Thursday, April 17, 2003 ó 1:00 p.m.
Speaker:I will now call the House to order. We will proceed at this time with prayers.
Speaker:We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
Introduction of visitors.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Hon. Mr. Fentie:Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce Marie Bernard-Meunier, Canadaís Ambassador to Germany, seated in the Speakerís gallery.
Our countryís ambassador joins us today in the spirit of cooperation and exchange with Germany in both business and government ventures. She is visiting our territory to foster partnerships between Canadian and German industry and government and to help us identify areas of potential growth and expansion in our efforts to improve Yukonís economy. Canada has a solid commercial relationship with Germany, with two-way trade reaching $11 billion in 2000. Germany is also a key investment partner with Canada, with over $10 billion invested between the two countries.
I ask all the hon. members to join me in welcoming Ambassador Bernard-Meunier to the House today with a warm Yukon greeting.
Hon. Mr. Fentie: Iíd also like to introduce, with great pleasure, a former member of this House, the former Minister of Economic Development and MLA for the riding of Faro, who left to go on to other ventures, Mr. Trevor Harding, with us in the gallery today. Please welcome Trevor.
Ms. Duncan: Iím delighted to join with the Premier in welcoming Madame Ambassador, whom I met on the Team Canada trip to Frankfurt.
Also, by coincidence, we have an exchange student with us from Hofheim, Germany, near Frankfurt. Mr. Daniel Ortmann has joined us today. Heís here for a year attending grade 12 at Vanier Catholic Secondary School and staying with Bob and Lois Cameron. Please join me in welcoming him to the gallery.
Speaker: Are there any returns or documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Hart:I rise to table the Yukon Motor Transport Board annual report, April 2001 to March 2002.
Hon. Mr. Fentie: I have for tabling a legislative return for the leader of the third party, in a question on the Canadian environmental assessment process.
I also have for tabling another legislative return for the leader of the third party in regard to a question dealing with Canada, Yukon, CYFN and the development assessment process.
I also have for tabling another legislative return for the leader of the third party involving an oral question on March 17.
I also have for tabling a legislative return for the Member for Mayo-Tatchun on a question at the end of March.
I also have for tabling a legislative return for the leader of the third party on a renewal process.
Speaker: Are there any further returns or documents for tabling?
Are there any reports of committees?
Are there any petitions?
Are there any bills to be introduced?
Are there any notices of motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Ms. Duncan:I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that
(1) the government House leader has an obligation to inform members of the absence of ministers, and he has not done so;
(2) the government House leader has an obligation to inform members of the business of the day, and he has not done so;
(3) the government House leader has an obligation to inform members of the actual order of budget debate, and he has not done so;
(4) the government House leader has an obligation to ensure that the business of the House is conducted in accordance with Standing Order 2(1), which states that the normal hour of adjournment shall be 6:00 p.m., and has not done so; and
THAT this House urges the Premier to appoint a new government House leader or to put the current government House leader on a probationary period and provide him with adequate training with respect to his responsibilities to ensure that the business of the House is conducted in a professional manner.
Speaker: Are there any further notices of motion?
Is there a statement by a minister?
This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Economic Development department, deputy minister appointment
Mr. Hardy:On several occasions, the Premier has said that he will be getting input from stakeholders on how to structure the Economic Development department and even who the new deputy minister should be. Maybe the new Deputy Minister of Economic Development is in the audience now. Iím not so sure. Weíll find out soon enough.
Can the Premier advise us who is representing the stakeholders in the deputy ministerís selection process?
Hon. Mr. Fentie: I enjoy the lightness of heart coming from the leader of the official opposition. I think itís good from time to time that we experience that in this House, given the members oppositeís struggle daily to deal with the government side in terms of debate and constructive debate.
However, itís not my place to appoint these people to the hiring of the deputy minister. I can certainly, with some research, find out who the public, or private, stakeholders are that are involved in the process of hiring. Of course, weíd like to talk to them to see if theyíre interested in having their names being brought forward, but itís a very open process. We wanted to involve the stakeholders. Weíre going to continue down that road. Weíre at the very last stages of the list of nominees or applicants and look forward to appointing a deputy minister in the very near future for the new Department of Economic Development.
Mr. Hardy: Well, this is the minister of the new department and the minister should know who the stakeholders are if heís being consulted, unless he doesnít have a handle on this department at all.
The Premier has done a lot of talking about making First Nations full partners in the economy and all other aspects of Yukon life but, when it comes to seeking input on its flagship Economic Development department, First Nations apparently didnít make the A list. Itís fascinating to see who this government considers stakeholders in economic development. Labour certainly didnít make the A list. As a matter of fact, it probably didnít even make the B list, judging from the recent experiences theyíve had with the minister responsible for the Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board.
Will the Premier set the record straight so we know what kind of government to expect for the next four years? Who is on this governmentís A list and B list, and who will this government ignore because theyíre special interest groups?
Hon. Mr. Fentie: Iíd like to inform the leader of the official opposition that there are no lists. Weíre not keeping lists. We view the citizenry of this territory as very important. We recognize their concerns when it comes to economic development ó itís the number one issue in the territory ó and, when it comes to the number one priority of this government ó formalizing our relationship with First Nations ó we are proceeding in that fashion.
All the members opposite have had a great deal of difficulty with our approach to First Nations. Theyíre opposing it and, frankly, Mr. Speaker, it speaks volumes of their view and vision of this territory when it comes to First Nations and all Yukon citizens, especially in areas of priority like economic development.
Mr. Hardy: The Premier keeps insisting that the Economic Development department is a work in progress, and nothing will happen until a new DM is in place. We heard this over the last couple days, every time we ask this question. He even suggested to the media that the departmentís Web site was all the work of some gung ho employees, but Web site designers donít call the shots about what programs and services are going to be offered in the department, and they donít add ministerial statements or messages without authorization.
With whom did the Premier consult before giving instructions about the programs and services that are currently listed on the Economic Development Web site? Was it the transition team, his Cabinet colleagues, the department of Executive Council Office, or was there already an A list of stakeholders ó and there are lists, Mr. Speaker, weíve already heard it from him previous ó that were at work before April 1?
Hon. Mr. Fentie: I must make the member opposite aware of the fact that, under renewal, the very misguided process by the former Liberal government, the Department of Economic Development was dismantled and very good public servants ó very dedicated and committed servants to the economics of this territory and its future ó were dispersed throughout government. These people are very committed to their jobs and are working diligently, even though they have been spread, under renewal, throughout government with no recognition of the validity and merit that they bring to this debate. So we urge those employees to seize the initiative.
We have stated on the floor of this House that we have embarked on a process of structuring the Department of Economic Development. There are no lists. Everybody ó everybody ó has a role to play. We seek input. We begin by appointing a deputy minister. That process has stakeholder input on whom that person should be, and I would say, Mr. Speaker, letís look at the budget. We have $1 for the Department of Economic Development in this budget and weíve done a lot of work with $1.
Question re: Roads to resources
Mr. McRobb:I have a question for the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources. He said yesterday that a $64,000 roads to resources project was vital to the future of the Yukonís economy. He said it would be complete within two weeks and his department would be releasing the completed version as soon as possible. Apparently the minister will be promoting the report in a handsome two-CD set.
Iím hoping he can share with us his plans for distributing this report. Will it be sent to the hundreds of companies on the departmentís mailing list for the mining, forestry, and oil and gas industries? Thatís the $64,000 question. What are this ministerís distribution plans for this report?
Hon. Mr. Lang: I appreciate the member opposite. I would like to remind him again that this study is an access corridor study. It was commissioned by the previous government. This study is a technical, engineering study that will be used for future planning.
Mr. McRobb: The minister failed to answer the question, again, Mr. Speaker; weíre getting used to it.
I would like to turn now to this Yukon Partyís consultation process. Its boastful declarations of full partnership with Yukon First Nations have turned out to be only cheap talk. This government neglected to fully involve First Nations at the start of this process. It approached others first and put First Nations on the consultation B list ó shame, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday I asked the minister if he would slow down his fast-track process to approve the report, but he insisted it would be full speed ahead. An article in yesterdayís Yukon News quotes First Nations asking the minister to start over. Will he oblige this request and restart this project with the full involvement of Yukon First Nations from the very beginning?
Hon. Mr. Lang: Again, Iíd like to remind the member opposite that we did not commission this study. This study was commissioned and done by the previous government. We are working government to government with First Nations and we, on this side, are committed to do that on every level of government. As far as not working with the First Nations, we did not commission this; we did not carry out the study; we just received the final book on it, and we will be releasing it when itís final.
Mr. McRobb: Mr. Speaker, Yukoners are getting tired of this government pointing the finger at other people. Itís time for this government to take responsibility for its actions.
It was interesting to read in the article that the minister admitted he made mistakes. Perhaps he can explain exactly what mistakes he feels were made. Letís return to the Yukon Partyís consultation process. Instead of promoting respectful relations with Yukon First Nations and wanting to build true partnerships, this governmentís approach to the consultation is to inform and brief. Those are the ministerís own words, "inform and brief." That means no opportunity to reshape the report based on feedback from First Nation governments and stakeholders.
When will the minister finally get around to approaching Yukon First Nations? Two were contacted in advance of the other 12. Can the minister tell us which two those were?
Hon. Mr. Lang: In answer to the member opposite, our government works with First Nations on a government-to-government basis. Any resource access issues will be handled on a government-to-government basis. Any other planning will be handled on a government-to-government basis.
The First Nations, as far as our government is concerned, are governments. They are not special interest groups and theyíre not treated as such.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Mr. Lang: Will you let me finish my statement, please?
We treat governments, government to government, and this is unfamiliar to the member opposite, but this is the way this government is proceeding, Mr. Speaker, and you will see a lot more of this in the future.
Question re: Legal aid funding
Ms. Duncan:I have a question for the Minister of Justice. The Yukon Liberal government recognized the importance of legal aid to Yukoners and increased legal aid funding in the Yukon. Unfortunately, the Yukon Party government does not place the same value on legal aid that we did. On page 13-26 of the Yukon Party budget, we see that the Yukon Party government is taking the territory backward in time, yet again, and has cut legal aid funding by seven percent.
Mr. Speaker, the Yukon Party made a promise to Yukoners in its campaign platform to enhance legal aid services, not to cut the funding ó another promise made, another promise broken.
Could the minister tell us how a seven-percent cut in funding to legal aid is going to improve legal aid services?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: As the member opposite refers to, the Yukon Legal Services Society does a very good job in delivering services to all Yukoners. Legal aid ó it is unfortunate that, yes indeed, it did take a reduction in funding, but Iím very proud to say that we are maintaining 70 percent of that funding, whereas the federal Liberal government is only delivering 30 percent of that funding.
I should also mention that we are living up to our obligations, as was explained in our platform, and I should just remind the member opposite that we are contributing $1,356,000 this fiscal year.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, the minister did not fully answer the question, which was how a cut to legal aid funding is going to improve legal aid services.
In order to get elected, the Yukon Party promised to "extend legal aid coverage for persons seeking permanent child custody orders". Itís estimated that this would cost an additional $300,000 per year to implement this change. Instead, the Minister of Justice has cut the legal aid funding by $100,000 a year.
Why was this specific promise to extend legal aid coverage for persons seeking permanent child custody orders broken? Why was this promise broken?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Quite to the contrary, Mr. Speaker. I believe we are maintaining our commitments as outlined within our platform. Approximately a couple years ago, we were able to increase the funding available to legal aid. As a result of sound management, thanks to the society and the efforts of Yukon governments ó previous as well as present ó family services were able to be expanded in three ways, which included applications for permanent custody of children, applications to vary support orders in Supreme Court, and representation in certain proceedings under the Family Violence Prevention Act. So we are continuing these efforts. Iím pleased to say that even though this reduction in funding took place and we had to make difficult decisions, as the member opposite knew, we were left in a bit of a financial crunch thanks to the previous government, and we had to make some very difficult decisions, but I believe that we were able to do so in a responsible manner. We have been in contact with the Yukon Legal Services Society, and we have been guaranteed that the services being delivered will not be reduced in any fashion. Again, I just refer to the federal government, the Liberal government. Their reduction in funding over the years ó theyíre contributing 30 percent ó
Speaker: Order please.
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Weíre contributing 70 percent ó
Speaker: Order please. Would the minister conclude.
Ms. Duncan: First of all, because there is a surplus, cutting the budget, then, because all the money wasnít spent, is like closing a fire hall because there were no fires last week. The Yukon Party made a very specific commitment that has not been met. The promise has been broken. What the Yukon Party has done is exhibited for all Yukoners a pattern to the spending choices by the government. They chose to cut funding to the most vulnerable in society while looking after their own. Theyíve chosen to cut legal aid funding for single parents looking for help to keep their children. Theyíve chosen instead to give $20,000 raises to the top chief of staff in the Premierís office. They cut the health investment fund, which funds projects related to support for new mothers, support services for people who have been diagnosed with cancer. They have chosen instead to waste money on sole-source contracts to former candidates. This government made many promises to Yukoners in order to get elected. One of those promises was to extend legal aid coverage for persons seeking permanent child custody orders.
Speaker: Order please. Would the member ask her question, please.
Ms. Duncan: Certainly, I will.
When will the minister stop breaking her promises and keep this commitment?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Again, I canít overstate enough that we are maintaining our commitments. We have four years. We are a government of five months. And believe you me, over the last five months, I believe what we have been able to accomplish as a government is very laudable, given the financial predicament that the member opposite provided us.
As I will just restate here, we are maintaining our commitment. Applications for permanent custody of children are being done right now. That service is not being reduced, so we are maintaining our commitment. Again, we are maintaining 70 percent of the funding ó 30 percent thanks to the federal Liberal government.
Question re: Tombstone Interpretive Centre
Mrs. Peter:The Minister of Environment has now had ample opportunity to review the contents of a second letter objecting to statements he made in this House about his decision to delay the construction of an interpretive centre in Tombstone Park. Just for the record, Mr. Speaker, I am tabling that letter from the Chief of the Tríondëk Hwëchíin First Nation, which was also copied to the MLA for Klondike and to the Premier.
In that letter, the chief wrote, "We have looked through our Elders Council minutes and there is nothing to suggest to us that they asked the Yukon government to halt development of the centre."
The Minister of Environment has now received two very clear letters on this subject, so would he like to amend or clarify his explanation of why he put the interpretive centre on hold?
Hon. Mr. Kenyon: Itís interesting to note that there are two different claims in that question: first of all, that we have halted the centre, which is incorrect and, second, that we have put it on hold, which is correct. For the record, there has been no meeting with the Elders Council; the meeting has been with elders, which is what I stated. I asked the member opposite, do we listen to the Elders Council or do we listen to individual elders who had a very valid point? The existence of the centre is not in question. The question is: where do we put that centre? That is very well-specified in the Tombstone management plan and is very well-laid out and known to both sides.
Mrs. Peter: In an earlier exchange, the minister implied that I had gone against the decision of elders. This is a very grave issue for me. The chiefís letter also says this, "It is of the utmost importance that the wisdom and words of the elders are not used to justify a position your government has taken."
Iíll quote further: "It is necessary that we do not make hasty decisions nor pick and choose what we believe we heard to justify our predetermined aim."
How does this minister intend to repair this situation his statements created? Will he now apologize to the respected elders and the Chief and Council of Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in, and will he commit to a meeting with them by May 15, as I have repeatedly requested?
Hon. Mr. Kenyon: Chief Taylorís words certainly are very valid and very important to note on that. He notes the words of others, and I have to have my own concerns that we are really talking about words of others.
He asked that we not make hasty decisions, and I agree. It is very important that we not make hasty decisions. In fact, that is my very point, Mr. Speaker ó to make a hasty decision is very inappropriate ó and that we not pick and choose individual words to try to make personal or political gain.
The process involved is very clearly laid out in the Tombstone management plan, which is under negotiation as we speak, and included in that management plan is the importance of the elders, be it through the Elders Council or individual elders. That is the choice of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in and that is the information that I am awaiting now, and I will not jump to conclusions and put the centre in an inappropriate place until the steering committee and the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in have agreed that it go into a proper place.
Mrs. Peter: The letter from the Chief of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in is very clear. Again I quote from the letter: "It has been a long-standing goal of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in chief and council to realize the development of the Tombstone Park with complete building of an interpretive centre." With this governmentís commitment to have government-to-government relationships with First Nation governments, I feel that is questionable.
Again, will the minister make a commitment that the money required to build the interpretive centre in the Tombstone Park will be in this fallís budget so that the construction can begin next year?
Hon. Mr. Kenyon: The member opposite, as usual, has some good points in there. It has been a long-standing goal of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in to build this centre. The beginnings of the discussion of the centre started in 1992. It proceeds through a New Democratic Party government. It proceeds through a Liberal Party government and, finally, we have an agreement on a Tombstone management plan.
It commits our government to deal with the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in on a government-to-government basis ó something the members opposite seem to be having a great deal of difficulty with.
It is our intention to follow that. The management plan lays out clearly that that steering committee will make the determination of the role of the elders. It will make the determination of where the Tombstone interpretive centre is to go. It is, basically, mandated to design that centre and to meet all of the criteria.
To do what the member opposite suggests violates the Tombstone management plan. I will not do that until I am fully in agreement with the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in. It is their right as a government and I respect that government. This side of the House does.
Question re: Kaska First Nation land agreement
Mr. Hardy:Two days ago, the Premier went to great lengths to explain that the negotiations going on in Kaska country are not land claims negotiations. We accept the Premierís word on that.
This round of negotiations is outside the land claims box. In other words, itís a side deal. Itís a side deal about economic development in southeast Yukon. The Kaska Dena Council chief made that clear on the radio a few days ago.
The Premier has not denied that land is part of a side deal.
So my question is: is the land required for an access corridor to forest resources and to oil and gas resources, or any other Yukon land in Kaska traditional territory, part of these outside-the-box negotiations? Yes or no?
Hon. Mr. Fentie: The member should well know that access to oil and gas resources in the southeast Yukon already have a road to them, and itís mile 317 on the Alaska Highway, 17 miles out of Fort Nelson. He should also be well aware of the fact that existing access to the existing forest resource available in southeast Yukon also has a road to it. So, obviously, this is not part of the negotiations.
We committed to do everything we could to avert litigation. Thatís what this negotiation is about and, in doing so, because of the uncertainty left with the unfinished business with the First Nation in southeast Yukon, when and if we are successful in averting litigation and concluding a deal, we will be able, along with the Kaska, to begin responsible development in southeast Yukon that will have benefits accruing to every Yukoner and, indeed, help us to begin turning our economy around.
Thatís what the negotiation is about. Itís not about land or giving anything away. Itís about working together to address one of the major problems in this territory ó our economy ó and to address the fact that the federal government has left this territory with unfinished business when it comes to First Nations.
Mr. Hardy: That was a nice little speech, once again, from the Premier ó another lecture. It doesnít take much to connect the dots on whatís going on here. The Premier has invested huge amounts of political capital in developing economic partnerships with First Nations. The Premier is fully prepared to go outside the land claims box to do it. Heís doing it with the Kaska; heís doing it with the Kwanlin Dun. He has a full-time staff and a well-paid contractor dedicated to making deals.
How many other outside-the-box negotiations are currently taking place with First Nations that do not have final agreements in place? Which ones involve land over and above the quantum set in the Umbrella Final Agreement? Letís see if we can get answers to these questions.
Hon. Mr. Fentie: The member well knows that the negotiations with First Nations are within the parameters of the Umbrella Final Agreement. The specific issue with southeast Yukon was to avert litigation and, in doing so, assist us in working with the Kaska Nation in helping turn our economy around.
In regard to land quantum, this is not a question here. This is not a land claim negotiation. So the member opposite is incorrect and, frankly, Mr. Speaker, I think the members opposite should be ashamed of themselves in using the First Nations of this territory as a political football. Our commitments are clear. We are going to take a different approach with First Nations. We are going to collaborate with them in governing this territory and in developing this territoryís economy.
Weíre also going to take a collaborative approach with the First Nations on justice, as we did with Kwanlin Dun when it comes to correctional reform and the designing and the structuring of a facility. These are part of the commitments we made, contrary to the members oppositeís constant accusations that we are breaking promises.
We are not breaking promises. Weíre carrying them out, weíre delivering on our promises, and the opposition benches have a great deal of difficulty with that because it puts them in a compromising position, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Hardy: Mr. Speaker, Iíd like you to take note of how this debate is going here. The Premier gets up and shouts abuse at us across the way, makes all kinds of accusations about us, tells us we do not have respectful negotiations; we do not respect. Frankly, we have been trying to raise the level of debate in this House, and all we do is get accusations from the other side. All you have to do is look at Hansard. Thatís being led by the Premier.
We do respect. We respect the people across this Legislature, and we respect all people of the Yukon, including the First Nations, no matter what that Premier wants to say about us on this side when we ask a simple question, which he refuses to answer.
This Premier has talked over and over again about the need for certainty. The Yukon has gone through 30 years of land claims and self-government negotiations to bring about that kind of certainty. At long last, the end is in sight. But now, with secret negotiations and his economic side deals, this Premier is running the serious risk of creating even more uncertainty.
Is the Premier negotiating outside the box, dealing with the First Nations that already have final agreements in place, and if so, is there a cap on the amount of land he is prepared to put on the table?
Hon. Mr. Fentie: Well, Mr. Speaker, I really enjoy this line of questioning. The member opposite has stated theyíre here to raise the level of debate. Iíd like to point out that you have to participate in the debate, unlike yesterday, to do so. Thatís not happening by the members opposite.
Second, there is no land involved here. We are committed to do everything we can to avert litigation. Thatís what the negotiation is about, and in doing so, removing the uncertainty of unfinished business with the Kaska Nation and allowing us to proceed with responsible development in partnership with the First Nation ó another commitment weíve made to create full partnerships in economic development with the First Nations of this territory. Thatís what weíre doing. These are not secret deals. This is honouring our commitment.
The reason, Mr. Speaker, that the member has a problem with this is because past governments have failed to do this. The only reason weíre at the juncture we are today when it comes to land claims is because the federal government put in the shotgun clause and pulled out of here March 31. They have left the negotiations. Itís up to us now in the Yukon to ensure that we not only formalize our relationship but also make sure Canada honours its fiduciary responsibility to the First Nations and this territory. Weíre carrying that out, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed, and we will proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Bill No. 31: Second Reading
Clerk:Second reading, Bill No. 31, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. Fentie.
Hon. Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 31, entitled Act to Amend the Income Tax Act, be now read a second time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Premier that Bill No. 31, entitled Act to Amend the Income Tax Act, be now read a second time.
Hon. Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, Iím very pleased to introduce this bill. This bill extends the Yukon mineral exploration tax credit for one more year. The credit was to expire on March 31, 2003 and will now continue to March 31, 2004.
The extension of the credit acknowledges the continuing downturn in exploration spending and difficulties faced by smaller mining operators in raising money for exploration. The mining industry has told us clearly that the credit is very important in leveraging funds for Yukon mining exploration. It is difficult to estimate what the uptake will be on this measure, but I believe, based on past experience, that it will be in the neighbourhood of $2 million for the fiscal year 2003-04.
I believe the credit is money well-used, and Iím very happy to help this important economic sector in these very difficult times.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the extension of the mineral exploration tax credit and this amendment to the Income Tax Act. It is perhaps another interesting coincidence before members today that the former Minister of Economic Development was in the gallery, because this exploration tax credit was introduced by the NDP government. The Liberal government not only increased the allowable amount but extended it, and Iím very pleased that the Yukon Party government has chosen to extend it as well, and I offer my support for this bill.
Mr. McRobb: I appreciate the former Premier indicating it was an NDP government that created this incentive for the mining industry. As all members know and appreciate ó maybe not during Question Period, Mr. Speaker ó the New Democrats do believe in sustainable development of the Yukon Territory. We have respect for the people of the territory, and we want to foster future economic growth and provide jobs so people can stay in the territory and stop the leakage to outside.
For all those reasons, Mr. Speaker, we are in support of this amendment to the act.
Speaker: If the hon. Premier now speaks, he will close debate.
Hon. Mr. Fentie: I would like to extend our appreciation from the government side for the members opposite supporting what is a minor change in legislation, but obviously very important to the mining sector. We are very hopeful that this will encourage the mining industry to look more closely at the Yukon and possibly see us benefit a little more than we have in the last few years when it comes to exploration of our vast mineral resources here in the Yukon.
I also want to make mention of the fact that it was not governments that really created this initiative. Yes, it happened under the former New Democratic governmentís watch, but I want to send the accolades out to the hard-working Yukon citizens who sat at the tax round table and came up with these ideas and initiatives and made the recommendations for government. Itís a good thing when we see citizens involved in this way and governments acting on their recommendations.
Thatís why this particular amendment, this particular initiative, is successful ó because itís driven from the citizenry, not from government.
Motion for second reading of Bill No. 31 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: I move 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 matter before the Committee is Bill No. 34, Act to Amend the Municipal Act.
Do members wish a 15-minute recess?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will resume at 2:00 p.m..
Chair: Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will continue on with Bill No. 34, Act to Amend the Municipal Act, and begin with general debate.
Bill No. 34 ó Act to Amend the Municipal Act
Hon. Mr. Hart:This Act to Amend the Municipal Act will improve the municipal election process. The act will support public participation in municipal government by lowering the electoral threshold for public votes and public inquiries.
It will also provide greater clarification and consistency in the community planning process and the subdivision process for municipalities.
On March 20 when I introduced this bill, the member of the third party commented itís unfortunate that the minister, in bringing this forward, did not point out that the Association of Yukon Communities was not given advance notice of these changes and that the changes were forthcoming this spring. I want to clarify for the record the Association of Yukon Communities does not share this view, and I wish to table for the members present a letter received from the Association of Yukon Communities, dated March 21, in which they state they were fully involved in the Municipal Act Review Committee for the selection of members, co-chairs, identification of issues, drafting recommended amendments to the Municipal Act and, in addition, Association of Yukon Communities recognizes the government has worked hard to bring this bill forward at the earliest possible date.
I look forward to completing the process and improving the Municipal Act and to discussing each of the proposed amendments.
Mr. Cardiff: Mr. Speaker, Iíd like to state that we, on this side of the House, will be supporting this amendment to the Municipal Act. Iíd like at this time to take the opportunity to thank the officials in the department for their explanation and the briefing they provided to us on these changes, and recognize that this is largely a housekeeping matter. These amendments will improve the municipal electoral process and this is a good thing for municipalities and for the people of the Yukon.
I look forward later today to debating other things that are contained in the Municipal Act in Community Services and will be raising questions about other things in Community Services that are important to municipalities and local governments in the Yukon. But I have no questions around this Act to Amend the Municipal Act.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, I would also like to, on the public record, acknowledge the work of the officials and public servants and those who hold public office at the municipal level for their work on these changes. The Municipal Act, as originally changed, was a lengthy process and itís ongoing. Itís well recognized as one of the best municipal acts in the country. This is further improvement to it. Itís really straightforward housekeeping. I have no questions either in lines and no further questions in general debate. I am prepared, if my colleagues in the Legislature agree, to constructively move the bill read and carried.
Mr. McRobb: I think we might be prepared to agree to that motion.
I have one question for the minister. I know when the Municipal Act has been amended in the past, the consultation process involved what is known as MARC, the Municipal Act Review Committee. Can the minister tell us if MARC was involved in this process and who the members on that committee are?
Hon. Mr. Hart: I thank the member opposite for the question. The MARC, or Municipal Act Review Committee, was involved from the original concept. Itís now called MARC II.
The makeup of MARC II is the executive director of the Association of Yukon Communities, a city clerk for the City of Whitehorse, a councillor from the City of Whitehorse, the chief administrative officer for the City of Whitehorse, the chief administrative officer for the City of Dawson, the chief administrative officer for the Village of Carmacks, a councillor from the Town of Faro, a senior manager for the Department of Community Services, and the senior advisor from the Department of Community Services.
Chair: Is there any further general debate?
Unanimous consent re deeming clauses and title of Bill No. 34 read and agreed to
Ms. Duncan:I request that we deem Bill No. 34 and its clauses and title read and carried.
Chair: Ms. Duncan has requested the unanimous consent of the Committee to deem all clauses and title of Bill No. 34 read and carried. Are you agreed?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: There is unanimous consent.
Clauses 1 to 17 and Title deemed to have been read and agreed to
Hon. Mr. Hart: I move that Bill No. 34, Act to Amend the Municipal Act, be reported without amendment.
Chair: It has been moved by Mr. Hart that Bill No. 34, Act to Amend the Municipal Act, be reported without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Chair: Weíll move on with Bill No. 4, First Appropriation Act, 2003-04.
Bill No. 4 ó First Appropriation Act, 2003-04 ó continued
Department of Justice
Hon. Ms. Taylor:Iím very pleased today to present the Justice department main estimates for the 2003-04 fiscal year, starting off with the operation and maintenance budget, which will total $34,089,000. Approximately 90 percent of the departmentís budget is spent on fixed costs. The contract with the RCMP for policing services, personnel cost, departmental communications and utility costs, contract services, grants and contributions remain the major expenditure areas for the Justice department.
The Department of Justice has discretionary authority for approximately 10 percent of its budget. There are many externally driven demands that the Department of Justice does its best to anticipate and meet in a responsible and accountable manner.
Externally driven demands include such things as salary increases for RCMP officers, Territorial Court judiciary compensation costs, coronerís inquests and autopsies, rate hearings with the Yukon Utilities Board and other items.
Of the overall budgeted amount of $34,089,000, approximately $15,145,000 or 44 percent covers personnel costs alone. These costs for the department represent collective agreement increases and associated benefit costs.
The amount of $12,436,000, or 37 percent of the overall 2003-04 budget, will be spent on policing services in the Yukon.
A total of $3,228,000, or nine percent of the overall budget, will be spent on transfer payments to groups or individuals who deliver programs on behalf of our department.
Finally, $3,280,000 is allocated for all remaining program costs.
The operations and maintenance budget breakdown for each branch in the Justice department is as follows:
The management services branch is responsible for supporting policy and program delivery through the provision of planning analysis, communications, financial, human and physical resource management. The worker advocate office is also included in this branch.
Management services budget for this year is $2,346,000. Court services branch is responsible for the operation of the Yukon court system and provides support for the judiciary. The branch also runs programs such as the maintenance enforcement program, child support guidelines, witness administration and the sheriffís office. The total budgeted for court services is $4,534,000.
The legal services branch drafts legislation, litigates civil matters and prosecutes a wide variety of territorial offences. This branch is also responsible for First Nation administration of justice negotiations and provides legal advice to the Government of Yukon.
The branch also administers the access to justice agreement, which provides core funding to the aboriginal courtworker program, legal aid and the Yukon Public Legal Education Association.
In the 2003-04 estimates, the legal services branch is allocated $3,854,000. The regulatory services budget line item reflects the activities of the land titles office, the public administratorís office and the budget for the Yukon Utilities Board.
The community and correctional services branch administers probation services for adult offenders, the victim services and family violence prevention unit, as well as the territoryís correctional facility. The community and correctional services budget for this year is $8,556,000. The community justice and public safety branch administers programs directed at promoting public awareness and safety, promoting respect for the law through effective policing and community justice initiatives in administering programs directed at crime prevention. The community justice and public safety budget for 2003-04 is $13,721,000.
The funds provided for the human rights program for this fiscal year are $411,000.
The main goal of the department, again, is to enhance public confidence and respect for the law and society by promoting an open, fair, and accessible justice system. We strive to achieve this through a responsive and efficient budgetary framework.
Moving on to the capital, this fiscal year totals $318,000. The 2003-04 capital budget for systems administration is $155,000. The department will be focusing on planning and development for long-term systems technology requirements.
Over the course of the next year, this planning will enable systematic replacement and upgrading based on individual branch needs, as well as ensuring national and industry information and technology requirements are maintained. The management services branch is responsible for information systems planning and development, involving all work related to planning analysis, design development and implementation of Justice information systems, as well as maintenance of existing systems.
The capital building maintenance projects include office space renovations, painting, carpeting, plumbing, electrical and other repairs of buildings occupied by the Department of Justice. These costs involve damage repairs, renovations work and preventive maintenance.
The capital budget for this year for building maintenance renovations is $60,000. As well, the total management services capital budget for 2003-04 is $215,000.
The other program branch in the Department of Justice with responsibility for capital projects is the community and correctional services branch with three projects for a total capital budget of $103,000. The community and correctional services capital budget for equipment replacement involves the replacement of broken and worn out equipment and tools. All equipment identified will be transferable to a new facility when completed.
The total 2003-04 capital budget for replacement equipment is $18,000. The community and correctional services capital budget for new equipment projects involves the purchase of new equipment that either did not exist at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre previously or significantly improves or enhances the functionality of equipment it replaces.
The total capital budget for this fiscal year for new equipment is $12,000.
In closing, the correctional facility renovations include improvements as recommended in the capital maintenance reports supplied by the Department of Highways and Public Works. The total capital budget for 2003-04 for correctional facility renovations is $73,000. Total budgeted capital expenditures for the Department of Justice for 2003-04 is $318,000.
Mrs. Peter: It is my pleasure today as the Justice critic for the official opposition to bring forward some questions to the minister and to address outstanding issues.
I would just like to say thank you to the department for all the good work they have done for us and to address various issues and areas within the Justice department. This is very essential so that the public and our constituents can gain some understanding of this very complex department. There are many issues that are very broad. The issues that need addressing are connected to other departments, such as Health and Social Services, such as the Education department, Community Services for the housing shortages that are out there. It touches also on the area of youth and the Womenís Directorate, et cetera.
These issues are not central to Whitehorse, Mr. Chair. These issues that weíre going to address are many throughout our communities in the Yukon, and the communities face double the concerns here in Whitehorse. The challenges are double also. And the communities make do with whatever limited resources they have, whether it be people resources or monetary resources.
When we talk about incarceration ó I canít even say that word properly because itís almost a foreign word to me, but thatís the men, the women and the youth we put in jails or who go to jail.
This impacts not only the individuals but their partners and their children and their families and the community as a whole. I think we have agreed in this House before that when we place individuals in these facilities, itís more like warehousing inmates than anything else. That warehousing takes place when thereís very little for programming to address the concerns that these individuals may have.
Iíd like to start off by talking about the condition right now of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. Itís nothing new. It has been an issue for many years. This facility right now, I believe, is a very dangerous place. Itís a fire hazard, and yet we expect people to work there. We expect people to live under those conditions. Recently in the new year, in January, there were decisions made by this government to put a new facility that was being planned for a few years on hold. That was very disappointing. There was a memorandum of understanding that was signed a month later between this government and a First Nation in Whitehorse, and Iíve heard that issue brought up time and again in this House. How long is that delay going to be?
We respect that there is a government-to-government relationship. However, the delay in building a new building or renovating the decrepit building that we have ó how long is that going to take? How much money is that going to cost?
Also, getting back to the memorandum of understanding that was signed, I believe that, in this House, there was a letter that was referred to that went out to all First Nations in the Yukon. I would like to ask this minister for a copy of that letter. Also, I requested a copy of the report numerous times and I have yet to receive any correspondence. The information that I request will help me in addressing issues that I need to put forward to this minister, so hopefully we can get some answers. There are many questions out there that have been brought to my attention regarding decisions that were made ó probably not by this minister but by the Premier himself. So we need to get that clarification. The uncertainty and the confusion that this causes for people out there doesnít have to be.
One of the questions that I would like to ask is: how much does it cost to have an inmate at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre for one day?
I have asked several other questions and the minister can provide those answers for me.
Hon. Ms. Taylor: The Member for Vuntut Gwitchin raises some very important questions. She raises some very legitimate concerns, and I believe that the member opposite and I certainly have those in common.
The member opposite spoke about services. Actually, she spoke about a number of issues, and Iíll try my very best to address each one of them ó the best I am able to at this time.
With respect to the member oppositeís comments regarding warehousing and simply holding inmates, clients within the Whitehorse Correctional Centre facility, the member is absolutely correct. As the member opposite well knows, we have a very high rate of recidivism in the territory, one of the highest in the country and, in addition to that, a large percentage of the clients within the facility are of First Nation ancestry.
Because of those two factors, we as a government, and based on our commitments in our platform to deal with government-to-government relations, are committed to working with Yukon First Nations in seeking various options with respect to programming in the communities. We happen to concur that if there are programs available within the communities so that individuals are closer to their roots, so to speak, and their friends, perhaps the recovery will be all the more speedier.
And so that is one of our intentions. My intention as Minister of Justice is to look at the various options out in the communities to see what we can deliver. That will help reduce the rate of inmates, clients returning to the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. Keeping in mind that when, in fact, we do arrive at some options for programming within the communities, that in turn will affect the scope, the design of the project at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre ó to go up.
So, while I understand and appreciate, wholeheartedly, the concerns surrounding the delay of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, I think that this is a responsible approach. Weíve received a lot of interest from various Yukon First Nations over the last few months in their expression of interest in becoming involved in this process. We hope to be able to get on with matters. We donít wish to postpone this project indefinitely, but we also need to take some time and to work and identify with ó between our Department of Justice as well as the other departments. And the member alluded to the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Social Services ó itís all encompassing ó as well as all Yukon First Nations in coming up with some various options.
The member had mentioned her question was a copy of the response to her request for information for the fire marshalís report. My apologies for the delay in getting this to you. This was just sent over to your office, I believe, about 20 minutes ago ó so it should be in your officeís hands ó as well as a couple of other requests for information from the leader of the third party.
The member also asked what dollar figure is associated with housing an inmate within the Whitehorse correctional facility. I believe it is $247 a day, and I have been led to believe that this is perhaps the highest cost per inmate per capita for any jurisdiction in the country.
Mrs. Peter: I thank the minister for her answers. We agree on a few issues, and itís good to have some issues in common in this environment, given what weíve been through over the past couple of days. Weíre finally getting some answers to some of the questions we have asked.
The reason I ask the minister about the cost of holding an inmate for one day at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre is ó there has been promotion for the last number of years of the idea of restorative justice, and that idea, I believe, is still supported out there in the communities, especially given the number of cases that come before the community court circuits.
It would be very valuable for the minister to request some of that information. I know a number of reports have been done within the last five years, and I have said before that, no matter what political stripe is on that report, the information within that report is very valuable. It comes from every community in the Yukon. There are key resource people who put forth very specific information regarding how theyíd like to see justice in their communities, or see justice addressed. I believe that justice is a community responsibility also.
Having said that, holding an inmate for one day is $247 a day. If you add that up in one year, that is a significant amount of money. Some of the communities have requested that, to address justice issues, money could very well be placed with the communities to address their own concerns. Who would know the concerns and how to deal with the people better than the communities? There are cultural and traditional values to instill ó to promote wellness and a healthy environment, not only for the individual who is going to be before the court system, but for their families and communities to get involved.
When an individual is before the court and sentencing has been passed, the individual has to travel from whichever community to come to Whitehorse to be housed at this security facility. There is a great deal that happens for the whole family and the whole community. They are concerned for that individual.
Yes, the individual has to face the consequence of his actions ó Iím not saying that that doesnít have to take place ó but sometimes the individual faces more of a consequence with his or her own people than having to come down and sit in that facility, watch TV for 24 hours a day, not getting anywhere except worrying about what is going on back home and worrying about his or her family.
I believe that the restorative justice measure addresses those very issues, and I would strongly recommend to the minister to take some of that information and bring it forward, not have it sit on a shelf and collect dust for the next however many years, because that information is key. A lot of people have been interviewed ó key people in our community who work with the people who are affected and impacted.
Before an individual becomes one of the statistics being held in this security facility, there are issues that can be dealt with within the Justice department in prevention so that circle, or cycle, can be broken, especially in the area of prevention.
Iíve seen some very successful cases in my community. The numbers are high. Sometimes the success rate is very small. Sometimes itís one individual out of maybe 20, but a seed has been planted, and thereís hope instilled. The person feels good about who they are, and they can address their needs, especially if there are resources there.
I mentioned earlier that the resources in our community are very minimal. The challenges are great, but we have some of the greatest people in those departments who are willing to say, "Yes, Iíll be there." Theyíve already been there a number of years.
A couple years ago, the very first time that I attended a court circuit in my community, I was very pleasantly surprised to walk into this setting that used to be so intimidating to find people communicating with each other. The person who is before the court is sitting there, surrounded by family members. The people who are conducting the court are very open with the people who are witnessing what is going on. Itís not as intimidating as it used to be. I find that very, very comforting, because this will give individuals a chance to address their own individual needs and be able to come and stand up before the judge and say, "These are what my needs are." The people who are there to support them come out and say, "Yes, weíre here, weíll help walk this individual through." We need to see more of that.
Some of this $247 per day can be used toward those kinds of measures and to help promote wellness within our communities. That, in itself, is a goal for our First Nation governments.
This government has made a commitment for government-to-government relationships, and those are the ideas out there. If this minister went to my community, thatís exactly what sheíd hear. The minister would hear exactly that ó those ideas. To be able to work with a community on those areas would create a much more productive justice system than what we have today ó of going up to a facility to visit our family and have them sit behind bars, and we know that that individual is one of the best hunters and trappers in our community, provides for the family very well and has a couple of children who miss that person at home. Those are kinds of issues that are key for us.
The social considerations in this area ó when we have people who are locked behind bars, there are many other issues that come into play and itís all involved in that cycle. I was talking to a very concerned individual yesterday and she was talking about exactly that. Where does this stem from? Thatís a broad question.
Was it residential school? Was it other factors in this individualís life that were so traumatic? But because we are sitting in a community with very few resources, how can we address that? How could this individual address that very, very traumatic concern in his life?
Thatís why I say that there are a few departments that are involved. But thatís too simple in order for it to work, it seems in this system. So we have to work with what we have in front of us.
I just put that out there for the record because there are people who are very concerned about that. They are dealing with those kinds of situations today, as we speak.
We warehouse these individuals at a cost that is the highest in Canada.
You have people in the Yukon public who are willing to address that in a different way. I hope that it happens sooner than later, because we have very serious and tragic cases out there. Sometimes when a person ends up in a situation where it opens their eyes, they say, "Hey, I have to step back here and there is something that I need to address here for myself. I have to make a change in order to take care of my family."
So when an individual is ready to do that, then I believe the resources could be made available.
And there are very limited resources at that facility up there. Iíve been there a number of times, and the last time that I was there, there were some young adults who made comments that they were there for whatever reason but theyíre willing to make the changes. Where do they go when itís time for their release? What kind of resources are out there to address the concerns that they need to address, in order to address their housing or their counselling or their families?
I just wanted to make those comments in promoting wellness. Is there any special help available at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre for alcohol and drugs, and for people who need to address FASD or mental illness at the facility up there?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: The member makes a lot of very valid, valuable comments. Iíll try to address some of them.
The Member for Vuntut Gwitchin made reference to restorative justice, and I have to concur with the member opposite that ending violence against women, ending violence against families, turning around the rate of recidivism in the territory ó itís not just a justice problem, itís not just my problem, itís not just other membersí problems. Itís a community problem, and community solutions appear to be best suited for helping to resolve some of these outstanding issues.
As the member opposite is very much aware, under the purview of the Department of Justice we do have in place eight community justice committees. We also have another two administered by Health and Social Services, which are more geared toward youth in the territory.
Just recently I had the opportunity to meet with the coordinators and members of these committees and had an opportunity to speak with them one on one and learn a bit more about who they were and what theyíre about and what they do. It was very refreshing, actually. I look forward to getting out into the communities, and I look forward to going to Haines Junction, for example, and perhaps meeting with the committee directly and taking part in their role.
Recently I had an opportunity to meet with the Yukon Health and Social Services Council, of which one of the members is also a member of the Southern Lakes Justice Committee. I just make mention of this because it was quite astounding that, since that committee had originated, they saw a reduction in crime by 50 percent, and it was quite remarkable.
So in the course of 10 years, the rate of crime there has been reduced by half, and thatís quite incredible. I know this is an ongoing issue, and itís a huge issue and very complex.
It involves all departments and all communities.
I have asked the department to provide me with as much information as they have ó reports that are issued on an annual basis by these committees ó and I certainly look forward to reading about them and learning more about these initiatives as they clearly appear to be working.
I think the member opposite, when we talk about alternative forms of treatment, I just look at the domestic violence treatment option, DVTO in short form, and the strides they are making in helping to reduce domestic violence in this territory. I canít say enough about the officials working within our department on this particular form of treatment because itís so popular and itís doing such a great job out there that all Canadians, from far and wide, are requesting that our officials make particular visits to their jurisdictions to tell them, to share with them just what DVTO is all about and why itís working and how can it work for their jurisdiction.
In the short time that I have been minister, I have been very impressed with the work that our department is doing on all fronts in reducing domestic violence and reducing crime. My hat is off to them. I think that initiatives such as the aboriginal courtworker working as a bridge between offenders and the court system ó the member opposite said it can be a very intimidating forum, and I happen to agree. I think these courtworkers are doing a very good job in helping to bridge that delivery of justice.
The time spent in the facility ó I refer to the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. The challenge is with respect to treatment programs, while we do have programming in place. I will get into that a little bit later.
The average time spent in this facility is quite little, actually. That is the challenge for our government, and a challenge for all of us ó to see what works in such a short period of time. Therefore, the emphasis is on the treatment in the communities when they are outside of the facility, because that is where the majority time is spent ó outside of the facility. So it makes sense to deliver forms of treatment in the communities versus the facility.
Having said that, though, there are a number of programs for substance abuse available within the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, and indeed it is a problem. It is a problem for about 90 percent of our offenders. We have been working with the alcohol and drug services within the Department of Health and Social Services to identify ways to address this ongoing problem and the other programming needs of the offenders in the facility.
In the meantime, when an offender is admitted to Whitehorse Correctional Centre, staff do carry out an initial substance abuse assessment, and if this assessment initially indicates that there is a problem, the offender is then referred to a more in-depth assessment.
Depending on those results, the client can then be referred to either the internal substance abuse management program delivered by our department or to other community-based programming.
And this substance abuse program is offered four to five times a year, on average, and can accommodate up to 12 individuals at a time. Thatís delivered at the facility there. We also have a full-time addictions counsellor from the alcohol and drug services. This counsellor sees an average of 30 offenders, and this individual works out of the adult probation offices and sees clients in the community as well as in the correctional facility.
Mrs. Peter: I would like to address the issue of legal aid and also other areas of Justice in regard to most of the clientele, especially at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, and also with the use of legal aid services and other areas. What is the First Nations worker statistics within the Whitehorse Correctional Centre or within the Legal Aid Society or Law Society ó are there any First Nations workers in those areas?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Thank you, Mr. Chair. As far as Iím aware ó of course, we have six aboriginal courtworkers, three of whom are situated here in the City of Whitehorse and three elsewhere in the communities. Aside from the aboriginal courtworker program, Iím not aware of any First Nation individuals involved with legal aid. However, we can just double-check that for the member opposite.
As for employees at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, there are very few individuals. I donít have the exact number, but I can say it is very few. Iíve raised that as a bit of a concern on a number of occasions. As I understand it, though, sometimes itís difficult to recruit First Nation individuals to those positions. It may be rather difficult to be within that facility and, in some cases, to take care of their own within that facility.
Mrs. Peter: This is one area on which I will not agree with the minister. Whether it be familiar faces or people of First Nations ancestry dealing with First Nation people, sometimes we have more success. It can also work in the opposite; I realize that. I know we have some very successful First Nation lawyers in our communities, and Iím just wondering I am not aware of any of these First Nation lawyers working within the legal aid system. Maybe thereís something Iím not aware of there.
Iím just asking if there were any policies. What are the policies in those areas?
Iíd like to address the pre-release program. I believe they have a pre-release program at the correctional facility. Iím not certain if it is a federally funded program or is it in conjunction with the territorial government? If it is, I believe, like any other program out there, thereís always uncertainty in funding. Since we have some cuts within this department, I would just like to hear from the minister if thatís the case here.
Hon. Ms. Taylor: The program that the member opposite is referring to, the pre-release program, is, I understand, administered by the Council of Yukon First Nations, and the territorial government does contribute to that funding. I donít know the exact, specific details but I would be happy to provide them.
With respect to the recruitment or hiring of Yukon First Nations for positions within the Department of Justice, within the federal Crown office, we have at least one First Nation prosecutor. Of course, within the aboriginal law group we also have a number of First Nation individuals on staff.
As the member opposite is aware, we do have an employment equity program, and we encourage the hiring of First Nations at every opportunity. I think that the member opposite is absolutely correct ó we have some great First Nation lawyers on board as legal counsel, and I think we could probably do a better job at recruiting.
Mrs. Peter: Iíd like to hear from the minister if they have the elders in the facility program at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre.
Hon. Ms. Taylor: As the member opposite may be aware, with the redevelopment activities of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, the Council of Yukon First Nations Elders Advisory Council was very much involved with the redevelopment and was also ó to tell the truth, I canít actually answer that as to what their level of involvement is right now, but I would be happy to find that out. As I recall, they are still very much involved with the facility, not just on the programming element but also with ongoing activities within the facility. But Iíd be happy to get back to the member opposite.
Mrs. Peter: Thank you. Iíll look forward to all the information the minister is going to send me. While weíre on the topic of elders, there is a regional elders council in the territory. Is the minister aware of this council, and would she see fit to utilize them in the future?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: I am familiar with the elders advisory council through Council of Yukon First Nations. If this regional working group or council is somewhat different, then Iím not familiar with that particular body.
Mrs. Peter: Mr. Chair, Iím referring to the regional elders council. They have a representative on that council from every First Nation community in the Yukon, and what they do is they provide guidance and support in the justice areas, and they have brought forward some very, very key information in the past that would be very, very valuable for this minister to have access to. So I would encourage her to follow up and phone the justice department at the Council of Yukon First Nations and have access to that information. They are very valuable to our decision-making process in our communities.
What is the policy for hiring for First Nations policing in the territory?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: What first comes to my mind is an excellent example of First Nations becoming involved with policing in the territory: the Liard tripartite policing agreement that we have in place among the Yukon government, the Government of Canada and Liard First Nation. Thatís an excellent partnership of First Nations working alongside the RCMP in delivering forms of policing services in the communities.
We also have a Yukon First Nation community constable program. That was started in 2000. That was just specifically to support the recruitment of Yukon First Nations who are interested in career opportunities within the RCMP.
We have 12 constables in the communities who are Yukon First Nations.
Thatís it. Thank you.
Mrs. Peter: We believe that program is very valuable in our communities also.
I would like to hear what kind of support is given to community organizations to have and promote circle sentencing.
Hon. Ms. Taylor: We have the community justice committees ó eight that I refer to are under the purview of the Department of Justice and two within the Department of Health and Social Services. They promote the use of alternate forms of sentencing ó the use of circles, the use of conferencing. Of course, we help fund those initiatives in conjunction with the federal government.
Mrs. Peter: Can the minister tell me what kinds of services the victim services and family violence programs offer?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Certainly, I would be happy to. Under victim services, we have the victim services program, which provides a number of services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. In conjunction with that, we also have what has become known as the womenís program, which provides longer term individual and group counselling to women who have experiences or are experiencing violence in their relationships.
There are a number of other activities under victim services, such as the therapeutic group for women ó Iím not sure if the member opposite is aware of that ó a support group for teens and young women, in which these are all partners with FASSY in operating another program ó a little help from my friends ó which focuses on women who are afflicted with FASD and have been victimized. They also run a womenís group at Kwanlin Dun in partnership with the First Nation and provide group facilitator training in over 30 workshops, information sessions within Whitehorse and most communities. Weíre actually also planning a group for parents and children from violent homes in conjunction with the Department of Health and Social Services, family violence prevention training with the RCMP in Whitehorse and communities, and some vicarious trauma workshops in Dawson City and Watson Lake. These are just some of the initiatives weíve been working on.
Mrs. Peter: How many communities, or how can the communities, have access to some of these services?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: The womenís program ó we have two counsellors who provide services to women whoíve experienced violence within their relationships. These counsellors, along with other staff from the family violence prevention unit and other agencies also provide workshops, information sessions and in-services to all the communities. In particular, in Mayo and Ross River, a staff member is in the community at least one week a month. Dawson City has a permanent victim services worker who also travels to Old Crow once a month. These workers provide crisis intervention counselling and court support ó some of the initiatives I just outlined for the member.
There are 15 positions in total within victim services and the family violence prevention unit.
Mrs. Peter: I just have a few comments to make in another area, the public administratorís office.
What percentage of work is done because people donít have wills?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: I am not familiar with the percentage of individuals who come into the office without wills and those who do have wills. I am of the understanding that the majority do have wills.
Mrs. Peter: I disagree again with the minister. I believe most of the people in our communities out there do not have wills. This has been a question that I have received on many occasions. Itís unfortunate and it does cause a family a lot of grief when theyíre already in a serious situation to deal with a lot already under any circumstance of death.
What are some of the ways of using public education that the minister can see in this area in the Yukon?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: The member opposite is absolutely correct. I was incorrect. There are more individuals who do not have wills than those who do.
With respect to helping to resolve this situation, there are a number of venues that are perhaps making available services with respect to wills, so weíre trying to make those services more available to the public at large ó one of those venues being the law library.
Individuals can go into the law library and request information. Thereís the Law Line that is also available to individuals at large. There is the lawyer referral service. I believe a nominal fee is charged, but there is that venue as well. In addition to that, something that comes to my mind is a request for the will package, either made available at our local bookstores or through the Government of Canada.
Mrs. Peter: Iím just smiling because we have many options and choices when weíre in Whitehorse, but when youíre in a small, isolated community, we just donít have ready access to these resources. The people or the age group that Iím mostly referring to is the elders in our community, and for them to try to have access to a law library is kind of far-fetched. How we can address those issues is challenging, and I just wanted to place that out there for the record so that the minister is aware that we face these issues in the communities. Itís something that, again, is taken for granted here. When weíre addressing those issues sometimes out there, it is challenging.
Just in closing, Mr. Chair, I would just like to again say to the minister that within this department we face a lot of challenges, a lot of changes, and to be able to address those at a community level and to be able to take responsibility for those working in partnership with this department is something that we can look forward to and to have a very clear vision of where we would like to see this department go in that area. We can stand here and talk all we want and use all the wise, wonderful, nice words about having government-to-government relationships, but at the bottom line, we are dealing with people out there who really need these services, and we need to make them available today, not tomorrow.
We need to deal with those and address those today.
Ms. Duncan: I have followed and listened to the exchange between the Minister of Justice and the Member for Vuntut Gwitchin this afternoon, and I have some follow-up questions that are quite focused.
First of all, I would like to thank a member of the ministerís staff or the government staff who, just as we entered the Justice debate, brought down some information. I would like to express my thanks for providing that.
In the letter was an attachment of the fire safety inspection report for the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. There is no date on this report. Could the minister advise me what the date is?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: I believe that was December 15 or 16 of last year.
Ms. Duncan: It does not have a title page or signatures ó I am assuming that the pages I received are the total of the report. I understand this had been prepared quickly, so it may be that just some pages were left out ó if I could just have those.
The report outlines a number of very specific repairs ó they are quite extensive. I am sure that the minister is quite familiar with the report. For example, the control room is to be isolated from the rest of the building, an improved fire damper has to be installed with specific fire ratings, there has to be proper ventilation. There are a quite a number of extensive specific recommendations, yet there is only $73,000 allotted for capital expenditures. How does the minister intend to fund these requirements? Will she be bringing forward a supplementary this fall? How are these going to be paid for?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: The member is absolutely correct. There are a number of areas that are spelled out within the fire marshalís report that will end up as additional cost. The $73,000 within the budget is basically for those items that have been identified throughout the last year. They are separate from these particular renovations to occur.
So, what weíre doing, as I believe I mentioned in the letter to the member opposite, is that we are undertaking a review and taking a look at the fire- and mechanical-specific issues and trying to determine the scope and cost of the project, which will include all these renovations.
So, obviously, the implications of this particular report are not identified within the current budget weíre debating right now. They will most likely be identified in a supplementary budget this fall.
Ms. Duncan: The paragraph dealing with the fire marshalís report must have been in a different letter, because I didnít see it referenced in the quick reading. Thereís talk about ongoing ó there are institutional facilities, about the staffing, but specifically with the fire marshalís report. What I understood the minister to say in her response just now is that we donít even have a class D estimate for these repairs. We just simply have the report.
My question: are there any estimates that have been prepared, even ballpark estimates, and when does she anticipate receiving those estimates? Clearly, in a report from the fire marshal, these are repairs that should be undertaken forthwith. When are they anticipated to be started?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Our government is working with a number of different officials, including the Yukon fire marshal, the City of Whitehorse fire prevention officer, occupational health and safety committee, the centre and, of course, our Department of Highways and Public Works in identifying these immediate requirements.
The letter I was referring to ó my apologies if the member didnít get it ó was a letter that was addressed to the Member for Vuntut Gwitchin and it was copied, but weíll be sure to get that over to you. Itís just a cover page with the attached fire marshalís report.
Certainly, between these bodies, working with the fire marshal, working with identifying this specific review that is being undertaken right now with a contractor to deal with the fire and mechanical aspects of this project, weíll get a better idea of the associated costs.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, weíll look forward to the correspondence getting sorted out.
With respect to what the minister just said, have I understood her correctly in that there is a committee of officials at the public service level looking at the fire marshalís report, and that over and above that thereís a contractor looking at the mechanical and the electrical systems? The minister is nodding that Iíve understood that correctly.
So, then, the money to pay for the contractor is just being covered within existing resources ó and the minister is nodding. Okay.
I would like to ask some specific questions with regard to the memorandum of understanding between the Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dun First Nation, February 17, 2003, with respect to the construction of a facility. Section 8, as I understand it, says that the Yukon shall provide Kwanlin Dun financial resources to enable it to engage in the consultations and negotiations contemplated under the MOU. Whatís the cap on those financial resources? Whatís the estimated amount?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: We havenít embarked upon those negotiations, so I canít offer the member a ballpark figure.
Ms. Duncan: So we have no idea? We just "shall provide financial resources"? Sounds like a blank cheque to me, Mr. Chair.
The other interesting terms in the agreement are that there are also options for a long-term lease, and there are also ó interesting choice of words. Section 3 is "upon completion by Yukon of required facility planning and design work and preparation of required plans and specifications". Then the parties shall negotiate in good faith arrangements in connection with the construction. There was very specific planning and design work that had already been done with respect to this facility. Has that all gone out the window?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: No. Quite to the contrary, and I believe I have said this on a number of occasions. Iíll be the first one to admit ó our government will be the first one to admit ó that a lot of work did go into the planning of the preliminary design of this particular facility, some good work. We have made the commitment to work with Kwanlin Dun First Nation, as well as all Yukon First Nations in identifying various programming options that can be delivered within the communities closer to home, as the Member for Vuntut Gwitchin was referring to. Based upon those discussions, that should lead to further discussions to deal with the design of the facility.
Ms. Duncan: I have to note for the record that there is a disturbing trend from the ministers opposite. Just as we were focused very specifically on the need in Health for money for additional social workers ó and the Minister of Health goes on at great length about programming and the Childrenís Act and a number of other issues ó we have a very long identified, very specific need and very specific discussion about a capital construction project and there are very specific design commitments and work undertaken with regard to programming in full consultation with Yukon First Nations.
The minister in response ó just as weíve seen this disturbing trend from others ó goes on about programming and other issues, as opposed to addressing the specific commitment about the Capital Construction of this facility.
I would like to ask a very specific question. When will the new correctional centre be constructed? What is the date?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: I canít give the member opposite a crystal-clear date because, obviously, we want to do this properly. I canít say when we are going to be in consultation with the various First Nations. We know that we want to proceed with this. We have made that commitment within the memorandum of understanding and it has been endorsed by a number of Yukon First Nations. We would very much like to get on with this project and we will in all due time. I cannot possibly give the member opposite a specific date at this time.
Ms. Duncan: Can the minister provide the five-year capital plan for her department?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: No.
Ms. Duncan: Iíve asked the minister for this before, and Iím sure itís underway ó the list of outstanding legal cases. Has she received that information or is it on its way? If itís under construction, so to speak, could she just advise me?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Itís under construction.
Ms. Duncan: Has the minister received an assessment of the Government of Yukonís liability with respect to the delay in the construction of the Correctional Centre and an assessment of the liability with respect to the issues in the understaffing and under-resourcing in the Department of Health and Social Services with family and childrenís services? Has she received an assessment of those two liabilities?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Those would be better addressed to the Minister of Health and Social Services. I donít know the specifics of his department. I would urge the member opposite to redirect her questions to the Member for Klondike.
As for the liability issue, I believe that we are taking all efforts to address the immediate concerns as identified by the fire marshal, the City of Whitehorse fire prevention officer and all those committees I just referred to. We are doing our homework and we are following up, as required.
Ms. Duncan: The Minister of Justice has responsibility for the legal advice and the legal work, if you will, of the Government of Yukon. That bill passed this House, so if the Department of Economic Development wished to hire lawyers, they would go through the Department of Justice. What Iím asking is, has the Department of Justice done an assessment, and has the fine legal staff contained therein done an assessment of the legal liability that the Government of Yukon is incurring in delaying the building of a correctional centre and the under-resourcing of family and childrenís services? Has a lawyer in the Department of Justice looked at these two issues?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Again, I will refer the member opposite to speak directly with the Member for Klondike in his capacity as Minister of Health and Social Services, and we are doing our homework. We are working with all those parties that I had listed before. We are taking every step necessary that we are required to take. Number one is of critical importance and will continue to be, as has been, and that is the safety, the well-being of our clients in the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, as well as the staff.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, if the Minister of Health and Social Services or if the Department of Justice is aware that there is potential for liability for the Government of Yukon, they provide the advice. Iím not asking the minister to table a legal opinion. All Iím asking is, has the Department of Justice done an assessment of the liability? If the answer is no, fine, but itís the Department of Justice that has responsibility in this area, and it would be the minister and the ministerís officials in the Department of Justice who would review the matter. All Iím asking is whether or not they have.
Hon. Ms. Taylor: For the information of the member opposite, our Department of Justice has provided a variety of legal opinions with respect to Whitehorse Correctional Centre redevelopment.
Ms. Duncan: Thank you. And has the department provided legal advice with respect to the issues in family and childrenís services?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: That, I am not aware of.
Ms. Duncan: Thank you.
There was a discussion about ó and Iím going to use the terms "alternative dispute resolution" and "circle sentencing" ó the minister mentioned a number of programs, including circle sentencing. The Government of Yukon, of course, funds a number of community justice groups that receive funding from the Government of Yukon. The Yukon Party platform said that they would not fund community justice groups that have circle sentencing that deals with violent crimes. Has the minister cut the funding to any community justice groups?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: For the member opposite, we did not make any such commitment in that regard. What was stated explicitly in our platform was that we support restorative justice initiatives, but we do not support the use of circle sentencing for violent and sexual crimes, for the record.
Ms. Duncan: There are a number of community justice groups that receive funding. Some of those community justice groups may choose to use circle sentencing to deal with these types of crimes.
The minister has said what the Yukon Party does not support, so I am asking: have they reduced the funding to any groups, or how do they intend to fulfill this part of their platform?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: I know the member opposite is very well aware, but just for her sake, I will clarify our position again. Just for the memberís recollection, the former Minister of Justice from her government across the way was also on record as not supporting the use of circle sentencing for violent and sexual crimes. I would be happy to provide her with a copy of the Hansard for her information.
With respect to circle sentencing, as the member opposite is very well aware, federally prosecuted criminal matters are within the federal governmentís hands. I have asked the department to provide a letter asking the federal Minister of Justice just to put on the record that we are not in support of circle sentencing for these very matters.
Ms. Duncan: Perhaps the minister would be kind enough to send us a copy of that letter when itís sent to the federal Minister of Justice, and make it public in that way to ensure that everyone is precisely aware of the Yukon Partyís position on it.
Legal aid issues and the funding to legal aid have come up, and I note that the Law Day insert in the newspaper has noted that ó I am quoting from a newspaper, and I understand it can be quoted without filing, although I can tell members itís the insert yesterday in the Yukon News and Iím certain in the other paper as well. The Legal Aid Society, like a number of other non-profit groups funded by the Yukon government, saw its budget cut for the upcoming fiscal year. No staff have been cut at this point, however. However, itís black and white from the Legal Aid Society that they had their funding cut.
I understand legal aid had a surplus, so basically what the minister did was say, "Yes, weíre taking that surplus as opposed to letting you keep it and fulfill some of our other campaign commitments."
Can the Legal Aid Society anticipate further cuts, or can they anticipate that perhaps next year they could keep their surplus? What are the ministerís intentions with respect to legal aid?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Just from that same excerpt, it also starts off with the first line, which the member opposite fails to provide: Yukoners can be thankful to know that we have one of the healthiest legal aid systems in Canada.
Now, as I explained during Question Period earlier today, we were faced with a bit of a financial crisis on our hands when we took office. So, unfortunately, we had to make some very tough decisions. I believe we did so, but we acted responsibly. As the member opposite is very well aware, legal aid has enjoyed a healthy surplus over the last number of years. For that I will give credit where credit is due, to previous governments. As a result, we did have to reduce their budget accordingly.
Now, the last figure that I have in front of my hands, which is as of December 31, 2002, is that legal aid had a surplus of approximately $500,000 to $550,000. So our department has been in contact with the Legal Services Society of the Yukon, and they have assured us that their services will not be reduced as a result of this funding reduction. I do not anticipate any further reductions. I think they will be able to live within their budget, and I commend them for that.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, I didnít fail to enter into the record anything. I was pointing out that the cut to legal aid had been acknowledged publicly. Our government was very supportive and ensured legal aid had additional funding. There was a promised expansion of programming that hasnít occurred. There has been a funding reduction that has occurred. As to the financial arguments, theyíve gone on at great length in this session, and I would encourage the minister to stay tuned, as that side frequently says to us. Weíre all looking forward to the Auditor Generalís report as to how the Yukon Party has spent an extensive surplus.
I would like to ask a final question with respect to the letter the minister had delivered to me. There is an outline of counsellors and workshops that have been presented in the past year from the family violence prevention unit. There is a workshop that was presented on bullying that was presented at Kwanlin Dun, and I would like to ask the Minister of Justice about this workshop, and I will be following up with the Minister of Education.
This is a major issue throughout the Yukon. Itís most unfortunate that we see it go on in our daily lives. We see it go on in our meetings at legislatures, and weíve seen it occur in this Legislature. Itís far more prevalent in our society than people recognize.
I would like to ask the minister if there is a plan by the government to work toward a bullying hotline, which has been suggested, in conjunction with the RCMP, or if there is an expansion of the programming in the schools. I would just like to ask the minister what her intentions are, and what the governmentís intentions are, on what I believe to be an extremely serious issue throughout Yukon and throughout society.
Hon. Ms. Taylor: That is a very good question and a very legitimate concern. I believe itís a concern that all members share. Bullying is not acceptable, and I certainly personally take great heed in trying to eradicate bullying. I think the question would perhaps be better addressed to the Minister of Education, as this pertains to the schools and particularly the classrooms.
I know the RCMP is increasing its efforts to go into the schools to speak about drug abuse. Bullying has been one of the topics on a number of occasions, I understand. So, indeed, we support efforts to eradicate bullying within the schools ó yes.
Ms. Duncan: Constable Steel does an excellent job in following up where Constable Chuck Bertrand, who has now retired, left off. Iíve watched her at work in the schools and believe very strongly in the program and what the RCMP are doing. The RCMP also ó Iím not sure to precisely whom the credit should go ó brought up a rock-music type group that made presentations to the schools. As well, it was open to adults in the territory.
It was after the election and before Christmas, so it was the November time period, and it was extremely well done. I would encourage the Department of Justice to continue to support these sorts of activities and to encourage parental participation.
I appreciate the minister allowing me to make that representation, and I will be following up with the Minister of Education about initiatives to deal with bullying. Itís not just at the schools.
Devolution has been much discussed in the Legislature. We have one final devolution power to deal with, and thatís Justice. My former colleague, the now Commissioner, made representations that Yukon should follow the director of public prosecutions model, as in I believe itís Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island ó Iím not sure which Maritime province it is. I canít recall it off the top of my head. What is the ministerís position on devolution of the Crown attorney functions? At the time we were on that side, the position was that it would be something that only after consultation with First Nation governments would we be proceeding on. What is the ministerís position on it, and what model does the Yukon Party prefer with respect to this devolution initiative?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: As I understand it, there hasnít been any active work on this particular issue since September 2001. Indeed, I think we have a lot to benefit. I think we continue to believe that having this function remain a federal responsibility, like other responsibilities in the territory, hampers the Yukonís ability to effectively deliver and administer services throughout the territory on a Justice basis.
Our intention is to work together with all the affected parties to determine whatís in the best interest of all people in the Yukon with regard to the future of the criminal prosecution function, and weíll continue with those efforts.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, could I ask the minister for a legislative return on the current status of the discussions with the Teslin Tlingit Council on the drawing down of the justice initiatives? My understanding is that it was stalled at the federal level. So if I could just have a legislative return or a letter from the minister that outlines any representations she has made or what is happening on that file ó a legislative return is fine on that.
Hon. Ms. Taylor: I can just tell the member opposite that recently, I believe it was in January, a two-year extension was granted to the Teslin Tlingit Council to develop an implementation plan.
Mr. McRobb: Mr. Chair, I have a quick question following up on the one on bullying. It stems from a constituency request I made to the Minister of Health about a week ago. I also asked him, if his department wasnít able to deal with the request, to pass it on to a minister who might be able to. A constituent from Beaver Creek has asked if there are funds available to make it possible to attend an outside conference on bullying. Can this minister advise us, if there are any funds for that, if she would be able to accommodate that request?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Certainly. There are a number of funds, and one that comes to mind is the crime prevention training trust fund, to which your constituent could perhaps submit an application and go that way. There is a bit of a process involved, but the fund has been very well-received.
Mr. McRobb: I thank the minister for that. It reminds me of last summer when I had the opportunity to meet the Reform Alliance MP from Surrey, Mr. Chuck Cadman, who, of course, has gained a reputation for defending the rights of people against bullying. So, I think itís a good idea for the minister, if she would review this program, to ensure that it has adequate funds in the future.
Mrs. Peter: I just have a few more questions for the minister.
I believe there are plans in the works for renovations to the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. Can the minister tell us what those plans are?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: As I had forwarded to the member opposite ó you still havenít received it?
Okay, I will be sure to hand deliver this to you at our break. Itís a copy of the fire marshalís report, dated December 2002 ó obviously there are a couple of versions going around here. We will try to rectify that ó my apologies.
So, there are a number of areas that the fire marshal has identified as requirements that we will be following up on, as I mentioned earlier. So, I will be sure to get a copy over to the member opposite.
Mrs. Peter: Thank you. I appreciate that. I do not have a copy of the correspondence as yet.
So, forgive me if these questions are answered in that letter.
I just have another question regarding the state of that building.
What are the plans in case of fire in that building? What is the plan of escape and how are they going to make sure, in such a case, that it doesnít become a tragedy? Also, there is concern, I believe ó with the state of that building, one can only imagine that, given the age of that building ó what is the state of the roofing on that building?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Again, my apologies, but the fire marshalís report does identify a number of requirements to do with fire control and securing the control room in the event of a fire.
There is also a risk threat assessment that was taken earlier, and it also shares a protocol for fire, in conjunction with our emergency services within the city.
Mrs. Peter: Iím curious to know what is going to be happening with the site that was proposed for the new building. I believe a foundation was already put there. Is it going to be used, or do they have to haul the material away again? I would like to hear what the ministerís plans are for that area.
Hon. Ms. Taylor: Those are all areas that are being identified right now, being discussed with individuals within the department coming up with some options. Depending on how our negotiations and discussions go with the Kwanlin Dun First Nation and other Yukon First Nations, those decisions will be made in due time.
Mr. McRobb: Since we will be moving to deem all lines carried, I would like to ask the minister if she can provide a breakdown on the "police services" for $12,436,000, by community. Would she undertake to do that?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: I donít have that information in front of me. What I can say is that it is broken down into three areas, one being the tripartite policing agreement with Liard First Nation, another one is the constable program, and then, of course, the largest part of the budget is the territorial policing agreement.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, could I just have an indication from the minister what legislation pertaining to her department is under development? Iím thinking with the courts, any legislation combining courts or anything underway, anything from Justice thatís on its way that we could look forward to this fall?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: As the chair of the Cabinet Committee on Legislation, we have just issued a directive, so to speak, to all the departments asking them for initiatives that they wish to carry forward this fall. So we donít have that at our fingertips, but it will certainly be addressed as soon as we adjourn.
Chair: Is there any further general debate?
Weíll then proceed with line-by-line.
Mr. McRobb: Mr. Chair, pursuant to Standing Order 14.3, I request the unanimous consent of the Committee to deem all lines in Vote 08, Department of Justice, cleared or carried as required.
Unanimous consent re deeming all lines in Vote 08, Department of Justice, read and agreed to
Chair:Mr. McRobb has requested the unanimous consent of the Committee to deem all lines in Vote 08, Department of Justice, cleared or carried as required. Are you agreed?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: There is unanimous consent.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Total Operation and Maintenance Expenditures for the Department of Justice in the amount of $34,089,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
Total Capital Expenditures for the Department of Justice in the amount of $318,000 agreed to
Department of Justice agreed to
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: I would suggest a short recess. We just have to get the officials in for the next department. They are lined up and ready to go, but it will be a couple of minutes before they come downstairs.
Chair: We will reconvene at 4:00 p.m..
Chair: Order please. Committee of the Whole will come to order.
We will continue on with Vote 51, Department of Community Services, general debate.
Department of Community Services
Hon. Mr. Hart: Please allow me to introduce the 2003-04 O&M and capital budgets for the Department of Community Services. Community Services envisions leadership in service delivery and community relations. The department aims at providing Yukoners and businesses with better access to information on government programs and services. As promised, we will work with industry and Yukoners to explore and implement practical e-government initiatives.
We will strive to improve and enhance public access to government services. Another of the departmentís goals is to improve communications and linkages within government so that Yukoners, businesses and groups are served in more of a consistent and coordinated manner.
The Department of Community Services works closely with Yukon communities to foster community development and community building. Mr. Chair, the main estimates show the department plans to spend $31,490,000 in operation and maintenance, of which $1,033,000 is recoverable. Revenues are estimated to be $7,591,000, reflecting an overall increase of $257,000, as compared to the forecast for the fiscal year 2002-03.
Community Services will continue to make substantial contributions toward public protection, which includes a variety of licensing, regulating, safety and emergency measure components.
$4.2 million of the departmentís operation and maintenance budget is allocated for these.
The departmentís main estimate reflects the commitment of this government to advance the well-being of Yukoners by supporting municipalities and by providing municipal-type services and facilities to unincorporated communities.
Of the total departmentís operation and maintenance budget, approximately $16 million is allocated in grants and contributions to municipalities and communities.
This government encourages and supports active living and healthy lifestyles in communities by providing needed funding for the promotion and development of, and participation in, recreation and sports. The 2003-04 budget contains the required level of operation and maintenance and capital funding for sports and recreation.
I am pleased to announce this governmentís strong support for the 2007 Canada Winter Games. This government is committed to providing needed support to ensure that the 2007 Canada Winter Games are a success and a memorable experience for Yukoners and guests alike.
This budget also provides for the support of the next Arctic Winter Games, Canada Senior Games, and the Western Canada Summer Games.
Recognizing the valuable contribution that volunteers bring to our community, the government has allocated funds for contribution to the Volunteer Bureau to help them achieve their objectives in building a strong community of volunteers.
On the capital side, the departmentís budget shows a total expenditure of $16,635,000 and recoveries of $6,460,000.
I am pleased to announce that this government will contribute $1 million to the FireSmart program in order to enhance efforts to reduce fire risk damage to Yukon communities. We have also reinstated the community development fund and have allocated $1 million to this program.
This program will assist community groups to undertake projects and to make the Yukon a safer and more attractive and desirable place to live. It will help build Yukonís social and economic capacity for the future by utilizing the community creativity and energy and providing valuable employment opportunities. The capital budget includes $1 million to the City of Whitehorse for the multiplex facility as part of the total funding of $9 million agreed to and signed in 1999. This planning is linked to the cityís successful bid to host the 2007 Canada Winter Games.
We will continue to invest in community infrastructure projects, as reflected in the capital budget, in 2003-04. Funding is provided for projects such as the Carcross sewage treatment and disposal at $1.2 million, sewage disposal plant upgrade in Carmacks of $800,000, a Dawson City project at $2 million, skating arena improvements in Pelly Crossing at $340,000, riverbank stabilization in Old Crow at $500,000, and Mount Sima and Copper Ridge land development at $5.6 million. I believe the level of funding allocated to these projects is indicative of the commitment this government has toward our communities.
We will continue to work closely with the federal government, First Nations and community governments to upgrade and construct community infrastructure.
Mr. Chair, I would like to express that the department has come forward with the level of O&M budget requests while at the same time maintaining the FTEs for the 2002-03 main estimate.
I would now be pleased to answer any questions specific to the tabling of the departmentís budgets.
Mr. Cardiff: Mr. Speaker, Iíd like to, first of all, thank the Department of Community Services for the briefing that was provided to us and the information that was provided after the briefing. Itís unfortunate that the handouts that were traditionally provided in previous budget briefings werenít available.
One thing Iíd like to do at this time is say that Iím going to do my level best to keep this brief and keep my questions brief, if I can.
In the interest of time, I hope that the minister can do that. If he canít provide the information on the floor, I would be more than happy to accept it in writing in the near future.
I would like ó if it is available ó a community breakdown of how much money in the Community Services budget is spent by community. Is that information available?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Have you got a pencil there?
Just strictly capital ó we are looking at Carcross at $1.2 million; Carmacks at $800,000; Dawson City at $2 million; Haines Junction at $25,000; Marsh Lake at $25,000; Old Crow at $500,000; Pelly Crossing at $340,000; Ross River at $165,000; territorial wide, other than what we have there, is about $4,780,000, Watson Lake at $70,000 and Whitehorse at $6,700,000.
Mr. Cardiff: I would like to ask the minister a question about the community development fund. It looked to me like most of the recipients of community development fund projects were either municipalities, First Nation governments ó I am just wondering if NGOs or non-profit organizations are eligible and if they received any funds.
Hon. Mr. Hart: The initial winter works program was geared toward municipalities and First Nations. Under the new criteria that is being developed for community development fund, the NGOs should be eligible for funding in the future.
Mr. Cardiff: I would be interested in what the ministerís plans are for the community development fund. Heís talking about $1 million, I believe, which is over the previous yearís expected forecast expenditure and quite a reduction. I know theyíre planning to lapse the money they didnít spend on the winter works program, but what Iím wondering is if, with respect to the level of funding thatís there this year, itís their plan to continue that for the rest of their mandate, or is there the potential to raise that level?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We are looking at maintaining our level for the community development fund at the present time; however, we are also cognizant of the value of this particular fund to our rural communities and will reassess it at our next budget.
Mr. Cardiff: I have one more question around the community development fund. Could the minister provide, in writing at a later date, the correspondence to communities and groups when they were soliciting proposals, and a copy of the eligibility criteria for the winter works program and, when itís available, the eligibility criteria for the new community development fund, any terms of reference, a complete list of the approved projects and a list of all applicants and the types of projects, including whether or not they were successful, if thatís available.
Hon. Mr. Hart: We are in the process of developing that information as a legislative return from a previous question. I believe it is fairly close to being ready.
As far as criteria for the future of the community development fund program, itís underway at the moment. It will be available once itís completed.
As far as the information with respect to the winter works program and the listing of who applied and what the amount was for, itís being prepared as we speak. It should be available very shortly.
Mr. Cardiff: I look forward to receiving that. And whenever the eligibility criteria for the new CDF is available, Iíd be interested in seeing that as well.
I have a question about FireSmart and fire suppression. Iím just wondering if thereís a legislative return on the way for that project as well, around the same correspondence. Iíd be interested in that as well.
Hon. Mr. Hart: Yes, Mr. Chair, the information for FireSmart is contained in the same return.
Mr. Cardiff: I have a couple more questions around fire suppression, not necessarily FireSmart.
On April 2, the minister was talking about partnerships with First Nations and said that the protective services branch is currently collaborating with the Selkirk First Nation and a private training contractor for a fire crew training program initiative for both Yukon fire management and First Nation fire crews.
My question is around whether or not this type of training would be made available to community fire departments, specifically around the issue of wildfire training. In many communities, the volunteer fire departments are the first line of defence, and I am sure that the minister is aware that last summer there was a near disaster in my own riding because of a wildfire. I would just like to know if community volunteer fire departments could be included in this training at some point.
Hon. Mr. Hart: With regard to the member oppositeís question, one of the advantages of combining fire suppression with Community Services is that we will be able to take advantage of these training options in the future. There isnít one in process for this year, but it is something that we are definitely looking at to try to take advantage of that facility so that our volunteer fire departments can participate in that training.
Mr. Cardiff: Well, we can hope that this isnít a really dry year and it wonít be necessary to call volunteer fire departments out to fight fires with no training. But it is good news that they are looking at it in the future. I am glad to hear that.
One of the other things, I guess, that goes along with that question would be about equipment available to community volunteer fire departments to fight wildfires. It would make sense that if they are going to look at training volunteer fire departments in the communities to fight wildfires, equipment would be made available. Could the minister tell me if there are any plans for that?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Weíll be looking at it. We have been provided with the transfer recently taking place, we have provided some stashes in the Tagish area for this immediate year to help out with the wildfire situation. As mentioned earlier, once we get our bearings settled in with regard to the combination of the Community Services and fire protection, the issues of equipment and where it should be placed will be dealt with when we talk to the people who are going to be in the field.
Mr. Cardiff: One of the questions we asked at the technical briefing was the community recreation centres and the capital budget. We know that there is a lot of money being spent in Whitehorse around recreation facilities with the Canada Winter Games, and thatís a good thing. There is money being spent in Carcross, Pelly Crossing and Ross River on recreation centres, but I was wondering if there was a vision for the future about community recreation facilities. They tend to be the heart of the community. I know in my community, the Mount Lorne Community Association has a recreation centre where lots of people come together, and Iím sure that there are other communities out there whose facilities are either lacking or not up to standard, and Iím just wondering if there is a multi-year plan for a recreational facility, either building, upgrading or replacement?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We deal with the municipalities directly and with the recreation facilities, and itís up to the municipalities to determine their priorities in their particular areas. In areas of unincorporated communities, we work with local advisory committees, where possible, and work with them on the training aspect. We do have somewhat of a long-term view in some cases, but itís still up to the communities to get their plans in to us and, depending on the allotment of resources, we go forth.
Mr. Cardiff: One of the municipalities that has requested recreation facilities is the community of Mayo. There was a commitment by the previous government to construct a recreation facility there, and itís not in this budget. Iím just wondering what the ministerís plans are. Is that going to be in next yearís budget? When might we see funding for the community recreation facilities in Mayo?
Hon. Mr. Hart: I think the government would like to recognize the considerable amount of work and planning that the mayor and the village council have done so far in the planning of this community centre and their responsible approach for future management and the O&M costs of the facility.
The village has presented Community Services with an efficient and practical design for the centre. We are reviewing that particular process. At this time, weíre unable to commit any further financial assistance for the centre, as we must consider the overall municipal needs for infrastructure throughout the Yukon for this type of resource.
We will continue to work with the Village of Mayo council to refine the project plans and help to identify the options for achieving the communityís objectives, hopefully at a future date.
Mr. Cardiff: Itís unfortunate in this year when theyíre celebrating their 100th anniversary that there is no birthday present.
Iíd like to follow up a little bit more on recreation, as well. The minister is aware, through correspondence, that a commitment was made to review ó he said that a review process has been initiated with respect to the Recreation Act and regulations around part-time sport and recreation directors. This affects two communities in the Yukon: Mount Lorne and Upper Liard.
When they were formally recognized as local authorities for recreation in 1996, they were designated as ineligible for this funding because of their close proximity to municipalities with full-time recreation directors. Recreation directors are vital to community recreation, sports, active living and the health of the community. A brief list of what they can accomplish is surveys to determine recreation needs and priorities and the development of sport and recreation programs for that community.
A communications strategy was developed for promoting those sports and recreation activities and events. They coordinated many special events in Mount Lorne, such as the Carbon Hill Sled Dog Race, Canada Day celebrations, a Halloweíen party, a country fair, a skating party, and several community dances.
We can look forward to the Wildwood and Bluegrass Festival on the weekend of June 21, for which the planning is proceeding right now. It has made possible the operations of a ski club, a figure skating club, minor hockey leagues, play groups and a junior mushers association, to name a few.
What I would like to know is: what are the ministerís plans are around the review of this act, seeing as how they were unable to obtain some interim funding for a part-time sport and recreation director from the community development fund or winter works project?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We are getting, at the present time, very positive results from the pan-territorial agreement, which will deal with recreational coordinators. We hope to have something solidified by this fall, and that should address both of your committeesí situations.
Mr. Cardiff: I just want to make sure that I understand this. This is a pan-territorial agreement with municipalities or recreation groups. Does this negate the need to review the act and the regulations, then?
Hon. Mr. Hart: No, it doesnít negate it. We will be continuing on with our review of the act. This pan-territorial agreement is an agreement between the three territories ó N.W.T., Nunavut and the federal government.
Mr. Cardiff: Thank you. Thatís good news, I hope. And I know that theyíre in a bit of a crunch. Thereís a part-time recreation director there. The funding is running out shortly and the community is doing everything in its power to ensure that this person stays employed in some capacity so that these events that theyíre planning can continue.
I have received a few letters from constituents about something else thatís within the ministerís purview. It is with regard to the physiotherapy advisory committee and the need to provide some resources for policy and programming to develop these regulations around the Physiotherapists Act, which was the result of seven years of hard work by Yukon physiotherapists and the Department of Health and Social Services. I believe that the act was passed in December of 2001, so it has been 13 months, 14 months, and they would like to move forward and develop those regulations. My concerns about this are largely the concerns that theyíve stated: public safety concerns and no mechanism to guarantee the standards of physiotherapy practice. This is something thatís dear to my heart, because I feel the same way about the trade that I worked in. Iím sure that anybody would feel that way. You want to know that the person who is working on your car, your furnace, your plumbing or your body ó whether itís a physiotherapist or a heart surgeon ó that theyíre qualified and that the standards of practice are going to be good.
Iíd like to know if the minister has any plans to move forward with that.
Hon. Mr. Hart: At the current time, weíre reviewing the omnibus, the health professional act ó thatís underway. As soon as this is complete, we will have a sense of where weíre going and will proceed with the Physiotherapists Act,. We donít want them to contradict each other.
Mr. Cardiff: Iím not sure I caught that. What was the other act they were looking at?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The health professional act. Itís called the omnibus.
Mr. Cardiff: Does the minister have any idea what timelines ó my understanding is that this committee has already been appointed and is standing by, waiting to do the work. I understand we donít want legislation to contradict itself, but this seems to be of some importance to people in this profession.
Hon. Mr. Hart: I canít put a timeline on it just yet for the health professional act. I think itís imperative that one be done prior to going forth on a physiotherapy act. Weíre working with the Department of Health on that particular issue, and as soon as itís done, weíll move forward.
Mr. Cardiff: I donít know ó maybe the minister could provide me with a legislative return and some information about the health safety act at some point.
Hon. Mr. Hart: For the member opposite, I received several letters similar to the ones that his constituents have with regard to the physiotherapist. I can provide copies of the responses to him if he wishes.
Mr. Cardiff: Yes, I would be interested in a copy of the ministerís response to these people.
I would like to move on. One of the questions that was asked in the briefing was in relation to the Canada-Yukon infrastructure program. I am just wondering ó the funds that are shown here, what is being negotiated? This program obviously ends in 2005-06 ó I am just wondering if there is anything happening in future years. Is there some new agreement being negotiated?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We are talking with Canada at the moment, trying to negotiate the deal on the further aspect of carrying on with the infrastructure funding.
Mr. Cardiff: Is this on top of the $20 million for infrastructure, or is this part of the $20 million for infrastructure?
Projects that solicited ó is the Dawson City waste water treatment plant and the ó according to the budget ó I just have to find my spot.
The note from the technical briefing talks about funding for 2003-04 and 2004-05 for this project. My question is: under the Canada-Yukon infrastructure agreement, it shows monies in 2001-02 and 2002-03, and Iím wondering if these monies have been spent or are lapsed. Or were these monies used for planning?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The monies were used for planning and design.
Mr. Cardiff: Okay, so the monies in 2001-02 and 2002-03 were for planning, and weíre hoping to be building a sewage treatment facility in Dawson soon.
One of the other questions Iíd like to ask about on that particular project is: does the minister foresee the project supervisor, or the supervisor who has had his powers upgraded recently, on February 7 ó does the minister see that person overseeing this project as well?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The supervisor is not specifically overseeing any project; itís overseeing the financial capabilities, ensuring that the village is going to be stable.
Mr. Cardiff: This oneís a real hard one to follow. Iíve been reading Hansard from two years ago and following what is being said in the media, and there are people who are asking me questions about taxpayersí money and the role of this person who was appointed in January of 2001, I believe, and their role in the operation of the City of Dawson. I donít want to step on the City of Dawsonís toes. I want to know what this governmentís and the previous governmentís involvement is in this. Iím sure the taxpayers of Dawson can deal with their own city council, and thatís their bailiwick. My concern is that taxpayersí money ó this person is there, overseeing the finances of the community of Dawson. There was a statement made that they had been given the full powers of the Municipal Act, and that includes that the municipality must comply with the directions of the supervisor, and the council must not finalize its program or pass any bylaw respecting it until the program has been approved or revised and approved by the supervisor.
Those were the words of your colleague on November 19, 2001 ó the Member for Klondike.
My question: is the person approving of taxpayersí money being used? I think ultimately there is an exposure and there is a liability on YTGís part for this project because of what has taken place ó that theyíve become involved in this project.
The average citizen out there reads the newspaper, they read the Hansard, and it is pretty confusing. I know it confuses me. I am trying to find out what is happening. But when I see the City of Dawson ó supposedly the supervisor has approved this or sanctioned it ó that they are going to court to try to circumvent an arbitration process and not go to arbitration and provide a resolution to this problem. It doesnít involve thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars in lawyersí fees to resolve this.
The question that I am getting is that, ultimately, YTG could be embroiled in this legal battle, and it is going to cost the taxpayers nothing but money for legal fees.
I am just wondering how the minister feels about that?
Hon. Mr. Hart: I think, with the City of Dawson, the problem for the project goes back a ways to probably two years ago when the project commenced for the recreation centre. It has been difficult for the member opposite and it has been difficult for us on this side also to try to pick up and find out where we are at with this particular project.
I think that we, too, would like to see a quick result to this particular situation, but we would like it to be a fair and expedient resolution for all concerned. We are going to arbitration shortly, I believe ó I donít have the exact date, but it is going to arbitration ó with regard to the contractor and the village.
As far as the governmentís involvement on liability, I wonít try to hide behind that fact. If, in fact, the City of Dawson canít handle this process, yes, ultimately, we will be responsible.
Mr. Cardiff: I know that I am confused, heís confused, and the public is confused. Does he have any sense at this time ó or, how close are we to having a sense of just what kind of financial exposure or liability the territorial government could have on this?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Currently, the City of Dawson is solvent and believes itís doing everything it can within its rights to keep itself there, and they follow their procedure as they have been advised.
Mr. Cardiff: Iím not sure if that was the answer I was looking for.
Iím going to move on, and I may have to come back to that at some future date. Iíd like to ask about some promises that were made during the election with regard to questions posed by the Village of Mayo. This was the written response to their question: the Yukon Party government would consider increasing the community grant to Yukon communities to help offset the high cost of municipal property and liability insurance. It also says that Yukon municipalities can be self-insured with YTG backstopping.
I know that liability insurance for municipalities and communities, even small organizations, is a big problem, especially since 9/11, and the other thing I think is that insurance companies figured out that they made some bad investments with their clientsí money and now they arenít fully funded.
Iím wondering what the governmentís plans are for assisting municipalities and community groups with property and liability insurance.
Hon. Mr. Hart: We recently met with AYC members on this particular subject. As the members opposite are aware, liability is a big question, not just for municipalities, but itís also for unincorporated and non-profit ó basically anything that puts groups together.
Unfortunately, the Government of Yukon suffers the same issues with our own insurance company. To give you an example, we were hit with a 35-percent increase last year and a further 20 percent this year. So itís a difficult situation, even for us.
As I said, we recently met with AYC. This was one of the issues they brought up, and weíre discussing it with them.
Mr. Cardiff: I appreciate the ministerís difficulties with liability insurance. I have problems with liability insurance. My son just turned 16 and wants to get his driverís licence, and we all know what that can do.
My thoughts on this would be that thereís strength in numbers, thereís economies of scale. I donít know a lot about the insurance business, other than Iíve bought lots of it, but it would make sense to me that, if there were economies of scale and we could combine our efforts with the Association of Yukon Communities and non-profit organizations, that maybe there would be something we could work out.
Iím just wondering if thatís an option.
Hon. Mr. Hart: For the member opposite, itís not a case of numbers. Itís a case of ó quite frankly, would insurance companies want to do this type of business? Itís a very limited field at the moment, and those who are in it are charging a fairly high rate for that service. Thatís why itís getting much more difficult, even for governments, to find ó the Government of Yukon, for example, has a very low claim rate against it. But it doesnít seem to matter when we go for our rates. Itís based on our history, you know. They are influenced by the American trends. Thatís where these insurance company rates are coming from. Itís not so much what we do here in the Yukon. Itís really stemming from the United States.
We have set aside some monies in the budget to help out with insurance claims in our unincorporated communities, to help out with the recreation protection for the directors, to help out in that particular area because that was a concern of ours also.
Just to reiterate on a previous discussion we had. Your community isnít the only community that is suffering and having a problem maintaining its sport and recreation coordinator. Itís a difficulty in several other communities as well. As I mentioned earlier, Iím hoping that once we can finalize this pan-territorial agreement, we might be able to solve some of these issues.
Mr. Cardiff: Iím not going to try to dwell on all the issues that were raised in this letter, but one of the promises was that the government would be prepared to negotiate with municipalities the best manner in which to deal with residents living outside municipal boundaries using municipal landfill sites, fire protection services, other program services provided by municipalities.
I know from the newspaper that there was a problem in Dawson. Thatís not where I want to go with it, but I know that there are agreements between the City of Whitehorse and the outlying fire halls for reciprocal service, responding to fires inside and outside of the city limits.
My question is more about the landfill sites. There are a couple of issues with landfill sites. I know that there are some concerns about the landfill at Marsh Lake, and there are also concerns about the landfill at the Mile 9 dump. Iím just wondering what plans there are to deal with that, whether there would be options to support residents taking their garbage to the local landfill here in the City of Whitehorse or a transfer station.
Hon. Mr. Hart: I think that, for the member opposite, the issue of land dumps is presently being reviewed. We are looking at the management of these facilities and what is there.
On the issue of having a transfer station, the difficulty, of course, would be trying to find that location where that is going to take place. As you can imagine, no matter where you put it, you are going to get a lot of opposition to the process.
You can take your stuff to the City of Whitehorse dump at any time at the moment, in that process. But we are looking at our facilities outside the City of Whitehorse where we manage the landfills, and we are considering our options there.
Mr. Cardiff: One of the concerns around the Mile 9 facility and, having lived at Marsh Lake and knowing that there are concerns about water quality at Marsh Lake around the dump and septic fields, one of the things that has been requested or is in the process of being requested ó I have heard it talked about ó is the idea of having some test wells around the Mile 9 dump. That dump has been there for many years and it is being managed in a very efficient manner now, but there are concerns about what was dumped there previously and what that might be doing to the quality of groundwater in that area. There are people with wells in that vicinity and I believe there is a well at the fire hall as well, which is in close proximity. I am just wondering if there are any plans to do any test wells to check for water quality in that area.
Hon. Mr. Hart: That is what our management plan is designed for, to take into consideration the environmental aspects with regard to the dumps. We have funds set aside that will include testing for the water, as the member indicated, but weíre looking at the entire environmental sustainability of a dump within the area of impact it has.
Mr. Cardiff: I was just wondering if the minister could tell me what kind of time frames weíre looking at and when we might see this plan and whether or not test wells could be done at the same time as the plan is being developed. Water quality is a very important issue, and weíve seen what can happen when water quality is an issue. We donít want to have any toxins floating around in water people are drinking.
I donít know what it would cost to drill two or three test wells to monitor the groundwater, but it seems to me that, if thereís a concern expressed by a community, and theyíre concerned about the quality of their water, it would make sense to do some testing ó maybe some preliminary testing?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The solid waste regulations and conditions require that the current level of operation and service be improved to reduce the public health environmental risks in and around dumps. Improvements required are structures, gates, signage, installation of groundwater monitoring wells, hazardous waste management, storage, disposal ó many of these issues.
Implementation for solid waste is being prepared for 19 of our facilities throughout the Yukon. With respect to the specifics on the Mile 9 dump, weíll have to get back to the member.
Mr. Cardiff: Iíd appreciate it if the minister could get back to me on that. This is an important issue for people who live in that area. They are concerned about the water quality. I think a lot of those things ó the signage, the gates, the separation ó they have a great recycling program out there. Their concerns are largely around what was done, and what was dumped there, and what leaked out of the stuff that was dumped there years and years ago. Iíll look forward to getting that information from the minister.
Iíd like to ask the minister a little bit about land planning. I donít know if itís my riding alone ó I know there are land use planning issues all over the territory, and most of the ones Iím asking questions about today are specific to my riding. The Golden Horn local area plan steering committee worked for 18 months on a local area plan. It was completed in 1999, and I know there was an internal review and community meetings. I know it was hard to reach consensus and that, since then, not a lot has happened.
I know that when I went door to door before the election, the Golden Horn local area plan in that subdivision and in the area of the Carcross Cutoff, Gentian Lane, it was raised several times. Since the election, quite a few people have asked me what I have found out.
Iím taking this opportunity to find out what the departmentís plans are: to move ahead and endorse this community plan, or go back to the community and get the consensus thatís needed so that they can proceed with whatís laid out in this plan and have some control over the development of their community.
Hon. Mr. Hart: I think our biggest issue with regard to this particular plan was the effect that this would have on the southern caribou through the Southern Lakes caribou herd. I understand that Environment has completed its study and that we now have enough information that we should be able to look forward to finalizing this plan in the near future.
Mr. Cardiff: Just so that I can get back to some of my constituents who have been asking me questions about it, will the plan be going ahead in this forum, or will it be going back to the community to be endorsed one more time? Whatís the process going to be?
Hon. Mr. Hart: If there are any changes required, weíll have to go back for consultation on those changes.
Mr. Cardiff: I have one more question on this one. Is there any idea of how soon this report from the Department of Environment ó how soon will the minister be able to look at that and work it into the Golden Horn local area plan, and how soon can we expect this to move forward, I guess, is what Iím asking?
Hon. Mr. Hart: I believe weíll probably be able to move forward by this fall.
Mr. Cardiff: One more thing is that, if the study that was done by the Department of the Environment is available and if itís a public document, I was wondering if the minister could maybe provide that to me.
Iíll just move on. Weíre getting close to the end of the day here, and weíre all looking forward to a long weekend.
One other issue in Mount Lorne around land use is the Hamlet of Mount Lorne land use regulations. Theyíve had a land use plan in place, and theyíve worked really hard and gained consensus about the regulations that go with the land use plan. Theyíve worked hard to get the approval and achieve consensus in the community, and they work with the land use plan that was created.
These regulations were submitted to the Cabinet of the previous government in 2000, and the regulations are stalled at the Cabinet table. They did all this work and itís sitting there, and they, too, would like to have some control over the development of their community.
Iím just wondering if thereís something the minister could do to move these along so that another community in the Yukon can take control of its destiny.
Hon. Mr. Hart: I donít think there is any intent by the government to delay the regulations, per se. Right now they are hung up in the process of legalese, getting them ready for them to be run off. They also have to be translated. So where we are at, specifically, at this moment I really canít say, but the delay right now is basically in the process of getting them ready ó hung up in the legal aspect.
Mr. Cardiff: Maybe I am misunderstanding and maybe I have the information wrong, but my understanding was that department officials worked with the hamlet to help develop these, and now I hate to think what three years of legal costs to translate them into legalese would cost. Maybe the minister can give me some timelines around when we can expect these to be ready, when we can see an OIC and have them passed and approved.
Hon. Mr. Hart: Well, at the moment, with all the legislation that has been coming up, we are at the max as far as the government goes. We are in the process of trying to look at an alternative, maybe trying to contract it out to finish it off. Right now it is just a backlog in our own process.
Mr. Cardiff: I think that for my constituents, the residents of Mount Lorne, this has been a pretty exhaustive consultation theyíve undertaken. The unfortunate thing is that when these regulations are finally approved, the land use plan will be out for consultation to be reviewed. I would just urge the minister to pull out the stops, if possible, and get this moving. In my opinion, to have to wait three years to have a set of land use regulations approved is taking a little bit too much time.
Another issue ó Iím going to save the best one for last. I might even give my colleague over there from Porter Creek South an opportunity, before I move on too much farther.
The other day, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources was talking about cottage lots. I was just wondering ó in the capital budget, money is set aside for recreational land development. I was wondering if the minister could tell me where they are planning for those lots to be developed.
Hon. Mr. Hart: Weíre looking at some feasibility work underway right now, around Little Teslin Lake and also around Little Atlin Lake.
Mr. Cardiff: One thing around land development that bothers me is consultation done around land development. I will let the Member for Porter Creek South ask a few questions, and I will be coming back to ask questions about the Wolf Creek land development.
I know from talking with people that there are issues around consultation about land development. I know from the former Member for Southern Lakes ó when it was Ross River-Southern Lakes ó there were issues around cottage lot development on Little Teslin Lake. I think that itís important that we listen to what people who are living in that area say, and consult with all the people who live in that area. Iím glad to know where these developments are taking place and hope the appropriate consultation has been done.
With that, Mr. Chair, I only have one more issue to deal with, and Iíll wait and deal with that after my colleague is finished.
Ms. Duncan: Iíd just like to pick up on a subject raised by the Member for Mount Lorne. Does the minister have a plan for cottage lot development in terms of areas that he can provide to us?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Weíre just following up on work that has already been commenced on the two areas that were previously touched on. There is no real long-term plan for cottage development.
Ms. Duncan: Iím sorry, Mr. Chair. I didnít catch the answer. I was looking for an area ó for example, people in Destruction Bay area have asked for more cottage lot development in their area. It was a request. Do we have a plan for what areas and when cottage lot development might occur?
Hon. Mr. Hart: No specific plan for the long term has been developed for cottage lots.
Ms. Duncan: Is there one being developed? Is it underway? Are we looking at this? When might we see some cottage lot development and availability for Yukoners?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Weíre aware of many requests for cottage lots but, as the members opposite have brought up in several questions, there are also many people who have reasons why they shouldnít be developed. But we are in the process of just finishing our devolution. We have a whole land mass to now manage, so it will be taken into consideration when we get there.
Ms. Duncan: But there is no specific commitment from the minister to have cottage lots available for Yukoners.
Would the minister answer why the Dawson supervisorís powers were upgraded?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Weíre looking at trying to provide the supervisor with some specific issues and to help him deal with the contingency aspects of risks that might be available to the City of Dawson.
Ms. Duncan: Was this assessment done by Cabinet? Was it at the request of the supervisor? What initiated this upgrade of powers?
Hon. Mr. Hart: I think what initiated the upgrade of powers was to try to deal with the situation in Dawson with regard to the recent court issue on the arbitration.
Ms. Duncan: What the minister is saying, then, is that, with respect to an arbitratorís ruling, the department officials looked at it and said, "We had better upgrade this supervisorís powers"?
As I understood it, there were three steps under the Municipal Act, and it was deliberately the middle option that was chosen by the previous government to appoint a supervisor with limited authority. Now, that supervisorís authority was upgraded by the Yukon Party government. On whose initiative and why? I would like a clearer answer from the minister on that.
Hon. Mr. Hart: We havenít changed any requirements under the Municipal Act. We have just provided him with specific instructions so that he can assist us in doing our evaluation.
Ms. Duncan: I will review the Hansard and have a look at that answer.
Are there any plans to amend the Municipal Act to deal with the municipal financing formula?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Basically, we met with AYC. In general, the majority of them donít want us to adjust the formula.
Ms. Duncan: The majority of the members of AYC are not requesting an adjustment to the formula so, therefore, it will not proceed. Is that what the minister is saying? Or is he asking AYC for a specific proposal for those who do want to see the formula changed? Exactly how is he responding to this issue?
Hon. Mr. Hart: As mentioned earlier, I recently met with AYC a couple of times and we discussed this issue. Weíre dealing with it and looking at what the possible options are for us to deal with it.
Ms. Duncan: So the minister is looking at options. Are the minister and the executive of AYC looking at options? Is the minister awaiting a proposal from AYC? Who is doing the homework and exactly what are they doing?
Hon. Mr. Hart: In discussing it with the executive of AYC, weíve had discussions and they have asked us to maintain the formula as it is. They are basically in general agreement on that, but theyíve asked for us to consider the base amount for the communities, and we are reviewing that.
Ms. Duncan: Can the minister confirm that no additional funding flowed to communities, over and above the municipal formula funding ó that there was no additional funding, no changes to the base or extraneous funding on April 1, with the new fiscal year?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We maintained the same funding as last year.
Ms. Duncan: I just recently received the order-in-council with respect to taxes. Are any increases in property taxes planned or reflected in this particular budget? The Finance minister has said that the Yukon Party does not intend to have any tax increases, so can the minister commit to there being no property tax increases over the next four years?
Hon. Mr. Hart: There are no tax increases anticipated for this year.
Ms. Duncan: Can the minister commit? The Finance minister has said that the Yukon Party does not intend to raise taxes. Can the Minister of Community Services commit to there being no property tax increases or changes to the mill rate ó no property tax increases for Yukoners for the next four years?
Hon. Mr. Hart: My ministry is responsible for setting them.
Ms. Duncan: So can the minister commit to there being no property tax increases for the next four years? Itís a straightforward yes or no. Iím just asking him to back up the Finance minister.
Hon. Mr. Hart: Mr. Chair, Iíll commit for this year. I set them for this year.
Ms. Duncan: Can the minister confirm that there is no funding in the current budget for the Mayo recreation centre and, while heís on his feet, perhaps he could provide members of the opposition with the five-year capital plan for the department?
Hon. Mr. Hart: There is no funding for the Mayo community centre this year, and weíre working on the plan continually.
Ms. Duncan: Working on the plan for the Mayo rec centre continually ó Iím pleased to hear that. There has been extensive consultation in the community already. Iím looking for the five-year capital plan for the department. Is that available?
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Ms. Duncan: I believe the minister said no.
The $8 million in Canada Winter Games money ó is it anticipated this money will lapse from the 2002-03, or what arrangements are being made to get this money to the City of Whitehorse, and when will that happen?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The city is currently doing an environmental assessment in order to comply with federal funding requirements. As soon as that is complete, we could enter into an agreement with the city, in addition to with the federal government, and we anticipate flowing $6 million this year and an additional $2 million to the host society.
Ms. Duncan: So $6 million is anticipated to be transferred this year, sometime in the next six or eight months. Could the minister give a clearer time frame? And there is $2 million for the host society, and when would that be transferred? Could we have a clearer time frame, please?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Well, we are working it out with the city, and once we get it finalized with them we will be able to provide a more finite date for the member opposite.
Ms. Duncan: Letís try again. The minister said that $6 million would flow to the city. I understand there is a work in progress, but are we looking at six months, eight months, the start of next fiscal year? Could the minister just be a little more definitive? I am sure he must have an anticipated date.
And for the $2 million to the host society, could I have a date on that? That presumably doesnít require an environmental assessment.
Hon. Mr. Hart: When the environmental assessment is done and complete, we will be in a better position to provide specific timelines for the member opposite.
As for the host society, once we get the agreement done with the city and the federal government, we will be able to provide a specific time and it will probably be very soon after that.
Ms. Duncan: The one-stop shop ó how many change orders have been issued on that particular facility, and what is the additional cost of the change orders?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Mr. Chair, that would be for Infrastructure.
Ms. Duncan: Okay, Iíll wait. I am quite content to wait for the answer from the minister. Perhaps when we get to Infrastructure he will have it available.
A last question with respect to Community Services ó I noted with interest when the Member for Mount Lorne brought this up as well ó is the issue of dumps throughout the territory. There are significant issues in Ross River. The landfill site near Champagne is of significant concern. Haines Junction has a model that is much appreciated throughout the territory. Upper Liard has also raised concerns, particularly with respect to leaching and their concerns about their dump.
Could I ask the minister to provide me with a written report from the department as to what expenditures are intended for these facilities, these dumps ó what expenditures, what the current contracting or arrangements are, if we are looking for a contractor to deal with these, and if the department has any plans to expand the excellent model that is in Haines Junction, if there are plans to make that available and the funding required to institute that model elsewhere in the territory. Could I ask the minister to provide that detailed information, please?
Hon. Mr. Hart: That can be done.
Mr. McRobb: I have a few questions for the minister, starting with Destruction Bay. I wrote the minister about a problem with the septic field and he indicated that his departmental personnel would be out to check it out this spring. Can he give us an update on that or undertake to respond in writing?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We had a difficulty with using the wrong tank earlier this fall, and this season weíll switch back to the bigger tank and that should allow a bigger process to take place.
Mr. McRobb: All right, Mr. Chair. Staying in Destruction Bay, thereís a desire there for more cottage lots to be developed. Can the minister update us on that?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Weíll note your interest and take it under advisement.
Mr. McRobb: Moving up the road to Beaver Creek, can the minister give us an update on whatís happening with the subdivision that was developed under the previous Yukon Party governmentís watch and has remained vacant ever since?
Hon. Mr. Hart: If the member opposite is interested in one of the lots, we have one for sale. Yes, thatís where weíre at with it.
Mr. McRobb: Well, itís a little ironic because, in that subdivision, the lights come on but nobodyís home. I think we see another example.
Can the minister indicate what his plans are for a fire hall in Beaver Creek? Apparently, the new fire truck will barely fit into the existing building, not leaving enough room for anyone to go around it. What are his plans for a new fire hall?
Hon. Mr. Hart: At the moment, weíre looking at a building for fire suppression in Beaver Creek. Once we get into that particular venue, weíll look at those two options together but, at the present time, there has been no design for the new fire truck.
Mr. McRobb: Coming down the highway to Mendenhall last fall, there was an announcement that the community would be getting a new fire hall. This Yukon Party government cancelled it. What are this ministerís plans?
Hon. Mr. Hart: At the moment, we havenít cancelled anything in Mendenhall. The ball is basically back in Mendenhallís court. Itís up to the residents there to prove to us that they can field a volunteer fire department. Once they do, we will proceed.
Mr. McRobb: Thatís very interesting. Iíll be at their annual general assembly on the first Sunday in May, conveying that message to anybody there who hasnít heard it by that time.
I have just one last question about the Champagne dump. This has been virtually a disgrace for years. Iíve checked out the facility a few times in the past year. The previous government undertook to clean it up and bring in electric fencing and so on. My last time there, the electric fence was installed but it wasnít connected to any power supply, and the place was a mess.
I understand from a constituent, however, that it was cleaned up very, very recently. Can the minister undertake to ensure that that facility is kept in a tidy state and doesnít get out of hand again?
Hon. Mr. Hart: To answer the member opposite, yes, we will do our best to keep it as clean as possible.
Mr. Cardiff: I have just one quick question. I thank my colleague from Kluane for raising the question and jogging my memory about fire halls. I know we talked about it a little earlier. Iím just wondering if there are any plans for the Golden Horn fire hall; itís a similar situation. The new fire truck barely fits in, and the volunteers are having difficulty moving around the fire truck and getting into their turnout gear.
Hon. Mr. Hart: We are in receipt of their proposal. At this time, though, we are looking at their needs against the rest of our requirements across the territory.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, could I ask the minister to send me a letter outlining the governmentís commitments to support for Yukon hosting the Canada Senior Games ó if we were to host them and put a bid forward and what financial support we have allocated to them and what commitments the government has made in terms of support for the Canada Senior Games?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Well, we have provided some funding in the budget for the Senior Games, and we are working with the association and trying to develop their game plan and helping out where we can.
Chair: Is there any further general debate?
Weíll proceed with line by line.
Mr. McRobb: Pursuant to Standing Order 14.3, I request the unanimous consent of the Committee to move directly to the capital budget, page 5-7, under land development, to the line item entitled "residential" in the amount of $5,625,000.
Unanimous consent re Vote 51, Department of Community Services, budget
Chair:Mr. McRobb has requested unanimous consent of the Committee to move directly to the line "land development, residential" on page 5-7, referencing Community Services, community development, capital expenditures.
Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Some Hon. Member: Disagreed.
Chair: There is not unanimous consent. We will proceed with line-by-line.
Mr. McRobb: Mr. Chair, I see the government House leader was the only one who disagreed. This is extremely uncooperative of him to disagree with this request by the opposition parties. The government had its chance to scrutinize the budget before it was printed. This is our opportunity as opposition party, Mr. Chair, to scrutinize the budget. The government doesnít ask questions of itself on line items. That is our role, and it is our opportunity in this Legislature to do that.
For the government House leader to object to such a request is an exercise ó
Chair: Order please. Weíll be proceeding with line-by-line.
Some Hon. Member: Point of order.
Point of order
Chair:Mr. Jenkins, on a point of order.
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: I donít have any quarrel with clearing the O&M of the department and then going into capital, but what I donít want to see is a precedent-setting decision to just jump to a specific area, like the member has identified, Mr. Chair.
Chair: Anything done by unanimous consent does not constitute a precedent.
Mr. McRobb: On the point of order. Your point exactly, Mr. Chair. Anything done by unanimous consent does not constitute a precedent. Furthermore, we had done virtually the same thing earlier in dealing with line items as a batch and asking for a breakdown on line items while in general debate in order to facilitate the mass clearing of the lines, which is exactly what we intend to do after dealing with this one line item.
Chair: Is there any indication that that would be an acceptable alternative?
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: I donít have any quarrel with clearing all of the balance of the O&M side of it and then moving into the total capital ó deemed read and carried for the O&M, and then move into the capital side of it.
Mr. McRobb: Well, I worked this out with the Table Officers and, between us, we determined this was the most efficient way to handle this ó to glean out the line item, deal with it, pass it, and then clear everything else together, and this department is then done.
Weíve got about 12 more minutes in this day. We think we can still clear this department today if we follow that routine.
If we start to go line-by-line, forget it, Mr. Chair, there is more wasted time.
Chair: Notwithstanding the discussion with the Table Officers, unanimous consent was not reached. One option is to clear the O&M and proceed into capital. Is that an option that parties wish to pursue?
Mr. McRobb: I request unanimous consent to deem all lines in operation and maintenance for this department read and agreed to.
Unanimous consent re Vote 51, Department Community Services, O&M budget, read and agreed to
Chair:Mr. McRobb has requested the unanimous consent of the Committee to deem all lines in the O&M in Vote 51, Department of Community Services, cleared or carried, as required. Are you agreed?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: There is unanimous support. The request is granted.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures for the Department of Community Services in the amount of $31,490,000 agreed to
Mr. McRobb: I request unanimous consent of the Committee to deem all lines in Vote 51, Department of Community Services, in the section of capital, all the way to and including the line "recreation" for $150,000, under "land development" on page 5-7, to be deemed read and agreed to.
Unanimous consent re deeming certain branches of Vote 51, Department of Community Services, capital budget, read and agreed to
Chair:Mr. McRobb has requested the unanimous consent of the Committee to deem all lines in the capital budget for Community Services, up to and including the line under capital expenditures, land development, recreation" cleared or carried, as required. Are you agreed?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: There is unanimous consent. The request is granted.
On Capital Expenditures
Corporate Services agreed to
Protective Services agreed to
On Community Development
Community Infrastructure agreed to
On Land Development
Industrial agreed to
Recreational agreed to
Mr. Cardiff: Obviously, the minister and the members opposite know about the issue of residential land development and the problem that it has been causing in my riding, as well as the adjoining riding.
Mr. Cardiff: Therefore, I move
THAT the estimates pertaining to Bill No. 4, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2003-04, be amended in Vote 51, Community Services, by reducing the line item "land development, residential" on page 5-7 in the capital estimates by $3.5 million and that the clauses and schedules of the bill be amended accordingly.
Chair: It has been moved by the Member for Mount Lorne
THAT the estimates pertaining to Bill No. 4, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2003-04, be amended in Vote 51, Community Services, by reducing the line item "land development, residential" on page 5-7 in the capital estimates by $3.5 million and that the clauses and schedules of the bill be amended accordingly.
Mr. Cardiff: The reason why I am doing this is, in my mind, obvious. I know that it is obvious to my constituents. There is $3.5 million in the residential land development budget, specifically for this land development in Wolf Creek, or on the Mount Sima Road, the Whitehorse Copper area land development ó call it what you may, Wolf Creek phase 3. But to date, my constituents and the constituents in the adjoining riding are unhappy with the consultation process and do not want to see this go ahead this year. They want more consultation. They want their voices to be heard.
I know that the minister has met with my constituents and the constituents in the adjoining riding and listened to their concerns, and I am sure that he can agree with me that they are uncomfortable with this and that we need to take our time and consult.
There is one other reason for my concern about this. It goes back to March 18, general debate on Bill No. 26, the Environmental Assessment Act, and the questions that I asked around that. I was told by the Premier that the government is not exempt, so if the government has a project that is going to take place out there on the land base, then the act applies to the government also.
He also said heís assuming that weíre talking about this thing out in Wolf Creek. Well, itís more than just a thing. Itís a land development, and itís a massive land development, and itís affecting the lives and the environment and the wildlife in my community and in the adjoining riding.
He also stated that they would provide me with ó I requested the legalese around whatever decision was going to be used. I havenít received that. I was also promised that he was going to try to address my discomfort ó and I understood that we had to pass the mirror legislation by April 1. "We will endeavour to get the member the information as quickly as possible" ó thatís what I was told on March 19 in the line-by-line debate. "We will get the information to the member as quickly as possible so that he is fully informed of the situation, and that should dramatically improve his ability to represent his constituents in this matter." I havenít received any information around the Yukon Environmental Assessment Act in relation to this project.
My constituents are concerned about that.
Again, I was reassured that there is nothing here that is going to compromise my ability to deal with this issue: "Officials will move quickly to get the information for the member but, by the same token, we must also act quickly to ensure that, by April 1, this legislation and all the mirror legislation comes into full force and effect."
The legislation came into full force and effect and I still donít have the information, and my constituents are concerned about this land development. Hence, all Iím asking is that we remove the money for the land development.
Some Hon. Member: Point of order.
Point of order
Chair:Mr. Jenkins, on a point of order.
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: We are here to debate the budget. We are into the capital on Community Services. We are not in mirror legislation. That has cleared the House.
Mr. McRobb: There is no point of order. The Member for Mount Lorne is making arguments in support of the amendment that is before us on this floor.
Chair:There is no point of order.
Mr. Cardiff: That was nice to be interrupted right at the end of what I was saying.
Chair:It is entirely appropriate for a member to raise a point of order if a member does so wish.
Mr. Cardiff: The point I was trying to make, Mr. Chair, is that I cooperated on March 18 and 19 to ensure that legislation would pass, but I have not received the information that would provide my community, my constituents and the constituents in the riding adjacent some assurances that this land development Iím requesting be withdrawn from the budget will go through the CEAA process. So, I rest my case. I think there is good reason to ó
Where is the information I requested and was told I would be provided with, so I could deal with this for my constituents?
Chair: It has been moved by the Member for Mount Lorne that the estimates pertaining to Bill No. 4, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2003-04, be amended in Vote 51, Community Services, by reducing the line item "land development Ė residential" on page 5-7 in the capital estimates by $3,500,000, and that the clauses and schedules of the bill be amended accordingly.
Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Division.
Chair:Division has been called.
Order please. The House leaders have agreed that members are present. Would the Clerk please conduct the count? All those in favour, please stand.
Chair: All those not in favour, please rise.
Chair: The result of the count is five agreed, 10 disagreed,.
Amendment to Vote 51, Bill No. 4, negatived
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: I move that we report progress on Bill No. 4.
Chair: It has been moved by Mr. Jenkins that progress be reported on Bill No. 4.
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 now call the House to order. May the House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Rouble:Mr. Speaker, Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 34, Act to Amend the Municipal Act, and has directed me to report it without amendment.
Mr. Speaker, the Committee has also considered Bill No. 4, First Appropriation Act, 2003-04, and has directed me to report progress on it.
Speaker: Youíve heard the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Order please. The time being past 6:00 p.m., this House now stands adjourned until 1:00 p.m. Tuesday.
The House adjourned at 6:03 p.m.
The following Sessional Paper was tabled April 17, 2003:
Yukon Motor Transport Board 2001-02 Annual Report (Hart)
The following Legislative Returns were tabled April 17, 2003:
Environmental Assessment Act(EAA) and Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act (YESAA): information pertaining to projects assessed/permitted (Fentie)
Oral,Hansard, p. 323
Development Assessment Process: nomination of board members (Fentie)
Oral,Hansard, p. 321
Placer Mining Act: securities and bonds in safekeeping (Fentie)
Oral,Hansard, p. 281-282
Renewal expenditures: explanations for the years 2001-02 and 2002-03 (Fentie)
Oral,Hansard, p. 400
Renewal documentation on decisions: information pertaining to (Fentie)
Oral,Hansard, p. 401
The following Documents were filed April 17, 2003:
Tombstone Park Interpretive Centre: letter from Chief Darren Taylor, Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in, to Hon. Jim Kenyon, Minister of Environment (dated April 11, 2003) (Peter)
Municipal ActReview Committee, letter re: from Jim Slater, Executive Director, Association of Yukon Communities, to Hon. Glenn Hart, Minister of Community Services (dated March 21, 2003) (Hart)