Canadians across this country. Not for the fact that we are, as Canadians and Yukoners, against honouring and paying tribute to the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau in some manner. It's because of the arrogant, high-handed manner in which this federal Liberal government attempted to change history, with no regard to the people whose lives it impacted.
Unfortunately, that arrogant, high-handed approach to governing is something that the Yukon Liberal government has learned quite well from their federal colonial masters. This government has shown us time and time again in this sitting an arrogance and a high-handed approach - this take-it-or-leave-it government that rams things down Yukoners' throats. This amendment is an example of that. It tries to repolish the tarnished image of their Premier, who simply was caught like a deer in headlights when the announcement came that we had renamed Mount Logan, the highest peak in the country. Shame on these Liberals for acting in this manner.
There was absolutely no reason to amend this motion. These Liberals across the floor talk about cooperation. The motion as tabled by the Member for Klondike is quite simple. It's very evident exactly what the motion is intended to do, and that's what Yukoners are asking for, and that's what Canadians are asking for. Quite frankly, I doubt that anybody outside of this territory - probably Whitehorse - really cares what the Premier did. This is a national issue, so why would we put this wording in an amendment?
I think the Member for Whitehorse Centre is being quite mischievous - very mischievous and counterproductive, Mr. Speaker. They don't want to be seen opposing, criticizing, or going against their Liberal guru, the Prime Minister of Canada, the leader of the federal Liberals.
Their intent with this amendment had one purpose, knowing full well that we, in the opposition, wouldn't recognize immediately that they have completely changed the intent of the original motion and we would not support it in any way, shape or form.
So, Mr. Speaker, the Liberals across the floor had no intention whatsoever of supporting this motion. If they did, we wouldn't be discussing this amendment right now. We would have voted unanimously to pass this motion and send a very strong message to our Prime Minister that we, in the Yukon Territory, do not accept the type of decision he made. Along with all Canadians, we don't accept how he single-handedly, without any regard, tried to rewrite history. That's wrong. It is wrong and has no place in this democratic country of ours.
Now, we have the Member for Whitehorse Centre trying to come up with some muddling, fuddling amendment to make sure that they weren't seen to be criticizing or opposing their Prime Minister, who is arriving tomorrow. I can hear the bugles now, Mr. Speaker. They are now blowing. The bugles are blowing. And in all likelihood, there is going to be some wonderful announcement by the Prime Minister to help bolster the sagging campaign of the Liberal candidate here in the territory. My goodness, how these Liberals operate. Thank goodness we pay 50 percent of our hard-earned dollars in taxes, or how could they possibly govern this country?
Mr. Speaker, these Liberals across the floor were quite happy with the decision made. That's evident by the passionate way they pop up and talk about Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
I, for one, pass no judgement on our former Prime Minister, other than what my personal experiences were, along with the Member for Whitehorse Centre who recited at great length what his personal experiences were. But I can tell that in the Canadian west, Pierre Elliott Trudeau is not all that popular, but nobody disputes the statesmanship and the commitment and all that Mr. Trudeau sacrificed and committed to doing as a leader of this country. Nobody disputes that, but, like everything, there were some serious questions about federal Liberal policy, even back then.
Let me give you one example: the national energy program, which Prime Minister Trudeau touted as one of the greatest things ever to hit this country, drove the oil and gas industry out of this country. It left for a number of years. Its intention was for Canadians to reap more benefit from our natural resources, oil and gas. Well, I ask you, why, today, are we paying the exorbitant price for those very same resources that we purportedly received ownership of through the national energy program?
So, there are other issues here, and by all means, the renaming of Mount Logan is the biggest issue, because we have the Prime Minister of this country simply ignoring Canadians and, more importantly, Yukoners. It's very unfortunate that the Liberals opposite just cannot get over their need to run behind their puppet masters in Ottawa. The Liberals here are supposed to be representing and protecting Yukoners' interests.
Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be in their mandate. They're not protecting and representing Yukoners' interests.
Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, this amendment, by piling all these accolades on the Premier - God knows she's barely going to be able to walk under the weight of all these wonderful accolades given to her by the Member for Whitehorse Centre. She doesn't deserve any credit on this issue. None whatsoever. The credit is due to Canadians who stood up and said to their Prime Minister and their government, "No way. You can't do this," and I find it disgusting that the Member for Whitehorse Centre would try to diminish that by stating that it's the Premier who has made all these wonderful suggestions. What a bunch of bunk.
The Premier doesn't deserve any sort of recognition in this regard. Canadians do. They're the ones who stood against their government's decision to rewrite history, not the Premier of this territory, and they're the ones who suggested what should be done here, not the Premier of this territory.
Mr. Speaker, no matter what, we seem to more and more come to the realization that the Liberals across the floor simply are an extension of the Liberals in Ottawa. We have a counterfeit government in this territory. They're not a government for this territory, they're a government -
Some Hon. Member: Point of order.
Speaker: Member for Whitehorse Centre a the point of order.
Mr. McLarnon: "Counterfeit" means false and deceitful, Mr. Speaker. I would ask that you ask the Member for Watson Lake to withdraw the word "counterfeit" as it has a definite meaning of "false".
Speaker: Member for Watson Lake on the point of order.
Mr. Fentie: It has no meaning of falseness whatsoever, as the member points out. What it says is that this government is not representative of the needs and the views of Yukoners, but is representative of the needs and the views of the federal Liberals in Ottawa.
Speaker: I have done considerable research on that word, and it depends on how it is used. I really believe that the way it was used today could mean something that imputes false or unavowed motives, and that's the Chair's feeling on that, and I would ask the member to continue.
Mr. Fentie: Well, I'm crushed at the ruling - crushed. However, I will continue to the best of my ability. There's no way we in the official opposition will support this amendment, and I urge the Liberals across the floor to stand down on this frivolous amendment. Let's get back to this motion. Let's unanimously support this House, urging the Prime Minister to reverse his decision. That's what this motion is about; that's what the issue is about. And it's on all Canadians' minds. That's the request, that's the consideration that Canadians have asked for and Yukoners have asked for, not what this amendment states. It's up to us to say to the Prime Minister tomorrow that we, here in the Yukon Legislature, have listened to Canadians and have listened to Yukoners, and we ask him, through unanimous support of the motion brought forward by the Member for Klondike in this House, to reverse his decision - period.
Mr. Jenkins: I rise, Mr. Speaker, in opposition to the amendment as presented by the Member for Whitehorse Centre.
I have some serious concerns - some grave concerns - as to the purpose of this amendment and how it refocuses this motion. What I had before the House in the form of the motion I presented, Mr. Speaker, was a very succinct, specific motion dealing with an issue. That issue was that Mount Logan should not be renamed Mount Trudeau - period, stop.
Now, all of the rhetoric and window dressing that the Liberals have so capably added go to serve one purpose, and that is a self-serving purpose. A very self-serving purpose. When the Premier received the initial call from the Prime Minister, and Jean Chrétien broached the idea to rename Mount Logan, the Yukon Premier, without hesitation, without reservation and without any thought, Mr. Speaker, told the Prime Minister of Canada that she supported the decision.
Yukon people and Canadians probably expect more from the Premier of the Yukon and the Prime Minister of Canada than they are able to give, at times. And it would appear, Mr. Speaker, that what we have here is a way of refocusing the energies of this motion to extrapolate the Premier of the Yukon from the quagmire of woe that she has found herself in.
Her decision to support the Prime Minister of Canada's decision to rename Mount Logan as Mount Trudeau has not been accepted here in the Yukon, and it has not been accepted by a lot of Canadians. That's a given. What we see is the Premier of Yukon finally bowing to political pressure. Public pressure is a wonderful thing. But political pressure and public pressure, when they're one and the same - politicians and elected officials tend to take heed. They take notice very, very quickly, Mr. Speaker.
In the case of the Premier of Yukon, it wasn't quick enough. It took her quite some time to react, and it took her quite some time to come out with a compromise or a fallback position. That fallback position is that we can explore options. We can look at another mountain in Kluane National Park and look at renaming that, as long as it conforms to due process.
But that fallback position, or that position that the Premier of Yukon finally took, only came about after the alarm bells were ringing, and, I'm sure, a great deal of advice and information was provided to her, telling the Premier that she had erred in how quickly she had jumped on her colonial master's bandwagon and agreed with him.
Now, that concerns me. That concerns me greatly. Yukoners had expected an awful lot more from our Premier. Indeed, we had expected an awful lot more from this Liberal government when they were elected to office.
That was in part due to this wonderful, lasting, loving relationship between the federal Liberals and Yukon Liberals, who we have come to know as one in the same. What we have here in the Yukon is just a small extension of the federal Liberal government here in Yukon. And when Ottawa says jump, it's interesting to note how high the Liberal government jumps, and how quickly - asking on the way up, "How high?" Perhaps this is the wonderful new health care system that the Minster of Health and Social Services is referring to on a constant basis. Participaction - that's how they're putting money back into the system. I don't know.
But at the end of the day, the intent and direction of the original motion that I tabled in this Legislature is not being met. It's just a way for the Liberals to cop out here in the Yukon. They find an excuse to redirect the attentions and efforts of this Legislature to shed them in a much better light - a much better light indeed.
It's interesting that when the Member for Whitehorse Centre spoke, his words were, and I quote, "It completely and utterly gives us an option." That's exactly what it does. It gives them a very fine option to refocus the whole direction and intent of the motion to cover their inability to deal with the situation here in the Yukon. And that situation was that the Premier fielded a call from the Prime Minister and, without forethought or regard to Yukoners, First Nations, First Nation agreements, or public bodies that are set up to review place names here in Canada, said yes.
I'm sure, in all likelihood, if the Prime Minister of Canada asked the Premier of Yukon to do anything of a like manner, she would, without reservation, also say yes, without any forethought or regard to the consequences or implications - such is the bond between the Yukon Liberals and the federal Liberals.
So what we see before us, Mr. Speaker, is an amendment to this motion that gives the Liberal government of the day here in the Yukon, these NDP clones, an opportunity to look at options and to present themselves in a more favourable light. And that is not what we're here to debate.
What we're here to debate, what we're here to deal with, is a very succinct and specific motion - that Mount Logan shall not be named Mount Trudeau, not a unilateral decision. There is a process, and it requires consultation with Yukon First Nations, under the terms of the umbrella final agreement, Mr. Speaker, which the Prime Minister of Canada has chosen to ignore. By taking the tack that the Prime Minister of Canada has taken and the Premier of the Yukon has agreed with, they have broken the law. That's the bottom line. They have broken the law. The law is quite specific. Yukon First Nations are to be consulted with respect to any name changes or names to be given to any area within their traditional territory.
Mr. Speaker, we need to send a very definite message to the Prime Minister of Canada. I don't see, and I don't contemplate seeing, anyone on this side of the House up here greeting his aircraft when he arrives on an election swing here, unless of course we're flying out simultaneously, or doing something at the airport totally unrelated to the arrival of the Prime Minister of Canada.
Let's make it abundantly clear, Mr. Speaker, that Mr. Chrétien is in the Yukon for one purpose, and one purpose only. He's on an election swing, and he wants to have a Liberal elected here to represent Yukon in the federal Parliament. That's the bottom line. It is a wonderful opportunity for the Liberal government of the day - they will, I'm sure, in one way or another, have the ear of the Prime Minister - to tell the Prime Minister, "We don't agree with your unilateral decision to rename Mount Logan, Mount Trudeau." We believe that we should be paying some respect to Mr. Trudeau, but this equation that we're dealing with right here must be dealt with in the proper forum and must be dealt with in the proper manner. It can't be dealt with as it has been currently dealt with, with our colonial governor in Ottawa telling Yukon, "Yeah, I'd like to see this. Can you make it happen?"
And that's what's happening, Mr. Speaker. It's a sad day. It's a sad day for Canada and a sad day for Yukoners, a sad day for Yukon First Nations. You can't even get the Prime Minister of Canada to honour and respect the umbrella final agreement.
Mr. Speaker, I'd like to ask the Member for Whitehorse Centre if he'd consider withdrawing his motion. It would appear, given the position taken by the official opposition and me, that the official opposition is opposed to this motion and I am also opposed, because I believe it seriously alters the intent and direction of this motion. And it would probably stand the Liberal government of the day in very good stead if they chose to give unanimous consent to withdrawing their motion and accepting the motion as I originally presented it, Mr. Speaker, because at the end of the day, the Prime Minister is going to have to face Canadians. The Premier only has to face Yukoners, and not for another three and a half years, Mr. Speaker. But it will be remembered. These are the issues that people remember, and these are the issues that defeat a government. And I understand, Mr. Speaker, that this is a new Liberal government and is in many respects politically naďve.
This issue of renaming a mountain - taking away the very distinguished name of a very distinguished Canadian, and renaming it after another Canadian, must go through proper process, if indeed it's going to be followed. Categorically, I am opposed to the renaming of Mount Logan to Mount Trudeau. I don't believe it should be proceeded with, and I don't believe it should even be entertained. That is why my motion is very specific.
The motion, as amended by the Member for Whitehorse Centre, allows the Liberals a very gracious way out. On the one hand, they can say that they kind of supported the motion, but they had to amend it to basically make our Premier look good. She goofed up. She made a mistake. She made a very serious mistake. She didn't recognize it right away and correct it. But she either wasn't thinking or was just overpowered with the authority vested in her office and couldn't think the process through that quickly. That says a lot for our Premier, Mr. Speaker. I would have hopefully expected more from her than what has been demonstrated to date.
Mr. Speaker, our colonial masters in Ottawa are going to be here tomorrow, and I would urge all of the Liberals that are running around town, with their nice little buttons, red coats and red Liberal power suits, to spend a bit of time lobbying the Prime Minister. Tell the Prime Minister, "Hey, look, this renaming of this mountain peak is off the table. We have to concentrate on other initiatives and other areas. Help us out. We want to use this wonderful relationship that we have with you and request that you reconsider this initiative and don't do it."
That's where we're at. I would hopefully look forward to seeing the Member for Whitehorse Centre withdraw his motion. I would give it support. Judging by the position taken by the official opposition, I am sure that we could have unanimous consent to withdraw that part of the motion and we could proceed with voting on the main motion, which is in the best interest of Canada, Canadians, First Nations and all Yukoners, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: Order please. The member has two minutes to conclude.
Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Speaker, I'm very hopeful that the Member for Whitehorse Centre is giving this matter his due consideration. I know it probably won't sit well, but at the end of the day, we have to present - or we should be presenting - a unified position. We could talk out this motion, but it won't benefit anyone. The only way this motion is going to have the success that it's intended to have is for all-party support to be in place on the original motion. Yes, we spent a few minutes pointing out the ambiguities of our leader of our Liberal government here and the position she took initially, but it must be recognized that she did come to her senses, listened to Yukoners, listened to Canadians.
Let's move forward. Let's send a clear message to Ottawa and let's send a clear message to Prime Minister Chrétien as to what we would like to see in the Yukon, and what we would like to happen.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Ms. Tucker: Mr. Speaker, I find many of the comments and remarks made by the member opposite to be offensive and demeaning to this government. The allegations of the Member for Klondike are both inaccurate, and in many cases, self-serving. This government works for the people of the Yukon and on behalf of the people of the Yukon. I am partisan; that's why I was elected.
We have chosen to work on a consensus basis and to work through communication with people of the Yukon. We understand and respect why the Prime Minister made this move originally. This move was supported by Louise Hardy, in the National Post. "Louise Hardy, a Yukon NDP MP, welcomed the decision. 'I think it's a good tribute to Mr. Trudeau,' she said, and added that Mr. Trudeau had visited the Yukon, even after retiring as Prime Minister, and was supportive of native land claims negotiations in the north."
Ms. Tucker: What we would like to propose is a friendly subamendment, which causes the final paragraph of the motion to read:
"THAT this House urges the Prime Minister to follow through on a suggestion made by this House that consideration be given to different options regarding suitable ways in which the memory of Pierre Elliott Trudeau might be honoured in this nation."
We are hoping that with the removal of the name of the Premier, that the members opposite will consider supporting the motion. Thank you.
Speaker:Putting the subamendment in proper form, it has been moved by the Member for Mount Lorne:
"THAT the amendment moved by the Member for Whitehorse Centre to Motion No. 6 be amended by deleting the words "the suggestion made by the Premier of Yukon" and substituting for them the words "a suggestion made by this House".
Ms. Tucker: Listening to the members opposite, I would hope that this subamendment would capture the essence that this House is supportive of alternatives.
The member opposite is referring to "reverse the decision". In the spirit of consensus and collaboration and communication, this side of the House feels that the wording in the current form of the amendment would be more acceptable and more positive.
Mr. McRobb: On this subamendment, the Liberals still don't get it. This motion is not about the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau. It's about Mount Logan. They don't get it. This amendment and the amendment to the amendment are nothing more than mischief. It's Liberal mischief.
This substantially alters the intent of the motion. Instead of action to reverse the decision, it changes the action item to discuss other options to commemorate Pierre Elliott Trudeau. That is not the issue. The issue today is not Pierre Elliott Trudeau; it's Mount Logan. It's sending a message to the Prime Minister to reverse that decision. They don't get it. This type of action, Mr. Speaker, is obstreperous. It railroads the intent of the motion into something else altogether. This motion has been hijacked and torpedoed. It's not hard to predict the result. Now, we're forced into an undesirable situation of having to avoid a vote on it, because they will outnumber us in the vote, and then it will be a done deal. The intent of the motion will be changed, and we'll have a result the mover of the motion, the leader of the third party, clearly - clearly - didn't have in mind when crafting the motion in the first place, which is the same motion we spoke to earlier this afternoon. Now they've changed the intent.
Well, Mr. Speaker, this Liberal government says that it wants to cooperate with all parties. Well, this is another example of how it does not cooperate. It instigates adversarial reaction. That's really what it does. Now, if the members opposite really wanted to cooperate and send a unified message, they would have retracted the amendment altogether so we can vote on this motion, get it in the mail to the Prime Minister or hand-deliver it to him tomorrow.
But now, Mr. Speaker, all we'll have is Hansard discussion, without a vote, without a message. The message will be lost. The message will be lost because of this Liberal mischief. Mr. Speaker, that's a travesty and an insult, again, to all those who have voiced their opinion and discontent over this unilateral Liberal decision to rename Mount Logan.
What this does is rub salt in the wound, Mr. Speaker. It shows Yukoners and Canadians that this territorial Liberal government still hasn't got the message. They still haven't got the message that Canadians were insulted by that unilateral decision, and they want to play games with this motion today, and the Prime Minister will be here tomorrow. I'll tell you what. This is going to cause another reaction. Just wait and see. When Canadians see what this Liberal government has done here this afternoon, they'll just shake their heads in disbelief and wonder why they would do it, because their leader said - she's on record. She changed her position. One minute, she was in favour of renaming Mount Logan, and after the controversy and public outcry, she changed her position to being against it.
So why are her colleagues confusing the matter and retreating to a previous decision, when clearly there was the opportunity today to send a message to rescind the name change and leave Mount Logan alone? Why? Well, it's pretty hard to imagine why. It's pretty hard to imagine.
Another question: why didn't the Liberal government here speak out? You know, there were Liberal MPs and MLAs in B.C., the province to the south, speaking out. Why didn't anyone in this government speak out before it was too late and the apparent decision was changed?
It still hasn't been formally changed, but at least we have the Heritage minister on record saying that it would be changed. Why didn't anybody speak out? Well, that's a good question. And here in the Yukon today we have the federal Liberal candidate saying, "You know, you need another Liberal voice in Ottawa to prevent misunderstandings like Mount Logan from ever happening again." Well, I want to address that comment momentarily, because I read, during this controversy or shortly thereafter - I believe it was in the Hill Times - about what actually happened at the Cabinet table that day when Mr. Chrétien developed this decision. Well, it was a very brief Cabinet meeting. The Prime Minister basically said what he wanted to do and slammed the gavel. There was no time for discussion - hardly time for the Heritage minister to open her mouth in awe and wonder what happened. And that was it. It was a done deal - no consultation. Insiders at that Cabinet table revealed this information to the reporter - and I believe it was the Hill Times where I read that article - and I believe it. I believe it.
Mr. Speaker, the local Liberal candidate says, "You know, if you elect me, I could prevent this from happening because I'll be able to inform them all about the UFA and land claims agreements, and that'll stop this kind of thing from ever happening." Well, Mr. Speaker, just compare that for a minute and think about it.
The candidate is assuming that he would be in Cabinet, for one thing, but even then there's no opportunity. Nobody dared to challenge the Prime Minister on this. They saw it was too important to him, too much of a personal matter - never mind what a back-bench MP would have to say. They wouldn't even find out about it until they read about it in the National Post the next day.
This issue needs to be resolved, and obviously we won't be able to send this motion to the Prime Minister with a vote, so I'm going to suggest to the Liberals opposite that, if any of them get the opportunity to meet the grand pooh-bah tomorrow, they personally deliver the message that they would like him to formally rescind renaming Mount Logan, formally rescind it so people can be comforted in knowing that this is no longer an issue.
Mr. Speaker, my views have been known from the very start. I sent a letter very early on about this matter to the Premier and Prime Minister. I also had a few radio interviews, one with CBC Montreal, a couple more with a Hamilton station, which is Sheila Copps' riding. They were very interested to hear what Yukoners were saying. I spent time in Haines Junction and elsewhere in the riding finding out what people who are familiar with Mount Logan were saying.
Mr. Speaker, I have yet to meet one person who supports the decision to rename Logan - one person. I'm not including the Liberals opposite here in that equation, because it's very hard to find out where they stand. Even on this issue, they seem to have backtracked now, because of their reluctance to send a clear message - a unified message - in the Yukon Legislature on this matter. Instead, they've hijacked the motion and decided to play mischief.
I can certainly sympathize with the Member for Klondike and support his view that what the Liberals are doing is simply playing political games, because they have too much to be ashamed about on this matter, and they don't want to do the right thing.
Mr. Speaker, they say they want to do the right thing, but they never seem to get around to it. It seems to be on their list of things to do. They're too interested in looking after themselves - looking after themselves. Look at the original amendment this amends, Mr. Speaker. They're thanking their Premier for what she did to resolve this matter. How ridiculous. How ridiculous.
I'm going to send this debate out to Mr. Hartland, and Mr. Keyser, and a few other people. Let's just see what they have to say - Chief Bob Johnson of the Kluane First Nation, Chief David Johnny of the White River First Nation, Parks Canada people and other Yukoners. I'm sure Mr. Hartmier will get a copy. Let's see what they have to say.
Let's see what they have to say about how this territorial Liberal government botched the discussion this afternoon to try to save their skins. This whole action was a breach of the umbrella final agreement, and it just shows how vulnerable the territorial Liberals are, just as the federal Liberals are, and how little they understand that we're now in the third millennium in the new laws of the country.
Mr. Speaker, I'll leave the members opposite with enough time to withdraw all this mischief, so we can get to a vote - one last chance.
Mr. McLarnon:I have had a lot to think about. I certainly understand the points of view from the members across the way. I understand from the NDP members that they were upset at the fact that the Premier of the Yukon was being credited for this. We felt to remove partisanship that we would remove the Premier of the Yukon from the equation.
We felt at that point that this would be acceptable and it's apparent that it's not.
The Member for Klondike is asking us to be very pointed and very direct on this. The Member for Klondike has an excellent point, and at this point I will withdraw my amendment, but I will speak to the original motion.
Speaker: Order. The time being 6:00 p.m., this House now stands adjourned until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.
Debate on amendment to amendment to Motion No. 6 accordingly adjourned
[Note: The time reached 6:00 p.m. and the Speaker adjourned the House prior to the Chair providing direction on the procedure for withdrawing amendments.]
The House adjourned at 6:00 p.m.
The following documents were filed November 15, 2000:
Connect Yukon - rural telecommunications and telephone service: copy of a Ministerial Statement (dated November 10, 1999) given by the former Minister of Government Services
Connect Yukon: copy of a letter to the Editor, Yukon News from Dave Sloan regarding information pertaining to