Thursday, April 25, 2002 ó 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.
Introduction of visitors.
Are there any returns or documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, I have a legislative return for the Member for Klondike.
Speaker: Are there any further returns or documents for tabling?
Are there any reports of committees?
Are there any petitions?
Are there any bills to be introduced?
Are there any notices of motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mr. Jenkins: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that:
(1) the Yukon economy is in a serious recession;
(2) the 2002-03 budget, at $564,812,000 constitutes the largest budget in Yukonís history, yet it fails to maximize the economic opportunities that should be created with the expenditure of such a large amount of money; and
THAT this House urges the Yukon Liberal government to form a public-private sector committee comprised of the senior public servants, business and industry representatives to prepare the 2003-04 capital budget with the object of maximizing economic opportunities and employment opportunities for Yukoners and a more positive economic climate.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. McLarnon: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Yukon government should bring forward truth-in-advertising legislation to ensure that:
(1) advertisements reflect reality; and
(2) ads similar to the ad on page 19 in the Yukon News of Wednesday, April 24, which misrepresented to the Yukon public the fact that whistle-blower legislation has been introduced as legislation through this Legislature, are not published.
Mr. Jim: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Yukon government should, as promised, in cooperation with First Nation governments, put in place immediately a First Nation health secretariat that will link with the Council of Yukon First Nations, Kwanlin Dun and the Kaska First Nations in the area of children in residence and care.
Speaker: Are there any further notices of motion?
Is there a ministerial statement?
This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Economic action plan
Mr. Fairclough: My question is for the Premier. Even though the side opposite is denying it, the Yukon economy is in a crisis. Yesterday we tried to have a constructive debate to address the issue, and all we got from the side opposite was rambling for two hours that had nothing to do with the issue. Can the Premier explain why her minority government tried to play a silly political game, instead of showing leadership by debating good suggestions to help fix the situation weíre in?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, yesterday afternoon was Wednesday afternoon debate in this Legislature. The debate that was offered was an opportunity for the Member for Faro, who has not had a question in Question Period yet this session, to have an opportunity to speak with voters in a public forum, to speak about his riding, and to also talk about the economy.
The members opposite, if they are indeed offering constructive suggestions, would have based their argument on some of the facts that have also been presented, like the Yukon economic outlook that was tabled in this Legislature, and we would have had a thorough discussion of that.
Mr. Fairclough: That is the most sorry excuse I have ever heard for giving direction for debate on a motion ó a constructive motion that was put forward by this side of the House. I believe that the Premier should be taking a different direction and working on the economy.
Yesterday the Premier admitted that their efforts to lobby Ottawa for economic development money hasnít resulted in anything, and yesterdayís news also confirmed that. We need the money so show us the money.
Why is the Premier refusing to gather a senior delegation of business, labour, First Nations, municipal representatives, including members from both sides of this House, to take a united voice to Ottawa to do what she could not do on her own? Why would she not do that?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: What I outlined was that the work and lobbying Ottawa on a number of initiatives takes time. I also outlined that in our first two years weíd spent a year and a half lobbying for devolution and succeeded. Weíve also spent that time working toward land claim negotiator initials on memoranda of understanding. Weíve also negotiated and solved the yearsí old dispute that went back to Mr. Ostashekís reign, which resulted in $42 million to this territory. Weíve also worked and lobbied hard for Yukon to host the Canada Winter Games, which we are continuing to lobby for, which is also a substantial influx of Canada money to this territory.
The other point is that I have not, as the member opposite says, refused the offer. Iíve said that we welcome the support. Letís lobby for money for the western diversification fund. Letís do it. That is what Iíve said.
Mr. Fairclough: Well, Mr. Speaker, the Premier should show some action from her side of the House, not have the Member for Faro get up and speak for two and a half hours and say nothing just because he didnít have a question. I think thatís absolutely wrong. The Premier said she was open to suggestions and really, clearly, yesterday was proven wrong. She doesnít want input from this side of the House and she hasnít been listening to Yukoners.
So, I ask the Premier again: when will the Premier come out with her own action plan, or her Liberal government action plan, to address the critical state of the Yukon economy? When?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, the fact is that every member in this Legislature is sent here by the people of the Yukon, and every member has a right to be heard in debate. I find it absolutely amazing that the Member for Mayo-Tatchun is suggesting that the Member for Faro doesnít have the right to stand up and speak about the economy. Of course he does. Of course he does, Mr. Speaker. The fact is that many of the suggestions that the members opposite put forward failed during their mandate. This government has seen our GDP, our growth rate, go up from 0.7 to a 1.2 prediction this year, as opposed to the negatives under the NDP regime. The reality is that Yukoners want jobs and thatís what weíre working toward.
Question re: Tourism marketing
Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, let the record show that the Premier and her government would rather focus the debate on themselves than on issues that are important to Yukoners.
Let me ask the minister responsible for Tourism a question. In regard to our economy, this is the last bastion of economic activity in the territory ó tourism. The minister said at the recent TIA conference that he was listening. The tourism industry is calling for marketing dollars to address what is sure to be a downturn in tourism this year for the Yukon. The minister committed to the industry that he was listening. Now that he has listened, what does the minister intend to do about the marketing dollars?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Mr. Speaker, I do welcome the question from the Member for Watson Lake, because the Member for Watson Lake was there, as well, and we very much had an opportunity from time to time to speak on the issues that were brought up.
The minister is right. I did go there to listen, and I did learn. I heard what they were saying. I understand that the industry is hurting, and we are looking at ways to improve and buffer that hurt. There are circumstances in this world that affect us and that we have no control over, and the tourism industry acknowledged that. Right now, Mr. Speaker, we have over $7 million allocated to marketing tourism, and thatís for this coming year.
Mr. Speaker, at the call of tourism industry for $1.5 million ó and I have to express my gratitude on behalf of Business, Tourism and Culture to other departments in the government that put forward money from their programs to support the over $300,000 that we put out immediately in response to the request from the tourism industry.
Mr. Fentie: I can conclude, then, by the ministerís answer that he wasnít listening, because the industry is clearly saying they need marketing dollars and they need them now.
Hereís another area thatís problematic for the tourism industry. One of the attractions that tourism has been benefiting from is inviting conventions to this territory. Now, under this governmentís watch, one of the funds that was making this happen ó the convention opportunities fund ó is no longer available this year. So here we are in a tourism downturn where we were looking to conventions to help offset the loss in tourism and travellers, and this government has decided to kill that fund too.
Will this government reinstate the convention opportunities fund now?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Well, again, Mr. Speaker, I also attended the Yukon Convention Bureauís AGM just a couple of weekends ago. They very much appreciate the efforts that this government is putting in toward supporting their promotions of Yukon as a place to conduct their conventions. As a matter of fact, the member is in error when he says that we arenít supporting ó as a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, we provide $200,000 to the Convention Bureau and I think that is fairly substantive, and weíll continue to work in supporting the Convention Bureau.
Mr. Fentie: Well, the minister missed the whole question. We were talking about the convention opportunities fund that this government has killed.
If this ó
Speaker: Order please. Order please.
The Chair would like to step in here and make a statement. Recent amendments, including sexist and violent language, were just put into the rules as being unacceptable per 19(i) of the Standing Orders. The Chair has allowed it to continue on "killing" this and "killing" that but, the last time the Legislature sat, that was language that used to cause problems in here. It was likely to, and did, create disorder. The Chair has allowed it to continue on but, twice now in the first supplementary and again in the final, it has been used. I would ask members to remember the agreements we made in the past and be more judicious in their choice of words.
With that, I would ask the member to continue.
Mr. Fentie: I was of the understanding that that was in the context it was used; however, Iíll rephrase.
This government has punted that fund into the scrap heap of good initiatives that the government refuses to continue with. The tourism industry said clearly to this minister that itís not happy with the structure of government. In fact, I quote: they call the new department the "Department of Blah Blah Blah" and "Tourism and Blah Blah Blah" ó a clear indication of their attitude toward the new structure for this department.
They are also not happy with the fact that the marketing plan is something they donít agree with. Now, the minister said he was listening. Will the minister act on what he heard? Will the minister address the opposition to the new structure of the Department of Tourism, and will he address the opposition to the marketing corporation and come up with something thatís workable for this industry ó the last industry operating in this territory?
Hon. Mr. Eftoda: Absolutely, yes. I did hear; I did learn; I did listen; and Iíll continue to listen. As a matter of fact, yesterday in the gallery, we had visitors from PNWER, and they are talking about the possibility of bringing about 500 people here next year. Thatís a pretty substantive convention, Mr. Speaker, and we welcome those visitors here to Yukon.
On the marketing aspect that the member was asking, the contractor that the government hired to review the marketing strategy within the Department of Business, Tourism and Culture will and is continuing his representations in the communities. Heís gathering information from business, from tourism, from culture, Mr. Speaker, and he has the time to continue to seek opinion and will present his options to government in August.
So we are listening to people. Weíre continuing to consult with people. We said we would do that, and we are doing that.
Question re: Vanier Catholic Secondary School air quality
Mr. Jenkins: My question today is to the Minister of Education on the quality of air in the Vanier school.
On April 23, I received copies of three letters from a professional engineer, advising the Department of Education of a serious toxic threat to the quality of air at the Vanier school. Apparently, toxic fumes are being drawn from a boiler room by the ventilation system and are being distributed throughout the school.
Upon receipt of these letters, I hand-delivered a letter to the ministerís office requesting immediate action, as the safety of the students and teachers must be of paramount concern.
Can the minister advise the House what immediate action she has ordered to deal with this toxic threat and, if she hasnít, why not?
Hon. Ms. Tucker: The health and safety of Yukoners is of utmost importance to this government. In fact, prior to receiving correspondence from the member opposite, the government had gone out and hired a consultant, a national expert, to come in and review health quality issues at the Vanier Catholic Secondary School.
There is no immediate health risk.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, the information I have goes contrary to the information the minister has. As early as Monday of this week, tests conducted on the air indicated 50,000 count particles of ultra-fine material. Iím told itís best described as a toxic soup.
Can the minister advise the House why, in view of this serious threat, she has taken no action other than to consult with an individual from Montreal to obtain an overview of what is transpiring with the air quality in Vanier school?
Hon. Ms. Tucker: Letís back up a moment. There was an indoor air quality consultant hired in November. Analysis was done on the air quality. Eleven recommendations were made. Eight of those have been carried out. The ppm count that the member opposite is referring to is non-specific. In order to get the best possible information, the government has gone out and hired a national expert on indoor air quality. This expert has been here, done counts, and has more definitive information. Ppm counts can include things like water molecules and what we know as "the scent of oranges". That information in and of itself is useless. What we have gone to do is to bring in an expert to analyze the situation. Our information as of today is it is a non-toxic situation, non-threatening at this point, and we are getting recommendations to make sure that the solutions we undertake are the correct ones.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, Mr. Speaker, Iím simply amazed that the minister responsible for the education, health and safety of the students and the staff at Vanier school is really only just studying the situation and taking virtually no action. This is paramount to dereliction of duty. What we have currently is one teacher working part-time off with a Workersí Compensation Health and Safety Board claim because of the air quality in the school, and Iím advised there are others who have serious respiratory problems who are attending that school. Will the minister ensure that when something like this happens that thereís a clear, concise game plan in place and that they react immediately to poor air quality, because itís not just the scent of oranges. Itís 50,000 ppm of ultra-fine particles for a very small area that was found in this school on Monday of this week. There is a problem and ó
Speaker: Order please. Question please.
Mr. Jenkins: ó when will the minister address this serious problem?
Hon. Ms. Tucker: I am very appreciative of the questions. It is really important that we do deal with these issues, but also that we deal with them properly. Weíve had the national expert come in. He has done his initial findings. He met with the teachers and the students at the school. What we do at this point ó itís important that we get the correct solutions. One of the issues in the past has been that people have reacted extremely quickly and yet problems still exist. Right now we are getting the best solutions. We have an expert who is telling us what the ppm mean, and right now we are taking action to get the best solutions and remedies possible.
Question re: Accountability of government
Mr. Fairclough: My question is for the Premier.
Iíd like to talk about accountability. Yesterday the Liberal Party started its election campaign with some expensive ads congratulating themselves for the wonderful things theyíve been doing ó patting themselves on the back. We know the Liberal Party didnít pay for those ads ó that they paid for ads and not the taxpayer, and thank goodness for that.
Did the Liberal Party also pay for the 14-page accountability statement that went out a few days ago to all government employees?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: The member opposite is talking about two different things. The Liberal Party has placed ads in local newspapers on the second anniversary of this government, just as they did on the first anniversary of this government, and they have highlighted, in those ads, the accomplishments of the government.
With respect to the accountability plan that was sent to all government employees, that is the corporate accountability plan and that was done in a direct request from employees to have that sent out.
Mr. Fairclough: The Premier is right. There are two different things that weíre talking about. But itís pretty hard to tell the difference between the political advertising and the outline of the accountability statement; we see the same phrases in both. The booklet that went out to the employees also featured some almost subtle messages with some pretty political overtones. Vision, mission, values, priorities, strategies ó repeated over and over on every page.
Can the Premier assure us that there was no political interference in the way this costly messaging document was put together?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: The accountability plans that this government tabled in our budget documents and the overall corporate accountability plan as sent out to employees were developed working with employees. The accountability plans are the work of the Government of Yukon employees working as well with us, with deputies and with the government as a whole. It is a government-wide initiative.
Mr. Fairclough: Well, obviously the Premier doesnít know the difference between the political parties and the government itself. We have seen plenty of examples of how this Liberal government has politicized things that shouldnít have been politicized, and we donít even need to go back to all the pork-barrel appointments ó for example, of the Education Act review. Just look at the red-tide appointments on public boards and committees. Talk to the business people, volunteer groups and public servants who are afraid to say anything negative about this Liberal government for fear of retaliation.
Will the Premier give her assurance to all government employees that they will not be asked to carry out an assignment for any partisan political purposes as part of their employment, which could bring them into a conflict-of-interest situation under policy 3.39 of the governmentís general administration manual?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, that was a very convoluted question. Iím not sure what the member opposite was getting at, but Iíd like to make a couple of points.
First and foremost, I have, since October 1, 1996, been elected as the MLA for Porter Creek South. I have asked members of the NDP to work with the government, in opposition at the time, to have an all-party committee to make these appointments so there would be no partisanship or perceived partisanship. The NDP steadfastly refused. They will not participate when we ask for nominations to Workersí Compensation Health and Safety Board or the Yukon College or the Yukon Development Corporation. So, to suggest we are anything more than fair is simply wrong on their part, Mr. Speaker.
With respect, it is this government that brought forward whistle-blower legislation and whistle-blower amendments as recommended by our Conflicts Commissioner, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, the Conflicts Commissioner sent me a letter and indicated in that letter, in the last paragraph, "To complete this whistle-blower legislation, I suggest the following amendmentsÖ" And thatís what this government has done. We are more than fair.
Question re: First Nations participation in Yukon economy
Mr. Jim: Mr. Speaker, eight years ago next month, the umbrella final agreement was signed in this territory. Two years ago this month, this government was elected into this House.
Will the Premier, in her capacity as Minister of Finance, tell us what her government has done about including the First Nations of this territory as full participants in the Yukon economy?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: I have a couple of points with respect to this governmentís working relationship with Yukon First Nations. First and foremost, there has been work toward the settlement of outstanding land claims. There has also been work with self-governing First Nations.
So, for example, with an economic development initiative such as the oil and gas industry, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources has regular and frequent consultations and works with the self-governing First Nations in areas where weíve had land sales, and where we intend to have land sales.
With respect to other economic development initiatives of non-self-governing First Nations, I have met with, and continue to meet with, the chiefs on a regular basis. We work specifically with the Kwanlin Dun First Nation, in partnership, on Mount Sima, for example, and these are just a few of the suggestions.
Mr. Jim: We would like answers that could realistically be taken from the budget, not just words. Can the Premier tell the actual resources ó not just one-off decisions, but actual resources ó and furthermore, actions that are committed in the budget that include real First Nationsí participation in the governmentís economic plans?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: The last two comments I made to the member opposite are real, specific examples ó benefits agreements in oil and gas and the Kwanlin Dun First Nation partnership on Mount Sima, as well as, of course, in the cultural centre. They are budget line items.
Mr. Jim: The Premier knows the difference between one-offs and actual resources. I believe the actions are speaking for themselves, and all Yukoners can see the economic machine has simply run out of steam, nor is there any economic creativity being shown by this government.
What is this Premier and this government doing to promote and encourage specific programs and resources to build cooperation between First Nations and non-First Nations in building the economy of this territory, as stated and promised in the Liberal election platform two years ago?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Again, Mr. Speaker, I have to outline for the member opposite what this government is doing in working with First Nation governments on economic initiatives. With self-governing First Nations, in areas where we have achieved settled land claims, we work with First Nation governments in land sales or land dispositions. Weíve worked extensively, for example, with the Vuntut Gwitchin as well as with the Nacho Nyak Dun. Weíll be working with Little Salmon-Carmacks and the Taían Kwachían as well as Nacho Nyak Dun on the Whitehorse Trough disposition. In those land dispositions, there are also, in future, benefits agreements that are negotiated. We are active in participating in that, and there are people resources in the operation and maintenance budget who work on that specific economic initiative with First Nation governments.
With regard to Kwanlin Dun, specifically, I can point to the Mount Sima Road. The chief and I discussed that recently as a specific economic project, as well as the employment centre, which Iíve had the opportunity to view and comment upon and work with the chief and council on that particular initiative. We will continue to do so. As well as, of course, a specific commitment that was made at a heritage conference, which was a request for this government to support the Kwanlin Dun heritage cultural centre, and it is in the budget. One can point to it on page 3 of the long-term capital plan.
Question re: Nurses in communities, staffing vacancies
Mr. Keenan: I have a question today for the Minister of Health. Mr. Speaker, in the communities, we know that access to health care professionals and nurses is essential. In very many of the rural communities, the nurse is the only provider and the most important front-line worker we can have there. They provide a wide range of services, from eldersí care to baby clinics, to all members of the community as well as people passing through the community. So Iíd like to ask the minister what the current status of staffing vacancies is for community nurses?
Hon. Mrs. Edelman: There recently have been a number of shortages in at least two communities. Those will continue to occur over time. We value and certainly respect the work of our health professionals. It is a situation where there is constantly an issue with shortages in nursing staff. There is a shortage of nursing staff all over the world, and we have that problem here in the Yukon as well. There is a floating nurse who tries to help with that issue, particular in the two communities where there is a considerable problem right now. I can give the member opposite details on that issue if he would like, outside of the Legislature.
Mr. Keenan: Well, let me point out that the official opposition is very, very concerned about this. We do realize that there is a problem at this point in time, not in two communities but in many communities, and we know that it has been a historical problem also, not just a present-day problem.
But a very closely related issue is that of relief nurses, and without adequate relief nurses, the community nurse is on-call for extended periods of time ó 24 hours a day over seven days a week for many weeks of the month. This is not in the best interest of the community or of the nurses themselves. They suffer a high degree of burnout.
So, I would like to ask: what is the current status of the relief pool for community nurses?
Hon. Mrs. Edelman: The relief pool is at its limit to a certain extent. What I can tell the member opposite is that we are continuing to work with the Registered Nurses Association, Yukon, to educate Yukoners to become nurses. We are working with the Registered Nurses Association to give refresher courses and to work to bring in nurses to give them the type of rest they need.
There is a worldwide shortage of nursing ó nurses within the Yukon as well as within Canada. We are working very hard to come up with long-term solutions, and part of the solution is getting more people educated to become nurses.
Mr. Keenan: Well, we certainly do appreciate the candour of the minister. We realize that the relief pool is at its limit.
We do have a suggestion for the minister if we could. It was just simply yesterday ó just yesterday, that this Liberal governmentís southern city cousin, if I could say it that way, in British Columbia ó oh, yes, there is a very definite close relationship between Mr. Campbellís and Ms. Duncanís governments. Very definitely there ó I can see it.
They announced major cuts to their health care funding system down there, which will result in layoffs of many, many nurses. I would like to point out to this minister that there is a pool there. Iíd like to ask this minister what she is doing to recruit that pool to the Yukon so that we will not run into this problem? What is the minister doing?
Hon. Mrs. Edelman: Well, Mr. Speaker, whatís happened in Canada is that whenever there is a problem the other jurisdictions move in only too willing to take over those staff.
There is a problem in British Columbia right now. Theyíre doing a massive reorganization of their health care system. They claim ó and these are not relatives of ours, by the way ó they claim that this is in order to make things work better. That has yet to be seen and the proof will definitely be in the pudding.
We always go to recruitment fairs where we try to recruit nurses, and it needs to be made very clear to the member opposite that we will be sending quite a few people to recruitment fairs in British Columbia.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed. We will proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Bill No. 60: Second Reading
Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 60, standing in the name of the hon. Ms. Duncan.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: I move that Bill No. 60, Act to Amend the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Premier that Bill No. 60, entitled Act to Amend the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, be now read a second time.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, there are five bills that we will be discussing this afternoon ó Bill No. 60 among them ó that this government has presented to the Legislature. These bills provide the foundation for this governmentís renewal initiative. Itís an opportunity at this time also to publicly acknowledge the work of the public servants ó some now retired ó working with me who have chaired renewal and who continue their work. Itís also an opportunity for me to personally and publicly thank the Member for Whitehorse Centre, who travelled throughout the Yukon and attended numerous committee meetings and, indeed, dedicated a substantial degree of time from June to December on this particular renewal initiative.
I would just like to take the opportunity to quote briefly from that member in this Legislature. The Member for Whitehorse Centre said, "The work was being done by many people on two of three fronts, and the dedication of our civil service toward this project is commendable." The member went on to say, "The faces are essentially faceless in a project this size." So thatís the reason why the member opposite has indicated his support for this initiative, provided that the bills were substantially unchanged, and I am advising the House that there have not been significant changes.
I would also like to express my appreciation, as the member has done, for the work of the professional public service ó 800 employees, some of them Government of Yukon, some Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, contributed every step along the way of this particular process. Itís change, and change and transition are difficult times.
These renewal bills are now in the legislative process at second reading stage.
This is the opportunity to not only publicly thank people, as I have done, but itís an opportunity for legislators to express their confidence in the renewal of the Yukon government, the confidence in the work of our professional public servants.
Through renewal, we have made significant changes to the way government will serve the public, to the way we will present the governmentís finances to the public, and to the way that government and legislators on the floor of this House will be held accountable by the public.
As members opposite are aware, by passing these bills through second reading, they will allow this Legislature to then move them into Committee, where they can be thoroughly debated, clause by clause, comma by comma. These are extremely important pieces of legislation, and they deserve thorough public scrutiny.
Yukoners want a government that is fully accountable. Yukoners have said this to us, time after time. This legislation will make this government and future governments provide those accountability measures, provide results to the public. Government needs to be able to adapt to future economic and social changes. This legislation keeps us in step with the rest of the country when it comes to organizing government to do this. One has only to look next door at the Northwest Territoriesí government accountability plan, and one will see similarities to our Yukon-made solution.
Yukoners need to be confident that government cannot meddle in the armís-length functions of the corporations and, at the same time, be confident that their tax dollars are being spent wisely and efficiently in the running of those corporations.
I have spoken about this form of accountability, Mr. Speaker, many times on the floor of the Legislature with respect to corporations.
These are important issues, and they deserve full discussion and debate. Weíd like to hear from the opposition on these issues, and I believe that members of the opposition would like to speak to them, and we welcome a full debate in Committee.
I would hope that members opposite move the legislation into Committee so we can have this kind of thorough debate. For specific requests to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Bill No. 60 ó this act ó assigns many procedural responsibilities to the archivist. This amendment simply reassigns those procedural responsibilities to the records manager. The reason for this change is that the vast majority of information involved in access to information requests resides in the active records of the government, as opposed to those that are preserved in the archives.
Under renewal, primary responsibility for access to information and protection of privacy matters was transferred from the libraries and archives branch of the Department of Education to the records management branch of the Department of Infrastructure. This change was made to improve service and, again, Mr. Speaker, it was suggestions like this that came from our work with listening to employees and what they had to say and their suggestions for change.
I suppose, Mr. Speaker, if I could digress for a moment, I could say that all these changes probably could have been done through another forum, which weíve seen in this Legislature before, which is a miscellaneous statutes and amendments act. That isnít the best method for dealing in a fully open and accountable way with these changes. In this way, under five bills, each one of the changes can be thoroughly debated and recognized and passed by this House, and we can also recognize the work of the public servants and the legislators who worked hard to put forward these changes, who examined all the alternatives, examined the suggestions and have brought forward what we believe to be the best solution and the best suggestion that has been put forward in terms of workability, if I can put it in that term, Mr. Speaker, of the Government of Yukon, and in terms of being able to provide services in a post-devolution world ó and better services overall.
This particular change, again to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, was made so that the person who actually deals with the ATIPP requests ó and we are all quite familiar with them as members of the Legislature ó from the public is someone who is familiar with the governmentís records and has good day-to-day contacts with all the departmental staff who manage those records. This is important in terms of delivery of service. It will simplify the internal communications involved in dealing with requests and improve governmentís ability to respond quickly to simple requests.
There is one bill that I am discussing right now, Bill No. 60, and it is our intention to discuss all five renewal pieces of legislation this afternoon. So, my opening remarks pertain to all the pieces of legislation. However, I am outlining specifically the ATIPP comments.
Again, Bill No. 60 is strictly a procedural matter dealing with how information requests are processed. So this is the nuts and bolts of how better service can be provided in making sure that the legislation matches up with the service improvement. It has no impact on the rights and responsibilities that are enshrined in the act. Those remain unchanged. It is a straightforward change to provide better service delivery.
Again, I would say that this is one of five pieces of legislation that we have brought for second reading as a matter of House business to the floor of the Legislature today. These five bills, including Bill No. 60 before us now, provide the foundation for this governmentís renewal initiative. I look forward to and seek membersí support for these bills to move them into Committee. It is an opportunity for legislators to express their confidence in Yukonís professional public service in their suggestions for the renewal initiative, as well as the overall renewal initiative in the department that has been brought forward by this government.
I look forward to membersí questions at second reading, and look forward to debate in Committee of the Whole on Bill No. 60, this small, short procedural bill to amend the ATIPP act.
Mr. Fairclough: Iíll be short in my comments. The Premier is introducing five bills to this House, and she is basically calling these bills confidence bills, so if they were ever to be voted against, I would think we would be into an election right now. That kind of tactic, Mr. Speaker, can only be called blackmail on this side of the House. You cannot suggest to the opposition that ó
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Point of order
Speaker: Order please. The government House leader, on a point of order.
Hon. Mr. McLachlan: Mr. Speaker, article 19(j) in our Standing Orders clearly specifies that members may not use abusive, insulting, sexist or violent language used in a manner to create disorder. What we have heard from the leader of the official opposition does precisely that.
Speaker: The leader of the third party on the point of order.
Mr. Jenkins: Thereís no point of order. Itís just the Member for Faro rudely interrupting the proceedings of this Legislature once again.
Speaker: Order please. The Member for Whitehorse Centre was up first on the point of order.
Mr. McLarnon: In the House, words are used in context, and words unfortunately sometimes have to describe actions that are taken. There are very few other words to use in a description of what action is being taken here. It certainly wasnít meant to, but it is a descriptive word that does describe accurately the situation weíre in.
Speaker: Order please. I have the official opposition House leader on the point of order.
Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, I understand the Member for Faro is hanging on every word spoken from this side of the House, but in order to provide constructive debate in this Legislative Assembly, surely there must be some deliverance by the Member for Faro from rising on points of order considering what context the words are being used in. We were given an ultimatum this morning in the House leadersí meeting that these five bills were going to be confidence bills, like it or lump it.
Mr. Speaker, thereís no other way to relay this message to the House. We were being extorted and blackmailed into this debate.
Some Hon. Members: (Inaudible)
Speaker: Order please. I have two members standing up at the same time here, and Iíll have to recognize the leader of the third party first and then Iíll recognize the government House leader.
Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Speaker, the Member for Faro refers to the Standing Orders and he cites section 19(j), which says, "speaks disrespectfully of Her Majesty or of any of the Royal Family". The Member for Faro should accurately reflect why he is standing up on a point of order and cite specifically that section of the Standing Orders. That hasnít been done. This is just a rude interruption of the debate here today, and I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, to take this into your deliberations, thank you.
Speaker: Government House leader, on the point of order.
Hon. Mr. McLachlan: The article is the line above. Itís 19(i), "uses abusive Ö" The use of the term "blackmail" clearly is abusive and insulting language when used in this Legislature. The members of the official opposition have used it twice in the context of this debate.
Speaker: Order please. The Chair, when looking at Standing Order 19, finds that members should be looking at subsection (g), which states: "A member shall be called to order by the Speaker if that memberÖimputes false or unavowed motives to another member."
In reference to remarks made by the leader of the official opposition, the House must recognize that a government has the right in our parliamentary system to identify an item of business before the House as being a matter of confidence. The leader of the official opposition has every right to object to the government identifying something as being a matter of confidence; however, itís unparliamentary to impute unavowed motives for having done that.
The leader of the official opposition, using the word "blackmail", was in this case imputing an unavowed motive. The Chair, therefore, has to ask the leader of the official opposition to withdraw the word "blackmail" in order that the House may move on.
Withdrawal of remark
Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Speaker, I would withdraw that word, if it offends the government so much.
It only takes a word to throw them into a tizzy, Mr. Speaker. We could say we were held hostage. We were set up on this side of the House. And Iíll explain a little bit about why Iím saying these types of things.
First of all, this government is not bringing forward the boundaries review. Why not? Why not bring forward the boundaries review so we can get that work going? If an election is called right now and we go into an election under the old boundaries, Mr. Speaker, it could be challenged and cost Yukoners thousands of dollars. And it falls on the lap of the Premier for making that decision. Thatís why weíre saying what weíre saying.
We believe that the bills need to be debated. We think they should be going into Committee of the Whole and be looked at in more detail, but weíve also seen ó and the reason we would like that to happen is that we donít like all that is written in the bills, and weíve seen the government introduce bills on the floor of this Legislature and, not long after, amend their own bills. So theyíre not clearly written, and we would like the opportunity to do just that, and we are going to give and allow the five bills that are going to be presented by the Premier to go into Committee of the Whole.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Jenkins: This bill that we have before us, the ATIPP, I donít have any quarrel with it and I will be supporting it.
But Iíd like to comment on the way that the government leader, the Premier, has packaged these five bills and presented them to the House, that they go forward as a vote of confidence. It is within her ability to do so, being the government of the day.
There are three of the bills in that package that I will not be supporting because, really, we are elected to serve the interests of all Yukoners. The bill that the general public wants to see before this House and debated is the Education Act; that is the first one. And the second one is the electoral boundaries and those changes. If the government were doing the right thing and had the best interests of all Yukoners in the forefront of what they were trying to do here, the electoral boundaries would have been before this House. I understand the Premier has offered to give her caucus a free and open vote. It would probably have passed this House, been given third reading and assented to.
Because what appears to be happening with what is transpiring now is that the opposition is being set up as the fall guy ó if you want to put it that way ó for the forthcoming election.
The Premier is going to be able to stand up and say, "We tried to govern, we did our best to govern, but I guess the downright bottom line is that it exceeded our ability." I would urge the government of the day to get on with the Act to Amend the Education Act and get on with the Electoral District Boundaries Act, 2002. Bring them before the House, because theyíre the important ones.
Iíve indicated very clearly, Mr. Speaker, my support for the budget, because I believe minority governments can be good governments, but they have to listen, and then they have to act on what they hear, not plug their ears and sit back and threaten. All weíve heard to date from the government leader is, "Give us some ideas, give us some suggestions. Yesterday, there were two excellent suggestions that came forward. One was a motion from the Member for Watson Lake, dealing with economic issues, which I really had no trouble supporting. It was a good motion and a good start.
Seeing in the past how the Liberal government here in the Yukon has grabbed on to any NDP initiative and their budget, why not grab on to another NDP initiative?
The other area that was presented yesterday was from me, Mr. Speaker, offering to pair with the Minister of Tourism. Our visitor industry is the last area where we have some potential for economic development and economic growth.
This Liberal government, Mr. Speaker, has systematically downplayed and destroyed the forestry industry, the oil and gas industry, the mining industry and mining exploration, and it would appear theyíre on the same course of action with the visitor industry. Oh, yes, we have all of the catchwords, "Iím here to listen; Iím here to do the right thing." I wasnít able to attend the TIA banquet and hear what the Minister of Tourism had to say. I was in Dawson on the Friday, and my wife was in attendance at part of the conference. I had to leave Dawson late Friday night to be back here for Saturday morning for the Yukon Party convention.
Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, this Liberal government is just looking to set up the opposition to be the fall guy for the forthcoming election. Thatís not fair. Thatís not reasonable. We are here to conduct the business of government, to hold the government accountable. We have some very worthwhile and beneficial suggestions. Today I tabled a motion. If the government of the day takes me up on that motion, it could see its way clear to accept a private/public partnership to look at ways to direct the capital budget, which we know is coming forward this fall, to areas of our economy and stimulate it. Now, I must admit itís not just money alone. The other areas that have to be addressed are firm, sound policies and changes to existing policies within this Liberal caucus. That we are not seeing.
Mr. Speaker, it is amazing that we had an elected Liberal government two years ago with a very strong majority ó 11-seat majority in this House ó with a budget surplus that has grown to obscene proportions, and if you add back in all the foundation money and all the surplus money that has been squirreled away, it would be about $125 million when you look at the $15 million in reserve, the other $10 million set aside ó we donít know whatís going to happen to that $10 million.
No one in the Liberal government seems to know what to do to get the economy going. In opposition, we have offered a number of very, very worthwhile suggestions ó extremely worthwhile suggestions. Why wonít the Premier take us up on them instead of batting them back on a constant basis?
There are so many areas of our economy that could be turned around with very little help and very little initiative on the part of this government. But one can only look at the many areas that were working, and working reasonably well, that had their funding cut.
Training trust funds ó more than $1 million out of their budget. And the result, when you add in the leveraged amount, approaches some $3 million missing from training. The arts community ó theyíve lost $1 million. Libraries ó a move afoot to shut down the hours that the Whitehorse Library is in operation. That met very, very stern opposition, and again the minister responsible had to reverse his position, like he has had to slow down on YPAS, because the general public and the feedback was that, "Hey, is this really the way to go and the speed to go at?"
The minister probably came to his senses on his long drive back from Dawson and came to realize that, "My God, weíve got how many SMAs coming into place under land claims? And how many of those are going to be duplicated in the Yukon protected areas strategy?" Maybe it is time weíve had a look at this and stood back. And Iíve got a whole mess of letters that are saying, "Balance the equation." Balancing is kind of like pairing; itís an equal amount on both sides of the ledger. Yesterday we learned that the ministerís idea of pairing is two to one.
Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I will be supporting this act, but I encourage the Liberal government to address the legislative agenda and deal with those bills that are of paramount importance instead of the ones that are virtually self-serving. Respect the interests and deal with the interests of all Yukoners.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Point of order
Mr. McLarnon: First of all, Iím rising on a point of order, and Iím asking for clarification from the Chair, Mr. Speaker. We were told at the House leaders' meeting this morning that these were confidence bills, and thatís why we were here. Iím wondering if there is a formal process the government has to go through to ensure that the public knows that theyíre confidence bills. I certainly didnít hear this from the Premier in her opening addresses. Iím wondering if this needs to be publicly stated so that all Yukoners understand ó not just the people who were in the House leaders' meeting and the people that are affected ó that all Yukoners understand whatís at stake in these bills?
Speaker: There is no point of order. The issue of confidence is not a procedural matter. So we are clear.
The Member for Whitehorse Centre has the floor. Does the member care to continue?
Mr. McLarnon: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for the clarification on the point of order. It was hard to find, through all the books and research we had, how this is exactly handled, so thank you for your clarification on that.
I guess the way I look at it is that today a very bad decision was made. An extremely poor decision on the governmentís part was made, and that was to attach confidence to these bills. And why I am going to stand up and say that is because these bills are based on internal reorganization of the government. These bills, by and large, will have small effect on the price of bread in the Yukon Territory and whether peopleís lives change or get better. These bills are essentially asking us to vote whether this government should exist, should even be in government, based on internal organization and reorganization. What we see here is a government making, really, a tempest in a teapot.
Renewal, as it was, will improve the lives or at least the services offered to Yukoners down the road. And we are talking about in even a cultural change, something that was going to take four years to fully implement, something that may take up to 10 years for people to realize the full implications and the cultural change. In fact, aspects of renewal donít even happen until next year, until devolution happens.
Yet, we are asked today to make our judgements on whether the government should be in power, based on an internal reorganization. Mr. Speaker, if this government wished to give us something that we could actually sink our teeth into, and bring as a confidence to the government, it could be a question on the economy, maybe a question on making sure Yukoners go back to work, maybe a question of some importance to Yukoners who donít work for the Yukon territorial government.
Itís a sad day, because it has made a few things crystal clear in my mind. One of them is that no government that does this should be in power. One of them is that no government that does this should be responsible for leading Yukoners out of the economic malaise that they feel today. One of the results of this legislation, and placing a confidence vote on it, is pointing out the pettiness of this government, pointing out that power comes before policy and people.
What we see here is a cheap, political game being played. I congratulate all the people who are Liberal political advisors, all the people who enjoy playing games, instead of all the people who enjoy giving us good government. They won, because now weíre into an opera of grand scale that didnít need to happen.
When we look at the obituary, when we look at the epitaph of the Yukon Liberal government, it will be that the game they played was Russian roulette.
Speaker: Order please. The Chair would ask if the member could assist the Chair. The Chair canít connect the relevance between what the member is saying and Bill No. 60, which we are discussing here. If the member could assist me here, I would appreciate it.
Mr. McLarnon: Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that, since there was no formal process for the government to introduce the fact that there are very weighty considerations other than changing the name and duties of an archivist to a records manager, this bill, because of the actions in front and placed on to it have much more weight than the actual change. That is now part of the discussion.
I also ask that the standards of this House be equally applied to both sides, because we certainly heard a preamble on this bill where four other bills were discussed on the other side.
All Iím asking, Mr. Speaker, is, if weíre holding relevance to either side, that we hold relevance to all aspects when one of the aspects here is certainly that confidence is attached to this.
Speaker: Does the member wish to continue?
Mr. McLarnon: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I just wanted to ensure by all standards that this speech is on the record and in order.
Mr. Speaker, I stand today asking the government to be reasonable, to understand that Yukoners will hold them accountable if they do not take the restrictions of confidence off this bill.
I also tell the members opposite, if theyíd like to see this bill go forward, if itís based on the principles of accountability and good governance, then I will consider the bill in that light. If itís based on a test of whether this government is prudent and responsible in introducing legislation and how they introduce it, then I will defeat this bill. But I will not stand and watch this government play games on the back of the Yukon public any further.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Fentie: Iíll be very brief. My point to make to the Premier when she stands up to close debate in second reading is going to be in the form of a question.
In the spirit of cooperation, productivity and constructiveness in this Assembly, my question to the Premier is why, then, did the government side, through the government House leader, not approach the opposition benches and say or ask whether we would be interested in moving these bills ó these five bills that are enabling legislation for the new structure in government ó whether we would be agreeable to move these five bills through second reading into Committee? Instead, we were informed in no uncertain terms that, if we were to vote against these bills in second reading, the government would fall, thereby leaving the new government structure without enabling legislation. One can only wonder what that would do in terms of delivering programs and services to the Yukon public.
I find the governmentís approach very irresponsible. I find the governmentís approach self-focused and not caring. We have to start focusing on the job we were elected to do, and that is dealing with the issues the public feels are important. That is our duty.
The product coming out of this Assembly is zero, nothing. And it is time we got it right or letís go home and forfeit our paycheques. What is going on here today is a travesty to this Assembly and to democracy. All the government had to do, and I ask the Premier again, all the government had to do is say to the opposition benches, "Are you willing to move these bills through second reading into Committee? Yes or no?" Instead, we play this game. What a shame.
Speaker: If the Premier now speaks she will close debate. Does any other member wish to be heard?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: I rise to my feet having served as a House leader in this government, having attended House leadersí meetings where such travesties occurred where I was refused the opportunity to tribute a member of the House of Commons who had died in their seat, because the government couldnít see their way fit to allow me that opportunity at the House leadersí meeting.
I know what thatís like. I also know the purpose of those House leadersí meetings. The purpose of those House leadersí meetings is the advice and, yes, itís also cooperation.
Some Hon. Members: (Inaudible)
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that I have the floor at this time.
The fact is that House leaders are to organize the business of the House for the day. When we tabled the 23 bills in this Legislature ó 23 this session ó knowing full well that we are in a minority situation ó I have been advised of all the constitutional parameters around this and what can and what canít be done and what has to be done.
The fact is that any bill ó any bill before the House ó can be deemed a confidence bill. I could have stood on my feet when I did second reading ó you cannot do it at first reading. But at second reading, I could have stood on my feet and announced there and then that these bills are considered confidence bills. No, the House leaders were given, at the House leadersí meeting, that full information.
They are deemed to be confidence bills by this government for very good reason. Because the Member for Whitehorse Centre himself went on at great length as a participant in the renewal committee, advising that these accountability measures have to pass the House or the force and effect of accountability will not be there. They are linked absolutely to the budget, absolutely to the finance bills of this government ó all five of them. They give force and effect to the hard work of public servants and the government on renewal. They are absolutely linked to the budget, and that has been made abundantly clear from day one.
The first readings of bills are for introductory purposes only. Theyíre introduced and theyíre tabled. It gives members the opportunity to go through and analyze the bill. And members of the public ó the member opposite makes reference to some of these bills, Mr. Speaker, that have been tabled. We are proceeding in order of business, as has been tabled. Weíve dealt with a number of the items. The Minister of Education has stated quite clearly that the Education Act was to be tabled in order for everyone who has a keen interest in the bill to have an opportunity to look at it. We are interested in amendments. The Member for Vuntut Gwitchin has suggested amendments, and we are more than happy. The minister has said, "We will look at amendments."
With respect to Bill No. 60, members have said that it is somehow not fair or not reasonable for the government to outline in House leaders' meetings what is a confidence bill. Mr. Speaker, I regret to advise the members opposite, but theyíre wrong. Thatís what House leaders' meetings are about. Itís advice about whatís going on in the business of the House today. Weíre calling these five bills. Members were also asked to make sure we were fully prepared to move on to one of the next items on the list of legislation, which is the electoral district boundaries review. Weíre more than ready, Mr. Speaker.
What amazes me, Mr. Speaker, is the complete inability of members opposite to recognize and give credit where credit is due and recognize work of this government, that this government is committed to public discussion, that this member is very interested in what the public has to say. In fact, the Yukon Chamber of Commerce met with the Minister of Infrastructure and the Minister of Business, Tourism and Culture this morning to discuss how their input would be achieved on forthcoming economic initiatives. I stood on the floor of this House yesterday and indicated that the public discussion around parameters of the Yukon permanent fund will take place in June.
We have said all those things. Members opposite have a complete inability to recognize the good, hard work of not only this government, but of other members on the floor of this House in debating and moving through legislation. Thatís what weíre supposed to do. Weíre supposed to present good legislation and, occasionally, yes, it does require amendment.
I stood opposite, Mr. Speaker, and argued for a complete afternoon for the former minister responsible for the environment to try to follow the rules of natural justice. He wouldnít accept an amendment. We have accepted amendments. We want to work with legislators.
This role as legislators, our role as representatives of Yukoners, is to come to this place and fully debate legislation that is brought forward. Is it in the best interests of Yukoners? There are five bills that are accountability and renewal legislation before this House today. I indicated in my opening remarks that these bills are a reflection not only of the confidence in this government, but they are a reflection of the confidence in the Yukon public servants who have worked incredibly hard on this initiative, which is a stressful transitional time of change. I have said that on two occasions. I have publicly acknowledged and thanked the people who worked on these bills.
I am confident I have also brought forward good legislation, and Bill No. 60 is one of the five pieces of this legislation, and I look forward to members being as committed to their word as they have said they are, and prepared to move these bills into Committee for full public debate.
Speaker: Are you prepared for the question? Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Some Hon. Members: Disagreed.
Speaker: I think the ayes have it.
Motion for second reading of Bill No. 60 agreed to
Bill No. 58: Second Reading
Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 58, standing in the name of the hon. Ms. Duncan.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 58, Act to Amend the Economic Development Act, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Premier that Bill No. 58, entitled Act to Amend the Economic Development Act, be now read a second time.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, this is the second of the five bills that government has presented that provide the foundation for the renewal initiative. They are completely linked to the Government of Yukon budget and the accountability process.
The amendments to the Economic Development Act assume that government should assign all the responsibilities described in the act to one specific minister and one specific department that is named in the act, and we all know that economic development is key to the Yukon ó we have heard many discussions about it in this Legislature ó and that it is an integral part of everything that government does.
The proposed amendments simply remove the clauses that require the government to assign all the responsibilities to one specified minister in one specified department. We are not altering the governmentís commitments to these responsibilities in any way.
These amendments remove unnecessary constraints on governmentís ability to manage. When we legislate management procedures as has been done, we tie government up in unnecessary procedural constraints that can quickly become nothing but red tape. This is especially true with devolution fast approaching. The responsibilities of this government will increase tremendously. It no longer makes sense to try to have one department manage everything related to the economy.
With bigger responsibilities and more programs, we need to be able to give departments more specialized mandates ó the development of Yukonís energy, mines and natural resources, for example, or business, tourism and culture. This government is taking a different updated approach to delivering the economic development agenda. We have restructured the mandates of departments in a way we think will better achieve the results that the act anticipates. For example, we now have more specialized departments, as Iíve mentioned, in Energy, Mines and Resources; and Business, Tourism and Culture. They can focus their efforts on specific segments of the economy.
A Department of Energy, Mines and Resources will be ready to accept substantial new resource-related responsibilities under devolution. The broadest economic planning and analysis functions are placed in the Department of Finance, where they fit better with that departmentís oversight role within government and its role to manage other levers of the economy. A good example of this, Mr. Speaker, is ensuring that economic analysis is not in solely one department but in an overall department or a central agency like the Department of Finance, which enables, then, Management Board documents and Cabinet documents to have a full economic analysis, as opposed to the perspective of one specific department. So it provides that overall economic analysis into the Department of Finance.
These amendments also make it clear to future governments that they do not have to be constrained by an act that requires them to assign a specific package of responsibilities to a specific minister and department. Through their accountability plans, governments will define how they intend to achieve their economic goals.
This is, as I said, the second in the five renewal bills, Mr. Speaker. All of them are linked to the budget and to the accountability plans of this government.
They are an important reflection of the confidence, not only in public servants, but in this government to complete and work through renewal. Renewal is significant changes to the way that the government serves the public and itís the way we present governmentís finances to the public and the way that government is accountable to the public. This is a significant government initiative and it is one that I commend to the House.
Mr. Jenkins: This is one of the bills that I will be supporting, although reluctantly. Let me spell out my reasons.
The minister went on at great length to say this is all about the government serving the public. What this is more about is the government serving the aims and ambitions of the Yukon Liberal Party. The minister went on at great length to say that economic development canít be all put under one roof.
Well, we know what happens when we get into Committee debate, Mr. Speaker, and we try to track who is responsible for what. Itís kind of like the old shell game that used to be played. They get moved around and we donít know where itís hiding. Then we look at this accountability plan that I have serious and grave concerns about, Mr. Speaker. The accountability plan says ó and the minister has stated ó that we really donít need statistics because weíre going to verbally explain whatís happening and how weíre accountable, which would lead one to conclude that Yukoners canít look at a set of numbers and see how they relate to the budget and see if this government is accomplishing what they set out to accomplish.
"Weíll tell you how well weíve done," is what the government is saying. I donít believe that is the way governments should act or should conduct the business of the people. I will give credit where credit is due, and I will comment on the economic forecast. It appears that the new economic forecast originating out of the Department of Finance is much more accurate and much more forthright in its overview because it is based on the reality of what has transpired and what they anticipate will transpire. The previous economic forecast under this Liberal government and the previous NDP government was more of a political document and it painted a picture of what the government of the day wanted to see. I see this occurring more and more under the legislation that is being brought before this House under this Liberal government. We are making a few strides in a couple of areas but we are making great leaps backwards as far as being open and accountable.
What these bills do, by and large, is vest all the power in the corner office with the Premier and her three known de facto premiers who basically will micromanage the whole Yukon which is, if you look at the case today, very much the way it is.
The Yukon is being micromanaged from the Premierís corner office, and this is open and accountable government, Mr. Speaker. I do not believe that is the case, and more and more Yukoners are concurring with that position all the time.
There are ways to accomplish what the Premier wants to accomplish, and Iíd encourage the Premier to learn the basis of good leadership and managing a caucus. The Premier doesnít appear to have displayed the ability to manage a caucus of 11 very well. How can she justify telling Yukoners sheís going to manage the affairs of 30,000 Yukoners?
Leadership is not something that youíre born with, Mr. Speaker. Itís learned from experience. There was always the comment that he or she is a born leader. That only happens in royalty, and is perhaps why a lot of the cartoons are pointing in that direction ó that we have royalty at the helm of the Yukon. But that isnít the case.
Thereís an election process and, I donít know, the words "government leader" were adequate for me. I guess, when you get into that position, you have the right to crown yourself as premier, and thatís what we now have.
But, at the end of the day, we have before this Legislature the largest budget ever in the history of the Yukon. We are in the worst economic times in the history of the Yukon. Even during the Great Depression here in the Yukon, there was growth in the economy here. YCGC was alive, very active. In fact, there was a shortage of employees in the mining fields and gold production was very, very active.
Mind you, back in those days, the Commissionerís role was of paramount importance, like it will be under the new Yukon Act, and it was the companies ó YCGC, White Pass, and a few other notable entities ó that basically ran the Yukon. Things werenít all that bad, Iím given to understand. We had a lot of social problems, yes, but the amount of government back then was significantly less than it is today, and what have we accomplished?
Under these bills that we have before us, all that the Liberals are doing is basically rearranging the deck chairs on the S.S. Liberal Titanic, and thatís not what it should be, Mr. Speaker.
This government had the majority; they lost it. Itís about time they woke up to that realization and come to the table and act in the best interests of all Yukoners, cooperate with the opposition and move forward some of this legislation and move aside some of this legislation that is only self-serving and is not going to serve the best interests of all Yukoners.
Mr. Speaker, I will reluctantly support this act. The next three I will not be supporting.
Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, at first glance, obviously this is a very limited piece of legislation amending the Economic Development Act and, by definition in the explanatory note, I think itís very clear what this is all about. It is in amazement that we find ourselves in this type of debate triggered by the government side, and we see absolutely no reason for this. What weíre doing here, really, is wasting time because, if the government agrees that these are simply amendments needed for the finalization in terms of renewal and enabling new structures within government to be legally allowed to operate and function, then thatís a much different debate on a much different plane from what the government side has created here.
I would also like to point out, Mr. Speaker, that itís highly embarrassing to constantly hear the Premier, with the platitudes and the demands such as the opposition recognizing, paying homage to the hard work that the government has done. I find that very limited in its constructiveness and thereís absolutely no reason for it to be dealt with on the floor of this Legislature. Itís not we on this side who should be paying recognition to the government. Our job is to hold the government accountable. The Premier should be trying to convince the Yukon public of their hard work and productivity, and itís obvious that the Yukon public is not convinced.
In this particular legislation, I would have much preferred to hear the Premier open by explaining how this act, given the new structure, is going to improve the economic woes that we face. How is it going to improve life for Yukoners economically? Why is it better to disseminate the economic development initiatives throughout government with, in all probability, some of those initiatives being lost, instead of having them focused through one government department totally dedicated to addressing our economic crisis? Those are the types of things that we look for in constructive debate. The back-patting and the self-serving approach to this is not only not doing the public any good ó itís a disservice to the public ó it is lowering the level of debate in this Assembly, and it does not bode well for us in this House as elected members, because we are not, frankly, producing. And thatís a problem.
So I would urge the Premier to get off the self-focused bandwagon and get on the Yukon bandwagon and start explaining to this Assembly and to the Yukon public what it is exactly they are doing. Because I would say, Mr. Speaker, from the developments over the last number of days, that it is clear that Yukoners donít know what theyíre doing and also, now, that the government doesnít know what itís doing.
So in this regard, Mr. Speaker, I urge with all sincerity that the Premier and her colleagues turn their attention to the issues that Yukoners want us to deal with, and letís stop worrying about the problems that the Liberals themselves have created and must deal with on their own.
Mr. McLarnon: Again, on this bill, the speech that I had written was a little longer. Again, on this bill, it was a little lengthier, talking about the benefits, the need to ensure that we are ready for devolution ó talking about positives. There are positives in this bill. But how will I be voting on it? Negatively. The reason why is that when I stated I would be voting based on the acts being changed, it never occurred to me ó it never even dawned on me as it would to most reasonable people ó that again, a bill of this fundamental simplicity ó and as this very small action ó would be a matter of confidence, would be a matter of whether this government should stand or fall. It is ludicrous to have that kind of implication on this bill.
So again, very simply, the reason why I am voting against this bill is because the government has done something so completely off-base as to make my early words irrelevant. And the reason why they are irrelevant is because no one could possibly think that a bill to eliminate the Economic Development Act and to create two new departments out of it, which I fundamentally agreed to, would be a matter of confidence, would be something that we need. All these bills have been defined as "confidence" to us in the House leadersí meeting. And since there is no formal way to define in this House if this is a confidence vote or not, we have to go on with what we were told at the House leadersí meeting, which is that all five bills are.
I hear from the other side now that this is not a confidence. I need to know. Mr. Speaker, when the Premier closes, are these bills confidence-based or not? Because if they are not, it changes my vote. I need to know clearly if we are playing games here or if we are talking about governing the Yukon properly.
Speaker: If the Premier now speaks she will close debate. Does any other member wish to be heard?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, letís be clear about this. These five bills are all tied together. They are all part of accountability. If an Act to Amend the Economic Development Act ó let me back up.
All five of these bills are all part of renewal; they are all part of accountability. Traditionally, in a minority government, one of the key bills thatís considered a confidence bill is the budget bill; thatís understood. Thatís like, if you will, generally accepted.
These five bills are tied to the budget. For example, the Member for Whitehorse Centre made it abundantly clear on no less than three occasions that the Government Accountability Act has to pass the House after the budget in order to give effect to some of these things. These are all tied to the budget and, as such, they are also considered by this government to be confidence bills. Thatís clear. That is abundantly clear.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Yes, by the Rules of the House. The Rules of the House state ó the rules of minority government are that the government can consider at any point in time ó you read them out earlier ó any point in time, a bill, a confidence bill.
It is a choice that this government made because, if the budget should pass the House and the renewal bills donít pass the House, what would be the point of the accountability measures? You canít do them. They are tied together ó thatís why, Mr. Speaker.
We have also said ó and it has been made abundantly clear ó we have said over and over and over again that we are interested in full public debate. I asked for the confidence of the House to move them to amendments, to move them to Committee, so we could have the full discussion.
They are without significant change from the previous time the Member for Whitehorse Centre saw them and worked on them, and he had indicated previously in the House his support for them. That was obvious, Mr. Speaker, and that part of the public record is very clear.
Now, there are some points I would also like to respond to with respect to the Member for Watson Lake, who asked why we donít treat these as housekeeping bills because, in fact, this amendment to the Economic Development Act and the accountability and the others that weíre discussing ó and ATIPP in particular ó are small bills. Granted, all of them are fairly short. If the member opposite wants to suggest that these five renewal bills be cleared straight through to Committee, then heís welcome to suggest that at House leaders' meeting. Thatís what theyíre supposed to do at House leaders' meeting. The suggestion was not made at House leaders' meeting.
And the other point I would like to make ó the Member for Klondike stood on the floor of this House and said that the statistics were just going to be given verbally, that I had somehow suggested that Yukoners were not going to receive the same information. In fact, the measurable performance indicators that mean something to Yukoners will be fully contained in future accountability plans. Those performance indicators are key to working and ensuring that accountability works for all Yukoners. My understanding is that his comment in support of the accountability is that he certainly understands and supports the accountability, but too bad the rest of the House doesnít understand it. Well, this side does, Mr. Speaker, and weíre interested in passing it.
The economic outlook also, for the member opposite, has not been prepared any differently from how it has been in the past. The move of the finance and analysis unit has not yet taken place, and the economic outlook has been prepared in the same manner it always has been prepared, even under previous governments, and the facts, Mr. Speaker, speak for themselves. The Member for Klondike clearly has reviewed these, because he has started to recognize that in some areas, for example forestry, it is lower than average and in population it says yes, Yukonís population is expected to remain similar; however, the number of people over 55 is expected to continue to increase. Perhaps thatís because weíre all ageing as we stand here in this Legislature.
Mr. Speaker, there were other comments with respect to leadership ó the snide remarks I have come to expect ó and in that regard Iíll gladly stack my record and my service to the people of the Yukon with every confidence that we have ó and I apologize to the member opposite from Watson Lake who believes that somehow we shouldnít thank people on the floor of this House. I do believe in thanking the people who worked on renewal ó both government, members of this Legislature, and public servants.
With specific respect to amendments to the Economic Development Act, Mr. Speaker, I did make it clear, but I will make it clear again for the Member for Watson Lake, that what this will do for future government is that, through accountability plans, governments have to define how they intend to achieve their economic goals. Also, with respect to devolution, it will make it easier and make the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources better prepared and able to accept the substantial new resource-related responsibilities which, for example, require lands ó rather than being scattered over two YTG departments and one Government of Canada department ó to be centralized. So making it that easy for people to then submit that land use application, working and, interestingly enough, in the Department of Energy Mines and Resources ó the development department.
The broadest economic planning and analysis ó it makes sense to have that in the Department of Finance, a strong central agency.
Specialized departments like Business, Tourism and Culture ó most Yukon small business is involved in one form or another with tourism. Cultural industries are also an important growing market for us. This organization makes sense.
This organization and this bill, short though it is, makes sense and is worthy of the Houseís support at second reading.
Motion for second reading of Bill No. 58 agreed to
Bill No. 59: Second Reading
Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 59, standing in the name of the hon. Ms. Duncan.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: I move that Bill No. 59, entitled Government Accountability Act, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Premier that Bill No. 59, entitled Government Accountability Act, be now read a second time.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: In his final report to the Public Accounts Committee, the former Auditor General of Canada, Mr. Denis Desautels, called attention to the lack of progress on improving accountability within the federal government.
I quote, "Providing performance information that is balanced and candid is seen to carry too many risks. This can be true for both ministers and public servants. In short, we have a government culture where mediocre reporting is safe reporting.
"To break out of this, Parliament may need to legislate the provision of performance information by departments. We have to move toward a culture where there is virtue in reporting the way things are."
This Government Accountability Act is about government performance. It requires government to "stick its neck out" and clearly and distinctly lay out where it wants to go, what it plans to do, what it expects to achieve and how it will measure the results. This legislation will obligate governments to take responsibility for results. It requires government to show the public, through its accountability plans, what its goals are and the degree to which it has achieved those goals. Yukoners want a government that is accountable. We have heard this over and over and over again. And we have survey results that show that this is Yukonersí highest priority for improving government. Government accountability is about managing taxpayersí dollars wisely, responsibly and explaining what has been achieved for those taxpayersí dollars. It is about Yukoners understanding the choices made by government, and being able to find out what the government has accomplished with their tax dollars. It is about public servants having clear, achievable goals, a challenging work environment and an opportunity to demonstrate results. Iíd like to speak briefly about two specific, clear examples of this.
Previously, we received a budget document that would tell us how many students were enrolled in our schools, how many children were in kindergarten and how many students chose to take part in French immersion, and how many rural versus urban students. Those statistics also told us how many students were transported on a bus in a year and how much money we spent on busing.
Nowhere did government stand up and say to the public that this is the program we have instituted, this is how many children enrolled in that program, and this is the success rate, these are the results. For a very good example of that, one only has to look at the accountability plan for the Department of Education and the reading recovery. Look at the program. Itís there. Iíve supported that program for the last six years. Itís there; not only that, but the performance indicators say to the public that we know this has been successful and, whatís more, weíll come back and explain to you how successful it has been.
Thatís what the public wants to know. They want to know that their students are graduating from math 12 classes, that they are able to pursue the trades or university degrees, and what the success rate is. They want to know for a fact ó not hearsay. They want to know the facts and want those facts and those measurable results put before them in clear, plain language and in clearly achievable results, and they want government to account for them.
Reading recovery is one example of where those statistics pages, those performance indicators, will change with this Government Accountability Act. Another example is in the Department of Infrastructure. We need ó and Yukoners want ó governments to account for the dollars that have been spent.
They want to know how many kilometres of road have been brushed and cleared. They want to know what condition the BST is in. Should more government money be spent in that area or should it be somewhere else? And where are the results to account for and discuss it? Thatís what the accountability plans do.
Itís not unique to this Legislature. The Government of the Northwest Territories tables them, the Government of Alberta and the Government of Nova Scotia. We have examined these other experiences and we have come up with a made-in-Yukon solution.
If we donít disclose the purpose and the reason for taxpayersí expenditures, the results and the financial impact of the choices the government makes, how then can government or legislators in this forum make informed decisions about allocating money to programs? If legislators donít know that putting more resources into reading recovery works and helps and that the participation rate and the success rate is there, why would they vote for it?
When a government stands up and says, "Here is where the money is being spent. Here are the performance indicators, and here is the expenditure. Judge us by what we have achieved," thatís what accountability legislation does. It moves the accountability of the Yukon government ó no matter what party or which individual is the leader ó to Yukoners to a higher plane, and itís long overdue and itís required, as difficult as change is.
To increase Yukonersí understanding of what government is doing with their tax dollars, this bill will require departments to be clear in identifying primary responsibilities and expectations based upon spending.
This new, clear and open budget format will mean the public can see at a glance how much each responsibility area costs. How much are we spending on these? In this way, the public can have a meaningful debate about the governmentís performance and evaluate whether itís receiving sufficient value for investment.
Government should account to the public for how tax dollars are spent. This bill will ensure that they do that ó this government and future governments, Mr. Speaker. The accountability legislation sends a strong, clear message to both the public and the public service that there is a long-term commitment to managing for results. This will encourage politicians, the public service and the public to make the investment of time thatís necessary to learn to work with result-based reporting systems and to fully realize its potential in terms of government accountability.
In the final analysis, Mr. Speaker, if we effectively measure results, we will be able to recognize success. If we can demonstrate results, we can earn public support for our programs and we can restore confidence in government and public confidence in their legislators.
Mr. Speaker, the Government Accountability Act is an innovation for the Yukon government. Itís a Yukon solution. Itís a Yukon adaptation of other experiences. It will raise the level of debate in this Legislature about the expenditure of taxpayersí dollars. It will force this government and all governments to be fully accountable to the public, with performance indicators that measure the results for the dollars expended.
Itís a good innovation; I commend it. I hope that members opposite will examine it fully and will see fit to move it for full Committee debate.
Mr. Fairclough: Iíll be short in my comments. As I said earlier, we will allow this bill to move on to Committee of the Whole for full debate on each section that is in the bill. We will, and do, have a lot of questions. I look at this bill right now ó unless there is more explanation by the Premier ó as an R-20 bill. It has an insulation value. It insulates the political people from accountability and moves it back down to the departmental staff.
The government should be practising accountability here on the floor of the Legislature when the questions are being asked, acting in good faith in the bills that they do present in this House. In the end, I think we would show a vast improvement in how government works in the future. We do have some questions on this bill, and we will be bringing forward our thoughts on the different clauses in general debate and Committee of the Whole.
Mr. Jenkins: What we have before the House today is called the Government Accountability Act. A more fair and accurate title to this bill would be "the insulation act," because what it serves to do is insulate the elected officials from having any responsibilities for what transpires in the respective departments. It is all downloaded to the next level.
Furthermore, some of these other acts point out clearly that all the appointments of the senior DMs for everything, including the Crown corporations, save and except the Workersí Compensation Health and Safety Board, come right from the corner office, from the three de facto premiers and the Premier herself, whether she has any input or not.
And I certainly have to call into question some of the statements that the Premier made, and ask the Premier when weíre going to see some of these explained. I quote the Premier explaining what has been achieved with the expenditure of tax dollars.
Well, we can all see what has been achieved. Government is spending more and more money on itself. And one of the other big areas is ministerial travel, although that appears to be down somewhat.
But if this is an open and accountable government, why donít they even answer the phone, Mr. Speaker? You try phoning virtually any department or any minister, and nine times out of 10, youíll just hit the voice mail. Thatís more and more the case across government departments. So much for being open and accountable ó you canít even answer the phone. Perhaps itís about time this government puts something in place like banning e-mail in the Yukon between government and government agencies, especially from the minister. That might serve the cause of the government of the day much better. Or take away the answering machine except for after hours.
Mr. Speaker, TIA just issued a news release today and I will quote from it. It says, "This government has the opportunity to be a Chamberlain or a Winston Churchill. We are in a time of crisis and the tourism industry is asking our government leaders to focus on assisting the business community to improve the economy."
Weíve elected a Chamberlain. Weíre going to have a hard time turning that Chamberlain into a Churchill, Mr. Speaker. I guess itís time for the Premier to call the election.
This Government Accountability Act and the opening remarks were predicated on something the Auditor General said about the feds. I have gone through quite a number of the previous Auditor Generalsí audits of the Government of Yukon ó some which were qualified; most which were unqualified. I went back quite a length of time and nowhere ó unless of course itís in a management letter that this House is not privy to ó did I see any indication from any of the past Auditor General Office officials that Yukon needed an accountability plan.
This is just some Liberal concept to advance their cause, Mr. Speaker. I donít know whose thesis weíre working on or coming forward with, but someoneís doctorate is being put into play here in the Yukon. The efforts and concentration of this government today should be to restore the economy, to rebuild the economy to put Yukoners to work in all sectors, not to restructure and reorganize government.
We all know what happened to Chamberlain, Mr. Speaker, and we all know what happened to Churchill. It would appear that what weíre trying to be sold is a benevolent dictatorship that isnít very benevolent.
I will not be supporting this bill. It can be made to work, but itís going to take a tremendous effort on the part of the government of the day to sell it, and I donít think, Mr. Speaker, that theyíre going to be successful at doing that, because what we have is a Chamberlain form of government, not a Churchill form of government that the Yukon needs today.
Mr. Speaker, Iíd ask the Premier to look on her desk when she gets back there and have a look at the Tourism Industry Association of Yukonís press release of today. They have identified the problem. They point out solutions.
Virtually every industry in the Yukon has come to the Premier, identified the problem and pointed out possible solutions. The Premier hasnít taken any of them up on their offers. About the only offer that has been taken up is by the minister responsible for the environment, and he is postponing and delaying YPAS.
Well, that is just one small step in the right direction, but there is more to it than just delaying it. It is to carry through and put the YPAS process back on the tracks because it is derailed. This minister has provided the leadership that has derailed process. Rather than take all the Yukon down with him and all the Yukon Liberal Party down with him, I guess common sense has finally prevailed over in that court and at that caucus table, and we see a delay. As I pointed out earlier, that delay might just be posturing by this Liberal government to clear the decks for the next territorial election. I believe that to be more the case than actually the Minister of Environment listening to the First Nation and listening to the industry coalition. This "insulation act" does very little at the end of the day to address the accountability problems here in the Yukon.
Once again, itís just a shell game to move everything around, try to confuse everyone while the Liberal government of the day tries to get a handle on the situation. But we in the Yukon canít afford to train a Premier how to lead and ministers how to be responsible for their departments, especially when all the decisions are being made in the corner office and flowing down to the level of deputy ministers, who serve at the total pleasure of the Premier, who usually doesnít consult with the minister responsible for that department about any appointment to the deputy minister level. Itís a dictatorship, and weíre asked to approve an accountability plan that is going to insulate the ministers from their respective portfolios.
Mr. Speaker, this Bill No. 59, the Government Accountability Act, the "insulation act", requires a lot more work and a lot more thought, and Iíd encourage the Premier not to confuse the issues out there any more and to address the most important issue, that being the economy.
Try to behave like a Churchill, not a Chamberlain, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. McLarnon: I believe right now, as I stand, it is probably with the heaviest heart Iíve had in the Legislature since I have been a member here. The reason why is, again, weíre looking ó Iíll disagree with the Member for Klondike ó weíre looking at a good piece of legislation here. Weíre looking at a good measure brought forward by the Yukon territorial Liberal Party to institute accountability into our process.
There had been discussions earlier about insulation and, if used improperly, thatís what accountability plans can do. Accountability plans are only worth whatís put into them. Theyíre only valuable if theyíre used properly.
What was done this year was an introduction of accountability plans to the Legislature to get people understanding them, to have stakeholders understand them. What it is is a chain of direction, a chain of accountability. I support it but I wonít in a vote. I will in a vote if the restrictions of confidence are lifted.
And I will get back to the point that this hammer need not have been applied. My statements guaranteed the numbers. The provision added afterwards, which would relate these to confidence bills, has removed that support. The reason why is that my votes were to be counted on in a normal scenario ó in a scenario that did not put a gun to the head of the opposition members, that did not force the opposition members to have to choose between the bill and the very political game that has been played behind.
This accountability plan, if used properly, not only tells stakeholders how they can measure what they would like government to achieve, it is also a way for the government to bring their priorities and allow them to be addressed by the civil service over the term of the mandate.
There is a basic misunderstanding in the House, at least as far as I can understand, about the roles that politicians have in this.
Politicians obviously have a very direct role in the accountability plans. That shouldnít be questioned. The idea of the accountability plan is to take the political promises, put them in a format that can show they are going to be carried out, how they are going to be carried out and how the plans will be measured by people who need or wish to work with the government. It is also a way for stakeholders to address their very real concerns of how the government reacts to them through measurement statistics.
The whole idea of accountability is a good idea. Why then are we being forced, put in a position where this is based on confidence? I have heard the Premierís argument that it is a stack of cards, and Iíve even said the same thing. But the reality is that the Premier already had a guarantee of enough numbers to put this through the House. The Premier already had ó my own statement was that, if the bills were not significantly changed, I would vote for it. We have a confidence measure placed on it now, which forces me to change my vote, which forces me to recognize that things that were near and dear to me are now being placed on a political level, that the words that I spoke in support of this are being disregarded and that we are going to instead make me vote on whether I am confident in the performance of this government. And I wonít sacrifice the main principle that I am not confident in my support of this government. I am confident in my support of these bills, but if itís tied to the performance of this government, no. That singular principle changes my whole view.
My suggestion to the side opposite, if they would like to see these bills go through, is to lift the confidence restrictions and understand that this House is an area of free vote and that other restrictions, other than these bills, need not be placed, and these bills will proceed with enough support to see them in reality without these restrictions.
With these restrictions, as it stands, the government will fall. I do not wish this to happen, I do not believe the Yukon people wish this to happen but, based on my need to vote on principle, this will happen. The forcing of this into a confidence motion is, indeed, the wrong decision. The government still has a chance to retract that before third reading. If the government retracts that restriction, they will get my vote and ensure these bills go through.
If the government insists on playing games with these ó and Iím going to point out one of the games right now, Mr. Speaker. The changing of the name of archivist to record management, which is in the first bill here, is not something that will affect the long-term viability of renewal. It will not change one aspect of this governmentís ability to govern, yet we are being told by the Premier that this is one of the cards that the stack must have, and that our confidence in this government is based on that. No, Mr. Speaker.
So, once again, it breaks my heart to say that something that I worked so hard on, something that people in this government worked so hard on, is being compromised by a silly political move.
The other thing, Mr. Speaker, that I will take complete issue with, is the Premierís statement earlier that a vote against these bills is a vote against the civil servants who worked on them. Nothing, nothing, could be further from the truth. There are members on this side of the House who represent their constituents who are government employees.
Many of my constituents are government employees; many of my colleagues are. We respect their work. I enjoyed every minute of working on renewal, mainly for my contact with the bright, intelligent, motivated civil servants in this territory.
I, in my vote, wish no reflection that that is a vote against the civil servants. The respect for the civil servants should come from the government, understanding that if they had just allowed a normal democratic process to happen in a free vote without restriction, in a vote that is normal for this Legislature ó without a confidence restriction ó their work would be recognized and acted on and through this House. It is the confidence measures attached to this bill that I am voting against.
For all the civil servants who are listening, please understand that when the opposition votes against this, I will, in my powers as a Member of this Legislative Assembly, upon a return and election, ensure that accountability is part of any governmentís mandate. If they fall on this, it will happen again. Mr. Speaker, right now I am telling all the people with whom I worked on this that I am confident that accountability will happen in this government, but if itís tied to a confidence vote, it wonít happen today.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: If the Premier now speaks, she will close debate. Does any other member wish to be heard?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, the Government Accountability Act is fundamental to the governmentís efforts on renewal. Itís an important piece of legislation. I encourage all members to have the courage to support it and the courage to recognize that accountability is needed and that it be done.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Motion for second reading of Bill No. 59 agreed to
Bill No. 57: Second Reading
Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 57, standing in the name of the hon. Ms. Duncan.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: I move that Bill No. 57, the Government Organisation Act, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Premier that Bill No. 57, entitled Government Organisation Act, be now read a second time.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: The purpose of this act is to enable government to manage for results. Weíve tabled the accountability act that describes how government should be accountable. In this act, we ask government to describe what end results it intends to achieve and to measure itself against those intended results.
If we want our public service managers to change the culture of government and measure their performance in terms of results, we have to give them the room to manage.
The amendments that we have tabled for the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Economic Development Act highlight a problem that we have with certain pieces of legislation.
When we legislate ó and as legislators, Iím sure all members are concerned about that, because we strive in this House to ensure that there is good legislation for debate in the amendments that we bring forward, as well as in the legislation itself.
When we legislate, though, detailed procedural and organizational matters, we run the risk that these provisions become obsolete and impose unnecessary constraints on governmentís ability to perform. This is the kind of thing that creates red tape, and itís something to be very mindful of. I know members are particularly interested in development of resources and in development, as well as protection, of the environment ó a balance, Mr. Speaker.
When we legislate six steps and six procedures, itís not hard to see how those procedures can become obsolete and then the legislation becomes obsolete and we have to come back here to the House and amend it.
The renewal initiative has highlighted the complex ways in which government is constrained ó tied in knots, tied up in red tape. To make procedural and structural changes to government, diverse authorities had to be brought together.
This is like that old saying in university, that sociology is really psychology, and all the different sciences are really about math, and on and on. There was an old saying about that, Mr. Speaker, and thatís what itís about ó diverse authorities. This brings it back together.
The complexity doesnít serve anybody well. Government has clearly defined mandates in legislation, clearly defined spending authorities in the appropriation acts and, now, clearly defined goals in the accountability plans. We need to free government from the procedural constraints that tie it down with red tape and work against effective management practices. Change is ongoing, and government must be able to adapt continuously to new circumstances and needs.
To do this efficiently and effectively, we need clearly defined tools to implement the change. In response to these needs, and in an attempt to put some of what we have learned in the current restructuring process to practical use in the future, this government has tabled the Government Organisation Act.
The act deals with executive or management matters related to how a government exercises its authorities. We often think of these as the rowing of the government. We have concurrently tabled the Government Accountability Act to identify what we consider to be the steering of government.
Through the Government Accountability Act and the Government Organisation Act, we propose to focus the attention of the public and the Legislature on what our government is achieving as end results. Ultimately, government should be held accountable for what it achieves with the money it spends. It must be so, and not for who performs what functions.
This change will improve the credibility of government and restore the confidence of Yukoners in their government. The Government Organisation Act consolidates a number of authorities that now exist into one place, so that we donít have to search the obscure corners of legislated authority to find ways to manage the government.
In addition, the act creates two new powers. When government moves a program from one department to another, the act enables government to move existing spending authority for the program with the program. Just as we just spoke about ó the move of the financial analysis unit ó this new power will enable the government to move the spending authority for that program to the new program.
Any such moves are tracked in the public accounts, and I emphasize the reference to existing spending authority. It is only existing spending authority. It doesnít allow the government to create new spending authority. So there is a new power, but it doesnít go to the extent of creation of new spending authorities.
Secondly, the act enables government to disestablish departments and to transfer existing legislative authorities from one department to another. It does not allow the government to add, modify or suspend legislated authorities, only to move them.
Both this act and the Government Accountability Act are modelled on the best practices of other Canadian jurisdictions. As Iíve said earlier, there are organization acts that are very similar in Canada ó Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, Prince Edward Island and possibly some others. Those are just a few. We are actually probably among the last of the jurisdictions to acknowledge formally through this legislation that the way to make government work better is to pay attention to the right things, and steer as opposed to row.
Mr. Speaker, this is the partner piece, if you will, to the Government Accountability Act. I would encourage members to give it their full and due consideration and I encourage them to support it into second reading and, as such, then we will be able to have full and thorough debate on the Government Organisation Act.
Mr. Fentie: Well, Mr. Speaker, first I have to point something out here. In the context of productivity and expediting the publicís business in this Assembly, we have now spent two hours on items that could have been solved with two minutes of discussion in the House leadersí meeting. This whole scenario has been created for absolutely no reason other than government making the demand that, if the opposition does not support these bills, they are confidence bills, then the government would come down if we voted against the bills.
Frankly, Mr. Speaker, a two-minute discussion in the House leadersí meeting could have solved this, given what these bills are intended to do and given the number of areas that should be debated and thoroughly looked at. This is new; there are changes and there is every reason to get these bills into Committee and deal with them on behalf of the Yukon public to ensure that whatís taking place here is going to improve the daily lives of Yukoners through the delivery of programs and services that are the responsibility of the Yukon government.
Why weíre down this road two hours later is beyond me. We have had the Premier scolding this side of the House for not recognizing what her government ó not officials but this Liberal government across the floor ó has done through all their hard work.
Weíre more than willing to recognize it. Weíre more than willing to recognize that they have been working very hard in the wrong direction, producing very little to no results. Weíre very willing to recognize that, through this renewal process, they have turned government completely upside-down and have brought it to a standstill. We are more than willing to recognize that we had the first-ever teachers strike. We are more than willing to recognize that our economy is spiralling rapidly into oblivion and the government refuses to take any action whatsoever, other than the misguided attempts so far that have produced no results.
The Premier reads from her favourite passages in the latest internal statistic, the economic outlook. Well, the facts are that the economic outlook shows clearly a very sluggish economy, but it also makes an important point. The reason that the numbers improved somewhat is directly attached to these things: the multiplex, close to being finished; Wal-Mart; Canada Tungsten. These arenít things that the members opposite have accomplished; they were happening.
And to waste the time on the floor of this Assembly to listen to all that prattle is doing a disservice to the Yukon public. Surely, Mr. Speaker, there is a higher level for us to be working at. Surely we should be on the budget; we should be debating whatever department weíre on in Committee. Thatís the important thing here. To go through this nonsense is counterproductive.
I am trying to point out to the members opposite that there was another way to do this.
That is a very simple, constructive way that would have expedited the debate here today. Now, we already had members totally, totally wasting a day yesterday. All they had to do in the motion debate yesterday was bring forward an amendment immediately ó an amendment improving the five-point plan. Make it a 10-point plan. The point is we would have had something that had a collective voice behind it, and that collective voice, no matter where it goes ó Ottawa or anywhere else ó is a formidable force. But the members seem to be lost in their own problems, and I find that hugely disappointing and embarrassing to a great degree, because we are not producing the results that weíre elected to produce.
Now I see the members opposite laughing; they think this is a big joke. Everything is a big joke to them, but there will come a day when that joke becomes a sad tale of a wasted mandate, a wasted time in government, and theyíve taken this territory backward considerably. They will be judged for what theyíve done.
There is no need for the members opposite to stand in this Legislature and try to coerce this side, the opposition side, into agreeing with them. There are other ways to do that. There is no intention for the members opposite to work cooperatively. There is absolutely no intention to accept ideas, suggestions and constructive debate in this House. Theyíve proven it time and time again. It is those members opposite who brought closure to the floor of this Assembly ó closure ó so they did not have to sit here and be held accountable to the Yukon public ó closure, Mr. Speaker.
I can tell you that whatís really lost on this humble Member for Watson Lake is what strategies the members opposite are trying to employ here.
I would suggest whoever is advising them on how to conduct themselves in this House is a leak in the payroll, and I would move rapidly to plug that leak.
Now, we didnít have to go down this road. The point is, in two minutes this could have been done. Two hours later, we are still prattling on. We agree these bills have to go to Committee and have agreed all along, so what was the point of this exercise?
Speaker: If the Premier now speaks, she will close debate. Does any other member wish to be heard?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: The reason for this debate is its second reading. And second reading of the bills is the time when the government outlines in detail the bill and indicates its purpose. It is a time when members of the opposition have the opportunity to express their reservations about the bill and indicate what amendments they may or may not be bringing forward and their support or not for the legislation.
Now, although the member opposite has suggested that this could have been done in a couple of minutes, clearly that is not the view of everyone over there, and there are many who wish to speak on these bills. The Government Organisation Act, as Iíve said, is similar to other pieces of legislation, and I would encourage its full and thorough debate at Committee. Thank you.
Speaker: Are you prepared for the question? Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Some Hon. Members: Disagreed.
Speaker: The ayes have it.
Motion for second reading of Bill No. 57 agreed to
Bill No. 71: Second Reading
Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 71, standing in the name of the hon. Ms. Duncan.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: I move that Bill No. 71, entitled Corporate Governance Act, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Premier that Bill No. 71, entitled Corporate Governance Act, be now read a second time.
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, this is one of the key pieces of the renewal legislation ó this Corporate Governance Act. Weíve had many discussions in Committee of the Whole debate about the corporations, and what this act does will clarify in the future much of the debate that will go on in this Legislature.
The purpose of the Corporate Governance Act is to clarify the roles and the responsibilities of ministers, boards and the management with respect to three government corporations. The Yukon government delivers the majority of its public programs through 11 government departments. The budgets and the policies of those departments are scrutinized in detail ó some would say excruciating detail sometimes ó by this Legislature. And the appointed ministers are clearly accountable for their departmentís performance. We have seen that through successive governments, Mr. Speaker.
Surrounding this core of 11 departments, this Legislature has created many public corporations, agencies, boards, committees and other taxpayer-supported bodies. To name a few examples, we have the Yukon Utilities Board, the Motor Transport Board, the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board. Typical roles for these public bodies include making regulatory decisions, allocating rights or benefits, or providing community advice to government. For the most part, these bodies do not deliver government programs. They are efficient, effective and credible because they draw on the community for specific expertise, and they draw on existing government resources for public policy and administrative support. This particular division of responsibility keeps them at armís length and accountable at the same time.
In contrast to the majority of these boards, Yukon taxpayers currently support seven stand-alone bodies that do deliver major public programs. These self-contained bodies are the Yukon Housing Corporation, the Yukon Liquor Corporation, the Yukon Development Corporation, the Yukon Workersí Compensation Health and Safety Board, Yukon College, Yukon Hospital Corporation and the Yukon Arts Centre Corporation.
Here we have seven bodies that spend millions of tax dollars every year on program delivery and they are, to varying degrees, operated just outside the range of government control. They spend public money, nonetheless, and this Legislature doesnít have the same opportunity to see how these bodies spend public money.
What are appropriate roles for stand-alone bodies like these? The members opposite will recall we had discussions in this Legislature about, for example, the purchasing by these government organizations, and I have stood as former minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation and talked about governance and how I would be bringing forward this legislation.
I am not prepared to accept the ideological argument that armís length to the government is good simply because itís further away from government. There has to be a very good reason why we would remove so much taxpayer money to bodies that arenít accountable to this Legislature. This Legislature is the one that makes the decisions about the expenditures.
In 1992, a previous government responded to a request from the board of the Yukon Liquor Corporation to amend the Liquor Act to narrow the role of the board to dealing with only licensing decisions. The president was to report directly to the minister on all matters other than those specifically assigned to the board. With that request, Mr. Speaker, the board acknowledged that they should have a more narrowly defined armís-length role and let the government be concerned about the day-to-day operations.
The purpose of this amendment became the model for the work on the present Corporate Governance Act. We realize that we need to be concerned about three things related to these stand-alone bodies. We need to be concerned about the cost of running a stand-alone body versus adding a function to an existing department. We are, after all, 31,000 people. We need to understand how the policies and activities of the body will be coordinated with those of the government, so that weíre not going to be dealing with overlaps and conflicts in the expenditure of public money.
We need to be able to understand very clearly just how the funded body will remain accountable to the Legislature.
Setting up a full-blown, self-supporting program delivery body is a particularly expensive undertaking. In addition to the money required for the program delivery, resources are required for governance, financial management, human resource management, purchasing, property management and so on and so on.
Every dollar that is spent on setting up new administrative structures is $1 that might have gone directly into program delivery.
I turn now to discuss specifically our seven stand-alone corporations. I can accept that some of our stand-alone corporations are purpose-built. They have a very specific mandate that would not fit well within the more general purpose government departments. There is a low risk of conflicting mandates and our benefits to letting them operate in a more entrepreneurial manner. Very good examples are the Yukon Arts Centre, Yukon College and the Yukon Hospital Corporation.
It happens that another three of our stand-alone corporations were created with mixed feelings about how separate they should be from government. The governmentís legal staff fondly referred to these three as the governmentís "quasi-corporations". The Yukon Liquor Corporation, Yukon Housing Corporation and Yukon Development Corporation alone, among all of the non-departmental public bodies, are subject to the Financial Administration Act and the Public Service Act.
Two of them are explicitly referred to in their enabling acts as "agents of government", which means that their actions are binding on the government.
Despite some department-like constraints on these corporations, the process by which theyíre accountable to this Legislature is at best fuzzy, itís inconsistent and itís really not well understood.
The presidents of these corporations are put into very awkward positions, trying to respond to the needs of government and the wishes of the boards simultaneously. The ministers are put in awkward positions, not knowing how much they can direct the policy of the corporation, trying to account for policy to this Legislature, for policies that they cannot direct. On the one hand, theyíre criticized for interfering and, on the other hand, theyíre criticized for their lack of leadership.
Members of this Legislature really ought to be concerned about the lack of clarity. The boards, too, are in an awkward position. They understand their responsibility to the corporation, in the sense that any corporate director is responsible. They also understand that they serve in a public role and they need to be responsible to public needs.
Whose responsibility is it to define needs and public policy? These are normally functions of the elected government. In fact, we heard calls for them today, Mr. Speaker. When should the board take direction from the elected government and when should it not? If they do take direction from the elected government, who will be accountable for the impact of that direction and the corporationís bottom line?
The proposed Corporate Governance Act makes it very clear for these three corporations. The president will be a deputy minister appointed by Cabinet and serving at pleasure. The president will be accountable directly to a minister, and the minister will be accountable in this Legislature.
The boards will have specific responsibilities prescribed by legislation and expanded upon through protocol agreements, which they will carry out at armís length to government. Outside of the limits protected by legislation or agreements, Cabinet will be able to direct the boards. Any direction given to the boards by Cabinet will be reported to the Legislature. It provides assurance that the government did not stray into protected limits or into the boardsí areas of responsibility.
The boards are protected from the consequences of these directives by provision that deems them to be in the best interests of the corporation. This is a really fundamental part of the legislation, and itís going to be very important that we have a clear debate on it in Committee of the Whole.
Furthermore, this act prescribes a permanent relationship between specific departments and specific corporations. This accomplishes the same purpose as the relationships that exist between all other armís-length bodies and government departments. Corporation policy, programs and operations will be very closely linked with government operations so there will be no overlap in conflict or duplications.
In summary, with this Corporate Governance Act in place, the minister responsible will be able to answer to this Legislature and be accountable for the performance of corporations. All members of the House have been present when weíve had endless discussions about bringing different corporations to the floor of the House. Some members were often squeezed out of being able to ask questions in the limited time frame. This improves the accountability of these corporations, through the minister responsible, to this Legislature.
Government will also have the means to instruct the board on the wishes of this Legislature and to coordinate corporation and government operations. There have been some very good examples of work done by legislators on some issues that it took a long time for these boards to deal with. It was the work of legislators that finally saw them dealt with. This Corporate Governance Act will make that work by legislators that much easier.
Boards will continue to carry out appropriate armís-length roles, unhindered, and will be able to respond to government direction in other areas, without fear of impairing their legal responsibility to the corporations. And I know that corporate directors take that responsibility very, very seriously.
This one is more complex and requires a lot of work and discussion. Of all the renewal pieces of legislation, this is one that is key; itís one Iíve spoken about as a former minister responsible for a corporation and wanting to have and be more accountable to this Legislature.
I commend the Corporate Governance Act to the House and to the Committee of the Whole for further debate.
Mr. Fentie: Well, thereís no point in needless repetition. Again, this could have simply been brought to Committee and done in a constructive manner. In listening to the Premier, it becomes evident here that all the government is really doing is moving chairs, but everythingís the same. So why are we spending two and a half hours going through this when there really is no reason other than the fact that the Premier had to get up on the old soapbox and let everybody know what a wonderful job the Premierís doing. Thatís truly unfortunate, because thatís not constructive. That is very self-focused, and itís not serving the public well at all. Yes, thereís going to be debate in Committee. Thatís what Committee is for. There has to be debate in Committee on legislation like this because it must be scrutinized, and if changes are necessary, thatís how weíre going to find out how receptive the government side is to improving and enhancing this legislation so that the delivery of programs and services to Yukoners is improved and enhanced.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. McLarnon: There are, again, only a very few issues that I would have had with this bill. Questions that I would have asked and brought out were: what is appropriate when weíre talking about the measures that boards and armís-length boards do? Who is deciding that? What consultation has been done with boards to measure or find the appropriate limits?
And this is where armís length stops because, without that consultation, they are being dictated to, which is the opposite of armís length. It is actually amputating the arm and putting it right where it belongs, which is unfortunately far away from the government, because that is what is happening here.
There are problems with defining the roles of the boards within this. There are also problems with the real decision-making powers. The reason I am bringing this up is because, if you have a look at a lot of the history of the Yukon, we have reinvented the wheel in many cases here. Deputy ministers used to sit on boards in many cases, and it was found that the problem with that was, with an arms-length board, when the board wants to do something that is different from the government, who does the deputy minister answer to? Does the deputy minister answer to the minister who could fire him or the board that used to be able to fire him? The problem is that, since it is undefined and unclear, it needs to be debated and that is what Iíll bring up.
Unfortunately, it wonít change my vote at the end until we have all the restrictions lifted. Whether this is a confidence vote or not, my vote remains no. I will debate it to show the government that there are some improvements that can be made here, but I will still vote no until the confidence restriction is lifted.
Speaker: If the Premier now speaks, she will close debate. Does any other member wish to be heard?
Hon. Ms. Duncan: Again, I say to the member opposite that confidence is a commitment we made to Yukoners. We worked to put forward renewal to the people of the Yukon, just as we have worked and put forward the budget that is before this House, which we are also debating. What we have merely done today, while it has been abundantly clear from day one that this is a key initiative of this government ó restoring confidence in government ó doing things like bringing forward accountability and achieving that restoration of confidence is part of that.
It has been abundantly clear from day one, and the fact is members either choose to support the introduction of accountability, the clarity around corporate governance, and the amendments that are required as part of renewal in the Government Organisation Act, or they choose not to support them. Make their intentions clear. If they support what theyíre doing, these things will happen. The Legislature gives them direction through its support.
Clearly, these renewal bills, including the accountability legislation, are tied to the budget. The accountability measures are in them. The corporate governance actions are in them. If the members donít support the bills, they donít support the budget. Itís that clear. No one is doing anything other than making that point clear. The work of this Legislature is serious work and every single vote is a heartfelt, serious piece of legislation. Itís serious business that we do here. Every comma has to be debated. All the amendments have to be brought forward. We have to have a thorough discussion.
In relation to the Corporate Governance Act, what we have put forward is no less than what I committed to do on the floor of this House in November of 2000 when I talked about corporate governance related to the Yukon Development Corporation and the accountability. This is no less than what our full caucus directed me to do, and directed those of us working on renewal to do.
We want to account to the public for what is under this governmentís responsibility and where it is not ó where it is an armís-length board, such as liquor licensing, that should be left to the board, and the roles have to be clear for the public. We have to have clarity around the appointment of the president. Every single one of the appointments was handled in a different manner before this legislation. This legislation brings clarity. We spent hours and afternoons debating that issue alone in this Legislature.
We have brought forward constructive legislation, good legislation, and again, Mr. Speaker, I encourage its full and fair debate upon the facts.
Motion for second reading of Bill No. 71 agreed to
Hon. Mr. McLachlan: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the government House leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: Good afternoon everyone. I now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Committee of the Whole will recess until 4:45 p.m.
Bill No. 9 ó Second Appropriation Act, 2002-03 ó continued
Yukon Housing Corporation ó continued
Chair: Good afternoon. I now call Committee of the Whole together. For the people who are wondering, for the record, the members were out at an exchange for PNWER. They are now back. We are now in session. Thank you everybody for making it back.
Ms. Buckway had the floor. Is there any further general debate?
Mr. Jenkins: I thought the minister responsible for Yukon Housing Corporation might have had a few responses to a couple of the questions, or at least some legislative returns. Could I ask the minister when I might expect to receive the information requested thatís forthcoming?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: The Member for Klondike has asked for a number of pieces of information. The Yukon Housing Corporation is working hard trying to get it out to him. I would anticipate that it will be another few days.
Mr. Jenkins: Will that be before the government collapses and drops the writ, or after it?
Seeing that we are not going to get a response to that very, very positive question, Iíd like to explore with the minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation some of the issues surrounding Mountainview Place. And I have had an opportunity to review Hansard and the responses that the minister provided, and it would appear that what the Housing Corporation is doing is taking out of the equation a large portion of the lots. And, from my read of the responses that the minister gave in the House, it would seem that there is going to be the first ó from where the road that was transferred to the City of Whitehorse goes to the cul-de-sac, that would be the area that is going to be maintained and kept open, and the balance is going to be just basically mothballed. Is that what is going to happen?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: The lots to the north arenít being sold at present; the lots to the south are. But all 69 lots are still in the condominium corporation.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, it would appear, Mr. Chair, that the government is going to have to take a very serious look at the whole concept of this Mountainview Place, in that it doesnít appear to be the price of the lots thatís the impediment to their sale; itís the realization by the potential purchasers that they might have for a neighbour someone with a trailer thatís significantly older and that might devalue the whole area and the whole community.
Is there some move within Yukon Housing Corporation ó under the ministerís capable direction, I might add ó to change the terms of reference for what can be established there and to basically put it on an even footing with other developments? Because itís a beautiful location; it would sell. But if you look at Community and Transportation Services, they have a current subdivision for trailers that isnít selling, and I guess itís location, location, location, Mr. Speaker.
So is there a view to making this project work, or are we just going to sit back and mark time and then eventually write it off, or what are we going to do?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: The original reason for Mountainview Place was to give people options and allow people with very much older mobile homes to relocate them and upgrade them. We are now allowing more new homes in the area. I hope that helps the member opposite.
Mr. Jenkins: The concern that I have heard expressed is ó itís not the price of the lot ó itís the fact that an older, very old trailer could be put next door to you and, thus, devalue your assets and, thus, bring down the whole price of the subdivision.
Now, the intentions of the government of the day were quite honourable in that they were addressing a need that existed to relocate trailers within municipal boundaries because, after they become a certain age or if they donít possess the Z-240 sticker, they canít be relocated inside an organized community.
Those are the rules. Now, this kind of took those rules and allowed some flexibility so that you could take one of the older trailers, or mobile homes, and upgrade it. If it didnít have a Z-240 standard, if it didnít meet the applicable codes, you could bring it up to the applicable codes, or to the satisfaction of Yukon Housing Corporation, I guess, which is financing these changes. It could then be located there, but that hasnít happened, and the uptake by these older mobile home owners just hasnít occurred. If it werenít for the three mobile homes that the Yukon Housing Corporation owned and moved in from Faro and located there, of the six properties ó the six plots of land that are occupied there ó we really wouldnít have much of an uptake on this whole initiative.
So, will the minister be going back to the Yukon Housing Corporation to develop new terms of reference for the sale of these lots and what can be placed there? Yes or no?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: I had thought that on Tuesday the member suggested it was the price that was keeping people from moving there.
I said homes that were older mobile homes and moved there must be upgraded ó that means redeveloped ó to the new standard of the subdivision. There is still a desperate need in town for places for people with older mobile homes to be able to go. The original terms of reference were to give people an option so that they could move there and upgrade their older mobile homes. That need still exists.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, if the need still exists, the price is okay ó and the basic lot price appears to be ó but you have to recognize, Mr. Chair, that itís not just the basic price. Itís the basic price, the condominium fees and the total cost, when you add in probably a first and second mortgage, and maybe even a third charge on the property. So, youíre carrying two mortgages and a condominium fee. So, at the end of the day, these are not inexpensive lots. Thatís what I was pointing out previously.
And the need still exists. If the need still exists and the price is right, why hasnít there been uptake on these lots?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: The board of the Yukon Housing Corporation and the staff are continually looking at ways to review this project and make it work better than it has been. People with older mobile homes, though, generally already own their homes, so they wouldnít have mortgages and second mortgages and third mortgages on them, as the member is suggesting.
I would not wish to block this option for people with older mobile homes, because that was the original desire of the corporation ó to give those people someplace to move those mobile homes to. I believe, some years ago, there was concern that some of the existing trailer courts may be shutting down or closing partially and that would force the move of some of these older mobile homes.
So Iím not willing to close off that avenue. Those people with the older mobile homes need a place to move them, should they wish to move. Mountainview Place will continue to be that place, unless the board of directors decides otherwise. I repeat that, when a home is moved in there, it is redeveloped to the standard of the subdivision.
Mr. Jenkins: Iíd encourage the minister to go back and reread Hansard as to what she said in opposition with respect to this subdivision, because the whole situation has changed quite extensively.
Mr. Chair, itís one of those areas that has not come to fruition the way it was conceived to be. The carrying costs that I am told will be forthcoming on this subdivision, I am of the opinion, are quite extensive, and I look forward to receiving the information that Iíve requested from the minister, and weíll get back into general debate with the next minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation at the next session.
Thank you very much.
Mr. Keenan: I appreciate that. I might get to ask one more question as soon as I get all of my ears filled here. Iíd like to ask the minister if the minister could tell me if there has been a change in the income process that you would use to set rent rates for folks in Yukon Housing.
Hon. Ms. Buckway: As far as Iím aware, there has been no recent change in that. Rent geared to income 25 percent; I believe that has been the formula for some time.
Mr. Keenan: Well, that really wasnít the question but maybe I could make it a little clearer. I appreciate the minister coming forth with the 25 percent. In proof of getting to the 25 percent, what type of change in policy has been brought forward in that? What do you expect ó folks to bring forth to you to say, "This is what I made, this is what I pay"? Has there been a change to that policy?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: No, there has not been a change to our policy.
Mr. Keenan: Has there been a directive sent out to any folks in the communities, then, to say to enforce the policy more stringently or anything like as such?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: Yes, the housing managers have been asked to enforce the existing policy as it exists.
Mr. Keenan: Does it say anywhere in that policy where a person should be seeking confirmation of their annual income on a yearly basis through Revenue Canada?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: I understand that itís a policy of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and I believe the Auditor Generalís Office has also said that proof of income from a personís tax return is an acceptable proof of income.
Mr. Keenan: Could I just get the minister to repeat her answer, please? I picked up the Auditor General but I didnít pick up the rest. Iíd appreciate it if she could reiterate.
Hon. Ms. Buckway: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and I said I believe that the Auditor Generalís Office has also said that tax returns are an acceptable proof of income.
Mr. Keenan: Iíd like to ask why the corporation has and who directed the corporation to now suddenly enforce this to the max.
Hon. Ms. Buckway: Well, itís my belief that if we have a policy, we should be enforcing it. The Auditor Generalís Office, I believe, had been asking for this.
Mr. Keenan: So it was the minister herself who made that directive?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: I said thatís my belief. It was the board and the executive staff of the corporation that made the decision to enforce the policy.
Mr. Keenan: And of course that decision to enforce the policy was made on recommendation from CMHC and from the Auditor General. Is that the case?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: It is already a CMHC policy. It was the Auditor Generalís Office that was primarily asking for that.
Mr. Keenan: So this is not targeted at any one group of people or anything. This is going to happen to anybody who is in the process of renting from Yukon Housing Corporation ó 100 percent.
Hon. Ms. Buckway: In the social housing portfolio, yes.
Mr. Keenan: How does that work in staff housing? How do you identify the target rates?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: In staff housing, the rent is a flat rate.
Mr. Keenan: Can the minister tell me what that flat rate might be, and is it different from community to community, or is it generic across the Yukon?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: The maximum rent is $600 per month. Some older Yukon Housing Corporation stock could rent for less than that. Thatís across the board in the Yukon.
Mr. Keenan: I have had numerous complaints about this move in the last couple of days. People are shocked and surprised that it has come about. Has the corporation, through the president or anybody, made an armís-length reach to the people and told them that weíre going to do this? Did they give them 30 days, or anything, or is it all of a sudden just boom-boom, and thatís it?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: Itís my understanding that this isnít a sudden change. We have been trying to do this for years, and weíre just trying harder now. Itís my understanding that there was no sudden change at all.
Mr. Keenan: When it happens once in one month, and then it happens 20 times the next month, thatís a sudden change.
Can the minister please tell me when this alluding ó I guess, "CMHC does it" and "The Auditor General said I should do it" and the minister said she didnít direct it, but the minister thought it was a mighty fine idea because these other folks did. When did all this take place?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: Mr. Chair, there has been no sudden change. The housing managers have been reminded on a periodic basis that this is the policy and would they please ensure that the policy is enforced. This has been the policy for years, as the previous minister would know.
Mr. Keenan: Iím not asking the previous minister for his knowledge. I had no success asking the previous minister. So Iím asking this minister.
And it has been brought to my attention that this has happened. This has occurred just now. Itís happening all over the place at this point in time.
So Iím asking the minister if the minister could please work with the Housing Corporation, massage a little sensitivity into it or present some sensitivity ó that people do need time. We canít just come out and say itís this way this month and next month you have to bring this in. This certainly smacks of a Big Brother type of approach.
Now, I understand that the minister is saying that the minister is just enforcing a policy that has been in existence all along, but thatís not truly the case. The policy might have been there for years and years and years, set that way. Maybe one word has been taken out of the policy at some point in time, and said, "Thou shalt have to do this now." I understand that, in every process, there will be cheaters and abusers in every process. I understand that. But because of one bad apple in a barrel of 100, it does not mean that we should be painting all 100 as bad apples. Thereís such a thing as personal pride, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
So I would certainly ask the minister if the minister could please develop a communication-type strategy with the individuals so that the individuals might be able to still hold their heads up and feel good about themselves. Would the minister be able to consider something as such?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: The clients pay 25 percent of their income when they are renting social housing. They agreed to do so when they rented the home. And this policy has been in existence that they must provide proof of income. It should come as no surprise to any of the clients that this is a requirement. Now, I apologize if anybody has been heavy-handed in enforcing this policy. But the policy does exist, and the corporation does need to know that they are receiving an accurate rent.
Mr. Keenan: Well, I understand what the minister is saying and I understand where the minister is coming from. I must say, though, that this doesnít come from the local housing authority. This did not come to me by way of the local housing authorities. In the communities, this came by way of constituents saying, "Dave, whatís happening?" And it shows you how many people listen to this Legislature because they do listen to this Legislature, and when we are talking about these issues, I had phone calls. I had people come and say that this has been happening to them now. And it hadnít happened before.
Can you tell me what other means of proof of income there are, other than bringing in the income tax statement?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: Well, that has been part of the problem. Tax returns are a pretty comprehensive proof of income, and we have heard from the Auditor Generalís Office that that is, I believe, the only thing they will now accept.
Mr. Keenan: So the minister is telling me now that the only thing that weíll accept is the income tax T-4 slip ó is that what theyíre called? ó and you have to bring in your T-4 slip to show if you work seasonal, six months, five months ó some people are working seasonal three months and working and trapping in other areas to make a buck here. How does it balance? How do we get something so that people can continue to say, "Well, itís $500 a month. These folks are working all year long, so they get to pay $600 a month." Can the minister please tell me the process?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: The clients in social housing pay their rent month by month on what they tell us they earn and then, once a year, they are asked to verify that. A tax return is the best way of doing that. Iím not sure what else the member would suggest as proof of income.
Mr. Keenan: Well, Mr. Chair, like I said, some folks work four months a year ó a T-4 slip will say what youíve made over here. Some folks are going to make, say, $2,000 a month or $3,000, $4,000, $5,000 a month, depending on their income or whatever, if youíre in construction. Does that balance out over the course of the year, or does one person have to pay 25 percent of $5,000 which is $1,250? I just have to confirm with my principal back here. Then, in the winter months, it goes down to the bare minimum. I mean, is there a way of looking at flowing it to make it user-friendly?
Most folks do want to do the right thing. Iíve never lived in social housing, but I know other folks who have, and I know theyíre very much family oriented.
Hon. Ms. Buckway: My understanding of the way it works is you pay your rent based on your income, month by month. As I said, the minimum is $35. So if a person has no income, theyíd be paying $35 for social housing. If their income for a particular month was high, then the theory is they should be paying 25 percent of that. So, in months when they have no income, they are paying very little.
Mr. Keenan: Then what does the T-4 slip prove, other than thatís how much money they have made? Is the T-4 slip ó it sounds like itís an extra piece of paper, it sounds like a paper trail, it sounds like red tape.
Hon. Ms. Buckway: The T-4 is the employerís statement of income. Thatís what the person uses to fill out their tax return and, once a year, the Yukon Housing Corporation requires proof of income. As I said, they pay their rent month by month and, if their income changes over the year, then one would assume their rent would too.
For many people, I would think this would not be a difficulty in keeping track of.
Mr. Keenan: I understand where the minister is coming from. Maybe I donít always agree here, but it sort of says that we trust you but prove it, I guess, at the end of the year. To do that to the average citizen, I guess, is, in my opinion, not a right thing to do. I also believe that there are abusers out there and that we should be going after the folks who abuse the system. I definitely agree with that.
It can be done. I mean, this is done in a local nature. To put this burden on everybody, at this point in time ó that they have to dig through and find this out. And, without even letting them know, weíre saying that, within six months or three months or two months or two weeks even ó whatever the Liberal definition of consultation and implementation is, and whatever that time frame is. I think that would have been a much friendlier way of doing things and, at this point in time, the minister might have been able to get buy-in to it, rather than, "Hey, Dave, what the heckís going on here? What are they doing to us now, David?"
Iíd like to ask the minister: has the minister now had an opportunity to look at the First Nations housing report?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: On the social housing, I will look into this further for the member. As I said, I donít believe anything has suddenly happened to trigger this flood of calls, but I will look into it. As for the First Nations housing report, Iím not sure what the member is talking about, because I have not seen one.
Mr. Keenan: Mr. Chair, Iíll have one sent over. Iím sure that one is handy from the president or the general manager or whatever to the right. I certainly managed to get a copy, not from the Housing Corporation, but CMHC has a copy. Iíve looked through it. Iíd very much suggest that the minister should look through it, sit down with the deputy minister, the president, whomever, and find a way so that we might not be able to go that way again, if I could say it in that manner. So Iíd very strongly suggest ó as a matter of fact, if anybodyís in my office right now, would they please make a photocopy, and weíll get it photocopied to the minister? Could I get a commitment from the minister to review it and to maybe bring forth a ministerial statement on it in the near future?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: Can I ask if what the memberís referring to is financial statements from the conference prepared by CMHC?
Mr. Keenan: Mr. Chair, there was a First Nation housing conference, which was partnered with ó the new political word ó the Yukon Housing Corporation and CHMC. I did go over, after making phone calls ó myself and my staff ó to get a copy of the report, and there was no such report available.
Oh, but we found the report ó look at that, all we had to do was just open a briefcase. I would suggest that the minister read the report. Iíve been told by the president that weíre going to be making a move toward meeting with our partner, CMHC. I asked the minister on the floor of this House just a few days ago if the minister would please consider the other partner ó if we look at the title of it, it says First Nation, so I would think that there should be some representation from the First Nations to come forth to look at how weíre going to now learn or garner or put forth some policy or directive from the report as is. So I realize that the minister has just now received a copy of it. I will see that the minister gets a copy by 6:00, and I would like for the minister to bring forth a ministerial statement to this House, please. Would the minister consider that?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: Is the member referring to the so-called final logistical report, Yukon and Northern First Nations, October 22-24, 2001? This is not the final report of that conference from the Yukon Housing Corporation. This is not. The Yukon Housing Corporation has not yet completed its report. The upcoming meeting is an administrative meeting to go over the recommendations from the conference to work on the report.
The member is laughing. The member thinks this is funny. This is not the final report.
Mr. Keenan: Mr. Chair, would that be the basis for the final report?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: No, it would be information for one part of the final report. That is all.
Mr. Keenan: What other information would be used that came from the conference? Is there anything that the minister could table in the House now?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: No, there is nothing I can table in the House now. There are a lot of recommendations and administrative work to go through to prepare the final report.
Mr. Keenan: Did the minister suggest that the minister is only going to do that through the corporation and CMHC?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: Iím sorry. I didnít hear the question clearly.
Mr. Keenan: Did the minister suggest that the minister is only going to do that with CMHC and the Yukon Housing Corporation?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: We have to assemble information first, so ó Iím not quite sure how I can make the member understand this. There is a huge pile of paperwork to go through in order to assemble a preliminary report from the conference to share with the participants before we can put together a final report. If everybody gathered to work on putting together the preliminary report, we might as well have the conference all over again.
Mr. Keenan: This isnít easy. I am just trying to be user-friendly with this and I just want to get the information. Unfortunately, the information that I have asked for ó I donít know. I had to sleuth it out, I guess, and that is very unfortunate because this Liberal government has campaigned on being open and accountable. They have even put accountability plans and factors into every one of the departments and the arms-length corporations. When I have to go around ó because I know there is a report out. Iíve gone over in friendly ways and asked for the information, did not receive the information, phoned another of the partners and the partners said, "Absolutely. Doggone it, here is the basis of the report. Absolutely, here, it is public knowledge." So I said, "Thank you very much. I deeply appreciate it." I looked through the report; I looked through it. I saw goals and aspirations but I didnít really see recommendations.
Now, are the recommendations hidden on another piece of paper or something like as such. And the minister canít just go ó and itís not finished. Because I am getting a bit disgusted with this, to tell you the truth, because the minister wants to finish something without the partners that the minister has. And there is a third partner that should be there, and I am not asking the minister to round up the tribes and bring everybody in. I am not asking the minister to do that. I am asking the minister to ensure that what is under the ministerís jurisdiction is done on a partnership basis. To me, that would be open, that would be accountability and would be partnering. Without that, it is not there.
So could I ask the minister if the minister would select ó maybe all the minister needs is one of ó do it in a linguistic group, do it from the Council of Yukon First Nations, do it some way, but have that third partner at the table? Will the minister do that?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: This piece of paper, which the member is calling the final report, is not the final report. It is a logistical report covering a number of areas. The sponsors of the conference ó CMHC and Yukon Housing ó are going to meet to go through the information and put together a preliminary report.
The member is suggesting that the sponsors of the conference are not allowed to do that without the participants. I disagree.
Mr. Jim: Iíd like to welcome the new minister responsible for Yukon Housing and give her a chance to breathe here a little bit and calm down.
I just have a few questions regarding the Yukon Housing Corporation. Weíll just start with a basic area. The first question Iíd like to ask the minister is, what portfolios or responsibilities are there under this newly established ministry that she holds?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: I currently have responsibility for the Public Service Commission, Community Services, the Yukon Liquor Corporation and the Yukon Housing Corporation.
Mr. Jim: The reason why I asked that is because Iím looking in terms of percentages ó how is the minister laying out her duties, or her work hours, in terms of programs and portfolios? Does she spend 25 percent of her time on Yukon Housing and 25 percent on public services?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: I could suggest that I divide my time much as the former minister did with his responsibilities, but I donít track my time minute by minute. I put in a full day every day, and a lot of evenings and some weekends, and I donít divide my time minute by minute. I deal with what needs to be dealt with as it comes up, and I meet regularly with people from the Yukon Housing Corporation, the Yukon Liquor Corporation, the Public Service Commission and Community Services to ensure that the work gets done.
Mr. Jim: Would the minister say that she spends pretty close to 25 percent of her time on Yukon Housing Corporation, or five percent of her time on Yukon Housing Corporation?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: No, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Jim: So time is basically whatever comes up, she will deal with it, whether itís Public Service Commission, Yukon Housing Corporation, or whether itís the other portfolios.
Being that youíre the new minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation, what is your vision of the corporationís lending program?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: The Yukon Housing Corporation has a number of great lending programs. I support the hard work of the board and staff in developing those programs.
Mr. Jim: Mr. Chair, maybe Iíll take it a step further, then. What is the ministerís relationship between the board and the ministerís position in the Yukon Housing Corporation?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: The relationship between the minister and the board has not changed since the Member for McIntyre-Takhini was the minister, and Iím sure he is quite familiar with that.
Mr. Jim: For the record, Mr. Chair, what is the relationship between this minister and the board of directors for Yukon Housing Corporation?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: It is, as it was previously, an armís-length relationship.
Mr. Jim: Mr. Chair, I talked earlier on about vision, what her vision is of the lending program. The reason I ask what the relationship is between her ministry and the corporation is Iíd like to see what her vision is for the Yukon Housing Corporation, just an explanation of what her vision is, to see whatís upcoming for 2002-03.
Hon. Ms. Buckway: I would refer the member to page 16A-3, to the Yukon Housing Corporationís accountability statement. The vision of the Yukon Housing Corporation is my vision. The quality of life in the Yukon is enhanced by the availability of choices for safe, affordable housing that meets the needs of Yukoners. Thank you.
Mr. Jim: Weíll take it a step further, then. What is the corporationís plans on the social housing program versus the ó actually, no, we wonít go that way. What is her view on the mobile home strategy? Do we have a mobile home strategy thatís in play right now?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: Weíre continuing to work on the mobile home strategy that the previous minister is familiar with.
Mr. Jim: I ask simple questions here, and they should be basically answered and not steered away in the direction of the previous minister.
Whatís the departmentís view of the impact oil and gas will have on housing? What is the Yukon Housing Corporationís strategy on the oil and gas impact?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: That is quite a ways off. We are continuing to work on it with other departments so that we will be ready when the time comes. We are continuing to work on it.
Mr. Jim: I donít believe there is any pipeline happening right now, and that it is quite a ways off.
What is the department doing in terms of Mountainview Place?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: With the Member for Klondike, we have been going through Mountainview Place in great detail. If the member has a specific question, Iíd be glad to answer it.
Mr. Jim: Being the previous minister responsible for Yukon Housing Corporation, there are phases 1 and 2, we understand that.
Iíll ask a basic question then with respect to Mountainview Place. How are these lots sold?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: The sale price is set by order-in-council, and the condominium lots are offered for sale at the Yukon Housing Corporation.
Mr. Jim: The question to the department is, are they with or without mobile home units?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: Most of the lots are for sale without mobile homes on them. There are one or two, I believe, which do have mobile homes on them.
Mr. Jim: Well, is the sale from the Yukon Housing Corporation or private sector?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: Which sale would that be ó Iím not sure what the member is referring to?
Mr. Jim: Mobile home units ó were sales coming from the Yukon Housing Corporation or from the private sector?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: The mobile homes that are on the lots are owned by the Yukon Housing Corporation.
Mr. Jim: So the obligations to these ó what are the obligations to the mobile home units on these lots?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: I donít understand the questions. Units donít have obligations; people do. I am not sure what the member is getting at.
Mr. Jim: Once again, we are just wasting time here with this ministerís sarcasm. I guess what I can do is put it in a different way. What obligations to the buyer does the Yukon Housing Corporation carry under the purchase of these units?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: The obligations of the Yukon Housing Corporation are the same as any other vendor in any other real estate transaction.
Mr. Jim: When I say what are the obligations, I guess itís what is within the agreement for sale with these mobile home units? What is the Yukon Housing Corporation responsible for once this agreement for sale has been fulfilled?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: Iíd be happy to get the member a copy of one of the agreements. The Mountainview Place is a condominium corporation, so once somebody purchases a lot and puts their mobile home on it, then they pay condo fees, which include a fee for maintenance. So the condominium corporation looks after the maintenance on the place, but Iíd be happy to get the member a copy of the information pertaining to Mountainview Place specifically.
Mr. Jim: Mr. Chair, letís just put it this way: Iím a buyer who comes in to Yukon Housing Corporation. I want to buy a mobile home unit in Mountainview Place. I purchase the mobile home unit on the lot at Mountainview Place. We come up with an agreement of sale. In that agreement for sale, there are certain responsibilities at play here. What responsibility does the Yukon Housing Corporation take on in that agreement for sale?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: The responsibilities are the same as they would be of any other vendor in any real estate transaction. Iíd be happy to get the member a copy of an agreement for sale. This is a technical detail.
Mr. Jim: Mr. Chair, is the Yukon Housing Corporation responsible for the condition of the mobile home unit?
Hon. Ms. Buckway: The Member for McIntyre-Takhini seems to believe that there is a problem with a specific unit that has been or may be sold in Mountainview Place by the Yukon Housing Corporation. If he has a specific question, perhaps he could ask it; otherwise, I would be happy to provide him with a copy of the agreement for sale. The transactions are the same as any other real estate transaction.
Mr. Jim: Mr. Chair, in light of the time, I move that you report progress.
Deputy Chair: It has been moved by Mr. Jim that we do now report progress.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McLachlan: Mr. Chair, I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Deputy Chair: It has been moved by Mr. McLachlan that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: Iíll now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of the Committee of the Whole.
Mr. McLarnon: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 9, Second Appropriation Act, 2002-03, and directed me to report progress on it.
Speaker: Youíve heard the report from the Chair of the Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. McLachlan: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the government House leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:00 p.m. Monday.
The House adjourned at 5:59 p.m.
The following Legislative Return was tabled April 25, 2002:
Dawson City Health Services: information pertaining to (Edelman)
Oral, Hansard, p. 3237-3238