Whitehorse, Yukon

Tuesday, December 16, 2003 ó 1:00 p.m.

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

Prayers

DAILY ROUTINE

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

Tributes.

Introduction of visitors.

INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS

Hon. Mr. Kenyon: It gives me great pleasure today to introduce guests in the House, Mr. Danny and Uli Nolan, the former owners of the Yukon Wildlife Preserve.

Applause

Speaker:   Any further introduction of visitors?

TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS

Speaker:  I have for tabling the 2002-03 Annual Report of the Yukon Human Rights Commission.

Are there any further documents for tabling?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Mr. Speaker, I have for tabling the Yukon Health and Social Services Council Annual Report for 2002-03.

Hon. Mr. Kenyon:   Mr. Speaker, I have for tabling the Annual Report of the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment, April 2002 to March 2003.

Speaker:   Are there any further documents or returns for tabling?

Are there any reports of committees?

Are there any petitions?

PETITIONS

Petition No. 2

Mr. Hardy:   I have a petition for tabling, on behalf of all opposition members, bearing the signature of 391 Yukon people calling on Cabinet ministers who owe money to the taxpayers to pay up or resign.

Speaker:   Are there any bills to be introduced?

Are there any notices of motion?

NOTICES OF MOTION

Mr. Cardiff:   I give notice of the following motion:

THAT it is the opinion of this House that

(1) the recent economic impact assessment and cost-benefit analysis of Yukon College proves beyond a doubt that the College is a significant player in the territoryís economy both in direct spending and jobs;

(2) higher education pays many benefits, not only to the individual who acquires a university degree, but it also stimulates social and cultural progress in society; and

THAT this House urges the Yukon Party government to fund a feasibility study that will look into the cost and benefits of expanding Yukon College to a four-year degree-granting institution.

I also give notice of the following motion:

THAT it is the opinion of this House that

(1) the University of the Arctic is a unique partnership between northern circumpolar countries and their institutions of higher learning in the north, including Yukon College;

(2) the university promotes cultural diversity and northern knowledge;

(3) it delivers courses in contemporary issues in the circumpolar region and a bachelor program in circumpolar studies both on-line and in the classroom; and

THAT this House urges the Yukon Party government to work with Yukon College to find ways to assist the development of the University of the Arctic.

Mr. McRobb:   I give notice of the following motion:

THAT this House urges the Yukon government to increase the budget for restorative justice programs in the territory to adequate levels while ensuring a fair and balanced approach to the distribution of funds and to work with Aboriginal Justice Canada to accomplish this goal.

Ms. Duncan:   I give notice of the following motion:

THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Alaska Governorís proposal to tax cruise ship passengers to help pay for state government will have a negative impact on Yukonís tourism industry; and

THAT this House urges the Minister of Tourism to immediately contact the Alaska Governorís office to register her opposition to such a tax.

I give notice of the following motion:

THAT this House recognizes that the Yukon Party promised during the election campaign that the development of the Whitehorse Copper area wouldnít go ahead unless all concerns were addressed; and

THAT this House recognizes that the government has proceeded with this development; and

THAT this House urges the Yukon Party government to right this wrong and halt the development of this area until residents have been assured that all concerns have been addressed.

I give notice of the following motion:

THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Yukon Party governmentís loan policy could result in two Cabinet ministers paying nothing on their outstanding loans to Yukon taxpayers; and

THAT this House urges the Premier to redraft this policy in order to ensure that his two Cabinet ministers repay their loans in full, including interest, to Yukon taxpayers.

Mr. Arntzen:   I give notice of the following motion:

THAT this House urges Old Saint Nick to deliver gifts to all the children in the Yukon Territory on Christmas Eve.

Speaker:   Are there any further notices of motion?

Is there a ministerial statement?

MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS

Child support payments excluded from social housing rent assessment

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise today to announce a new government policy. Cabinet has approved an order-in-council directing the Yukon Housing Corporation to remove child support payments from the calculation of rent for social housing tenants. This change will be effective January 1, 2004.

Yukonís social housing program makes an important contribution in addressing the economic and social challenges that communities and individuals face in their efforts to address issues associated with poverty and homelessness.

How the program works is that with the exception of social assistance recipients, tenants pay rent for a subsidized unit from the Yukon Housing Corporation based on a proportion of the tenantís total income.

These tenants will now be able to deduct child support payments from their income and therefore retain more money for use in potentially meeting the other needs of their children.

Mr. Speaker, this government promised that it would exclude child support payments from social housing rent calculations, and we have followed through.

The unfortunate reality today is that many families live apart. Those parents who find themselves raising children alone are often faced with financial problems, even when they receive payments from the other parent.

The changes in our policy are designed to leave more disposable income in the hands of custodial parents who are, more often than not, single parents. Research indicates that custodial parents are typically women with lower incomes or lower income-earning potential.

Various federal, territorial and NGO research studies and reports generate a consistent picture of the status of single-parent families in the Canadian and Yukon society. The findings show that the vast majority of all single-parent households are headed by women, that the Yukon single-parent households have less income than the Yukon median, and that the great percentage of single-parent households are social housing clients, with an overwhelming majority headed by women.

Child support payments will continue to be considered as income to assess eligibility for housing assistance. This ensures that those most in need of affordable, adequate and suitable housing will continue to be given priority consideration for social housing.

I am proud to say that we are contributing in helping Yukon children and families to achieve a better quality of life, just like we promised we would.

Mr. Cardiff:   I would like to thank the minister for the ministerial statement. Itís a good change in policy and Iím sure that there will be many women and children helped by this initiative. However, the vast majority of single-parent families living in social housing are not receiving maintenance payments and we need to address the issue of why some of them arenít receiving the maintenance payments that they deserve.

We are not sure how many families this affects and we would like the minister to provide a statement of the actual financial implications of this policy.

It might even be better if the Minister responsible for Yukon Housing would talk to his colleague, the Minister of Health and Social Services, as well. It might be better to raise social assistance rates as weíve been asking, since many social assistance recipients are single women living in Yukon Housingís social housing, and theyíre not receiving those maintenance payments. There are a few other options that the minister could also think about implementing. He could put a cap on rents, as the government does for its own employees living in Yukon Housing so that it would affect families who are struggling to save their own homes, and it would be fairer.

Another initiative that the minister responsible for Yukon Housing could take action on would be to implement the affordable housing program initiative that was put forward by the federal government over two years ago, which would assist even more families that are in need of good housing. The bottom line is to address the income of families on social assistance who are in need of affordable housing.

The other thing about the statement is that itís unclear ó and maybe the minister could clarify this in his final statement ó where it says that child support payments will continue to be considered as income to assess the eligibility for housing assistance. Weíd like to know what is meant by that statement.

Ms. Duncan:   I rise on behalf of the Liberal caucus to respond to the ministerial statement. Today is national chocolate-covered anything day. There was no need to sugar coat this particular announcement. It is sweet. I appreciate that the minister has done the right thing in approving an order-in-council directing the Yukon Housing Corporation to remove child support payments for the calculation of rent for social housing tenants.

Congratulations, minister. I appreciate your hard work at the Cabinet table.

I would, however, ask that you keep up this good work and encourage the good feelings to spread like melted chocolate. Social assistance cheques have been released early by previous governments to ensure that families were able to have these funds in time for Christmas. I would ask the minister to ask his colleague, the Health minister, to do the right thing and release the social assistance cheques early.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   I would like to thank the members opposite for their kind words with regard to this new policy, and Iíd like to assure them that this is one small element of assisting those in great need and itís a part of meeting our commitment. Iíd like to thank them very much.

Speaker:   This then brings us to Question Period.

QUESTION PERIOD

Question re: Business loans outstanding

Mr. Hardy:   A few minutes ago, I tabled a petition bearing 391 signatures, and I can tell the members opposite that there are over 400 signatures out there. This was the 391 we managed to gather up just today.

This petition has only been in circulation for a couple of days and has only been available in a few Whitehorse locations. Itís just the tip of the iceberg of Yukon people who are disgusted over delinquent ministerial loans.

Before the next sitting begins, will the Premier guarantee that the two ministers who owe hundreds of thousands of dollars to the taxpayers are either caught up on their payments or are no longer in Cabinet?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   First, I want to say on behalf of the government that we accept and recognize the spirit and the intent of the petition. We certainly place a great deal of value on the views and opinions of Yukoners.

As far as the member opposite, who seems to be singling out two individuals from a much broader, serious problem the government has had for many years, I would make this point: that this government, the first one in 15 years plus, has brought forward a solution, a solution that makes sure that NGOs are forgiven, a solution that allows other delinquent loans to come forward and renegotiate terms and conditions, and also be provided a three-year interest hiatus. But the Cabinet ministers in question do not get that benefit. Their portfolios will go forward, in full, bearing all the interest to date.

So the solution, Mr. Speaker, is one that addressed all the variables, all the problems and all the discrepancies in this portfolio. The government is moving it out to the private sector; the government should not be in the loans business.

Question re:  Dawson City supervisor position

Mr. Cardiff:   For the second time in a week, the Minister of Community Services has had to distance himself from questionable decisions made by his hand-picked consultant from Rossland, B.C. Will the minister now admit that he has botched this file, replace the supervisor and adopt a more constructive and positive approach to Dawson Cityís municipal officials?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   It doesnít matter how the members opposite address this question. The issue remains the same. Itís the state of Dawson Cityís financial affairs. This current state is a direct result of the past mayor and council and the past government decisions. Difficulties are due in part to past projects that went over budget, as in the arena, which could cost the city more money after arbitration. The new supervisor, based on the current information, has received and is predicting Dawson will be in a deficit position in this financial period ó $725,000 in an area roundabout. Dawson is also requesting outstanding loans in excess of other municipalities, and I repeat that most people in Dawson City must already know the cityís financial state is not in good standing.

Thank you.

Question re:  Motor vehicle impoundment

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice says she has a letter from the RCMP supporting her decision to release a tow truck. The minister also said she has a legal case that supports her decision. Will the minister end the secrecy and publicly provide these documents she says exists?

Hon. Ms. Taylor:   I welcome all opportunities to address questions surrounding this matter, and as I have reiterated many times, again and again and again ó Iíll repeat it again. Based on the case that came to our office, which was presented to us, I acted in strict accordance with the law, the Motor Vehicles Act, the provision that actually states the Minister of Justice shall grant early release of a vehicle that has been impounded if it was found wrongfully impounded. I did so, and I stay with my position.

Question re:  Brewery Creek mine site reclamation

Mr. McRobb:   The Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources was happy to be quoted in a government news release endorsing his decision to release $3 million of security to the owners of the defunct Brewery Creek mine. Yesterday he refused to say whether his decision was based on a legal opinion regarding future liability.

Can the minister responsible for mines in the territory tell us what public good was served by refusing to answer that question, like so many others?

Hon. Mr. Lang:   It gives me great pleasure to address the member opposite on our last day in the House. Again, he knows full well what the answer is. The answer is: that is the Minister of Environmentís portfolio. If he would direct his question to the proper minister it could be answered.

Question re:  Correctional services

Mrs. Peter:   The Minister of Justice, like so many of her colleagues, does not provide answers or information to this side of the House. I would like to give her another opportunity.

Will the minister table the letter she says went to all Yukon First Nations seeking representatives to oversee a Yukon-wide consultation on correctional services and a record of who has been involved in designing the consultation process?

Hon. Ms. Taylor:   I am very proud of the efforts to date by our government. As the member opposite is fully aware, our Premier did sign a memorandum of understanding with Kwanlin Dun First Nation earlier this year committing us to involve all Yukon First Nations in the review, design and evaluation of correctional services in the territory. We have done so. Our government, to this end, is working with Yukon First Nations to develop a public process that will look at just this.

As I stated yesterday to the media and to the member opposite, we have also placed letters to each of the First Nations with a draft work plan, at which time, once the committee has been struck, the work plan has been reviewed, timelines have been reviewed and all has been agreed to among the committee members, then I will be happy to provide the members opposite with the information as requested.

Question re:  Education standards

Mr. Fairclough:   Yesterday the Minister of Education said there was a direct link between low academic achievement by First Nations students and high consumption of alcohol. How does the minister expect to achieve positive results by labelling First Nation students with such a negative stereotype?

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   Iím inclined to believe today that the members opposite will possibly be the most knowledgeable bunch of citizens in the Yukon Territory after this sitting. I say this because of all the information we have provided them with over the last few weeks.

The member opposite appears to be confused here. As I would state today on the floor of this Legislature, the ones who stereotype are the ones that are sitting on the opposite side. I have done my utmost to prevent that.

Question re:  Occupational health and safety regulations

Mr. Cardiff:   I have a question for the minister responsible for the Workersí Compensation Health and Safety Board. How is the public good served by the ministerís refusal to adopt occupational health and safety regulations that were developed through four years of consultation, at great expense, and have the support of stakeholders?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   As I informed the member opposite previously, there is a complete comprehensive review of the Workersí Compensation Act underway currently. That has been expanded, and funding has been provided to other stakeholders so that this review can be as comprehensive as possible.

That said, the other area is the occupational health and safety regulations, which are part of another piece of legislation. But they do dovetail into workersí compensation, and they are responsible for the enforcement of this legislation. That said, that review will take place after the conclusion of the WCB act, and weíre very fortunate in having a very capable team in place to conduct the review of the act. Weíre hoping that this team can move forward on the review of the OH&S regulations after they have concluded this initial review. Weíll see the results and the fruits of their very capable labour very, very shortly. I donít want to put timelines around this initiative, but it will take some time.

Question re:  Versluce Meadows, subdividing of

Ms. Duncan:   I have a question for the Minister of Environment. Will the minister publicly release the results of the investigation into his conflict of interest?

Hon. Mr. Kenyon:   In response to the member opposite, the letter has been shown to the media and one would assume that that does involve the public.

I would like to state for the record, however, that I certainly have never been to an Irving fishing lodge; Iíve never attended an Irving fishing lodge to study salmon; Iíve never flown on a private jet of any description; and, to my knowledge, weíre not planning any fountains in Crestview or Porter Creek North.

Iíd also like to include, in closing, that Iím still in difficulty with a passport as the formerly honourable Minister of Environment under the Liberal regime has to date refused to return his passport. So, again, Mr. Speaker, maybe the member opposite has some better information on a return to power and thatís why she also retains hers.

Question re:  Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, appointments to

Mrs. Peter:   I was pleased to learn today that the Minister of Environment has had a change of heart regarding one of the excellent recommendations of the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board.

Will the minister now guarantee that future appointments to the board will be based on experience and commitment to sound environmental stewardship rather than loyalty to the Yukon Party or its pro-development agenda?

Hon. Mr. Kenyon:   The member opposite certainly brings up the very excellent work of the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board. We do not plan ó and I can state that unequivocally ó to go along with any political interference, as the leader of the last party suggested by a motion in this House. The members of the board are selected by either the government or by the First Nations. The major criteria for this are the experience of the people, the training of the people and their ability to understand and deal with the issues. Those are always the most important factors, Mr. Speaker.

Question re:  Computer use investigation

Mr. Hardy:   Iíve asked questions before in regard to the computer use investigation. As a matter of fact, Iíve asked a multitude of questions in that regard. Iíd like to go back to a question that I asked the minister previously, and itís in regard to when the minister admitted that the governmentís computer use investigation had spiralled out of control. We all agreed upon that in the House that day. The question I have is when the minister realized that the process was starting to spiral out of control, exactly what did he do about it? What instructions did he give to the Public Service Commission, and what help did he seek from the Premier?

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   The member opposite is quite right. He has asked this repeatedly, and I donít know what this side of the House could do, Mr. Speaker, to get it through to the leader of the official opposition that personnel issues are not discussed on the floor of this House. Now that in itself sounds very, very simple, and I fail to see where the leader is making it so complicated. We will not discuss personnel issues on the floor of this House.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Hardy:   Well, isnít that a very interesting non-answer that we got. This minister continually confuses the issue of what are personnel issues and what are not. He tries to fool the public, and he tries to use that excuse in this Legislature to avoid answering questions, and that is wrong.

That question I just asked was not a personnel question. And we have to remind him that this is the Public Service Commission that he is supposed to be the minister of. A lot of the issues happen to deal with personnel. We are allowed to ask these questions, whether he likes it or not.

During this sitting, my colleagues and I have asked over 110 questions related to the infamous computer use investigation. Ninety-five of these questions did not get answered. Apparently, the buck doesnít stop at the ministerís desk under the Yukon Party. In fact, the buck doesnít even slow down. And I have question 111, Mr. Speaker, for the minister responsible for the Public Service Commission: how has the effective operation of government or the public good been served by this ministerís refusal to answer or to accept responsibility for how this investigation was handled?

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   Well, I guess I would have to stand up on the floor of this Legislature and state that I honestly believe that maybe there is just a difference of opinion here. The member opposite never fails to repeat on the floor of this Legislature that he appears to have the answers and knows everything with regard to this government. Well, I say again today that personnel issues will stay there.

I want to state for the record again that this whole investigation was conducted because there was a breach of the government harassment policy and it was also a violation of the Human Rights Act. So, whether the member opposite would like the public at large to believe that they would have handled everything and shoved it under the table, I believe they would have an obligation to the citizens of this territory to do exactly what this government did. I want to say that the Public Service Commission did an excellent job in conducting this investigation.

Question re:  Highway camps

Mr. McRobb:   Now, the minister responsible for highways refused to provide information in response to a letter I wrote him back in August regarding highway camp budgets and projects. Instead, he promised to deliver the information in the Legislature this fall.

Well, here we are at the end of the road without that information. Can the minister tell us what public good was served by refusing to answer my information request?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   When we get to my turn in the budget, I will respond.

Question re:  Social assistance cheque release before Christmas

Mr. Fairclough:   The Minister of Health and Social Services has doused the lights on a few family Christmas trees this year. He will be getting his government paycheque before Christmas, but families on SA wonít. How does this ministerís refusal to follow past practice of releasing the January SA cheques before Christmas show either good fiscal management or basic compassion for families in need at this time of year?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Iím sure the member opposite went back and reviewed what the past practices of previous governments have been, but the only government that has released cheques early was a Yukon Party government. The Liberal government did not; the NDP government did not.

Iíve checked back quite a number of years.

That said, the SA cheques for December are out and they contain an amount of money in there as a small additional supplement for the people for Christmas ó for those who are in our social safety net ó and the January cheques will be out at the earliest possible opportunity. The December cheques have already been issued, and they do contain a Christmas bonus.

Speaker:   Before the Member for Mount Lorne stands up, weíre at question 13, and itís my understanding that this is generally a question that goes to a government private member.

Question re:  Land Application Review Committee advice

Mr. Cardiff:   Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the government for their generosity.

Many constituents, not just in my riding but in several other ridings, are concerned about the willy-nilly release of land through spot land applications and the fact that the government is ignoring the advice of duly elected governments in those areas.

Could the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources answer this question: how is the public good served by the minister ignoring the advice and input of hamlet councils and local advisory boards at the Land Application Review Committee table?

Hon. Mr. Lang:   We have policies in place and we follow those policies, as far as spot land transactions are concerned. So certainly we are considerate of all the levels of government that we work with. We are just proceeding in that fashion.

Question re:  Business loans outstanding

Ms. Duncan:   My question is for the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources. When does he intend to pay back in full the more than $100,000 he owes taxpayers?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Surely the third party would have had much more preparation in a set of questions for the last day of the sitting ó other than this one. But we all know how the opposition, through their focus on personnel issues, have mired themselves in negativity while this government has focused and worked with Yukoners on building a future for this territory. The opposition has been focused and mired in reconstructing the past.

The solution for the loans is out and public. This is the first government in 15 years plus that has acted on this issue. I take up again the Member for Kluaneís comments about how other governments had looked at this issue and backed off because they were afraid of the political fallout. Well, weíre going to get political fallout. We are not afraid of it. We will not be deflected or deterred from the agenda that Yukoners put their faith in this government in: that is to build a bigger, better and brighter future for the Yukon. Thatís what weíre doing.

Question re:  Brewery Creek mine site reclamation

Mr. McRobb:   Iíd like to follow up on the issue of Brewery Creek. Since the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources wonít provide an answer, maybe the Minister of Environment will. Can he indicate whether he has a legal opinion regarding future liability of the mine site and the release of securities? Can he tell us if he has a legal opinion?

Hon. Mr. Kenyon:   As the member has hopefully learned, the release of securities is the purview of the ministry of the Environment, which acts as an enforcement agency on this. One of the things when you look at a mine site and what assurances and securities you must have in place is the track record of the company. We take the track record of every company into account ó now that we have control of this since April 1 and devolution ó and we determine what securities are necessary. We do not need the most draconian securities for the best companies. Therefore, it is not necessary to have acts, legal opinions and documentation. As you pay a mortgage, you like to see the value of that mortgage reduce as you pay it. No one would pay a mortgage on a house or a chattel loan on the car with the entire amount outstanding until the thing is paid off in full. That is not good business. No one would buy a house under those circumstances. I am suspicious the member opposite didnít buy his house under those circumstances.

Question re:  Dawson City supervisor position

Ms. Duncan:   My question is for the Minister of Community Services. The supervisor in Dawson has been a complete disaster. Will the minister fire him and end this fiasco?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   I guess the chocolate has all dried up.

I repeat that Dawson City has a financial problem ó a problem that this government inherited from the previous government and the previous mayor and council. We are awaiting the consultation of the supervisor with mayor and council and his final report. Once we have it, we will react.

Question re:  Yukon native teacher education program

Mr. Fairclough:   Mr. Speaker, in rural Alaska, 30 percent of the teaching staff is native. In the Yukon, across the territory, three and a half percent of the teaching staff is First Nations. Why are the YNTEP graduates not being hired in Yukon schools?

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   Well, Mr. Speaker, for the record, Iíd like to correct the member opposite because the YNTEP graduates are given top consideration for teaching jobs, particularly when the jobs are in their home communities. To date, we have had 71 Yukon First Nation people graduate from YNTEP, and I am pleased to stand on the floor of this Legislature and say that many of them are now teaching in Yukon schools. Many more are working for First Nations at Yukon College or teaching outside of the territory. So the member opposite is incorrect in saying that they donít have jobs. Thank you.

Question re:  Business loans outstanding

Mr. Hardy:   Well, earlier on, I tabled petitions that had over 391 signatures. In my hand, I have another 53 signatures, which totals 444 signatures. Now, Iím going to ask the question here in regard to this petition. Now, what the petition says at the end ó these are people signing it in less than two and a half days. It says, "The undersigned ask the Yukon Legislative Assembly to direct the Premier and Minister of Finance to make them pay or resign their Cabinet positions." It has nothing to do with the past, as this Premier likes to talk about or make excuses about. I will ask this question on behalf of the Yukon Party constituents, since no one else is asking on behalf of them. What other options were looked at in collecting these loans?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Obviously after 15 years of inability to collect these delinquent loans, one would then conclude that many options have been looked at. This government committed to bring forward a solution that brought closure to the issue. Thereís a cost to carrying these loans. There are all kinds of issues here, but this government is not going to single people out, unlike the NDP, which is demanding foreclosure on two individuals. One can only assume, then, that they mean foreclosure on the whole portfolio. Thatís 67 delinquencies. Weíre not going to do that, Mr. Speaker.

The solution is public. It is fair and the two Cabinet members in question do not get the benefits of any renegotiation of any interest hiatus over three years, but their portfolios will go to the private sector in full with all interest accrued.

Question re:  Business loans outstanding

Mr. Hardy:   Thatís interesting, Mr. Speaker. To listen very closely to this Premier, you recognize that weíre not the ones who are singling out these two Cabinet ministers. This Premier just admitted himself, on the floor just a minute ago, that he was the one who singled them out. He singled them out by making a double standard in the second part of his final solution he has been proposing for this. He also singled them out by making them Cabinet ministers and bringing this to the attention of every single person in this territory who finds this an affront.

Mr. Speaker, in just a few short days, weíve had over 444 Yukon people sign a petition calling on the Premier to make his two delinquent Cabinet ministers either pay up or resign. Of all the complaints we have heard about this government ó and there have been many ó this issue tops the list. It is a thorn in the side of this government. It is a source of anger for taxpayers and for many people who repay their government loans. It is an embarrassment for all elected people.

Will the Premier scrap the ineffective policy he brought forward last week and bring in a policy that requires his two colleagues to pay up or get out of Cabinet?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I would urge the member to calm down a little. The righteous indignation is certainly getting through. We understand the NDPís position.

Let me be clear. This government places great value in the opinions and the views of Yukoners and we will continue to do so. This government has also brought forward a solution. This solution is a fair one. Itís the one that will bring closure to a long-standing issue. We are moving forward. Our governmentís focus is on issues very important to Yukoners, such as the economy. We are not going to reconstruct the past; we are going to build a future. Thatís why this government is here. We will continue to focus on that.

If the members opposite want to remain mired in negativity, thatís their choice, but at the end of the day, the measurement will be on what we deliver. There are two individuals in this government in Cabinet who are contributing a great deal of value in this area. It is their talent, their skill sets and their contribution that is a part of success for the future.

Speaker:   The time for Question Period has now lapsed.

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

Speaker:   My apologies. First supplementary.

Mr. Hardy:   Thatís all right. There have been a lot of questions today.

If the Premier would listen closely, what heíd be hearing in my voice is the sound of Yukon people very indignant about the actions of the Yukon Party government, but obviously he doesnít put any value in that.

Now, the trouble with the Premierís collection proposal is that there is no guarantee whatsoever that the two ministers will ever repay a dime. Constituents of every riding in the territory are telling their MLAs that they want these ministers to pay up.

What is shocking is that there are 12 Yukon Party MLAs across the way who are trying to defend this $400,000 Christmas gift the Premier is proposing as his permanent resolution to the loans issue. Is the Premier prepared to allow his MLAs to break rank on this issue, or will all of his MLAs ó or will any of his MLAs ó have the courage to stand up and tell the Premier what their constituents are demanding: that these ministers should pay up or move out?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Again, I point out something. The value of opinions and views of Yukoners is very much recognized by this government. I think the member opposite is going a little far with his assumptions. There is a lot of work to do here. There is a six-month period where delinquent loans and the individuals or corporate entities involved in those delinquencies can come forward to negotiate terms, conditions and interest to try to get to a manageable portfolio or loan, if you will.

Also, they are also being provided a three-year hiatus on any interest, another important factor. The two members in Cabinet do not have that benefit. Their portfolios go forward in full. The ultimate point here is that the government has made a decision to put this portfolio into the private sector. As far as demanding that these two ministers remove themselves from Cabinet, on balance, thatís not going to happen, given the contribution they are making to this territory and its future.

Mr. Hardy:   Well, Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that the public would sure love to see that contribution in the cash that they give back to this territory, that they took away. I would also challenge the Premier on the floor today to show me the public that supports this cash giveaway. Show me. There are a lot of flaws in the Premierís so-called final solution. It does nothing to recognize that many, many conscientious Yukon people, businesses and non-profit organizations live up to their obligations and pay their loans. By turning over the loan files to private sector collection, there is also absolutely no guarantee that the Yukon businesses wonít end up having to file for bankruptcy or face major financial hardship.

Will the Premier withdraw this badly flawed policy and come back with something that will work for the best of all Yukoners?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   You know, Mr. Speaker, this member, the leader of the official opposition, is making some tall assumptions with absolutely no reflection on what may transpire over the next six months.

Unparliamentary language

Speaker:   The intimation is that the leader of the official opposition is misleading, and I would ask the Premier to withdraw that, please.

Withdrawal of remark

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Mr. Speaker, I will withdraw that, but opinions sometimes do not reflect the facts. So let me put it that way. And we are going to continue with this solution. We are getting out of the loans business ó period. We applaud and commend every Yukoner, every corporation, every company that repaid their loan, but when you look at the delinquencies here and the time expired, there is evidence that there are many other problems with this portfolio, and I would say to the members opposite: is it their intention to go to Mayo and foreclose on the $400,000 plus owed there, when that loan was given out with the same intention?

Thereís nothing in this solution that is requiring foreclosure. Thereís everything here to make this portfolio manageable for those delinquent. They are delinquent for a reason: they cannot pay. And for this issue to come to closure, we must find a way to ensure that they can somehow manage this issue. And the two members in Cabinet do not get those benefits. Their portfolios go forward in full, with all interest accrued.

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

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Mr. Speaker, I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.

Speaker:   It has been moved by the government House leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and 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. 7, Second Appropriation Act, 2003-04.

I understand weíre going into the Economic Development department. Before we begin, do members wish a recess?

Some Hon. Members:  Agreed.

Chair:   Weíll rise for a 15-minute recess.

Recess

Chair:   Order please. Committee of the Whole will now come to order. The matter before the Committee is Bill No. 7, Second Appropriation Act, 2003-04.

Bill No. 7 ó Second Appropriation Act, 2003-04 ó continued  

Department of Economic Development

Chair:   At this time we will move on to Vote 7, Department of Economic Development. Mr. Fentie.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, along with a number of other commitments in the first year of this governmentís office ó which would include a stand-alone Department of Tourism, the reinstatement of the Womenís Directorate ó we are now, with this supplementary budget, bringing to fruition the creation of the new Department of Economic Development. We are very pleased with the process that has evolved to date. It began with the choosing of a deputy minister, which was very much involved with stakeholders, and it has continued on in creating the structure of this department, which Iíd like to go over briefly.

The new Department of Economic Development, I must say at the start, is a smaller department. It is some half the size ó 50 percent of the size of the original department in the Yukon government.

It has a new focus, a new purpose and a new direction, and that begins with its structure. It has five main pillars within its structure, which include investment, trade and business development; strategic industries development; regional economic development; policy, planning and research; and, of course, corporate services. Now let me just break down briefly each of these pillars.

Number one, the investment trade and business development portion or structure of the department is there to identify and attract investors to the Yukon. Thatís a critical element that is required in this territory ó creating investment certainty and then attracting those investors to the territory. Promoting the Yukon as an attractive and strategic place to do business is an obvious economic tool that is a necessity. We will assist Yukon businesses to export and expand markets ó part of investment and trade is to do exactly that. In doing so, we create jobs and benefits for Yukoners.

We will establish and maintain a Yukon presence in priority markets, to identify and develop sources of investment capital, which is certainly something that is required in building our investment pool here in the territory, and to facilitate new and existing SMEs to develop and expand.

Now, all these areas within this component of the department are focused and strategic, as is the next one: strategic industries will promote the development of Yukonís strategic and emerging industry sectors to work in partnership with industry and government to establish common priorities and plans for growth and expansion. And part of this is to ensure that Economic Development is the quarterback within the Yukon government, to make sure that other departments that have an impact or are related to Economic Development are heading in the same direction ó to identify strategic opportunities for business projects to benefit Yukonís economy, promote and work with stakeholders and partners to make projects happen and to facilitate closure by supporting stakeholders through government policy and approval processes.

All of these things are very strategic and itís a new approach to the Department of Economic Development.

Another vital area is regional economic development. Given the diversity in this territory and the differences, region by region, this is a very significant step in the structure of this department. It will serve as the governmentís focal point, Mr. Chair, for First Nation economic development and partnership, and thatís key to our commitments and agenda ó work with First Nation business partners in the economic development of the territory to the mutual benefit of all Yukoners, consistent with what it is we want to do in developing our economy in partnership with First Nations.

Another is to work with partners in initiating and implementing regional economic plans, work with communities and community groups to help facilitate projects with sustainable economic benefits, and to proactively administer the community development fund, which is a mechanism or vehicle to help short-term stimulus.

The other areas are more mechanical, if you will, or operational in policy, planning and research. And, of course, corporate services is also another area of administrative capacity.

In the policy planning area, we will develop policies, strategies, programs and legislative instruments to support sustainable and responsible economic development. We will monitor and evaluate economic trends, issues and opportunities affecting the Yukon and provide information, analysis and advice to decision makers to ensure balanced and considered economic actions. Working closely with other governments is something that weíve already embarked on with our cooperation accords, whether it be national, regional, First Nation municipal. We want to cooperatively achieve Yukon benefits and provide relevant and reliable economic research and analysis to support broader understanding of the Yukon economy. I think that one particular part of this structure of the department is even as important as strategic planning, because understanding the Yukon economy is a prerequisite to building it.

Corporate services will just provide support services to the Department of Economic Development branches including managing financial and human resources ó which is a required administrative function. There will be provision of technical advice and assistance as well as maintenance of records and a resource centre for the department. And of course one of the most important vehicles to our contracting community is the administration of the business incentive program. All these areas have been developed with a great deal of stakeholder input and a lot of thought. We are pleased that we are now poised to go to work on the Yukon economy, although, even with the limited resources available to it, the department has done a number of things already.

Mr. Chair, in this budget we are providing and fully resourcing the Department of Economic Development. I would commend the officials in this department for carrying out their duties as they have until we got the supplementary budget and fully resourced the department.

And I want to introduce some of the detail in this area, Mr. Chair. The new Department of Economic Development, as you know and we all know in this House, began with a budget of $1. But thatís no longer the case. In order to fulfill this governmentís commitment to develop a stand-alone Department of Economic Development, we now have a supplementary budget of $2.844 million operations and maintenance dollars and $7,956,000 in capital expenditures. Now, Mr. Chair, 72 percent of both the operating and capital budgets are being transferred from other departments ó in other words, from within existing resources that were retransferred back into this department. They are being revoted from the 2002-03 budget or recovered from the federal government.

In order to build the Department of Economic Development, we have repatriated trade and investment from Tourism and Culture, the community development fund from Community Services, and the business incentive program from Department of Highways and Public Works, and also economic policy and research from Finance and Tourism. We have added additional areas that were not in the old Economic Development department ó strategic industries and regional economic development and the Film commission, for example ó to provide a new focus on regional economic development and new and emerging strategic sectors.

But only 28 percent of this supplementary budget is new money, and I think that shows exactly how much work was being done by officials with that $1.

A large portion of the new resources, some $825,000, will be committed to the film industry through the film incentive fund. This is one of the economic sectors we anticipate will take off and provide sustainable, creative work for Yukon people. Another large portion, some $862,000, has been added to the business incentive policy to cover our commitments under that policy. I am pleased that these funds are required as a direct result of putting Yukoners to work.

Using the resources in this supplementary budget wisely, the department will work to develop a strong, stable economy. It is one of the smallest departments in the Yukon government today. Economic Development will work toward a sustainable and diverse economy for this territory and we plan to do this through partnerships, innovation and native entrepreneurial spirit of the Yukon.

Investment, trade and business development ó and as a step toward the development of a strong private sector, the investment, trade and business development program, with an O&M budget of $1,236,000, will obviously deliver on elements that I mentioned previously. And with a capital expenditure of $1,624,000, this program will support the film industry, develop the technology sector and undertake industry research and provide microloans. The majority of the resources of this program have been previously debated in last yearís budget and you will also note a corresponding decrease in the supplementary budget of Tourism and Culture due to the transfer of this program to the Department of Economic Development.

In regional economic development, we know what the focus is and what this area will do. There is $106,000 for operating and maintenance and $4,079,000 in capital to carry out its duties and responsibilities within the department.

For strategic industries development, we have an operating budget of $200,000 and also $200,000 in capital. This is an essential branch, and I will just repeat that it will promote the development of Yukon strategic and emerging industry sectors, work in partnership within industry and government to establish common priorities and plans for growth and expansion, identify strategic opportunities for business projects that will benefit Yukonís economy, and facilitate the completion of projects by helping stakeholders through governmental policy and approval processes.

The staff of strategic industries development will be working with partners and stakeholders in non-renewable industries, renewable industries, cultural industries, communication and information technologies and an innovation to make good projects happen.

When it comes to policy, planning and research, Mr. Chair, there will be $763,000 for O&M and also, through NGO recoveries, some $92,000 of federal funding. Here, too, you can see a corresponding decrease in the Finance and Tourism supplementaries for the resources transferred over to the department. Corporate services, which is a major administrative function ó the operating budget for this branch is $539,000, while capital is $1,853,000, which includes the business incentive policy resource, totalling some $1,562,000.

This policy has long been considered an aid to Yukon industry and will receive these resources in order to meet the obligations of the policy to business and industry when putting Yukoners to work.

Mr. Chair, these programs and projects, together with new projects and programs under development for introduction in the next fiscal yearís budget, will provide Yukoners with a good solid base on which to build the economy, rather than the band-aid and scatter-gun approach we have previously experienced. Iím convinced that with the excellent people we have in the department and those we will add to the team, and with the resources in this supplementary budget, we will accomplish what others have not been able to accomplish in the past with the Yukon economy.

It comes down to vision and a plan ó a plan that, in the first year of our office, has been to focus on changing the spending habits of government and policy in order to get the territory heading in a new direction.

It is a direction that would lessen our dependence on government and the southern taxpayer and increase the involvement of the private sector in the Yukonís economy.

Let us just recap. The plan and the vision begins with our relationship with First Nations, full partnership in economic development and sharing in the burdens of decisions ó but in sharing in the benefits that accrue from those decisions. In the creation of a stand-alone Department of Tourism and also the creation of the Department of Economic Development, we have now two departments focused in strategic areas for the economy of this territory and certainly for the future of this territory in building that economy. Itís about fiscal management by increasing the surplus by almost $50 million this first year of office. Itís about finding more room under the surplus/deficit cap, such as an amendment to the TPA, to be able to engage the private sector and other governments to increase the spending power in this territory.

Cash flow is the most important element of any economic engine. Without it, there is no fuel. Without fuel, there is no engine that can run. We intend to increase the spending power in this territory to make every possible economic engine available to us get up and running. That is much of what the Department of Economic Development will be doing.

There is great potential in this territory. There is a bright future. There are many opportunities. Itís up to us to seize those opportunities and advance strategic areas of economic development ó first to lay the groundwork in those developments through responsible and sustainable policies and direction, to ensure that we get the private sector back into the territory by providing a secure and comfortable investment climate, increasing their participation in economic growth, which is another vital element that is required, and by continuing to focus in on our asset bases such as resources, to build on the talents and the uniqueness and the diversity of our citizens, who have a great deal to contribute to the development of the Yukon economy.

Itís to forge ahead with that full economic partnership for First Nations in this territory, who also have a tremendous amount to contribute to the Yukon economy, and itís time that their involvement and contribution be made and brought front and centre to this particular area. Also, Mr. Chair, itís to continue working within government to ensure that focuses and impediments and other issues that have long been a difficult, unmanageable situation when it comes to economic development, such as the Yukon protected areas strategy, are addressed. There is no question that there are a number of things we can do and that is why, along with the structure of this department, we have commenced a regulatory review committee, which is to address many of these things in many of the areas that will help us create the investment climate we seek.

Mr. Chair, I am very, very pleased to commend this supplementary budget for this department to the House. Itís a new beginning; itís a new direction. It has vision. It has a plan. It has a strategic structure. It is certainly going to do some good works for this territory when it comes to the economy. With that, I would like to hear from the members opposite, who have not asked one question this sitting about the economy, what they have to offer and what is the most important issue for Yukoners.

Mr. McRobb:   Iíd like to thank the Premier for the long speech, but itís not as if we have time available today to accommodate such long speeches, and I would urge him to shorten up on the responses or this will be the last department dealt with in this sitting.

Mr. Chair, I believe the Premier misspoke by saying there were no questions related to economic development in this sitting. I seem to recall asking at least one. Perhaps he was on one of his many trips outside the territory at the time.

I would like to commend the Premier for following through on creating a stand-alone Department of Economic Development, because itís something that we in the official opposition support. Itís something that we had structured when in government up to the year 2000. It was something that was changed under the previous government and, of course, we did not support that approach, so we welcome the stand-alone department.

However, Mr. Chair, we do not support the long period of inactivity within this department and how it has affected the Yukon economy in the past year. There has been virtually very little on-the-ground progress out of the Department of Economic Development. It finally has a Web site up and running; itís good to see it has a deputy minister, but weíre well past the one-year mark of this government being in power, and this is very short in terms of production.

As well, about a month or so ago, the government announced it would be embarking on an economic development strategy. It was also strange, Mr. Chair, to see a government only starting in year two to develop a strategy, and it raises the question: at what point will we be seeing action?

It doesnít take a rocket scientist to conclude that we might see action in year three or four of the term of this government. It leaves very little time to assess the action before the next election. Mr. Chair, that raises questions about the quality of actions this government intends to take. We saw it remove the accountability standards that were implemented by the previous government, as a first order of business in the spring. We have to ask the question: where are the performance standards within this department? We will be getting to that, and I expect an answer to that question from the Premier.

I would also like to put on the record our objection to the refusal by the Yukon Party government to provide a briefing for this department. We felt there were sufficient grounds to justify a briefing because it was a new department. And in order for the opposition parties to become familiar with the department, a briefing certainly would have been helpful.

On the record on many previous occasions, the government has offered briefings if so desired. We expressed a desire repeatedly, day after day, for this briefing but we were turned down by the government House leader, the Member for Klondike. It raises the question: does this government really want to be held accountable by raising the level of knowledge in this House? Obviously the answer is no. It has a problem with that. And that is wrong.

Weíve seen very little action in terms of productivity coming from this department. Weíve heard lots of promises and grandiose statements out of the Premier, primarily, in the past year or so. One of them was the promise of a pan-northern economic development agreement to the tourism roundup that occurred more than a full year ago. It was November 2002 at the tourism roundup when he told everybody to expect this. We havenít heard much on it lately. It raises questions as to what resources are available to use as tools to help develop our economy. And time permitting, we hope to find out more about that question and others this afternoon in the limited time that we do have available.

This department, if it is assigned to be the starter for the economic engine of the territory and the government can provide the fuel through its budgets, then weíre anxious to see just how powerful an engine this department really has, what it has got for spark plugs, and so on ó maybe take a look at the transmission to make sure that maybe reverse gear isnít the biggest gear in this vehicle.

People have expressed to me concerns about having a large department that produces a lot of paper but very little action. I know the Premier, when he sat with our party, was always concerned about that and I donít think that he has lost that principle, Mr. Chair, and he is still concerned about that. Since he is the minister responsible for this department, I would be interested to see how he has remedied that concern.

In addition, there are a number of big-ticket items on the radar screen. There is the potential for the Alaska Highway natural gas pipeline. There is potential for a railroad. I know that is designated within the Highways and Public Works department; however, Economic Development has a strong role to play as well.

There are initiatives like the trade and investment strategy. I asked the Premier in the spring sitting what he is doing to reintroduce that strategy. We have heard very little about it and Iím looking forward to some more information today on that particular program.

We have seen economic outlook after economic outlook inform us of nothing much more optimistic than gloom and doom on the near-term horizon. Yukoners are looking for something to be optimistic about to keep them living in the territory under tough economic times and they do need hope to stay because, for a lot of people, they are having trouble putting food on the table and there is always the lure of a better job outside the territory, or even a job at all.

I know from communities in my riding, people Iíve talked to have moved out and are in the process of moving to places like Fort McMurray and the oil patch in search of that job and that better paying job.

Even highway construction workers have moved out in the past few months because of the lack of news about Shakwak funding. We know that there was some funding announced for Shakwak that amounted to about half the normal yearís funding, and combined with leftovers in the account, we might have a close-to-normal expected year. That should employ several dozen Yukoners, but the news was slow coming out. This should be a concern to this department, because it deals with the job stats and the employment figures. And indeed, if it is tasked with the immense job of rebuilding the territoryís economy, then certainly certainty and hope are all part of the mix. It was disappointing to not have the Premier nudge the Highways minister to come out and announce something a little sooner to help people stay in our territory. You may recall, instead, the announcement came from the leader of the third party. So obviously this department isnít fine tuned yet, and thatís understandable, since itís new. But at the same time, the political level must assume the leadership necessary to provide a level of confidence to Yukoners to keep them here. There are a number of other issues and so on to do with this department, and weíll get into some questions and answers very quickly.

Iíd like to start with the pan-northern economic development agreement. Can the minister update us on that, please?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I will certainly update the Member for Kluane but, first, I want to point out some of the faulty and flawed determinations that the member is making. First off, when it comes to the Shakwak, he should well know that the Department of Economic Development does not construct highways. We have a Department of Highways and Public Works. Thatís issue number one. Secondly, we donít build highways in the wintertime. Theyíre done in the spring, summer and fall. Thirdly, a great deal of work was done on that because the previous government had failed to address the Shakwak issue at all. This government got an extra $7.8 million U.S. to top up the remaining monies in the Shakwak fund for the coming construction season, to some $18 million plus Canadian that will be available.

The member should also know that, given the fact they had an embargoed briefing on the budget in the very first couple of days of the sitting and have had weeks to critique and go over the budget, they would see throughout the budget the monies that are being expended on highway engineering to increase our ability to enhance road construction in this territory. Thatís all in the budget.

Mr. Chair, the member also made mention of trade and investment. Again given the fact that the member has had for weeks, beginning with an embargoed copy of the budget and a briefing on the budget during that period ó he should by now have picked up the fact that the Department of Economic Development has allocated $1,236,000 toward the investment trade and business development section of the department.

The member also made mention that nothing has been happening. Well, I beg to differ, Mr. Chair. All you have to do is look at structure and the processes that have taken place, at the amount of work that the department has been doing already through the community development fund and the approval of applications ó some $3.3 million in circulation in this territory ó and then the amount of work that was contributed to the business case, which is much about what the pan-northern economic development arrangement is all about.

We do not control processes in Ottawa. They have changed the Prime Minister and theyíve changed Cabinet; however, we have talked about this earlier in the sitting ó the extensive work and detail that has gone into the business case.

So, to answer the memberís question, clearly itís in the business case ó the need for an economic development arrangement. As was mentioned on the floor of this House earlier this sitting, not only are we doing this Yukon-specific, we are also working in conjunction with our partners to the east, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, so that we make a collaborative presentation to Ottawa, because much of the challenges and the issues that we must deal with in the Yukon are very similar to the other territories north of 60.

So a great deal of work has been done. I am very pleased with the business case. I think it is certainly going to assist us in delivering to the federal government a clear understanding of the situation we are in. Unlike other regions in this country, Yukon does not have the benefit of an economic arrangement with Ottawa, so we will continue to pursue that. There has been a great deal of work already done by the department and we will carry on from there.

Mr. McRobb:   Well, I should have known. The Premier, through all that, failed to answer the question, which was about the pan-northern economic development agreement and, instead, chose to argue some points on other matters.

Mr. Chair, as I pointed out, thereís no time for such arguments, but I will respond briefly to a couple of matters. One, Shakwak: I acknowledged it was in the Department of Highways and Public Works; however, I connected it to this department through the need for government to bring some certainty to Yukoners, some confidence to Yukoners that there was a job at the end of the winter waiting for them and so on. Obviously he wasnít listening. He also added that highways arenít built in the winter. Mr. Chair, whatís the relevance of that?

The announcement was needed at the end of this summer to keep people here throughout the winter in order for them to be here during next yearís construction season. And finally, on Shakwak, he pointed out again that the Liberals did nothing to lobby for Shakwak. Iíve heard the Premier say that a few times in the media and probably in here, too. Itís well on the record. But at a briefing in the spring, I asked department officials for all correspondence on lobby efforts and I was provided with letters that were authored by the previous government as well as letters that were authored by this government at the time. And you know what? The letters were virtually identical, except for the signatures at the bottom.

So letís be fair about what actually happened. Letís not try to rewrite history. The fact is this government did about the same as the previous government.

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

Point of order

Speaker:   Order please. Mr. Cathers, on a point of order.

Mr. Cathers:   I believe the term "rewriting history" has already been ruled out of order.

Chairís ruling

Chair:   Order please. Itís important to remember that the Standing Orders must be taken in the context of the situation. On occasion, there have been words or phrases that have been ruled out of order that would be appropriate to use. It depends on the context of the situation and how it is delivered.

Mr. McRobb:   Obviously we touch a nerve when this government is exposed to the truth. I believe that is still in order, in that context. When the government is exposed to the truth, obviously it touches a nerve. And to be fair to the previous government, I have seen the letters, and if the Premier wants, I will table the letters. Obviously I canít do it in any additional date of this sitting, but I will send them to the minister if he wants. Just let me know, and I will send you the letters from the previous governments, which are virtually identical to the ones sent by this government. Letís end the rhetoric about blaming the previous government. Itís time for this government to stand up on its own record and do the responsible thing and start to produce, instead of pointing the finger at governments past.

The Premier argues against our need for the briefing by saying we had the embargoed budget and so on and so forth. Well, so what? The embargoed budget for this department contains three pages of numbers, and itís full of white space, so there is very little information, and it doesnít answer key questions that we would pose to officials from the department in a briefing. And the Premier knows that, Mr. Chair.

I would urge him to take the high road on this matter and every other matter.

Finally, he questioned my concern about the trade and investment fund that I highlighted in my response, by indicating the funds available in the department for investment, trade and business development.

However, there is a difference, Mr. Chair. I asked about the trade and investment fund, not about the line item as worded. They are two completely different things.

Now, I know the Premier knows what I am talking about because it has been an issue in years past. The previous government cancelled the trade and investment fund and sat on a report that proved its viability and worth to Yukoners, and I know that it motivated the opposition members of the day to ask the government to reintroduce it. It is rather disappointing to see that the government hasnít reintroduced the trade and investment fund or a similar program with similar objectives in the one year plus that it has been in government. This is wasting time. Had this fund been in force, it presumably would have helped Yukoners to either establish or expand their businesses. Thatís what the territory needs to grow the economy. We have to think about people with their business ideas and how to help them get established or expand.

So letís try one more time on the pan-northern economic development agreement, asking for an update to see if we get an answer this time.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, Mr. Chair, I can see this will be a debate of pure nonsense. I did answer the question. I informed the member opposite that the Department of Economic Development has contributed a great deal to the business case being brought forward to Ottawa, which is inclusive of the need for an economic development arrangement with the federal government. Unlike every other jurisdiction in the country, the Yukon does not have one. That was the answer. Unfortunately, what weíre doing here is somewhat mystic, in my estimation. Furthermore, Mr. Chair, I donít see much point in debating with the Member for Kluane on the economy, because itís obviously not going to go anywhere. There has to be a fundamental understanding of what an economy is, whatís required to address the problems in it. You canít be a proponent of protected areas strategies and burning more diesel to keep the level of a lake higher under an existing licence, opposing a forest industry in a region, attacking the mining industry, as the Member for Kluane has done when it comes to a mining company that has just recently entered into a partnership in the Yukon ó vehemently opposing and attacking the private sector as an unwelcome component of our economy in this territory. And the list goes on and on and on. Itís impossible to be able to try to engage with the Member for Kluane in the debate on the economy because of the memberís position. Itís all anti-economic development. Itís not for economic development; it doesnít support economic development. Itís against economic development.

Itís a vision and a view of the Yukon: total dependency on government and on the southern taxpayer contributing 100 percent to the survival of this territory. Itís about dealing with areas that have absolutely no potential for economic development. Itís about much bluster and talk but very little action; unlike this government, which has already shown clearly that it is action-oriented by making moves and decisions in a timely manner that have already helped the situation weíre in.

Itís no small feat to stand up and say to the public that the Yukon protected areas strategy was flawed, that it was an impediment to investment. In doing so, we have strengthened our relationship with the mining industry ó an industry that the Member for Kluane does not like and does not want in the territory and has made no bones about saying publicly and in this House and everywhere else that he has no use whatsoever for the mining industry . And the memberís party does not want the mining industry here in this territory. Theyíll do everything possible to chase them away; recent attacks, as I pointed out, are certainly part of that.

As far as investment, trade and business development, there is $1,236,000 in the budget now, the supplementary budget, and it covers a wide range, including the microloan program which, by the way, before the member gets up and says I thought the government was out of the loans business, I will inform the member that the money is booked in Dana Naye Ventures. Itís not booked in the government, so itís a financial institution. Itís for industry research, technology and innovation, technology partnerships, community access, film incentive ó a growing sector of our economy ó infrastructure fund, promotion program, and the list goes on and on.

Look at the regional economic development and the $4 million in the community development fund ó that is stimulus that in the short term is so desperately needed, especially in communities.

When you think about it, we are here to debate a supplementary budget on the structure of the Department of Economic Development. The member opposite takes issue with the fact that it took a year. For years, the Yukonís economy has been dismantled and the previous government did, as part of dismantling the economy, eradicate the Department of Economic Development out of government. We had a lot of work to do to go through this whole process and evolve to the point where we could recoup much of what was dispersed among other government departments and restructure this department, give it a new structure, a new vision, a new focus, and away we go.

Nothing here that I can say is going to be accepted by the Member for Kluane. Itís quite simple: the Member for Kluane does not support economic development; we on this side of the House are pro-economic development; therefore, we will have a failure to communicate. Thatís probably what this debate is going to be about.

Mr. McRobb:   Well, isnít that interesting that the Premier stands up and refuses to focus his answers and instead wastes more time in this Legislature contriving personal attacks that are completely wrong in his assessment both of me and my party. This is the Premier of the territory who chooses to launch personal attacks rather than answer the questions. That is a disgrace and we are getting absolutely nowhere with him or his government and I am embarrassed to be in here, to be subjected to this. Itís not right, itís not fair and itís not accountable.

What we have to do is do something about these rules of fixed sitting days, because things in here have deteriorated from bad to worse.

With that, I have no further questions, because it wonít do any good.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, I just have a couple of questions for the minister responsible for the Department of Economic Development. Iíd like to start by addressing the community development fund. The fund was transferred to Economic Development and I would just like to ask if there was a rationale paper developed for this or if it was straightforward that the granting institutions were to be transferred to Economic Development. What was the rationale, is the short question; was there one prepared?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Mr. Chair, as I pointed out and as the Member for Kluane verified, there is no economic vision or even desire with the official opposition. As far as the community development fund, the rationale was that the community development fund is a vehicle or a mechanism to provide a short-term stimulus, which is much more of a focus for economic development, especially when it comes to the regional needs that we want to try to address out there in the Yukon. I think the member and I can agree that across this territory there are a number of differences and diversities in regions that have different capacities. Letís just look at the urban centre of Whitehorse, what it can generate in stimuli, short-, medium- and long-term, and then other communities outside of Whitehorse. So it had a focus in that area, which provided the rationale to move the fund itself into the Department of Economic Development under the regional development section of the department.

Ms. Duncan:   Iíd like to address two issues concerning the community development fund with the minister ó one that has been brought to his attention in writing and one that I have brought to the attention of the Member for Pelly-Nisutlin. That is the difficulty around a community development fund application being filed and contracts or tenders being let and then the tenders are completed by businesses to fulfill the groupís community development fund application and then, lo and behold, the tenders come in far above what the applications have been approved for.

So itís a tendering issue, but itís not. Itís a contract administration issue, but itís not. Itís a community development fund issue, in part, and itís not. Itís one of the wrinkles, if you will, in the community development fund. So Iíd like to ask the minister: is he aware? Not every piece of correspondence may have been brought to his attention. Is he aware that there are contractors out there who are experiencing difficulties with the application of the community development fund, and is there any move or appetite on the part of the government to look at this particular issue?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, Mr. Chair, we do have a process in place ó which doesnít include me ó that reviews applications and advances the applications accordingly. Itís a technical review committee. I do not sit on it. Of course I am aware that there are probably always problems in government initiatives and mechanisms and so on and so forth. However, the community development fund has a clear set of eligibility requirements. These requirements are followed. When it comes to the issue of contractors, I would assume that this kind of thing can happen. The applications themselves are approved according to the budget submitted. Given that fact, it would be difficult for the government to anticipate that there may be some problem ahead, though I would share in the memberís view that this can become quite difficult. The one thing that I see here ó should this be happening in more than just isolated cases ó is that it is creating a problem in getting stimulus out into the public, which obviously is one of the number one purposes of the community development fund ó to get stimulus or money flowing out into the public, especially the communities.

Iím sure that the department officials are listening and will look into this matter if itís becoming a situation that is more than, as I said, just an isolated incident but is starting to become the norm. Thatís about all I can do for the member today.

Ms. Duncan:   Perhaps when the minister stands on his feet again what he could commit to is that there is some kind of an appeal process for groups to deal with. Itís not unheard of for a CDF group ó and I can think of an instance where this happened ó to get the funding, finish the project and find there was an overexpenditure. So they came back to the CDF committee and said, "Look, this went over what we thought it was going to, can we have the additional money?" Itís kind of like an enhanced application. So if there is a way to do that, perhaps that would bring some comfort. I do believe it is more than one isolated incident.

The other question I have for the minister with respect to the CDF is, although the minister stated there is a technical review committee, perhaps he could start by answering this: is there still a member of the public involved in that technical review committee? Is that appointment still valid?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Yes, there is a member involved. And on the other point the member made, any applicant can reapply. So there is a way to address this from an applicantís side of the equation. For example, if a tendering process shows that the budget submitted is short of what it would be in terms of the cost of the overall contract, then an applicant can just reapply, albeit there would be a requirement to meet the next intake dates. As I understand, they are set up on a regular basis throughout the year. There are intake dates that are, I guess, a closure point to where all applications up to that point are then addressed.

Beyond that, Mr. Chair, there is the public person involved in the technical review committee.

Ms. Duncan:   Would the minister explain why some groups seem to be transferred to the head of the line automatically for community development fund? For example, there was the letter during the election campaign for the Dawson City Arts Society and, just recently, the Minister of Health said that an application from a particular group would be well-received by the community development fund. Rather than one line, one door for everyone and equal treatment before the technical review committee, there seems to be a special lineup. Would the minister explain that, please?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, Iíd explain it if it was the case, but itís not. There is no special lineup. Itís not like The Price is Right, where you pick a door. Thereís one door.

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, at least we have friends. The member opposite said, "Pick your friends." Sorry, I had to say that.

Weíre not picking our friends at all. Thereís a technical review committee that will review all applications and weigh them based on eligibility.

Ms. Duncan:   Thatís rather hollow, in light of the evidence. The fact is that there is a group that had a written commitment for community development fund money prior to the election. The fact is the Minister of Healthís comments are on the public record: "Iím sure an application from this group would be well-received." Special lineup for special friends.

The Film Commission has been transferred, taken rather summarily from the Department of Tourism and transferred into Economic Development; however, a commissioner has not been appointed. Would the minister explain what the holdup is? Why is there no film commissioner in place?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   First, I am going to apologize for the statement I made to the member opposite. It was inappropriate and I extend my apologies to the leader of the third party. I want to put on the record: there is no special treatment for anyone when it comes to the process in weighing and reviewing applications for the community development fund. I donít know how else I can put this for the member. The member may not agree with or believe that, but that is the case. There are criteria and everything is weighed based on that.

As far as the film section of this department goes, we all know that the industry itself applauded the recognition by government that the film industry is an economic lever for this territory. In transferring it into the Department of Economic Development, we have given it a position in government that focuses on that aspect. We have provided it monies now for incentives to hopefully build industry in the Yukon. As far as a commissioner, we are working with a steering committee on this issue, and there will be a process that results in the appointment, if you will, of a commissioner, at the end of that process.

Ms. Duncan:   Am I to gather from what the minister just said that we are not looking, then, at a Public Service Commission type of staffing, but we are looking at more like the deputy minister type of staffing where there was a private sector panel and so on, which other governments ó I think most, if not all other governments ó have employed that process for staffing deputy ministers? Is he looking at that kind of a process, or is it a Public Service Commission process? I am not sure by his answer what type of process he is talking about.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   First off, Mr. Chair, the steering committee, which is comprised of film, sound, arts ó those representatives, those stakeholders. And its process that it will undertake is similar to that of a DM, choosing a deputy minister.

Ms. Duncan:   I appreciate that clarification from the minister. Has this process started? Have we advertised for the position? Are we conducting interviews? What Iím looking for from the minister is a date when he anticipates this appointment might be made.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Mr. Chair, the job description has been approved. The advertisements will start January 1.

Ms. Duncan:   Outside of the territory?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Both internally and nationally.

Ms. Duncan:   I appreciate that information. So we may be looking at a potential start date, interview date, in the early spring?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I would anticipate, Mr. Chair, if all goes well and we have acceptable applicants come forward, that we could see, in the early spring, a commissioner in place.

Ms. Duncan:   Just at this point, there isnít a film commissioner in place, but other provinces ó and chiefly the provinces and our territory ó have done some innovative work with film commissions. It has been certainly an economic generator, usually housed with the Department of Tourism and Culture in other provinces. Are there any specific projects anticipated at this time for the Film Commission ó i.e., a sound stage such as in Saskatchewan or studio facilities? Are there any of these ideas that are in the works already, or are we going to await the arrival and appointment of a film commissioner before examining any other specific initiatives?

Hon. Mr. Fentie: I think that the duties and responsibilities of the commissioner would be to look at all of these areas. Our purpose right now is to provide resources to the industry as it exists today in the Yukon to try to attract more investment. Weíve been successful in some areas and weíre pleased with things like the National Film Board and other connections now, and we want to build on that but obviously we need a commissioner. Weíre going to go through the process, put that person in place and they would be looking into all of these different areas and ideas. Most importantly, much of this will come from the stakeholders themselves, who have had a great deal of input to date and who will always be very much involved in building the film industry in the Yukon.

Ms. Duncan:   The specific directed question is: are there any specific projects on the table right now? Yes or no would suffice.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:  Yes, there are, and in a year weíve had over a dozen projects in the Yukon specific to the film industry.

Ms. Duncan:   Okay. Thank you. That wasnít quite the answer I was looking for but I will leave that for now. The economic development strategy was similar to the taking action committee that was in place when the government took office. The government has talked about reactivating the committee, calling it something else, with new appointments. Have any meetings been held and would the minister provide copies of the minutes of those meetings?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   The economic strategy development consultation process is comprised of 13 stakeholders who are involved to a great degree in planning the strategy for the department and the development of the economy in this territory.

As far as the minutes or information, because in many cases these are private sector individuals and other representatives, such as labour and the Association of Yukon Communities, I would urge the member to contact those groups. If they decide that they want to release information, thatís up to them. We would have to discuss that with them before we would release any information because of the third party interests here.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, it is the government-struck committee, if you will, so I wonder if the minister would indicate who the chair of the committee is so I may seek the information from that individual.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I think the member certainly has the option of contacting any one of the 13 stakeholders, but we will be publicly providing a report on the work done by this group in its strategic focus and planning. The public report will be made available.

Ms. Duncan:   Iíll await the report. How many meetings have been held to date, and when is the report anticipated?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   To date, there have been 25 meetings. If the Member for Kluane is paying attention, the Department of Economic Development, in just this one area, has conducted 25 meetings with the stakeholders on strategic planning.

Ms. Duncan:   I am sorry, I didnít hear the minister answer when he anticipates the public report.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Probably early in the new year, sometime around the end of January.

Ms. Duncan:   I donít want to get into the political speeches, but I have a straightforward question. There are two numbered companies to deal with the immigrant investor fund. One dealt with the Connect Yukon project and the other is a very small ó I think it has $2 million or $3 million left in it. I would like to know from the Minister of Economic Development who is currently on the board of those two companies, and how much money is left in the smaller fund and what is its anticipated use?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   There has been $10.5 million expended through the one project, which is the numbered company that handled Connect Yukon. There is $700,000 that still sits in the other fund. The makeup of the board of directors is Economic Development, Finance and the third one we believe is Executive Council Office, but we will check that out and provide that to the member.

Ms. Duncan:   I can send this in a written letter to the minister, but my understanding when we left office is that the smaller fund was at something like $2 million to $3 million, and itís now at $700,000. Where did that money get spent?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, yes, maybe write the letter so that we can get the appropriate people to look into this. As far as the department knows or is aware of, there was $700,000. Thatís something that we had better look into. I would urge the member to write the letter and we will provide the answer.

Ms. Duncan:   I appreciate that, and I particularly appreciate the ministerís commitment for an answer. The Yukon venture loan guarantee program is part of this department. Would the minister just briefly outline what the plans are for this particular program?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   It continues to operate as it always has. This is not something that the government books. Again, this is banks. Financial institutions approve a loan application, with the connection that the government provides a certain level of security. I think the maximum security for government to hold is $200,000 ó somewhere in that vicinity. So it is something that has to go through a financial institution.

Ms. Duncan:   And this is different from the microloan program and Dana Naye Ventures. Are there any plans to increase that microloan program, which has been quite successful at Dana Naye Ventures?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Yes, there is some research going on right now to see if it can be extended to other clients, those types of things, and itís booked in Dana Naye Ventures.

Ms. Duncan:   And the contribution was booked out of Economic Development previously. Are there any plans for an increased contribution in the next budget cycle?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Thatís based on the research. If there is an extended client base, then in all likelihood that would dictate an increase in the level of the fund.

Ms. Duncan:   My last question is a general one for the minister. In light of the time, I would ask for a very straightforward, short answer. He has said continually with respect to Economic Development and the Yukon Party government, "Judge us on our record." Has the minister set a specific goal for the unemployment rate six months from now and a year from now?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I donít set specific goals in those types of statistics because we have to look at the full equation. In some cases, an unemployment rate does not reflect the entire picture of an economy. It could also reflect that more and more people are starting to stay in the Yukon because there is something ahead of them.

We look at all the factors and all the indicators, but certainly the beginning of this whole process is to reduce that dependence on government and get the private sector more heavily involved in the economy of the Yukon, specifically in investment.

Chair:   Is there any further general debate?

On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures

On Corporate Services

Corporate Services in the amount of $539,000 agreed to

On Policy, Planning and Research

Policy, Planning and Research in the amount of $763,000 agreed to

On Investment, Trade and Business Development

Investment, Trade and Business Development in the amount of $1,236,000 agreed to

On Regional Economic Development

Regional Economic Development in the amount of $106,000 agreed to

On Strategic Industries Development

Strategic Industries Development in the amount of $200,000 agreed to

Total Operation and Maintenance Expenditures for the Department of Economic Development in the amount of $2,844,000 agreed to

On Recoveries

Recoveries cleared

On Capital Expenditures

On Corporate Services

On Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space

Mr. Hardy:   How much of that was purchased locally?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   The total amount was purchased right from suppliers here in the Yukon, in Whitehorse.

Mr. Hardy:   Could the minister send over a breakdown of furniture, computers, stuff like that, to set up the offices, in the future?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Is the member serious, Mr. Chair? We are creating a department here. Obviously we are not going to sit on cushions and work off the floor. We are putting together a department. I can have an official provide serial numbers and colours ó what else would the member like?

Mr. Hardy:   I think the minister knows exactly what Iím asking.

Where possible, was furniture that is made locally purchased? Where was it not? That is the difference here. If there were computers bought, were they bought through a local supplier or were they bought from Outside?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   All combined, it was all purchased here, either through retail outlets or local manufacturers. Every effort was made to purchase locally.

Mr. Hardy:   So the answer is that the furniture used was made by the local cabinet shops, which have been making it for years and years from the government.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Where applicable.

Mr. Hardy:   Could the minister supply me a breakdown on the purchase of that equipment?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Mr. Chair, it would be something not of a high priority for the department to be working on. Theyíre very focused on economic development. Iíve made the statement in the House that this particular purchase was done locally either from manufacturers or retail outlets. The total focus was on making sure there was local involvement, and thatís the answer.

Mr. Hardy:   Far be it from me to remind the minister that employing and using local shops is about the economics of the Yukon. Itís about employment. Itís about developing and supporting a basis of manufacturing. If there seems to be a lack of understanding, maybe we have a problem with the minister in understanding all aspects of the economy. I have a very simple question: can the minister supply a breakdown of the local shops that were used to manufacture the furniture?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:  Well, Mr. Chair, $291,000 has been expended on office furniture, equipment, systems and so on. Iíve gave the answer to the member opposite that it included local retailers and manufacturers for the whole expenditure. I donít know what else we can do. Iím certainly not going to have officials running around here and trying to find out what store they bought that chair from and where they got that box of pencils from and all the rest of it. And for the member to stand up on this floor and say that thereís a lack of understanding of the economy here, I would caution the member not to go down this road. Some of us have a great deal of history in understanding of the economy, and it goes back decades.

Weíre not here to argue that kind of stuff. The total of $291,000 was expended locally.

Mr. Hardy:   I donít quake in my boots over the caution that this minister is sending out. Maybe he should realize that we all contribute to this economy; weíve all had our own businesses. We all work and we all contribute. So he can caution as much as he wants, it doesnít shake my boots. If he wonít supply that, which he is saying he wonít, then I will go to the offices and Iíll look.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I say to the member opposite, "Be my guest." Maybe bring some donuts from Tim Hortonís or something, but I have to point out something else. There is a distinct difference between this side of the House and that side of the House when it comes to the economy. We donít attack the mining industry. We do not totally skew the balance of economic development toward protection, like the Yukon protected areas strategy. We do not have a problem with the private sector investing in making a profit in the territory, like the member opposite does. Those things are very much against the memberís view and vision of the Yukon economy.

Chair:   Is there any further debate on the line office furniture, equipment, systems and space?

Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space in the amount of $291,000 agreed to

On Business Incentive Policy

Business Incentive Policy in the amount of $1,562,000 agreed to

On Investment, Trade and Business Development

On Micro Loan Program

Micro Loan Program in the amount of $65,000 agreed to

On Industry Research

Industry Research in the amount of $20,000 agreed to

On Technology Innovation Centre

Technology Innovation Centre in the amount of $376,000 agreed to

On Technology Partnerships

Technology Partnerships in the amount of $100,000 agreed to

On Community Access Program

Community Access Program in the amount of $208,000 agreed to

On Film Incentive Program

Film Incentive Program in the amount of $1,000,000 agreed to

On Film Infrastructure Program

Film Infrastructure Program in the amount of $20,000 agreed to

On Film Promotion Program

Film Promotion Program in the amount of $25,000 agreed to

On Film Industry Guide

Film Industry Guide in the amount of $10,000 agreed to

On Regional Economic Development

On Community Development Fund

Community Development Fund in the amount of $4,079,000 agreed to

On Strategic Industries Development

On Strategic Industries Development Program

Strategic Industries Development Program in the amount of $200,000 agreed to

Total Capital Expenditures for the Department of Economic Development in the amount of $7,956,000 agreed to

Department of Economic Development agreed to

Chair:   Order please. Committee of the Whole will come to order.

We will continue on with Bill No. 7, Second Appropriation Act, 2003-04, in Vote 2, the Executive Council Office.

Executive Council Office

Ms. Duncan:   I just have four questions remaining that Iíd like to ask the minister in this particular department. The business incentive policy that governments have worked diligently on over the years with the Northwest Territories ó and it was the BIP of the N.W.T. Finally there was some resolution and then, of course, it was shut down. Premier Kakfwi was unable to get the revisions that are necessary to include Yukon businesses through the House.

Has the minister responsible for the Executive Council Office spoken with Premier Handley about the business incentive policy, and is there any appetite to bring this once again before the N.W.T. Legislature to see some resolution in favour of Yukon businesses?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I have spoken with Mr. Handley on two occasions since he was appointed Premier of the Northwest Territories. Of course, as we are well aware from yesterdayís news, Mr. Handley was busy selecting his Cabinet and going through all those processes. We discussed in general terms our firm and undying commitment to our cooperative intergovernmental protocol. Obviously this is one area that we will be working on.

I think there are a number of other areas that have shown improvement and thatís exactly what our commitment is all about in our relationship and our intergovernmental accord.

Ms. Duncan:   So thereís no firm commitment at this point to bring it back before the N.W.T. Legislature.

The Premier, as head of the Yukon Party, committed to set up a committee to study electoral reform. When is that going to be established, and are they prepared to include recall, as I brought forward in a motion, as a subject of discussion for electoral reform?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   On the latter part, letís debate the motion and we can determine what the Assemblyís position is on that particular issue.

As far as electoral reform, thatís something that was certainly committed to in the election, itís part of our platform and we are looking into what the best approach and process is in dealing with this issue.

But as far as the latter, I would like to engage in a debate on the memberís position on recall.

Ms. Duncan:   In other words, thereís an acknowledged commitment in the Yukon Party platform but thereís no start date for this committee.

Does the government have any plans to decentralize workers or services? Previous governments have done this in an effort to work with Yukon communities and there have been commitments by other governments. Are there any plans for the Government of Yukon ó the Yukon Party government ó to do this ó to decentralize workers or services?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Mr. Chair, the upheaval for government through renewal is still being dealt with. Although there may be some areas where services are going to be delivered in communities and may prove beneficial, we certainly arenít focused in any way right now on any massive decentralization of government. What we are looking at is how to better serve all the public in this territory with existing departments and programs and the delivery of those programs and services to Yukoners.

Ms. Duncan:   Once again, not an unequivocal answer from the Premier.

The budget speech said that there would be an establishment of an all-party standing committee on appointments made to government boards and committees. The budget speech said that is one such example. The creation of an all-party committee to make recommendations for FireSmart and community development fund applications could be another.

The Premier also said in the budget speech, "We will also be seeking an all-party agreement on a code of conduct and decorum for members of this House." That was in the budget speech. There has been no approach to me as leader of the third party in the Legislature. When does the minister responsible for Executive Council Office intend to fulfill this commitment?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   There have been approaches, and they have been met with little receptiveness from the members opposite. Frankly, at House leadersí there is much more that could be done in these areas but that doesnít seem to be working either.

I have here, based on our last debate in this department, a number of documents that I can provide to the House in relation to intergovernmental protocols and bilateral agreements and those types of things, Mr. Chair.

Ms. Duncan:   I regret to advise the Premier that he has been misinformed if he has been advised that there have been approaches to me with respect to seeking an all-party agreement on code of conduct and decorum. This has not happened. I donít like to be the bearer of bad news; however, that initiative has not happened. Itís a commitment that was made in the budget speech, so what I was looking for is a date when it might happen.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I think the member opposite is ignoring the good job that the Speaker is doing in terms of conduct and decorum in this House. I think that should be reflected in the memberís statements, that the Speaker is certainly contributing a great deal to improving that in this Legislative Assembly, especially in trying to raise the level of debate.

Ms. Duncan:   This certainly is no disrespect to the Speaker. The Speaker is an officer of the House and the budget speech said "we will" ó the Premier would be, as minister responsible for that budget, seeking an all-party agreement on a code of conduct and decorum. I was just asking when that initiative might be started. I was just looking forward to a letter in the new year from the Premier. However, he hasnít indicated when that may start, so Iíve asked the question and unfortunately he has chosen not to answer.

Mrs. Peter:   I have a few questions for the minister in regard to the Youth Directorate. As the minister responsible, I would like to hear any response from the Premier in regard to solutions to the high rate of alcohol and drug abuse among Yukon youth.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Obviously this is a very deep-rooted problem in this territory. And there are a number of areas and agencies and departments that all must focus their attention on this issue. The Youth Directorate itself is doing a lot of work, especially out there in the street, in funding and resourcing youth centres and providing assistance in those areas to at least give youth a gathering place where positive activities take place.

But there is much more that has to be done here and that would include the Department of Health, the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, and the list goes on. The Youth Directorate itself can only do so much. What is really going to take place here to address that problem begins with dealing with the root cause of the problem.

Mrs. Peter:   The minister said that there is a long list of programs to address this issue. Can the minister give me a few examples of the programs that are directly addressing youth addictions to alcohol or drugs or gambling, et cetera?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   That is certainly not in the purview of the Executive Council Office. There is the Department of Health, the Department of Justice and the Department of Education, which are all responsible in this area. My responsibility, as far as the Youth Directorate, is done in a way that we distribute the resources of the Youth Directorate out to those in the community who are doing good works during the year. The Youth Directorate hosts and gathers youth from across the Yukon into other communities for activities. We cannot forget that the Youth Directorate spends a great deal of time looking into how to better serve the youth of the territory.

Some of the areas that the Youth Directorate contributes to are community youth activities for the town of Faro, the Village of Mayo, Kluane First Nation, the White River First Nation, the Dawson City recreation department, the BYTE society, the Whitehorse Youth Centre, the Youth of Today Society, for Crime Prevention Yukon winter activities and Whitehorse Youth Centre rent. All of these areas are contributions by the Youth Directorate. But, for further information, the member should contact the departments of Health, Education and Justice.

Mrs. Peter:   I have one more question for the minister. Iíve asked this question several times before: will the minister consider funding the Whitehorse Youth Centre to assist them to buy a permanent location?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   We are giving full consideration to the issues of youth as a whole. There is that particular issue. There are other requirements out in communities. But we will give full consideration to the issues of youth in this territory with what we have available to us to address those issues.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, I have no further questions. However, pursuant to section 14.3 of the Standing Orders, I would seek unanimous consent to deem all lines in Vote 2, Executive Council Office, cleared or carried as required.

Chair:   Prior to putting forward the request, the Chair will just check to see if there is any further general debate.

Unanimous consent re deeming all lines in Vote 2, Executive Council Office, read and agreed to

Chair:  Hearing none, Ms. Duncan has requested the unanimous consent of the Committee to deem all lines in Vote No. 2, Department of Executive Council Office, cleared or carried as required. Are you agreed?

All Hon. Members:  Agreed.

Chair:   There is unanimous consent. We will clear that department.

On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures

Operation and Maintenance Expenditures for the Executive Council Office in the amount of $2,784,000 agreed to

On Capital Expenditures

Capital Expenditures for the Executive Council Office in the amount of $1,829,000 agreed to

Department of Executive Council Office agreed to

Womenís Directorate

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Mr. Chair, itís a well-known fact that the government of the day, our government, moved rapidly to reinstate the Womenís Directorate within the corporate structure of government, and with this supplementary there is an expenditure that is specific to women prevention initiatives. Itís to deal with violence in the family, specifically with aboriginal women. This is spawned from a recent Status of Womenís conference in Edmonton, where it was unanimously supported when the three territories, Yukon-led by the Womenís Directorate, took a position that itís high time that we dealt with looking into how we can implement action in this area, considering aboriginal women are likely to experience three times the rate of violence as others in this country.

With this supplementary budget thereís an increase of $100,000 for that specific initiative, and we look forward to the Womenís Directorate representing Yukon on behalf of women in this territory and aboriginal women specifically on this issue when the working group gets together.

Mrs. Peter:   The Womenís Directorate is mandated with a responsibility on behalf of all Yukon women. I was happy when I heard the minister responsible make the announcement of the $100,000 to address the violence against aboriginal women.

The statistics for the Yukon can speak for themselves. This issue has touched every community in the Yukon and there are many families in Yukon communities who are still silent about this issue. There are resources in Whitehorse that address some of these issues, and we are grateful for that.

I agree with the minister that thereís a lot more that can be done in this area.

With regard to the $100,000, Iíd like to hear from the minister if there is going to be consultation with First Nation women across this territory.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Yes, Mr. Chair, I can assure the Member for Vuntut Gwitchin that there will be consultation with the First Nation women of this territory through the Yukon Aboriginal Womenís Council. Obviously our focus here is to thoroughly engage them so we can make representation on behalf of them at the working group as we move forward to try to address this very, very difficult issue that our society faces.

Mrs. Peter:   Just to clarify for the record, did I hear the minister correctly when he said that they are going to consult with the Yukon Aboriginal Womenís Council?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Yes, they are members at the annual general meeting.

Mrs. Peter:   I would like to hear from the minister if they plan to visit each community within the territory.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   We do to a certain degree now, but we want to get the advice of aboriginal women on this issue, on how best to address that particular area, and then move forward from there.

Mrs. Peter:   I would just like to hear from the minister if every community is represented on that Yukon Aboriginal Womenís Council.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, I canít speak for the Yukon Aboriginal Womenís Council but I can tell you that, when it comes to the Womenís Directorate, it is their duty, responsibility and obligation to address the issues of all Yukon women in every community throughout the territory. But the member should probably direct that question to the council itself.

Mrs. Peter:   My purpose for that line of questioning is that Iíve heard many concerns from throughout the Yukon. This $100,000 is definitely good news. Itís a start to address this very serious issue. However, how that money is spent is another concern. I would like to see this $100,000 have an impact and effect in the communities, in rural communities, including Whitehorse and other areas, and have that money spent to address this issue at the grassroots level ó not have this money go to consultants so they could do another study or a report on how awful our situation is.

Is that the type of process that the minister can see happening with this money?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, thatís the very essence of what the Womenís Directorate did at the Status of Womenís conference in Edmonton recently. The whole purpose here was to move away from gathering statistics, to working with the federal government on addressing action in this area. The contribution of $100,000 for our Womenís Directorate is so that it can engage the aboriginal women in this territory to better make representation on their behalf on the working group that is struck, which involves the federal government. This is an issue that must be addressed across the country. This is an issue that must have all governments ó as we committed to when we left the Status of Womenís conference ó focusing on action in their respective jurisdictions. This must ensure that all jurisdictions focus on the federal governmentís obligation and responsibility here.

So, I am pleased to say that the Womenís Directorate showed great leadership at the Status of Womenís Council and conference to move the ministers responsible and all jurisdictions, including the federal government, into a different direction that is more orientated toward action versus statistic gathering.

Mrs. Peter:   Mr. Chair, I would like to hear from the minister what the progress has been so far, and when will we see the end result of whatever takes place?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Up to date, Mr. Chair, ministers were provided a progress report on the work to date since September, by December 6 of this year. Senior officials met in early November to discuss the work accomplished and hear from representatives from the Privy Council Office and DIAND on their federal initiatives with respect to aboriginal women, and following the commitment from ministers at the September meeting, to improve the quality of life of aboriginal women. Senior officials will focus their efforts on the reduction and prevention of violence against women, as well as human rights, leadership, economic development, housing and access to services among others. I say that because those are important factors here. In many cases ó and this is truly unfortunate ó women experience this terrible scourge because of issues like human rights, lack of leadership, poverty ó thereís no economic development. The need for housing, and also access to services, keep them in that kind of environment and situation. So I think itís fitting that they focus on some of these other areas as well.

The next steps for the FPTs and the senior officials include: to develop a portrait of government programs and services as they relate to aboriginal women ó in other words, connect the dots to make sure thereís no disconnect, and we are applying all program services and resources as intended; to compile an overview of issues of concern to national, provincial and territorial aboriginal womenís organizations so that we work across the country with those groups that are mandated and focused in this area; and to identify common issues and develop recommended strategies to address them. I can also say to the member that Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, again, take a pan-northern approach on this issue.

Mrs. Peter:   I thank the minister for the answer. In their platform, the Yukon Party promised the Yukon a crisis line. I just wondered if the minister can reassure the Yukon public that it is being seriously taken into consideration. If we connect the dots here, using his own language, then this will be the next follow-up issue that needs to be addressed.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Iím pleased to say to the Member for Vuntut Gwitchin that the government is assessing the feasibility of a territorial crisis line and what kind of focus it should have at this time.

Mrs. Peter:   I look forward to getting more information on that from the minister. I would just like to say in closing ó and itís for information purposes only ó there is a fairly new program in the Yukon and itís called the "older womenís program". Right now that program has a part-time staff; this program has a small office, and they work out of Kausheeís Place. I would like to ask that the minister help, and help me to be an advocate for this program, since it is fairly new to the Yukon. Right now they receive some funding sources from other places, and what we need to know about this program is that it is a safe haven for older women throughout the Yukon. What we need to do is make sure that this program is successful in the Yukon. They need more homes made available to this age group.

And if we look at our history, Mr. Chair, this age group that weíre talking about has blazed many trails for us. They contributed to the Yukon in many, many ways. And if weíre going to talk about violence and breaking that cycle, then we must step up to the plate. Each of us must take responsibility and make sure that we provide a safe haven for all people.

Mahsií cho.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I want to extend my appreciation to the Member for Vuntut Gwitchin. I know this is an area that she is very diligent in and certainly wants to involve herself. I would say that the Womenís Directorate, when it comes to this specific issue, sits on an advisory committee now and would say to the Member for Vuntut Gwitchin, "Please feel free to contact the Womenís Directorate and participate in any way that the member may see fit."

With that I thank the member. We all know that this is not an easy issue in society to deal with. Itís a difficult one, and I agree totally with the memberís assertion that we all have a role; we all have a responsibility. I think itís important that we all live up to that role and that responsibility.

Mrs. Peter:   At this time Iíd like to request unanimous consent according to Standing Order 14.3 that the lines are deemed cleared or carried, as required.

Chair:   Prior to putting forward the request, is there any further general debate?

Unanimous consent re deeming all lines in Vote 11, Womenís Directorate, read and agreed to

Chair:   Mrs. Peter has requested the unanimous consent of the Committee to deem all lines in Vote 11, Department of Women's Directorate, cleared or carried as required. Are you agreed?

All Hon. Members:  Agreed.

Chair:   There is unanimous consent. That concludes the department.

On Capital Expenditures

Capital Expenditures in the amount of $104,000 agreed to

Womenís Directorate agreed to

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Mr. Chair, I move that you report progress.

Chair:   It has been moved by Mr. Jenkins that the Chair report progress.

Motion agreed to

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

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

Motion agreed to

Speaker resumes the Chair

Speaker:   I will now call the House to order.

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

 

Chairís report

Mr. Rouble:   Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 7, Second Appropriation Act, 2003-04, and has directed me to report progress on it.

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

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Speaker:   I declare the report carried.

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

Motion No. 193

Clerk:   Motion No. 193, standing in the name of the hon. Ms. Taylor.

Speaker:   It is moved by the Minister of Justice that the Yukon Legislative Assembly, pursuant to section 17(1) of the Human Rights Act, appoint Jasbir Randhawa and Brian MacDonald to be members of the Yukon Human Rights Commission.

Hon. Ms. Taylor:   I am very pleased to bring forward the names of the following individuals to be appointed to the Yukon Human Rights Commission: Ms. Jasbir Randhawa and Mr. Brian MacDonald will be filling the vacancy left by Miss Edith Fraser, as well as filling another vacant position.

As many Yukoners are familiar, Jasbir Randhawa has come to be known for her commitment and dedication for advocating the rights of Yukon children and working to ensure our children have a safe environment in which to grow and learn. With a master of arts in linguistics, a diploma in early childhood education and successfully completing courses in conflict resolution and mediation skills, as well as her volunteer involvement with Kausheeís, Yukon Child Care Association, Yukon Status of Women and the Victoria Faulkner Womenís Association, to name but a few activities, Jasbir brings with her a vast and well-experienced voice to the Human Rights Commission.

Mr. Brian MacDonald is a member of the Champagne-Aishihik First Nation and received his law degree from the faculty of law at Dalhousie University. He has extensive background not only in working with First Nations but also has skills running mediation and conflict management. Brian has established himself as a lawyer on the national and international levels and has represented the voice of many Yukoners and many Canadians over the years. Brian will undoubtedly bring a sincere and strong voice to the commission.

Motion No. 193 agreed to

Clerk:   Motion No. 194, standing in the name of the hon. Ms. Taylor.

Motion No. 194

Speaker:   It is moved by the Minister of Justice

THAT the Yukon Legislative Assembly, pursuant to section 22(2) of the Human Rights Act, appoint Vicki Wilson and Donna Mercier to the Yukon Human Rights Panel of Adjudicators.

Hon. Ms. Taylor:   Mr. Speaker, I am also pleased to bring forward the names of Ms. Donna Mercier and Ms. Vicki Wilson as adjudicators for the Yukon Human Rights Commission panel of adjudicators. They will each be filling the vacancy left by Ms. Claudia Lowry, who resigned earlier this year, and a second vacancy that has existed.

Donna Mercier is a dedicated and committed person who takes her responsibilities seriously and completes tasks with enthusiasm as well as excitement. Her hard work has established her in the Yukon business community as a leader. She is actively involved in various community activities and volunteers her time with the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of Whitehorse and, more recently, the Canada Winter Games Host Society. Her acute business sense and community involvement will lend to the strength of the Yukon Human Rights Commission panel of adjudicators and their responsibility to work on behalf of Yukoners.

Having called the Yukon home for over 30 years, Vicki Wilson is truly a person who understands the Yukon. She previously served as a human rights commissioner and actively volunteers her time with the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society and Options for Independence. Vicki will bring to the table not only experience but also an understanding of Yukon issues as well as an objective perspective.

Mr. Speaker, I brought these names forward today for the concurrence of the House. Thank you.

Motion No. 194 agreed to

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   I move the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.

Speaker:   It has been moved by the government House leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.

Motion agreed to

Speaker leaves the Chair

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

Bill No. 7 ó Second Appropriation Act, 2003-04 ó continued

Department of Energy, Mines and Resources ó continued

Ms. Duncan:   As I had the floor when we left debate last evening, I am pleased to continue today.

Unfortunately, we have very little time to thoroughly debate the conclusion of the supplementary budget, as the clock is ticking.

I would like to record a number of questions for the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources and seek a response in written form from the minister. This would thus enable us to also enjoy constructive debate this afternoon with the Minister of Community Services, the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Justice.

I had asked about the Tough report and the governmentís current status. I am sure the minister is looking forward to responding to me in writing.

The departmental officials have offered opposition offices a briefing on the Type II mine sites and the expenditure of $4.2 million. Unfortunately, this has not as yet occurred. I wonít bore the House with debate about the House leaderís practices. Quite simply, it hasnít occurred. I would seek the ministerís support to have that happen. It has been offered by officials and it would lend to the debate in the House. I would like to see that happen.

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

Ms. Duncan:   The Member for Kluane has noted that an offer made should be honoured. I appreciate that.

The budget speech made reference to the port of Skagway and the White Pass & Yukon Route railway providing the territory with access to tidewater, that there would be work done with Skagway. What has been done?

There has been a commitment made by the minister in writing to me with respect to mining claims in parks, and I would like him to further indicate that commitment. Have there been any policy changes since we took over the DIAND functions? Were there any policy directives issued to the department?

And there are two contracts I would like the minister to address. Perhaps he could deal with the contract issues and respond in detail to the balance of the questions in writing.

There was a contract to the Kaska Tribal Council for $8,600 for a land disposition workshop. Why was this paid for by Government of Yukon and why was it sole-sourced? There was also a general consulting contract that was sole-sourced over and above the legal limit for $30,160. That was to KTC for Faro care and maintenance closure planning in July. Why were the regular contract rules ignored in that particular contract? I would encourage the minister to address those issues ó the two contract issues ó briefly this afternoon and if he would consider addressing the balance of the questions in writing.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Hon. Mr. Lang:   As far as the Tough report is concerned, the Tough report was entered into in an agreement with DIAND and also us and the First Nation on the memorandum of understanding for the southeast Yukon. It was entered into by the last government, and the Tough report made a commitment of DIAND to contribute money, and the money was $1 million a year for a two-year period. We have one more year on that memorandum of understanding, so weíre actively working with southeast Yukon. We set up the committee for the area for wood supply. We certainly are working positively with the First Nations. The money ó the Tough money has flowed to us. This year, we have up to $800,000. There are some accounting problems that weíre addressing. Weíre very optimistic that the federal government will meet their obligation and certainly go ahead to finalize their commitment on the Tough report.

As far as the other issues that the member opposite raised, I could answer them if she were to address them and give me a shorter list so I could debate it here in the House where it should be debated and move on with the debate.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, Iíll provide the minister with the shorter list in writing and deal with it then. I appreciate that he would like to debate this more thoroughly on the floor of the House ó so would I. Unfortunately, that is the way that business has been organized and Iím happy to communicate with him in writing on these particular issues and I look forward to his response.

Hon. Mr. Lang:   With the Energy, Mines and Resources department, this department got one of the largest transfers in devolution. On April 1, we took over the land and resources and the water responsibility for this great territory, and the budget certainly reflects it. It gives me great honour to bring this supplementary forward to the House and debate it because I think itís a very important part of the Yukonís future if it is not in the Energy, Mines and Resources department.

So with the Energy, Mines and Resources we have agriculture, we have of course the mining community, we have the oil and gas, which is very important, and of course ó

Some Hon. Member:   Point of order.

Point of order

Chair:   Order please. Ms. Duncan, on a point of order.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, on a point of order, itís incumbent upon us in our Standing Orders to address the questions and responses and to focus our questions as opposed to ó I thank the minister for the repeat of his general debate speech; however, we have heard it before and this is unnecessary at this point. A specific standing order ó Iím looking for it as we speak, Mr. Chair, to make the specific reference; however, Iím sure youíve heard it in the last 24 days of debate.

Chair:   Mr. Jenkins, on a point of order.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   On the point of order, Mr. Chair, there is no point of order. Itís just a dispute between members.

Chairís ruling

Chair:   There is no point of order here. The matter before the Committee is general debate on the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources.

Hon. Mr. Lang:   I think itís important that we understand the makeup of the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources because of the supplementary budget and also the transfer of funds by the federal government through devolution on April 1, and the responsibilities that the territory received on April 1. We, in this department, received not only transfers in money, but we also received the largest amount of transfer in the people who transferred over from the federal government. So not only did we have the responsibility of managing the funds that were transferred, but we also had to absorb into our existing Energy, Mines and Resources department ó we had to amalgamate the largest number of people and get them working as a unit to complement the department.

So, in moving along in the supplementary budget, Iíd like to point out that we had an increase of $22,225,000 in the operation and maintenance budget and $2.1 million in its capital budget. The O&M recoveries increased by $5, 492,000 and the capital recoveries increased by $1,402,000. So as we can see in ó

Some Hon. Member:   Point of order.

Point of order

Chair:   Mr. McRobb, on a point of order.

Mr. McRobb:   On a point of order, Mr. Chair, obviously the minister has no respect for this House. Weíve got 40 minutes left to debate this budget. What heís saying he put on the record yesterday. Check page 1781 in the Blues. Itís all there.

Chairís ruling

Chair:   There is no point of order; however, the Chair does take exception to the memberís comment that a member does not have any respect for this House. The Chair made a ruling yesterday regarding Committee of the Whole. All members are aware that members have 20 minutes to speak and the debate can continue on unlimited number of times. The matter before the Committee is general debate on the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources. Weíll continue the debate.

Hon. Mr. Lang:   As we can see, the transfers and the amount of money are fairly large. In our supplementary for this year, this is mostly the result of devolution transfer agreements with Canada. The departmentís operation and maintenance budget increased by $15,462,000 and its capital budget increased, of which $767,000 is recoverable.

Additional devolution-related funding of $6,384,000 has also been secured for activities such as the care ó

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

Hon. Mr. Lang:   Mr. Chair?

Chair:   Order please. Mr. Lang, you may continue.

Hon. Mr. Lang:   Thank you, Mr. Chair, and I appreciate my echo from the member opposite.

I donít want to go back over what I just said because of the figures, but the additional devolution-related funding of $6,384,000 has also been secured for activities such as the care and maintenance of the Mount Nansen, Clinton Creek and United Keno Hill mine sites and development of the Yukon forest industry.

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

Chairís statement

Chair:   Order. Pursuant to Standing Order 19(d), in the opinion of the Speaker, if the member refers at length to debates of the current session or reads unnecessarily from Hansard or from any other document ó but a member may quote relevant passages for the purposes of a complaint about something said or of a reply to an alleged misrepresentation ó the member appears to be reading at length from Hansard and I would encourage the member to continue on to make his point in general debate.

Hon. Mr. Lang:   I think itís very important that we understand the figures and that we do go over the figures. The figures are there to be debated, and I think we have to work with the figures as they are. The members opposite are responsible to Yukoners too. We have to debate these issues, and these issues are very important to Yukoners on the street.

Again, weíve got departments and the O&M ó all these things and all these highlights are very, very important to the average Yukoners out there, because in the long run, Mr. Chair, it will create work for the average Yukoner in the mining community, in the forest community in Watson Lake, in the agriculture and all the industries that this department encompasses. When we talk about repeating ourselves, I think that reminding people about these figures is very important, because these figures are the facts regarding what this department is doing. It is also a wake-up call on the size of this department now and the responsibility that this department has accepted and how important it is for the future of the Yukon ó not only for ourselves but for our children in the future, because this department will eventually be the foundation of where our economy will eventually go. So when the member opposite makes light of the figures and says to us that we shouldnít talk about the figures, because that would fill up too much time, I think that everybody who is elected in this room has the responsibility to not only talk about the figures but to recognize the size of the figures and the responsibility that we accept ó as the government on this side ó to make sure that we know what those figures are and we give it the respect it deserves.

So we as a government, as a responsible government ó we have been working very hard with Energy, Mines and Resources. Energy, Mines and Resources is working with the energy, mines and resource part of the Yukonís economy so that we can jump-start the economy, we can get mining back into the community, we can get forestry back into the communities, and we can build up a balance between environment and industry thatís compatible with what Yukoners want to see. So these figures, this money that weíre spending, is well-spent money, and the money will eventually bear fruit. So when we talk about the millions of dollars in Energy, Mines and Resources ó and weíve only got 30 minutes to debate it ó it is too bad, because I say to you that this is a large department, and I say to you that itís important that we do debate it. So letís debate Energy, Mines and Resources.

Chair:   Is there any further general debate?

Mr. McRobb:   Thank you, Mr. Chair. Well, I would like to request unanimous consent, deeming all lines in Vote 53, Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, read or carried, as required

Unanimous consent re deeming all lines in Vote 53, Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, read and agreed to

Chair:   Mr. McRobb has requested the unanimous consent of the Committee to deem all lines in Vote 53, Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, cleared or carried as required.

All Hon. Members:  Agreed.

Chair:   There is unanimous consent. That completes the department.

On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures

Total Operation and Maintenance Expenditures for the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources in the amount of $22,225,000 agreed to

On Capital Expenditures

Total Capital Expenditures for the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources in the amount of $2,111,000 agreed to

Department of Energy, Mines and Resources agreed to

Chair:   We will now proceed to Vote 55, Department of Highways and Public Works.

Department of Highways and Public Works

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Iím pleased to rise today and speak to the supplementary budget for the Department of Highways and Public Works. This budget is wide ranging, because my department oversees many of the key, day-to-day systems and services of our citizens that they need and use, including the road they use to connect to families, communities, workplaces and recreation, and the information technology connections that link our schools, our homes and communities, emergency personnel in the communities and government systems that process driversí licences, court proceedings and social support payments.

The Department of Highways and Public Works looks after the government key assets, including the very buildings the government uses to conduct business and the schools where our children learn. These are valuable assets to our government and culture, and we make the necessary investments to ensure their strength and longevity.

My department prints the documents and materials that we use in this House, materials that are used in the courthouse and throughout our education system.

My department works to ensure citizens have access to materials in both Canadaís official languages. The bureau of French language services provides French training for staff and people like me. They also ensure the translation of materials into French for our French-speaking Yukoners.

The airports that connect us to the outside world and bring the world to us are managed through my department. We want to ensure that these facilities provide the appropriate security detections to ensure safe comings and goings, a pleasant, welcoming environment for our travellers and a comfortable place for people to relax and wait prior to their departures.

Mr. Chair, I am telling you about the breadth of my department because of the role it plays in everyday lives and activities of all Yukoners. We play that role by making the investments we need to keep our citizens and truckers safe on our roads and highways and our children warm and safe within their schools. We do it by providing the backbone services to the government and, through it, Yukon citizens.

There is a supplementary budget increase of $4.8 million for operation and maintenance expenditures and a request in the amount of $2.1 million for capital expenditures. This increase is partially offset by a decrease in operation and maintenance recoveries of $6 million and an increase in capital expenditure of $495,000. This supplementary budget invests in our roads, our buildings, our airports, our technology, our culture and our people.

This budget will see enhanced winter highway maintenance and the strongest possible safety and security measures at our airports. We are investing our money in the foundation of our territory so that we can build and grow.

With the additional funds before you today, the departmentís supplementary budget for O&M expenditures will be increased as follows: $750,000 will be used for increased highway maintenance. We want to keep our trucks, citizens and commerce moving so that we are increasing our investments in winter highway maintenance on our primary and secondary roads. Staff will be increasing their maintenance activities where possible in conducting winter brush and weed control work. We estimate that the additional investments in winter work will provide employment for about 19 Yukoners this year. Increased highway maintenance will also help to ensure secondary roads will be reopened earlier in the spring for resource exploration and development.

We are earmarking $122,000 for the printing and distribution of the 2002 consolidated statutes ó $90,000 of which we expect to recover through sales.

$64,000 will be set aside for landscaping costs at government-owned and -leased buildings. Our buildings welcome the public and visitors to our offices, so we work to ensure that they are attractive and well-maintained.

The former government entered into a lease arrangement with the private sector for a building formerly known as the one-stop shop, officially known as 9010 Quartz Road, and we must honour that contract and have earmarked $215,000 to do that.

We, like so many other governments, are facing escalating insurance costs. As many of you know, the insurance sector is extremely volatile and challenged by the startling losses due to 9/11, airline accidents and other record weather events such as flooding and wildfires. Like other governments, we are working to deduct long-term planning around insurance coverage and catastrophe losses. In the short term, though, our supplementary budget contains $158,000 to cover an increase in insurance premiums for government buildings and liability costs.

$3.7 million will be earmarked for costs related to devolution. Devolution has brought a number of new departmental costs associated with the transfer of information technology systems, vehicles and buildings, to name a few. As we integrate these acquisitions into our system, we must factor in the additional costs of these materials. $3.7 million in devolution funds in the supplementary budget is the departmentís portion of the federal funding that was transferred to the Yukon government.

The departmentís supplementary budget for operations and maintenance will show a $96,000 increase in expenditure recoveries for information technology and French language services. These services were previously provided by the Yukon government to the federal government and corporations.

Broadly speaking, the departmentís supplementary budget increase for capital expenditure consists of a total revote of $1.6 million for projects carried over from the 2002-03 fiscal year, new funding of $1.2 million, as well as a transfer of $700,000 in the business incentive program funding to the new Department of Economic Development. The Department of Highways and Public Works supplementary budget places a priority on enhancing the security of our airports, investing in key highway upgrades to help support resource development and augmenting our information technology systems.

$987,000 in airport planning and security upgrades are planned for the Whitehorse and Dawson City airports. This funding will help us meet the federally required security levels and will create a more pleasing environment for Yukon travellers. Iím happy to report that 95 percent of this investment will be recovered from the federal government.

We are also taking steps to upgrade equipment and other facilities at the Whitehorse Airport with $235,000 in new spending. $190,000 will be used to purchase an airport runway sweeper, $157,000 of which will be provided by Transport Canada. $45,000 will be invested in the airport fire hall exhaust system to help improve the quality of the environment for that facility.

Mr. Chair, a strong infrastructure is the foundation for economic well-being, and to that end we are investing $500,000 in planning and policy development for the following highway infrastructure initiatives: development of the resource access policy, a key step in our governmentís commitment to provide road access for mining, forestry, oil and gas and other resource industries. Mr. Chair, our territory is rich with resources, and through the sustainable development of our resources, we will help our territory return to more prosperous times.

My department will be working with other government departments to develop access corridors to resources so that we may get on with creating new opportunities. Funding will also be invested in the environmental impact study and development of aggregate sources on the Dempster Highway to continue our governmentís commitment to upgrade and maintain this highway in an environmentally responsible manner. There will be a study of the existing operation of highway and operating maintenance equipment as well as the governmentís fleet vehicles. This study will examine and ultimately ensure that government assets used for government programs and to maintain our highways are being acquired and managed in a most efficient and effective manner. $500,000 is budgeted for the Robert Campbell Highway. This funding will be used primarily for engineering work and design on the southern sections of the Robert Campbell Highway and to fulfill our governmentís commitment to upgrading and maintaining this highway.

The Department of Highways and Public Works is working diligently to ensure the preliminary engineering fieldwork and design contracts for the Campbell Highway will be in the hands of Yukon contractors this fiscal year. Our government believes that additional upgrades and maintenance of the Campbell Highway are essential to support existing mining activities and resource development. Our government also believes that upgrading this highway will ultimately contribute to further private sector investments in mining, forestry and other resource industries in the southeast Yukon.

We are also earmarking $60,000 for the unbudgeted repair of an embankment and the replacement of a culvert at kilometre 659 on the Klondike Highway. Keeping our highways well-maintained and safe is a paramount objective in my department.

Improvements are needed for some of our internal information technology systems and, for that reason, $438,000 is being earmarked for the financial management information system, human resource information needs and the creation of a geomatics data repository.

As I said earlier, Mr. Chair, we have come to rely heavily on the information technology systems for a myriad of daily activities. Like all other governments, our internal systems provide databases full of resources information, land holdings, vehicle registrations, driverís licence data, court documents, health and social information, and on and on.

Keeping these systems up to date, secure and performing efficiently are critical to the daily operations of this government. As we all know, the IT sector is rapidly changing, and that means we must make investments to ensure the strong performance and longevity of our IT systems.

We are investing $382,000 for building upgrades and equipment purchases. As I said earlier, keeping our buildings sound and well-maintained is critical to their long life, so we will continue to make modifications to protect these environments.

The Whitehorse waterfront is on the brink of a historic future. Last year we said we would be enthusiastic partners in the future, and this fall we will fulfill that commitment by investing over $300,000 in the relocation of the White Pass railway roundhouse.

As we look to the future, we will continue to team with the city and other key partners to advance the extension of the trolley line and help realize the wonderful future that lies ahead for our waterfront.

We have earmarked $23,000 for the electrical upgrade of the trolley car and $250,000 for the continuation of the work on the roundhouse shelter to upgrade the interior. This additional $273,000 will continue our investment partnership on the railway project this fiscal year, for an overall investment of $570,000.

Mr. Chair, additional funds are earmarked as follows: $198,000 for the Internet, security and community telephone upgrades; $134,000 revote for the Teslin River bridge for structural and seismic strengthening; and $152,000 for the construction of the Petit Cheval Blanc daycare extension. This funding will be recovered from Heritage Canada. These increases are offset by a reduction of $750,000 to both expenditures and recoveries as fewer construction projects are managed by the property management agency for the federal government and the Yukon government corporations.

This supplementary budget is about action, investing and planning for the future. We are working to make a better future for Yukoners and the territory, and we are taking action now. The Yukon is a beautiful place to live and raise our families. We are diverse, creative and industrious people. The Yukon government is committed to renewing the prosperity of the territory.

As I said, the Department of Highways and Public Works touches many aspects of our day-to-day lives. We are trying to make a difference for our residents and the people who come here to visit and seek opportunity. By investing our resources in buildings, services and programs that touch peopleís lives, we are fulfilling our commitment to help create better times.

We are making exceptional progress in the development of the Yukon. Our territory leads the nation in the settlement of land claims. The April 2003 devolution of federal powers puts decision making squarely in the hands of Yukon citizens, and we must have the most well-connected infrastructure in the north. We want to realize our full potential by using the opportunities before us.

We are laying the groundwork for our citizens, our governments and our future. We want to move forward. We want our citizens to prosper, and we want our territory to prosper.

By seeking and creating opportunities, we are forging a better life for Yukoners and enhancing our place in Canada. The investments I have outlined today will help us do that.

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I would now be pleased to provide further details if the members have specific questions on this supplementary budget request.

Mr. McRobb:   I have one. Where is the information I requested in August?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Will the member opposite please provide the specific question?

Mr. McRobb:   The minister can refer to the letter I sent to him in August, asking about highway camp budgets and projects. It was the subject of a Question Period question today. What other specifics does he want? Itís all spelled out there.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   We have three segments for the highway. Itís broken out into the northern areas, the western areas and the eastern areas. We have expenditures of $6.7 million, $7.1 million and $9.9 million in those three areas.

Mr. McRobb:   Mr. Chair, the information does not pertain to the information I requested in the letter. I think the best way to proceed is if the minister would simply undertake to get back with the information pertaining to the letter. Could he do that, please?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   For the member opposite, I will provide that.

Mr. McRobb:   Well, Christmas has come early, Mr. Chair. This minister is quickly becoming my favourite one across the way. I really appreciate that.

Now, I would like to follow up in the spirit of giving by asking him what he plans to do to address the problem of insufficient bandwidth for Internet to the south. And before he answers, I know this is basically a private sector matter, but itís something the government has a responsibility in. And in addition, he knows Iíve raised the prospect of the West Coast link, the undersea cable going to Alaska with high capacity bandwidth. Can he give us an answer that responds to these issues?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   The broadband south is normally handled by the Department of Economic Development, but we are looking at those two particular issues with regard to the western port coming out that side. We are also in conversations with Northwestel on additional bandwidth.

Mr. McRobb:  As much as I would like to explore that in more detail, time doesnít allow that. I would like to ask the minister how he intends to replace the MDMRS system. Can he give us an idea on that?

Hon. Mr. Hart:  We are in negotiations with all aspects and exploring the options that we have for MDMRS. We are looking at both cell satellite and the actual phones system itself.

Mr. McRobb:   The minister mentioned "cell". I wanted to get to that and ask him what the government is doing to initiate a greater number of cell towers in the territory to provide a greater coverage area, and also, if any tower erected would provide access to private industry for tapping in for associated means. Can he provide us with some information in regard to that?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   At the current time we are under a confidential agreement in our negotiations with various interests on this particular subject.

Mr. McRobb:   I was hoping the minister could provide some information, but obviously we wonít be getting it today. I would like to ask the minister about the federal funding, the strategic infrastructure funding I believe it was, and possibly something else. There was an issue before the public a couple of months ago regarding how this money should be spent. Can he give us an update on that?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   A substantial amount ó the first $20 million ó has already been agreed to by the federal government, and that funding ó $15 million of it ó will be spent on the highway and the other $5 million will be spent on a municipal sewer and water system.

Mr. McRobb:   All right. Thatís really interesting stuff, Mr. Chair. Would the minister be able to provide us with a priority list of those types of projects? Can he get back to us with that material?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   I will advise the member opposite that we are working closely with the Association of Yukon Communities on all these infrastructure issues ó both the second set of $20 million as well as with the MRIF funding, which is due to come into effect April 1 of next year.

Mr. McRobb:   Well, thatís great that heís working with the Association of Yukon Communities and some other people but would he provide material that clearly outlines his priority list for these types of infrastructure projects?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   We will provide that information in the capital budget.

Chair:   Is there any further general debate?

We will then proceed with line-by-line.

Mr. McRobb:   I request unanimous consent of the Committee to deem all lines in Vote 55, Department of Highways and Public Works, cleared or carried as required.

Unanimous consent re deeming all lines in Vote 55, Department of Highways and Public Works, read and agreed to

Chair:   Mr. McRobb has requested the unanimous consent of the Committee to deem all lines in Vote 55, Department of Highways and Public Works, 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 Highways and Public Works in the amount of $4,892,000 agreed to

On Capital Expenditures

Total Capital Expenditures for the Department of Highways and Public Works in the amount of $2,114,000 agreed to

Department of Highways and Public Works agreed to

Chair:   Weíll now proceed with Vote 8, Department of Justice.

Department of Justice

Hon. Ms. Taylor:   The supplementary budget for 2003-04 represents an increase in operation and maintenance expenditures, revenue and capital expenditures. The increase in operation and maintenance expenditures is $324,000. This increase is due in large part to the addition of legal personnel and office operating expenses as a result of the federal devolution of programs to Yukon.

The natural resources and environmental law group of the legal services branch will provide these additional legal services. The operation and maintenance budget is also slightly increased for the follow-up work required for the Whitehorse Correctional Centre inmate profile project that was started in 2002-03. The Whitehorse Correctional Centre inmate profile project is otherwise known in the Department of Justice as the "risk needs assessment project". This particular project is a study the department commissioned in order to determine whether offenders at Whitehorse Correctional Centre and in the community have some undiagnosed problem with FASD or a mental health issue that might explain why they re-offend so often.

Yukonís recidivism rate is between 70 percent and 90 percent, sadly enough, whereas the Canadian average is between 50 percent and 60 percent. If the study finds that offenders have previously undiagnosed problems, this would affect how we work with offenders to change their behaviour.

If we can help more offenders change their criminal behaviour, we could make Yukon communities safer and more responsive to the needs of all Yukoners.

An independent researcher on contract is conducting the study with the assistance of the Yukon statistics branch. The researchers also advise that they thought it would be useful to sample more than the 200 minimum subjects required, so the department asked for an additional $10,000 to fund the additional interviews.

The increase in revenue is $125,000, and this particular increase is the result of increases in the rate of territorial fines for some types of motor vehicle infractions ó which took effect, I should add, on July 1, 2002. These specific infractions that have resulted in revenue increases are, one, failure to comply with a stop sign rate increase from $25 to $125 and, second, seat belt infractions increased from $40 to $75.

Also reflected in the 2003-04 supplementary budget is an increase in the capital expenditures of $663,000. Of this $663,000, there is an increase of $443,000 for correctional facilities renovations and, of course, members opposite are much aware that in December 2002 ó one year ago ó the City of Whitehorse fire prevention officer and the Yukon fire marshal toured the Whitehorse Correctional Centre and identified a number of safety-related concerns that would need to be addressed for a continued occupancy of the facility.

So in March 2003, the Department of Justice, through the property management agency of the Department of Highways and Public Works tendered a contract to conduct a review of the current Whitehorse Correctional facility in light of these concerns in order to develop a framework for proceeding with recommended work. The consultant team submitted the report in May 2003, outlining the required work and the estimated costs. With that said, our government approved a revote of $463,000 to undertake this particular work. Representatives of the Correctional Centre, the property management agency, a consultant team, and the fire marshal have been meeting since then to ensure that all necessary steps are appropriately detailed and completed. The actual work is expected to commence later this year and to be complete probably by spring or early summer of 2004.

The second expenditure reflected in this supplementary budget is that of $200,000 for correctional reform. As I have stated on a number of occasions, our government is 100 percent committed to replacing the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. Our government is also on record as having said that we are also committed to ensuring the safety and security of Yukon citizens. That is of utmost importance. We want, however, to ensure that the project replacing the Whitehorse Correctional Centre properly reflects the needs of the community it serves. So as per the memorandum of understanding that was signed between our Yukon government, our Premier, and Kwanlin Dun First Nation Chief and Council, our government is committed to ensuring Yukon First Nations are involved in the review, design and development of correctional services in the territory.

To this end our government is working with Yukon First Nations to develop a public process that will look at the design, delivery and evaluation of these services in the territory that will also, ultimately, help to determine the design, the scope of a new correctional facility.

As members are aware, the vast majority of inmates at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre are of First Nation ancestry, so by working with Yukon First Nations to review these services, we feel that we will be better able to provide programming that is both relevant and will help reduce the number of repeat offenders in the system. As part of that process, I have met with both the Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations on a number of occasions, as well as the Chief and Council of Kwanlin Dun First Nation to discuss these next steps regarding correctional reform and consultation process. Letters have been sent to all Yukon First Nations, as I said earlier today, inviting them to nominate representatives to a consultation advisory committee to oversee a Yukon-wide consultation into the future of corrections in the Yukon. For the members opposite, letters were sent to each of the First Nation governments, as well as to the Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations.

I should also add that the proposed committee will also have representatives from other departments, as well as the general public. As I also mentioned earlier today, a copy of the draft workplan was submitted with the letters to each of the First Nations for their review, and once the committee has had an opportunity to meet, they will sit down to review the draft workplan, take a look at the draft timelines and proceed from there further. We hope to undertake that as soon as we are able to ó hopefully earlier in the new year.

As I said also earlier, itís very important to know that we are living in a time when the justice system in the Yukon is going through some significant changes, as those resulting from the settlement of land claims as well as recent changes in sentencing patterns. Our government feels that consideration must be given to these changes and that careful public consideration must also take place before we can embark upon the construction of a new correctional facility. Once again, our government is 100 percent committed to replacing the Whitehorse correctional facility. Itís important, however, to ensure that the new centre is both accountable and responsible and one which reflects the needs of Yukon today and well into the future. As our Premier has said on a number of occasions, we donít wish to simply construct a facility that will serve as a warehouse with a revolving door for inmates, as has currently been the case, with a recidivism rate of 75 to 85 percent. We in fact wish to reduce the number of repeat offenders and to implement programming that is both responsible as well as accountable to all Yukoners.

With that said, I would be happy to field any questions from the members opposite, and this concludes the Department of Justice supplementary budget.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Termination of sitting as per Standing Order 76(1)

Chair:   Order please. The time has reached 5:00 p.m. on this, the 24th day of the 2003 fall sitting. Standing Order 76(1) states: "On the day that the Assembly has reached the maximum number of sitting days allocated for that Sitting pursuant to Standing Order 75, the Chair of the Committee of the Whole, if the Assembly is in Committee of the Whole at the time, shall interrupt proceedings at 5:00 p.m. and, with respect to each Government Bill before Committee that the Government House Leader directs to be called, shall:

"(a) put the question on any amendment then before the Committee;

"(b) put the question, without debate or amendment, on a motion moved by a Minister that the bill, including all clauses, schedules, title and preamble, be deemed to be read and carried;

"(c) put the question on a motion moved by a Minister that the bill be reported to the Assembly; and

"(d) when all bills have been dealt with, recall the Speaker to the Chair to report on the proceedings of the Committee. It is the duty of the Chair to now conduct the business of the Committee of the Whole in the manner directed by Standing Order 76(1)."

There is only one bill before Committee of the Whole, that is, Bill No. 7, Second Appropriation Act, 2003-04, which we are dealing with now. The Chair will now recognize Mr. Fentie as the sponsor of Bill No. 7 for the purpose of moving a motion pursuant to Standing Order 76(1)(b).

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Mr. Chair, I move that all clauses, schedules and the title of Bill No. 7, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2003-04, be deemed to be read and carried.

Chair:   It has been moved by Mr. Fentie that all clauses, schedules and the title of Bill No. 7, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2003-04, be deemed to be read and carried.

As no debate or amendment is permitted, I shall now put the question. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Some Hon. Members:   Disagreed.

Chair:   I think the ayes have it.

Motion to deem all clauses, schedules and title of Bill No. 7 agreed to

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Mr. Chair, I move that you report Bill No. 7 without amendment.

Chair:   It has been moved that Bill No. 7 be reported without amendment. As no debate or amendment is permitted, I shall now put the question. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members: Division.

Division

Chair:   A count has been called.

Bells

Chair:   We will proceed with the count.

It has been moved that Bill No. 7 be reported without amendment. Would all those in favour please rise?

Members rise

Chair:   All those who disagree please rise.

Members rise

Chair:   The results of the count are 10 yea, six nay.

Motion to report Bill No. 7 without amendment agreed to

Chair:   As the only government bill remaining in the Committee of the Whole has now been decided upon, it is my duty to rise and report to the House.

Speaker resumes the Chair

Speaker:   I will now call the House to order.

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

Chairís report

Mr. Rouble:   Mr. Speaker, Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 7, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2003-04, and has directed me to report it without amendment.

Speaker:   You have heard the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole.

Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Speaker:   I declare the report carried.

Standing Order 76(2) states: "On the sitting day that the Assembly has reached the maximum number of sitting days allocated for the Sitting pursuant to Standing Order 75, the Speaker of the Assembly, when recalled to the Chair after the House has been in Committee of the Whole, shall: Ö

(d) with respect to each Government Bill standing on the Order Paper for Third Reading and designated to be called by the Government House Leader,

(i) receive a motion for a Third Reading and passage of the bill, and

(ii) put the question, without debate or amendment, on that motion."

I shall, therefore, ask the government House leader to identify which of the bills now standing at third reading, that the government wishes to be called.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Mr. Speaker, the government directs that Bills Nos. 39, 41, 6, 42, 36 and 7 be now called for third reading at this time.

Bill No. 39: Third Reading

Clerk:   Third reading, Bill No. 39, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. Jenkins.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 39, entitled Decision Making, Support and Protection to Adults Act, be now read a third time and do pass.

Speaker:   It has been moved by the hon. Minister of Health and Social Services that Bill No. 39, entitled Decision Making, Support and Protection to Adults Act, be now read a third time and do pass.

As no debate or amendment is permitted, I shall now put the question. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Mr. Speaker, please help me in welcoming the people who have joined us in the visitor gallery who have recognized the need for this decision-making legislation, along with two officials from the Department of Health and Social Services who were extensively involved in the development of this legislation. Please join me in welcoming them with us here today.

Applause

Speaker:   Just for clarification, did we have two members stand up and call division?

Would the two members stand up and call division so I can see them?

Some Hon. Members:   Division.

Division

Speaker:   Division has been called.

Bells

Speaker:   Mr. Clerk, please poll the House.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Agree.

Hon. Ms. Taylor:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Kenyon:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Lang:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Agree.

Mr. Arntzen:   Agree.

Mr. Rouble:   Agree.

Mr. Hassard:   Agree.

Mr. Cathers:   Agree.

Mr. Hardy:   Agree.

Mr. McRobb:   Agree.

Mr. Fairclough:   Agree.

Mr. Cardiff:   Agree.

Mrs. Peter:   Agree.

Ms. Duncan:   Agree.

Clerk: Mr. Speaker, the results are 17 yea, nil nay.

Speaker:   The ayes have it.

Motion for third reading of Bill No. 39 agreed to

Speaker:   I declare that Bill No. 39 has passed this House.

Bill No. 41: Third Reading

Clerk:   Third reading, Bill No. 41, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. Jenkins.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   I move that Bill No. 41, entitled Health Professions Act, be now read a third time and do pass.

Speaker:   It has been moved by the hon. Minister of Health and Social Services that Bill No. 41, entitled Health Professions Act, be now read a third time and do pass.

As no debate or amendment is permitted, I shall put the question. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Speaker:   I think the ayes have it. I declare the motion carried.

Motion for third reading of Bill No. 41 agreed to

Speaker:   I declare that Bill No. 41 has passed this House.

Bill No. 6: Third Reading

Clerk:   Third reading, Bill No. 6, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. Fentie.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I move that Bill No. 6, entitled Fourth Appropriation Act, 2002-03, be now read a third time and do pass.

Speaker:   It has been moved by the hon. Premier that Bill No. 6, entitled Fourth Appropriation Act, 2002-03, be now read a third time and do pass.

As no debate or amendment is permitted, I shall now put the question. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members:   Division.

Division

Speaker:   Division has been called.

Bells

Speaker:   Mr. Clerk, please poll the House.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Agree.

Hon. Ms. Taylor:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Kenyon:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Lang:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Agree.

Mr. Arntzen:   Agree.

Mr. Rouble:   Agree.

Mr. Hassard:   Agree.

Mr. Cathers:   Agree.

Mr. Hardy:   Disagree.

Mr. McRobb:   Disagree.

Mr. Fairclough:   Disagree.

Mr. Cardiff:   Disagree.

Mrs. Peter:   Disagree.

Ms. Duncan:   Disagree.

Clerk:   Mr. Speaker, the results are 11 yea, six nay.

Speaker:   The ayes have it. I declare the motion carried.

Motion for third reading of Bill No. 6 agreed to

Speaker:   I declare that Bill No. 6 has passed this House.

Bill No. 42: Third Reading

Clerk:   Third reading, Bill No. 42, standing in the name of the hon. Ms. Taylor.

Hon. Ms. Taylor:   I move that Bill No. 42, entitled Territorial Court Judiciary Pension Plan Act, 2003, be now read a third time and do pass.

Speaker:   It has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 42, entitled Territorial Court Judiciary Pension Plan Act, 2003, be now read a third time and do pass.

As no debate or amendment is permitted, I shall now put the question. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Speaker:   I think the ayes have it.

Motion for third reading of Bill No. 42 agreed to

Speaker:   I declare that Bill No. 42 has passed this House.

Bill No. 36: Third Reading

Clerk:   Third reading, Bill No. 36, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. Fentie.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I move that Bill No. 36, entitled Act to Amend the Taxpayer Protection Act, be now read a third time and do pass.

Speaker:   It has been moved by the Premier that Bill No. 36, entitled Act to Amend the Taxpayer Protection Act, be now read a third time and do pass.

As no debate or amendment is permitted, I shall now put the question. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members:   Division.

Division

Speaker:   Division has been called.

Bells

Speaker:   Mr. Clerk, please poll the House.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Agree.

Hon. Ms. Taylor:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Kenyon:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Lang:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Agree.

Mr. Arntzen:   Agree.

Mr. Rouble:   Agree.

Mr. Hassard:   Agree.

Mr. Cathers:   Agree.

Mr. Hardy:   Disagree.

Mr. McRobb:   Disagree.

Mr. Fairclough:   Disagree.

Mr. Cardiff:   Disagree.

Mrs. Peter:   Disagree.

Ms. Duncan:   Disagree.

Chair:   Mr. Speaker, the results are 11 yea, six nay.

Speaker:   The ayes have it.

Motion for third reading of Bill No. 36 agreed to

Speaker:   I declare that Bill No. 36 has passed this House.

Bill No. 7: Third Reading

Clerk:   Third reading, Bill No. 7, standing in the name of the hon. Mr. Fentie.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I move that Bill No. 7, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2003-04, be now read a third time and do pass.

Speaker:   It has been moved by the hon. Premier that Bill No. 7, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2003-04, be now read a third time and do pass.

As no debate or amendment is permitted, I shall put the question. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members:   Division.

Division

Speaker:   Division has been called.

Bells

Speaker:  Mr. Clerk, would you please poll the House.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Agree.

Hon. Ms. Taylor:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Kenyon:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Lang:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Agree.

Mr. Arntzen:   Agree.

Mr. Rouble:   Agree.

Mr. Hassard:   Agree.

Mr. Cathers:   Agree.

Mr. Hardy:   Disagree.

Mr. McRobb:   Disagree.

Mr. Fairclough:   Disagree.

Mr. Cardiff:  Disagree.

Mrs. Peter:   Disagree.

Ms. Duncan:   Disagree.

Clerk:   Mr. Speaker, the results are 11 yea, six nay.

Speaker:   The ayes have it.

Motion for third reading of Bill No. 7 agreed to

Speaker:   I declare that Bill No. 7 has passed this House.

We are now prepared to receive the Commissioner, in his capacity as Lieutenant Governor, to grant assent to bills that have passed this House.

Commissioner enters the Chamber, announced by the Sergeant-at-Arms

ASSENT TO BILLS

Commissioner:   Please be seated.

Speaker:   Mr. Commissioner, the Assembly has, at its present session, passed certain bills to which, in the name and on behalf of the Assembly, I respectfully request your assent.

Clerk:   Decision Making, Support and Protection to Adults Act; Health Professions Act; Fourth Appropriation Act, 2002-03; Territorial Court Judiciary Pension Plan Act, 2003; Act to Amend the Taxpayer Protection Act; Second Appropriation Act, 2003-04.

Commissioner:   I hereby assent to the bills as enumerated by the Clerk.

I think before rising, Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to listen to the debates this afternoon and on some previous occasions, and I have to give you my personal compliments. I think the peace, order and good government quotient in this room has gone up quite markedly, so my compliments to you and to the members. Iím sure the public will take note of the increase in civility and will accord you the respect that you deserve.

With that, Iíd like to wish all the members the compliments of the season, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Adjournment of House

Speaker:   I will now call the House to order.

As the House has reached the maximum number of days permitted for this fall sitting, as established pursuant to Standing Order 75(3), and the House has completed consideration of the designated legislation, it is the duty of the Chair to declare that this House now stands adjourned.

The House adjourned at 5:23 p.m.

 

 

 

The following Sessional Paper was tabled December 16, 2003:

03-1-76

Yukon Human Rights Commission 2002-03 Annual Report (Speaker Staffen)

03-1-77

Yukon Health and Social Services Council 2002-03 Annual Report (Jenkins)

03-1-78

Yukon Council on the Economy & Environment 2002-03 Annual Report (Kenyon)