Monday, March 31, 2003 ó 1:00 p.m.
Speaker:I will now call this House to order. We will proceed at this time with prayers.
Speaker:We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Speaker:It is my pleasure today to introduce four Alaska State legislators who are participating in our annual legislative exchange. Members from our two legislatures have been meeting on an annual basis since 1980. The primary purpose of this exchange is to give legislators in our two jurisdictions an opportunity to gain a fuller understanding of the workings of our two differing systems of governance.
As well, it allows us to discuss matters of mutual interest to Alaska and the Yukon. This is done through meetings with caucuses and through one-on-one conversations that take place throughout these exchanges.
Further, visiting legislators are briefed by senior officials of the Government of Yukon on a variety of subjects.
Over the years, these exchanges have been a benefit to our two jurisdictions in furthering our knowledge and understanding of each other in the areas I have mentioned. Perhaps most importantly though, it has provided us with an opportunity to renew acquaintances and to make new friendships at the legislative level.
In this way, the contact between legislative colleagues from each side of the border can contribute to maintaining respectful and friendly relationships between both the governing structures and the citizens of Alaska and the Yukon. Those relationships have endured between our two jurisdictions through thick and thin during our past history and we are determined and confident that they will continue on that basis into the future.
I would now ask that our guests rise as I name them. Today, from the Alaska State Legislature, we have with us Senator Fred Dyson, Senator Donald Olson, Representative Nancy Dahlstrom and Representative Max Gruenberg. Joining them in the gallery is Jeannette James, who was a member of the Alaska House of Representatives from 1992 to 2002 and who is here representing Governor Frank Murkowski on railroad matters.
I would ask all members to give a warm welcome to our friends from Alaska.
Speaker: Are there any returns or documents for tabling?
Are there any reports of committees?
Are there any petitions?
Are there any bills to be introduced?
Are there any notices of motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mr. Arntzen:I give notice of the following motion:
THAT this House recognizes that
(1) the Government of Canada, over the years, has established a practice of providing funding to non-governmental organizations and the Government of Yukon to initiate new programs for the public and then has subsequently reduced or eliminated funding required to operate and maintain those programs; and
(2) the Government of Yukon continues to make its contributions to programs such as the Salvation Army emergency shelter, the Watson Lake youth intervention worker with the Liard Basin task force and the youth outreach program van provided by the Yukon Family Services Association; and
THAT this House urges the Government of Canada to live up to its responsibility to continue to provide funding for programs it has helped initiate.
Speaker: Are there any further notices of motion?
Mr. McRobb: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that
(1) cellular telephone service is a critical component of modern communications, especially in remote and sparsely populated areas such as the Yukon;
(2) reliable cell phone service plays an important role in business, personal communications, recreation, public safety and response to emergency situations;
(3) the previous NDP government recognized the importance of telecommunications by investing millions of dollars in improvements to voice and data services throughout the Yukon;
(4) a recent tourism survey indicated that travellers to the territory place a high value on being able to remain in contact with family and friends, especially in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 tragedy;
(5) industry has expressed an interest in forming a partnership with the Yukon government to explore ways to expand cellular phone service beyond the current limited coverage area; and
THAT this House urges the Government of Yukon to begin discussions with industry, other governments, including the governments of Canada, Alaska and the United States, as well as Yukon First Nations governments, to examine the potential of expanding the telecommunications infrastructure in the territory, starting with an expansion of cell phone coverage in strategic areas within the territory.
Speaker: Are there any further notices of motion?
Ms. Duncan: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that
(1) Alaska and Yukon enjoy a friendly cross-border relationship;
(2) fees and licences charged for educational and medical services between Yukon and Alaska recognize this friendly relationship; and
(3) the exception to this friendly relationship has been the fees charged to Yukoners for king salmon fishing tags in Alaska; and
THAT the Yukon Legislative Assembly supports the Alaska State Senate Bill No. 56, which would have Yukoners pay the same fees as Alaskan residents for sport fishing and king salmon tags.
Speaker: Are there any further notices of motion?
Mr. McRobb: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that
(1) many Yukon people are experiencing hardship related to skyrocketing fuel prices, combined with a shortage of jobs and, among seniors and elders, the decision of the Yukon Party government not to increase the pioneer utility grant retroactively;
(2) the election commitment to bring back the previous Yukon Party governmentís rate relief program could have saved up to $40 on a Yukon electricity consumerís monthly power bill;
(3) audited financial statements for the Yukon Development Corporation for the 2001 fiscal year-end clearly demonstrate that the Yukon Development Corporation enjoys a healthy financial surplus; and
THAT this House urges the Yukon government to implement a year-round rate relief program as promised in the Yukon Party election platform, including the elimination of the clawback provision for consumption above 1,500 kilowatt hours per month.
Speaker: Are there any further notices of motion?
Is there a ministerial statement?
Hon. Mr. Fentie:Mr. Speaker, I rise today to inform the House of my governmentís policy concerning the division of responsibilities under the Waters Act.
First let me give you a bit of a background. As you are aware, Mr. Speaker, the Water Board is an armís-length body established under the Waters Act. The Water Board secretariat provides support to the Water Board. The secretariat staff are government employees who will be transferring to the Yukon government on April 1 and will be housed in the Executive Council Office.
It is my governmentís intention to vest the responsibility for approving Type A and Type B water licences ó where there has been a public hearing ó with the Minister of the Executive Council Office. We believe Yukoners will be best served by giving this responsibility to a corporate government department.
In most other matters concerning the Waters Act, however, the Minister of the Environment will take the lead. The minister will have the responsibility for the management of water, including compliance with and enforcement of all licences, other than inspection of placer mining water licences.
The Department of Energy, Mines and Resources will be responsible for inspections of placer mining water licences.
Our governmentís policy direction in this matter reflects the input we have received from Yukoners, including members of the Water Board and from others, as well as the desire to correct the long-standing issues that have made the issuance of water licences contentious in the past.
This division of responsibilities will be formalized by order of the Commissioner in Executive Council.
The Water Board will remain at armís length from government and its responsibilities under the act will not change; however, the boardís support staff, for the purposes of the organizational chart, will be part of the Executive Council Office. They will become Yukon government employees effective April 1.
The staff of the water resources branch will also become Yukon government employees on April 1 and will be part of the Department of Environment.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me an opportunity to set out our governmentís direction in this regard.
Mr. McRobb: Well, we have a few concerns about this government policy and the decision to locate the board within the Executive Council Office, Mr. Speaker. Primarily our concern is with the independence of the board being compromised. We know the Executive Council Office is a very short, armís-length relationship with the government Cabinet; whereas, on the other hand, the Department of Justice is truly an armís-length relationship.
The Department of Justice currently houses the Yukon Utilities Board, which is a very similar board to the Yukon Territory Water Board. They are both quasi-judicial boards. They operate in accordance to administrative law in Canada. They believe in the principles of natural justice. If there were any reason to believe the board was not being fair or unbiased in its decisions, these decisions can be appealed by any party to a hearing. It makes it imperative to respect and retain the independence of these boards, and we will be watching very closely in the years ahead, Mr. Speaker, for any political influence into the operations of any of these boards I mentioned.
The Premier indicates that he has the ability to approve Type A and Type B water licences where there has been a hearing. That means that where concerns about an application have been expressed that trigger a hearing, this Premier will be signing off on the water licences. I know how it presently stands with the DIAND minister; he can either say yea or nay to a water licence draft decision from the board but does not have the ability to add, delete or modify any such decision. In his response, I would like the Premier to provide some more detail on his powers under that section.
I would also like the Premier to indicate why we have three government departments involved in the monitoring and the licensing of these matters. It seems that causes unnecessary duplication when we already have support staff in the Department of Justice. It seems sensible to just apply those same resources to help administer another board.
I would also like to ask the Premier if he could quantify the process that was used to consult Yukoners and indicate what questions were posed. We will never have the opportunity to find out what questions were posed to the Water Board members on this matter.
So, in recap, Mr. Speaker, we will be watching very closely in the time ahead for any political influence and ensure that the operation of this board is independent from government.
Ms. Duncan: I rise on behalf of the Liberal Party caucus to respond to the ministerial statement. I would like to express my thanks to the Premier for the administrative update.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Mr. Fentie: Let me first extend to the third party our appreciation for what I know is support for this matter. I know that, when in government, this was a difficult issue for the government of the day. Yukoners have long lobbied to have this particular area managed in the appropriate government department, especially upon devolution, and I think, in the best interest of Yukoners, that the third party and our government agree on something. We find that quite gratifying because that is how it should be, considering the third party spent a great deal of time on the renewal project, from which this is actually spawned.
With regard to the official opposition, the issue around their concern for independence in this area ó that is exactly why the Water Boardís approval process and the signing off of licences will be housed in a corporate government department, the Executive Council Office, to ensure independence and neutrality, to ensure objectivity and to ensure that the process is fair and equitable across the spectrum.
Of course natural justice applies, and of course the opinion will be unbiased. Itís based on recommendation from the appropriate authorities and agencies, including the Department of Environment and the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources. There is no duplication here at all. We have removed duplication, in that the Department of Environment, which is responsible for enforcement, should not have the duplication of also approving and signing off on licences. I think thatís important.
The member of the official opposition stated that their preferred position was the Department of Justice. In that regard, the potential for conflict is there. For example, the Department of Justice will have a major project in the future in building a new correctional facility. In all likelihood, the requirement for a water licence will be there. How can we have the Department of Justice signing off on its own water licence?
The whole purpose of this is to ensure that the regulatory bodies apply the appropriate attention to the legislation and that the Executive Council Office, which is a neutral government department, will be responsible for signing off the water licences, both A and B, but based on the recommendations from the appropriate agencies and departments.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Electrical rates, Rider J
Mr. McRobb:Already this government has built a notorious legacy in terms of helping energy consumers in our territory. Let me recount the steps.
First it refused to increase the pioneer utility grant to help seniors with high fuel costs this past winter. Then it refused to cut the fuel oil taxes they promoted prior to the last election. Then this government refused to join the national call for the creation of a national energy price commission to regulate wholesale fuel prices. Then this government refused to extend coverage for the rate stabilization fund in time for the six months from April to September. Then it refused to eliminate the clawback on the rate stabilization fund, which would have put up to $40 in the pockets of Yukoners each month.
Then we learned last Thursday how this government supported price gouging through the inappropriate use of Rider F. As if that wasnít enough, we learned on Friday that Rider J has gouged Yukoners again. Can the minister responsible for the Yukon Energy Corporation confirm that it has over charged electrical consumers by some $14 million from Rider J?
Hon. Mr. Lang: Mr. Speaker, can I confirm that we charged $14 million more than we were supposed to charge? No, I canít. We work with Yukon Development and Yukon Energy at armís length. They have the Yukon Utilities Board between us and them. They negotiate the rates. As far as running it, I do not run it on a daily basis. We oversee it as a government, with Yukon Development and Yukon Energy as independent entities, and the Yukon Utilities Board in-between the consumer and the power company. So thatís all I can tell the member across the way.
Mr. McRobb: Well, Iím sorry, Mr. Speaker, but that answer is inadequate. No matter how you slice and dice it, this minister is the one person within the entire Yukon government who should be held accountable for this Crown corporation. His name implies it. He is the minister responsible for the Yukon Energy Corporation. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, thatís how you introduced him in todayís question.
The minister shouldnít try to hide behind a board. I can recall how the Member for Klondike used to accuse the previous government of members hiding behind boards, Mr. Speaker.
So I would like to ask the minister if he can explain to this House why he has done nothing to stop this outrageous price gouging.
Hon. Mr. Lang: He got me on one of my weaker days. Mr. Speaker, we inherited some problems in Yukon Energy/Yukon Development. Weíre here to fix them. Thatís why the people of the Yukon elected us. Yes, I am the minister responsible for Yukon Energy. We set up the Yukon Utilities Board so we couldnít run it from my office. It is not run from my office; it is run from Yukon Energyís office, and they answer to me on a political level but, as far as a day-to-day operation, we do not run it out of my office.
The member opposite knows that, because thatís why they set it up like that, so it couldnít be run out of the Minister of Energyís office.
So, Mr. Speaker, we will work hard to adjust some of the problems weíre having at Yukon Energy. We are committed to looking at the clawback. We are going to look at the clawback. We canít do everything in four or five months but, this time next year, hopefully everything will be running like a Swiss watch.
Mr. McRobb: Maybe a rusty Swiss watch, Mr. Speaker.
This minister is abrogating his responsibilities. He is claiming independence of the board, yet he has the authority to direct the Energy Corporation, and this Cabinet has the authority to call a hearing by this board and investigate matters.
Now, the amount of overcharging is increasing by the day. More than a million dollars more has already been charged to Yukoners so far this year alone. That pushes the total amount to over $15 million of overcollection.
Mr. Speaker, I want to know from the minister: what will he do to rectify this situation?
Hon. Mr. Lang: Mr. Speaker, again, I tell you itís an armís-length corporation, and this idea of running around, telling the world that we overcharged by a million dollars or $10 million or $14 million is just that ó itís conversation.
We have the Yukon Utilities Board ó Iíll remind the member again ó set up to work with the rates for the consumers. We understand we have some problems and the Utilities Board is going to answer those questions for him.
But I say to the member again: armís length means armís length. I do not run the Yukon Energy Corporation from my office upstairs.
Question re: Electrical rates, Rider J
Mr. McRobb:Oh boy, Mr. Speaker, what a difference an election makes. This minister is clearly abrogating his responsibility.
Yukoners canít afford all this price gouging. I want to emphasize that to this minister. Itís no wonder theyíre leaving by the droves. Thereís nothing for them to look forward to because of this governmentís slash and burn budget. Mr. Speaker, thereís nothing optimistic on the horizon. All we get is bad news and price gouging. People are being gouged at the pump; theyíre being gouged at the home fuel tank; now theyíre being gouged on their power bills.
I would like to ask the minister ó the minister responsible for the Yukon Energy Corporation ó another question: will he refund Yukoners the $15 million overcollected from Rider J?
Hon. Mr. Lang: Again we are looking at an armís-length corporation, and I am the minister overseeing the armís-length corporation. But what I do say to you again is that we do not run it from my office. We have a Utilities Board. We have a board of directors at Yukon Energy, and the reason we set that up 20 years ago was for exactly what that member wants me to do: to fool around with the electrical bills. I donít do that. My job is to oversee the political arm and represent Yukon Energy in this House, but it certainly isnít to give back money, take money or otherwise ó that is left up to Yukon Energy.
Mr. McRobb: That reminds me of something my pappy used to say: "There is a short circle in the magnetti." This minister is once again abrogating his responsibility. This minister has the authority to rectify this situation. He can order the refund with a simple stroke of his pen. He is the minister responsible for the Yukon Energy Corporation. He can direct this corporation to refund this $15 million to Yukoners. He can no longer hide behind a board. As a matter of fact, this minister sat on that very board for years. I even think this minister sat on that board while Rider J was being created. He should know all about it. He should be well conversed with his responsibilities and know what he can do to rectify this situation.
And so again I ask him: will he order the power company to refund that $15 million that was overcollected from Yukoners?
Hon. Mr. Lang: Again, I tell the member that, yes, I did sit on that board, so I understand how the board works. And I cannot, with the stroke of a pen, decide to give money back ó or any other day-to-day workings of Yukon Energy Corporation.
My job is to oversee an armís-length corporation owned by the taxpayers of the Yukon and do it in a responsible fashion so that we end up with a Yukon Energy Corporation that will benefit all Yukoners.
Mr. McRobb: Well, the minister does not know his job. He is unaware of what tools are at his disposal to protect the interests of Yukoners. That is very clear from his answers today. Iím ashamed.
This government is certainly not what you would call a consumer-friendly government. As a matter of fact, on that last answer, I would say itís a corporate-friendly government. It doesnít care about ordinary Yukoners and how much they pay on their power bills.
The minister has continued to hide, saying he doesnít have the responsibility. So let me narrow it down to one simple question. Maybe we can get a clear, simple answer.
Does the minister have the authority to order the corporation to repay that money?
Hon. Mr. Lang: We go around and around and around. This is an armís-length corporation and the member opposite understands the workings of Yukon Energy Corporation. If anybody in this House understands it, itís him, and I say to you that Iím not about to sign off anything with the Yukon Energy Corporation without the participation of the directors of that corporation and the executives of that corporation. So, I guess I have to say no to his question.
Question re: Health care funding cuts
Ms. Duncan:Mr. Speaker, I have some questions today for the Minister of Health and Social Services. In only four months on the job, this minister has led quite a new tack on Health and Social Services groups. He has cut funding to the womenís shelter in Dawson City. He has clearly signalled by this action to all non-governmental organizations that their funding agreements with the government are not safe. Family and childrenís services branch has been cut by 11 percent. Youth services have been cut by five percent. The budget slashes the health investment fund by 50 percent. This money funds projects related to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, youth, people battling alcohol and drug addictions, support for new mothers and support services for people who have been diagnosed with cancer.
Mr. Speaker, I donít know that you could find more vulnerable groups in our society than those I have just listed, and thatís where the minister chose to cut the funding. Why has the minister cut the funding for the health investment fund in half?
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Speaker, our government is proud of its track record as to where it should put the money for health care and health care uses. In the past there has been an up and down wave as to funding of organizations. We have been consistent in the flow of funds, and a lot of these non-governmental organizations that the member opposite mentioned are funded this year to the same level as last year. In addition to that, we have agreed to provide additional funding in very critical and important areas, and that is being done under this Yukon Party government.
Ms. Duncan: The consistency in the flow of funds has been a consistency of cuts across the board. This government is getting $20 million in new funding for health care, and it has chosen to cut funding from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, youth, people battling alcohol and drug addictions, new mothers and support services for people who have been diagnosed with cancer. This is the same government that had enough money to provide huge salary increases to the Premierís top political staff. Those are the priorities of the members opposite. The Health minister didnít stop there with his cuts. He also cut funding to Whitehorse General Hospital. The capital contribution to the hospital has been cut by 25 percent by this minister. The Yukon Party promised in its election platform Yukoners will receive the best possible hospital care. How does cutting the hospitalís capital budget equal the best possible health care?
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: Itís interesting to see the member of the third party portraying a story, of which she only knows half. Thatís the problem.
If it werenít for the fact that the Premier of the Yukon got together with his colleagues, the Premier of the Northwest Territories and the Premier of Nunavut, and hammered out a deal with the Prime Minister of Canada on health care funding, we would have been on a per capita basis. A per capita basis wouldnít have even provided the funding necessary to keep pace with the spending trajectory of health care that Yukon was on. Itís increasing at $7 million to $10 million a year.
Now we have an agreement with Canada, and $20 million is going to flow to the Yukon. Over what period of time has only recently been determined. Weíre awaiting an announcement from the Prime Ministerís office on that. But before we get that money spent, letís identify the areas where itís going to be needed.
With respect to the Hospital Corporation, its budget will be fully funded after this money is received from Canada.
Ms. Duncan: Well, half the story from this minister is half the funding, if you happen to partake of the health investment fund. The fact is that the budget tabled by the members opposite cuts the hospitalís capital budget by 25 percent.
Mr. Speaker, the broken promises continue to pile up, and the trust level from Yukoners goes down and down and down, just like this government. Commitments made just a few short months ago on the campaign trail have been tossed out the window.
The minister has talked about the $20 million in new money and has said that the hospitalís capital budget will be fully funded, as well as the hospital.
Now, my question for the minister ó and itís a simple question and itís a yes-or-no question because I know theyíre a favourite of the members opposite ó is: will the cuts in health care that weíve seen in the budget come to an end ó these heartless cuts ó and will every dime of that new money be spent on health care?
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: We donít have any choice. Our agreement Canada earmarks all that money for health care. That is the agreement with Canada and I donít know where the leader of the third party is coming from by suggesting we are going to be spending it on other initiatives. What we currently have before this House is the third largest budget ever in the history of the Yukon ó and with a declining population. Now we have to turn the economy around. We have to restore investor confidence. We have to get the engine of the economy going again so that we can fund all the social programs that Canadians and Yukoners have come to expect and rely on, and we will be doing that.
Question re: General rate application
Mr. McRobb:I wish to follow up with the minister responsible for Yukon Energy Corporation ó although there is some reason to doubt that particular word ó on a matter about calling for a general rate application.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Speaker: Point of order.
Speaker:There is a point of order. You are imputing motives. Please do not do that.
Mr. McRobb: I apologize, Mr. Speaker. The minister is responsible for the Yukon Energy Corporation, and we on this side of the House and Yukoners would appreciate if he would live up to that responsibility and know his job.
I would like to ask him if he is prepared to call for a general rate application. The last time one was done was seven long years ago. As a matter of fact, if I think back, I happened to be an intervenor in that hearing at that time, before becoming first elected.
Speaker: Will the member ask his question.
Mr. McRobb: Will the minister call for a GRA?
Hon. Mr. Lang: We are certainly looking at everything we can do to make the energy bills in the Yukon as realistic as we possibly can and keep the corporation as strong as it can be.
So, Mr. Speaker, we will be looking at every angle to strengthen the corporation and, in turn, make it easier for everybody in the Yukon to pay their light bills.
Mr. McRobb: Obviously, Mr. Speaker, the minister is having some difficulty answering yes or no to a very simple question.
Yukoners already have no trust in this governmentís ability to protect the consumer. I just ask you to refer back to my very first question today, Mr. Speaker, with the notorious legacy already developed by this Yukon Party government.
Now, this government has the power to call for a hearing. According to this December 30, 2002 letter to the Yukon Utilities Board from Yukon Electrical Company Limited, there are several issues that need to be straightened out. We need the independent board to look into this mess and straighten out these power rates. Will this minister ask his Cabinet, this government, to call for a hearing immediately?
Hon. Mr. Lang: Again, I have to remind the member across the way that in November a new government was elected ó 12 members, the Yukon Party. We were elected to do a lot of things. One of the questions was about our energy. We are going to answer those questions that the member has, but we certainly arenít going to answer them two weeks into a mandate. We are looking at every possible angle so that we can work to make it more economically feasible for people to live in the Yukon. We have responsibility to the taxpayers and we have responsibility to the corporation. So, with the board or directors that are in place today with Yukon Energy Corporation/Yukon Development Corporation, we will hopefully be answering some of his questions in the near future.
Mr. McRobb: Mr. Speaker, itís absolutely ridiculous to consider this government has been in power for two weeks. As a matter of fact, this government was afforded a luxury provided to no previous Yukon government. It was afforded 115 days to get its house in order before coming into this Legislature. I remember the Piers McDonald government had less than 60 days. The Pat Duncan government had the same. Mr. Speaker, this government ó
Speaker:Would the member please not mention the leader of the third party by name.
Mr. McRobb: Mr. Speaker, this government has had ample time to examine these issues. This is the minister responsible. I want to ask the minister responsible if he can confirm that the utilities analyst position in his department is still vacant. The relevance, Mr. Speaker, is that it is that person who advises the government on matters such as these, and itís possibly quite linked to the reason weíre in such a mess now ó that important person has been missing.
Hon. Mr. Lang: Mr. Speaker, we have a few vacancies in our department. Weíre trying to hire people for different positions as we speak. Yukon Energy is a very important part of the Yukon. Energy is a very highly questioned thing in the Yukon. I understand the member across is worried about energy, and we on this side are definitely worried about our light bills and Yukonersí light bills. So we will proceed in a businesslike fashion, and we will try to fix as many of the problems as humanly possible in as short a period of time as we can. But, as he said, we had the longest honeymoon in the world. These arenít honeymoons. We have to go to work, and we have to work for the benefit of all Yukoners. So when he says that you can cure all the problems in the Yukon in 120 days, well, obviously the people of the Yukon elected 12 of us for a four-year period to do just that.
Question re: Mineral claim assessment fees, waiving of
Mr. Hardy:It was just a few weeks ago that this government, the Yukon Party government on the other side, painted a picture of doom and gloom and that if the spending trajectory wasnít handled the way they can handle it, the territory faces a disaster. About an hour ago the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources announced that he is giving miners a break under the Quartz Mining Act on all mineral claims that are in good standing as of midnight tonight. I imagine the mining recorderís office is very busy right now.
Can the minister tell us how many claims will be affected and whether the decision to grant this relief was made before or after the budget was tabled on March 6 ó the doom-and-gloom budget?
Hon. Mr. Lang: This is the third largest budget ever tabled in the history of the Yukon government, so as far as doom and gloom, itís a managed budget. As far as the Quartz Mining Act was concerned, it was part of our campaign that we would give relief for that 12-month period after devolution. So, that, again, is an election promise.
Mr. Hardy: Need I remind the members opposite that it was the Yukon Party government that painted the picture of a spending crisis in the territory. No one else did it; it was the Yukon Party government that created this atmosphere within the territory of doom and gloom.
Out of the blue we see a secret tax cut that could cost Yukon taxpayers half a million dollars ó who knows? ó while all sorts of other programs are being cut. The member for the third party just listed a whole pile of them ó and the Yukon Party is shrinking the size of government. All of a sudden we see the minister riding to the rescue of the miners.
Is the Finance minister not concerned that his spontaneous bit of generosity could make him run afoul of the Taxpayer Protection Act?
Hon. Mr. Lang: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker; I thought he asked the Minister of Finance the question and I am not the Minister of Finance. As to whether it is going to go against the financial thing we have with Ottawa, I donít think it is. I am not the Minister of Finance; you should ask that of the Minister of Finance.
Mr. Hardy: It makes us, on this side of the House, wonder who else is or isnít in line for tax cuts or boosts from this government.
I would like to remind the member opposite who just spoke that it was only a few minutes ago that he said that he could not, with a stroke of a pen, give money back. And yet in this case, with the stroke of a pen, he has given money back.
Can other Yukon businesses that are struggling to make ends meet in this flatlined economy have the assurance that they wonít be turned away when they come knocking at the door of the Finance minister?
Hon. Mr. Fentie: We have heard a litany of issues brought forward by the members in the opposition today ó 100 percent of them are unfounded.
Some Hon. Member: Point of order.
Point of order
Speaker:Official opposition House leader, on a point of order.
Mr. McRobb: On the point of order, I believe the preamble or bootleg we just heard contravenes your previous ruling from a couple of weeks ago.
Speaker: Government House leader, on the point of order.
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: There is no point of order here. It is just an interpretation made by the official opposition that is incorrect, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: Leader of the third party, on the point of order.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, on the point of order, you ruled earlier in the House today with respect to motives, and to suggest that something is unfounded would be to suggest that it has no basis in fact, which I would say would be casting aspersions and questioning the motives of the member opposite, which you have previously ruled, Mr. Speaker, as out of order.
Speaker:On the point of order, there is a point of order, in terms of the member of the third partyís point of view. I would ask the Premier not to cast aspersions.
There is no point of order, in terms of the official opposition House leaderís point of order.
Please carry on.
Hon. Mr. Fentie: I know that this is a sensitive issue, so Iíll rephrase it. Itís incorrect, and the members of the opposition are continually bringing incorrect information. I would urge them to do a little more detailed research.
We have not tabled a doom-and-gloom budget. We have tabled a budget that is all about fiscal management. The members well know that the fiscal situation the Yukon finds itself in is from the mismanagement of previous governments by spending that simply could not be sustained given the revenues that the Yukon government was actually receiving. All spending was, in fact, increased over the revenues received, and anybody knows that thatís not sustainable.
As far as the placer and quartz mining issues, we made a commitment to extend beyond devolution ó
Speaker: Would the member conclude, please.
Hon. Mr. Fentie: We made that commitment, and we followed through with that commitment. And beyond that, we will continue to follow through with our commitments to Yukoners, in contradiction to what the opposition is actually saying.
Question re: Advanced education cuts
Mr. Cardiff:My question is for the Acting Minister of Education. On page 7-14 of the O&M budget, the program objectives for advanced education include promoting apprenticeships, skill training and interprovincial trade standards. This is consistent with the Yukon Party platform promise: "giving priority to the expansion of apprenticeship training programs to assist Yukoners in acquiring new skills and improve employment opportunities."
Will the Acting Minister of Education explain how a 16-percent cut in funds for training programs will fulfill their commitment and help achieve the program objectives?
Hon. Mr. Kenyon: I would like to remind the member opposite that one of the methods of good budgetary management and good budgetary control, good financial control, is to allow groups, independent bodies, within the government to make their own decisions. Mr. Speaker, it has been previously announced that we increased the budget to the Yukon College by $1 million. The ability of the College to lever additional funds brings that closer to $4 million. This leaves the decisions as to how the Yukon College utilizes the funds in the appropriate place, Mr. Speaker, within the Yukon College.
Mr. Cardiff: Well, Mr. Speaker, we didnít get an answer to that question, and the reality is that there was an increase in training trust funds but there was no increase to the College. There is a problem there.
Over the past few years, skilled trades people have been leaving the territory in droves. There is a shortage of skilled trades people here locally and nationally. The Minister of Health and Social Services just talked about the engine of the economy. It is trades people who are going to drive the engine of the economy. Theyíre the ones who are going to do something in the economy. On page 7-17 of the budget, it shows that the government is reducing the number of apprentices that it supports from 11 in 2001-02 down to only two in the current fiscal year, and that starts tomorrow. This reduction of 25 percent ó
Speaker: Order please. Would the member ask the question, please.
Mr. Cardiff: Is this reduction due to the 25-percent cut in capital spending, or is it part of the long-term Yukon Party strategy to reduce the size of government by not filling vacancies as they arise?
Hon. Mr. Kenyon: There are elements ó the occasional element or point ó in that argument. One of the things that I would remind the members opposite, which has certainly been reminded to most Yukoners who think about it, is the fact that the population is down. The number of students is down. The funding to the College is actually up, as the member opposite actually admits. How that is utilized by the College is a College decision.
And we certainly look forward to the line-by-line debate on the main budget if in fact we ever get there.
Mr. Cardiff: The reality is that the $1.5 million in training trust funds is not the Collegeís money.
If this government is serious about getting the Yukon economy going again, it is taking a very short-sighted approach to this issue. We know that there will be very little government-sponsored capital activity this season and there are a few private sector projects that may be on the horizon. But if the government finally gets around to replacing the Correctional Centre and building some badly needed new schools, we are going to need those skilled trades people. And they are reducing the number of trades people they support. If you throw in a multiplex, a downtown hotel and the Canada Winter Games projects, our trained labour force is going to be stretched. We arenít going to have the trades people.
What plans does this government have to fast-track apprenticeship programs so that the territory doesnít finding itself importing skilled workers while fully able Yukon men and women canít get work because you are focused on belt tightening?
Hon. Mr. Kenyon: Again, one of the problems that we have is a shortage of skilled trades people. Theyíve moved, Mr. Speaker. Given the budgetary problems, given the fact that the population has dwindled, given the fact that the government previous to ours ó and several of them ó have pretty well dropped our economy down the kitchen sink, itís no wonder theyíve moved. One of our strategies is to get them to move back.
In terms of the funding to the College, the member opposite says that itís not the Collegeís money. To a degree, heís right. Itís the taxpayersí money, and itís given to the College to administer in the way that they see fit.
Mr. Speaker, itís an increase. It allows them to lever more money, and while I very much appreciate the member oppositeís passion and fire, I just donít see the flame.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed, and weíll now proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Jenkins:Mr. Speaker, I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the government House leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair:Order please. Committee of the Whole will now come to order. The business at hand is Bill No. 32, the First Nation Indemnification (Fire Management) Act followed by Bill No. 33, Act to Amend the Forest Protection Act.
Do members wish a 15-minute recess?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will now recess for 15 minutes.
Chair: Order please. The Committee of the Whole will now come to order.
Bill No. 32 ó First Nation Indemnification (Fire Management) Act ó continued
Chair:We will continue on with Bill No. 32, First Nation Indemnification (Fire Management) Act, in general debate.
Hon. Mr. Fentie: This particular piece of legislation is in conjunction with the devolution transfer agreement. The Yukon government is required to assume the contracts that the federal government has in place with First Nations when it comes to fire suppression. There are eight of these fire management contracts. This bill allows us to proceed in the same way that the federal government was dealing with the First Nations in this particular area. It is a very simple piece of legislation that ensures that we can further smooth transition starting tomorrow, April 1.
With that, Iíll take any questions.
Ms. Duncan: In general debate, I expressed my support for this legislation. Itís a routine housekeeping part of the devolution transfer agreement. Iím pleased to rise in support of it.
I would again like to take the opportunity to commend those who have worked on the devolution transfer agreement and, in particular, all the legislation that has come before the House. It has been diligent work indeed, and I thank them for it. I have no questions for the minister on this bill.
Chair: Is there any further general debate?
Weíll then continue on, clause by clause.
On Clause 1
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
On Clause 3
Clause 3 agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. Fentie: I move that Bill No. 32, entitled First Nation Indemnification (Fire Management) Act be reported out of Committee without amendment.
Chair: It has been moved by Mr. Fentie that Bill No. 32, First Nation Indemnification (Fire Management) Act, be reported out of Committee without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 33 ó Act to Amend the Forest Protection Act
Chair:We will now continue with Bill No. 33, Act to Amend the Forest Protection Act. Is there any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Lang: The forestry protection regulations, Territorial Lands (Yukon) Act, trumps today the Forest Protection Act. Tomorrow the Forest Protection Act will trump the mirror forest protection regulations. To maintain the status of today tomorrow, we need to amend so that the mirror forest protection regulations can apply across the Yukon. In other words, the Yukon territorial government has regulations, the federal government has regulations, and what we have to do is mirror them over, so we are going to have a bit of duplication in policy, more than anything else, and so that is what we are doing today.
Ms. Duncan: This legislation is housekeeping. Iím proud to have been part of the government that concluded the devolution transfer agreement. I appreciate that this is housekeeping legislation, and the more we work with the legislation the more weíre going to see some amendments come forward.
I would just like the minister to indicate the process outlined for changing these regulations in the future. I appreciate that weíre mirroring them now. When does the minister anticipate dealing with initiating a consultation process to deal with any changes?
Hon. Mr. Lang: I appreciate that from the member opposite. There is nothing on the table right now to do that, but it is the kind of mirror legislation where it has to be sooner than later. So I will say to the member that weíre going to work at it as soon as humanly possible after devolution.
Ms. Duncan: Okay, Mr. Chair, I think we had better go back a bit.
My understanding is that weíre passing this mirror legislation. Itís mirror; itís exactly the same; and the same with the regulations: weíre passing them to provide certainty, so thereís no 10-minute gap when we might be without jurisdiction somewhere.
My question to the minister was if there is a process anticipated for change? What he just answered was, "As soon as possible." What I have understood from the Premier is that no, we were going to work with the legislation for a few years before we looked at changes.
Perhaps the minister may want to give that a little consideration and then re-answer the question. Is he really saying weíre going to start on the forest regulations April 2, or are we going to let them pass and be instituted for awhile ó say a year or two ó before we start changing them? Could the minister re-address that question, please?
Hon. Mr. Lang: There is going to be a two-year window here when weíre going to be working at it. Weíre committed to a two-year window, and Iím sorry I misled you in my answer.
Ms. Duncan: I appreciate that that was an unintentional error on the part of the minister. Iím interested in the two-year window though. For example, in some other initiatives under devolution, there are 10-year windows and there are five-year windows. Would the minister just reconfirm that weíre going to allow these regulations to be in place for two years and then begin a consultation process? Is that what the ministerís saying? Could he clarify for me, please?
Hon. Mr. Lang: Itís an ongoing thing, and weíve already started. We hope to have the whole thing done in two years, not starting in two years. So weíve already talked to industry; weíve talked to First Nations. Weíre in the process of doing it at the moment, and hopefully it will be wrapped up in 24 months.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, Iíll do some further work on this and come back to the minister with questions. So what weíre doing is dealing with such issues as the Tough report and some of the other initiatives, a memorandum that was signed last summer, that kind of initiative where weíre continuing on and getting into regulations as soon as possible and we hope to have all that work completed in two years. Thatís what the ministerís saying? I see the minister nodding.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Hardy: As well, the NDP recognizes this as mirror legislation and how itís being brought over and supports the actions at this present time.
In regard to the two-year window, the minister opposite has indicated that discussions have already begun on the changes to the regulation or changes that may be made. Could the minister inform me who they have been discussing it with and when the discussions actually started? Did they start just with the Yukon Partyís election, or were these discussions that had started previously with the Liberal regime and have flowed into the Yukon Partyís time?
Hon. Mr. Lang: Again, this is an ongoing process. It wasnít just started with the Yukon Party. This was something the Liberal Party was working on, so weíre continuing that work to get this policy done within that 24-month window.
Mr. Hardy: Could the minister tell me: has this been Yukon-wide or has it been specific to certain areas such as the ones that are the strongest in the forestry industry?
Hon. Mr. Lang: Both of the things ó weíve been working with the industry, which is Yukon-wide, and weíve been working with the First Nations Yukon-wide. So itís a Yukon-wide consultation process.
Mr. Hardy: Could the minister tell me who has been consulted to date?
Hon. Mr. Lang: We worked with industry and we had workshops with First Nations here in Whitehorse, which catered to the Yukon-wide First Nations. Then we had another industry-based one. So weíve actually had two workshops: one industry and one First Nations.
Mr. Hardy: Is the minister planning to expand the consultation?
Hon. Mr. Lang: The next thing is going public. We are working with industry, First Nations and hopefully this summer we will be going into the public consultation. So, yes, we are going to be working with the public.
Mr. Hardy: Could the minister inform me whether the subsistence people ó the ones who rely on sustainable forest practices ó have been in on these discussions, since that is part of their livelihood as well, not just the public generally? The ecotourism industry also relies on pristine wilderness. And, as I said, the subsistence people and also the outfitters, trappers and hunters.
Hon. Mr. Lang: Yes, the stakeholders will be part of this decision making. There will be First Nations, industry, the public and stakeholders too. They will all be involved in the decision making in the next 24 months.
Mr. Hardy: For the member opposite ó Iíve watched him, and Iíve noticed there is a slight confusion. I wouldnít say heís confused, but there seems to be a slight confusion, and it hasnít been pointed out to him yet and that is that you donít get identified until you stand up. Unless he stands up, Mr. Chair, you canít identify him, and heís waiting for you to identify him before he stands up ó just as a point for the member opposite. It will make it a lot easier and less confusing.
Has there been any decisions on some of the regulations ó the direction this government may be wanting to go in with the new act that is being transferred over? And following up on that question ó Iíll ask them both ó when you go to the public and expand your consultations, will you be bringing forward an option paper, some ideas that have already been developed that the public can discuss, or is it just going to be a wide open, no-vision type of discussion?
Hon. Mr. Lang: Yes, we will have option papers out there so we are not opening; we are going to have an option paper when we go to the public.
Mr. Hardy: The option papers are being developed right now, or they have been developed with the two stakeholders, as youíve mentioned? Is that what I am to understand?
Hon. Mr. Lang: We havenít started them yet. We are working with the two stakeholders that we were talking about, and the option papers will come along as we progress to the public meetings.
Ms. Duncan: I am given to understand that it will be option papers that will go out to public consultation and not draft regulations that the public is asked to consult on. The reason I am asking is because, under the Environment Act ó for example, the litter regulations and the beverage container regulations ó it is my understanding those regulations go out as a draft and then there is a 60-day consultation window ó I think it is 60 days, I am not sure of the time frame ó and what I understood from the minister is there should also be a public process around these draft regulations. Could he outline the option paper versus draft regulations in that process for me?
Hon. Mr. Lang: Yes, and that would be the last process we would go through, and it would probably be the last six months of the 24-month window that we would be working with the actual draft, going out to the public, fine tuning them and getting it down to the regulations.
Ms. Duncan: What I understood then, just to recap, is that with this legislation we will have authority to do our own forest regulations. We are working in-house, as we have been for some time, on these regulations. We are working in-house, but also in consultation with the public. Within the next 24 months, we are going to look at option papers, and the leader of the official opposition has identified a number of key stakeholders over and above those mentioned by the minister. So they will get an option paper, and then weíll get some draft regulations. The draft regulations will then go out for their public consultation window and then, presumably, these "made in Yukon" regulations would be passed by Cabinet ó and we are looking at a 24-month window. That is just a summary of the discussions this afternoon.
Mr. Chair, I understand the minister is nodding that that is correct.
Mr. Hardy: As the minister knows, the Premier has an extensive working knowledge of the forest industry, first off as a person who worked in the forest industry but also as somebody who was hired as a commissioner under the previous NDP government. During that period there was a tremendous amount of work done by the Premier in this area, with quite an extensive consultative process. Are any of those recommendations part of where this government is going?
Hon. Mr. Lang: Yes. Weíre using it as a platform and weíre working with that. So one thing the Yukon has no shortage of is forestry policy studies, so we are going through them but that policy, for one, is definitely on our radar screen. Itís a platform. Weíre working with it, and in 24 months weíre going to come out with a Yukon-made regulation for the Forest Protection Act of the Yukon.
Mr. Hardy: Well, thanks a lot to the minister opposite. I know there was a tremendous amount of work done. There was a lot of good work, and there was a lot of input put in from all stakeholders, and I think thatís a good basis to work off of.
Could the minister opposite tell me what kind of cost this consultative process is going to take, considering that heís already using the studies, the work of the previous commissioner in this, and what kind of costs he expects to have going public and leading up to where we finally come forward in two years?
Hon. Mr. Lang: Weíre going to try to work within the policy framework that we have. Weíre certainly working with the background. Like you were saying, the Premier had done an extensive study for the previous NDP government, with which weíre working. Weíre trying to minimize our costs here. Weíre going to work with the public, First Nations, the industry and the stakeholders.
Can I give you a figure on what itís going to cost? No, but itís definitely going to cost us some money, but weíre going to try to minimize the cost to the taxpayers of the Yukon.
Mr. Hardy: Thatís quite a relief, noting the financial situation of the government across the way.
Can he give me assurances then that there wonít be these big consultant contracts going out to do work that has obviously already been done?
Hon. Mr. Lang: Thatís why we, as a government, are going to work with the stakeholders and the First Nations ó to get some of those questions answered ó as well as work with previous work that has been done in government and hopefully maximize the internal work we can do on these regulations.
I certainly canít guarantee that we wonít be hiring outside people, but weíre going to be very prudent and try to minimize that kind of cost.
Mr. Fairclough: Can the minister clarify a situation for us? Weíre under the impression that, through devolution, these policies would be adopted for a five-year period. How did that break down to a two-year period?
Hon. Mr. Lang: The five-year policy is just that, but we have flexibility in that five-year policy. There are some things that we wouldnít change for five years, but on something like this we have the flexibility of moving it ahead a bit, so itís not written in stone.
Mr. Fairclough: Does the minister feel that this aids the Premierís position that we will be addressing the forest industry immediately ó I would think it would be this summer and next spring with the present policies ó or would these changes to the policies and regulations be moving the industry quite a bit forward from where it is today?
Hon. Mr. Lang: We are going to work with industry, starting ó we have been working with industry up until now. We are going to try to get industry out and working, and getting people into the force and working sooner than later. The regulations we have in place now ó the mirror regulation with the federal government and the territorial government ó will cover some of the bases. So, the question was: can we go to work? Yes, we can go to work, and that wonít harm any of our implementation of a two-year program to get the thing on track. So I think yes, we can go to work.
Mr. Fairclough: I would think that we need some direction out of government fairly quickly to ensure this industry can get up and going ó timber harvest agreements and so on.
I would like to ask the minister if this government is looking at restructuring the department from what it is now.
Hon. Mr. Lang: No. No, we will be working with the department as it exists today. We will hopefully be fine tuning it a bit, but no big changes are on the horizon.
Mr. Fairclough: So, two years from now, we will have some new regulations and this minister does not see any changes to the structure of the department or a restructuring of forestry at all? No changes at all? Or is this part of the consultation to communities going to reflect some changes to restructuring?
Hon. Mr. Lang: We have nothing planned in that department. In other words, we are going to work with the department as it is today. Again, I say we are going to work it for the benefit of Yukoners, so I think that probably ó are there going to be changes in two years? No guarantees, there might, but itís not going to be a massive change. Itís going to be a forestry department run by Yukoners for the benefit of Yukoners.
Mr. Fairclough: Some communities in the Yukon have been asking for some changes in regard to the central fire suppression, for example and so on. They are asking for massive changes, to actually move it out of Whitehorse. Is that something the minister is interested in or looking at at this point?
Hon. Mr. Lang: The fire suppression department is going to be under Community Services. This is part of the problem with our mirror legislation and the policy. We had conflicting things going on, so to make it easier, we took the fire retardant thing and put it into Community Services and we, ourselves are taking over the other aspect of it. That answer would probably be directed to Community Services to see what they are going to do with that part of the department.
Mr. Fairclough: I would have thought that the ministers would be working together on this whole issue. This is an important issue because one of the things that Yukoners have talked about in regard to logging our forests is to be able to log the fire kills, and we have never been able to do that under the federal government. The talk is that even while a fire is burning, you should be able to log the timber that can be used ó not the big stuff but the merchantable timber. That is a change from how the federal government has done it in the past. So there is no structure to the change at all? We will look at two years or maybe five years down the road? I thought we were going to see some massive improvements in how we can make this industry work.
Hon. Mr. Lang: To answer the member opposite, there are not going to be any massive changes, but one thing good about devolution is that I will be working with the Minister of Community Services. We are going to be here and if things have to be changed we will make the changes that have to be, but remember that the government is not here to make massive changes. We are here to work with the government that we have in a positive fashion and make sure that people can work in the forest and make a living for Yukon taxpayers, whatever community they are in.
Mr. Fairclough: Obviously there have been problems in the past in getting the industry going, so we need to be able to make the changes. I thank the minister for going down that road and being able to do it.
I would like to ask the minister: once the devolution does happen and the department comes over, does he see any duplication of services that will be coming from the federal government over to his department? Is there any duplication of services, and what will happen with those people with duplicated services?
Hon. Mr. Lang: Not in forestry because weíve never had forestry before, so weíre just acquiring a department. So hopefully we donít have duplication in the department as it exists today because, in fact, itís a stand-alone department.
Mr. Fairclough: There are obviously departmental people who are constantly dealing with this whole issue. What happens with that? Is there going to be an integration or a change to their job description? I notice that in the past that there was a duplication in things like secretarial services and so on. So I would like to know how many of those services are duplicated and whatís going to happen with them?
Hon. Mr. Lang: In Energy, Mines and Resources, we have two jobs that were reclassified.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, just to follow up on the Member for Mayo-Tatchunís questions, what I understood the minister to say is that, once the forestry department has transferred over to Energy, Mines and Resources, there is no consideration at all being given to any decentralization in forestry by the current Government of the Yukon.
Hon. Mr. Lang: To the members opposite, itís a whole new day tomorrow. We donít want to commit ourselves to say no or yes to things. Weíre going to work positively for the forest industry for all of the Yukon. Obviously southeast Yukon is a big player in forestry. If we are going to have a forest industry, itís in that area that there is a huge resource.
Are we going to decentralize? Certainly weíre going to look at all avenues to streamline forestry in the Yukon, so we maximize our presence and the industry. So are we going to move people tomorrow? No. Are we going to be tied in five years from now? Will we have a different form of centralization? I canít say yes or no, but I would say that in five years our forest industry in the Yukon will probably look a lot different than it does today, and hopefully in a positive fashion.
Ms. Duncan: Thatís quite a revelation from the member opposite. Itís interesting that today we heard about the Yukon Party government adopting page 6 of the Liberal Party platform from the 2002 campaign, and the decentralization of forestry to Watson Lake is ó letís see ó the 1996 campaign. So itís interesting that the members opposite are following up on this.
What the member just said is that itís very possible that the government may consider decentralizing the forest industry to southeast Yukon.
Can the minister give a date for when we might see some timber harvest permits issued, given these regulations being passed through and so on? And when will people be going to work in the forest industry in the Yukon, given the Yukon governmentís new authority for forestry regulations?
Hon. Mr. Lang: The member opposite talks about the Yukon Party. Weíre not against good ideas, as long as they are positive things for Yukoners. So as far as stealing page 6 from some campaign thing in 1996, and if it was a good idea and we implement it, good ó thatís good as long as itís good for Yukoners.
Now, as to when are we going to get wood out; weíre going to get wood out as soon as we can. We are looking at the west of the Cassiar Mountains at the moment. We are hopefully going to have wood out sooner than later ó in other words, probably later this fall. We are working on it. Itís very important for our government to get the wood out, because itís a whole new department for us. Itís a big industry out there and we are looking at sooner rather than later to get wood out.
Ms. Duncan: So, Mr. Chair, just for the memberís benefit, page 6 was from the 2002 campaign ó that was the announcement. It was the Liberal good idea that theyíve taken up on. Iím glad to hear that. I appreciate that. I appreciate the recognition from whence it came.
What I just heard the minister say is that they are looking at having timber harvest permits issued west of the Cassiar Mountains by the fall. Thatís what I heard the minister opposite say. He said that itís very important that we get the wood out, and itís very important that we get a number of things out in order to encourage the private sector to work.
Does he anticipate timber harvest permits in just this area or elsewhere in the Yukon as well?
What about the beetle-killed wood in the Haines Junction area?
Hon. Mr. Lang: We will get the wood harvest permits out wherever we can, as soon as we can, but we will get wood out by this fall.
Mr. Fairclough: Are there any additional plans beyond what the federal government was doing in regard to doing a proper inventory across the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Lang: That is definitely a yes. We are going to expand on what is happening at the moment and make sure we have inventory ahead of us at all times for all the Yukon.
Mr. Fairclough: When is that to take place?
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Chair, to repeat the question: when is this to take place?
Hon. Mr. Lang: I am sorry. My hearing is affected by my cold.
It is a process that costs a lot of money. I canít say to you that it will happen tomorrow, but I will say to you that, as the industry grows and as we get timber out there, this will be done in a very scientific and effective way.
We are looking at that as being part of our forest management, and it is a very important part of our forest management but, as far as going out and doing a whole inventory of the whole Yukon, that is not feasible economically but, as our industry grows, it will certainly be part of the growth with us that this inventory will be taking, and it will be managed.
Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Chair, I donít expect the department to do an inventory of all of the Yukon that hasnít been done by the federal government at this point, but I would like to know when itís going to start. When is central Yukon going to have some attention paid to it by this government, to do inventory?
Hon. Mr. Lang: Certainly we have to let the dust settle on devolution. We have to get our policies together, and we have to get started on many fronts. Weíre working very actively to get our inventory, to get everything in place, and I can tell the member opposite that we will be working on inventory.
Mr. Fairclough: Well, I think I caught that one, Mr. Chair. But Iíd like to know when ó five years from now, four years from now, at the end of this governmentís term, or are we going to see some work done this summer in central Yukon? Letís take central Yukon for now, Mr. Chair. When is central Yukon going to have some work done on it? Iím not saying the whole inventory, but some work done on inventory. There is an industry there, too, not just southeast Yukon.
Hon. Mr. Lang: Weíre going to do what we can, but we have nothing on the front burner for inventory for this summer.
Mr. Fairclough: Well, Mr. Chair, maybe it would be in the best interests of the minister if he did look at this a little more carefully. After all, the minister did say, along with the Premier, that we need to get timber harvest agreements out there, get some of our timber logged and into the sawmills and so on. Before we do that, we need to know what we have for an inventory. There are small sawmills throughout the territory that would like to get into operation. It would be beneficial for communities to have these up and going, and so I would like to ask the minister again ó there must have been some plan. I know the federal government didnít do a proper inventory, even in the southeast part of the territory. When are we going to see some inventory in the rest of the Yukon seriously taking place?
Hon. Mr. Lang: We have forestry planning going on in two or three areas of the Yukon ó southeast Yukon, Haines Junction ó so we are working on those issues now. As soon as we can get the wherewithal to do this inventory, we certainly will, understanding that this has been going on for 30-some years with the federal government. The federal government has spent a massive pile of money doing inventories that, today, was really a wasted investment. We have to spend our money wisely. Our forest planning groups are locally based. We have First Nations; we have industry; we have the territorial government and we have stakeholders involved. Weíre looking at every avenue.
As far as an inventory, we will do what we can to get it out there, but weíre not prioritizing that at the moment. It is on our radar screen, but itís not a priority for us at the moment.
Mr. Fairclough: Iím really surprised at that, Mr. Chair, because the way we get timber harvest agreements out is knowing what we have for timber. Iím very surprised the minister would answer that question in that manner.
Is this inventory taking place under field management?
Hon. Mr. Lang: With the forest planning, it is a form of inventory. I mean, itís a form of taking inventory of the forest from a land point of view, so we are doing it. Weíre doing it in a small way. We donít have the resources of British Columbia or the expertise. We are going to work at this thing one day at a time and hopefully get some sawmills up and running. Itís not like there are a lot of sawmills out there in the Yukon at the moment, so we are working at the forest planning level. In turn, weíll get some timber out there as soon as we possibly can.
Mr. Fairclough: The minister said that the department, or the government, is doing it. People would like to know. They would like to go into the logging and sawmill businesses. I would like to ask the minister then: what inventory is available to the general public, say, in the Big Salmon area?
Hon. Mr. Lang: You understand that we donít take over until tomorrow, so that is a question the member can ask me tomorrow.
Mr. Fairclough: Well, I doubt if the minister will be prepared to answer that question tomorrow, just looking at todayís Question Period. A couple of questions ago, I asked the minister if this is all under field management ó is it or is it not?
Hon. Mr. Lang: Yes, it is under field management. The forest planning unit ó the whole thing is field management. Itís on the ground that we manage the forest.
Mr. Fairclough: Does the minister see a problem with this in his department, where heís responsible for field management, yet another department is responsible for fire suppression, and the two should be working hand-in-hand? Are we going to see an improvement in that, where we see both in one department?
Hon. Mr. Lang: No, I donít think thereís going to be a problem. You know, one good thing about devolution is that weíre going to be involved in it on the ground, and weíre going to be involved in the Yukon. Those decisions are going to be made. So, certainly, itís going to be a growing experience. I canít predict the problems, but weíll be able to manage the problems as they arise and try to minimize them.
Mr. Fairclough: I am once again very surprised at the ministerís answer that he doesnít see it as a problem. If the minister did some interviews with the different fire departments around the territory, they would flag that as a number one problem. Who calls the shots when it comes to fire suppression? Is it one department, or is it in fact fuel management, which has all the information and resources? Maybe the minister has time to reflect on his previous answer and can expand more on that.
Hon. Mr. Lang: The fire regulations ó theyíll call the shots on this thing.
I think what we are doing is overreacting. I think we are doing the best we can with what we have, understanding that we have taken over a federal agency and turned it into a territorial agency. Community Affairs is going to be handling part of that. I understand the thought that it might be chaotic, but I donít think it is. We are just a small organization. This government is not a big organization, and I think we can manage this thing in a positive fashion. And also, if it doesnít work, we can make some changes and we are open to change.
Mr. Fairclough: Part of the problem is that, yes, we are devolving it from the federal government but when it comes to the Yukon, it is split into two departments. How is that communication going to take place unless there is one unit? Part of the problem with every one of the RMOs when this came down ó they flagged it immediately ó was the split in their department ó who calls the shots and who is going to be in charge of fire suppression. Fuel management has all the information. Sure they could send it over, but they are still in charge of their sector. So I ask the minister again if he would look at this seriously and come back to us about whether or not there will be a change and how we can make that improvement in the future.
Hon. Mr. Lang: I appreciate the member oppositeís concern about this. We are going to proceed the way that it has been set out through devolution. We are going to work with it. Certainly, as the member asks, are we willing to make changes if things donít work? We certainly are, and we are certainly going to red flag this thing and keep an eye on it. So between me and the other ministers, we are going to be watching this.
I appreciate his concern.
Ms. Duncan: I just want to follow up on a couple of points. The current Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has some expertise in the forestry industry. In one of our discussions with respect to the forest industry in the Yukon, he had indicated that he recognized that along with forestry, as it was being transferred to us, we were getting some problems, basically, and some things that had not necessarily gone well ó inventory being one of them. He also committed publicly that, "No, weíre not going to pass off problems; we are going to do our work first." He pledged additional resources ó I think in excess of $1 million ó prior to us getting the forestry.
I just want to confirm with the minister that that has been done. Weíve heard from other ministers about the big, bad, terrible government that doesnít pay their bills. In this case, Iím quite confident that there has at least been a portion of that work done. I just want confirmation from the minister that all the public commitments by the Minister of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development with respect to forestry coming over to the Yukon were met or that they are intended to be met.
Hon. Mr. Lang: Yes, I agree with the member opposite that they have committed resources. They havenít done the work, but the resources are coming over to us. Theyíve done probably three quarters of what they set out to do, so it has been positive.
Ms. Duncan: As I recall the figures ó and Iím just going by memory because I donít have any notes or anything in front of me on this ó it was more than a million dollars that was going to be spent on inventory alone. And this is money over and above the devolution money, over and above the $37 million that the government hasnít accounted for in this budget, and over and above the $10 million or $11 million that is still being discussed. How much is it, where is it, and when is it being accounted for?
Hon. Mr. Lang: Mr. Chair, yes, there is money. The money is $3 million over two years. Itís over and above the devolution money. The money comes in as we invoice, I think. Iíll have to get back to you on how the money flows to us.
Now, that money, I think, is highlighted as the Tough money, is it not? So itís labelled as the Tough money. As to how it comes in, I would have to get back to you on that, Mr. Chair.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, this is coming back to me now. It was a follow-up meeting, a meeting between governments. There were First Nation governments, the Yukon government and the Government of Canada there, and it was a follow-up on the Tough report, and the minister pledged this additional money.
So I donít believe itís a contribution agreement, or perhaps it is. If itís a contribution agreement, perhaps the minister could forward it to us.
When will the money show up then? It would show up as a recovery after weíve paid for the work in our financial books. So Iíll let the minister answer and then Iíll continue on with that question.
Hon. Mr. Lang: It is a contribution agreement, and the money flows from Ottawa to us. They have spent some resources in southeast Yukon, getting the Kaska organization going in the southeast Yukon. We will get you a copy of that contribution agreement. So there is more money flowing.
Ms. Duncan: Just so Iím clear ó I donít have the Blues in front of me ó is it a three-year agreement and $2 million, or is it a two-year agreement and $3 million? I didnít hear what he said.
Hon. Mr. Lang: Itís a two-year agreement, and itís $3 million.
Ms. Duncan: With these contribution agreements, what happens is that we do the work and then we get the money back. It shows up as a recovery. Realistically and logically then, as of April 1 of this year ó tomorrow ó weíll be doing some of this work and billing the Government of Canada. The recovery probably doesnít show in the budget, but I believe the work should. So, what work is planned for this year on that contribution agreement, and where is it in the budget?
Hon. Mr. Lang: The money flows through to us. They have already credited us with $1 million. They have flowed through $500,000. It flows through and thatís how it works through the Finance department.
Ms. Duncan: Whatís the work planned under the Tough contribution agreement? What work is planned for this summer?
Hon. Mr. Lang: There are 19 recommendations in the Tough report. Some of that money will be going to address them. There is some money going to FEBA ó working with that organization, so thatís where the money will flow this summer.
Ms. Duncan: One of the tough agreements in the Tough report was not funding, as I understood it. I donít have the Tough report in front of me ó one of the forestry organizations. I just heard the minister say the Yukon Party government has changed that recommendation from the Tough report. Can the minister just confirm that?
Hon. Mr. Lang: Iíll confirm that FEBA is the forest economical ó instead of a committee. I said it was a committee, and it isnít.
Ms. Duncan: Iíll review Hansard on that and ask the minister some follow-up questions on it. The minister started out saying that, of the 19 recommendations and of this money, it was to be work that was originally planned by the federal government prior to the transfer. It didnít get done, so the federal government entered into a contribution agreement with YTG to make sure this work got done, and the key of the work was inventory. Now the minister is saying weíre focusing on the entire 19 recommendations, so when and where is the inventory work being done, and whatís planned for this summer?
Hon. Mr. Lang: The Tough report had 19 points on it with FEBA being one of the big ones. The money that flowed ó and certainly the member is right, saying that, instead of doing the 19 points that they committed to, they flowed the money so we can do it. Inventory was certainly part of that. We obviously havenít done that, but weíre working as much as we can on those 19 points to cover our bases on that.
Ms. Duncan: Could I ask the minister ó so we donít spend forever in this particular debate ó to provide me with a legislative return with the dollar amounts and the work being undertaken on these 19 recommendations?
What I am looking for is a legislative return that says, recommendation 1, we are spending $500,000 this summer doing this part of it. If he could provide that in a legislative return ó perhaps prior to getting into general debate on his department ó it would perhaps expedite debate on this particular piece of legislation.
Hon. Mr. Lang: We certainly could do that for the third party.
Chair: Is there any further general debate? We will then proceed clause by clause.
On Clause 1
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. Lang: Mr. Chair, I move that Bill No. 33, Act to Amend the Forest Protection Act, be reported out of Committee without amendment.
Chair: It has been moved by the Mr. Lang that Bill No. 33, Act to Amend the Forest Protection Act, be reported out of Committee without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Chair: Do members wish to take a 15-minute recess?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: Committee will recess for 15 minutes.
Chair: Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will now move on to Bill No. 2, Third Appropriation Act, 2002-03.
Bill No. 2 ó Third Appropriation Act, 2002-03 ó continued
Department of Business, Tourism and Culture ó continued
Chair:We will continue with Third Appropriation Act, 2002-03, with Vote 54, Business, Tourism and Culture. We are in general debate.
Mr. McRobb: As we left off on Thursday, I posed a number of questions to the Tourism minister and Iíll give her an opportunity now to respond to those.
Hon. Ms. Taylor: I believe the member opposite had posed a question regarding the minutes of the Yukon Tourism Marketing Partnership . What we may do here is ó instead of providing all the minutes from past meetings, if itís all right for the member opposite ó have our department, as well as the Tourism Industry Association Yukon, provide a briefing to the member opposite as well as any other members opposite just to bring them up to speed on what activities, what initiatives they are focusing on. From here on out, weíll ensure that minutes are provided to all of us.
With respect to the comments on the special marketing agency, which I believe the member opposite was alluding to, again, no decisions have been made. Itís a commitment to look at alternate marketing models offered by other jurisdictions in Canada to work with industry. So thatís where weíre at.
Mr. McRobb: In regard to the special marketing agency, I did ask for some information regarding the terms of reference for the position held by the former Yukon Party Member for Riverdale North. I would like to receive those, along with a progress report on the activities pertaining to the marketing agency. That was another one of my questions.
About the YTMP minutes, maybe we can start afresh on the minutes as of January 1 of this year ó start this year on the minutes ó and that will be fine. For now, if our needs are any more extensive, weíll be sure to let the minister know.
In the meantime maybe we could set up a briefing including representatives of the Tourism Industry Association Yukon. I will let her know about that.
One question I would like her to answer now ó and it is rather timely since we have the Alaskan delegation in town ó can the minister explain why the Welcome Alaska campaign was cancelled? We would appreciate some statistics and maybe performance measurements regarding this program as well if she can provide that.
Hon. Ms. Taylor: I will certainly undertake to look into the terms of reference of the study that was undertaken by the previous government, I believe, to take a look at the special marketing agency, if I am not mistaken. As for the request for the minutes January 1 and on regarding YTMP, I will certainly undertake to request those minutes from YTMP as well. Again, if in fact a briefing would suffice, please let me know.
With respect to Welcome Alaska, this is an initiative that was brought in. It was launched in the Alaska market last June, I believe. It was originally designed to offset anticipated losses in revenue due to the unfortunate events of September 11. As I understand, it was indeed to be a retail campaign. It was supposed to target residents of Juneau, Fairbanks, Skagway and Haines, to entice them to choose Yukon as a destination of choice.
As I also understand, preliminary results for the campaign did not meet expectations. The problem was that it was almost impossible ó very difficult ó to measure and attribute the spending directly to the campaign. In fact, it is my understanding that there were three attempts to measure the results, and it was next to impossible to measure the spending accrued directly to this program, Welcome Alaska.
Mr. McRobb: All right, is there some written material the minister could provide about what she just orated for us with respect to any performance standards or program evaluation to do with the Welcome Alaska campaign?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Iíll certainly speak with the department and see what we can come up with.
Mr. McRobb: All right, Iíd like to ask the minister a little bit more about her commitment toward cultural centres in the territory. I believe in her opening remarks there was a reference to one in the amount of $50,000. Could she provide some detail on that and any other activities in this area on the go in the territory?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: The $50,000, I believe, is to hire an architect to work on a preliminary design for the cultural centre in Kluane, for the architectural design of the facility.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Ms. Taylor: I believe itís Burwash Landing, if Iím not mistaken.
If the member will just forgive me, Iíve got a more detailed note here on the Kluane centre.
Yes, a local architect has been identified for the project and, of course, the options and considerations will continue to transpire with the local First Nation, at which time weíll continue to assist in various ways with the project. In particular, I believe the design concept that has been adopted by the First Nation will include a First Nation cultural exhibit area, a reception/common area, theatre, multipurpose area, classroom area and access to outdoor interpretation and demonstrations. These areas will be connected to the existing museum, which will also undergo a code and facelift, as well.
There are a number of other initiatives, of course, going on with the First Nation cultural centres ó a lot of work, actually. Weíre working very closely with First Nations on initiatives pursuant to chapter 13 of the Umbrella Final Agreement.
Certainly over the course of the last couple of years, we have continued to work with the Carcross-Tagish First Nation, Kwanlin Dun, as well as Kluane First Nation, as I was just mentioning.
Mr. McRobb: Can the minister indicate if there was any kind of report produced as a result of this work on the Kluane cultural centre, and if so, could that be provided? I would also be interested to know the estimated cost of the renovations to the current facility as well as the addition of the new facility, and if the minister is making a commitment that her government will in fact be proceeding to build that facility in the near future.
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Regarding the Kluane cultural centre, I can certainly undertake to find out what details have transpired as a result of the architectural design.
It is my understanding that this work is actually ongoing and has not been completed as such. I have not seen a report as of yet.
With respect to the total cost of the project, I am not aware of that either. I suppose it is kind of like putting the carrot before the horse. We have to find out what we are looking at in particular.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Yes, with respect to the member oppositeís question regarding our commitment to build. We are committed to working with the First Nation to identify various options. We are one of the three partners at the table. The federal government and the local First Nation are at the table as well. Certainly we are very much committed to working together on this initiative.
Mr. McRobb: All right, Mr. Chair, that answers my questions in that area. Iím aware there are other First Nations in the territory that are working toward plans for similar buildings. For instance, the Champagne-Aishihik First Nation has made a lot of progress on its future cultural centre to be located in Haines Junction.
The minister mentioned KDFN. Is there any more information she can tell us about any of those at the present time? Are there any funds or resources that have been appropriated in those areas to help facilitate the construction of such facilities?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: With respect to Kwanlin Dun First Nation, $1.25 million has, of course, been committed by the Yukon government to its heritage centre as a component of its land claim agreement. As well, weíre working closely with the Carcross-Tagish First Nation. Itís my understanding that they are coming close to the completion of a business plan identifying the target market and the potential for this facility.
We are also, I understand, working with nine other First Nations on the First Nations heritage working group in identifying areas where we can work together. Of course, in conjunction with the Canadian Conservation Institute, I believe, we are also providing technical assistance, models for development to the existing and proposed cultural centres, in conjunction with the federal government.
We are also working with First Nations on the University of Victoria cultural programs for a First Nation community heritage course to be delivered in the Yukon, hopefully by August of this year.
I believe that $25,000 in the past was provided to Carcross-Tagish First Nation to help out with their business plan. So those are just some of the things that weíve undertaken ó the cultural services branch as well as providing three on-the-job First Nation training corps internships.
Mr. McRobb: Letís return now to the area of tourism-related programming. This department, as every other department in this Yukon Party government, refused to provide us in the official opposition and the third party opposition with any briefing material in the briefings. This was highly unusual and is a separation from past practice in that weíve always received handouts, if you will, of material in the briefings. This material typically covers all the various initiatives, programs and any significant expenditures. It provides detail as well as an explanation and so on. Because the Yukon Party decided on its own, unilaterally, to disengage us with that usual opportunity, there is somewhat of a void when it comes to information available to us in the opposition with which to hold the government accountable. One of the things I would like to request from the minister is an overview of all the programs within this department, such as the Welcome Alaska program, with some detail and explanation as to the performance of these programs. Could she undertake to maybe get a legislative return or something back to us that provides that information?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: I appreciate the comments from the member opposite. I can certainly undertake to do an overview of our programs. I guess Iím not too sure if I even have that particular bit of information at my fingertips, but weíll certainly work toward that.
Mr. McRobb: All right, Mr. Chair. I donít have a whole lot more in this area because, for one thing, there is another opportunity when we get to this department in the main budget. There are a couple of matters that are relatively small that have been nagging me. One is, on the north Alaska Highway, as we leave the Yukon and enter Alaska, I noticed there is no "goodbye" sign for our travellers ó "Goodbye, return again", that sort of thing. Iíve noticed itís rather standard for other jurisdictions to have a "hello" sign and a "goodbye, return again soon" sign.
I would like to ask the minister if thatís something she would look into and maybe fill that gap, if she deems it appropriate.
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Based on past knowledge, I guess I was always of the understanding there were signs in place. I was just recalling the one outside of Watson Lake, of course, entering and leaving the Yukon. I thought there was one in place, but Iíll certainly look into that. Itís a good idea.
Mr. McRobb: There is probably one in Watson Lake and one in Dawson but none in Kluane. We are hard done by out in that neck of the woods, Mr. Chair.
Now, something similar is the matter I raised with the former Premier. That is a result of a visit I made to the visitor information centre in Tok, Alaska. For the ministerís information, Tok is at a major crossroads. For visitors leaving Alaska southbound, it presents them with option (a) to continue along the Alaska Highway through to Whitehorse, or option (b) to take the Taylor Highway through Dawson City and down the Klondike Highway to Whitehorse. At the Tok Visitor Reception Centre there is a huge display promoting the Klondike option, compliments of the Klondike Visitors Association. Now, thatís fine. We know the KVA has funds available ó some of them accrue from gambling proceeds at Diamond Tooth Gertieís and so on. They have a large membership base, in that there are several dozen tourism-related businesses in Dawson City.
On the other hand, Kluane is rather hard pressed for a comparable number of businesses and we donít have any type of gambling revenue to help any sort of association to counter this promotion by the KVA. So I asked the former Premier if she would look into it, and unfortunately she didnít oblige the request.
So given that, as of November 4, we wiped the slate clean ó
Some Hon. Member: Point of order.
Point of order
Chair:Member for Porter Creek South, on a point of order.
Ms. Duncan: On the point of order, in fact, the member is suggesting a request was not obliged. In fact, it was.
Chair:The Chair finds there is a dispute among members here.
Mr. McRobb: That is news to me. I can certainly table her response in the Legislature as early as tomorrow afternoon.
Anyway, letís get back to the point that, once again, the Kluane region is at a disadvantage when compared to the Yukon Party controlled regions of the territory, and I would like to ask the minister if she would even the odds up a little bit and maybe provide the Kluane area with a small amount of money that would help it set up its own display at the Tok information centre. I am sure she realizes deep down there is a lot to be offered in the Kluane area, all the way from Tatshenshini afternoon river trips, which made the top 10 adventure travel trips in the whole world ó and I know we are all proud of that ó right to the local Raven Hotel, which is now a three-star dining establishment ó one of the top 50 dining establishments in the whole country. There are two examples off the tip of my tongue that are really impressive and support the need to promote this area, at least on an equal footing as the option B route through the Klondike. I would like to ask the minister if she would look into this and try to resolve this inequity.
Hon. Ms. Taylor: I happen to concur with the Member for Kluane. Kluane is a beautiful place. It is a destination of choice, as are all our places in the territory. I happen to think the visitor reception centre and the staff who work there ó in Beaver Creek, in particular ó do a great job in advertising and promoting the Kluane region, and will continue to do so.
I will look into this for the member opposite. Iím also looking forward to seeing what the former government did by way of this request. I will be looking at that.
Mr. McRobb: Iím sure I can speak for everybody out Kluane way that they appreciate the ministerís undertaking to look into this inequity. I would also like to recognize the excellence provided by the staff of the Beaver Creek Visitor Reception Centre. However, logistically, people who are influenced by the KVA display in Klondike are about 90 miles to the north, and thatís where they make the decisions. So people who have already been influenced and take the option B route through Dawson City donít ever get to see the visitor reception centre in Beaver Creek.
So thereís a logistical problem with that, but I look forward to seeing some results from the minister. That concludes my questions for the time being, Mr. Chair.
Ms. Duncan: Iíd like to ask the Minister of Tourism a few questions with respect to the supplementary budget. The gateway cities line, $250,000, is a key element of the supplementary. There was a substantial involvement of private sector partners, both Air North and other airlines. I would like the minister to indicate what evaluation of the program ó first of all, Iíd like detail of the uptake of the program, and if she would also provide me with information as to an evaluation of the program. Was there one done, and is it available?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: The gateway cities marketing campaign was introduced by the previous government, and they actually did a very good job of the campaign. I have to commend the previous government on this initiative. It seemed to have worked very well.
With respect to the uptake, I believe the program attracted roughly 2,174 visitors, who spent roughly $1.2 million in the Yukon. Of course, there has been a reduction in this program. Thatís unfortunate, but we had to take reductions all over.
We, of course, are continuing the program, and the current YTMP is seeing what we can do with this program. With respect to the overall review, I believe that a review was done, but I believe it was undertaken as part of the overall program delivery by the marketing branch and YTMP. So I can certainly undertake to provide whatever information I can, if thatís all right.
Ms. Duncan: Thatís fine. What I was looking for were performance measures on specific programs instituted ó we spent $250,000 ó and the minister has given some, such as having in excess of 2,100 visitors who spent $1.2 million.
As I understood it, though, I believe this was also a partner with a private sector program. Was there not also a similar contribution by the private sector? Maybe not $250,000 ó and that was the uptake figure I was looking for. What was the private sector contribution to this program?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: The member is absolutely correct. There were other partners involved in there; Air North being one, of course. I donít have those figures at my fingertips, but I can certainly provide them to the member opposite.
Just on the return on investment, I do have a note here. Six dollars in visitor spending generated for each dollar invested as a result of the gateway cities marketing campaign.
Ms. Duncan: So the program was very successful, but it didnít survive the reductions. Weíll leave that debate to another day ó the necessity of reductions. The minister did say that the program was continuing, so it must have a somewhat reduced focus. She may wish to elaborate on that in general debate and in the main budget, and I can leave that. Just be on notice that Iíll be asking that question, then: whatís the new direction.
The minister also indicated that, with respect to the Welcome Alaska campaign, preliminary results did not meet expectations. Can the minister substantiate that comment?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: I guess as I was mentioning earlier, one of the very large problems was the inability to measure the results attributed directly to the Welcome Alaska program. As I mentioned also, there were three independent approaches to collecting and measuring the visitor numbers and the spending, and all, I believe, were unsuccessful. Again, it was very difficult to directly attribute sales to the campaign initiatives, simply for the fact that businesses, when it came right down to it, were very reluctant to share the information. The only indicator that we have is that, of course, retail sales in the Yukon were up over the same period the previous year, and that the Web site attracted roughly 5,000 unique visitors during the promotional period; however, there is nothing to say that those retail sales were directly attributed to the Welcome Alaska program.
Ms. Duncan: To summarize what I hear the minister saying is that, although retail sales were up, in fact retails were up every single month for 18 months until November of this year. November, December and January retail sales showed a drop, which is highly unusual but that is what the stats branch tells us ó that retail sales have gone down since the Yukon Party took office. Sorry, but those are the facts according to the stats branch.
The Welcome Alaska campaign directly focused on retail sales, directly focused on Alaskans, particularly in southeast Alaska, coming over here to spend money. So retail sales were up but there were three independent approaches to trying to get something more than a gut instinct in retail sales to prove that the campaign worked, and the minister is saying that those three different approaches essentially failed. I mean, short of going down and counting licence plates from Alaska, we donít seem to be able to prove that this campaign worked, other than the gut instinct of retailers. That is what I hear the minister saying. Is that correct?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Again, I believe that the agency of record did provide a review of the overall campaigns delivered through our marketing branch and through YTMP. I would be very happy to provide her with a review. I believe it was an overall review of all the different programs but I would be very happy to provide her with that.
Again, I believe that, based upon the very difficulty in trying to gauge the results simply because businesses were reluctant in providing statistics or simply because they werenít able to provide statistics, perhaps there wasnít that particular mechanism in place. So for those very reasons, it was seen as not working as effectively as it could have been for the money being spent.
Ms. Duncan: I will look for the evaluation, then, and look forward to reviewing that and discussing it again with the minister.
I have just a couple of other questions about the supplementary budget. The minister, in her opening statement, indicated that there is a project under the cultural services branch that provides $25,000 to develop and test the curriculum to introduce the new academic levels of instruction that allow KIAC ó thatís the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture ó to become a diploma granting institution. So, what I sense from this is a ó Iím going to put it colloquially and see if Iím right in my review of what the minister said ó essentially it is $25,000 to help KIAC get accreditation so that their diplomas will be recognized elsewhere. Am I correct in my interpretation?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: That is correct.
Ms. Duncan: The ministerís comment is that it is the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development that is providing that funding.
The minister indicated that she has also recently travelled to meet with the Minister of Heritage. Has she also pursued additional funding for the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture from Minister Copps and her department?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: No, not at this time.
Ms. Duncan: There is also $200,000 for a Northern Research Institute contribution agreement for the Technology Innovation Centre. I would just like to go through a couple of items and ask the minister for some more detail on them.
There is $42,000 for the contribution agreement for technology and communications development and the Yukon Information Technology Industry Society is undertaking funding for a major IT project. Then there is also another study on telecommunication capability. Now, we seem to be doing a lot of research projects in these areas and I would just like the minister to outline where the government is headed. Are we just assessing options at this point and where are we going with that? Also, I have written the minister and her colleague about a particular issue around something that partly falls in this ministerís department in the access to high-speed Internet and Internet access. I would just encourage the minister, if she perhaps has some information in that respect, given that we are discussing technology, to share it with me, if she would.
Hon. Ms. Taylor: There were a lot of questions raised and I will do my best to provide an informative answer.
The member was correct in that there were a number of funds identified for technology and partnerships. The Yukon Information Technology Industry Society contribution agreement is for $13,000. I believe it simply can be attributed to the fact that it wasnít fully expended due to the other priorities of the society 2001-02.
As per the agreement, this particular revote will be used to develop an application for funding for a major IT project. It is my understanding that this project has not particularly gone very far as of such because they havenít been able to identify funds from other partners to proceed with the project.
The First Nations contribution agreement is for, I believe, $42,000. Again, that was a revote, and it wasnít fully expended due to numerous changes in personnel over at the Council of Yukon First Nations. The revote, though, will be used to carry out the objectives of the MOU that was signed by the previous government and CYFN for technology and telecommunications development.
The Northern Research Institute contribution agreement is also a revote and was not fully expended due to the technical delays in a number of innovation funding projects. I believe that this money will be used to complete the projects that have been committed to.
I understand that there were a number of innovation projects that started in January and will run throughout the spring.
With respect to the ó there are a couple of areas that are being reviewed right now ó $50,000 was identified in the supplementary ó one of which was $25,000 and was funding required to undertake a review. I believe itís a review thatís done every five years. It lays the framework for a plan of action for further development. Itís basically to compare the status of where we are as a territory with respect to the rest of the country in the area of telecommunications. The other was $50,000, and it was required for CRTC consulting to review the service improvement plan. Thatís what that is as well. I believe that has just recently been completed.
With respect to the broadband funding I believe the member opposite was referring to, I guess you could say that the biggest challenge for our government is that, in order to participate under this program, each applicant will have to match funding, plus cover the costs of the network and other sustainability costs. Unfortunately, itís my understanding that Industry Canada does not recognize the large investment the Yukon has already contributed by way of Connect Yukon. So, weíre basically starting from scratch on these initiatives. We are working, though, with Northwestel and Industry Canada as we speak in identifying some of the priorities and what some of these initiatives are that we can work on and proceed with.
Ms. Duncan: I thank the minister for that answer. My last question, though, was partly answered in the broad policy sense, but could I just use this opportunity to jog the ministerís memory on that letter and see if I could get an answer on that?
With respect to communications throughout the territory and visitors and signs and so on, there are two issues that were left outstanding. One is that the former Minister of Infrastructure had worked very diligently, and we had quite a substantial improvement in our highway signage, particularly for our visitors.
The blue signs are throughout the territory. There has been quite an improvement. We have gotten rid of some of the older ones but, with respect to community signs, some of the communities are missing, and itís a joint initiative. Itís usually the ministerís department that ends up jogging the Minister of Infrastructure to deal with this ó Mayo, in particular, is missing. Beaver Creek has an excellent one, and that one is in quite a state of disrepair.
The other suggestion that was brought back over the summer months with me was reintroducing visitor FM, which was taken out a number of years ago. Itís sorely missed in a number of places. If there are options for looking at that, I would encourage the minister. We were talking about communications and technology ó if thatís a possibility.
Hon. Ms. Taylor: I actually wasnít even of the understanding that the visitor radio had been removed. Yes, I believe it played a very important role for our visitors. Of course, it comes down to dollars and cents and priorities within the bigger picture, but Iíll certainly take a look at what expenses would be accrued and if thereís some way we could deliver such a program and reintroduce it. I certainly know, in all my years of working in the visitor reception centre in Watson Lake, it was very well-received. It acted as a point of contact for all kinds of visitor attractions, and it helped guide individuals to the various visitor reception centres and points of interest as well.
I would be very happy to undertake to get the letter of response back to the member opposite, and my apologies for failing to respond earlier.
I would be very happy to undertake to get the letter of response back to the member opposite. My apologies for failing to respond earlier.
With respect to the signage that is going on, I believe that one of the working groups under the YTMP has been working in conjunction with our department and Infrastructure ó now Highways and Public Works. It is my understanding ó I am just speaking off the top of my head ó that there has been a working paper or a policy underway on that particular initiative.
Ms. Duncan: I would just encourage the minister to keep the work up on the signs because it was long overdue when we undertook it and it needs to be completed.
I have another couple of questions. I find it interesting that the government is looking again at the special marketing agency and the direction we are heading in that respect, and I will look forward to more information in the general debate on the mains on that one.
If I could just put the minister on notice as well that when we get to her other hat, the Justice portfolio and the border crossings information ó if she has any up-to-date information, I would like that as well. I understand there have been additional monies expended through Ottawa through the law enforcement agencies in this area. I would like that information prior to the mains.
With respect to the cut to the film infrastructure support, is this a cut to the public/private partnership ó the lights and electrics package? So could the minister just outline what that cut is?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: This $62,000 that I believe the member opposite is referring to is indeed regarding the purchase of the electrics package. This expenditure is no longer required as funding for the outright purchase of the package was provided in late 2001Ė02.
Ms. Duncan: As I recall, this was an agreement between the Northern Film and Video Industry Association and the Government of Yukon. We entered into a P3, in essence, to buy this package. It was originally structured so that it would be bought over time and what happened is that it was bought outright. So, in fact, the Northern Film and Video Association owns this; itís all paid for. The agreement is concluded, and we have everything we need now in terms of supporting productions. Is that correct?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Yes, thatís correct.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, I thank the minister for the information. With respect to the information that Iíve asked for, it doesnít have to be formal ó just a legislative return ó or if she could have a member of the research staff just provide me that information, Iíd appreciate it.
The arts fund only got an $85,000 increase, but all the other funds under the government received substantial increases. Has all of that money been applied for and dispensed throughout the Yukon, and could we have a reporting of it?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Yes, I believe that this $85,000 is simply a revote for the arts fund projects. There are four deadlines throughout the year, and sometimes all the monies are not incurred at that particular time, so this is simply a revote.
Ms. Duncan: Is it the ministerís intention to continue with a peer review for the arts fund? That was instituted under our watch. We had a peer review, as opposed to legislators or politicians. We had a review of an application by a jury of their peers, so to speak. So is it the ministerís intention to continue with that or will it be changed?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Yes, thatís correct. We are indeed continuing with that practice.
Mr. Hardy: Okay, I wonít use names. Sorry.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Hardy: Just about. Thanks, minister over there.
I know the question has been asked, but I just want to ask it again because I wasnít listening as closely as I should have been. Could the minister tell me the reason for the cut in the film and infrastructure support?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: I believe I just explained that to the member opposite, but I would be happy to relay the information again.
This was for the outright purchase ó $300,000 was expended at the end of 2001-02 for the electrics package. I believe that what was supposed to transpire, in fact, is that portions of the $300,000 were to be made. Instead, an outright contribution of $300,000 was made. Therefore, the $62,000 is no longer required.
Mr. Hardy: Is the minister telling me there isnít a need for purchasing in film infrastructure and that that money couldnít have been allocated for some other project or purchase?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Itís my understanding that there were no additional requests made by the Northern Film and Video Industry Association.
Mr. Hardy: Oh, thatís very nice. In other words, they have no other needs. Thatís good. Thank you.
Mr. Fairclough: One quick question, Mr. Chair. Can the minister tell us what the departmentís figures are, by percentage ó will there be an increase or decrease in the number of visitors that are predicted to come to the Yukon this year?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: We are certainly hoping for a banner year but, given the light of the current circumstances worldwide, we are hoping to hold our own. But we are certainly working toward increased visitation.
Oh, and I would just like to ó on a point of order, I would just like to draw the membersí opposite attention to the former Member for Riverdale North, Mr. Doug Phillips, and give him a warm welcome.
Chair: Is there any further general debate?
We will then proceed line by line.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
On Corporate Services
Chair: Are there any questions on the line, corporate services?
On Industry Development and Research
Industry Development and Research in the amount of $56,000 agreed to
Marketing in the amount of $415,000 agreed to
On Cultural Services
Cultural Services in the amount of $15,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures for the Department of Business, Tourism and Culture in the amount of $461,000 agreed to
Chair: Is there any discussion on operation and maintenance recoveries?
On Capital Expenditures
On Industry Development and Research
On Industry Research and Strategic Planning
Industry Research and Strategic Planning in the amount of $18,000 agreed to
On Product and Resource Assessment
Product and Resource Assessment in the amount of $15,000 agreed to
On Cultural Industries
On Film Infrastructure Support
Chair: Are there any questions on the line, film infrastructure support?
On Technology and Telecommunications
On Technology Partnerships
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, this is an additional $330,000, and I understand why it is required. Did this $330,000 just come from elsewhere in the department, essentially? Itís not a recovery.
Hon. Ms. Taylor: I believe my comments earlier to the member opposite regarding the NRI contribution agreement, the First Nations contribution agreement and the YITIS contribution, as well ó those were all revotes from the previous government. The service improvement plan and telecommunication review to the tune of $75,000 ó that is new money.
Technology Partnerships in the amount of $330,000 agreed to
On Community Access Program (CAP)
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, I believe this is a contribution agreement with the Government of Canada. Could we have a copy of it, please?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Certainly.
Chair: Is there any further debate?
Community Access Program (CAP) in the amount of $236,000 agreed to
On Visitor Reception Centres (VRC)
On VRC Capital Maintenance
Chair: Are there any questions on VRC capital maintenance?
On Cultural Services
On Heritage Resources
On Historic Resources ó Heritage Attractions Site Support ó Historic Resources
Chair: Are there any questions on heritage attractions sites support?
On Historic Resources ó Heritage Studies
Historic Resources ó Heritage Studies in the amount of $12,000 agreed to
On Historic Sites ó Historic Sites Maintenance
Historic Sites ó Historic Sites Maintenance in the amount of $30,000 agreed to
On Museums Assistance
Museums Assistance in the amount of $90,000 agreed to
On Artifact Inventory and Cataloguing
Artifact Inventory and Cataloguing in the amount of $25,000 agreed to
On Conservation and Security
Conservation and Security in the amount of $14,000 agreed to
On Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre ó Capital Maintenance
Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre ó Capital Maintenance in the amount of $11,000 agreed to
On Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre ó Development ó Public Education and Outreach Project
Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre ó Development ó Public Education and Outreach Project in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
On Kwanlin Dun Heritage Cultural Centre
Chair: Are there any questions on Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre?
On Arts Fund
Arts Fund in the amount of $85,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures for the Department of Business, Tourism and Culture in the amount of $631,000 agreed to
Chair: Is there any discussion on capital recoveries?
Department of Business, Tourism and Culture agreed to
Chair: Do members wish a brief recess?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will take a 10-minute recess.
Chair: Order please. Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will continue on with Community Services and general debate.
Department of Community Services
Chair: Is there any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Department of Community Services has tabled a supplementary budget request in the amount of $97,000 for operation and maintenance expenditures and $13,970,000 for capital expenditures. These increases are partially offset by an increase in the operation and maintenance expenditure recovery of $77,000 and capital expenditure recovery of $663,000.
This department supplementary request for operation and maintenance expenditures consists of increases essentially for contributions to the 2003 Western Canada Games at $40,000, the Senior Games at $20,000, and the personnel cost for project manager of Canada Winter Games is $66,000. Additional funding of $69,000 is for the Yukon Recreation Advisory Committee to cover increases for various recreation groups and sport-governing bodies. This amount is 100-percent recoverable from Lotteries Yukon.
A transfer of the Driver Control Board position from the Department of Infrastructure with related funding of $37,000, and grants in lieu of taxes, $44,000 ó these increases total $276,000, but they are offset by a surplus of $179,000 in personnel due to vacancies, resulting in a net increase of $97,000.
Mr. Chair, broadly speaking, the department supplementary budget increase for capital expenditure consists of a total revote of $8.9 million for projects carried over the fiscal year-end 2001-02 and funding of $5 million allocated for the FireSmart project and community development fund. Specifically, capital supplementary requests include: FireSmart initiative, $1.5 million; a revote amount for the City of Whitehorse multiplex of $8 million; Project Yukon of $3.5 million; the Carcross sewage treatment disposal facility of $636,000; and four projects under the Canada-Yukon infrastructure program ó City of Whitehorse, $91,000; Haines Junction, $276,000; Faro, $55,000; and Mayo, $268,000. These are 50-percent recoverable from the Government of Canada.
We also have some industrial lot development on Mount Sima Road of $360,000 and rural electrification and telephone program of $290,000, both of which are 100-percent recoverable. Various small projects include contour mapping, renovations to the Haines Junction library, the Gates Foundation project, and the Burwash beautification project totalling $185,000. These increases are offset by a reduction of $1,100,000 in land development, expenditures related to the Mount Sima Road project, which has been delayed due to further geotechnical work and consultation requirements.
I would now be pleased to provide further details if the members have specific questions on the supplementary budget request.
Mr. Cardiff: I donít have a lot of questions in general debate. In the interest of moving the business of the House forward, I would have a few questions when we get into the lines.
Ms. Duncan: I think the Member for Mayo-Tatchun and I have a few general questions in debate. The minister went fairly quickly through the supplementary and indicated that some of the reductions in the lines of operation and maintenance were due to vacancies in the department. In essence, what I hear him referring to is that they are kind of cash managing their way through a period of time. Can the minister outline what these vacancies are and when they anticipate staffing them?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Basically, most of these vacancies occurred in the last year. They occurred in a variety of positions throughout Yukon Housing and Community Services. In one instance, we did not fill a position to do with devolution, and that has subsequently been filled, as we speak.
Weíre also looking at some vacancies in relation to Community Services again. With renewal, there were changes between Community Services and Yukon Housing. Weíre looking at shared services in the policy division, and those issues are being filled as we speak.
Ms. Duncan: Are the positions being filled, or is there a situation where we are still amalgamating those and looking at shared services between Yukon Housing Corporation and Community Services and there may be a vacancy, and it is yet to be determined if it is to be filled? I would like a clear sense of what we are talking about from the minister.
Hon. Mr. Hart: Our recruitment level will be at a lower level. We have some gains in the directors and at the deputy level because of the change, and we are looking at sharing that particular position. Many of the positions have been hired but we still have a few vacancies.
Ms. Duncan: So what the minister is saying that, in essence, there used to be a Deputy Minister of the Yukon Housing Corporation and Deputy Minister of Community Services, and we are now looking at one deputy minister. I see nods so I take that to be an affirmative. That was work that was done previously.
With respect to the additional money and Service Yukon expenditures, could I get a sense of what that additional money is being used for and what the ministerís intentions are with respect to Service Yukon. I note that there was an advertisement some time ago for customer service representatives. What is the intention of the department with respect to Service Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Hart: On Service Yukon, weíre looking at an increase of a transfer from the Driver Control board from the Department of Infrastructure. Weíre also looking at additional funding from a directorís salary, overtime for motor vehicles staff, reclassification of Service Yukon staff, additional funding for administration expenses and an increase in funding for community libraries. Plus, weíre not planning to relocate to Quartz Road.
Ms. Duncan: So thereís no planned move for any of the amalgamations of Service Yukon. There was this job advertisement for customer service representatives. Is that just speculation advertising by the Public Service Commission? From time to time, the Public Service Commission does advertise for jobs that may be filled. Where are these CSRs going to work out of?
Hon. Mr. Hart: With regard to the customer service representatives, we are utilizing those particular jobs, through Community Services and/or through Infrastructure. Weíll be utilizing those jobs at the motor vehicle branch and/or at the information desk here in the main building.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, just with respect to some of the recreation points that the minister was addressing, Iíd like a couple of points clarified. On the $8 million transfer for Canada Winter Games, where are we with that, with respect to the City of Whitehorse? My understanding was the transfer was to be made into an interest-bearing account so that the City of Whitehorse would then be able to make use of the interest, as opposed to having interest coming off our formula from Ottawa. So where are we in the transfer, and when will that take place?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Well, as the member opposite might have heard, we are waiting for confirmation from the Prime Ministerís office with regard to the funding. We are working with the City of Whitehorse on a CFA and we hope to have that in the next couple of weeks.
Ms. Duncan: Will the minister outline the details of that financial contribution agreement? What Iím looking for is, is the $8 million sitting in trust? Is it being spent $1 million, $2 million, $3 million over so many periods of years? How is that money being spent? Where is the interest going?
Hon. Mr. Hart: With regard to the funding, we are looking at trying to put together funding for the City of Whitehorse as quickly as possible. There was no trust fund set up because we werenít able to get the funding secured until just recently. We will probably be getting a cheque to the city as soon as possible. After April 1, they will probably be getting a lionís share of that particular money, and they will be able to collect interest on their own.
Ms. Duncan: The minister didnít answer the question. I asked for the details around the financial contribution agreement. Are we transferring a lump sum that the city can then spend as they wish? Are we transferring it under a financial contribution agreement that stipulates how and when the money is being spent? Is the minister walking down Second Avenue with a great big cheque? How are we transferring this money? Under what conditions?
The other point I am trying to make with this is that the understanding of the Canada Winter Games was also that this would be more than simply a Whitehorse-centred event, that it would also be Yukon wide. This is very important to municipalities that are concerned about preparing their capital budgets. For example, if Teslin wants to host hockey or host the practices, they need to budget and to purchase an ice plant.
So, this sort of questioning ó Iím interested in the details of this information, and I would ask the minister to provide that information.
Hon. Mr. Hart: I apologize for the delay.
We are just working on the CFA with the city at the moment. We will be bringing forth the agreement to Management Board shortly. Once we have done so, that will determine under what conditions the funding will be provided.
In response to the member oppositeís question with respect to municipality, the host society is aware of the situation and is looking, wherever possible, at dealing with the rural communities adjacent to the City of Whitehorse and has been in contact with Teslin already, I understand. Itís a matter of the host society taking a lead role in that particular area.
Ms. Duncan: The host society has representation from the Government of Yukon. What is the Yukon Party governmentís position with respect to this? Are they encouraging? Is the Government of Yukonís representative encouraging the host society to have events hosted in Teslin and Haines Junction, for example? Those are two immediate communities that come to mind. But Carmacks is also, of course, within driving distance, certainly, and has significant recreational facilities. Iíd like to know what the Yukon Party governmentís position is with respect to this.
Hon. Mr. Hart: Each sport in the Canada Winter Games is in charge of how their facilities are going to be operated. As the member opposite indicated, the Yukon Party is encouraging the host society to encourage rural Yukon participation as much as possible, and we have even asked the host society to have a member from the rural communities sit on the board.
Ms. Duncan: Iím very pleased to hear what the minister has to say. What heís confirming is, then, that the Government of the Yukonís representative on the host society is saying, yes, we have to have as many events as we can outside of Whitehorse. Now, thatís going to encourage capital requests from municipalities. As I understand it, none of this $8 million goes to any other community to assist with those capital requests, other than Whitehorse. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Hart: To answer the member oppositeís question with regard to the $8 million, yes, the $8 million does go to the City of Whitehorse for the multiplex.
Ms. Duncan: So then if Haines Junction or Teslin ó and those two immediately come to mind, Teslin in particular, because of the ice plant issue ó if Teslin wanted to put in an ice plant and wanted assistance from the Government of the Yukon, they would come as a municipality separate from this. Would they come to the Government of the Yukon, or would they be going to the host society?
Hon. Mr. Hart: They would make application to the host society, which has separate funding under capital that these communities can get assistance under. Thank you.
Ms. Duncan: Earlier in the budget debates, we heard reference to funding for the Canada Winter Games O&M. That money is entirely separate from this $8 million. It is part of a $2-million commitment for the operation and maintenance of the games, as I understand it, of which the city is accessing $400,000 early.
Could the minister please direct me to the line item where that shows? Is the access of the $400,000 of the $2-million commitment made by the previous government in the mains of 2003-04, or is it in the supplementary?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The $400,000 being referred to is actually in the 2003-04 budget.
Ms. Duncan: I will leave more detailed questions of that to the 2003-04 budget debate.
The minister made reference to the Senior Games. I have been asked about this, as it is very much a constituency issue as well, and I understood we were working toward hosting the Senior Games. Has the minister provided a commitment in writing to the Senior Games so that they can follow through with their bid to host the Canada Senior Games?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Should our budget go through, we do have money set aside for the Senior Games for the upcoming year.
Ms. Duncan: The minister mentioned money in this supplementary budget for the Senior Games. Now, this is money that I am assuming has already been spent.
Is there additional money, then, in the next yearís budget as well? And I am looking for the breadth of our commitment. There is money in the supplementary for the Senior Games. How much? And is the minister also saying that there is additional money in the mains for it?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Just for the member opposite, I indicated that as part of the expenditures in community development, we spent $20,000 in the 2002-03 year for the Senior Games.
Ms. Duncan: What Iím asking is if there is any commitment by the minister into the future. Has there been any commitment made by the Yukon Party into the future for hosting the Senior Games?
Hon. Mr. Hart: I have been in conversation with the Senior Games host committee and we are in discussions. As I indicated earlier, if the budget passes, we do have some funding set aside for the Senior Games in the 2003-04 budget.
Ms. Duncan: I am going to go back and look at Hansard, but what I heard the minister say is that there is additional money in the 2003-04 budget in the mains, so I will carry on with that when we get to the mains on that particular one.
The sewage and the dump projects ó the dumps are a big issue throughout the territory. The one near Champagne is a major issue. Haines Junction has a model that they are very proud of, understandably. Itís an excellent facility and is a model for the rest of the territory. I heard the minister say there was money for municipal dumps in here. Could he just review that money?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Could I ask the member opposite where she is getting that information, please?
Ms. Duncan: When he was doing his introductory notes for the supplementary, I heard the minister say ó now, he went fairly quickly, so perhaps I am mistaken ó that there was additional money for the municipal dumps. He may have even mentioned Haines Junction. The municipal dumps are a major issue throughout the territory. If there is no additional money, and I misheard the minister, then so be it. He has only simply to say it. But I thought I heard him say there was money in here for the municipal dumps.
Hon. Mr. Hart: I donít have anything in my notes with respect to land development sites.
Ms. Duncan: The minister just said he doesnít have anything in his notes with regard to land development sites. Was he meaning "municipal dump development sites"? Heís nodding.
There is additional money there for sewage treatment and disposal. Iím sorry ó could I ask the minister to again state where that is being spent?
Hon. Mr. Hart: That is for Carcross.
Ms. Duncan: Does this represent the conclusion of a particular phase of the Carcross project, or is it the completion of the project as a whole?
Hon. Mr. Hart: There is still another year of work to complete the project ó approximately $1.2 million.
Ms. Duncan: Regarding the additional land development, I understood the minister to state this was a result of some of the geotechnical work on the Mount Sima ó the road ó that the project was proceeding, under the previous administration, in cooperation with Kwanlin Dun. Now, what it sounds like is that some difficulties have been run into because of the geotechnical work. Could the minister just confirm that, please, and indicate when he expects that geotechnical work to be done and the project to be completed?
Hon. Mr. Hart: For the member opposite, we had this money for Kwanlin Dun to finish up the industrial lots at Mount Sima Road, and the geotech work was for the country residential at Wolf Creek.
Mr. Fairclough: Just a few questions and follow-up questioning on the Canada Winter Games. The minister did say that there were a few communities that are being looked at ó Teslin, Haines Junction. There was some mention of Carmacks. Iím interested to know how serious the talks are with Carmacks and the community of Carcross.
Hon. Mr. Hart: Again, weíre putting our trust with the host society, in working with them. We feel that we are working closely with them to help develop our athletes and also to develop the cultural aspects that will be needed for the games.
Mr. Fairclough: Has the Village of Carmacks had any discussion with this department of this government in regard to upgrades to facilities to support the Canada Winter Games in that community?
Hon. Mr. Hart: There hasnít been any discussion with any community. It will be up to the host society to initiate that process.
Mr. Fairclough: Well, Mr. Chair, I find that a bit hard to believe. The minister, in working with communities, will be identifying upgrades to projects, I would think, in some of these communities. They will require government funding over and above what has already been put aside for the City of Whitehorse for the Canada Winter Games.
Is there any interest on behalf of this minister to sit down with the communities of Carmacks and Carcross and the other communities and talk about what facilities need to be upgraded and, if there is some interest, when is this consultation going to take place? Does the minister also have a ballpark figure for how much money weíre looking at to upgrade these facilities?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Again, the host society is taking charge of the facilities related to the Canada Winter Games. We are, however, in discussion with the Village of Carcross with regard to recreation facilities in that particular area. As the member opposite knows, we just finished the recreation centre and the ice rink in Carmacks.
Mr. Fairclough: Well, that was done awhile back. The ice rink is almost 10 years old. I asked the minister whether there were any discussions with the Village of Carmacks on this matter and he didnít answer the question, so I will give him another opportunity.
Hon. Mr. Hart: No, there have been no discussions with the Village of Carmacks.
Mr. Fairclough: Are there any plans for discussions or consultations with the Village of Carmacks?
Hon. Mr. Hart: For the member opposite, I am meeting with the host chair in the next couple of days. After that meeting, I might be in a position where we can bring forth that particular issue on his behalf.
Mr. Fairclough: I thank the minister for that commitment. I know that the community of Carmacks has been talking about this for awhile and they are very much interested in participating and seeing how that community can participate. So I thank the minister for that.
I did not see in this supplementary funding any planning dollars at all for the Mayo recreation centre. Is that still on the books or in the interest of the Yukon Party?
Hon. Mr. Hart: There is no funding for the Mayo community centre in the supplementary.
Mr. Fairclough: Is this a project that the Yukon Party is looking at and working through with the Village of Mayo?
Hon. Mr. Hart: At the moment, it is not on our priority list.
Mr. Fairclough: "It is not on our priority list". The Village of Mayo has asked for this for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of that community, with no commitment from the Yukon Party. Can I ask why there is no commitment?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Although we havenít provided any funding for the Mayo community centre, we have provided that community with funds under CDF for park improvements in that particular area recently.
Mr. Fairclough: So, the money that has flowed through to that community through the CDF is the reason for the Yukon Party not showing any interest in building a recreation centre for Mayo? That is what I am getting from the ministerís answers, and I would like him to confirm that.
Hon. Mr. Hart: We will be working with the communities as part of the process in our department throughout the Yukon and, when we get there, either in Mayo or smaller jurisdictions, we will enter into discussions with them at that time.
Mr. Fairclough: The Government of Yukon committed to the community to build its rec centre. Is the minister breaking this commitment?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The commitment to build the community rec centre was made not by the Yukon Party but by the party in power at that time.
Mr. Fairclough: This commitment was made when the Liberal Party was still in government. The minister did not give me adequate reasons for why this recreation centre is not going ahead. Many of the communities in rural Yukon are doing a catch-up job of trying to get proper facilities within their community. Mayo is one of them. Much work has gone into other communities, and thereís still a demand.
Iíd like to ask the minister when Mayo can expect some money flowing from the Yukon Party government for this building.
Hon. Mr. Hart: At the moment, there are a couple of communities in the Yukon that donít even have a community hall or recreation facility at all. We will look at the memberís request and keep it in mind when weíre doing our planning process in future years.
Mr. Fairclough: Well, what the minister and the Yukon Party should know is that, during the election, all three parties made that promise and commitment to the community of Mayo ó all three parties. This is a promise of the Yukon Party, and theyíre not following through. I know the people in Mayo would be very disappointed. How would the minister, or the Yukon Party, feel when we have our one-day sitting in the community of Mayo this summer, if everybody agrees to it, as it celebrates its 100th anniversary, with no commitment by the Yukon Party?
I would like to ask the minister to look seriously at this and have this discussion with the First Nation, the Na Cho Nyäk Dun, and the Village of Mayo, because this was part of a bigger picture in keeping people working in that community. Iíll explain it again ó because Iíve explained it many times in this Legislature.
The community of Mayo trained some of their carpenters. Of course, they were addressing the whole unemployment rate there. They had a number of projects in place. First of all, there was the school, which they could work on for a year. The next one that came along was the recreation centre, which would keep people working for a year.
This was a vast improvement over how it normally works, in that small projects come up and we see two or three months of work and thatís it. And then, the following project, which will probably come under this minister again, is the First Nation administration building.
So, that would have kept people working for three years straight without being laid off. That was the community plan. Now it has gone backward. Just because the community of Mayo got a school doesnít mean it shouldnít get anything else, so I ask the minister to have a serious talk with the community of Mayo in that regard.
Another one from Mayo Iíd like to ask is about the fire truck from Mayo. When they did the upgrades to it, it had a three-year lifespan and the commitment from government at the time was that this would be replaced once this three years of life left in this fire truck expired. So far, I think we are overdue by a year or two on it and there is still no commitment. It is still something that the Village of Mayo has been asking for. Maybe I can get an answer from the minister.
Hon. Mr. Hart: In terms of the water truck, with regard to Mayo, the upgrade on the 20-year supply rotation scale applies to the main fire truck only. The water tanker, as long as it maintains water and is able to carry through, then it is usually maintained. In many of our other fire halls, we have similar vehicles that handle that particular venue.
But the fire truck facilities are the responsibility of the village itself because it is incorporated. Our responsibility for fire trucks is for the unincorporated communities.
Mr. Fairclough: There was a commitment by government. Thatís what Iím saying to the member opposite. During budget tours around the Yukon, that commitment was made ó so if the minister could look at that with some seriousness also.
Another area that I would just like to ask a question on is in regard to sewage treatment and disposal. There is an increase of $647,000 in this line item. I would like to ask the minister: where is the project in the community of Carmacks at? I know they decided on a mechanical sewage treatment plant and, without consultation with the First Nation, they decided on a location and there are problems with that. I would like to know whatís happening with the project. Is it being delayed because of the problem of location?
Hon. Mr. Hart: It is my understanding that as soon as we have a CFA we will proceed with the process; however, if there is a problem with this location, we will look into it.
Mr. Fairclough: There is a problem with location and I am surprised the minister doesnít know. I would like to know if it is delayed. There has been approval of the type of plant that will be put in place and of its location, but the First Nation was not consulted on that. I would like to know if there will be delays in construction of this sewage plant, because I believe it is supposed to take place this summer. If that is the case, then there will be additional delays if this is not resolved. I would like to know how much energy is going to be put into resolving this matter before the project gets delayed.
Hon. Mr. Hart: We do have monies in the upcoming year for construction to continue on this sewage facility should it proceed. As I have indicated earlier, if there is further delay, we will attempt to get it on, but I am led to believe that water licences are underway and it is simply a matter of confirming the member oppositeís concern.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, just a couple of questions. We spoke about the reductions in corporate services and protective services branches as vacancies. I just would like to ask the minister to confirm for the record that no casual, on-call, seasonal, term, auxiliary, contract or permanent jobs are associated with these vacancies. This is not a reduction in ó sorry, Iíll repeat that. I understand the minister was distracted.
Iím asking the minister to confirm for the record that the reductions in corporate services and protective services branches were not a reduction in casual hours, seasonal, term positions, auxiliary, contract or permanent positions. Iím asking that the minister confirm that this reduction in this O&M money is not related to casual, on-call, seasonal, term, auxiliary, contract or permanent positions, that these are simply a result of their vacancies that are now subsequently being filled. Iím just asking for that confirmation on the record.
Hon. Mr. Hart: In response to the question the member opposite put to me, I believe these are savings in all areas, not just the vacancy positions but in some areas of casual, some areas of seasonal and permanent. Itís not a case of one or the other.
Ms. Duncan: So then this could be a result of the department looking for savings and cutting seasonal hours or cutting on auxiliariesí hours or ending a term early ó what I heard the minister say?
Hon. Mr. Hart: In the supplementary, there was no intent to do that at all.
Ms. Duncan: So this is just a result of personnel management. Itís not the department looking for savings and cutting positions early.
Hon. Mr. Hart: No, itís just a part of normal government business ó vacancies in and out. The process is just the normal process. It doesnít matter what time of year youíre looking at the process, youíre always going to find vacancies, and youíre always going to find issues that are required.
Ms. Duncan: There are two questions with respect to the FireSmart budget and the Project Yukon budget. FireSmart was increased to $2 million, and Project Yukon was increased to $4,259,000. Are these two increased levels the fulfillment of the Yukon Party platform commitment to reinstate FireSmart to its original level?
What Iím asking is: does the minister consider the $2 million to be the original level for FireSmart funding? Does the minister consider the $4,259,000 to be the original level for CDF funding, per the Yukon Party commitment?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The monies allocated under FireSmart and the community development fund were for the winter works projects funding.
Ms. Duncan: So the platform commitment was to reinstate FireSmart to its original level then. What does the minister consider to be the original level?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The original level of FireSmart under the previous administration was $500,000.
Ms. Duncan: I know that, thanks. Iím asking what the Yukon Party considers the original level of FireSmart to be. They made a commitment to reinstate FireSmart to its original level. What do they consider that level to be?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The level will be $750,000.
Ms. Duncan: Thatís what the Yukon Party considers the original level for FireSmart to be. What does the Yukon Party consider the original level for Project Yukon/CDF to be?
Hon. Mr. Hart: I think the fluctuation in the balance of funding for the community development fund is in a range of anywhere from $1.5 million to around $4 million in its premium time.
Ms. Duncan: And, Mr. Chair, governments have been known to spend $16 million over a four-year period on this particular line item. The Yukon Party pledged to reinstate the CDF/Project Yukon to its original level. Iím asking the minister what he considers ó he was part of the team Yukon that made the commitment ó that commitment to be?
Hon. Mr. Hart: I indicated that it will be somewhere within that level.
Ms. Duncan: So, somewhere in between $1 million and $4.2 million is what has been spent in any given year but, as I said, governments have been known to spend upwards of $16 million over a four-year period. The minister is a part of the team that said they were going to restore it to its original level. Certainly he has a more exact number than between $1 million and $4 million. Can he please state for the record, so we all know what we are talking about here, what is considered to be the original level?
Hon. Mr. Hart: I can assure the member opposite that the Yukon Party wonít be spending $16 million over four years under this particular program. We have some funding set aside in this yearís funding. We also think there will be some revotes in this yearís process, and I believe that revote will put us in the range that I indicated earlier.
Ms. Duncan: It is well and good to say that, well, this year we are going to spend between ó they have asked for an additional $3.5 million, so the total is $4,259,000. Some of that is going to be revoted. Well, as my colleague has said, they are not as broke as they said they were.
That is fine. They are going to come back and ask for a revote. We can discuss it again at that point in time, but I am asking the minister for a very specific commitment because the Yukon Party made a very specific commitment. They said, "We will reinstate the community development fund to its original level." What is that original level? I would like a more exact answer than it is between $750,000 in 2002-03 that was originally voted and the $4,259,000 that is going to be coming back here for a revote. Could the minister be a little more exact than "between $1 million and $4.2 million", please?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We will be committing some funding to both FireSmart and the community development fund in the upcoming year. Once weíve had a chance to sit down and review what weíve done in the past, we will be able to come up with a figure more exact for the member opposite.
Ms. Duncan: Well, Iím going to add that to the list of broken promises or incomplete promises, because it was an incomplete answer. The minister apparently does not intend to give me an answer. The Yukon Party committed ó promised ó Yukoners that they would reinstate the community development fund to its original level. Iím just asking, what level is the "original level" that the Yukon Party refers to in its platform? The minister has responsibility. He was assigned a Cabinet responsibility; he must have been given the list of promises and told that they have to live up to these. Whatís the original level? The minister either wonít or canít answer the question.
There is a $45,000 reduction for recreational facilities. What recreational facility did that come from?
Hon. Mr. Hart: There were two recreational facilities; there was a $40,000 lapse on the Tagish recreation centre and $5,000 from the Ross River recreation centre.
Ms. Duncan: Does the member have any more detail on the lapse with respect to Tagish? I find that very surprising.
Hon. Mr. Hart: I understand the community got what they wanted, and these dollars were just funds lapsed from what they had.
Ms. Duncan: Could I ask the minister to be a little more elaborative than what he is? Which project are we talking about with respect to Tagish? There are a number. In Tagish, there is a lot extension program that falls under this ministerís watch. In Tagish, weíre very interested in having some signs, because of directional issues that are out there. Also, the Tagish Community Centre is traditionally looking for support. Perhaps itís under the community libraries or they got the support another way. What project did they not complete for which theyíre lapsing these funds?
Hon. Mr. Hart: It was for the Tagish recreation centre.
Mr. Cardiff: A lot of the questions that I had have already been answered, but I was wondering if the minister could provide some further information about the reserve fund for Dawson City projects and the need for the extra $65,000 and what the money around the Dawson projects is?
Hon. Mr. Hart: $65,000 is for a revote for the business incentive policy to cover final invoices that were not received at year-end for 2001-02.
Mr. Cardiff: Could the minister tell me whether there is any money for the administrator appointed by the previous government to oversee this project?
Hon. Mr. Hart: No.
Mr. Cardiff: Iím wondering if the minister could tell me what the status of that administrator is at this time?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The supervisor is still in place and performing his duties as assigned.
Chair: Are there any further questions for general debate?
We will then proceed line by line.
On Operations and Maintenance Expenditures
On Corporate Services
Chair: Are there any questions on corporate services?
On Protective Services
Chair: Are there any question on protective services?
On Community Development
Ms. Duncan: Could I have the line explanations for the balance of the items? The minister went through it very quickly, and Iíd like the opportunity to hear that.
Hon. Mr. Hart: The increase consists of $69,000 for sport and recreation, due to additional funding made available through YRAC, which is fully recoverable from the Yukon Lottery Commission.
A further $60,000 provided for the $40,000 in the Western Canada Games and $20,000 for the Senior Winter Games.
An increase of $44,000 in grant-in-lieu paid to municipalities due to increased assessed values and the new local improvement charges.
Community Development in the amount of $173,000 agreed to
On Service Yukon
Ms. Duncan: Could I have the line from the minister, please?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The increase is basically $40,000 for additional funding that includes salary monies: for the director, $16,000; overtime for motor vehicles staff, $11,000; and reclassification of Service Yukon staff around $13,000. We are also looking at an increase of $37,000 for the transfer of the Driver Control Board from the Department of Infrastructure, $10,000 of additional funding for administrative expenses and a $13,000 increase in funding for community libraries.
Ms. Duncan: Is that increase for community libraries for an increase in the hours? There is also a further increase later on in capital. What initiative is this a result of? What are the results of it?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The $13,000 increase in community libraries is basically due to a breakdown for the community libraries on the formula base, whereby when the adjustment was made, most of the libraries affected were in the rural areas. So, rather than decrease their amounts, those amounts were maintained and thus the result.
Service Yukon in the amount of $100,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures for the Department of Community Services in the amount of $97,000 agreed to
Chair: Is there any discussion regarding recoveries? Is there any discussion regarding revenue?
On Capital Expenditures
On Protective Services
On Fire Suppression
Ms. Duncan: Can I have a breakdown from the minister. Is it anticipated that this entire $1.5 million be expended this year or will we be looking for a revote? Does he have a breakdown of the listing of how it has been spent? If he could send that over, it would be appreciated.
Hon. Mr. Hart: Yes, we can do that for her.
Ms. Duncan: Thank you. I look forward to the breakdown, and could the minister answer the question: does he anticipate any of this money lapsing or coming back for a revote?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We are looking in the area of somewhere around $250,000 to $300,000.
FireSmart in the amount of $1,500,000 agreed to
On Emergency Measures
Emergency Measures in the amount of $72,000 agreed to
On Fire Marshal
On Major Facility Maintenance
Chair: Are there any questions on the line, major facility maintenance?
On Fire Protection
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, could the minister outline where weíre spending the additional money?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The increase in this area constitutes a revote of $34,000 for the Hootalinqua fire hall well and an additional $15,000 to complete that same well.
Chair: Is there any further debate regarding the line, fire protection?
Fire Protection in the amount of $49,000 agreed to
On Community Development
On Recreation Facilities
On Carmacks Recreation Centre
Carmacks Recreation Centre in the amount of $26,000 agreed to
On Recreation Facilities
Chair: Are there any questions on recreation facilities?
On Canada Winter Games Infrastructure Fund
Canada Winter Games Infrastructure Fund in the amount of $8,000,000 agreed to
On Community Infrastructure
On Project Yukon
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, the minister earlier indicated that he anticipated lapses in this area and itís possibly coming back for a revote. Does he have an idea of how much heíll be coming back for a revote on?
Hon. Mr. Hart: I anticipate somewhere around $500,000.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, could we follow a similar procedure with the list of FireSmart? Could we have a list of the Project Yukon applications?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Granted.
Mr. Hardy: Could the minister supply the official opposition with one, as well?
Chair: Is there any further discussion regarding the line items?
Mr. Hardy: Could the minister also supply us with a list of all applications, both successful and unsuccessful, for FireSmart and CDF?
Hon. Mr. Hart: With respect to the successful applications, I donít believe we have any problem. Itís with respect to the applications that were rejected that weíll have to converse with them first and get clarification from them.
Mr. Hardy: Is that a policy that is actually stated in the applications?
Hon. Mr. Hart: No specific policy. Weíre just providing them with some courtesy.
Mr. Hardy: Could the minister supply us with the terms on which the applications were judged?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Yes, we can do that.
Chair: Is there any further debate regarding the line, Project Yukon?
Project Yukon in the amount of $3,509,000 agreed to
On Reserve Fund for Dawson City Projects
Mr. Cardiff: I have just a couple more questions around this.
I know there is more money in the 2003-04 budget, but I was just wondering how much more there is in future years for this ongoing project?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We are providing approximately $8.8 million toward the project for the sewage facility, which represents approximately 90 percent of that project, to get into that price ó that amount. As far as the recreation centre, we are providing additional funding, and weíve already made our full commitment to them on that facility.
Mr. Cardiff: Iím not sure I got that but Iíll read the Blues later.
I guess my question is will there be a commitment, or is there a commitment for funds after 2003-04?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We have a commitment for the sewage facility that will be this year and next year.
Reserve Fund for Dawson City Projects in the amount of $65,000 agreed to
On Community Planning
Ms. Duncan: Could we have the line explanation from the minister, please?
Hon. Mr. Hart: This is a revote to prepare the development plan for regulations and the implementation of the Golden Horn local area development plan.
Community Planning in the amount of $22,000 agreed to
On Water Supply, Treatment and Storage
Ms. Duncan: This is the planned expenditure that was voted on and which Community Services has elected not to make. Whatís the reason behind it, and which specific project was it?
Hon. Mr. Hart: This is a result of the reduction of expenditures to get the water going in the Hootalinqua well. We had difficulty getting the water going, and thatís what these funds were for.
Ms. Duncan: So, Mr. Chair, we planned to do $30,000 on the Hootalinqua well but couldnít do it, so we took it out of here and spent it on the $49,000 in fire protection. Thatís what I heard the minister say. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Thatís correct.
On Water and Sewer Mains
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, the water and sewer mains came in $16,000 under. What was the cause of that? Was it a project that came in underbudget or something that we elected not to spend money on?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The main reason for the decrease here is to do with sewer improvements, and itís specifically dealing with the Destruction Bay sewer system because we havenít got a water licence.
Ms. Duncan: Which community?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Destruction Bay.
Chair: Is there any further discussion on the line, water and sewer mains?
On Sewage Treatment and Disposal
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, is this in Carcross?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Yes, Mr. Chair.
Chair: Is there any further debate on the line, sewage treatment and disposal?
Sewage Treatment and Disposal in the amount of $647,000 agreed to
On Flood/Erosion Control
Ms. Duncan: Which community are we not spending that money in?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The community is Ross River.
Ms. Duncan: Why is that money not being spent?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The project is not proceeding at this time.
In view of the time, Mr. Chair ó
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
On Road/Streets Upgrade
Road/Streets Upgrade in the amount of $6,000 agreed to
On Canada/Yukon Infrastructure Agreement
Canada/Yukon Infrastructure Agreement in the amount of $690,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Hart: Mr. Chair, in view of the time, I move that we report progress.
Chair: It has been moved by Mr. Hart that we report progress. Are we agreed?
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Chair: It has been moved by Mr. Jenkins that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call this House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Rouble:Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 32, entitled First Nation Indemnification (Fire Management) Act, and Bill No. 33, entitled Act to Amend the Forest Protection Act, and has directed me to report them without amendment.
Mr. Speaker, Committee of the Whole has also considered Bill No. 2, entitled Third Appropriation Act, 2002-03, and has 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. Member: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Speaker, I move 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 5:58 p.m.