Whitehorse, Yukon

Monday, March 17, 2003 ó 1:00 p.m.

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

Prayers

DAILY ROUTINE

Speaker:   We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.

Tributes.

Introduction of visitors.

Are there any returns or documents for tabling?

Are there any reports of committees?

Petitions.

PETITIONS

Petition No. 1 ó response

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   Mr. Speaker, I rise today to respond to Petition No. 1 from 49 constituents of the Electoral District of Pelly-Nisutlin.

I must first point out a technical matter regarding the petition. It refers to the budget year 2002-03, the fiscal year just ending; nevertheless, I appreciate the concerns of the petitioners and will speak to the matter in the context of the 2003-04 budget just tabled.

The petition makes reference to the reduction in the 2002-03 capital budget to support adult education.

The last government reduced the community training fund allocations by $1 million.

I am pleased to advise the petitioners that my government has put high priority on education and restored the community training fund to its previous level of $1.5 million. As you know, Mr. Speaker, these community-based funds have been used extensively to support adult education programming at the Yukon College and in the Collegeís community campuses throughout the territory.

The funding provided through the vehicle of community training funds delivers an economic momentum to people throughout the territory. There are important spinoffs, or multiplier effects, achieved when community training groups lever the funding provided through my department into additional funds from other sources.

In communities such as Watson Lake and Carmacks, experience shows that each dollar of community training fund investments has resulted in $3 of training activity by the time the funding is put to use in the community.

I would also like to point out, Mr. Speaker, that the Yukon Party has made a strong commitment to post-secondary education through Yukon College.

I am pleased to advise the petitioners that the Yukon College budget has been maintained at the same level as last year, in spite of the overall reduction in government spending. The College budget, as outlined in the main estimates for 2003-04, includes an operation and maintenance budget of approximately $12 million. In addition, the capital budget remains the same, at $750,000. The combined expenditures of Yukon College, community training funds and other initiatives of our government will ensure that Yukon residents have the training and skills required to take advantage of economic opportunities as they present themselves in the Yukon.

I thank the residents of Pelly-Nisutlin for bringing this important matter to the attention of this House.

Thank you.

Speaker:   Are there any petitions to be presented?

Are there any bills to be introduced?

Are there any notices of motion?

Is there a ministerial statement?

This then brings us to Question Period.

QUESTION PERIOD

Question re: Family and childrenís services, budget cuts

Mr. Fairclough:   My question is for the Minister of Health and Social Services.

Last week I tabled a letter in this House from a senior official in his department. The letter brought bad news to a family support worker in Mayo. It basically said that she doesnít have a job as of April 1, 2003. The minister assured this House that the family support position still exists in Mayo and across the Yukon.

Is the minister aware that the community of Pelly Crossing is also losing a family support worker because of this governmentís budget cuts?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   I thank the member opposite for the question, Mr. Speaker.

On the surface, it appears that the member opposite very much has a point, but letís just back up in time. Over a year ago, there was a social worker based in Pelly. It was very, very difficult for the department to fill that role, so the department contracted it out to a First Nation member of that community, to assist with that role. Then the department went out and recruited a social workerís position and filled it, and now theyíre filling a social service workerís position in Pelly Crossing.

So, at the end of the day, the Government of Yukon will be providing more and enhanced services in that community.

Mr. Fairclough:   Mr. Speaker, the minister didnít answer the question. The minister said in his answer to my question last week, and I quote, "Öthe issue of the family support worker is being fully continued by our government in Mayo and in all other regions in the Yukon." Itís obvious that the position is gone in Mayo and the one in Pelly Crossing. The ministerís own senior official responsible for this program expressed regrets in writing for the service and personnel losses that will result from the budget cuts. Mr. Speaker, there seems to be a credibility issue at stake here. Is the minister suggesting his senior official made a mistake in the letter?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Mr. Speaker, let me apologize to the House and to the member opposite for the errors contained in the letter that the member opposite has tabled.

Mr. Fairclough:   Mr. Speaker, I canít believe the answer the minister just gave. It is from a senior official who wrote, expressing his regrets for personnel losses as a result of the budget cuts, and the minister is saying that the information is wrong. Well, the fact is that people are losing their jobs despite what this minister is saying. The government is inflicting hardships on people and families across the territory because of the budget cuts. The ministerís senior official says there is a job loss because of the budget cuts. The minister says there isnít. So Iíd like to ask the minister this question ó and itís a short one, and I would like the minister to think about it seriously before answering it ó when is a job cut not a job cut?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Mr. Speaker, I stand by our governmentís commitment to maintaining the positions in rural Yukon, as we are doing, as we will continue to do. There have been no job cuts.

The member opposite is wrong in his assertion that there have been job cuts.

What we have are auxiliary on-call workers in a number of these areas. Theyíre called in as and when required, Mr. Speaker. There may or may not be a requirement for these workers, but there have been no job cuts. In fact, in some communities, weíve increased the level of individuals the department is hiring to provide a higher and better level of service to the communities.

So, our governmentís position is firm. There have been and there will be no job cuts.

Question re:  Devolution, potential staff layoffs

Mr. Hardy:   I have a question on a related matter for the minister responsible for the Public Service Commission. It has been a while since I asked the minister when I could expect a breakdown of vacancies within the YTG workforce. The response I got was that it would take a few weeks and, frankly, I think thatís a bit long to wait for, Iím sure, figures that are sitting at the fingertips of the Public Service Commission right now.

On March 5, the minister said that this government has no intention whatsoever of diminishing any kind of workforce within the government. Will the minister elaborate on what he meant by the phrase "any kind of workforce within the government"?

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   In response to that question, I would just say that it is good governance for departments to administratively review their vacancies as they occur, for whatever reasons. It could even be retirement, or whatever.

Mr. Hardy:   Well, just for the record, I donít think I got an answer to the first question. However, I will continue along.

The letter I wrote to the minister on January 17 was very specific and I had hoped for an equally specific response. Without the breakdown of vacancies, which was requested in one part of that letter and which I didnít receive, the rest of the information that was supplied to me is of limited use.

Looking at the list by government department, agency or Crown corporation, the ministerís letter identified a total of 1,555 positions described as term, auxiliary on-call, casual, seasonal or other. This was as of December 31, 2002. Will the minister tell how many positions exist under these categories as of today and how many will exist after April 1, 2003?

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   I believe that I have given some answers to the member opposite. With regard to his requests, I did relay to the member opposite that the information will be forthcoming. The department has been put on notice to produce the information requested. I believe that the government policy still maintains and will continue to maintain the fact that there will be no job losses through devolution.

Mr. Hardy:   The answer I received this time contradicts the first answer I got, in which the minister responsible for the Public Service Commission had indicated that the government is reviewing vacancies with a possibility that they might not be filled.

Weíve already heard one minister suggest that someone whose government paycheque is drying up isnít really losing a job. That may be fine for the members opposite and their spin doctors, of course, but itís not so fine for someone whoís trying to pay their mortgage or raise their families. I guess the way words are defined has to do with who is defining them.

Will the minister provide his assurance that everyone who is now receiving a paycheque for services to the Yukon government will continue to do so after April 1, 2003?

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:  I donít believe that I would be able to assure anything. I mean it is anybodyís prerogative to stay working for the government or not. Again, I will say that with regard to the previous questions, with devolution everybody has who has wanted to come over has been offered a job. If someone chooses not to, again, that is their own decision. They are allowed to make that decision.

Question re:  Double standard by government

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. Last week in the House we discovered that a double standard exists for how contracts are handed out by the government. If you are a candidate who ran for the Yukon Party in the last election, you line up over here and get sole-source contracts, and everyone else goes through the normal tendering process. If you are the chief of staff for the government and you want a raise, you get one right away. You line up over here. If you are a child care worker you are promised a raise but you donít get one. That is a double standard.

There is also a double standard under this government for those who have to pay back outstanding business loans. A Yukon company with an outstanding loan recently came into some extra money. The Yukon Party government demanded that that extra money be paid against the outstanding loan, and it was. Two MLAs who receive additional money as Cabinet ministers have not been forced to repay their extra money on the outstanding loans. Will the Premier explain the double standard?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, the leader of the third partyís assertion that there is a double standard in this government is complete nonsense and that is being kind. We have processes in place to hire caucus and Cabinet staff. This has no correlation to child care. In fact, we are working on the child care issue as we speak. That memberís government spent $1.4 billion in two years and not one nickel went toward solving the problems in child care. Furthermore, when the member talks about a certain loan, it just so happens that the loss payee, through insurance, was the Yukon government. This particular business, as I understand it, burned down and, under the insurance policy, the loss payee was the Yukon government. That is a standard order of business. It has nothing to do with what we dictated.

Ms. Duncan:   Weíre talking about the standards here. Weíre talking about a double standard, and weíre talking about two lineups. In one lineup are the friends of the Yukon Party, the former candidates, members of the Yukon Party. In the other lineup is the Yukon public, and the Minister of Finance is applying different rules to different people.

Will the Premier, the Finance minister, explain why a Yukon company that comes into additional money is forced to pay the money back to the government; two MLAs who come into additional money are not forced to pay that money back? Itís a double standard: thereís one lineup for friends of the Yukon Party and candidates, and one lineup for the Yukon public. Why does the double standard exist?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   First, the member is incorrect, the member is wrong. There is no double standard. The insurance policy had the Yukon government as a loss payee. Thatís how insurance companies work. We said weíd conduct a process to come up with options on how to bring closure to a very long-standing issue, and weíre going to do it in a fair and equitable manner.

Thirdly, there are no lineups. How conveniently the member opposite forgets to mention that many people have been hired by this government who have no party affiliations. Thatís a fact, and we stated that on the floor of this House earlier when the member questioned a certain individual and their contract.

So the member is wrong, and this is not a very productive debate being brought forward by the leader of the third party. Surely they can do better. The Liberals were in government for two years. They must have some idea of what goes on in government, Mr. Speaker.

Ms. Duncan:   Amazing how the tough questions, when they come from this side of the House, are somehow not productive.

Mr. Speaker, the facts are that there is one standard for Yukoners bidding on contracts, and then thereís the standard under the Yukon Party ó sole-source contracts to friends and party insiders. Thereís one standard for public servants who wish to seek a reclassification; thereís another standard for the chief of staff and principal secretary who want a raise.

The fact is, the government had a choice. Thereís one standard for people and companies who come into unexpected money and have to pay it back; MLAs who come into unexpected money as Cabinet ministers donít have to pay it back. Why is there a double standard? Why is it that friends, party candidates and insiders line up on one side, and the general public ó Yukoners ó are on the other side? Why is there a double standard under this government?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, I point out again that there isnít a double standard. The memberís argument is, in fact, wrong. At least this government did not hire people under contract and then ensure that they became candidates in an election.

Frankly, the amount of money being paid out to a certain individual to do the work around the child care review is minimal. It doesnít even show up on the radar screen. Sole-sourcing is a fact of life in government.

We did not make assistant DMs out of Liberals; we did not provide large, lucrative contracts to party supporters like the former government did. So the only double standard is on the floor of this Legislature by the member opposite, who had nothing but patronage appointments under her watch and now is trying to make the case that itís this government that is doing that. Weíre not doing that at all. Weíve conducted fair and due processes, and we will continue to do that.

Question re:  Womenís Directorate

Mrs. Peter:   My question today is for the Minister of the Public Service Commission. Iíd like to thank the minister responsible for the Public Service Commission for the legislative return on March 13 about the structure of the Womenís Directorate. I have a follow-up question regarding the directorís position. Will the director have all the authority of a deputy minister under the Public Service Act?

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   To the best of my knowledge, that would be so.

Mrs. Peter:   The minister has given me an answer that the status of the director of the Women's Directorate will be the same as a deputy minister. Will the director serve at pleasure, or will he or she be paid at the same salary level as the deputy minister?

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   I provided the information via legislative return. I donít have knowledge of the salaries of anyone in the Womenís Directorate.

Mrs. Peter:   I am getting different answers here on different days. I note that there is a $35,000 cut to the Womenís Directorate budget, of which $20,000 is a cut in salaries. Can the minister explain how this change is compatible with their campaign commitment to restore the Womenís Directorate to the status it had before the Liberal renewal process?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, there is no cut. Frankly, there are some monies that are going to be left in the Department of Education and I believe ó but I would stand corrected ó the Department of Justice, to take care of issues that, under renewal, the Womenís Directorate, was trying to take care of. Secondly, the Womenís Directorate has been reinstated to its original status within government and reports to a minister. There may be some increases in wages now for the director of the Womenís Directorate.

All these things are coming into place. We made a commitment to reinstate the Womenís Directorate. Weíve done so and now we are going to allow the Womenís Directorate to do its good works within government and outside government, when it comes to dealing with the challenges that the women of this territory face and the many issues that they face in todayís Yukon.

Question re:  Workersí Compensation Act review

Mr. Cardiff:   On March 3 ó that was the first day that we actually got to ask a question in here ó I asked the minister responsible for the Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board about the activities of the Workersí Compensation Act Review Committee, and he assured the House that he had appointed this committee and the terms of reference existed. The minister also said that the work of the committee was underway and that he had been provided with an initial report.

Now, in spite of his assurance in this House that he would provide this information, he has failed to deliver that.

When will the minister provide the information he promised on the membership, the terms of reference and the work plan for the Workers' Compensation Act review?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The member opposite is very correct. The act review started at the beginning of this year. There are three people who have been appointed to the act review. They have held a series of meetings. They are consulting and are underway with the various stakeholder groups, and there has been some information conveyed back to me from this three-member committee. Their work is still underway, and yes, Mr. Speaker, I did agree to provide the member opposite with the terms of reference for the first phase of this review, and I will be doing so in due course.

Mr. Cardiff:   Do we know how many holes are in that course?

Mr. Speaker, last December the minister told me that the Workersí Compensation Act Review Committee would possibly have three members, including the Member for Southern Lakes, the Workersí Compensation Health and Safety Board employers consultant, but the minister never confirmed that with me or with the public. There are a lot of people out there who still donít know. So, Iím still waiting for that information and the initial report ó the stuff that he promised 14 days ago.

So will the minister at least tell the House the dates when he appointed the committee members, when the committee received its terms of reference, and when he received the committeeís initial report?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   I donít have the exact dates when all of this took place, but the appointment of these people to their respective roles took place prior to the commencement of 2003. Thatís the only date that Iím sure of. As to the sequencing of subsequent dates, Iíll have to obtain that information for the member opposite and will provide it in due course.

Mr. Cardiff:   Well, the bottom line is that there may or may not be a review underway, there may or may not be a committee, they may or may not have terms of reference, and the minister may or may not have received an initial report. This is a very strange way to conduct public business, especially for a government that promised consensus-building consultation and collaboration, et cetera.

Will the minister agree to provide all the correspondence and documents related to the establishment of this committee so that we can avoid the unnecessary delay and expense of going through the access to information process to get it?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   I find it very interesting indeed. The press release that came out of the NDP caucus office and was reported in the Whitehorse Star spelled out verbatim what was transpiring, and that goes back to late last year. So all the information is out there, and the committee has been tasked with the responsibilities. The act specifically spells out sections of the Workersí Compensation Act that are mandated to be reviewed. That is on the agenda and radar screen, as well as any other section of the act that this panel deems appropriate to have a look at.

The member opposite is more than welcome to go through the ATIPP procedure to ascertain what is there, but I can assure the member opposite that the act review is underway, as required by law, progress has been made and, if he stays tuned, we might even be able to table an interim report sometime later in this session. I thank the member for his question.

Question re:  Whistle-blower legislation

Mr. Hardy:   Iíd like to follow up on some statements the minister responsible for the Public Service Commission made approximately two weeks ago in Question Period. The minister said very clearly that he intends to keep the promises in his partyís platform, and thatís a very honourable statement. Yet, the answer wasnít that clear when I asked about the promise to introduce whistle-blower legislation.

Will the minister explain his statement that there are several factors that would not work in favour of whistle-blower legislation for his government?

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   I was just referring to some research that was done by the Public Service Commission staff, realizing there was no jurisdiction in Canada with this kind of legislation, and that there appeared to be some potential legal problems with it.

Mr. Hardy:   Thatís an interesting answer. Is the minister saying there is no whistle-blower legislation in all of Canada? Iíd be interesting in knowing that. Iíd also be interested in knowing, Mr. Speaker, what he means by legal challenges. Hopefully heíll be willing to stand up today and inform me he will get that information over here.

However, we need some clarity on this issue. While the current Premier was on this side of the House, it was an awfully important issue for him, and it was also a very big campaign promise that was made over four months ago to the Yukon public.

Will the Yukon Party government introduce whistle-blower legislation this term or not?

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   I still stand by the statement that this kind of legislation does not exist within any other jurisdiction in Canada, and it is believed that it is in part due based on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I cannot make a commitment at this point in time as to whether it will be introduced in this sitting.

Mr. Hardy:   Well, based on these answers that weíre receiving right now, it does beg the question: why were the promises made during the election campaign? It also begs the question on the position of the Premier ó the position that this minister seems to have put the Premier in, and that is, is he going to fulfill this campaign promise or not? There is nothing wrong with the Yukon being leaders in this type of legislation. However, the minister mentioned earlier on ó a couple weeks ago ó that there are options that are being considered, and what we would like to know is what those options are and who is being consulted about these options.

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   I would like to state at this time that it is in this governmentís utmost interest to ensure that the workers are well looked after, and we will be proceeding with looking into the possibilities of implementing whistle-blower legislation. There still has to be a fair bit of research done in that, and at the present time we will ensure that all the safety standards and whatnot will be abided by, and this government will still work on the possibilities of being able to implement the whistle-blower legislation in the future.

Question re: Destruction Bay breakwater

Mr. McRobb:   My question today is for the Minister of Community Services.

For the past two years, the Yukon government has promised my constituents in Destruction Bay they would be getting a breakwater or marina. However, todayís reality is a much different story ó not only are their hopes washing away, but so is this breakwater and the money invested by Yukon taxpayers. In fact, this is so much of a disaster that local townsfolk who were involved in the application to the Yukon government are living in fear of being charged under the Fisheries Act and being in violation of the water licence for this project.

This project was financed by this governmentís rural roads upgrading program. It was overseen by Yukon government personnel. At a public meeting last summer, Yukon government took the lead on this project. Can the minister advise us at this time: does the Yukon government have the responsibility for this project?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   As the member opposite indicated, this was a project that was approved and operated under the previous government.

Mr. McRobb:   Well, what kind of an answer was that? It did not answer the question of whether the Yukon government has responsibility for this project. So now the minister has two questions to answer.

My records indicate that $30,000 was allocated in the 2001 budget, another $30,000 in 2002, followed by another $8,000 ó for a total of $68,000 spent on this project. Plus, there were countless hours of Yukon government personnel time involved in this project as well. Unless this government responds quickly, that investment will be washed away. How is this government going to salvage that project to ensure taxpayersí money is not lost?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   As the member opposite indicated, this project was through rural roads and, as far as Iím aware, there is no application for further monies toward this project.

Mr. McRobb:   This government has a responsibility to continue overseeing this project, which it has been involved in right from the start. Departmental personnel oversaw this project; departmental personnel took the lead on this project at a public meeting. This project was paid for by the Yukon government. This minister is responsible for the department overseeing this project, yet he fails to take the responsibility.

Mr. Speaker, let the record show that this government is hiding from this project and its responsibilities.

Now, my constituents are continuing to live in fear and uncertainty because this government is hiding. What is the government going to do to protect the citizens in this community? Whatís it going to do to protect the taxpayersí investment? Will the minister step up to the plate, grab the bull by the horns and take the responsibility expected of him?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   This government will take the member oppositeís question under advisement, review it and get back to him.

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

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   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:   Committee of the Whole will now come to order. The business of today includes Bill No. 5, Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 2003-04.

Do the members wish a recess?

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Chair:   I declare a 15-minute recess.

Recess

Chair:   I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. We will continue on with general discussion on Bill No. 5, Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 2003-04.

Bill No. 5 ó Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 2003-04 ó continued

Mr. Hardy:   I just have a couple of questions. I wonít spend a lot of time on this but I am looking for some clarification before we move on.

Can the Finance minister tell us when he sees the Economic Development department up and running?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, sooner rather than later. The government would like to see the Department of Economic Development never having been cancelled. But it did get cancelled under the renewal process. But we would first like to get the deputy minister in place. It is important that the DM be there to start quarterbacking the structure of the department and advancing of the ability to implement this department.

It is in the budget, so it is there. Itís just now a matter of making sure that we can move forward expeditiously by ensuring that the input from the stakeholders, employees, chambers of commerce and others are part of the overall process, and we expect that to not take too much time because we have been very focused on getting that work done, but it will begin with putting the DM in place.

Mr. Hardy:   Could the Finance minister tell me if the interviews have already started for the deputy minister?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   We have gone out, as you are probably aware, with advertisements. Weíre trying local. We expect we may also be advertising Outside and weíll see what we get in. Once the interest starts coming in and we can see where weíre at and who is applying, then we can start the interview process. Thatís due process. Thatís also part and parcel of the standard approach by government.

Mr. Hardy:   Mr. Chair, I do understand thatís standard approach. Often itís the timelines that weíre looking at, though. Possibly this could have been done a little bit earlier, but thatís beside the point.

Is it correct to say that, so far, based on what the Finance minister has said, only advertisements have happened locally for this position?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   No, I think the way things work, we advertise locally immediately first. Then we follow it up by advertisements Outside. I believe that all that process has taken place, and we are awaiting to see what interest is out there for a position of Deputy Minister of Economic Development.

Mr. Hardy:   Could the Finance minister tell me what the staffing is going to come from? Is it coming from other departments to fill this role or is it going to be new hires for the Department of Economic Development?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, a lot of the structure will come from what exists in government today, because thatís where it got put. It was all dispersed among other departments like Business, Tourism and Culture, which is now just Tourism and Culture. There may be elements in areas like Finance. I believe there are people in Finance, Economic Development and certain other departments. As soon as we get the deputy minister in place, weíll look at that structure and see if weíre going to at all ó unplug some of those pieces and put it into the department. But I think most of the structure will come from within internal sources.

Mr. Hardy:   Could the Finance minister tell me how he believes cutting the capital works budget is going to stimulate the economy?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, I think itís evident that $1.4 billion being spent in the last two years, with the large component of it being capital, did little to stimulate our economy. In fact, we saw an exodus of more Yukoners leaving and no real economic growth whatsoever. Itís obvious that government cannot spend its way out of these types of situations. We have a significant amount of capital ó some $98 million flowing. The problem, I think in many cases, is thereís too much outflow. What we have to do is spend smarter so that when we inject money into the Yukon Territory we maximize a larger percent of retained spending from what the government injects into the Yukon in terms of expenditure.

The way to stimulate the economy, no doubt, is to ensure government prepares the way for the private sector to complement what government spends in real economic growth, and this first budget is all about that ó laying the first step in place to change the direction here and have our private sector much more involved in economic growth of the territory.

Mr. Hardy:   The people who have relied upon these jobs ó many of them in rural Yukon ó need the government to invest in their areas and ensure there is work so they will stay in the Yukon, and I find it kind of ironic, or odd, that the Finance minister would believe that pulling back the money that goes out at this present time would have a beneficial effect for many people in rural Yukon, or even in Whitehorse.

I guess thereís a philosophical kind of twist to thisó or even a question ó and that is: wouldnít it make sense to ensure that the capital being spent is at a sufficient level, as it has been in the past, while the Finance minister and his colleagues continue to work with the private sector on finding ways to assist in stimulating that side of the economy? I wouldnít mind if the Finance minister would respond ó this is a nice question, an open-ended question ó with his philosophy on that. Does he not agree that ensuring that money is still being spent in the economy by the government, while he looks at how to stimulate the private sector, makes sense?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I must point out for the member opposite that this budget, tabled for the fiscal year 2003-04, is the third largest budget in the history of the Yukon Territory. Itís not a question that there are massive cutbacks. We didnít want to go the route of Alaska and B.C. We lowered the trajectory of spending.

Furthermore, there are some significant monies being spent in short-term stimulus. Thatís really helping rural Yukon. But at the end of the day, the member opposite must be aware of the fact that we have to deal with the Taxpayer Protection Act and cannot go into an accumulated deficit. Of course weíd like to be able to target more expenditures to where they would do the most good but, with the Taxpayer Protection Act in place, we have to be mindful of it and spend monies accordingly.

We are very close to the line and itís time now to start building back up the surpluses that were squandered by the two years of Liberal government in this territory.

Mr. Hardy:   Did I notice a gleam in the eye of the Finance minister when he made the last statement? Iím not sure, but on this side it sure looks like it.

Itís interesting that the Finance minister talks about Alaska as being now in dire shape and having difficulties meeting their payrolls, keeping their books balanced, considering that ó I heard the Yukon Party over quite a few years always talk about how great Alaska was doing, based on the private sector, and maybe they are. But there seem to be conflicting messages in that now they have some budgetary concerns over there.

Comparing Alaska and the Yukon is apples and oranges; thereís no question about that. They do have a substantial amount of money that comes in through their oil and gas revenue, and thatís recognized all over North America. Comparing us to N.W.T., there are similarities but also we have to recognize what is driving their boom. Itís not that hard to find whatís driving their boom because there is not an overly huge expenditure into the mining sector outside the diamond industry. Now, of course, theyíre looking down the road for some tremendous benefits from the Mackenzie line, and Iím sure we are hoping we will have some benefits spill over into the Yukon.

I guess Iím going back to this question. Itís a question Iíve heard from some of my constituents who rely upon some of the contracts that often come out every spring, summer and fall, to make it through a year so they can stay in this territory. Most of the contracts that theyíve worked on come from the government. They are concerned about the drop in the capital works, which is over $30 million.

So, I guess, going back to the same question ó Iím almost finished here, Mr. Chair, but Iíd just like to hear the Finance ministerís position on if they would or would not ó once they get a deputy minister in place and once they get the department up and running ó consider reinvesting some of that money that is there into the economy, especially this fall when people need to get enough hours for EI to get through the winter?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I am very, very concerned ó our government is extremely concerned about what the member is expressing. Thatís why we took the time to budget in the manner that had the least amount of impact. There is still substantial money flowing ó itís the third highest budget ever.

A large portion of this $30-million difference is being lapsed and itís coming out of this fiscal year and into the next fiscal year. So those expenditures are ongoing. There is still that short-term stimulus with the community development fund and FireSmart and rural roads, but we canít build schools like Grey Mountain and other things because weíre too close to the line.

Weíll get this fiscal year done and assess where weíre at. Supplementary budgets are standard practice of government, and we would hope that there would be an ability during the next fiscal year to help out in areas that we can.

But, at the end of the day, there is no way that government can spend its way out of the situation weíre in. We need to start getting the private sector much more involved. I pointed out here last week that today weíre over 80-percent dependent upon government spending. In the mid-1990s, 52 percent of economic generated dollars were coming out of the private sector ó only 48 percent was government spending. Thatís where this territory has gone in the last seven to eight years.

Mr. Hardy:   Thatís interesting. I would like an assurance from the Finance minister that they will use a tendering process, as much as possible, and slow down on the method theyíve been using so far, which seems to be resulting in fairly big contracts, and thatís sole sourcing. Thatís a big concern on this side, that this government is really drifting over to the sole-source area. It may be expedient; it may get somebody in place fast, but it doesnít necessarily give you the best price, nor does it get you the best work. Tendering is a proven method of operating, and our recommendation to the government across the way is to back off on the sole sourcing and get back to the tendering.

There are a lot of businesses, companies and consultants who want a fair process.

The DM position the Minister of Finance alluded to earlier for the Economic Development department ó Iím assuming that will be paid at the DM levels, depending on the skills a person brings to the table and whatnot. Is that also going to be the same for the director of the Womenís Directorate?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, as is the case of hiring in government, there is a wage range, a scale that is important under the process of how much people get paid. Itís directly linked to job classification and description. I canít tell you what that amount may be. It depends on the individual, their qualifications, what responsibilities theyíre taking on and what job classification or description is created from that. Then you apply what the wage scale is, ranging from whatever it is ó MG-something to MG-something. Thereís a process involved for that. We, the politicians, do not get involved in that particular area.

Mr. Hardy:   For a DM position, there is a base salary that they start at and there is a top salary they can start at. The question I am asking is this: will the person who is hired for that position ó I am assuming that a person has not yet been hired for the Womenís Directorate ó

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

Mr. Hardy:   So youíre saying that person is already in place? The Finance minister just indicated that that person has been there all along so maybe the Minister of Finance could inform me what their pay scale is to ensure that it is a DM salary and we can put that on the record?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   What I can put on the record is that, upon taking office, this person was in the Womenís Directorate. We expect that, because of the changes, there will be an increase in personnel costs.

Mr. Hardy:   I guess I will ask one last question and then we will go line by line with the budget and whatnot. Could they table their policy in regard to sole sourcing?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   The policy for sole sourcing, as it has always been in government, is not our policy. It is the governmentís internal policy. It is the way it has always been. We havenít made any indication that we want to change it or anything else. What is happening today is based on the process that has been there all along.

Ms. Duncan:   I would like to ask the Premier his instruction with respect to the Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 2003-04. Why such a large interim supply bill? Often when a special warrant is being considered or an interim supply, there is funding for one month or two monthsí worth of government and then X amount of capital projects. It is a choice made by the Finance minister, and the Finance minister currently appears to have gone with the majority of the budget ó in fact all the capital budget in some of the cases, so why did the Finance minister elect to go with such a large interim supply bill and not the ordinary course of action which would be one or two monthsí of O&M spending and the key capital projects to proceed?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   First off, I would point out, Mr. Chair, that the total net O&M is only one-sixth of the gross in the interim supply. We also have to ensure that we front-end loaded the grants and contributions. They are paid out immediately, so we had to have them in there. And thereís the devolution issue; thatís over $4 million. And one-time payments ó and then the capital, again, is one-sixth of gross. So itís not overly large. We front-end loaded a significant amount of money, but we had Shakwak, public works commitments. There are education and health commitments to capital works, and also tourism. So the officials made sure that they covered the bases for the months of April, May, just to make sure that we could fund NGOs and all the rest of the things we need to do upon April 1 coming into effect, the new fiscal year.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, letís start the discussion with the grants and that the grants to agencies ó itís important to transfer all the money on April 1 rather than just a portion. That makes sense. That way, the organization can earn the interest and itís not failsafed under the formula among other things.

With respect to the health and social services grants, will the Premier confirm that the child care operating grants of $1,578,000 and child care subsidies of $3,299,000 are the sum total and the complete total of the grants to those organizations?

The Finance minister would, I believe, like the question restated. My question is: the Finance minister, in his response to me, said that in the interim supply bill the full and complete amount for grants is transferred, once the interim supply bill passes, and itís the full amount as of April 1. Thatís what the Premier said, so Iím confirming that information ó confirming that the $1,578,000 for child care direct operating grants and the $3,299,000 for child care subsidies, in the interim supply, is the full and total amount as of April 1 to be transferred to those organizations.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, in the interim supply bill, we front-end loaded the amount of monies that were deemed necessary. Iíve pointed out in the past that supplementaries are a standard order of business for government. If the member is alluding to the child care situation, weíve stated all along that weíre working on this issue right now. There are a great deal of areas ó many areas ó that have to be looked into to include the sum of the whole. We need the full equation to be looked at.

So, weíre not saying that whatís in the interim supply bill is the be-all and end-all; weíre just saying that weíve put enough money in to cover April and May, because this House will be sitting until May 1.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, I heard two answers from the Premier. I heard the Finance minister say that the government, in making a choice about the interim supply, front-end loaded the grants because they donít want organizations to suffer past April 1, and that makes sense.

I also heard the Premier say, well, there might be some more. So, if they front-end loaded the grants in those two instances, is that the full amount, or is the Premier committing to a supplementary on the floor of the House? Which is it?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Yuk, yuk, yuk.

Of course the money is in there; it says so in the interim supply bill. As I stated on the floor, we are working with the child care people, the stakeholders and all included to address their issues. We said we would do that; thatís what weíre doing. Once we conclude that work we will decide ó thatís how weíve approached this.

We know there are many problems there. We front-end loaded a total of $4.7 million for child care. Itís front-end loaded because we wanted to get that money out there into the hands of those who need it. Now weíre working on the issues they face. Those issues have been there a long time. This member spent $1.4 billion in two years, not five cents toward addressing those issues in child care. This government, on the other hand, is now working on those issues and putting resources toward them.

Ms. Duncan:   The member is incorrect in his comments. With all due respect to the Finance minister, I would encourage that he go back and look at the spending thatís been done.

The fact is that the previous government put substantial resources toward child care, health care, education ó capital, which the member belittled in his opening comments. That capital generated a job for every individual who wanted a job on the north highway last summer. Those people count, Mr. Chair.

The fact is that I asked the Premier about the philosophy behind the interim supply bill. Was it to be April-May spending or was it more than that? The Premier answered that itís April-May spending ó a sixth of the operation and maintenance; a large part of the capital ó and the capital ó particularly the grants ó was "front-end loaded," was the Finance ministerís choice of words. My question was, was that then the total amount? For example, usually in Yukon College, the grants and transfers ó or letís pick the Arts Centre because thatís a corporation with which we have an agreement. The majority, if not all, of the money for the Arts Centre Corporation is transferred in the interim supply bill, so that the organization gets their money as of April 1. My question to the Premier: was it the same case with the child care? Is this the full amount transferred then, or is it only a partial amount in this case, and can those organizations look forward to a supplementary? Thatís the question, Mr. Chair.

Iím pleased that the Finance minister might find it humorous. Thatís a very serious question and I find the finances of the territory a very serious business.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, I hope the leader of the third party does now recognize the seriousness of the financial situation that the Yukon Territory is in ó too bad it didnít happen in the last two years.

Weíve put in monies for child care and daycare and all those areas in the interim supply bill. It covers the fiscal months April 2003 and May 2003. We are working on many issues. This interim supply bill is to ensure that NGOs and capital projects are underway and that wages are being paid and those types of things while weíre in this House debating the budget. Because of the timing of this sitting, we will overlap into the next fiscal year, so the interim supply bill is all about covering those two months as we work on all the other issues we are compelled to do as government.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, let the record reflect that the Finance minister has publicly recognized that the former Liberal government did a good job in managing the territoryís finances, and secondly, let the record reflect that the Finance minister is currently stating that there is no commitment on the part of the current Finance minister to a supplementary, or not. He is not clear in that respect ó whether there is a supplementary budget or not.

The Finance minister did indicate that the majority of the budget is there and that in some instances it has been front-end loaded.

Generally, and for capital projects in particular, the full sum would be put in, and we see in capital that there are $30-million odd in infrastructure, which is understandable. The contracts have to be signed contracts, let and so on. I notice that the capital for Justice is only $114,000, and the capital budget is very meagre in the Justice department. Is the Premier confirming with this interim supply bill that thereís no capital work on the jail in this budget?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, let the record show that what the member just put on the record in regard to the former Liberal governmentís handling of the fiscal situation in the Yukon is incorrect because it is that government that spent down the surplus to where we are at today. We havenít even begun a fiscal year.

But anyway, getting back to the interim supply bill, there is an allocation of monies to Justice in the interim supply bill. We havenít even begun our fiscal year yet. There is obviously a ways to go ó 12 whole months of the next fiscal year ó and I think the member is well-advised of what our position is on Justice, the jail. We have entered into discussions with First Nations.

There is a realm of issues that we have to deal with in Justice. We want to build a jail that is program-led, not facility-led. We have to deal with the recidivism rate in this territory at a great cost to the taxpayer. A recidivism rate of over 80 percent is unacceptable, and the percentage of the population that are First Nation people in the Correctional Centre has to be addressed.

There are many things that should have been done that havenít been done, and we are going to do those things and proceed in that fashion.

Justice is a much bigger issue than simply building a jail. There is a lot more to it. It is not a question of building the jail ó that has to happen. Itís a question of how we build the jail and what is going to happen in that jail and what other programs and alternatives we have to improve the recidivism rate in this territory and lower the cost of justice and incarceration to the Yukon taxpayer.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, with all due respect to the Finance minister, it is that Finance minister and the Management Board that sits opposite that approved the supplementary budget. The supplementary budget that spends down the surplus is that Finance ministerís, not this former Finance ministerís. Mr. Chair, the Finance minister has just confirmed that, in the interim supply bill, there is $114,000 for capital works in Justice. The Finance minister has also confirmed that often, in an interim supply bill, the majority of the capital money is put into an interim supply bill because contracts have to be issued and signed off and theyíre for the full sum of the contract. So in order for large capital works to proceed, under the authority of an interim supply bill, the majority of the money is in the interim supply bill for the large capital project. That being the case, there is no large amount of money in Justice in capital and interim supply; therefore, thereís no ability for a large capital project to proceed in Justice under this interim supply. Can the Finance minister confirm that?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Itís correct that the supplementary, to finish off this year, is in place. Actually, weíre going to be debating it, but $5 million of that is our governmentís expenditure. The rest is the former governmentís expenditure, and, frankly, the member can shake her head and argue about that all she wants, but we were not going to leave the Thomson Centre as an open-air facility and other things as such. We decided that the best course was to get the monies into the hands of Yukoners through winter works. That $5 million expenditure was ours, and itís too bad that the two years weíve spent from 2000 to today were such a difficult time for the Yukon.

Itís obvious that all there is in the interim supply for Justice is $114,000. Thatís obviously not a very big capital project.

Chair:   Order please. Iím finding that the discussion is getting into some specifics about specific votes and specific dollar amounts. Do the members wish to enter into line-by-line discussion or continue on with general debate?

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, I was referring to the philosophy in my questions of a specific amount ó or, pardon me, generally the philosophy of putting large amounts in to cover off the contract. I can keep my debate more general.

Chair:   Thank you.

Ms. Duncan:   To conclude the comments in general debate, the Finance minister has confirmed that the interim supply bill before us is a choice made by the government, and they have one-sixth of the operation and maintenance spending. The majority ó in fact, the Finance minister used the words "front-end loaded". So, the interim supply bill contains one-sixth of the O&M and the total for the amounts in the grants to be transferred to organizations, and the majority of the money for the capital works of the territory.

Can the Finance minister confirm that that is the case ó the interim supply bill is one-sixth of the O&M, the majority of the capital works to be undertaken by the government, particularly in highways and public works, and the front-end load, or total amount, of the grants to be transferred?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Yes, itís one-sixth of the O&M. Thatís in the interim supply. A great deal of the capital is in the interim supply just by virtue of the fact that the Shakwak project is a huge portion of that, and we wanted to make sure that monies flowing to such agencies as NGOs ó which are required right at the start of the fiscal year ó were flowing, so the interim supply was created as any interim supply bill has always been created: to handle the expenditure of government between the time that the new fiscal year starts and we actually have assent to the budget for the new fiscal year.

Ms. Duncan:   I thank the Finance minister for that response. With respect to the NGOs, this is the majority of their funding as well, if not all their funding.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Yes, most of the NGOs are paid up front because thatís how they have to operate. So the majority of that is in the interim supply bill.

Ms. Duncan:   With respect to the Finance minister, can the Finance minister confirm that there will be a supplementary budget to this while there is the interim supply bill and budget to be passed? Does the Finance minister anticipate a supplementary this session? Itís a bootleg question.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Yes, we do anticipate a supplementary this fall because of devolution and those types of things. Thatís all coming down the road. We canít do the final accounting today until the federal government is finished with their final accounting at the end of this fiscal year, March 31, 2003. Once thatís done, we will know exactly what is being transferred and weíll have to bring in a supplementary this fall.

Ms. Duncan:   Would the Finance minister confirm that the interim supply bill before us does not contain devolution money, nor does it contain the health money, of which the minister has made much in the last recent days?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   On devolution, it includes an O&M of $4,193,000 to pay salaries. Thatís part of the devolution component. It does not include the new health monies because, under the agreement with the Prime Minister, those final conditions in the agreement would be worked out by the end of this fiscal year, which, again, is March 31, 2003.

Ms. Duncan:   So, Mr. Chair, with regard to the devolution money, it contains salary money; however, we donít see our revenue in the interim supply. So when and where is the revenue, the transfer of money with respect to the devolution transfer agreement, going to be shown to the House? The expenditure is in the interim supply. When will we see the revenue? Because it is not in the budget.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   This amount that is in the interim supply is to get us to the supplementary. We know there is more money coming from the federal system. I pointed out that the final accounting will be done by the federal government by the end of this fiscal year and we will proceed from there. But we had to ó based on the fact that there are employees going to be starting April 1, 2003 for the Yukon government, and they are classified and they have job descriptions and their pay scale is in place ó put some into the interim supply to cover those bases.

Ms. Duncan:   Given that the expenditure shows in the interim supply and the Finance minister has indicated that the projections are coming, I understand that there have to be finalized numbers. Would the Finance minister confirm that it is approximately $34 million for devolution and approximately $20 million over three to five years for the health ó the revenue side? Would the Finance minister confirm that?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   If we went to a total of one time, ongoing funds are at $37 million. And then there is a total gross of possibly up to $47 million. But that includes some time-limited funds.

And also, Mr. Chair, it is $20 million. The fund that was agreed to was a $60-million fund in total, shared equally by three territories north of 60 ó $20 million each. That is the correct amount.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, my question wasnít around the $20 million, it was the time frame ó three years, five years. When the Finance minister is back on his feet, so $37 million in ongoing, $47 million one-time? Perhaps the Finance minister could just elaborate on that and given that weíve shown the expenditure in interim supply as of April 1, we would be expecting, as slow as they are, Ottawa to be sending a cheque. Perhaps the Finance minister could tell us when ó we know when the expenditures arrive. When does the money come?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I hope very soon, but the member is correct. Itís $37 million ongoing, thatís revolving. And then thereís approximately between $10 million and $11 million of one-time, okay? And on the $20-million health fund, the Deputy Minister of Finance will be going down to Ottawa this week to finalize terms and conditions on the agreement.

Ms. Duncan:   So I wonít ask the Finance minister to hazard a guess if weíll get three or five years, then, as for the health money, and the Finance minister says "very soon". Weíve shown the expenditure in the interim supply of $4 million. Logically, with the transfer on April 1, we would be expecting the $37-million adjustment to our formula to be effective April 1, too, and then the $10 million or $11 million to be haggled over later. And am I correct in that the $37-million adjustment is not shown on the revenue side of the budget, but the expenses of devolution are, just as they have been done in the interim supply?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Again, this is coming down to the fact that we have to let Ottawa do its final accounting, so it doesnít show up in the budget at all. It will show up in the supplementary, and whatís in the interim supply bill is to take care of what is coming over to the Yukon government between April-May, and we expect monies to be flowing from Ottawa shortly after April 1.

Ms. Duncan:   So to be clear, youíve shown $4 million worth of expenses in the interim supply bill because, as of April-May, we have to pay those, and the Finance minister has said that, overall, this is one-sixth of the O&M. So, what Iím hearing is that there is $4 million of expenses associated with devolution, but no revenue in the interim supply, and there are no expenses with devolution and no additional money with devolution in the budget, even though, supposedly, one-sixth of this O&M budget had $4 million worth of ó logically, it would be one-sixth of the devolution expenses.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I guess this happened prior in the Yukon under the Health transfer, where we paid monies out while the final accounting was being done and being sorted out. Thatís coming in the supplementary. Weíll have all the final numbers.

I think the member is concerned that weíre paying money out but nothingís coming in from Ottawa. We expect monies to start flowing early in April, and all the final accounting will catch up in the supplementary and thatíll have the exact incoming and what weíre paying out.

Ms. Duncan:   Can I ask the Finance minister to commit to tabling that supplementary when this session is in, so that weíre looking at it as it is happening and not after the government has spent the summer spending it?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   The member well knows that after day five, we canít table any more bills but we can certainly give a bit of an overview, if you will, for the House, once weíve determined what the numbers are. It wonít be a supplementary but it will certainly provide information that will be part of a supplementary.

Ms. Duncan:   The member well knows that when a previous government brought in a budget that was unacceptable to the contracting industry ó I mean large and small, because there werenít enough capital works ó they went back and brought in an additional capital supplementary while the House was still in session.

Now the rules have changed. The member was quite right that the Standing Orders indicate no more legislation. However, Iím quite confident ó I realize that I canít speak for my colleagues on the far left of the political spectrum and on my far right in the House. But Iím sure that they would agree to taking a look a supplementary prior to the House adjourning. If the Premier would be so informative as to bring it forward to the House, Iím sure that we all would agree that that would be a more appropriate use of the rules and a more appropriate use of House time than simply saying, well, no, it wasnít within day five. These are extraordinary circumstances, given devolution taking place. And they will make an extraordinary difference, both to the revenue in the transfer from Ottawa and in the operation and maintenance.

So, what Iím asking the Finance minister in my question, having asked that he at least bring forward the idea of a supplementary, is that he show this information. I would also ask the Finance minister to just reconfirm for me that the interim supply contains $4 million of devolution expenses, operation and maintenance expenses, but that, aside from the $4 million in the interim supply, the devolution expenses are not reflected in the budget, nor is the revenue.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   The memberís correct. Itís not in the budget. The $4 million is a cash flow issue so that we could start paying right away and, as I pointed out, the monies will be flowing very early in April.

What I can do to assist the member is, once some of these items have gone through Management Board, we can provide the member opposite with a technical briefing on the detail on the information.

Mr. McRobb:   I have a few questions about the Department of Economic Development and how itís going to be set up.

The minister indicated that the new deputy minister ó

Chair:   Mr. McRobb, Iíd just like to remind you that this is the general debate and we will be getting to line-by-line discussions. Do you wish to enter into the line-by-line discussion?

Mr. McRobb:   No, Mr. Chair. I wish to proceed with this matter in general debate.

Chair:   If itís a specific question, we must do it in line by line. Do you have any general debate questions?

Mr. McRobb:   (Inaudible)

Chair:   My apologies, Mr. McRobb.

Mr. McRobb:   Thank you, Mr. Chair.

My question is rather general in nature. It deals with what the government policy is, with what it intends to do in general, and it is in keeping with past practice in general debate to ask this sort of question, so I would beg your leave to proceed with this question.

Chair:   Please continue, Mr. McRobb.

Mr. McRobb:   Thank you. Can the Finance minister indicate more specifics for us on how this government intends to set up the Department of Economic Development? With respect to the process, can we get some detail on that? Surely the government must have a vision of how this is going to take place, in the context of the Department of Business, Tourism and Culture, where we know there will be employees being transferred and so on, and there could be other departments involved too.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   At a cost of $1,000 an hour, we now have the Member for Kluane asking this side of the House the same questions that his leader has been asking. This is needless repetition. Weíve answered all those questions. It will begin with the establishment of who the deputy minister will be, and weíll move on from there.

Mr. McRobb:   Well, Mr. Chair, Iím asking this question because the government has not provided much in the way of detail surrounding the relocation of employees from department to department and so on, and thatís why Iím asking the Finance minister now for some information around this. Iím hoping he will talk about what process he envisions for talking to stakeholders who are affected by these departments and the timeline surrounding this. Mr. Chair, the way it exists now, this whole process is open-ended. The government would have theoretically until March 31, 2004 to get the department in working order. Mr. Chair, that would seem to us, on this side of the House at least, to be a needless delay. Now, we all know the importance of these departments to the public. There are many questions around how the new department would be set up, and thatís simply what Iím asking. Iíve reflected on Hansard, and the information Iím requesting has not been spoken by the minister.

Now, I might add, Mr. Chair, the Yukon Party government seems very quick to point out the cost of Hansard and so on at $1,000 an hour. I would remind this government, Mr. Chair, that that same cost applies to Question Period, where, as seen again today, members on this side have asked legitimate questions and have received nothing other than very simple and vague answers that really provide no information on the issues asked.

So itís all about accountability and productivity, and we recall, when the Finance minister was on this side of the House, there were lots of occasions when he talked at great length about issues, and certainly Hansard cost was brought up on those occasions. I presume that he is mindful of the past experiences, and probably that leads him to raise that same concern again at almost every opportunity.

But it is very important for the opposition to get some information on the record. The way it stands right now, there are no timelines in place for the restructuring of these departments and, in the interest of accountability, I ask the Premier: will he table some timelines for the restructuring of these departments and a description of the process used? For instance, which stakeholders will be consulted about all of this?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, we went through all of this last Thursday. The facts are that we will not commence until April 1, 2003. All we are doing is getting the deputy minister in place. We have to be mindful and recognize that there are a number of government employees who have experienced a great unsettling over the last year or so, thanks to renewal. We are not going to contribute to that. We want this to be a smooth process, and that is why we will commence April 1.

The member is actually asking in general debate a lot of detail that may be better flushed out in budget debate, not interim supply. We are in general debate in interim supply for the months of April and May 2003, and I would urge the member ó in recognizing the cost to the taxpayer at $1,000 per hour ó that we advance interim supply and get on with the constructive debate that all Yukoners want us to.

Mr. McRobb:   For the record, the answers to the questions are not on the record. Mr. Chair, you can refer to Hansard for that. There are no timelines for the restructuring of these departments on the record; there is no description of the process to be used; there is no identification of the stakeholders to be consulted, et cetera, et cetera.

True, the interim supply bill is to meet the expenditure needs of this government for the coming two months ó the first two months of the coming fiscal year. We on this side fully understand that, Mr. Chair, but we also recognize that the restructuring of which we speak will be proceeding during that time period and it is highly relevant to this afternoonís debate at this opportunity.

The Finance minister, on Thursday, alluded to how a discussion on the interim supply bill is usually two or three lines in Hansard. Well, so be it, Mr. Chair. Itís also within our rights as official opposition members and members of the third party to ask questions as we see fit on any bill before this House, and this is what weíre doing. For the Finance minister to question our right to ask questions, and actually doubt our questions, is really a sign this government is backing away from its commitment to Yukoners to be fully accountable to the public and to be fully informative and to cooperate with all members in this Legislature and make for a better atmosphere in this House.

To the contrary, Mr. Chair, the opposite is happening. Now, because I know there will be other opportunities in the near future to question this government on such matters, Iíll leave it for today, but let the record show that this government is being uncooperative and uninformative.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   It should be no surprise that I disagree with the Member for Kluane ó weíre not being uncooperative at all. We had a great discussion about this particular area with the memberís leader and informed the House clearly on what it is we wanted to do, which includes the appropriate amount of consultation and consultation with the appropriate stakeholders and working with the public servants ó the government employees who will be involved in this. We are going to take every step necessary to ensure that this is a smooth, productive process, resulting in what Yukoners want to achieve with the Department of Economic Development.

All those things are on the record, they are on the pages of Hansard, and I, quite frankly, disagree entirely with the member opposite. The member is simply filling time at a great cost to taxpayers, and thatís unfortunate, because there is a much more constructive way to debate an interim supply bill.

Ms. Duncan:   With respect to the interim supply bill, Iíve had an opportunity to review the Finance ministerís commitments to me in the interim supply bill general discussion. I would just ask him to reconfirm for Hansard, for our written record: he had indicated in interim supply that additional monies received by the Government of Yukon would be confirmed in a fall supplementary, that the supplementary ó whenever itís tabled ó would show an increased amount for the devolution transfer and an increased amount for the additional Health monies. Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Thatís correct.

Ms. Duncan:   Secondly, could the Premier confirm in what way we will know that, in fact, these additional monies have been spent on Health and in what way weíll have a record of knowing that the additional monies have actually been spent on devolution transfer?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, thatís a loaded question. Of course these monies have to be spent in the areas where theyíve been allocated. Those are arrangements with the federal government.

When it comes to the health care money ó thatís what weíre negotiating right now. The Deputy Minister of Finance will be going down to finalize the agreement when it comes to devolution money. The member knows that well ó she negotiated the DTA ó where the money has to flow. Thatís where they have to go; thatís how theyíll be booked.

Ms. Duncan:   Perhaps the Finance minister could elaborate on how that will be the case. And Iím just, in all fairness, thinking back to the discussions that health care money was spent in one province on tax cuts and so on. What accountability measures will the Deputy Minister of Finance be negotiating in this additional health care money, which doesnít necessarily show up in this interim supply but will show up as the Premier has committed in the fall?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Because it will be housed within a contribution agreement from the federal government.

The situation of misspending or misallocating funds for health care to other areas ó thereís certainly something not being done in the Yukon. In fact, the Yukon, with its $7-million to $10-million annual deficit in health care, is having to redirect monies from other places to take care of that deficit in health care, because what we do not do is leave our citizens out in the cold, if you will, when it comes to health care. Itís the highest priority not only for Yukon citizens but for every Canadian citizen in terms of access to health care.

So the contribution agreement will spell out clearly where the monies have to go, and we will obviously follow that course as laid out in the agreement, and the same holds true for devolution.

Ms. Duncan:   Perhaps I could just ask the Finance minister, when that contribution is completed, to consider giving the courtesy of filing it in the Legislature. I would appreciate that. I thank the Finance minister for indicating that while Health has difficulties with respect to their expenditures, which are very, very large, that indeed is a number one priority of Yukoners, and the Government of Yukon should do everything it can to ensure that Yukonís health care system is protected. I couldnít have said it better myself. I thank the Finance minister for that answer.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Yes, once we have the final detail in hand and everything goes through Management Board and Cabinet, we will provide the members with the terms and conditions of the agreement and how it will all be structured.

Mr. Fairclough:   I have a couple questions for the Finance minister. First of all, I would like to know how long this interim supply is good for.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   At the cost of $1,000 per hour to the taxpayer, in this Assembly we have stated a number of times in the last half hour that this interim supply bill is to cover the period April and May 2003 ó two months. It has been stated over and over and over.

Mr. Fairclough:   Then give a short answer if the Premier doesnít want to waste money and thousands of dollars. All we need are short answers.

The amounts of $173,431,000 and also the capital which adds up to $221 million plus ó all of these dollars are basically coming out of the main budget. There is nothing different or new about the interim supply.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Yes, thatís exactly what it is. Other than the cash flow issue for federal issues, the numbers are an extraction of whatís in the budget itself, both O&M and capital, and itís to cover the time period when we will be in this House debating and passing the budget, because expenditures in the new fiscal year must begin April 1. Thatís what an interim supply bill is all about. Thatís why, historically, interim supply bills have triggered very little debate because we will be re-debating all these things when we get into the budget in general, line by line, department by department. There will be, Iím sure, very extensive debate on the budget and we will go back over these very same numbers.

Mr. Fairclough:   We on this side of the House realize that too. We like to ask questions. Itís not a small amount of money that weíre giving government the spending authority for, Mr. Chair. Itís $221 million plus ó almost $222 million.

The Premier said there were no devolution dollars in the main budget. Is that the case?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Again, just over the last half-hour, when that discussion between the leader of the third party and me took place, thatís correct. Until we have the final accounting, weíre not going to put in guesses. We have to know exactly what it is. All weíre doing in the interim supply bill is covering a cash flow issue until monies from the federal government start flowing shortly after April 1.

Mr. Fairclough:   Then the Premier is saying two different things. There are no monies identified to cover off people coming over from the federal government in the main budget, and in the supplementary budget we do have monies to cover their wages. There are two things.

I realize that the total amount has not been tallied up yet by the federal government and itís not shown as income, but there is money being spent in the interim supply and not the main budget. Is that the case?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Thatís correct. This is not a supplementary budget; itís an interim supply. Federal employees are coming over April 1. There is no way the federal government is going to have their fiscal year-end accounting done by April 1, given the fact that March 31 is the last day of their fiscal year and ours. Therefore there is a cash flow issue. We have contributed an amount to cover that cash flow issue. Federal government dollars will be flowing shortly after April 1. All the final accounting will be done, and we will table a supplementary budget that reflects all these things, inform the member of the third party that, once we have the detail and it goes through Management Board, we can certainly provide information through a technical briefing on exactly what that supplementary may look like.

Mr. Fairclough:   Thatís all I was getting at ó whether or not there is a difference between the supplementary and the interim supply. The Premier says that there is a difference. There are monies that are allocated in the interim supply that are not allocated in the main budget. I just asked the question of whether or not these are the same dollars that are coming out of the main budget, and the Premier said yes, and then on the other hand, there are monies allocated for people coming over from the federal government in the interim supply. So it doesnít make sense. Is it, in fact, that the main budget will be reflective of the number of dollars identified here for wages for those who are coming over after devolution?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Mr. Chair, I could chisel this on tablets and bring it down from the mountain, but I have said over and over and over again that the interim supply bill reflects a portion of the main budget except for the fact that we had to deal with the cash flow issue with federal government employees coming over. Weíve stated that to the third party. Weíre stating it again, over and over and over ó same question, same answer. Iím not sure how else we can deal with this unless maybe we set up a technical briefing for the Member for Mayo-Tatchun and go through it in great detail for him.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, Mr. Chair, obviously the Finance minister doesnít like these lines of questioning. All Iím asking is something simple. The Premier is asking for spending authority on interim supply for departments over and above what is in the main budget, and thatís confirmed again by the Finance minister. Iíve identified it, the Premier has identified it, and it seemed kind of strange that this has taken place. I would have thought that maybe something a little clearer coming out of the Finance department would have been presented to this House in this regard.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Mr. Chair, I will again endeavour to clear this up for the Member for Mayo-Tatchun. Itís impossible for the federal government to do their final accounting for midnight March 31 until 8:00 a.m. on April 1. We have federal employees who have accepted their offers, have been classified and got their job descriptions. This is merely a cash flow issue.

We have to make sure that that cash flow is available. Monies will flow from the federal government shortly after April 1, and the detail, once the final accounting is done, will be presented. We can do that in a number of ways, but ultimately it will come to this House in the form of a supplementary. That has been the plan all along. That has been the plan since the day the election was called, in my estimation, because everybody in the Department of Finance realized where this was going.

So, let us agree then that all this information is going to be in the memberís hands, as I stated. Once it goes through Management Board and all those details have been finalized, we can present to the members a technical briefing, but it will be the same thing that shows up in the supplementary. So if the member thinks there is something untoward here, I can assure the member that this is the only option that was available to the department.

In dealing with interim supply it is a must because this House will not rise until well into the next fiscal year; therefore, we have to have spending authority and that is what an interim supply bill is all about. Then our NGOs will be getting money; child care will be getting money; wages will be paid; contractors will be working and that is what interim supply is for and I think we should just expedite this and move along because, at the end of the day, we will be debating, at great length I am sure, all of these things in the budget ó department by department and line by line ó and that is what the business of this House is all about.

Mr. Fairclough:   I didnít even ask the question and the Premier is up answering, wasting time in this House. I just want to tell the Premier that we will be asking questions in this regard and hopefully we can get some clear answers on it because we are giving spending authority in an interim supply which is not included in the main budget. That is all I am asking and I will coming back to this, either line by line or maybe even asking the question in the main budget.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on the general discussion of Bill No. 5, Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 2003-04?

Hearing none, we will proceed with line-by-line discussion of each vote.

On Schedule A

On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   If it is the pleasure of the House, we could expedite the business of the House by deeming all of these lines to have been read and carried. I would request that approval be granted to all of the O&M contained in the interim supply bill ó all of the O&M money.

Unanimous consent re deeming O&M votes of Bill No. 5 read and agreed to

Chair:   Mr. Jenkins has requested the unanimous consent of the Committee of the Whole to deem all votes of Schedule A, operation and maintenance of Bill No. 5, read and carried.

Is there unanimous consent?

All Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Chair:   Unanimous consent has been granted

Operation and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of $173,431,000 deemed to have been read and agreed to

On Capital Expenditures

On Legislative Assembly

Legislative Assembly in the amount of $7,000 agreed to

On Elections Office

Elections Office in the amount of $1,000 agreed to

On Office of the Ombudsman

Office of the Ombudsman in the amount of $1,000 agreed to

On Executive Council Office

Mr. Fairclough:   Thereís a question that I wanted to ask in general debate, but since the Executive Council Office and the Premier are the ones who move budgets and present them to the House, I would like to know what the plans are for the fall ó whether or not this government will be going away from bringing forward a fall capital budget.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   This actually has nothing to do with a line item in the Executive Council Office, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Fairclough:   Mr. Chair, is the Premier going to bring forward a capital budget in Executive Council Office in the fall?

Some Hon. Member:   Point of order, Mr. Chair.

Point of order

Chair:   Member for Klondike, on a point of order.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Mr. Chair, we are in line-by-line. We are in Executive Council Office. The questions that the member opposite is raising are best dealt with in general debate on the whole bill, not here. This is inappropriate questioning.

Some Hon. Member:  Point of order, Mr. Chair.

Chair:   Member for Kluane, on the point of order.

Mr. McRobb:   On the point of order, Mr. Chair, I would submit this is merely a dispute among members, and the proper course of action would be to allow debate to continue.

Chairís ruling

Chair:   I find that the question is not out of order. The minister may choose to answer the question.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, at $1,000 an hour, weíre now talking about fiscal year 2004-05, and we havenít even commenced the fiscal year 2003-04. Thatís obviously something weíll be considering, but for now weíre debating the interim supply bill for the budget, 2003-04.

Executive Council Office in the amount of $269,000 agreed to

On Community Services

Community Services in the amount of $2,067,000 agreed to

On Economic Development

Economic Development in the amount of one dollar agreed to

On Education

Mr. Fairclough:   Can I ask the minister if this dollar amount goes toward any planning of new school facilities?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   There is an extensive list here. All these things will be debated in the department when we get into the budget itself. It ranges from capital maintenance repairs to painting to roof replacement, site improvement, system upgrades, technology wing upgrades ó those types of things. But we can certainly do more detail in the department debate when we get into the budget.

Mr. Fairclough:   The minister didnít answer my question, Mr. Chair. I would like to know if there is any planning money in this capital dollar amount that weíre voting for for schools, school replacements and so on.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   The money in the interim supply is to get these projects going on April 1. The chances of planning money in an interim supply bill ó in all likelihood, no, but the expenditure in the interim supply is to get these projects up and running as quickly as possible. The members opposite are concerned about jobs for Yukoners; so are we. Thatís why this amount is in the interim supply for education.

Chair:   Are there any further questions?

Education in the amount of $8,395,000 agreed to

On Energy, Mines and Resources

Energy, Mines and Resources in the amount of $1,170,000 agreed to

On Environment

Environment in the amount of $242,000 agreed to

On Finance

Finance in the amount of $44,000 agreed to

On Health and Social Services

Health and Social Services in the amount of $1,025,000 agreed to

On Highways and Public Works

Highways and Public Works in the amount of $30,375,000 agreed to

On Justice

Justice in the amount of $114,000 agreed to

On Public Service Commission

Public Service Commission in the amount of $56,000 agreed to

On Tourism and Culture

Tourism and Culture in the amount of $2,122,000 agreed to

On Yukon Housing Corporation

Yukon Housing Corporation in the amount of $2,638,000 agreed to

Capital Expenditures in the amount of $48,526,000 agreed to

Schedule A in the amount of $221,957,000 agreed to

Chair:   Are there any questions on Schedule B?

We will return to clause 1.

On Clause 1

Clause 1 agreed to

On Clause 2

Clause 2 agreed to

On Title

Title agreed to

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I move that Bill No. 5, entitled Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 2003-04, be reported out of Committee without amendment.

Chair:   It has been moved by Mr. Fentie that Bill No. 5, entitled Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 2003-04, be reported out of Committee without amendment.

Motion agreed to

Chair:   Do members wish a five-minute recess?

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Chair:   A five-minute recess is declared.

Recess

Chair:   Order please. We will now continue on with Bill No. 22, Placer Mining Act.

Bill No. 22 ó Placer Mining Act

Chair:   Is there any general debate?

Mr. Hardy:   I have just a few comments. I know that some of my other colleagues on this side do have some other particular issues that they may want to raise in regard to Bill No. 22, Placer Mining Act. Given what has happened recently in the placer mining industry, could the minister opposite tell us what concerns he has in regard to this act and how he envisions it is going to impact the placer mining industry in the north?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   First let me say that if the member is referring to the issue we are facing today in the placer mining industry, it has nothing to do with this act. It has to do with legislation that, I guess you could say, supersedes any other legislation ó itís the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. And this House has already done some work in that area with its unanimous motion, and the industry, governments ó B.C., Yukon, First Nations ó and stakeholders are all standing firm against DFO and its unilateral decision to throw away the Yukon placer authorization. So this act has no real bearing on what DFO is doing and it is the same as we have had. It is a mirror of what was already in place that the federal government has had, and we need it to give ourselves enabling legislation to take down those powers from the federal government. So it shouldnít, and in fact it wonít, make any changes in that area because of the fact that it is mirror legislation and we proceed as we have.

However, that does not preclude us from, somewhere in the future, looking at all legislation in this territory, no matter what the act may be, to see if we can improve on those pieces of legislation. I think thatís something that government must always do. In this particular case, this keeps things basically status quo, outside of DFOís issues.

Mr. Hardy:   I understand that DFO does override this and, I guess my concern, and where my concern is with all the acts really, is where does it go from here? Weíre transferring this mirror legislation over; weíre not opposed to it. Weíve already said very clearly that we will help expedite the movement through this House ó thatís not a problem there. But I guess what weíre doing is looking down the road at the strained circumstances that exist in the territory today. Weíre looking at how this act actually does tie in with anything that we can do down the road. The Premier has already indicated that the governmentís role is to try to improve these. Could the Premier tell me in what direction he would like to improve them?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Actually, I said that itís good practice for any government to always look to legislation ó all legislation ó to see if there are areas where it can be improved. This mirror legislation is what we require to enable us to take down management and control of this particular area and a number of others that were in federal hands. This comes into force and effect April 1, upon the actual transfer from devolution. If there is anything we can do with this particular legislation, itís certainly not going to be at this point in time. Weíd like to get the transition happening and complete and carry on with entering this new era for Yukon where we now become the decision makers ó not $4,000 miles away in Ottawa. But we still have to face the fact that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is working outside of any local process and has completely trashed what was a multi-stakeholder process that had been working for well over a decade. Itís truly unfortunate, but weíre not going to accept the position DFO has taken, and we continue to work on that issue.

Mr. Hardy:   I agree with the Premier opposite that it is great to have this mirror legislation adopted by April 1, so the Yukon has more voice in its own destiny but, if DFO can walk all over these acts, it kind of makes what weíre doing sound shallow and does raise huge concerns.

This is my last question around this right at the moment, and a very simple one. It goes back to one he should recognize by now, because I ask it for just about everything. Down the road, if the government is planning to work on these acts to try to improve them, as he says all good governments should ó and theyíll hopefully be a good government, then of course they will ó what does he envision for consultation for any changes to this act?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   If, at some point in the future, successor legislation is to be crafted in this territory, it will be an extensive consultative process. Obviously, it begins with our government-to-government relationship with First Nations. That has a big bearing on how things will operate in the future here in the territory, given the fact that more and more First Nations have self-governing powers and final agreements.

This is something thatís in the future. Itís not something that the government of today is giving any consideration to. Weíre focusing in on getting the transfer handled as smoothly as possible and getting on with management control and decision making of our affairs in this territory. When it comes to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, I think it would be a little bit outside the realities of the day in Canada to say that this legislation is not sufficient. DFO has the power, coast to coast to coast, to supersede anybodyís legislation. Theyíve shown that on numerous occasions.

So, itís up to us to work with DFO and its minister to ensure that what decisions DFO enact in this territory are done with the input from those upon whom the decisions will impact: Yukoners, First Nations, industry, our government. DFO simply cannot be allowed to make unilateral decisions, as they have in this particular case, because they certainly will. Itís not the legislation, but it puts into question what the Yukon governmentís relationship will be with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in the future.

Itís important that we establish what that relationship will be. Our position is itís based on meaningful participation and input from Yukon when DFO makes decisions, not in a unilateral manner but in a collective manner.

Mr. Hardy:   Just to follow up on that, just one quick question. Just to shorten the time frame, there will be regulations that come out of these acts, and stepping away from bashing the DFO, they definitely brought a lot of it on themselves, but just stepping away from that and talking about this is ó Iím just curious how the government will seek the views of the Yukon people who will be obviously affected by any regulations that come out of the act?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   This is mirror legislation. It is a carbon copy of the federal legislation, and on April 1, the regulations come with it. So what weíre doing is passing enabling legislation here in Yukon, but we will be incorporating, as the devolution transfer agreement lays out, those processes out of the federal government. All this does is enable us to proceed.

Ms. Duncan:   I appreciate that the minister has indicated that the mirror Placer Mining Act has nothing to do, per se, with the current difficulties that the Yukon placer mining industry finds itself in as a result of the unilateral actions and the powers under the Fisheries Act; however, discussion of the Placer Mining Act does provide an opportunity not only for the Premier in this House but for the Government of the Yukon nationally to highlight these issues with the federal government. What are the Premierís plans in this regard?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Iím thinking the member is focusing in on DFO and whatís going on with that particular issue ó or is it with this particular piece of legislation?

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, the Premier has said that the current situation has nothing to do with this mirror legislation, and I understand that. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has laws unto itself sometimes, it would seem ó to put it kindly. But passage of this act does have an opportunity. It presents an opportunity for the minister now, in this House, and because the Government of Canada will be repealing their Yukon Placer Mining Act, once we get ours passed, it provides an opportunity, it gives the Premier a soapbox, to put it in its bluntest terms, to highlight this current issue ó not only in this House with Yukoners but in Ottawa.

So what does the Premier plan to do?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Actually, that work is housed in the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, and much has been toward establishing a framework of what our relationship is going to be. Thatís something that has been ongoing because much of the work done in the field will by Yukon officials, and we have to establish how weíre going to interact with DFO officials. That comes in the form of an agreement that is being worked on today, but I donít think that changes the fact that we have to get the Minister of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to recognize the drastic mistake thatís being made here.

First off, I think we have to look to recent Water Board hearings and how badly his department officials presented their case, how limited was the burden of proof that they brought into the hearings in regard to their decision ó how little a burden of proof was brought forward. It shows clearly that there are problems with this department and the minister has to be made aware of that, and weíre doing that as we speak.

Thirdly, if thatís the indication of how this department is going to operate, then we must re-establish the Yukon placer authorization. As our motion alludes to and that we unanimously agreed to, until there is a new authorization constructed in the territory that DFO is more agreeable to, we will operate under the Yukon placer authorization and go through a full and extensive consultation in this territory with DFO, First Nation governments, the Yukon government and with all stakeholders, to construct that new authorization.

Ms. Duncan:   Perhaps the Premier misunderstood me. Ottawa is going to repeal the Yukon Placer Mining Act once we pass this mirror legislation. At various points in time the Premier has talked about highlighting these issues and somehow getting Ottawaís attention on this. So my question is that the repeal of this legislation and passage by the Yukon provides an ideal opportunity for the Premier ó or, if he wishes to delegate it, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources ó to state to Ottawa the difficulties that the placer mining industry finds itself in and what course of action we want taken.

To put it bluntly, an advertisement in the Hill Times, which is somewhere buried in there ó the Hill Times being a widely-circulated Ottawa newspaper ó somewhere in there it will be listed under the business of the House that they repealed these five acts of the Yukon ó this legislation ó and the Yukon passed theirs. I mean, theyíve done many interviews with me, in a former capacity, on devolution. There is an opportunity here for the Premier ó or if he wishes to delegate it, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources ó to be highlighting this issue again in Ottawa and building upon the work of Larry Bagnell and Ione Christensen.

So what I was asking is, with this ideal platform, what does the Premier intend to do? I know about the motion, I know about the work that is ongoing. What are the next steps? What are the plans with this ideal platform being in place?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, I think the member brings up a good point. It gives us another avenue or option here to keep the issue alive in Ottawa upon repealing, and I would certainly accept any advice and counsel that the leader of the third party may have in this area.

Our first plan or approach here is to take what this House has unanimously passed and deliver it to the minister responsible in Ottawa. Iím sure the member will agree that the one thing we can make happen in Ottawa is public pressure on the government, and thatís something that they react to.

The health care issue is a clear example of what happened. With that public pressure brought right to Ottawa, the government is quick to try and find a solution.

So our intent here is to keep that public pressure alive and on the government. The scrutiny on the federal government and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the repealing of these particular pieces of legislation in Ottawa may very well provide another venue for that pressure to continue, and I appreciate the memberís thoughts. I think she struck on a good idea, and we should follow up with her what her ideas are and how to proceed with this particular opportunity and, as weíve invited the members of the opposition to participate, we see no reason why we canít continue that when it comes to this issue.

Ms. Duncan:  I appreciate the ministerís comments.

Following up with respect to this specific legislation ó and I look forward to an opportunity to provide additional ideas to the minister ó I would at the outset say that further funding to the Klondike Placer Miners Association would be one of the ideas I would recommend they follow up on.

With respect to the specific legislation, in it there is an outline of the mirror Placer Mining Act. It indicates that Crown lands, First Nation reserves and national parks arenít transferred to the administration and control of the Yukon government. So although the act will be putting the claims and so on in management and administration and control of the Yukon government, it excludes national parks.

So I want to ask the Premier again about this issue of the one claim in Dawson that still belongs to Klondike National Historic Sites. Has the Premier done anything with respect to putting in writing a request to Minister Copps for that one claim, to say, "Yes, we recognize it is not being transferred; can we have it in the future after we pass this act?"

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   At this time I can tell the member that this issue is being worked on. We have to confirm where we are with this. Officials are trying to work this out right now but we donít have any final answer in regard to this one particular issue and that one claim. So we can confirm that at a later date.

Ms. Duncan:   What I understood the Premier to have said is that there are talks at the officials level but the Premier hasnít written to Minister Copps and said he would like that too. When the Premier decides to write ó such as I wrote to Minister Copps and said no thanks to Wolf Lake ó and says we want Wolf Lake as a national park ó when he writes to Minister Copps and says that we would like this particular piece of land transferred ó I would ask that the Premier advise the House and members on both sides with a copy of the letter, if the Premier would be so kind.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Of course we would copy the letter to the members opposite, at least to the leader of the official opposition and the leader of the third party. We will entertain getting some of the information on this right away and see where itís at, and then we will, as per our suggestion here ó thatís very constructive to the debate ó inform the minister, Ms. Copps, of what we desire.

Ms. Duncan:   I look forward to the lobbying effort. It will be interesting to see how the government decided to dispose of that. There is a revenue-producing idea, as to how much that claim would go for and how it would be disposed of. It would be an interesting debate in the Legislature.

The interaction of the Premier, in his capacity as Finance minister, with Canada Customs and Revenue Agency and how they deal with the placer mining industry ó the Placer Mining Act is of interest to me, and I would like the Premier to elaborate on it. For instance, in the legislation, itís management and control of placer mining, so it also talks about what is considered. For example, is stripping considered exploration? So if itís exploration under the Placer Mining Act, it should be exploration if there is a tax program for it as well. Thatís how this legislation also interacts with Canada Customs and Revenue Agency.

So my question is to the Premier and Finance minister: what work has been undertaken ó this is mirror legislation, so have there been discussions at the officials level with regard to the Yukon Placer Mining Act and the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency application of tax programs and so on as they apply to the mining industry?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Yes, both Finance and Energy, Mines and Resources are working in a cooperative manner with Canada Customs and Revenue Agency in creating effective tax policies, and itís all about facilitating mineral exploration. However, I think the member will agree that Canada Customs and Revenue Agency is not the easiest department to work with, but weíre doing everything we can, making best efforts to be constructive and advance this issue.

Ms. Duncan:   Being Finance minister isnít the easiest job on that side, either. Iím sure that the Finance minister will agree with me on that point.

My question is, in this work at the officials level with Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, itís all in the definitions. Are we going to be looking at changes to definitions to ease the application and to improve the access under this legislation?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Mr. Chair, weíre looking across the spectrum on this issue on how to enhance or improve this, but again, this is not the easiest federal department to work with. So at this stage weíre making best efforts and can apprise the House when we have some firm details on what we are actually achieving.

Ms. Duncan:   Thank you. I appreciate and look forward to receiving that information from the minister. It leads into a discussion of how and when the minister envisions any changes to this legislation. The most important fact is to get this passed, get it through the House, get it repealed in Ottawa, get it home. Once we do that, though, there is one line of questioning with respect to the administration, and Iíll get into that in a moment, but thereís also the future. Does the minister have a time frame in mind for when we might start to see either a consultation and/or amendments to this legislation, amendments even as housekeeping as a change in definition?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   As I stated earlier to the official opposition, itís good government practice to always look at all of its legislation in terms of trying to find ways to improve it.

On this particular legislation, the mirror legislation, we have not given any consideration to making amendments at this time. Our purpose here is to get to April 1, have the transfer complete, and take on these functions and powers. Thereís obviously going to be a bit of a curve here for the Yukon government, and I think there will also be a spike in expectation. Some of the early days of how we are able to conduct ourselves with what we have will determine where we go in the future because, as I said, we have to always, as government, try to improve what we do, and one of the vehicles is by amending in a beneficial way any and all legislation, should that opportunity arise. But at this stage of the game, we have not given any consideration to amending any of the mirror acts until we get into the actual process of managing and making decisions in the territory. Then maybe, at that point, we can look at it.

Ms. Duncan:   For the record, I just want to restate what I have heard the Premier say.

In discussions with Canada Customs and Revenue Agency on some definitions like "stripping" or "exploration", at the officials level, if Canada Customs and Revenue Agency come back and say, "Change this definition of Ďstrippingí in your Placer Mining Act and the tax credit will apply," the Premier is prepared to look at that and bring it back to this House. Thatís what the Premier has said. And I see him nodding.

The Premier has also said, however, in spite of that, though, they, as a government, are not at this point in time planning on bringing any amendments or housekeeping or cleanup to this House. Itís going to be driven more on a necessity basis than a planning basis at this point in time. Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Yes, that is correct. We donít have a plan developed to proceed immediately with amendments to the mirror legislation. If, for example, we can improve things with the industry and Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, and it requires an amendment to existing mirror legislation, of course we will move on those items. But as far as an overall plan to take all the mirror legislation and create successor legislation, no, at this time, we donít have a plan.

Ms. Duncan:   I appreciate that. I also heard that there is no plan to necessarily go through and do sort of a miscellaneous statutes ó to do all the housekeeping either.

This legislation has come before the three different sessions of the Legislature. It has been brought by an NDP government, it has been brought by a Liberal government, it has been brought by a Yukon Party government. Each time there has been minor housekeeping improvements to it, like changes in definitions and corrections in commas and references and so on.

What Iím hearing the Premier say is that weíre pretty much done with that. There isnít likely to be a housekeeping bill that is going to polish it any more ó there isnít going to be. Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Not unless there is a need discovered. The member is correct. There has been a lot of work and debate around these bills. It has gone through a number of public processes. It has been in the Legislature. If something jumps out at the member that is required in terms of housekeeping, the member could point that out, but at this stage of the game, we have not been informed that there are any items in the Placer Mining Act that would require amendments of a housekeeping nature.

Ms. Duncan:   Iím not aware of any. Iím not raising any red flags. Iím simply assessing, if there is a Cabinet committee on legislation, where they might be discussing this and if they might be. I take it that no, theyíre not, that this particular act, as with all the mirror legislation, is about as polished as itís going to get.

Itís as polished as weíre going to get until weíve administered it for a few years, and thatís my next question ó the administration. Part 1 of the act is the disposition of government placer mining rights, so thatís the bodies. The act is how itís administered, if you will, but it talks about responsibilities of the mining recorder and mining inspectors, et cetera. Where are these bodies going to be housed?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   These bodies will all be housed in Energy, Mines and Resources.

Ms. Duncan:   That relates to all the officials referenced under the Placer Mining Act ó theyíll all be within Energy, Mines and Resources. So, duties and responsibilities of the chief of mining land use and the inspectors will all be within Energy, Mines and Resources. Thatís what the minister said. Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   To the best of my knowledge, yes, because the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources will be the responsible department for the Placer Mining Act, so it is only reasonable to consider that the officials required to administer this act would be housed in the responsible department.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, does the minister have a sense of how many bodies that will be?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   We donít have the exact number but can provide the member that figure. Our officials will go to work on that and can provide the leader of the third party exactly how many.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, that question can be reserved, also, for the Energy, Mines and Resources minister in the line-by-line debate on that department. Itís not a legislative as much as administrative question, so Iíll reserve it and expect the answer prior to that debate from the Energy, Mines and Resources minister.

I have no further questions on general debate in this legislation, Mr. Chair. Thank you.

Chair:   Is there any further general debate?

Then we will proceed with clause-by-clause debate.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Mr. Chair, if I could request, if the opposition has no questions about any sections of this legislation, could we request that the bill be deemed read and carried?

Unanimous consent re deeming clauses of Bill No. 22 read and agreed to

Chair:   Mr. Jenkins has requested unanimous consent of the Committee to deem all clauses, schedules and the title of Bill No. 22 read and carried. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members:   Agree.

Some Hon. Members:   Disagree.

Chair:   There is not unanimous consent on that request.

On Clause 1

Clause 1 agreed to

On Clause 2

Clause 2 agreed to

On Clause 3

Clause 3 agreed to

On Clause 4

Clause 4 agreed to

On Clause 5

Clause 5 agreed to

On Clause 6

Clause 6 agreed to

On Clause 7

Ms. Duncan:   Sorry, Mr. Chair, I will be quicker to my feet. Just a question with respect to ó clause 7 relates to the books kept by the mining recorder. And my question generally with respect to the mining recorder and the mining districts is: is it the governmentís intention for the foreseeable future to maintain the same mining districts?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Yes, under the regulations it is the same mining districts.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on clause 7?

Clause 7 agreed to

On Clause 8

Clause 8 agreed to

On Clause 9

Ms. Duncan:   Just to be clear, the minister has indicated that, for the foreseeable future, the mining districts and books, et cetera, kept by the mining recorder would be open to the public and would be the same. Is it the ministerís intention that, for the foreseeable future, the offices will remain in the same locations? So, for example, there is a mining recorder position and office open in Dawson. Is it intended that these will remain the same? There is also one in Mayo, for example.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Out in the communities there will be no change, but in Whitehorse, given the need to complete space plans and everything, there may be some shifts but they are not foreseen as very dramatic.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on clause 9?

Clause 9 agreed to

On Clause 10

Clause 10 agreed to

On Clause 11

Ms. Duncan:   Clause 11 deals with the fees. Is there any intention of changing these fees or are they to remain the same?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Again, as this is mirror and the regulations will be mirrored, it will be the same fees as are in the regulations right now in the federal system.

Ms. Duncan:   Can the Premier indicate a time frame within which people might expect the districts and the fees to remain the same? We have passed the mirror legislation, itís here; is it a year where the mining districts would be the same and the fees would be the same, or is it two years? What sort of a window is the Premier putting on that issue of the districts and the fees remaining the same? Any time window at all?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   To the best of my knowledge, there are not going to be changes at this time.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, Iím having difficulty at this time, so ó the life of the government ó two years? There are no changes planned for the immediate future? Snarky comments from the members opposite aside: what time frame are we looking at and what time frame is the Premier committing to the industry? Heís saying no, weíre not going to change it at this time ó for the foreseeable future, a year, two years? I know itís hard to predict, but is there some kind of a time frame on it?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, given the fact that we have no intention of changing the fees, there is not really any purpose here to try and figure out a window or a timeline. We intend to implement the legislation mirrored, regulations mirrored, and proceed. And we have no plan whatsoever to increase fees, as has happened in the past in the Yukon ó most recently in licences and hunting licences, fishing licences, and that type of stuff. No, we have no intention of doing that.

Clause 11 agreed to

On Clause 12

Clause 12 agreed to

On Clause 13

Clause 13 agreed to

On Clause 14

Clause 14 agreed to

On Clause 15

Clause 15 agreed to

On Clause 16

Clause 16 agreed to

On Clause 17

Clause 17 agreed to

On Clause 18

Clause 18 agreed to

On Clause 19

Clause 19 agreed to

On Clause 20

Clause 20 agreed to

On Clause 21

Clause 21 agreed to

On Clause 22

Clause 22 agreed to

On Clause 23

Clause 23 agreed to

On Clause 24

Clause 24 agreed to

On Clause 25

Clause 25 agreed to

On Clause 26

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Mr. Chair, in order to expedite the business of the House, perhaps the opposition could identify those sections of this piece of legislation that they care to question, rather than go through it clause by clause, and we can clear the balance after weíve dealt with those areas, Mr. Chair. Could the opposition entertain that suggestion, please?

Chair:   Weíll continue on with line-by-line.

Clause 26 agreed to

On Clause 27

Clause 27 agreed to

On Clause 28

Clause 28 agreed to

On Clause 29

Clause 29 agreed to

On Clause 30

Clause 30 agreed to

On Clause 31

Clause 31 agreed to

On Clause 32

Clause 32 agreed to

On Clause 33

Ms. Duncan:   Clause 33 specifies "on payment of a fee of two dollars, receive written permission from the mining recorder allowing them to record a claim within the mining recorderís mining district." Itís very unusual to state a fee in legislation like this. Itís usually done by regulation, so Iím just wondering ó itís because itís mirror legislation, Iím sure ó why that fee was specified in that clause.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   It came at the insistence of the federal government that we mirror every single clause and word in the legislation. The fee was in there and that is what we have done ó merely carbon copied it.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on clause 33?

Ms. Duncan:   To be clear, then, that might be one area where the minister might entertain an amendment then ó delete spelling that out in legislation. That is how we might improve it. I see the minister nodding.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on clause 33?

Clause 33 agreed to

On Clause 34

Clause 34 agreed to

On Clause 35

Clause 35 agreed to

On Clause 36

Clause 36 agreed to

On Clause 37

Clause 37 agreed to

On Clause 38

Clause 38 agreed to

On Clause 39

Clause 39 agreed to

On Clause 40

Clause 40 agreed to

On Clause 41

Clause 41 agreed to

On Clause 42

Clause 42 agreed to

On Clause 43

Clause 43 agreed to

On Clause 44

Clause 44 agreed to

On Clause 45

Clause 45 agreed to

On Clause 46

Clause 46 agreed to

On Clause 47

Clause 47 agreed to

On Clause 48

Mr. Hardy:   Just going through this, could the Premier give me an idea of what kind of definition ó and itís a pertinent question because "delays" is a huge area that weíre opening up here. What would justify a delay? If the person applying for or owning a claim does suffer from any acts of omission or commission or delays on the part of officials, what kind of retribution would there be for that? Does he have any idea on that one?

Clause 48 agreed to

On Clause 49

Mr. Hardy:   Same question ó sorry about getting the numbers mixed up ó but same question for clause 49.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   This is a question thatís very technical in nature. The Yukon has never administered this before, so weíre going to probably have to contact those who have to get a better understanding. So, weíll get a technical briefing and provide the information to the member opposite.

Clause 49 agreed to

On Clause 50

Clause 50 agreed to

On Clause 51

Clause 51 agreed to

On Clause 52

Clause 52 agreed to

On Clause 53

Clause 53 agreed to

On Clause 54

Ms. Duncan:   Clauses 54 and 55 are the water use rights, if you will, of the placer mining industry. These are the sections that conflict with the departments of Fisheries and Environment and the DIAND in the past and that generated the Yukon placer authorization. Is that correct?

This is part of the contention, if you will. Are these sections where the conflict in legislation with Fisheries occurs? Am I correct in that?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Not entirely, Mr. Chair, because there are a number of areas where there is absolutely no reason for DFO to even be bothered about when it comes to the use of water.

I think the issue here is if there are certain rights to water that a claim owner has, then there also must be a water permit issued, depending on volume and all the rest of that. But then it goes further. When it comes to DFO, there are stream classifications ó Type II, Type IV, all these things. So this particular section, I believe, has very little to do with DFO or anything of the sort. Itís just simply laying out in the legislation what rights a claim owner has to water, such as ground seepage and those types of things. But any substantial volume of usage is housed under a water permit.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, I understand that. My point is that this Placer Mining Act, sections 54 and 55, give the placer miner, the claim holder, the right to use the water. The Fisheries Act comes along and says thou shalt not put a deleterious substance in the water. The member might recall the flaking lead paint discussion. My question is: is this the section where the conflicts arise between the different pieces of legislation? Because on the one hand, weíve given them the right to use the water, and on the other hand, Fisheries says, no, you canít. Thatís my question. I understand Fisheries supersedes other legislation, but is this where the conflict arises?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   No, because with Fisheries itís not the use of the water; itís the discharge, the turbidity in the water. The Fisheries department is not too concerned about the use of the water; itís what is discharged into the water.

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   No, the member opposite ó the issue here for Fisheries is not using water; itís fish habitat and what happens with the levels of turbidity. So I donít think that thatís the way this works, but we can certainly get some legal detail here for the member, but I would point out that when it comes to Fisheries ó and placer mining has dramatically improved in this area. If you want to go back 60 years, we used to hydraulic, just blowing hillsides into a creek with high-pressure water nozzles. We donít do that any more. We have settling ponds and all kinds of systems to lower the discharge back into the creek when it comes to levels of turbidity. So itís not the right to claim the water or to use the water, itís what the industry does in injecting back the water that DFO has the problem with.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on clause 54?

Clause 54 agreed to

On Clause 55

Mr. Hardy:   Can I get a legislative return on the standards that are now in place in regard to security or the amount of bonds that are being applied at this present time? I guess my second question is, do you anticipate any change in that?

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

Mr. Hardy:   Clause 55(2). Okay, got it.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   We will provide the leader of the official opposition with the accounting of that. We will get it from the federal government.

Ms. Duncan:   Just a couple of points for the record. First of all, any information the minister has committed to providing me would also be providing to the leader of the official opposition and vice versa: if there is any information provided to the leader of the official opposition, it is also generally provided to the leader of the third party.

The other point I would like to make is that with respect to ó this is a listing of security and bonds to the satisfaction of the mining recorder. There was also, previously in this legislation, listed amounts that are paid. I think it was claim registrants. Could we get a listing of that amount for the last year from the federal government, and could the Finance minister indicate where they intend to account for that in next yearís accounting? Will it be in Energy, Mines and Resources as a separate line item, or will it be buried in revenue received by the government?

Before the Finance minister answers ó presumably this money is held in trust, so could the Finance minister clarify: are these monies held in trust and will they be identified that way in the financial accounting of the Government of Yukon?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   They are held in the federal system as securities. The securities will all be coming over and will be housed in the related department ó for instance, in this particular area, in Department of Energy, Mines and Resources.

Ms. Duncan:   Could I have a commitment from the Finance minister that they would be shown as a separate line item in the budget and in the accounting for the departments, and not listed ó like fuel oil tax is identified separately in the budget. I would like to see these, in future, identified that way.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   For the memberís question, they are shown separately because they have to be repaid upon completion of work or whenever you get to the juncture where the work is sufficient to where the security can be returned to the proponent. Contrary to what I said, they are held in Finance on behalf of each related department. So whenever that department authorizes that this particular security can be paid back, it is sitting in Finance as a separate item.

Ms. Duncan:   Are they held in non-interest bearing accounts?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Weíll find that out for the member.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, could I ask the Finance minister, when he responds to that ó and Iím sure it will be by either a legislative return or a letter ó if he would just outline where theyíre held, where they will be shown in the budget book, in the financial statements released to the public. If theyíre held in non-interest bearing accounts, then thereís no impact upon our finances. If they were to accrue interest, presumably thatís returned to the claim holder. Also, what access, if any, does the government have to those securities and to those accounts held in trust ó how that may not be accessed by the government. If I could have that in a detailed return ó and I see the minister has nodded his head.

Clause 55 agreed to

On Clause 56

Clause 56 agreed to

On Clause 57

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, I could ask this question now and just have it on the record, and the Premier may wish to answer it in the Waters Act ó but this has to do with the application of water grants in this particular section weíre discussing, and there has been much discussion around water.

Would the Premier state for the record where the Water Board will live post-devolution? Where will the chair of the Water Board work out of ó this quasi-judicial body. Will they be in Executive Council Office, or where will they work out of? Where will the staff be located?

This is not necessarily in this section of this legislation. The Premier may wish to answer this under the Waters Act. He may wish to answer it somewhere else, but Iím just putting him on notice that thatís the question.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Given the fact that this is a quasi-judicial board that, from time to time, requires that they allow intervention and so on, weíre considering that right now. There are a number of options that could be possible, and weíll see.

We certainly want to consult with members of the Water Board because of their duties in that particular area, but itís important that we also listen to Yukoners, and there has been a great deal of input from Yukoners already in regard to this matter. Weíre deciding now on what the best approach will be come April 1.

Ms. Duncan:   The reason renewal began ó one of the key reasons in the Government of Yukon among the public service and the public ó was to determine where people would be working, post-devolution, post-April 1. One of the questions Iím pleased to see the minister publicly state is that there has been a great deal of input from Yukoners. There was on the renewal of government departments ó if Energy, Mines and Resources should be combined, where forestry would be administered from. For all of that, there was a great deal of input from Yukoners, including the Water Board.

There were a great number of conversations about these quasi-judicial organizations, the Water Board being key among them. In a post-renewal Liberal government ó it was tabled with accountability legislation ó the Water Board was to go to the Executive Council Office because the Executive Council Office (a) has a good relationship in terms of dealing with quasi-judicial boards, and (b) itís neither the Environment nor Energy, Mines and Resources; itís in Executive Council Office.

So what the Premier is saying is they donít know; under the Yukon Party government, they donít know where the Water Boardís going. The clock is ticking, as the Premier has reminded us throughout the afternoon. Would the Premier like to amend that answer and indicate that, yes, the Yukon Party government is going to fulfill and live up to the public input that was provided the previous government, which strongly recommended the Water Board go to the Executive Council Office, or is the Premier going to say, no, theyíre going to be transferred in 16 days but we donít know where theyíre going? Iíd like some clarification from the Premier.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, under the misguided renewal process, it appears that the Water Board was heading for the Department of the Environment, and thatís not something that we concur with, so weíre doing our work and, in due course, we will certainly announce where the Water Board is going to be housed. We want it housed where it will be most effective. It has been a very effective body in the past and will continue to be an effective body in the future, and we want to ensure that is indeed the case.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, Iím sorry the Premier has not grasped the concept. Renewal was not a misguided effort, and I would never say something denigrating about the 800 different opinions from public servants who took the time to give us their opinion. In giving us their opinions, those public servants, and then subsequently others involved with the Water Board, gave us the advice that they should be in the Executive Council Office. That is where they were to be housed. Water, such as flood monitoring that goes on in Old Crow and in other locations, was with Environment. The Water Board, which is a quasi-judicial board, was independent of Environment and independent of Energy, Mines and Resources and in the Executive Council Office.

Now, the Premier is saying that is not the case, and that the Yukon Party has not decided where the Water Board is going to be. I ask the Premier again, does he know where the Water Board is going to be working out of on April 1?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, we will all know before April 1. That is the case. Those are the facts, but not today, so we could go around and around and around today on this, but that will not be very productive. In due course, we will announce where it is going, but the former Liberal government had it all heading to the Department of Environment outside of the secretariat. So we are looking at it and, before April 1, we will have our decision.

Ms. Duncan:   Here I just have to state again that the Finance minister has now admitted that, outside of the secretariat, the Water Board was going to Executive Council Office under the previous government. Water, such as flood monitoring, was in Environment. Water energy and hydroelectric facilities were still with Energy, Mines and Resources. The Water Board, under the previous government, was with the Executive Council Office, and I am disappointed that the transfer will happen in a very short time period and the Premier apparently doesnít know where they are going. I am disappointed. It was clear when the Liberals left office where they were going. It is unfortunate, as time is getting short, that it is now not clear. The waters have been muddied, so to speak, by the Premier.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, that is what renewal did to the Yukon government ó muddied the waters, confused and created chaos. To this day, people are still struggling to know where it is they go and what it is they do, and we are trying to rectify all that. We took office December 2, 2002. It is now March 17, 2003, and we have come a long way and, by April 1, there is no problem. Our government is confident that the Water Board will be housed not only in YTG but it will be housed in the appropriate department.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, I would just conclude this section of debate by saying the "What, me worry?" expression from the Premier is alarming. It was crystal clear where people were working from, where devolved positions would go, and position descriptions were offered in a job. That was the whole point, and itís terribly unfortunate that, in all of his time in this House, the Premier missed all of that good discussion. He didnít take the time to read the volumes and volumes of comments ó the advice from Yukoners.

And Iím deeply disappointed that the quasi-judicial nature of the Water Board is not recognized by the Finance minister or the Premier and it has not been housed in Executive Council Office, where it was due to go. I am expressing my disappointment for the record in that respect.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, itís unfortunate the member is disappointed. Itís hard going to work when youíre disappointed. Itís a lot more acceptable when youíre in a positive environment. We donít intend to disappoint the leader of the third party ó not at all. There is absolutely no question that, thanks to renewal, things became very unclear in the Yukon government, which led to some of these problems, though the Water Board is not one of them.

And the point is, we have listened. We have gone through those reams and reams of information and documents. We have listened, and we will, pre-April 1, have the decision made. But itís not today.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on clause 57?

Clause 57 agreed to

On Clause 58

Clause 58 agreed to

On Clause 59

Clause 59 agreed to

On Clause 60

Clause 60 agreed to

On Clause 61

Clause 61 agree to

On Clause 62

Clause 62 agreed to

On Clause 63

Mr. Hardy:   Yes, could I have the minister explain this one a little bit more clearly for me? Iíve read it a few times and I am not totally sure about it.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Given the nature of this particular section and clause in the act, I think itís better to provide a legislative return with technical information in it because what weíre going to talk about here will not do justice to what this clause actually means. So we will provide a legislative return with the detailed information for the member.

Clause 63 agreed to

On Clause 64

Clause 64 agreed to

On Clause 65

Clause 65 agreed to

On Clause 66

Clause 66 agreed to

On Clause 67

Clause 67 agreed to

On Clause 68

Claus 68 agreed to

On Clause 69

Clause 69 agreed to

On Clause 70

Clause 70 agreed to

On Clause 71

Clause 71 agreed to

On Clause 72

Clause 72 agreed to

On Clause 73

Clause 73 agreed to

On Clause 74

Clause 74 agreed to

On Clause 75

Clause 75 agreed to

On Clause 76

Clause 76 agreed to

On Clause 77

Clause 77 agreed to

On Clause 78

Clause 78 agreed to

On Clause 79

Clause 79 agreed to

On Clause 80

Ms. Duncan:   I have a question with respect to Clause 77, which establishes the board of arbitrators and ó

Chair:   Those items have been cleared.

Ms. Duncan:   I understand that, Mr. Chair. If I could just finish my sentence. It, through to clause 80, makes reference to this board of arbitrators.

Chair:   Order please. Weíre on clause 80.

Ms. Duncan:   I understand that, Mr. Chair. If I could just finish my sentence. Thank you. Clauses 77 through to 80 make reference to this board of arbitrators, and it doesnít talk about the establishment of this board of arbitrators. It doesnít go into appointments or anything. Could the Premier indicate whether or not this board of arbitrators is to be included in the list of all-party committee appointments that we are to make? Itís a reference to the board of arbitrators; itís a question about the establishment.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   No consideration of including this in the boards and committees has been given by our caucus to this issue at this time.

Ms. Duncan:   So no consideration has been given by the government to that. Is it intended, then, by this section of the act, that it would just be the minister who appoints, or how would this board of arbitrators be established? And they have quite an authority, including the costs of inquiry in section 80, so with these sections, how does the government envision that board working?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   In the same manner as the previous federal government administered this section.

Ms. Duncan:   Perhaps the Premier would have a legislative return provided to the members opposite as to its functioning under the federal government and its functioning under the territorial government. Iíd accept a legislative return prior to clearing that section, Mr. Chair.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   For the record, Mr. Chair, the function will be in the same manner as conducted by the senior level of government, which is devolving this area to the Yukon government. No changes are anticipated.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, will the Premier consider providing a legislative return detailing the functions of these sections and this board, or not? I heard the Acting Premier indicate that no such legislative return would be provided to the opposition benches.

Will the Premier provide a legislative return to the opposition benches on the functioning of the board of arbitrators, including clause 80, and how and when these funds might be paid and out of what department?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Iím surprised the member opposite doesnít know. It was the member opposite who herded this through the whole system. The member opposite is the member who signed the devolution transfer agreement, and we did clear this, but in the spirit of cooperation and constructive debate, we will provide a legislative return on these sections even though they have been cleared. As is the custom, once cleared, once it is passed. We will provide that information for the member.

Ms. Duncan:   I thank the member for the legislative return on clause 80, which outlines that the board of arbitrators had not yet been cleared. Iíll be glad to do so now.

Clause 80 agreed to

On Clause 81

Clause 81 agreed to

On Clause 82

Clause 82 agreed to

On Clause 83

Clause 83 agreed to

On Clause 84

Clause 84 agreed to

On Clause 85

Ms. Duncan:   This is the section that deals with royalties, which are a key contention with the devolution discussions and our neighbours to the east. This is the same as has been negotiated previously.

Are there any discussions that the current Premier has undertaken with federal officials with respect to this section? He has made reference to the improvement of the devolution deal. Have there been any discussions about royalty?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   No, this is an exact copy of the federal legislation. This particular section is the same as what the feds have implemented all along ó status quo.

Ms. Duncan:   So, for the record then, the royalties are not an issue that the member sees as improving in the devolution deal, in his comments about improving it?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, Mr. Chair, my comments were about governance and the fact that good governance would dictate that governments will take all legislation and, when appropriate, amend to improve. At this particular juncture, we are taking existing legislation that the federal government has applied in the territory ó there have probably been changes to it over the years. The detail of those changes Iím not aware of, but we are bound to mirror what the federal government has done in Parliament. When it comes to successor legislation in the Yukon, that is something thatís down the road. At this stage, today, no, we have not considered any amendments to this bill.

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Mr. Hardy:   Just a question ó I know the Premier doesnít like our visioning questions but that is all right; we have to look down the road, that is a part of our jobs too. The question is, can we anticipate a change in the fine level because it seems to be pretty out of whack here "Öliable to a fine not exceeding two hundred and fifty dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months." On one side it might sound very low and on the other side it sounds pretty extreme. Is that something that is going to be looked at down the road?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Actually, Mr. Chair, I enjoy the questioning and the visioning. That is what constructive debate is all about; needless repetition is a different story. Yes, this is possibly something down the road that we can look at but, again, I point out that we are bound to mirror exactly what Parliament did with their legislation; that is why it is called mirror. So we have to proceed with this and I am sure the member opposite will have some very constructive input at some point in the near future in regard to this particular clause.

Mr. Hardy:   Mr. Chair, just to make the statement again as I started it, I know it is down the road and I know it is mirror legislation. We could speed this up a lot faster if we could just get a quick answer.

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Ms. Duncan:   Clause 94 is the evidence of expenditure. I can recall a number of years ago, it would have been probably 1997 or 1998, there was a request made to the then Minister of DIAND for the forgiveness of this review of evidence of expenditure. In other words, there was a request made to the then DIAND minister, look, can you grant an extra year? We donít have to spend $1,000 on our mining claim this year, we can keep the claim without having spent the money because itís a bad year, mineral prices, fuel prices, et cetera. So what happened is the federal minister allowed that, yes, you could waive that expenditure.

My question: is the Premier familiar with that situation happening, or is legislative counsel, and is there opportunity further in the legislation to allow that to happen?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, Iím not aware of this particular example, for sure, and just by virtue of what is in this mirror legislation, thatís obviously what the federal government had in there, so they didnít make any changes. But again, in the future, improving legislation is good governance, so weíre certainly not adverse to looking into things like this.

Ms. Duncan:   Then I will go through my old constituency files and dig out the specific situation because the minister wrote back and quoted the section. Perhaps we can bring forward an amendment sooner rather than later. And what I heard the Premier indicate is that he is prepared to look at such an amendment.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Iím certainly prepared to look at the information the member has available with respect to the particular issue she pointed out, as it relates to this particular section, and weíll take it from there. Our job right now is to try and pass this legislation and give it consent by April 1.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on clause 94?

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Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I move that Bill No. 22, entitled Placer Mining Act, be reported out of Committee without amendment.

Chair:   It has been moved by Mr. Fentie that Bill No. 22, entitled the Placer Mining Act, be reported out of Committee without amendment.

Motion agreed to

Chair:   Do the members wish a 10-minute recess?

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Chair:   Ten minutes.

Recess

Chair:   Weíll continue on with Bill No. 23, Quartz Mining Act.

Bill No. 23 ó Quartz Mining Act

Chair:   Is there any general debate?

Ms. Duncan:   I would just ask the Premier in his introduction of this legislation, or just by way of review of the legislation, to again commit with respect to this act that there are no anticipated changes and, as he indicated in the Placer Mining Act, that there are no intended improvements at this point in time ó however, should any come forward, he is interested in examining them ó that any fees or charges levied would remain the same and that it is anticipated that this mirror legislation would stay on the books, as is, for the next foreseeable time frame without this housekeeping. I would just ask the Premier to recommit.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Thatís correct, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Hardy:   I donít see continuing on many of the questions that were put to the Premier by me and by the third party. We would expect they would apply in this area as well, and she just articulated those ones. I see us being able to go through this a lot faster now.

I did have one item in here, but at the moment I lost the page, so Iíll just have to move on unless I find it.

Chair:   Are there any other members who wish to address general debate?

Then weíll move on to line-by-line.

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Ms. Duncan:   If I could have the Premier recommit to the record, as he did in the Placer Mining Act, that mining recorder duties, districts, books, hours of operation will stay the same, that there are no changes anticipated under this act to the operation of the mining recorder or mining districts.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   No changes anticipated.

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Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, I would just like to make a recommendation in the spirit of constructive debate to the Premier that the Yukon Surface Rights Board also be included in that list of all-party committees that suggestions be put forward. The Premier will recall I put forward a motion several times in this Legislature that outlines a list of boards and committees that an all-party committee of the House should make appointments to, and I would just make the recommendation that this be included in that list when authority transfers.

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Mr. Hardy:   Yes, actually, this is connected to a question that I have coming up, but it really points to the concern about the amount of securities and whether the securities are enough to offset the environmental concerns that may exist if the person abandons their mine in a non-environmental manner. There are safety concerns also that may result from it. Can the minister tell me what the different amounts are and how they will deal with the collection of this?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Similar to the aforementioned act that we were dealing with, the securities would be coming over from the federal government, but I understand where the member is coming from. Obviously we do have some problems in this area, and that is why the Type II sites are of issue and that type of thing. And it is now up to government to ensure that the appropriate linkage to impact mitigation and responsible development takes place.

I think this is one area where the federal government was remiss in their duties in the past, and that is why we are sitting here in the Yukon, and I am sure in many other jurisdictions, with large environmental liabilities with mines shut down or in receivership, and so on and so forth. So this is an important area. The legislation again is mirror and certainly a lot of this has to be done up front when the appropriate environmental screenings take place.

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Mr. Hardy:   Again, this is the second part of the question, on the second section that talks about the termination or abandonment. There is absolutely no question at all that there is a very poor history, in the Yukon anyway, of a lot of contaminated sites being left, without the funds or the securities to address them and definitely without the federal government recognizing their responsibilities in this matter and cleaning up these sites that now exist in the Yukon.

My concerns, of course, are that we get those sites cleaned up for safety and environmental reasons, and also for future mining expeditions and mines so that we have something in place that ensures that either the security is big enough to address those concerns or the monitoring and compliance is in place. Under the regulations, of course, with this mirror legislation coming over, there is the ability for ó it says the Commissioner in Executive Council may make regulations to ensure that the categories are correct and hopefully that the method of either securities or ability to collect from any unethical operation will be there.

So, I guess thatís my big concern ó the costs and how weíre going to collect. Just looking at this, Iím not overly comfortable, because this is mirror legislation as has been said before time and time again, yet it is reflective of what we are now living with in the Yukon with all the abandoned sites that do need a lot of environmental work in order to make them safe again.

So what is the Premier envisioning for ensuring that this doesnít continue under the regulations?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, I would submit that itís a lot more than just this act and the regulations that are at play here. Itís not the act itself that created the environmental situations we are in ó thatís a given.

The liability rests with the federal government, beyond question. The Auditor General has put that clearly on the public record. Faro, alone ó the Auditor General has over $200 million of what he deems to be federal government liability.

Itís not just here ó Uranium City is another example of what happened. But I would say that itís not just the regulations or the act. Weíve advanced a great deal in our environmental screening processes, for example. The reason we have is to help mitigate some of these things, because youíre doing them up front now. Your screening is much more stringent. Mining practices have improved vastly from what weíve experienced in the past. For example, in todayís mining world, there are actually bona fide companies that will guarantee what your remediation cost will be after mine closure and ensure that price.

There is a great deal of technology now that can be utilized in terms of mining from the beginnings of prospecting, exploration, development, production and abandonment. So I would suggest that, yes, there could be areas in regulation and legislation that could improve things, but weíve improved a great deal in our screenings and our capabilities of abandonment and remediation.

But thereís nothing that any government can do when it comes to the viability of companies ó as what has happened in the past. But in todayís world, thatís why the security issue is very important. The environmental screening process was, as I said, very stringent. So these things come to the forefront not after the fact and are mitigated or dealt with before we get into the situations that we experienced today. I hope that helps the member.

Mr. Hardy:   Well, yes, it does. And I donít necessarily disagree with him on that. I do know, as a person who did work in mines many years ago and knowing whatís happening in mines today, that there is quite a substantial change. And again, I feel remiss if I donít mention the concerns I have, because even with mines that were in operation only a few years ago, already there are environmental concerns that are going to have to be addressed. And these operations, which were in some cases underfunded, did not put up the proper securities up front and were unable to because they were underfunded and were riding on a speculative type of market ó they did not work toward more environmental standards. In other words, they cut corners. They have now left and are now no longer functioning ó this is only a few years ago ó and we are starting to see some leaching into the water basins of chemicals that may cause some environmental hazards both to the wildlife, lands and the people who live fairly close to those mines that were developed. So thatís a big concern.

However, itís not just the federal government that is to blame here. Itís also the fact that, unfortunately, the industry years ago didnít place a great deal of value or didnít see the necessity to ensure that there was a proper cleanup that would ensure that that site is once again safe in the environmental context.

If the Premier is indicating that securities, compliance and monitoring are going to address the concern, then Iíll be looking carefully at what kind of securities weíre talking about and how they fit in to the amount of reclamation. He did mention the Faro mine, and heís talking $200 million. Thatís a pretty substantial security for anybody trying to start a mine. So, Iíll be very curious to see what evolves in the end to ensure that there can be mining operations, but also to ensure that any kind of damage to the environment will be taken care of.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Yes, the Faro mine is certainly an example; however, I think itís important to note from the past that these mines did not go into operation in spite of the federal government ó the managers, the decision-makers. Itís because of the federal government they are in operation ó they started up and were operated under existing regulations and so on. And thatís why the liability rests with the federal government.

For us on the Type II sites, we want to quickly move to where we can address the environmental problems. Thatís what the agreement under the DTA actually commits us to do. The problem is that we donít have a hard number from Ottawa on how much that will be.

All in all, I think todayís decision-making processes by government are vastly improved on a number of fronts, and environmental screenings is certainly one, where the screening processes are much more stringent. You donít just go through what others have gone through 30 years ago. You have to mitigate and provide that rationale and burden of proof ó bar none.

Thatís why high-tech companies are getting very involved on the remediation side of mining, whether it be biotech or other means. There is great advancement in these areas.

So, we look forward to the day when we again have a vibrant mining industry in the Yukon, and one where we have a firm grip on the environmental mitigation and impacts and, of course, the remediation aspect of it. That has to be part and parcel of developing the industry.

Ms. Duncan:   I would ask if I could just put a request for a legislative return on the record while we are discussing remediation and mine reclamation in this clause. One of the issues has been that a company may pay X amount ó letís say for the sake of argument $100 million ó into a mine reclamation fund as part of their environmental screening process. They pay this in trust. They go to reclaim the mine and there is a question I have as to how the regulations and the act are administered.

Can they access that $100 million held in trust to do their remediation work, or is it only paid out after the government is assured all the reclamation work has been done? That is the question between the regulations and the act that I would like the minister to clarify by legislative return ó how and when that money that is set aside for remediation or reclamation is accessed and who releases it under the new act and in the regulations, and how that is all administered: if the minister would clarify that by legislative return for me please.

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Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Mr. Chair, I move that Bill No. 23, entitled Quartz Mining Act, be now reported out of Committee without amendment.

Chair:   It has been moved by Mr. Fentie that Bill No. 23 be reported out of Committee without amendment.

Motion agreed to

Bill No. 24 ó Territorial Lands (Yukon) Act

Chair:   Committee of the Whole will now deal with Bill No. 24, Territorial Lands (Yukon) Act.

Is there any general debate?

Ms. Duncan:   The Premier, in the throne speech, delivered on behalf of his government indicates that the Government of the Yukon is going to seek a constitutional reference or seek advice ó I donít have the precise reference in front of me ó with respect to the Crown in right of Yukon question. The Crown ó itís this act that this question arises under and there is a dispute between the Premier and me with respect to that.

In the briefing notes and information on the mirror legislation, the Territorial Lands (Yukon) Act, clause one says that it omits the Crown. The Yukon equivalent is the Commissioner or the Government of the Yukon, depending on the circumstances. After going through a previous discussion, briefing and research on this information, is the minister still convinced that there should be a Crown in right of Yukon challenge put before the constitutional questions court?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, I think itís in the best interest of Yukoners that we determine exactly what we do have in terms of Crown in right. What weíre doing as a government, to the greatest extent possible, is using our in-house legal people to critique this question and provide us the appropriate answers. To every extent possible, we will not go Outside. I think we see every opportunity to cover the cost within existing budgets.

But on behalf of Yukoners and in representing the public interest, I think we should come to a conclusion on this question and at least provide a legal opinion in regard to the issue of Crown in right.

Ms. Duncan:   So what the Premier has just indicated is that he has asked Justice legal officials to provide a legal opinion on what is the Crown in right of Yukon question. Could the Premier outline precisely what he sees as the issue that he has asked for a legal opinion on? What exactly is the issue?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   The issue is to determine whether we have one. Thatís what the research that is being done today is intended to provide. Itís a huge question. It is quite different from simply managing than it is of having a Crown in right. So all weíre doing is taking the prudent course and weíre going to get advice and information from our legal people in critiquing this question and providing us the appropriate advice to see what we do have, and we think thatís the prudent course and in the best interests of Yukoners.

Ms. Duncan:   Let me try another way to ask the Premier this question: what does the Premier define as Crown in right? I havenít heard a clear explanation of what the Premier sees as the issue. What is the issue that the Premier has asked the legal people for an opinion on? And I appreciate the wannabe Premier giving the Premier advice; however, Iíd like the Premierís opinion.

Chair:   Order please.

Ms. Duncan:   Pardon me, I would respectfully request that the Premier answer the question, with the Premierís opinion of what this issue is. What is the issue of Crown in right? What is it to the Premier?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, it is about governance and it is the difference between what we have right now versus what possibilities we could have in terms of governing this territory. There has been a question about this for some time, and we have taken it upon ourselves as a government to get information on this, and we will see from there what we can do. In the meantime, if the member wishes a long detailed legalese around this issue, we can provide all that information from the appropriate agencies. But it certainly is not a place for me to extend opinions. We are acting on behalf of the public interest and the question of Crown in right, and that is all about governance and what we have in terms of governance in the Yukon.

Ms. Duncan:   The Premier has said that the government has ó first of all he said that opinion in the appropriate legalese could be provided. I heard the Premier say that, so I undertook that to mean that the Premier was going to provide me with a legal opinion that he has sought on this. So, that being said, the Premier is committed to providing that.

I need to understand so that I can explain to the public what the Premier means by saying Crown in right is all about governance. The Premier is going to provide me with the legalese description of this. I want the public description of this. How does he explain this to the voters in Watson Lake? How does he explain what the issue of Crown in right is? If it is all about governance, what does he mean by that? How is the layperson, the average citizen, to understand the argument that the Premier is seeking a legal opinion on? Can he explain that please?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I already have. It is about governance and the question of what kind of governance does the territory have? The Crown in right question is the area where the answer lies, and this is not something that is based on opinion. Itís based on hard, legal facts and those are something that ó Iím not a lawyer, but Iím sure many lawyers have the ability to provide that information and thatís what I said we could provide to the member opposite.

This is going to require a detailed response vis-à-vis legislative return, and weíre not going to engage in speculation of what may be or might be. This is a very serious matter that is housed in a very definitive legal question, and we intend to act appropriately in the best interests of Yukoners. Thatís why we have embarked on a process internally to provide us with information as government, and weíll take it from there.

Ms. Duncan:   What the Premier has confirmed for me is that he has asked a question of the Department of Justice in-house legal counsel ó to research the question of the Crown in right of Yukon. Now, Iím not a lawyer either; however, I know that when you seek legal counsel you say, "Hereís the legal question I want you to address ó guilty, not guilty? What are the defences?" What question is the Premier asking the in-house counsel ó and I want to confirm that it is in-house. The Minister of Justice has not sanctioned outside counsel on this question, because it has to go through the Minister of Justice.

Letís start with that. Is this question ó and weíre not clear on what the question is. But is this question only being addressed by the Government of the Yukon in-house legal counsel?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Again, I point out that itís all about governance and what we, as a government, have in terms of governance. Internally, weíre getting our advice. We said that, wherever possible and to the extent possible, weíll do this in-house. But we will determine that based on the advice we get from people who research this issue. So, what else can I tell the member, other than the fact that if she wants the hard data on this thing, itís best coming from legal people who can outline exactly what the question is and what it means to Yukon.

Ms. Duncan:   Iíll just confirm for the Premier that, yes, I want the hard data. I do want the information thatís provided. But I fundamentally want to know what the question is thatís being asked, and I want confirmation that it is only in-house counsel.

This is an esoteric, constitutional question. The Premier says it has all to do with governance. Government has care, control and administration over land. Thatís what weíre getting with devolution. Thatís what devolution is about ó administration, care and control over land. And thatís what governance is all about. So, if thatís what governance is all about, what is this question, in simple straightforward terms, that the Premier is asking for legal counsel on? Whatís the real question? Can a Yukoner sell a house? Can the Commissioner dispose of lands? Can the Governor in Council, the Cabinet ó do they have legal authority to have management, care and control over land? Yes, with devolution.

So whatís the Crown question? There is a crown on the end of our mace that represents the royal authority. There is governance, which is care, control and management over our resources. What more is the Premier seeking in asking this legal question? What is the Premier really asking the Justice in-house counsel? Would he also please confirm that it is only in-house counsel and that in-house counsel has not come and said, "Look, this is a constitutional question ó itís beyond us, and we want additional resources to answer this question." Is it in-house counsel, and what is the question?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Again, I will repeat to the greatest extent possible: we are using in-house officials, expertise and resources. Itís the difference between governance with management, care and control and governance with a Crown in right. Itís about governance.

If the member wants hard, detailed data and information, it is not going to come from me because Iím not a lawyer, a constitutional expert or anything of the sort, and I would only rely on those experts that we have in government today to provide that information. We can provide that information to the member.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, I appreciate that the member is offering to provide the information, but let me compare it with the situation we were in just a short time ago. The government used in-house resources, spent a lot of time and a lot of energy preparing this government for devolution, preparing the positions, preparing the organization charts, working to that end. And the member criticized me endlessly for that ó endlessly. He still does today.

The fact is that there was a question before the public servants who were putting in that work. That real question was: where will these employees work when they come over? There was a real question in front of them.

The minister has now stood on his feet and said there are endless hours and to the greatest extent possible that Yukon legal counsel, our in-house Justice lawyers, are working on this question. The problem is, the problem that I have and the problem that every Yukoner has is that the Premier canít define the question. The Premier cannot tell us what theyíre looking for. Governance is about being able to say, yes, go mine that piece of land; yes, cut that piece of timber. Itís all about care, control, ownership.

Itís all about management of resources. That is what being a government is about. That is what the devolution transfer agreement is about and, Mr. Chair, seeing the time being close to 6:00 p.m., I would suggest that we report progress on this particular piece of legislation.

Chair:   It has been moved by Ms. Duncan that we report progress.

Motion agreed to

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.

Chair:   It has been moved that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.

Motion agreed to

Speaker resumes the Chair

Speaker:   I will now call the House to order.

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

Chairís report

Mr. Rouble:   Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 5, Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 2003-04, Bill No. 22, Placer Mining Act, and Bill No. 23, Quartz Mining Act, and has directed me to report them without amendment.

Mr. Speaker, Committee of the Whole has also considered Bill No. 24, Territorial Lands (Yukon) Act, and directed me to report progress on it.

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

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Speaker:   I declare the report carried.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   I move that the House do now adjourn.

Speaker:   It has been moved by the hon. government House leader that the House do now adjourn.

Motion agreed to

Speaker:   This House now stands adjourned until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.

The House adjourned at 6:00 p.m.