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††††††† Whitehorse, Yukon

††††††† Tuesday, October 26, 2004 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.

TRIBUTES

In recognition of the 6th Annual National Students Against Impaired Driving Day

Hon. Mr. Hart:   I rise today to pay tribute to the 6th Annual National Students Against Impaired Driving Day in Canada. Today in almost 400 schools across the nation, students are participating in this national day of action to raise awareness of and help prevent impaired driving.

Mr. Speaker, statistics show that young drivers are more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than by any other means. Tragically, in 40 percent of these crashes, alcohol is involved.

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Many Yukon families are profoundly affected each and every time a young person is killed by impaired driving. These deaths are heart wrenching, not only because they are untimely, but also because the deaths are preventable. As a society we strive to guide and support our youth so when a young person dies in a preventable manner, we all share in the sorrow.

What bolsters my spirit today is the fact that young people are spearheading the awareness campaign to remind their peers and adults that we all have a role to play. Students all across Canada have organized themselves to promote National Students against Impaired Driving Day to increase awareness and prevent impaired driving.

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Students have created Web sites, organized events and letter-writing campaigns and distributed programming manuals and kits to raise awareness among themselves of the tragedy of impaired driving. It is my hope that through the hard work of Canadaís dedicated youth, combined with the laws and efforts of our society, we will all have safe lives.

In recognition of Block Parents Week

Mr. McRobb:   I rise on behalf of the official opposition to tribute our Block Parents by recognizing national Block Parents Week. Currently there are more than 300,000 Block Parent volunteers in Canada who make our communities safer for children, and everyone. Anyone over the age of 18 who can pass the police screening process can become a Block Parent.

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†A distinctive red and white Block Parent sign placed in the window will tell children, seniors and indeed anyone in need of assistance that there is help close at hand. The more signs there are on a block, the more protection everyone is afforded. These signs act as a deterrent to troublemakers. The more signs, the safer the community.

Mr. Speaker, one of the most serious offences among children is bullying. This is the most common reason why Block Parents are called upon. In addition to the window signage program, the Block Parents offer other important educational programs designed to increase personal safety. We urge all residents to consider becoming part of this vital service.

Thank you.

 

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Hon. Mr. Edzerza:  Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the national Block Parent Week, which runs from October 24 to October 30. Yukonís Block Parent program has approximately 80 volunteers in Whitehorse and Watson Lake. These community members have stepped forward to offer a safe place where a responsible adult is available to assist, should the need arise. The Yukon Block Parent program is run out of Crime Prevention Yukon, with financial assistance from the Department of Justice. Block Parent volunteers display a familiar red and white Block Parent sign in their windows when they are home. Children can look for this sign when they approach homes in their neighbourhood and know that someone inside cares and is there to help.

The Block Parent sign also acts as a deterrent to troublemakers and, in particular, bullies that may be picking on other children. Bullying is in fact the most common reason why Block Parents are called upon. A Block Parent can receive a knock on their door from a child who is lost or frightened, an adult who has become stranded with car problems, a teen who is being bullied or finds their driver is impaired, or from a senior who requires assistance.

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The more Block Parent homes we have, the safer our neighbourhoods are. This week the Yukon Block Parent program is advertising for people to become Block Parents. The benefits of having a thriving Block Parent program outweighs the possible time commitment of only a few hours a month. Parents are encouraged to educate their children about what the sign looks like and that this identifies a place to go if home is too far away, and they donít feel safe. This yearís theme, ďBe someone others can depend on ó become a Block ParentĒ, encourages members of our community to consider becoming a Block Parent.

I would like to thank the volunteers who are working to build this program for their hard work. I look forward to a time when the Block Parent sign will be visible throughout the Yukon.

 

Speaker:   Are there any further tributes?

Introduction of visitors.

Are there any returns or documents for tabling?

TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS

Hon. Mr. Hart:   I have for tabling today the Motor Vehicles Act review survey.

 

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

Are there any reports of committees?

Are there any petitions?

Are there any bills to be introduced?

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INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 105: Introduction and First Reading

Mr. Hardy:   I move that Bill No. 105, entitled Act to Amend the Conflict of Interest (Members and Ministers) Act, be now introduced and read a first time.

Speaker:   It has been moved by the leader of the official opposition that Bill No. 105, entitled Act to Amend the Conflict of Interest (Members and Ministers) Act, be now introduced and read a first time.

Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 105 agreed to

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

THAT this House urges the Yukon Energy Corporation and Yukon Electrical to fulfill their obligations to maintain power line rights-of-way free of trees and brush.

 

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

THAT this House urges the Government of Yukon to commission an independent study to measure the true economic impact of a new bridge across the Yukon River at Dawson City.

 

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

THAT this House urges the Yukon government to streamline local area planning and zoning processes to expedite their development and implementation for the purpose of ensuring that the interests of area residents are respected.

 

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

THAT this House urges the Premier to table his governmentís plan for the collection of unpaid business loans owed directly or indirectly by members of his Cabinet and to allow this plan to be debated and brought to a free vote of all members of this House during the current sitting.

 

Mrs. Peter:   I give notice of the following motion:

THAT this House urges the Minister of Tourism to work cooperatively with the air charter and wilderness tourism industries in the Yukon to lobby the Yukon Member of Parliament and the federal Transport minister to renew the existing exemptions that allow fixed-wing aircraft to carry external loads such as canoes and other equipment and materials that are an essential part of the northern Canadian wilderness lifestyle.

 

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Speaker:   Are there any further notices of motion?

Is there a statement by a minister?

This then brings us to Question Period.

QUESTION PERIOD

Question re:† Business loans, outstanding

Mr. Hardy:   I have a question for the Deputy Premier. Does the Deputy Premier intend to repay his long overdue business loans from the Government of Yukon and, if so, when?

Hon. Ms. Taylor:   †I rise to respond to the member oppositeís question with respect to outstanding loans pertaining to economic development. As the leader of the official opposition is very well aware, this matter, this particular file, is a very difficult issue. However, with that said, our government, to this day, remains very committed to maximizing the recovery of all outstanding loans and has taken great strides in doing so and has generated much success in the interim.

Mr. Hardy:   I gave the opportunity for the Deputy Premier to clear the air on this matter, and that was passed, unfortunately. Now we also know who is answering for the Premier on this file this week; it seems to be a rotating seat ó whoever answers. However, weíre no further ahead on getting this issue resolved. The Deputy Premier recently seems to have changed his tune on this $300,000 debt.

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The story used to be that this was a business debt and his business wasnít making enough money to make payments. Now weíre hearing suggestions that the Deputy Premier inherited this debt when he bought his business, so heís not responsible. Weíve even heard reports of the Premier saying much the same thing in his community meeting at Lake Laberge last month. Does the minister who is answering for the Premier today consider that to be a valid argument?

Hon. Ms. Taylor:   †Mr. Speaker, I can tell you what a valuable argument is. Itís that our government remains committed to maximizing the recovery of all outstanding loans. We have said repeatedly on the floor of this Legislature that we on this side of the House remain very committed to recovering those outstanding loans. As the Premier stated just a very few short days ago, since implementing our collection plan, 11 borrowers have renegotiated their loans, bringing the total number of borrowers in good standing to 17, which represents $2.4 million ó more than half of the outstanding portfolio. That is success, Mr. Speaker. We are also currently working with Industry Canada to transfer 12 loans totalling $640,000 that were cost-shared between YTG and the federal government. Mr. Speaker, we have forgiven loans belonging to NGOs who owed money to the government ó NGOs, I might add, who continue to contribute very good work on behalf of Yukon taxpayers for the benefit of all Yukon.

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Again, we continue to work with the Department of Finance to work on options to resolve the matter of the balance of the outstanding loans, which also pertains to the Member for Klondike.

Mr. Hardy:   Let it go on record that the minister did not answer the question I directed at her. Nobody in the Yukon public is buying this argument that was just presented. Anybody who has bought a house knows that the new owner is subject to the caveats that come with the property. Thatís a fact. Anybody who buys a business knows that debts come with it unless there are specific arrangements made for the previous owner to manage those debts. Thatís a fact as well.

A few moments ago I tabled a private memberís bill to amend the Conflict of Interest (Members and Ministers) Act to prevent any future reoccurrence of this shameful situation where a person can ignore a long-standing debt to the taxpayers and still enjoy all the rights and privileges of a Cabinet minister.

Now, for the sake of restoring public trust in government, will the minister give her assurance that she will support and vote according to direction on this matter from her constituents and her conscience, as well as all the other MLAs in this House?

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Hon. Ms. Taylor:   †For the record again, just to make things very clear for all members of the Legislature, the Government of Yukon remains very committed to maximizing the recovery of all outstanding loans pertaining to economic development, loans that, I might add, were provided to Yukon individuals by the previous government, loans that we were left to take care of and look at maximizing the recovery of. Despite previous governmentsí inactions on this particular very difficult file, our government has actually stepped up to the plate, we are taking action and we are having success.

Question re:  Electoral reform, contract

Mr. Hardy:   Iíll continue along with the theme of finance and accountability issues.

Yesterday the government House leader tabled the interim report of the governmentís senior advisor on electoral reform. I have a question for him today in his capacity as Deputy Premier.

Is the Deputy Premier satisfied that Yukon taxpayers are receiving value for money on this contract?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   The issue before us is the tabling of an interim report, and I must stress the word ďinterimĒ report.

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And that report is not in its final policy form as to what recommendations will come forward to this government from the individual who was hired to monitor this situation in B.C., monitor what has transpired in that jurisdiction and report to us accordingly. And there are other steps that have not yet been fulfilled.

So yes, the answer to the question is that we are well satisfied with the value received to date, but there is more coming.

Mr. Hardy:   A $120,000 contract to an individual. Over eight months have passed. This is past the mid-term. I think we would expect a little bit more than what we have received.

Letís take a look at the facts. This interim report is basically a non-report. Apart from a fancy cardboard folder that looks like it came from the federal government, and a stunning souvenir photo of the senior advisorís credentials as an official observer in British Columbia, there is really nothing in it. It consists almost entirely of fact sheets and handouts from the B.C. Citizensí Assembly on Electoral Reform. All this material and more has been on the Assemblyís Web site for ages. In fact, I was able to download almost all the material in this interim report in 40 seconds yesterday afternoon. It took me 40 seconds to find this material.

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Will the Deputy Premier explain why this is worth $120,000 to Yukon taxpayers? Will he explain that?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Our party has a campaign commitment to look at electoral reform. The implications cross all of Yukon. That is exactly what is underway, Mr. Speaker, and if the member opposite takes exception to what has been produced to date, so be it. But the issue is that there is an individual engaged. There also will be a citizens-led advisory committee on this very important issue and we will be moving forward. But the initiative has begun in British Columbia. In that jurisdiction, they constituted a full review, and our government took steps to monitor what was going on and what is before the Legislature. And what was provided to the members opposite yesterday was an interim report. That is not the final report.

Mr. Hardy:   Well, it sounds like the Deputy Premier is quite defensive about this report. That indicates the quality and the volume that has been produced after eight months and I would guess over the $80,000 or $90,000 already having been spent. Now, letís not kid ourselves here, Mr. Speaker. The only substance in this interim report is the page called ďBudget ConsiderationsĒ, in which the senior advisor justifies his expenditures to date.

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This is fascinating reading ó truly fascinating. I note that this budget page refers to six more weekends of deliberation in Vancouver that the senior advisor plans to attend, but we all know that the citizensí assembly has already made their major recommendation. Theyíve already voted on it. Theyíve already moved forward. Why? Will the Deputy Premier agree to cut the Yukonís losses on this spectacular deal by cancelling the remainder of this lucrative contract and putting the money toward a commission on electoral reform this government promised in its election platform?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Weíre not a government that is, as the member opposite is suggesting, going to go out and reinvent the wheel. We are monitoring what is transpiring in other jurisdictions adjacent to us within Canada. The initial proportional representation initiative came forward from the former Yukon Party leader when he visited New Zealand and was impressed with the situation there. He made presentation to the House on that very important way of electing people to form the government. Our party committed to examining this area. That is exactly what weíre doing. Thatís exactly whatís underway, and we have taken the steps to monitor what is currently transpiring in British Columbia. We are very, very positive as to what information has been received to date, but I must stress, once again, it is an interim report.

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Question re:  Land applications, policy

Ms. Duncan:   I have some questions for the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources. Thereís chaos in the Yukon land applications because of the bungling of this minister. When the Government of Yukon took over land applications from the Government of Canada, this minister changed the rules. Thatís a fact.

In recent news articles, and as recently as yesterday in this House, the minister denied that was the case. He insisted nothing had changed. He was wrong. Even according to his own Web site, heís wrong.

Is the minister prepared to admit today that, yes, a change in policy has occurred under this Yukon Party government? Will he admit that he provided incorrect information to the House yesterday?

Hon. Mr. Lang:   We certainly know thereís a demand out there for rural land. We have a commitment, as a government and as a party, that we would make land available for Yukoners and weíre moving ahead with that policy. If people are interested in rural land, they can access information on our Web site, call or walk into the office five days a week.

In terms of policy, the biggest policy change was that we took over control of the lands from the federal government a year ago. To make the process of devolution go smoothly, we mirrored federal legislation. We have also formalized the rural residential land application policy to match practices of federal governments, and this allows for residential land applications. Weíre moving ahead with managing the land in the Yukon.

Ms. Duncan:   The minister has still not recognized that he has created a real mess because he has not done the hard work of government. Policy takes a long time, and this mess proves that this government and this minister are not prepared to do the hard work to get things right. You canít just change the rules and not tell anyone that you did it. You cannot expect people to log on to the Internet every day or camp out in the office of the lands branch to see what changes have been made. The public relies on the government to make changes public, to make everyone aware of the information.

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Now, I wrote to the minister two weeks ago with a solution to this mess. In my letter I suggested to the minister that we have a case where the interest in land is ahead of the necessary public policy development. I suggested that the government not make land available in this area until there is an open public, fair process ó well-established.

The minister has had some time ó

Speaker:   Will the member please ask the question?

Ms. Duncan:   I will. Will the minister put this solution forward and clean up the mess he created?

Hon. Mr. Lang:   I appreciate the member oppositeís opinion and thatís all she gives in this House ó her opinion on how this government runs the land office. It is just her personal opinion. Our government is a very open government. The land policies are very open. Their office is open five days a week and we have a Web site.

We manage the land portfolio very seriously. We made† a commitment to the residents of the Yukon that we would put the land policy up front and we would move forward so all Yukoners would have land available for them. It is an open forum. It has nothing to do with secretive government or a policy that the general public isnít aware of. We have an office, a very well-equipped office. There is no such thing as camping overnight in the office. You get prompt service in that office and we are moving ahead with managing the land in the Yukon.

Ms. Duncan:   The fact is that this government ó the Yukon Party government ó and the minister have created a mess. There has been a policy change in June of this year and the government didnít tell the general public about it. They didnít notify the general public. There was no public notification of a very significant change. The result? A free for all on land around the City of Whitehorse and hard feelings among Yukoners. And the minister will confirm, when he stands on his feet, that he has had absolutely no consultation with the Kwanlin Dun or the City of Whitehorse about this change in policy. I suspect that is the case and I would ask him to do that. Will he confirm that there has been no consultation with the Chief of the Kwanlin Dun or the Mayor of the City of Whitehorse on this change in the policy that wasnít even made public?

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Hon. Mr. Lang:   Thereís one thing we wonít do: we wonít run the land policy in this territory on hysterics. We work positively with the general public ó

Unparliamentary language

Speaker:   Order, please. That is an unparliamentary characterization and I would ask the member to retract that please.

Withdrawal of remark

Hon. Mr. Lang:   I retract that.

There is a process that people go through in the process of acquiring the land on the Fish Lake Road. That process is very open, and it certainly involves every resident of the Yukon when that comes forward in the form of LARC. Thereís a land application before the Land Application Review Committee, as well as having environmental assessment and whether or not this land fits into the appropriate policies and local area plans. Theyíre a long way from getting land on Fish Lake Road. This goes through a process ó a very open process ó on how the land will be issued. So for us to sit in this House and second guess what the LARC is going to do, what the environmental assessment is going to be ó

I think we should let the process work its way out and, at the end of the day, hopefully it will work.

Question re:  Land applications, policy

Mr. McRobb:   Well, after two years the Yukon Partyís true stripes are really starting to show. One of those stripes is ďfavouritismĒ; the other one is ďno balanceĒ. This land disposition process is a good example of that. Thereís no fairness in the process with respect to land dispositions. There is no land use planning to balance the process. For example, the Member for Lake Laberge yesterday tabled a motion to streamline the land application process. ďStreamlineĒ is code word for ďabolishĒ to this Yukon Party. I asked the minister back on March 30 about a major land sale this year, and he denied it.

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

Point of order

Speaker:   The Member for Lake Laberge, on a point of order.

Mr. Cathers:   Pursuant to Standing Order 19(g), the Member for Kluane is imputing false or unavowed motives to me in claiming that the motion tabled yesterday was expressing a desire to abolish the land process.

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Speaker:   On the point of order, Member for Kluane.

Mr. McRobb:   On the point of order, Mr. Speaker, there is no point of order here and this time should be added to our time for Question Period.

Speakerís statement

Speaker:   I would ask that the members allow me to review the Blues, and Iíll get back to you with a ruling. The Member for Kluane has the floor.

 

Mr. McRobb:   Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I said, to the Yukon Party the word ďstreamlineĒ means abolish. The Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources denied there was a land grab coming in the Yukon this year. He also talked about streamlining the oil and gas process and agricultural land process. Iíd like to ask the minister: what other Yukon land use planning does the minister plan to streamline out of existence?

Hon. Mr. Lang:   We certainly are looking at land policies. Weíre looking at trying to streamline. I guess government can always improve itself on how we process things. Certainly in our government in the Yukon, there are steps in the process and how we do that. But we certainly have to look at our agricultural policy, our rural residential policy, our rural policy, our commercial policy on how land will be handled in and out of the municipalities in the Yukon. That is work in progress.

I think that for the last year we have had land in our portfolio. I think weíve done an amazing job as a government. As a land department, I think theyíve exceeded themselves in the work theyíve put forward to date. Our government has made a commitment to Yukoners to streamline, get land available for people out in the Yukon. And weíre committed to do that, Mr. Speaker. Weíre committed to do it and work on the policies so we can do it, so at the end of the day we have a policy in place that addresses issues that Yukoners have addressed for years in this territory ó from a five-year turnaround point on land when DIAND handled it to a point where we can do things in 60 and 90 days in an appropriate fashion. Thatís what devolution was about, Mr. Speaker. It was about shortening up the application and getting this land out.

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Mr. McRobb:   Weíd prefer if the answers were a little shorter and a little more substantial. The minister doesnít recognize the Yukonís need for proper, planned development, not willy-nilly development and only for a few insiders. The minister doesnít recognize there has been a major and sudden change in the land policy, which apparently now is allowed within 30 kilometres of municipalities. Thereís no public consultation; he has undermined land use planning. Communities and councils have lost any trust they had with this government. He has a whole department to devote to land use planning, yet he doesnít use it.

Word of mouth is not good enough. Why did the minister allow only a chosen few to have access to the new distribution of land?

Hon. Mr. Lang:   Since June of this year, into October, there were a few people who took advantage of the Fish Lake situation. The land was there. Understand in the House, they did nothing illegal. Those people were completely within their rights to stake that land. They staked the land.

The next issue is, how does the policy work and how did they get the land in the long term? I say to you, Mr. Speaker, there are 31 applications. Theyíre going before LARC; theyíre going before an environmental review; theyíre going in front of all these policies to see if this land is legitimate, and it can go ahead.

This is not the first time in and around Whitehorse that people have staked land and acquired land that way. Through the federal system, within the last four or five years, there are people on Fish Lake today who used the same system and the same process that weíre talking about today. Nothing has changed.

Weíre working with the policy; weíre going to work our way through it, and the people who have applied for the land or staked the land did nothing illegal. We will work with those people and work through the policy and see if, at the end of the road, the staked land is valid.

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Question re:  Caribou permit allocation

Mr. McRobb:   Yesterday, the new Environment minister displayed a total lack of respect for this House when he claimed his explanation for tenets of natural justice could be found in Hansard. Wrong. There is no such explanation. The only Hansard is from last Thursday. Then he only said it was a matter pertaining to the tenets of natural justice. Somehow this minister believes he is above it all and doesnít have to answer for his actions in this Legislature. Thatís wrong. It insults the institution and everybody in it.

Letís return to his overturning process decisions regarding the hunting allocations of Aishihik caribou. Would the minister now specify what the Alsek Renewable Resource Council did wrong?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Iím not aware of the Alsek Renewable Resource Council doing anything incorrectly. What was not followed through was the Outfitter Quota Appeal Committee. Now, the reasons detailing the Outfitter Quota Appeal Committee were not provided to the outfitter at the same time the recommendations were issued. That is the essence of the difficulty and that was explained in an answer provided to the member opposite last Thursday.

One of the primary tenets of natural justice is that the reasons for administrative decisions must be provided to those affected by the decision at the same time. You donít have a decision rendered and the reasons for the decision provided a long time after when the decision impacts the number or the quota on an outfitterís licence that has got to go to work on August 1 of this year. That is the difficulty that the Minister of Environment was faced with. Thatís why a decision was made for one year to ask the Outfitter Quota Appeal Committee to review it and to go back.

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Mr. McRobb:   Well, Mr. Speaker, the minister is wrong. That explanation is not in Hansard from Thursday. I invite anybody to check on that.

Now, there is a lot of confusion over this. On the radio transcript from Friday, he indicates heís blaming the Alsek Renewable Resource Council, which is an Umbrella Final Agreement-mandated council. Now he says itís the Outfitter Quota Appeal Committee that did wrong. Thatís where the outfitter took the issue when he wasnít satisfied with the resource councilís decision on how many caribou he was permitted to hunt from the Aishihik herd. Following the outcome of the appeal process, the outfitter still wasnít satisfied, so he took it to the minister, who then gave him all he wanted in the first place. Iíd like the minister to be a little more specific and tell us exactly what did the Outfitter Quota Appeal Committee do wrong, and what gave him the right to overturn it without consulting with both it and the resource council?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Mr. Speaker, the question has been asked; the question has been answered. It is very simple: the decision that the Outfitter Quota Appeal Committee rendered has to have the reasons for that decision flowing or provided to the outfitter at the same time, because the outfitterís licence specifies the species and the numbers on it. Before that outfitter can go and hunt that species, he has to have that clearly outlined or on his licence; otherwise he canít hunt that species. We were right at the end of July, and the season opened August 1. That was the issue. The board didnít provide the reasons for the decision at the same time as they provided the decision.

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Mr. McRobb:  The minister thinks heís the judge, jury and big game hunter all in one. He overturns all of this process because he heard from one party about what he perceives to be some inequity in the process. That is not right.

I asked him yesterday about the requirement in section 16.8.4 of the Umbrella Final Agreement, which requires him to file his reasons for a decision to overturn such boards within 60 days. I want him to specify ó it has been about 120 days since his decision. Has he filed his reasons ó his reasons ó within 60 days?

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   I am not aware of anything that the RRC did that didnít follow proper procedure. What I am aware of is the Outfitter Quota Appeal Committee. They have an obligation to render a decision and render reasons for that decision. That is the essence of the difficulty the Minister of Environment was faced with. This is an issue that has had an interim solution that was rendered for one year and the boards have been asked to go back and review it.

But letís look at what has transpired during this past hunting season. The number of game animals taken was exactly the same as last year.

Question re:  Tantalus School, Yukon College campus at

Mr. Fairclough:   My question is to the Minister of Education. Yesterday the minister said that it was a matter of opinion which communities chose to have the community campus attached to the school. The facts are clear. It is not a matter of opinion that the policy has been to ask communities this question. Three communities said yes, three communities said no.

Maybe the minister ought to take a little trip to the communities and take a look for himself. Now that he has been updated with the facts, will he leave the decision of where the campus is located up to the community of Carmacks, as has been the policy in the past? Will he do that?

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Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   I believe this issue has been answered on several occasions in the House since opening, and again today I will confirm that this is a very-much needed infrastructure in the community. Every citizen in Carmacks will benefit greatly from it. Every community I have spoken to that does have this same arrangement thoroughly appreciates it. I believe that itís a very positive move. Weíre talking about the morale of students. Weíre talking about the safety of students. Weíre talking about the morale of teachers and educators. I think that this is a very positive initiative, and I think itís one that Carmacks will benefit greatly from.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, by not answering the question heís obviously saying that the policies have changed. No more do communities have the right to decide on their own. This minister will tell them whatís best for them, and thatís not what the communities want at all. Things are going well in the community of Carmacks with the campus in its location. The fact is that the Little Salmon-Carmacks First Nation passed a resolution not to have the campus attached to the new school. The fact is that the advisory committee held a community open house on this matter, and the decision was the same. They gave that direction to the architect. The school council does not support the campus attached to the school. The minister says heís listening to the community. Despite all the advice that Carmacks residents have given to him and despite the fact that there was a march and a protest outside the House, is the ministerís decision final?

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Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   Again, I will state for the record that I have made several trips to Carmacks. There were a lot of mixed messages coming out. For example, members of the school council would make comments like, ďThis was the best idea, the most logical, but Iíll have to think about it.Ē

So, Mr. Speaker, this was not a case of a slam-dunk decision. There was a lot of consultation on this issue, and I believe that it is the responsibility of this government to build infrastructure in the community, and this government takes that very seriously. We intend to comply with that and build infrastructure in Carmacks.

I believe there is so much benefit to this infrastructure that I canít understand why there is so much resistance to it. For example, I know there is not an abundance of employment in Carmacks. This initiative is great for providing employment to citizens in Carmacks. Again, itís nothing but positive. It just maybe takes the member opposite to make it negative.

Mr. Fairclough:   What a poor answer. What the minister needs to do is go to the community and get his facts straightened out. Listen to the people. They protested outside of this House. They didnít like the ministerís decision. He said there was little resistance to his planning. By not answering the last question, I believe the ministerís decision is final. I wonder why the Premier is going to the community of Carmacks on Friday if this minister is not going to move.

The Premier has to bail him out; thatís what it is. The planning committee in Carmacks is left in the cold. They havenít received any formal direction from this government on their official duties. The window of opportunity for construction next summer is closing fast and the minister is to blame.

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Is the minister planning to disband the joint planning advisory committee? Can he tell us that?

Hon. Mr. Edzerza:   Mr. Speaker, the member opposite just stated that Iím to blame. I think maybe at this point it might be appropriate to say that maybe the member opposite needs only to look in the mirror to find out where a lot of this dissension is coming from. This government, again I will state for the record, has a job to do, and that is to build infrastructure for public use. The school and the College both happen to fit that criterion. Part of my job is to be able to make the tough decisions that come my way, and I believe Iím capable of doing that. I believe I did that.

 

Speaker:   The time for Question Period has now elapsed.

Notice of government private membersí business

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 14.2(7), I would like to identify the items standing in the name of the government private members to be called on Wednesday, October 27, 2004. They are Motion No. 332, standing in the name of the Member for Pelly-Nisutlin, and Motion No. 328, standing in the name of the Member for Lake Laberge.

INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS

Mr. Fairclough:   Iíd just like all the members in the House to join me in welcoming Robert Hager and his wife, Christine, from Mayo. Robert is a councillor for Na Cho Nyšk Dun. Please help me welcome them.

Applause

 

Speaker:  We will now proceed to Orders of the Day.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Government Bills

Bill No. 51: Second Reading

Clerk:   Second reading, Bill No. 51, standing in the name of Hon. Mr. Hart.

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   I move that Bill No. 51, entitled Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act, be now read a second time.

Speaker:   It has been moved by the hon. Minister of Highways and Public Works that Bill No. 51, entitled Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act, be now read a second time.

 

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Mr. Speaker and hon. Members of the Legislative Assembly, I am pleased to rise today to introduce amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act. The Yukon Motor Vehicles Act is a complex and comprehensive piece of legislation. Motor vehicles are integral to how Yukon society functions. Whether you are a driver or not, this law affects you.

The Motor Vehicles Act has been amended on a regular basis in response to societal changes. The act was amended last in 2000, prior to that in 1998, and it changed substantially in 1997. We share our roads and highways with our neighbours, friends and families, and it is our responsibility as legislators to ensure that the laws promote safety and fairness for all drivers. The bill before you today is a result of consultation with citizens of the Yukon. Citizens from around the territory were invited to give us input through a random telephone survey and newspaper survey. The amendments to be debated in this House deliver improvements to the Yukon impaired drivers and vehicle impoundment laws. The bill is about fairness and consistency. The impoundment provisions were first enacted in the current legislation in 1997. Over the last seven years it has become apparent that impoundment rules need to be tightened in certain situations and applied more consistently and fairly in others.

The amendments we are proposing on impoundment provisions in this bill propose that vehicle owners, both private and commercial, and persons who have special needs to use an impounded vehicle may request early release of their impounded vehicle. This provision currently exists for dependence on the vehicles only. This impoundment amendment means that private and commercial owners will be treated consistently and fairly.

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This bill further proposes that impoundment rules be stricter for individuals who operate a motor vehicle without a valid licence. Persons who drive a vehicle without a valid licence, or no licence, will now become liable to vehicle impoundment. The impoundment provisions proposed in this bill are also about making our highways safer and removing the risk of impaired drivers to others. We propose that drivers who refuse to take an alcohol breath test may find their vehicles subject to double the usual impoundment period. The Motor Vehicles Act states that all vehicles must be insured for third party liability; however, there are many vehicles on Yukon highways that are not legally insured. Lack of insurance places all Yukoners at greater risks. This bill proposes that proof of liability insurance be shown before a vehicle will be released from impoundment.

The proposed amendments will also clarify the circumstances around vehicles impounded in error. The amendments also bring Yukonís legislation into line with the Criminal Code of Canada and allow convicted impaired drivers to apply for the Yukonís ignition interlock program earlier than previously allowed. The ignition interlock system is successful in removing impaired drivers from Canadian roads. We believe that by matching the federal law and making a convicted impaired driver eligible for the program sooner, they will take this opportunity rather than drive illegally or under the influence of alcohol.

This amendment also delivers a number of other improvements, improvements that are important to all Yukoners. As in all other Canadian jurisdictions, to improve the safety of everyone who shares Yukon roads, drivers must safely secure any loads carried on their vehicles.

In an effort to make our streets safer and to deter dangerous police chases, we are also proposing that drivers who recklessly endanger the lives of others by driving to escape the police receive a licence disqualification upon conviction.

We are also proposing to correct several legal errors in the Motor Vehicles Act, such as the age to start operating a motorcycle and an error in licence disqualification periods.

We are also taking positive steps to make Yukon roads safer. We are updating and strengthening our laws and we are taking steps to make our legislation fairer to Yukon motorists.

Thank you.

 

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Mr. Fairclough:   Iíll be short in my comments to the amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act. There are all kinds of questions about this act that need to be answered by the minister. Iíd like to thank his department for providing the briefing on this bill a couple of hours ago. Itís too bad we didnít have more time, because there were certainly a lot of questions that needed to be asked about the act itself.

When it was first announced in the House, Mr. Speaker, Iím sure that most of us thought, ďtow truck, tow truck, tow truckĒ ó that this was what was pushing the amendments to this act. The government calls these ďhousekeeping amendmentsĒ, minor amendments. It does look like that when you first pick it up and read. Look at the first page of the document, ďelectric power-assisted cycleĒ ó we need to change some of these. These are housekeeping until you start flipping through the document, and it starts to talk about the hot issue that was debated in this House around the ministerís action of bailing a tow truck out of impoundment. Thatís where the push came for amendments to the act. Thatís the area on which we will be questioning the member opposite.

There are a number of questions we have in regard to some of the housekeeping amendments, as they call them. Maybe a lot of it is for clarification, because I think our cyclists on the roads need to know where they stand. They talk about ďelectric power-assistedĒ cycles and maybe taking them off the road and having them in bicycle lanes, for example.

We have some questions in this bill regarding snowmobiles and ATVs, particularly when, for example, four-wheelers are different from motorcycles, or snowmobiles being licensed, and so on, on our roads. Then we have to question what it means for communities that rely on this type of transportation, like Old Crow, for example. Many people use ATVs as a form of transportation to and from work.

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Not only that, but there are limitations. And I believe that has always been there. And Iím not sure if the members oppositeís consultation would take into consideration communities like Old Crow. Basically, you shouldnít be on a vehicle if youíre younger than 15 years of age, and that is a bit of a concern to us. Certainly we would like to know how government and this department is going to answer those questions for the people of Old Crow.

This is a very big act, by the way, and the minister did say itís a complex act. The amendments that we have before us show sections of the act that either will be changed or moved from one section to the other. It takes a lot just to follow that through the act. I believe there are probably over 1,000 pages to the act itself. So there are a lot of questions that need to be answered.

I understand the department coming forward and saying there are mistakes in the act. There are probably mistakes in every act that we have in government. This is what theyíre saying. We need to clean some of those up. And when you bring forward an act like this, we can do that and update them, too. It could be little things, like where there are words such as ďvehiclesĒ to change it to ďmotor vehiclesĒ ó that type of thing. That is housekeeping.

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Why did this act come forward to this House for amendments? Was it because of public pressure? Is it because of questions in this House? Is it because of actions on the governmentís side? Interference, some may say ó or was it all of the above?† I believe that it is all of the above, and some of them, I believe, are serious and need to be questioned a lot.

There is a difference between privately owned vehicles and commercial vehicles. We have questions on how the split is and how it is defined in the act the way it is ó also the ministerís responsibility in this whole matter. I was surprised that while the big issue was, letís not have a minister involved in this type of matter again ó and I agree with that and I think we all do. We should not see a minister put in the position, pressured by any business, to make that type of a decision.

I believe thatís why we have come to this point, although the act itself ó I have to flip through it to find exactly where it is. But there are places that still have the responsibility going back to the minister. For example ó I canít find it here, I have to try to remember ó itís like paying the fees for wrongful impoundment. I suppose somebody in government has to do it and it has to point back to the minister. So that, if there is ever a wrongful impoundment, the tow fees and the fees for storing the vehicles and so on, are paid by government through the minister, or a designate, I believe. Maybe those are some of the questions that need to be answered by the minister ó whether or not a designate would be able to do that type of work for the minister.

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The member talked about how this act was strengthening the rules against impaired drivers, and so on. We donít have a problem with that. We have questions about it and how, in fact, this could be carried out, and how it impacts on a vehicle that has been impounded. For example, double the time if a person does not want to give a breathalyzer test.

I did ask the officials about if this is the only impairment that we are talking about here ó impairment through alcohol. The answer was yes, there is no mechanism for government to identify impaired drivers on drugs, for example ó whether they were prescription drugs or illegal drugs.

They are relying on the federal government to come down with some guidelines and rules, I guess, on this matter. Hopefully we will see that as soon as possible, because I believe that, when people talk about impairment and impaired drivers, that is on their minds a lot ó why are we doing it for only one type of impairment and not the other?

Those are the types of questions we have. I have noted throughout the document what areas of this act are housekeeping and what is new. There is a lot of new wording that has been put into this. Of course, the whole section of impoundment and who, for example, is in charge of hearing the case of a person whether their vehicle was wrongfully impounded, whether itís a police officer, or whether or not the client or person goes through the courts to say their case was not heard properly or they felt that there was more to it than what was provided by the RCMP and try to get it overturned. I think thatís where the biggest changes were made: where and who does that? Itís through the courts now and not the minister; thatís how it was explained to us.

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Thatís the biggest section. I thought the opportunity might have come to government to look at this act a little more carefully for where they can make improvements, but the biggest section that was focused on was exactly that ó the wrongful impoundment.

We do have questions on this matter and I know itís going to go to Committee of the Whole. Some of my colleagues might want to comment on the Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act and I will certainly endorse that and will pass it over to the Liberal Party for their comments.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

Ms. Duncan:   I rise to address Bill No. 51, Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act, at second reading. I do agree with the minister that it is incumbent upon all of us in the Legislature to update legislation, to review the legislation thatís on the books and to regularly take a good, hard look at what is contained in the blue volumes at the Clerksí Table and in all our offices, and that we ask Yukoners to enforce.

I note the minister committed, for example, to redo or bring forward the necessary changes to the five pieces of legislation dealing with animals and animal control this session. We havenít seen them, and we are unlikely to see them because the minister and the Yukon Party government havenít done their homework.

I do not believe the government has done its homework on the issues contained in Bill No. 51.

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For example, the evidence that is presented in support of these changes is a survey. Thatís it, a survey of specific questions. The survey was conducted, I might add, at the start of one of the best summers, in many respects, that Yukoners have seen in some years, and we just received this information today. The survey asked very specific questions. It does not allow for the kind of fulsome debate and consultation that Yukoners are well used to. We saw, for example, when the changes were brought forward in 1997, there was a very fulsome debate about the graduated driverís licence program ó a very in-depth debate, discussion, consultation with Yukoners. These are significant changes in many respects presented before us. There has not been significant homework done on them.

We are required as legislators to ensure that the laws that we pass are enforceable. We canít put laws on the books if we canít enforce them and canít deal with them. We canít ask Yukoners to do the impossible. There are issues around enforcement among many provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act. For example, that graduated driverís licence program I mentioned a moment ago ó thatís one of the issues out there today among young people and their parents and the enforcement agencies. We canít pass these laws without also providing the resources and ensuring they are enforced. Thereís no point in having it on the books, Mr. Minister.

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I would advise the minister. And a very good example is contained in the act before us. The minister has put forward a move from the Highways Act to the Motor Vehicles Act with respect to securing a load in or attached to a vehicle. In other words, under these changes ó you had to under the Highways Act but now under the Motor Vehicles Act ó a Yukon driver is going to have to ensure that that load of stuff theyíre taking to the dump or wherever ó a landfill site ó is well secured. Itís a good idea, and we all like to see that happen. Weíve got the garbage pickup along the sides of the highways near communities that will attest to how important that is. Thereís no point in doing it if weíre not going to make sure itís enforced. And that means the resources and that also means, particularly around the City of Whitehorse, consultation with the City of Whitehorse bylaw enforcement, of which, I would add, in relation to doing your homework, there has been none. On these issues weíre working with people. Theoretically the government is supposed to be.

There are other burning issues with respect to the operation of motor vehicles, major issues that are the subject of discussion not only in the Yukon but elsewhere, and two immediately come to mind. One is whether or not there should be a restriction on cellphone use while driving. Some provinces have looked at it. Iíve heard this discussed by some Yukoners. Thatís an issue that would come up in a discussion of the Motor Vehicles Act. Itís an issue Yukoners are talking about. But this Legislative Assembly thatís in charge of making those laws isnít talking about something like that. Itís an important issue. Itís worthy of consideration.

And the minister has stood on his feet in this House and made tribute during Safe Driving Week and called all of our attention to the fact of the number of times we drive while distracted, and I will admit that I am guilty of that as well. Should we be looking at those sorts of restrictions in the Motor Vehicles Act if weíre bringing it forward? Absolutely.

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Also an issue throughout this country is how an individual experiencing ill health or simply the symptoms of age is told compassionately that theyíre no longer able to drive. Thatís a major issue. All of us as part of the sandwich generation ó those raising children and caring for elderly relatives ó in some form or another, have experienced, or have friends who have experienced, situations where an individual, either in the territory or outside the territory, has come to the place where theyíre no longer able to drive. How do we compassionately deal with that? How does the family compassionately say to the motor vehicles branch, ďWe donít think uncle so-and-so should be driving any more.Ē In some provinces, as I understand it, those who have suffered a stroke have restrictions placed on their licence.

Those are issues for members of my constituency; theyíre issues for all Yukoners. Theyíre important issues that relate to the Motor Vehicles Act, and this government, because they donít do their homework, arenít bringing forward those issues.

There is some straightforward housekeeping ó changing ďvehicleĒ to ďmotor vehicleĒ; however, there is also the very fundamental change that has been brought forward by the Yukon Party that is a step backward. Iím referencing, of course, the impoundment provisions.

The impoundment provisions around clarity to a private owner of a vehicle are one issue; it is the clarity around the issues of a commercial vehicle where the Yukon Party has taken the Yukon backward, and not only backward, but itís inconsistent with other pieces of Yukon legislation and legislation elsewhere.

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The Environment Act, the Liquor Act, the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, all hold an employer responsible for the actions of an employee. This impoundment provision that the minister has brought forward with respect to commercial vehicles takes public safety on one hand and commercial interests on the other and says that commercial interests win, at the expense of public safety. I believe thatís wrong ó absolutely wrong. Not only is it inconsistent with other Yukon legislation, itís fundamentally wrong. Public safety should absolutely be first and foremost.

There should be no doubt that while there are other amendments in this legislation, the key amendment is the one surrounding the release of an impoundment of a commercial vehicle ó the tow truck amendments. There was a serious error in judgement made a year ago and now this legislation is trying to clean this up. Itís a cover your act, if you will. I do not support those particular amendments. The amendments put dollars and cents ahead of public safety. Itís something I cannot support.

We are going to have a very full and thorough debate. Iím sure, on many aspects of this legislation. There is a lot that could have and should have been addressed. There is homework, and the hard work of government that should be done by the Yukon Party hasnít been done.

The fact that this legislation is coming forward as opposed to other pieces of legislation that are very important to Yukoners and the fact that it is such a legislatively light agenda speak volumes to the public about how the Yukon Party governs.

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As I said, Mr. Speaker, I donít believe that the government has done its homework on these issues. I donít believe that they have done the hard work of government. It will be, as I said, a full and thorough debate, and it will extend, because if these amendments pass, then the government can expect some very tough questions as to when and how they are going to provide additional resources to ensure that these provisions are enforced. We will be asking if they are prepared to put their money ó and Yukon taxpayersí money as required ó into doing some of this enforcement.†

As I said, I am sure that there are others who wish to enter into this debate. I do not support the amendments that have been brought forward, and I look forward to the ministerís defence of them, because I am quite interested to hear how he justifies the inconsistencies in the Yukon legislation he is putting forward.

 

Mr. Hardy: † Well, my colleagues and the leader of the third party have brought forward some very interesting comments. I think that what they point to, once again, is the government of the day, the Yukon Party government, is not doing its homework, not doing the necessary work, not doing the proper consultation, not looking at all aspects of our society and how their changes that they make to something like the Motor Vehicles Act ó what kind of impact they will have and what kind of message they send out, especially around safety, and around accountability. Accountability is a big factor in this matter, because when I look at the impoundment changes that they are proposing, I donít see any accountability.

The member from the third party has already mentioned the other acts that have that onus of responsibility being transferred to the owner or the business, thatís not part of this. I donít understand why; I donít know why this has to be different ó the fact that this legislation is coming forward, as opposed to other pieces of legislation that are very important to Yukoners.

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I donít understand it. I donít know who got to this minister or this government to ensure that they can basically run a loose ship and not be accountable. And you donít have to look very far to see what the results are when you allow that kind of thing to happen under your acts. Thatís what this is and I canít agree to it. I canít believe that this is the kind of response that has come forward from the fiasco that we witnessed last year when the former Justice minister intervened to allow a commercial company to walk away from their responsibilities on a very serious charge ó something that any individual out there would have been nailed to the wall on. This is the response we got.

I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that the people of this territory are not going to find this satisfactory. Because of that, we will argue, we will try to bring some light to the subject and hopefully the minister will be open to the proposals we bring forward and the changes and the concerns we mention about the amendments theyíre doing. But it also raises a lot of other questions. What have they been doing for the last eight months, 10 months, 12 months? Here we are in the fall sitting where we expect substantive legislation brought forward, and what have we been given? Shame on this government. Shame on them collecting their paycheques if this is the best they can do. This is an embarrassment.

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

Mr. Hardy:   Yes, the Member for Klondike is saying that we get paid the same amount. Well, that Member for Klondike ó we do not have to bring it up again in this House, but who pays their bills and who doesnít?

This is the same kind of attitude that bothers me about this government. Changes are brought forward that have no substance. If anything, theyíre tilted in a direction that does not address the problem.

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They cause more problems. That is a serious outcome ó if we have people right now, in government, making these kinds of decisions and recommendations that ultimately have the potential of causing a greater problem.

Now, I know there was a survey done. And the critic for this area, the Member for Mayo-Tatchun, had mentioned that we got this survey on the very same day that we are debating these amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act. Now, thatís not the way good government happens. Thatís not the way you ensure good debate happens in the Legislature, Mr. Speaker. You try to ensure that every person in here, every member who is representing a riding, has the information to come forward and have a good debate so we can make suggestions and try to improve this. Thatís not happening here, because we just received this ó I just received this ó and you have to page through it.

But itís interesting what jumps out. Looking at one page, ďRelease IssuesĒ, the owner of a commercial vehicle should be able to apply if not in the vehicle and for reasons he could not control ó should be able to apply for the release of the impounded vehicle. ďAnd for reasons he could not controlĒ ó what does that mean, Mr. Speaker? Where is the explanation behind this? What would a question like that ó how was the question crafted so that you would get a response like that, ďfor reasons he could not control.Ē So how does that work?

So what do we end up with, Mr. Speaker? We end up with changes in section 10(1), followed by a few more. But basically itís saying that ďIf the owner was not the driver of, or a passenger in, the motor vehicle when it was impounded, the review officer may revoke the impoundment if satisfied on the balance of probabilities that because of inadequate alternative transportation (a) the owner or a person in their care will suffer any loss or unfair curtailment of employment or educational opportunities; or (b) the health or safety of the owner or person in their care will be jeopardised if the vehicle is not released from impoundment.Ē

Those are the factors. Following on, again, ďÖ the business in which the vehicle is used will suffer economic hardship that threatens the survival of the business if the vehicle is not released from impoundmentÖ.Ē

Now, that was an argument we heard last year.

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That was never proven. As a matter of fact, I could quite easily prove otherwise, that that was not a legitimate argument. The second part, (b), ďan employee or customer of the business in which the vehicle is used will suffer the loss of income or service or commodity that is a necessity if the vehicle is not released from impoundmentĒ ó we debated this quite a bit last year and these changes donít address it. If anything, they allow a double standard where a person may be responsible for whoís driving their vehicle, may be violating the Motor Vehicles Act, may have that vehicle impounded but not have to face any responsibility. Thatís what this is saying. Thatís what has been brought forward.

Is that good law? Is that fair law? Is that equal law applied to all people? Is that natural justice? I donít think so at all. Thatís just an example of the problems with this.

Weíve already talked about the fact that this government hasnít been doing the work, and there are so many other issues, as well, not just the little bit theyíve brought forward. Very legitimately, there are the cellphone issues that are out there. Study after study has proven that thereís a serious problem with the usage of cellphones when driving. Accidents increase.

There are other jurisdictions that have taken action to ban the use of cellphones while driving. Thereís a reason why that has happened. Is that being addressed in here? Why not? What kind of work has been done? Why has that not been addressed?

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There are issues around graduated licensing that can be improved. Has the minister directed his department to look at a broader picture, to bring forward amendments and changes? Was that part of the discussion? How about off-road usage and on-road usage of vehicle classifications? Insurance costs?

Insurance cost is an interesting one. Every time you say, or you make a condition, that you have to prove insurance here or do insurance there, you are adding a cost to the peopleís ability to drive a vehicle. Have there been corresponding discussions with the minister whom the insurance would fall under on how we can address some of the insurance costs in this territory and the difficulties around that for young people, seniors, older people, house insurance, car insurance ó is the work happening? Is there any communication over there on all this stuff? Vehicle costs: the Motor Vehicles Act does connect to insurance. Is that correspondence happening? I donít see it. I donít see any of it.

How about rates for impoundment? Every time you increase the impoundment you increase the cost, of course. Maybe itís right, maybe itís wrong, but are there rates for the impoundment? Are there enough businesses out there to impound the vehicle? Where does the vehicle get impounded? What are the rules with the RCMP around impoundment? Are there problems there? Iím hearing a lot of problems.

Are there standardized rates to ensure that the costs do not go so extreme that it is impossible for a person to regain the ownership of their vehicle because of that, because of those restrictions? Has there been any look at that?

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How about the proper protocol in the information given to those who have had their vehicles impounded? Are we increasing the infraction cost to such a point that we are denying people the ability to get their vehicle out because they canít afford it immediately? A lot of people in this territory do not have a lot of money. Theyíre getting by. Have we considered their needs as well when we look at these acts?

Itís interesting that Iíve been fielding a lot of phone calls in the last few weeks around tow trucks and impoundment costs, around why a vehicle is impounded and the towing cost itself. Has there been a review about the costs? Does this government have a responsibility in its relationship with the RCMP and the RCMPís relationship with the tow truck companies that are also connected to the Motor Vehicles Act? Does it have a responsibility there? I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that there are some serious problems.

How about the licensing of businesses and listing those businesses? Are they legitimate? Iím talking specifically about ó Iím getting back to the Motor Vehicles Act review and the tow trucks. I can point to one business in town that has five names listed ó different names. And then there are two others. So when the RCMP calls for a tow truck to come and pick up a vehicle, they do it on a rotational basis. Well, guess what. One company gets five calls and then finally it hits another one, somebody who isnít part of that one company. Is that fair? Is that right? Is that a problem? Yes, it is. Itís a problem for the other businesses trying to make a living.

How about the rates during the day and at night when you have a call-out? Are we getting fair value? Is it fair? Is there agreement? There are a lot of issues here.

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Three weeks ago I dealt with a call in which a vehicle was towed to the RCMP compound for investigation. That vehicle was then towed to the tow truck compound by the same company. That young man was told it was going to cost $1,200. Why pays that? Is that fair? It was probably not a distance of more than 15 or 20 miles ó two tows. There might have been a couple of other tows in there. Weíll be generous: four tows done in one night, $1,200.

Those are serious problems. This government should be hearing this. They should be addressing these concerns. People want to make a living; all businesses want to make a living. They also want to be treated fairly. All people want to make a living; they want to be treated fairly. Some of these changes here do not address those concerns.

So, Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of issues. There are a lot of issues that arenít addressed, and thatís the sad part. This survey we just received, although itís always good to have a survey, I donít think it was broad enough, and I would love to read the questions and how they were put to ensure they werenít skewed to give the government the direction it wanted.

I would like to know the process that was used, how this survey was developed, was the government involved in drafting the questions, was there feedback on ensuring the questions were fair and presented in a manner that would ensure a neutral answer or an answer that doesnít direct the person answering in a certain direction? There are lots of questions, and I would really have loved to have had this survey a bit earlier. I request that, in the future, maybe the Yukon Party government could ensure we get the information sooner than what has been in the past so we can participate in an informed debate and assist this government in their deliberations on bills and acts they bring forward.

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Speaker:   If the member now speaks, he will close debate. Does any other member wish to be heard?

 

Hon. Mr. Hart:   I thank the members opposite for their comments with regard to the amendments to the act. I will state that currently the regulatory review committee is reviewing the graduated licence process, and weíve had a few concerns about that particular aspect, and we are checking into that through that particular committee.

However, we will look forward to responding and debating as the members opposite have indicated in some of these sessions over issues that we are looking at. I anticipate that we were looking at making adjustments to that act. We obviously were not in a position to cover a broad spectrum, as the members maybe have indicated. To give them the appropriate consultation would have taken considerably more time.

I look forward to debate.

Motion for second reading of Bill No. 51 agreed to

 

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

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

Motion agreed to

 

Speaker leaves the Chair

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

Chair:   I now call Committee of the Whole to order.

Is it the wish of members to take a brief recess?

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Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Chair:   We will take a 15-minute recess.

 

Recess

 

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Bill No. 51 ó Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act

Chair:   Committee of the Whole will now come to order.

The matter before the Committee is Bill No. 51, Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act, in general debate.

Does any member wish to participate in general debate or shall we go line by line?

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, I think itís the Yukon Partyís dream just to have this go through as quickly as possible, but thatís not going to happen.

We do have questions with this legislation. I know that the member opposite anticipates a lot of questions, and we will be asking them. A number of my colleagues are going to ask questions in regard to this. I thought, perhaps, maybe the minister might have had some opening statements, but I see that he would like to get right into answering questions.

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It has been said in this House that we know what the driving force is behind bringing in the amendments to the act. We know that this could have been taken further. There are lots of questions with regard to the major amendments to this act, and weíre hoping to get some answers from them. During the briefing, we just received the survey that took place, which I believe guided the amendments to this act ó or a lot of them anyway. I guess we have to go through it carefully to see exactly where the changes were made.

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I guess the first question I have with the survey is: how did the government come up with these questions? How did the department come up with these questions? Some of them donít seem to suggest any alternatives; thereís just one ó ďWhat do you think of it?Ē ďDo you support it?Ē ó a strong percentage of yes, or whatever.

How did the department come up with these questions? Was it through partnership with other organizations? I know that some people have made comments on the changes to the Motor Vehicles Act, like MADD, for example. But the questions that have been put forward by the department on the survey ó who worked on them and how long did it take to come up with these questions?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   For the member opposite, last year an advisory group was struck and key community representatives were selected to provide suggested changes to the act. Considerable thought went through the suggestions, and they also came up with possible suggestions. We were looking at trying to bring something in early last year. They felt they needed further consultation and wanted some more public input. Their input into the process provided the basis for the questions that were drafted by the DataPath crew.

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Mr. Fairclough:   As the member said, it is a compilation of the departmentís thoughts on this matter and the advisory group, or is it the advisory group itself? I just want to know if the questions that have been asked in the survey are reflected in the amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act ó so if the department had more input than the advisory group that was struck.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   DataPath had prepared all of the licensing. They have the expertise. They have a good track record to ensure that we get a good cross-section of all Yukonersí viewpoints and questions.

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They will guarantee that the 400 respondents we got in the survey represent the demographics of the Yukon in terms of age, gender, Whitehorse and community representation. The issue is that we provided this information; the advisory group provided the basis of what questions should be put forth and DataPath put them in a form that they could put in a survey and get a response back from them.

Mr. Fairclough:   Can the minister tell us why it was struck that way?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   The advisory group consists of the transportation board, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, local and national, and the Teamsters Union.

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Mr. Fairclough:   I know that the communities, for example, had all kinds of questions on this matter and with motor vehicles, especially when it comes to impairment, community healing, alcohol and drugs and so on.

Does the minister feel that their issues were adequately addressed through the questions in the survey?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   The questions identified in the DataPath survey were to basically relate to those brought forth by the advisory committee, not to go out to a wide variance of that process.

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Mr. Fairclough:  Is that normal practice or is this a change in policy and direction in how we gather information?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   This is specific for the changes that were being looked at as far as the regulations go and they were specified in a manner to address the issues at hand.

Mr. Fairclough:   Did it follow past practice, past policy in which we gather that information? Thatís the question I asked.

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   Yes, previously in the past ó in 1995-96 ó this situation was followed, and we asked them for specific answers for specific questions.

Mr. Fairclough:   This government said they are working to improve relationships between First Nations, government to government. How was this matter dealt with ó the amendments and the survey, and the amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   In addition to the phone calls to the public from the DataPath surveyors, letters were sent directly to Yukon First Nations and Yukon communities to invite them to participate in the survey.

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Mr. Fairclough:   And that is just to participate in the survey, or actually putting together the questions for the survey? Which is it?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   It is for the participation in the survey.

Mr. Fairclough:   Was it not the desire of the department to include First Nations in the territory to be part of putting together the questions in the survey? If not, why not?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   They felt that the representation provided in our survey would cover a wide range of Yukoners, and we feel that it was adequately covered in the survey to address the situation of all Yukoners.

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Mr. Fairclough:   Is that the reason for not including First Nation participation in drafting questions for the survey?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   It was also in lieu of getting out a consultation and getting the results back in sufficient time for us to evaluate the information and prep the information for this fall session.

Mr. Fairclough:   That changes a lot. Then is the minister saying this was more of a controlled amendment to the act where other issues were not looked at and intentionally not looked at?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   No issues were intentionally not looked at. We were looking at a specific number of changes as indicated by the advisory board, and we were trying to keep them at a manageable level and to get there. I would also like to advise the member opposite that 14 percent of our process in the evaluation of our survey included First Nations.

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Mr. Fairclough:   But for the questioning, they were not. This survey was done, completed and presented to government on June 16, with an update on July 5. How long was the consultation for amendments to this act?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   They were out for somewhere in the area of six to eight weeks.

Mr. Fairclough:   Were other major issues presented to government by First Nations and by the general public that were not included in the survey and were not included as part of the amendments to the act?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   For the member opposite, we had a section on the survey that provided for people to make alternative comments with regard to the survey. We received very little uptake on it, and those we did weíre taking under advisement for when future amendments come through.

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Mr. Fairclough:   The areas in which comments were made were not reflected at all in the amendments to the act. They werenít reflected in the survey questions, they werenít reflected in the amendments. Is that what the minister is saying?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   We had indicated earlier that we received very few comments in the section of ďothersĒ and those that we did we are taking under advisement for possible changes in future legislation. The number that we received ó for example, we didnít exactly receive 10 comments on the same issue. They were varying comments and they were very limited in number.

Mr. Fairclough:   So there are 10 comments in the category as ďothers.Ē Is that 10 comments on the same issue or are there more? I am wondering if these are major concerns that people had that werenít being dealt with.

I know, for example, that the First Nations have issues with the Motor Vehicles Act and they havenít been brought forward.

I wondering if, first of all, the minister can answer that question and then Iíll continue with that.

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   Just to help rephrase this, I indicated that we didnít bring forth any issues that were indicated as ďothersĒ because we didnít receive a large number on the same issue. I used the example of 10 on one particular issue. I donít exactly have the numbers, but I do know that there was a very small number that were indicated as ďothersĒ, and they were sporadic.

Mr. Fairclough:   Six to eight weeks ó thatís the normal time for major amendments to acts like this. Obviously the public was basically anticipating amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act. I thought there would be more than what was provided here. Why didnít the department make recommendations to, say, the advisory committee on areas to look at, and perhaps have it reflected in the survey that was done? Why didnít the department do that?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   The issue is that we did provide an aspect of an issue for the advisory committee to look at. One of the issues was the interlocking system and we asked them to give us a list of ideas on how we can improve that system and how we can improve the impoundment issue. We didnít specify anything in particular. We just asked them to look at ways and issues of dealing with that particular one from our view. And other questions were brought up from the advisory committee, which we went to question with DataPath.

Mr. Fairclough:   So basically those were the two issues that the minister had, the department had ó or how did the direction go from the minister to the department to the advisory group that was struck? Did the minister give any direction? Obviously he wanted to make some amendments to the act. The two that he mentioned were ones that were big issues in this Legislature ó impoundment, and the interlocking system, I know, has been an issue for awhile. Why those two and not others? What others has the minister discussed with the department?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   We were looking specifically at points being addressed at that time. As the member has indicated in the House, there was a strong issue. We were looking at trying to improve those particular parts of the act, and we are looking at it.

As I mentioned in my preamble, the act is very complex, very long, and it has been amended many times. Weíre not in a position to review the act from scratch, because the consultation period for that would be extensive.

The member from the third party indicated that the graduated driverís licence went through a lot of consultation, and even though it went through consultation, weíre still having some difficulties in it. I will state that we are in an effort to try to improve the act where we can. Weíve asked the advisory committee to assist us in making those improvements and get it to a state where everything is reasonably clarified and we can go forward.

Mr. Fairclough:   As the minister has just stated, they didnít want to do the hard work that was tasked to them as they became ministers. We think that more could have been done. Was the minister surprised at all by the results of the survey?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   Was I surprised at the survey results? Iím not quite sure what the member opposite is looking for in response. I would state that, in looking at the response on one particular issue, I thought the results were maybe a bit lower than I had anticipated, thatís for sure. But in general it looks to me as if the results were very consistent throughout on the recommendations made.

Mr. Fairclough:   Was the minister at all aware of how the advisory committee came up with some of these questions? What did they use for background material and rationale for them? Was it just a group discussion or did they do some homework by looking at other jurisdictions, for example, when it came to penalties and so on?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   We did provide the advisory committee with lots of background information from other jurisdictions, legislation and other aspects they requested to allow them to make their assessment on trying to make the improvements on the act.

Mr. Fairclough:   Some of the questions asked ó for example, whether people disagreed or agreed with having the penalty double if a driver refuses to take a breathalyzer test. Was that taken right out of another jurisdiction? How did they come up with that? Why wasnít triple, or a length of time other than saying it was double, put in place or given? Why wasnít the option given in the survey?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   The main reason for the doubling up is that it just fits with the other aspects of our legislation that weíre dealing with. We have a double process right now, i.e. the impoundment issues if you double the impairment value. And basically itís to detract people from driving while overly intoxicated.

Mr. Fairclough:   So there is no real backgrounder or rationale as to whether or not this will work better or deter drivers from driving impaired? There is no background to it at all, no rationale about doubling up? Iím just wondering why we use it as a doubling or why weíre not using a specific period of time, by saying, ďItís a two-year penalty.Ē Iím just wondering how we end up with that, how we can explain it clearly, I guess, to the public who may be interested in this change?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Weíre looking at providing, as I mentioned earlier, a double process. If you have the double BAC as it is right now, and he refused to take the test, which many people will do because they know they are going to be double the process, which will in effect double the impoundment of their vehicle. So that, as I mentioned earlier, is to follow along with the current legislation that we have as well as dealing with our process of following along in the legislation and keeping things even.

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Mr. Fairclough:   And thatís penalizing the private owner of a vehicle more than it is a commercial owner ó is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Itís anyone who refuses.

Mr. Fairclough:   I didnít quite hear that. I thought the minister said it was anyone. Itís both? That wasnít explained, or maybe I didnít hear that from his staffers during the briefing. But the minister says itís with both? I know weíre going to go through that in detail later.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Mr. Chair, itís any driver.

Mr. Fairclough:   Okay. Well, I donít understand it completely. I guess I have to go to that section once we get to it, because it doesnít quite make sense because there is a bit of a difference between ó I guess the minister must be referring to the owner of the vehicle, whether theyíre business or private. So I think thatís what he said.

In regard to impoundment ó weíre going to go into detail on that, but in regard to the other amendments, were these the more pressing housekeeping issues that have been with the department for awhile? How did the minister direct his department to ensure that these were part of the amendments ó for example, definitions and so on of, say, the electric power-assisted cycle? Is this just to keep up with other jurisdictions? How long has this been on the books for amendments, if these are housekeeping?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   These are housekeeping measures that have arisen since 2000.

Mr. Fairclough:   Does the minister feel theyíve gone all the way in these amendments on housekeeping stuff regarding mopeds and the electric power-assisted cycles and so on? Iím just wondering, if they were going to address that issue, why not address others? Itís talking about three-wheelers ó I donít know why theyíre mentioned and not four or five, or whatever type of motor transportation thatís being developed now. Why are we only looking at that and not powered wheelchairs and so on?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Wheelchairs arenít motor vehicles.

But we were trying to address things as the issues came up. Weíve looked at specific things to basically assist in the operation of ensuring safety for all Yukoners on our highways. As issues arise and things come up, weíll look at them where they are. These issues of the electric cycle, mopeds and all that have come to light and we are trying to address them.

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Mr. Fairclough:   Weíve seen the modes of transportation on our roads here in Whitehorse. Iím just wondering how come we didnít go all the way, and maybe Iím missing it. For example, the electric power-assisted cycle. What is that? Is it battery operated? Is it gas powered? What is really meant by that?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Itís a small electric motor that moves the cycle along, and it has a maximum voltage that it can kick out.

Mr. Fairclough:   In Whitehorse here weíve seen people using a gas-powered one on their bicycle. Was it not considered in these amendments to include that?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   I only refer to electric. Iím not aware of the gas one heís talking about.

Mr. Fairclough:   Well, is his department aware of them? Theyíre on the streets in Whitehorse.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Weíll have to get back to the member opposite on that issue.

Mr. Fairclough:   Is this then common in other jurisdictions? Obviously weíre following other places that have maybe a little more use of bicycles and electric power-assisted cycles. Why did we not include that? Weíve seen them all around the city. There are different types, and so on. Does it fall under a different category? Why not include that? Iím just wondering. The department just canít overlook something like that. Itís got to be included, or was it deliberately left out for some other reason?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   As I mentioned previously to the member opposite, Iíll get back to him on it.

Mr. Fairclough:  † Would the minister commit to getting back to me on this tomorrow? Weíre in Committee of the Whole. Weíd like to debate this thoroughly, and if there are any changes weíd like to propose them. Is that enough time for the minister to get back to me ó as early as possible? Tomorrow would be almost too late if we go through this bill today.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   I will endeavour to get the information for the member opposite as soon as possible.

Mr. Fairclough:   I hope that it is in some detail on that matter.

People are very interested in that, especially with rising gas prices and so on, and other means of transportation.

In particular, it wasnít part of the survey. The department looked at this and came up with some guidelines in making this part of the act. What guided the department into putting some parameters around this? For example, having these electric motors at no more than 500 watts, and that type of thing ó what guided that? Is it a standard or a motor size that companies have been putting out? There must be reasons for saying, not 1,000 but itís 500.

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   These are federal government regulations, and they regulate what the definition of what the process is for these bicycles.

Mr. Fairclough:   Theyíre federal government regulations. So were these taken directly out of some regulations and developed by the federal government? I donít know why, but there are some of them that are weird. They spell out exactly what kind of a vehicle this is. If you pedal, the motor shuts off, and that type of thing. Itís the same with braking. I donít know if itís for safety reasons or you want to limit the amount of speed that could be produced by these, but why have those parameters in there, other than for safety, for example, when youíre braking? There must be more to that.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Safety is the big issue. It is also, as I have mentioned, regulated through the federal government on what these types of vehicle are and how they operate.

Mr. Fairclough:   Have any of these issues or part of the federal regulations been looked at carefully by the department? Iím just wondering why some of the numbers are there. Like, why a maximum of 32 kilometres and not 40 or 50 or 25? Why have the magic number of 32?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   The 32-kilometre rating for this particular cycle is taken right from Transport Canadaís motor vehicle safety regulation definitions.

Mr. Fairclough:   Maybe the minister has all that information in front of him and could tell us why it was that number and not any other. Why wasnít it 50, for example? I know that weíre doing is taking these electric power-assisted cycles off the road and into bike lanes. Is it strictly to keep the speed down?

Hon. Mr. Hart:  † The main reason is that weíre treating them like bicycles. Thatís why theyíre in that lane. And it is for safety reasons.

Mr. Fairclough:   Okay, well, the minister is not answering the question. Can he send us over the federal regulations and how they came up with that number? Because weíre interested. Obviously if thereís a lot of interest in this and people are actually driving these electric power-assisted cycles, then theyíre in the same lane as anybody who is riding a bicycle and they could be in the same lane as those using gas power. There are no regulations, thereís no change to the Motor Vehicles Act, so it doesnít limit anyone from a gas-powered bicycle, or whatever you want to call it, from riding in the bicycle lane. Is that how it is now with the changes to the act?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   They are not considered a motor vehicle under the Motor Vehicles Act; they are considered a bike. As I mentioned earlier, that is why they are in that particular lane.

For the member opposite, we would be more than happy to send over the regulations if he wishes.

Ms. Duncan:   I would just like to enter into the debate for a time here. I am certain that there will be other questions.

I would like to thank the officials for the briefing we received this morning. It was very helpful. To start, I would like to follow up with a couple of questions around the advisory committee that the minister mentioned. The advisory committee assisted in reviewing the changes; letís start there perhaps. Exactly what was the role and what did the advisory committee do?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   The role of the advisory committee was to look at the two main issues: impoundment and the interlock system for that process. Those were the two major aspects they were asked to look at.

Ms. Duncan:   So the minister summoned an advisory committee to examine the issues around impoundment and interlock, and the advisory committee ó if I heard the previously questions correctly ó included the transportation board, a local and national representative of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and the Teamsters. There was no representative from the enforcement agency, and there were no representatives from the Department of Justice. Is that correct?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   The enforcement aspect was dealt with through MADD, through their enforcement people in their consultation in dealing with that particular venue. And also the council did review it with some of the reviewing officers and got their input on the process.

Ms. Duncan:   There was not a single member of the RCMP, who does the enforcement in my read of the act as it exists today ó not one member had a look at this or had input into it, who is called upon daily to enforce it, no representative of the RCMP and not one legal mind on the committee. A trained lawyer ó not one?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   We did have ongoing advice from the RCMP outside of the counsel and we also had ongoing advice outside the counsel from Justice on this issue.

Ms. Duncan:   So there was advice after the fact, but the key advisory committee that looked at these issues for the minister did not include representatives who draft the legislation for us to look at, nor individuals who are called upon to enforce it. Their opinion was sought afterwards but not in the advisory committee process. That doesnít sound like a very thorough job on the homework in this particular instance. It isnít a thorough job on the homework.

Perhaps the minister could advise: why these two issues ó why just the impoundment and the enforcement? Perhaps while he thinks about his response ó Iíll let him address that question first. Why was it just these two issues?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   We asked them to address those two specific issues. We required some improvement to the act and that has been demonstrated during that period of time.

Ms. Duncan:   With all due respect to the minister, he didnít say why these two issues. There are many, many areas in this act that required improvement. Itís incumbent upon us, as I said in second reading, to take a thorough look at all our legislation. These arenít the only areas in the Motor Vehicles Act that required attention, so why were these two selected?

Hon. Mr. Hart:  † For the member opposite, as I mentioned earlier, this is a fairly complex act. We are looking at taking amendments that we had for housekeeping as well as issuing with the advisory committee, dealing with two important issues at the time. These are the areas they felt should be looked at in conjunction with those, and weíre following through on that process.

Ms. Duncan:   I donít have Hansard in front of me; it wonít be available until later today. Would the minister state again, for the record, who designed and how the survey questions were determined?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   The questions were designed by DataPath based on the suggestions brought forth by the advisory council.

Ms. Duncan:   So the advisory committee made some suggestions and DataPath then conducted the survey. I would just like to refresh the ministerís memory for a moment. Perhaps he hasnít had it available to him. Iíd like to quote to him from Hansard: ďWell, what gave rise to the question even being posed in this questionnaire? There had to be an event or series of events that occurred that gave rise to that question even appearing in that survey that was conducted throughout the Yukon. There has to be something that drives these initiatives, Mr. Chair. That is what Iím getting at. For the question even to be on the questionnaire, something has to have driven it. What is the issue or series of issues that drove that initiative?Ē ó the Member for Klondike in reference to a survey conducted about the Motor Vehicles Act. Would the minister stand on his feet and state specifically why these questions were asked? Is it a result of his predecessorís, the former Minister of Justiceís, actions with regard to the impoundment of the tow truck?

Hon. Mr. Hart:  We asked the advisory committee to look at ways of improving the impoundment and the interlock system, and they did so on our behalf.

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Ms. Duncan:   The reason the minister asked for them to look at impoundment provisions was because of the actions of the former Minister of Justice, and the reason for the interlock is because of an ongoing court challenge. Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   At that time the court challenge hadnít come up. There was a gap in dealing with the issue at that particular time, and this was obviously one of the ways we were looking at trying to close that gap.

Ms. Duncan:   Can the minister explain how there were 10 previous cases on the impoundment of a vehicle, and the way that section of the act was worded worked for nine of them, but it didnít work when the Yukon Party came to power? Can he explain why that happened?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   There were well over 1,000 impoundments done. This was the first time that someone used this part of the act.

Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, unfortunately that directly contradicts what we were advised during the briefing. In the briefing we were advised that there were 1,000 impoundments but that 10 cases had been brought to the ministerís attention or had gone up for review. Nine of them the minister upheld, and the one case happened after the Yukon Party came to power. So the section of the law ó the way it was written and hotly debated in this Legislature, and weíll be getting to that ó worked for nine out of 10 cases. What went wrong with the tenth?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   Capital Towing was the first one to utilize that section of the act. There have been nine since that period of time.

Ms. Duncan:   So the minister is contradicting what we heard in information in the briefing. My understanding was that these cases had come up before ó that previous ministers of Justice had had this issue raised to them since it was brought to them. Thatís my understanding. Now, is the minister saying that it had never been brought to a minister before this ó that the justice of the peace and judges had been able to deal with it, that it had never come to a minister before?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   I will restate it for the member opposite: Capital Towing was the first one to enact this particular one under the process and there have been nine since that time, to equal the 10 that the member opposite was advised of in the briefing this morning.

Ms. Duncan:   As I understand it, this change came in 2000 ó the impoundment provisions ó and they were debated at length in the Legislature. The impoundment provisions, as they were written and as the law stood, worked fine ó they worked ó until one case happened. There was no other situation where there was a problem where it had to go to the minister. Thatís what the minister is saying. It worked fine until this one particular case, which occurred in 2003. Is that correct?

So the law worked really well for three years, until the summer of 2003. There were no cases; nobody else tried this.

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   As I mentioned, Capital Towing was the first to bring up this section of the act, 243, previous to 2000. It has been there ever since. Nobody brought up until that particular time.

Ms. Duncan:   So the section of the act, 243, worked until the summer of 2003. Thatís what the minister just said.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   It was actually there since April 1999 and was never used until Capital Towing used it.

Ms. Duncan:   So it worked for four years. Of the 10 cases ó the one that caused the amendment, which the minister has brought forward, was that the only commercial vehicle?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Of the 10, there were other commercial vehicles. Weíre unsure of just how many.

Ms. Duncan:   I donít want to wander into an area of questioning that is not public information ó and during the briefing we asked for this information. Can the minister advise us, are those 10 cases ó the law and the section and so on ó all public information or is it a matter of ministerial confidentiality?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   We believe that that information would be protected. These names wouldnít be released.

Ms. Duncan:   I wasnít looking for the names. I was interested in the issues around the cases, whether or not it was commercial and what section ó a judgement and that kind of information. So Iím estimating that that would be public. We asked for this information in the briefing. This is about the law, so where is the law wrong? Where is the law right, and is this the fix that should be put forward before us? We can only make those reasonable judgements when weíve had a look at it and had proper advice, so Iím looking for background information in terms of the legalities of this section. Could the minister provide us that in general terms? Is that possible?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   By releasing the information, other ministerís letters, weíd be releasing personal information and it would be very difficult for us to do that and still provide the member opposite with the information that she is looking for.

Ms. Duncan:   Let me try this another way. It is not unheard of for ministers to provide in this House a legal opinion. Is there a legal opinion that the minister has that he will make available to members of the opposition regarding the applicability of section 243?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   We generally donít release this information but we will take it under advisement and try to get back to her.

Ms. Duncan:   I understand that it is not generally released; however, there has been precedent set in the House when the former Member for Faro, as it was then known, released a legal opinion to members of the opposition. So there has been precedent set, if itís available. And I want to be clear. I may have used the wrong section number. I am referring to the section around the impoundment of vehicles, and commercial vehicles in particular. Just to be sure if Iíve used the wrong section number, if there is a legal opinion around the rules and rights and responsibilities of the minister in this regard, and the Government of Yukon, I would like to have it provided. I thank the minister in advance for taking that question under advisement.

I would also like to ask him to take the following question under advisement, and I apologize in advance for its length. Section 21 of the Dangerous Goods Transportation Act says that if there is any prosecution for an offence against this act or the regulation, it is sufficient proof for the offence to establish that it was committed by an employee or agent of the accused, whether or not the employee or agent is identified or has been prosecuted for the offence, unless the accused establishes that the offence was committed without the knowledge of the accused and that the accused took reasonable measures to prevent its commission. In other words, an employer can be held liable. Thatís the Dangerous Goods Transportation Act.

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The Environment Act, section 177, says that a person may be convicted of an offence under this act or the regulations if it is established that the offence was committed by the personís employee acting in the course of their employment, whether or not the employee is identified or has been prosecuted for the offence.

Also in the Environment Act, section 179, it says that if a corporation commits an offence under this act, any officer, director, manager or agent of the corporation who knowingly directed, authorized, assented to, acquiesced in or participated in the commission of the offence is a party to and is guilty of the offence and is liable to the punishment provided for the offence, whether or not the corporation has been prosecuted or convicted.

I can sense that the ministerís legal advisor is pointing out the error I noted earlier in my second reading speech. In chapter 140, which is the number of the legislation, of the Liquor Act, 97(1) and on says that if an offence under this act or the regulations is committed by a corporation, the officer or employee of the corporation in charge of the premises in which the offence is committed, when the offence is committed, shall ó and forgive my Latin ó prima facie be deemed to be a party to the offence and, (b) be personally liable to the penalty prescribed for the offence as the principal offender.

Section 97(2) says that nothing in this section relieves the corporation or the person who actually committed the offence from liability.

Thatís existing Yukon law, three different acts. Quite clearly there are consequences to a business, to a commercial enterprise, for actions committed by an employee. With the way the government is putting forward the impoundment with respect to the commercial vehicles, they are removing the consequences for the company of an employee driving while impaired.

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Every other Yukon act spells out the consequences and spells out the liability, but this is inconsistent. How does the minister answer to that? What legal advice says that itís okay for the Motor Vehicles Act ó large and complex as it is ó to be different from these other pieces of Yukon legislation? Iím not a lawyer, and in this House, unfortunately, we donít have a lawyer as a member. It is unfortunate. As much as some people may have a poor opinion of lawyers, it has been helpful in the past to have a lawyer present as a member on all different sides of this Legislature. The fact is, we have in the past had the laws passed in this territory ó an example is when the former Minister of Justice, several ministers of Justice ago, took the Maintenance Enforcement Act and a couple of other pieces of legislation and threw the legal community into a terrible situation because of the way the law was drafted. We have to do it right. Sometimes there is, what would appear to me as a layperson, an obvious conflict with other legislation. So how does the minister, whose responsibility it is to bring forward legislation that is the best it can be, answer to this apparent conflict?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   For the member opposite, sheís had the benefit of providing these sections she has brought forth, and I will take it under advisement, but I do believe that we are mixing issues, and we will get through this process, and I will get back to her as soon as I can.

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Ms. Duncan:   I have quoted the sections of the act, just for reference, in case the minister or his officials donít want to wait for Hansard. They are the Liquor Act, section 97(1)(a) and (b) and (2), the Environment Act, section 177 and 179, and the Dangerous Goods Transportation Act, section 21.

I am not mixing apples and oranges. We are talking about company liability here. We are talking about responsibilities of owners in commercial situations for the actions of their employee. In this other legislation, it spells out clearly that there are consequences to the owner for the actions of an employee. The amendment that the minister has put forward with respect to commercial vehicles removes the consequences to an owner for the actions of an employee.

The amendments allow commercial companies to get their vehicles back early. Does the minister believe that that makes our highways safer?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   I reiterate what I did on my previous process. We will take a look at these acts that the member opposite has provided and we will try to get back to her and provide an option that we feel we can look at and hopefully provide a response that is satisfactory to her.

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Ms. Duncan:   I concluded my comments a moment ago by asking the minister if he felt that the amendments put forward make ó with respect to the impoundment and release of a commercially owned vehicle that has been impounded, does the minister feel this early release availability makes our highways safer? Does it make them more safe?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   The commercial operator would have to go through the court to justify to the court the reason for wanting the early removal of his vehicle and justify before them, under the quasi process, why he should get it back. It will be up to the court to make that decision. If that court makes that decision to carry forth, then I suggest that justice is taking place.

Ms. Duncan:   The minister hasnít answered the question. Does he feel that allowing the early release of commercially owned impounded vehicles makes our highways safer? Itís a straightforward yes or no. It is a straightforward yes or no for the minister. Does allowing the early release of commercially owned vehicles make our highways safer?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Any time an impaired driver is taken off our roads, the safety is improved ó no matter where. If a commercial vehicle is released early, the driver would not be allowed to drive this vehicle. The person who is impaired is not allowed to be back on the highway. That is the issue of making sure that the roads are safe. The early release of the vehicle does not improve or enhance the safety of the roads. The issue is dealing with the fact that the impaired driver is taken off the road. There is, as I mentioned earlier, a process that a commercial company has to go through to get the early release of the vehicle, and they have to go through a process that satisfies the reviewing officer that they are eligible to get it back.

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Ms. Duncan:   There are no consequences, then, other than going through the court procedure when the company knew, or ought to have known, that the driver was impaired.

In my quest for information, I had asked earlier for the legal opinion. There was also a letter that was released through the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act that a member of our local print media sought and secured. Would the minister provide that letter? Itís from the former Justice minister to the tow truck ownerís lawyer. It was released under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act to the media. Would the minister provide it to members of the opposition, as it relates to this issue?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   If it has been released to the press; Iím sure we can find it and provide a copy for the member opposite.

Ms. Duncan:   Iíd like to go back to the issue around the survey. The minister said the advisory committee made suggestions and the survey conducted by DataPath was specifically on two issues, and the advisory committee made suggestions as to the questions.

Is the minister satisfied that 379 completed surveys are enough?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   DataPath did a preliminary survey on the questions. They made some adjustments after doing that and then went back out and did their surveys. We did get just a little over 400 in total. As I indicated earlier, we feel itís a good cross-section of all Yukoners and I feel it was sufficient for this purpose.

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Ms. Duncan:   Well, Mr. Deputy Chair, there is a well-known quote that those who do not know their history are destined to repeat it.† I would draw the ministerís attention to one of the previous debates on the Motor Vehicles Act, 1998. A survey of 1,391 respondents specifically on the Motor Vehicles Act, specifically that also went to every Yukon community, wasnít good enough for the Member for Klondike then. Why is 400 good enough now?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   For the member opposite, as I mentioned earlier, DataPath is very good at what they do in surveying. We believe that we have a very good cross-section of the entire Yukon, and I think it reasonably reflects all of the information throughout the Yukon. I believe it is a very good cross-section of all Yukoners in addressing this issue. I canít speak for the issue back in 1998. I understand it was much more, as you indicated, a volume process, sent out to everybody. But this way we think it was very specific, for specific reasons, and we feel it renders very good information based on the data we compiled.

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Ms. Duncan:   Mr. Chair, for the ministerís information, this was about tow trucks and tow truck zones and the towing of vehicles. The Member for Klondike at that time wondered what on earth would give rise to this question. And although 74 percent of the survey respondents supported the proposal of 1,391, almost 1,000 more than what the minister did in this specific survey, that information wasnít good enough for the Member for Klondike. Now we have a double standard. Thatís obvious to all Yukoners.

The Motor Vehicles Act is very complex. Previously when amendments have come forward, they have come forward with a great deal of research ó far more than what was presented to us. Occasionally, yes, that research was targeted. The graduated driverís licence was a very specific program. The minister has said, ďYes, there are difficulties with it.Ē So thatís why it keeps coming back, but the fundamental issue is that the solid homework has not been done by the government.

There are other issues that should have been brought forward for discussion and debate and have not been. I will be coming back to this, but I would like to allow other members an opportunity to come forward. I would just like to ask the minister to state, does he have any intention of conducting any more surveys in this method on the Motor Vehicles Act, and on which specific subjects? And when will we see the amendments come forward?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   There will always be issues coming through on motor vehicles, I suspect. I looked back previously to all these things; however, Iím not quite sure how many will have to come forth until we sit down and look at the entire act in its entirety to get there. But I wonít negate the fact that there wonít be some further changes, because there may be some changes that are required initially to get by if something comes up that we have to look at.

We will go out to consult as required and move on in the process. As I indicated previously, weíve got some issues that we are looking up through the review committee on the graduated drivers. So there may be something that comes out of that particular issue also.

As the member mentioned, there are issues with regard to cellphones; however, to date, there are only a couple of jurisdictions that have actually issued legislation on that particular view. Recently there has been a new study out that contradicts some of the previous studies, so we are looking into that also. As to what comes about, I am sure that we will get out there on a venture and be specific where we have to be, and if need be, we will go out and consult where it is needed ó whether it is specifically in rural areas, if they are rural issues, and if itís not, then we will look at dealing with it elsewhere.

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Mr. Cardiff:   The minister did leave out a few things in his review of the Motor Vehicles Act. I corresponded with him recently on one of those issues and Iíd like to know if heís come up with any solutions to this problem.

Yesterday we talked about the Insurance Act and I raised the issue of the cost of insurance to people, how it inhibits their ability to raise their families and put food on the table. This may be an extreme case of how this is affecting this person, and itís not because of the insurance company. Itís because of the way the Motor Vehicles Act is administered or the way that itís written.

I will try to refresh the ministerís memory on this, but itís my understanding, just for starters, that if a person receives a 24-hour roadside suspension, that licence suspension may only be appealed during the period in which that suspension was in effect. So, letís just say a person was pulled over at 5 oíclock on Friday evening, issued a 24-hour suspension. Theyíve got 24 hours to appeal that. Can the minister explain how that would be possible, to actually receive justice? How would you go about appealing ó if a person wanted to do that, actually felt that they were being mistreated by the system? Could he explain how that could be done?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   I will try to address this question as softly as I can, but you canít appeal a 24-hour roadside suspension here or anywhere else in Canada, so Iím not quite sure what heís referring to specifically.

Mr. Cardiff:   Itís my understanding that a roadside suspension or a licence suspension can be appealed, but it has to be appealed within the period that the suspension is in effect. If the RCMP suspended your licence for 30 days or 90 days, you have 30 days or 90 days to appeal it. So if youíre entitled to an appeal in that case, why wouldnít you be entitled to appeal a 24-hour suspension? Whatís the difference? Can he explain that?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   In most cases, a 24-hour suspension is usually given at the discretion of a peace officer in lieu of other serious violations. And basically it is done to get the individual off the highway. A 30-day suspension is a different process, and obviously aspects of civil law have to take place.

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Mr. Cardiff:   Maybe you have to be a tow truck driver, I donít know. We donít know.

The problem with this particular case is that the situation in question here is that this person in this particular case was charged under sections 253(a) and 253(b) of the Criminal Code, so, I believe, itís driving over 0.08 and impaired driving. They also received a 24-hour suspension and a 90-day suspension, but those charges were stayed and on the second count they were acquitted, so they donít have that on their driving record any more. These are the charges that are indictable matters, but on the summary matters, which are the driving suspensions ó so basically they were found to be not guilty of impaired driving and of driving while over 0.08 by the courts, but thereís no mechanism to remove those summary convictions. As a result, they still appear on the driverís abstract that they have to provide to their insurance company. The insurance company looks at that ó ďGee, you were found not guilty but you still had the 90-day suspension so your insurance is going to be $5,000 a year.Ē

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I donít know whether this is a legislative matter or an administrative matter in how the regulations are written, but it doesnít seem fair.

This government is willing to go to great lengths to accommodate their friends with vehicle impoundments. What I would like to know is whether or not they are willing to stick up for the average Yukoner who is found not guilty and acquitted of these charges, but who has no way of having these other summary offences removed from their driverís abstract. And they are forced to pay a large financial penalty ó $5,000 a year for insurance. If you are a tow truck driver, you get your tow truck back and you can go on carrying out your business, but if you are Joe Blow on the street you have to pay the insurance company, plus you have to feed your children, pay the mortgage, and make sure that your kids get an education. It doesnít seem fair to me.

Iím not sure whether itís a legislative change or a regulatory change or how it is administered by the department, but Iíd like to get an answer to this. I wrote the minister about three weeks ago on this matter and I havenít heard back from him on it.

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   I am not aware of the letter that he has indicated, but I would be more than happy to check into it if itís somewhere amiss in our process. I would be more than happy to look into it for him and try to get a response.

Mr. Cardiff:   Well, Iím holding the letter here in my hand. I canít believe the minister didnít receive it; it is dated October 7.

Does the minister think that this is fair? He has legal advice there with him; I would be interested in knowing whether or not this seems fair, that you can be found not guilty on the indictable offence but that the summary convictions remain on your driverís abstract. Does the minister think that thatís fair?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   As I mentioned, I will be more than happy to look at it once we get a copy of the letter. If the member wants to give it to me right here, I will work on it. Otherwise I canít make a decision on something I havenít seen.

Mr. Hardy:   I want to go back to the impoundment.

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Iím not so sure, listening to the debate, that the minister understands what the ramifications are, what messaging he is sending out in regard to the changes surrounding the impoundment rules and how it allows ó it looks like ó businesses to be able to abdicate their responsibility to, basically, the driver in their employ, I should say, totally and not feel any sense of responsibility in the conduct, messaging, the equipment, or anything. So letís walk through this. I have a few questions around it.

From my understanding ó and hopefully the minister can give me advice with the assistance of his staff ó is the employer responsible for safe equipment?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   In general, the employers are responsible for ensuring they have safe equipment.

Mr. Hardy:   So if the employer had the employee use a piece of equipment ó and since weíre talking about motor vehicles, you can reference that or we can use examples elsewhere where laws apply. Iím hoping that the Motor Vehicles Act is in accordance with the rules and laws that exist with occupational health and safety, or environment, or whatever. But if the employer instructed ó letís change that word ó not instructed, but allowed or had the employee use a piece of equipment that was discovered to be unsafe, what would be the repercussions?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   Well, depending upon the circumstances, there could be issues as they relate to occupational health and safety. There could be issues as they relate to the new federal Bill C-45, and there could be issues as they relate to Workersí Compensation Health and Safety Board.

Mr. Hardy:   What kind of penalties could an employer face?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   For the member opposite, it would be difficult to ascertain the specific amount, but under the new federal Bill C-45, issues relating to occupational health and safety for unsafe equipment could be fairly substantial.

Mr. Hardy:   So there is actually a responsibility of the employer by allowing the employee to be exposed to unsafe equipment or the usage of unsafe equipment.

So letís move to another example. If an employer gives instructions for the employee to do a job and the instructions are deemed to put the employee in danger or put other people in danger, are there penalties for that?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   There are certain issues in relation to occupational health and safety in the Yukon, and it all depends on the circumstances and events on the specific issue that takes place ó the accident or incident takes place.

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Mr. Hardy:   Yes, but the minister does recognize that an employer who forces an employee to do something unsafe would be liable and face consequences, does he not?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   As the member well knows, the occupational health and safety issues are identified under the Yukon Act and thatís basically the premise under which it has been brought into place.

Mr. Hardy:   That wasnít my question. I donít know why the minister is getting all skittish and playing dodge. Itís a very simple question; itís about liability. Part of the changes to this act are about liability, so Iíd appreciate an answer from the minister to make sure I understand what the laws are and he understands what the laws are and weíre all talking with the same basis of knowledge. Iím sure he knows where Iím going with this, of course, but I think we need to go through this process.

So going back to that, if an employer gives instruction to an employee that puts the employee in an unsafe situation, is the employer liable and, if so, what is the range of penalties the employer can face?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   The issues are laid out under the occupational health and safety regulations. Theyíre demonstrated before a court; the court makes those reviews and, as I mentioned earlier, sometimes those issues can be very expensive.

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Chair:   Weíve reached our customary time for a recess. Would members like a recess?

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Chair:   Weíll take a 15-minute recess.

 

Recess

 

Chair:   Order please. Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will continue with general debate on Bill No. 51, Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act.

Mr. Hardy:   When we left off, I was talking about unsafe instructions. When an employer directs the employee to do something that may be considered unsafe, I wanted to understand if the minister understood what the repercussions were and agreed with it.

Now, the minister has indicated that it would fall under the OH&S regulations, and that would be where it would be dealt with. Is that clear? Is that what heís saying?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   The Occupational Health and Safety Act, as it relates to that process. Thatís just one of the examples.

Mr. Hardy:   Could the minister tell me if there are any penalties in the Motor Vehicles Act with regard to this particular issue that also could be applied?

Deputy Chair:   Mr. Hardy.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Could you ask the member opposite to repeat the question just so counsel can hear it again? Mr. Hardy?

Mr. Hardy:   Well, there are actually some similarities. The ministerís name is Hart, my name is Hardy. When I was in government previously, I used to always get called Harding, or Mr. Harding always used to get Hardy, but also the minister and I do share another common trait. We were both goalies. So weíre almost bonding over this conversation, Mr. Chair. However, that was just an aside; weíll get back to the debate here.

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The question was are there any penalties within the Motor Vehicles Act that could be applied to situations Iíve already described, such as an employer directing an employee to drive a vehicle when the vehicle is unsafe? Are the employees considered unsafe, such as drinking, or not having proper visibility, or even their licence?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   For my brother on the other side, under the Occupational Health and Safety Act ó which, as the member opposite knows, is a very large act ó weíre not particularly aware of any specific part of the act that deals with the member oppositeís question. There certainly are several other venues under the Yukon legislation that would cover off the issue he inquired about.

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Mr. Hardy:   Well, I thank my comrade on the other side there for that answer. Now, another aspect, of course, of unsafe instruction is even in the allowance of something like that to happen. Of course, in other professions, in other occupations, an employer that allows an unsafe work environment or unsafe equipment or unsafe actions does bear some responsibility for the consequences and penalties. Could the minister tell me whether that would fly? It is very important to me, to try to get this clear. Would the person be able to charge a company ó and weíll use the example, because we always keep talking around it ó for sending out a driver ó say, a tow truck driver ó who was impaired? Would a person be able to charge that owner or the company specifically?

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   The member opposite is actually asking a legal question; however, I will try to address the fact that there may be something under the federal legislation, Bill C-45, that would address that particular aspect.

Mr. Hardy:   I do apologize ó it is a legal question in some ways. Unfortunately, this is what it is all tying up into. When youíre talking about impoundment and responsibilities, it also becomes a legal interpretation as well.

My concern, of course, is the known responsibility of a company or an employer when they give directions, and the consequences if they give directions that jeopardize the health or safety of the employee or the public.

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I guess what Iím trying to find out is if there are legal means that can be applied that would be a detriment to a company to ensure that that responsibility is recognized and transferred to that employer to be a detriment to those kinds of instructions? Iím not explaining myself very well, but I think he understands. If not, Iíll try to rephrase it for him.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Itís difficult to deal with what appears to be a legal question. I would hazard to say that we could probably look at the situation, depending upon what it would be under occupational health and safety to ensure the safety of the employee in this particular case and that they are not being asked to do something that could be dangerous to their health.

Mr. Hardy:   Could the minister get some information to me in regard to that, a return of some sort, or maybe a legal opinion, or whatever? I would appreciate it.

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Hon. Mr. Hart:   I canít provide a legal opinion but I will provide you with a list of obligations an employer must do to ensure the safety of its employees.

Mr. Hardy:   I thank the minister for that response. Iíd just like to expand that a slight bit ó the safety of employees, with respect to instructions given, and if itís unsafe ó weíve just been discussing it ó as well as the equipment. Iíd also like to broaden it just a tiny bit more ó I think itís all contained ó and thatís the safe conditions. I think thatís extremely important as well. In the north, especially, there are many cases where employees have been put in extremely unsafe conditions.

We can use underground mining as an example. I worked underground as well as above ground. There were times where the conditions, years and years ago, could have been considered very unsafe. There is also hypothermia and the weather conditions we are often exposed to.

I would like to know if those also apply to the Motor Vehicles Act, which Iím sure they do. But if you can give me that response, Iíd really appreciate it.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Weíll endeavour to draft up this list and provide the member with a copy of the same.

Mr. Hardy:   I thank the minister and his staff for that.

Moving on a little bit but still on the same subject, of course, is the responsibility of the owner. Iím moving more to looking at section 10, and moving down that to (6.2).

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It says, ď(a) the business in which the vehicle is used will suffer economic hardship that threatens the survival of the business if the vehicle is not released from impoundment.Ē Now whatís that referencing, of course, is the release.

ďIf the owner was not the driver of, or a passenger in, the vehicle when it was impounded and the vehicle is registered as a commercial vehicle, a review officer may revoke the impoundment if satisfied on the balance of probabilities that because of inadequate alternative transportation ÖĒ and then follows what I just read.

How do you prove the survival of a business or economic hardship in this case?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   The owner in this particular case is going to have to go before the review officer and provide substantial financial information to plead his case before the review officer in order for the review officer to make his decision on this particular case.

Mr. Hardy:   Was that the same kind of criteria that was placed before the minister last year in deciding to release the impounded vehicle?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   For the member opposite, the ministerís request at that time was for wrongful impoundment and not for early release. I will reiterate also that it states that, under that section further down, ďthreatens the survival of the companyĒ. I would state to you that the review officer is going to have to have a substantial amount of information in front of him in order to make his decision in this particular case, to make his assessment and render his decision.

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Mr. Hardy:   Well, the way itís worded ó ďwill suffer economic hardship that threatens the survival of the business if the vehicle is not releasedĒ ó from my viewpoint, is fairly strong, I would say. But I think a business can argue that quite easily if, like so many businesses in the Yukon, they donít operate on a great margin of profit. Iím thinking of a lot of these tow truck companies. Actually in Whitehorse there are probably only three. In the rest of the Yukon, thereís one here, one there, you know, one in Carmacks ó there might be two in Carmacks. I think there are a couple in Watson Lake. So theyíre around. But they donít make a great deal of money. So the loss of one vehicle becomes quite an easy argument to make. To me, Mr. Chair, it doesnít create the same kind of importance on the balance between public safety and survival of the company. Loss of life or injury to the person ó and they suffer, of course, economic hardship if they were involved in an accident that was caused by, letís say, the driver of a tow truck. And yet that person would be able to get the vehicle out on this side because he argues the survival of the company, and this persons loses their ability to function in their job, their ability to survive economically in many ways, and in some cases possibly even the family may lose the person ó it could be a wife or a husband, father, mother, brother, sister ó who contributes to the income and survival of their family.

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So I donít feel thereís a balance here. The danger ó and using the example of what happened last year, where the driver was extremely drunk, so absolutely and unbelievably drunk, and was dispatched by the company. We donít know who dispatched him, whether it was the owner or another employee, but there were obviously no checks and balances to ensure that, in the evening when he was dispatched, he was capable of doing the job, which falls back to the responsibility of safe instructions and safe conditions that we were discussing earlier.

My concern is that it doesnít recognize the impact on both sides that something like this could have and how we can ensure thereís some type of language written that ensures there are very clear penalties if the employer has a hand in creating an unsafe situation.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Iíd like to stress the fact that there is a substantial amount of other legislation that is imposed on owners to protect their employees from what the member opposite has indicated to be unsafe working conditions and/or when they are asked to go where itís unsafe to go.

Several other acts in the Yukon, under our legislation, are there to protect employees and to ensure they work in a safe environment.

Iíd like to also say that the other aspect is that the impaired driver in this particular case is being addressed in this process. As I mentioned earlier, thereís a specific process an employer has to go through. Itís not just free, gratis, and away we go. He still has to go through his process. He still has to prove he has a hardship. They ó sorry, he/she, the company ó still have to prove they are going to be in a hardship if they donít get their vehicle back, and they still have to demonstrate that they were unaware of the situation at the time. It is up to the review officer to take that into consideration in rendering their decision.

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Employers still have to go through their checklist for their operators to ensure they do the driverís abstract, for example, ensuring that they go through that process and follow up on that process. They have to do that for their insurance reasons. So there are lots of things in place to protect employees from their employers to that state. I believe itís there.

These new changes are here to provide a specific issue and basically fill a gap that was identified previously. I think that counsel, along with guidance from the review officers, came through with several good suggestions on this particular aspect. I feel theyíve come up with recommendations that should make it there.

As stated to the member opposite, under section 10(1) ó (6.2) there, itís still up to them to demonstrate to the review officer that the loss of this vehicle threatens the very survival of their vehicle. Although the member opposite indicated that many companies do operate on a thin basis, thatís probably true, but in this particular case, I believe itís still going to be up to the review officer to make that decision. I donít believe that the review officer is going to be taking the decision lightly. I think this is something theyíll be taking very importantly in lieu of the popularity of this particular case as brought up over the past year.

I will state that this is an issue that was identified by the review officers that we had to address so that they can look at a situation and deal with commercial versus private vehicle. I think thatís what weíre trying to achieve here. I will state, though, that we do have several means in which to protect the employee under our Yukon legislation and even further under the new federal legislation that has just recently come into place under Bill C-45.

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Mr. Hardy:   Now, a company that sends out an employee who is impaired and he is on the public roads, driving a company truck, and he is picking up another vehicle ó itís already an unsafe condition. Tow trucking is not totally safe; even with all the checks and balances, there is always an element of risk. Itís part of life, though.

But then you add the element of a driver who has been dispatched and who is impaired, using the scenario that this is the only vehicle that the company has, it would face a hardship ó the survival of the company ó but he would be able to get his vehicle back and continue doing business as normal. Is that right?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   He is asking me to speculate on something I am not aware of ó this particular situation. I will state, though, that whatever it is in this particular situation, the review officer would have to review the information and work from there. I think itís laid out fairly clearly here and I believe that it would be taken into consideration.

Mr. Hardy:   I agree with you that itís laid out very clearly: one tow truck, one owner, an employee who is sent out, the employee is drunk; the employee, by his actions of being drunk, puts the public safety at risk. The vehicle of anybody else driving would be impounded and the person would be pulled off the road and charged.

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This driver has been sent out by an employer, told to go out and drive. That vehicle doesnít get impounded because this is a loophole. This allows them to argue the survival of the company quite easily, if itís the only tow truck the person has. Therefore, the employer does not face the responsibility of his own actions as part and parcel of the whole process that put the drunk driver on the road and threatened public safety.

The drunk driver, the employee, which the minister has already addressed ó yes, there are repercussions. But what about the person who dispatched him, or told him to go and pick up that vehicle? What are the repercussions? With the way this is worded, that argument is very easy to make ó and the vehicle is in his yard again and itís dispatched out. The drunk driver is down the road, dealing with his problems. He sends out another driver or goes out himself ó no repercussions. Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   The provisions are not aimed at putting Yukon companies out of business. They are intended to remove impaired drivers from the road. Weíre trying to get that. The provisions give the owner the opportunity to have the vehicle released early if they meet the early release request. The issue here is that the review officer will still have to take the information, will still have to review whatís being presented to him by the company in dealing with this.

As far as sending the driver out, weíre making an assumption that, in this particular case, the owner knew he was drunk.

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I donít know if that is indeed the case, but I will state that there are several ways of being protected. They can be Ė the owner has responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. They have responsibilities under the Workersí Compensation Act. They have aspects under the Employment Standards Act and the legislation for the environment. So we have many pieces in which the employer has to be responsible, under its current legislation in the Yukon, in order to ensure the publicís safety, in order to ensure that they are operating in a responsible manner. I believe that you have a section in here that states that they have to demonstrate to the review officer that they are in compliance. Not only do they have to deal with this particular section, they still have to deal with all the other aspects ó legislation ó that are out there. They are out there to protect the employee and to protect the public.

Mr. Hardy:   Obviously the minister agrees with all the checks and balances with the other acts, so why not have the same checks and balances under the Motor Vehicles Act?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   The protection is already there. For the member opposite, we already have that for the owner or employer in place.

Mr. Hardy:   Then why are we allowing this big loophole? If this minister is very sincere about trying to close the loophole that caused so much kerfuffle last year with the Minister of Justice and her interference, why is this not being closed? Why is it still being allowed?

109a

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Well, previous to this, there were no clear instructions for the RCMP to impound the vehicle, and this definitely provides it. As well, there were no clear instructions on how to release the vehicle prior to this.

Mr. Hardy:   Can you prove that?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Mr. Chair, there is no provision for commercial vehicles in the previous way.

Mr. Hardy:   Mr. Chair, the minister had mentioned earlier that this act wasnít drawn up to put employers out of business, but interestingly, Mr. Chair, since we have been discussing this, the minister has talked a lot about the employeesí penalties, a lot about the hardship on the employee, but really nothing about what consequences the employer would have to face in this regard. If anything, this is written in a manner that ensures that the employer has a nice big loophole to get out of, yet I keep hearing that there are a lot of penalties there to nail the employee, to catch him on every angle. I would like to see that same principle, that same kind of language, applied to the employer so that there is a balance in this discussion. He mentions, like I said, again that heís not planning to put companies out of business. Well, frankly, Mr. Chair, if a company threatens public safety and health, if a company is responsible for endangering peopleís lives, should they or should they not be in business? Thatís my question.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   I donít believe that, in any of this process Iíve talked about, all the obligations are on employees. In fact Iíve indicated just the opposite. I would say that there are several obligations an owner has to go through. And if an owner does not protect an employee, he can be charged with a criminal offence.

110a

Thatís out there. I mean, there is no loophole in the law. Other legislation deals with the employerís responsibilities, and Iíve already covered off several of them. The issue is that weíre trying to deal with the situation thatís out there. Iíve indicated previous items out there. All those acts I talked about previously are to protect the employee. Itís the obligations that the employer has to address in order to get there. Iíll restate it: if the owner doesnít protect an employee, he can be charged with a criminal offence.

Mr. Hardy:   One deterrent, one tool that the minister has under this act is to impound a vehicle if the employer does something in contravention of the Motor Vehicles Act. Why are there so many areas? Why is there such an opportunity for a vehicle to be reviewed and released? As I said earlier, itís not hard to prove ó in the Yukon anyway ó economic hardship that threatens the survival of a business. The loss of one vehicle causes a hardship; thereís no question about it. It could be argued that it could threaten ó as the wording goes, ďcouldĒ ó the survival of the business if the vehicle is not released.

Pardon me. I added the word ďcouldĒ, and itís not in there. Basically the argument could be made, and made quite convincingly, I believe, but if the employer knowingly sends an employee out with a vehicle that the employer owns, and the employee is in no shape to operate that vehicle, should he not have that vehicle impounded? Maybe it would prevent a very serious accident. Thatís not just with tow trucks too; thatís with taxicabs; thatís with any situation. Thatís with construction companies. They have a few beer and then send the guy out to pick up some material.

111a

Should there not be some consequence that comes back? Itís not just with tow trucks ó tow trucks seem to be the issue we keep circling around and I understand why. I just canít accept this. I think itís a loophole. I donít think it sends the right message. I donít think itís enough of a penalty, if itís even a penalty in any way, shape or form.

Under the Environment Act, section 177 on employersí liability, a person may be convicted of an offence under this act or the regulations if it is established that the offence was committed by the personís employee, acting in the course of their employment, whether or not the employee is identified or has been prosecuted for the offence. Does that sound reasonable to the minister and is that the same type of approach the minister has applied in drafting up this section?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Iím having a little difficulty on assumption. If in fact the employer knowingly sends out his employee who is intoxicated, he would not get his vehicle back if in fact it was proven he did know that, along that process.

I believe this change in the regulation first of all identifies an issue that wasnít there before. It makes it clear to deal with ó for the RCMP it makes it clear to deal with for the review officers in reviewing the process. I think itís a reasonable balance between the safety of the public and the operation of a business if in fact, as the member opposite indicates, they only have one truck and one owner.

Again, weíre making it heavily on the assumption that the owner in this particular case sent out the employee knowing he was intoxicated. Again, I use the word ďassumptionĒ because I donít know anything about that particular process.

112a

I would say to you, as Iíve said on many occasions here, that there are many other venues where the employer is responsible and where criminal action can be taken against the employer. You know, thatís what I believe to be in place.

Mr. Hardy:   Would the minister be open to an amendment on this section ó subsection (a)?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   With respect to an amendment, I guess weíll probably have to look at it and take it under advisement.

Mr. Hardy:   Iíve heard that ďunder advisementĒ before, and I often donít know what under advisement actually means.

Well, letís look at the second section ó subsection (b): ďan employer or customer of the business in which the vehicle is used will suffer the loss of income or service or commodity that is a necessity if the vehicle is not released from impoundment.Ē

Now, that is directed to the employee, of course. Now, thatís an ďorĒ. So, if the case can be made that the employee is going to suffer loss of income or service or commodity that is a necessity ó if the vehicle is not released ó if that argument can be made, will that vehicle be released?

Chairís statement

Chair:   Before we continue, the Chair recognizes that members now are asking very specific questions about specific lines and going through line by line. Is it the membersí intention to go through line-by-line debate?

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

Chair:   Okay, weíll continue with general debate then. But I would remind members that we will eventually get through line by line where we can address some of these concerns more directly.

 

Hon. Mr. Hart:   With regard to this particular section ó and Iíll be more than happy to get into it on a line-by-line basis. But again, this is a situation where the employer will have to provide information to the review officer, time will be taken to get into this process and the review officer will make that decision based on the information that is provided during that period of time.

113a

Mr. Hardy:   I think the case could be made in just about every incident that I know of ó the people I know donít have a lot of disposable income ó that loss of income would create an extreme situation with most people I know. So, because it says ďorĒ an employee or customer of the business ó now it also says customer, interestingly enough ó in which the vehicle was used will suffer the loss of income, does the minister agree that that is not that hard to prove?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Again, I will state that this is not going to be an easy situation. We feel that it is going to require time and a lot of effort on behalf of everybody in order to come up with that solution and also in order to meet the fact that it is a necessity, demonstrate that itís a full necessity, for them to carry on. I think that, as I mentioned earlier and previously, I think the review officer will take that into consideration.

Mr. Hardy:   Maybe I should ask more directly: does the minister know of anybody where a loss of income would not create a necessity for them to try to survive? Do people go and drive taxi cabs because they have a lot of disposable income and they just want to be out in the social environment that taxi cabs allow? Is this what I am supposed to read in here? Or other people drive tow trucks because they are so wealthy and they sit at home and are bored and tow trucks would be kind of a neat thing to do? Or do they drive it because it is a necessity? Do they work because it is a necessity for their survival? Just by the very nature of the jobs that they are doing, is it a necessity to have an income? Could that be explained to me?

114a

Hon. Mr. Hart:   I will just go back again, and I will indicate that the review officer will be reviewing the information provided, and they will make that decision and render their decision based on the information that is compiled out of whatever comes through that process, and we will deal with it from there.

Mr. Hardy:   Mr. Chair, doesnít the minister recognize that you can drive a tow truck through this? This is such a huge hole, and the one I was arguing previously doesnít even compare. Anybody can make this argument that I know, who works in these industries ó anybody. Basically, Mr. Chair, I believe the minister ó and he might have attempted this in good faith with his department, but I think they missed the mark. I donít think they understand the nature of these jobs and the income that these people make and the fact that there is a necessity that they work every day ó at least five days a week. Many of them work six or seven. They donít get paid a lot of money, Mr. Chair. They donít have a lot of disposable income. If they donít work, in many cases, they would either lose their homes or be removed from their apartments or lose their possessions. So it is not good enough to say that a review officer will look at this and make a decision. I would like to see the case made where they would actually say, ďNo, itís not a necessity for you to work to survive.Ē I donít think weíre approaching this, Mr. Chair, from the right angle here, and I personally donít believe that this language at this point is going to do anything to be a deterrent to the actions that we saw last year and actions that we would like to prevent on our highways and roads.

115a

Thatís the responsibility of an employer, on their conduct, with their employees and their equipment, and the environment that they work in, and the public safety. I do not see ó I canít imagine, Mr. Chair, a single case in the Yukon where an employee driving a vehicle for somebody else would not feel that their income is a necessity for their ability to live. Can the minister give me an example to reassure me how this would work, how this argument could be made, of where the review officer would actually say, ďNo, we are not releasing itĒ if somebody came forward with this argument? I donít see it.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   The advisory group and the public felt that there should be opportunities for commercial vehicle owners to have their vehicles released early, just as private vehicle owners can under certain legislation. To have no early release provision could mean, for example, that if it happened to be the only school bus in a small community, we could have a situation there. Under the previous legislation we have none. You have the only school bus there in your small town and it is operating and it is impounded and you have no way to get it early released on that process. Are we going to battle back all the processes?

The member opposite asked for an example and I am providing what I think is a reasonable example of the issue. I also think that weíre missing a little bit of the aspect here, which is that the vehicle is being impounded. He is concentrating on the responsibility of the employer. Well, there is ó there are many responsibilities for the employer. There are many acts that the employer has to take into consideration to protect his employees.

116a

There are many out there. I believe that this particular situation is very important. I think this means this particular act allows for a process that, first of all, the employer has to demonstrate that he needs his vehicle. He has to demonstrate, basically, before court that he has done everything he is supposed to do. He has met all his regulations. He has done everything he has had to do in order to get his early release and to get this done. Right now, you know, we have no way of dealing with this particular situation. We feel this provides a clearer process in which to get an early release, to have this, to allow for this to take place. The impoundment of the vehicle in this particular case that we keep referring to ó a situation involving alchohol ó where the driver was impaired and was removed from the road. That in itself is an improvement and also a very important aspect to the safety of all roads for Yukoners. I think thatís a very important issue, and I think thatís what weíre trying to strive for here.

Mr. Hardy:   Well, I have a very simple question: does all the employer have to do is come before a review committee and say, ďMy employee will suffer a loss of income. Itís a necessity for them to make this income. Can I have my vehicle backĒ? Is that all they have to do ó prove that?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   This would be considered an exception for the process as indicated, and Iím sure that when the review officer reviews that, looks at rendering his decision, he will take all these facts into consideration and go from there. The normal process would be impoundment of the vehicle for 30 days, and if itís going to be earlier then he would have to present a case, and it would have to be reviewed by the review officer and deemed to be in accordance with the exception in order to get his early release.

117a

Mr. Hardy:   So thatís all he or she has to do? Thatís all they have to do? They just have to prove that the employee is going to lose an income, and they will get the vehicle back? Thatís all I said. Thatís all they have to do, right? Based upon whatís written here ó the big ďorĒs are there ó thatís all that has to happen. Is that correct?

I want to see how strong this is ó how this would stand up.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Again I will indicate that we had this situation brought up from the advisory committee, which had some input from the review officers in this particular case. I would also like to reiterate the fact that, in this particular case, the member opposite has stressed on many occasions the necessity for income in Yukon, and I believe this may have an option for dealing with it.

But I still believe that the review officer will look at this particular situation and deal with it from that particular status. We will look at the situation, and if itís deemed as being abused or otherwise, the review officers will let us know and we can go from there.

Mr. Hardy:   Could the minister tell me if he feels that section is weak and would also need an amendment?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   I believe this section here is a good balance between the safety to our public, as well as providing safety for our employees. In both cases, I think it addresses the issue of ensuring that weíre not putting somebody out of employment and/or out of business.

118a

Mr. Hardy:   I have another scenario here. Iíll just cut to the chase. I wonít go for long. We donít have a lot of time left in the day.

What would happen if a vehicle was sold while it was impounded? Can it then be released?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   You canít sell a vehicle while it is impounded.

Mr. Hardy:   Could the minister explain that rule, that law? Iím unfamiliar with that. A vehicle is impounded and you canít sell it; everything is frozen. Is that how it works, until itís not impounded any more?

Hon. Mr. Hart:   While the vehicle is impounded it cannot be sold. After the impoundment period is over and if the vehicle is not claimed, the yard has the ability to sell the vehicle in order to get its impoundment fee.

Mr. Hardy:   Just to clarify one little thing ó I think I understand, but I just want to be clear. That means the owner cannot sell a vehicle to somebody else ó an employee, a family member, a stranger ó as long as it is impounded, as long as it is in that state. Is that correct? I donít mean about selling it on the open market or through a lottery or whatever.

119a

Hon. Mr. Hart:   You canít sell a vehicle while itís impounded. If you own the vehicle, there is still an abstract at Motor Vehicles that states itís in impoundment, and thatís the status that it is in. I am not saying that whoever they sell it to, if a person does not do his due diligence, that is a different story. But right now you canít sell a vehicle that is impounded.

Mr. Hardy:   I am going to go back a little bit here now. Other than the consequences of having to go before a review committee for the employer, what are the other consequences the employer would face for allowing an employee to, for instance, drive drunk? You have mentioned some. I would like to know what the other consequences would be.

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Again, that is somewhat of a legal question, but I will state that the owner could be charged on a criminal offence under Bill C-45, as an example.

Mr. Hardy:   Is there anything under the Motor Vehicles Act other than that?

120a

Hon. Mr. Hart:   He would be charged with a criminal offence, so he would have a criminal record in the process and we would go from there.

Mr. Hardy:   Okay, well, I want to go back again.

Again, I know the minister made a comparison about apples and oranges when he was talking to the leader of the third party. She rightly corrected him that itís not apples and oranges; itís more like oranges and oranges when it comes to public safety, when it comes to employee responsibilities, and where it should also come to employer responsibility.

Now, we obviously on this side do not feel that the changes being made here are specifically addressing or indicating that there is a degree of responsibility that has to be faced by the employer. As our discussions that weíve had so far have indicated, it would take absolutely almost no real difficulty in arguing a position by the employer to get his or her vehicle released.

121a

Iím a little concerned that the minister does not recognize how big an opening or how broad an argument can be made in this case by this kind of language.

We on this side truly believe there has to be some kind of disincentive for the employer to prevent anything happening to the public. One of the biggest disincentives to an employer is the loss of a vehicle. Weíre talking about motor vehicles; weíre not talking about other tools.

Yes, this is the livelihood that weíre talking about with some of these businesses ó the use of these vehicles. But when youíre talking about public safety, Mr. Chair, when youíre talking about responsibilities, when youíre talking about employee safety and youíre talking about ethical standards that exist within these companies, that should be foremost. What kind of deterrent can you put in place, what kind of language can you put down to ensure it will prevent an accident or a tragedy that could happen?

I donít see that addressed here; thatís what bothers me. I donít see any kind of deterrent here in this kind of language because I know for a fact that I can argue the case for loss of income, for example.

122a

With any employee, I can argue that case ó with what weíre talking about. If thatís the truth, then thereís nothing here that prevents that vehicle from ever being impounded. You get it impounded, and it will be out the next day, or in the next couple of days ó however long.

But I canít think of a case ó thatís what bothers me the most ó I cannot think of a case where that cannot be argued. Suffering economic hardship ó that can be argued quite easily, and the review officer would be in a very difficult situation not to release the vehicle in most cases around the Yukon.

Loss of service or commodity that is a necessity ó well, that is so open. Give me an example where it canít be.

123a

Give me an employee out there where you could not use this as an example to release a vehicle. Show me where. I would be quite happy to hear. Show me where this stands up. Otherwise itís not worth the paper itís written on.

Itís disturbing only in the sense that I think I believe that this minister and the staff and the advisory committee are attempting to deal with this issue but they have missed the mark. There is no deterrent and there is no penalty for actions that should not be acceptable by a business, in this case, other than outside the act. There should be something in the act that spells it out very clearly ó there should be. Thatís what part of this act is for. The minister himself has mentioned public safety, and that should be foremost in drafting these amendments.†

124a

Weíve had a lot of time. Now, I know that the minister said earlier that there wasnít a lot of time to draft this, but I would contend that statement. I believe that there has been a lot of time. There has been over a year to draft this up since we had a long debate and contentious arguments around the Justice minister and her actions, which are what precipitated so much of this.

†However, does this address those concerns? No, of course it doesnít. Does the minister, in his role as a minister, still have the authority to release a vehicle ó to overrule?

I will leave it at that question.

125a

Hon. Mr. Hart:   Mr. Chair, seeing the time, I move that you report progress on Bill No. 51, Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act.

Chair:  Mr. Hart has moved that Committee of the Whole report progress on Bill No. 51, Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act.

Motion agreed to

 

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, itís highly unusual to close down the House. Itís seven minutes to six. Clearly there is another six minutes of possible discussion that could take place before we close it down. I noticed the government House leader went over and instructed the minister to ask for the motion, and I think thatís wrong. I think we should be in here doing the publicís business, not trying to get out early.

Chair:   Mr. McRobb, the †motion to report progress was in order.

 

Hon. Mr. Jenkins:   I move 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

 

126a

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. 51, Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act, and has directed me to report progress on it.

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

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Speaker:   I declare the report carried.

 

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

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

Motion agreed to

 

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

 

The House adjourned at 5:57 p.m.

 

 

 

 

The following Sessional Paper was tabled October 26, 2004:

 

04-1-110

††††††† Motor Vehicles Act Review Survey: conducted for Department of Highways and Public Works by DataPath Systems (Presented June 16, 2004, Updated July 5, 2004)† (Hart)