Thursday, May 12, 2005 — 1:00 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will proceed at this time with prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
In recognition of Canada Health Day
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: Today is Canada Health Day across the nation, and I ask my colleagues in this House to join me on this, Florence Nightingale’s birthday, in recognizing some of the exciting new developments in the public health field and also in recognizing the very people who deliver our health services.
When I talk about exciting new developments, I don’t mean that they found a cure for cancer or that someone has created a piece of new miracle technology that will do away with the need for surgery. It would be wonderful if we could, but we’re not at that juncture yet, Mr. Speaker. I am referring to things that happen every day here and around the world that make a huge difference in the lives of all of us.
This week, for example, approximately 40 health professionals gathered in the local meeting room to learn from two B.C. physicians about diabetes and how to provide optimum care to folks with diabetes. This is part of a collaborative project that will improve health care for a group of individuals here in the Yukon.
Another collaboration that is seeing positive results in the Yukon is a partnership between mental health services, alcohol and drug services, and a local physicians’ clinic. This is made possible through the funding from the primary health care transition fund.
The primary health care transition dollars are also supporting the walking program, “On the right path.” Through a partnership with Recreation and Parks Association of the Yukon, this healthy living activity is another way of improving the health of Yukoners.
Within the past two months, copies of the Yukon HealthGuide have been distributed throughout the Yukon. This is also a tool for people to use in managing their own health care and giving them good, sensible advice about when and why to call a physician.
It is supported by a Web site that provides additional information to those who need it. There are many other things happening locally that improve the health of all Yukoners. The tele-health program through community nursing is used for educational sessions for health professionals around the territory. It is also used to counsel individuals about drug and alcohol abuse in one rural community, and its options are expanding. A new immunization program recently announced will provide additional protection for children and young adults from disease that can affect them. It increases an already healthy immunization schedule for children and adults.
Every day we do things that help us stay healthy, and we need to celebrate the small steps as well as the big ones. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. McRobb: I am also pleased to rise on behalf of the official opposition to pay tribute to Canada Health Day. The United Nations World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” We in Canada have made great progress in the absence of disease or infirmity in the past century. The present controversies about wait times, physician shortages and funding for new technology should not divert us from realizing that Canada enjoys one of the best health care systems in the world. Many citizens in the land of our neighbour to the south envy our standard of physical care and our national system of medicare.
More programs are needed for the prevention of disease. Stop-smoking campaigns and legislation curtailing the exorbitant profits of the tobacco industry are ways government can prevent a wide variety of diseases.
A growing problem among our children is obesity due to poor nutrition and lack of exercise. Governments have an important role in the health of our nation. They can legislate the production, inspection and sale of food. They can promote more physical education in our schools. They can discourage our society’s increasing dependence on prescription drugs for cure-alls, which does little more than boost profits for pharmaceutical companies. They can outlaw long-term patents that allow for price gouging.
Mental and social well-being are two other states of health defined by the WHO. These areas need improvement even more than physical health. Our care of mental patients is based on our approach to physical health, ignoring the many indications that psychological health is also a response to social conditions. The high incidence of poverty in our rich country is a disgrace. It breeds physical problems, addictions, crime and family violence, to name only a few. Unemployment, inadequate housing and debt-ridden students are issues that governments have to seriously come to grips with. These problems cost society in many ways, not only financially.
Last but not least, we acknowledge the dedication and expertise of all the health professionals who serve our territory.
Ms. Duncan: On May 12, 2005, hundreds of community health organizations, public health units, seniors residences, schools, health facilities and agencies will join together in celebrating Canada’s premier health event, Canada Health Day. The day is co-sponsored by the Canadian Public Health Association and the Canadian Health Care Association.
Canada Health Day recognizes exciting and new developments in the public health field. It is also a time to reflect on public health accomplishments, to appreciate the people who deliver public health services and a time to consider future public health needs and the public health system capacity.
In Canada, a country that prides itself on our health care, the Yukon system is second to none, if not the very best in the country. Since the days of YHCIS — Yukon health care insurance services — in the 1960s, to the introduction of medicare, to the challenges in health care today, we enjoy a publicly funded, readily accessible health care, and Yukoners will tell you how proud they are of it.
We have innovative programs like health families, healthy children, a First Nations health centre at the hospital, which has sparked interest throughout the country when visiting health ministers and premiers have had an opportunity to view it. Our innovative programs have shown results.
In my tribute today to Canada Health Day, I would like to thank our health care professionals for the outstanding job they do every day of the year.
Speaker: Are there any further tributes?
Introduction of visitors.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Mr. Cathers: I’d like to ask all members to join me in welcoming to the gallery constituents of mine. Daniela Raillard is a grade 5 student at Holy Family School. She prepared an excellent project for the school heritage fair regarding the Yukon coat of arms. She’s here today at the invitation of the Speaker, and her project is in the Speaker’s gallery upstairs and will be on display for the remainder of the session.
Accompanying her today are her parents, Martin and Maria. I would urge all members to welcome them and to take the opportunity to check out this display.
Mr. Cardiff: I’d like to ask the House to join me in welcoming the chair of the Mount Lorne hamlet council, Mark Stephens.
Mr. McRobb: I would invite all members to join me in welcoming Eliane Mulholland, who was head organizer of the Yukon Historica Fair for the territory, in which hundreds of Yukon students participated. Five finalists will be going to Saskatoon in July. Please join me in welcoming her.
Speaker: Are there any other introductions of visitors?
Are there any returns or documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Mr. Hardy: I have for tabling a letter dated April 13, 2005, addressed to Mr. Kenyon on behalf of a multitude of signatories.
Mr. McRobb: I have for tabling a Yukon guide booklet, 2005 edition, entitled Services For People With Disabilities, in English and in French.
Speaker: Are there any other returns or documents for tabling?
Are there any reports of committees?
Are there any petitions?
Are there any bills to be introduced?
Are there any notices of motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mr. McRobb: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that
(1) a number of disabled people require the use of service assist dogs to aid them in coping with their disabilities or to alert them in the case of a seizure;
(2) there is no permitting or certification process in place to officially recognize these dogs in a similar way as guide dogs;
(3) this lack of permitting these life-saving animals has the effect of further restricting the mobility of disabled people; and
THAT this House urges the Yukon Party government to establish a permitting or certification process for assist dogs that will provide support and greater freedom for disabled people in the territory.
Mr. Cardiff: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT this House realizes that the Yukon government is the single largest employer in the Yukon Territory and therefore should lead by example; and
THAT this House urges the Yukon government to ensure that the right of employees to a safe and healthy workplace and safe working conditions is met by conducting an assessment of all government workplaces to ensure they meet or exceed current occupational health and safety regulations.
Speaker: Are there any further notices of motion?
Is there a statement by a minister?
This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Alaska-Yukon railroad feasibility study
Mr. Hardy: The Premier and the Governor of Alaska have agreed to spend $5 million U.S. on a railway feasibility study. The governor is using federal money, not his own; the Premier is using Yukon money. The governor has the backing of his federal government; the Premier does not have the backing of his federal government. The governor wants a railway that will serve military objectives; we can’t figure out what the Premier wants, except to please the governor.
Why is this feasibility study so important that the Premier can’t wait until the Government of Canada is on-board?
Hon. Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, this concept of a rail link through the Yukon to the State of Alaska has the support and the interest of the United States and its federal government, the State of Alaska and our federal government, which, by way of a commitment by our MP in the last federal election, clearly demonstrated that commitment and support. Most recently, the Minister of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade — DFAIT — has been very supportive of the concept. Recently, at the western premiers conference, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut supported the Yukon in this very initiative.
What we’re doing, Mr. Speaker, is investing money in partnership with the State of Alaska to do the feasibility study on the proposed rail link. That’s the type of work that needs to be done before any further decisions can be made on this matter. Do we need to wait for the federal government? No, I don’t think we should. I think the Yukon should take the initiative, show leadership and do exactly what we’re doing.
Mr. Hardy: It’s interesting in his little list there of where the support is coming from that he omitted the Yukon people.
Now, there’s nothing in the current budget to pay for the Yukon’s share of this feasibility study. The Premier hasn’t introduced a supplementary budget to cover it. The Financial Administration Act only allows him to use a special warrant for spending that is urgently and immediately needed. On Tuesday the Premier said there’s no urgency — which is contradictory to what he just said here — which suggests that he won’t be using a special warrant. The only source the Premier has left to pay for this exercise in pleasing his friend from Alaska is existing departmental budgets.
What departments and what programs in those departments does the Premier plan to borrow money from to finance this feasibility study? Will the Premier spell that out before he asks us to vote for his budget next Tuesday?
Speaker: Before the Hon. Premier answers the question, the Chair is offering a cautionary statement here. A term like “pleasing his friend from Alaska” is imputing false or unavowed motives, from the Chair’s perspective, and I know the honourable member did not intend to do that. I would just ask him to be careful with his phraseology.
Hon. Mr. Fentie: I think it’s important that we note that the only sense of urgency here is with the members opposite. That sense of urgency is there because they are desperately trying to find some semblance of a vision for this territory. Mired in negativity, they have presented themselves as a party and as a representative group in this House that has no plan or vision for the Yukon. The members opposite are very negative about building a bright future for the territory, growing the Yukon’s economy, investing in infrastructure, partnering with the private sector, partnering with other jurisdictions. They don’t like any of that.
Furthermore, in discussions about the budget and whether we’re going to have anything in the budget by Tuesday with respect to this initiative, the members are going to vote against it anyway. They’ve already voted against this budget in this House. There is no urgency on when we have to spend the money. That’s why we’re doing our homework. When the time comes that we need to spend any of the Yukon taxpayers’ money, we will do it in accordance with the FAA and all other regulations and policies that guide us.
Speaker: Before the honourable member asks his next question, Hon. Premier, the same cautionary note should be exercised on the government’s side of the floor. Your statement wasn’t exactly imputing false or unavowed motives, but it was awfully close. I’d ask both sides of the floor to keep that in mind, please.
Mr. Hardy: It is becoming very obvious when the Premier can’t defend his own actions and he can’t defend the $3 million of taxpayers’ money that he’s spending on a feasibility study not needed, he attacks the opposition. He has no grounds to defend it, so he attacks.
This government commissioned studies for the sole purpose of convincing the federal government to get on-board the great railway dream. Since those studies came out, the Premier and the Minister of Economic Development have been doing everything they can to downplay the military implications of a railway. They haven’t made any kind of business case for this unusual expenditure of Yukon tax dollars. They haven’t consulted anyone, including the First Nations that are supposed to be this government’s full partners in economic development. When is the Premier going to ask the First Nations and other Yukoners what they think about this unusual expenditure, or does the Premier think it’s enough just to consult with Governor Murkowski?
Hon. Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, let me jog the member opposite’s memory. We have stated in this House and publicly that the Yukon First Nations have two seats on the steering committee. That’s fairly significant when it comes to involving First Nations. Furthermore, the members opposite are trying to portray this concept like its sole purpose will be to transport military hardware to the State of Alaska. That’s not the case. We’re looking through this feasibility study at all kinds of alternatives and possibilities of resources, containerization, military hardware, marketing products and shipping products out of the Yukon, and the list goes on. It’s forward thinking. It’s looking at infrastructure that will help grow our economies. Frankly, Mr. Speaker, I would rather see military hardware on a train going to the State of Alaska than Yukoners pulling U-Hauls, heading south.
Question re: Government-First Nation relations
Mr. Hardy: It’s nice to know that the Premier is a big fan of weapons. Now I would like to follow up with the Premier on a related matter. A few minutes ago, I tabled a letter that was sent to the Minister of Economic Development on April 13. It contains the signatures of seven First Nation chiefs, the Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations, the Yukon Vice-Chief of the Assembly of First Nations and some other signatories. This letter has been widely circulated, even to the federal government, and the Premier was copied on it. Has either the Premier or the Minister of Economic Development responded to that letter yet?
Hon. Mr. Kenyon: Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that there is a response being prepared to that letter.
Again, with the railroad, I am still in awe that the opposition would try to position this as strictly a military decision. We’ve had a road since 1942, and the same things are going up the road. Railways are the most energy efficient, the least expensive — the least expensive per pound for shipping. It helps meet our commitment to the Kyoto Accord. It will open up resource development. It will allow container traffic to come down from a port that is within five fewer days less sailing time from some Asian ports. We need to study the entire picture, and that’s what this study provides.
Mr. Hardy: This letter spells out exactly what we on this side of the House have been saying for months now. To put it bluntly, what it says is that this government is all talk and no action when it comes to working with Yukon First Nations on economic development opportunities — lots of talk, lots of paper, MOUs, accords, agreements, bilaterals, et cetera, but no product.
The Premier’s mandate runs out in just a little over a year — if he even waits that long before he calls an election — so when is the Premier going to start walking the walk instead of talking the talk?
Hon. Mr. Fentie: What a golden opportunity to again relay to the House all the areas of partnerships that have contributed very positively to the Yukon. Let’s begin with the Yukon Forum, formalizing our government-to-government relationship: that’s done, agreed to, we’re involved. The Children’s Act review, in partnership with First Nations: again another demonstration of our commitment to partnership. Education reform and corrections reform, in partnership with First Nations — another example of our commitment delivered.
Let’s look at the economy, Mr. Speaker. Let’s look at Destination: Carcross — a partnership with First Nations. Let’s look at the bilateral. We’ve just found out recently that the bilateral and its element around drilling in the southeast Yukon has produced a significant increase in our production of natural gas in the Kotaneelee, thereby increasing our own source revenues. All First Nations share in those increased revenues through our sharing of royalties.
Our sharing of tax room — over 90 percent of income tax with relation to First Nations is being returned to them, which is another partnership. Let’s look at the capital investment in Old Crow, a partnership there. Let’s look at the economic accord in north Yukon with First Nations, a partnership there. Let’s look at the cultural centre on the waterfront. Yukon has committed $1.2 million to that particular initiative, which is another example of partnership.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, we committed to partnering with First Nations, and we are delivering.
Mr. Hardy: I just listed seven chiefs who disagree with this Premier. When is he going to start listening? When is he going to start acting instead of just signing more accords and more bilaterals?
When the Governor of Alaska snaps his fingers, the Premier snaps to attention — $3 million just like that — but when it comes to First Nation participation in economic development, he seems to have all the time in the world to not do anything.
It’s time the Premier had a little reality check. The letter from the chiefs wants a real commitment and it names several specific projects: the Canada Winter Games, the affordable housing program, the Carmacks school, the Dawson City bridge, the Four Mountains project, and there are others.
Will the Premier and his Minister of Economic Development stop stalling and pay attention to this very clear message before the First Nations decide to invest outside of this territory, because they can’t even get to first base with this government or this Premier?
Hon. Mr. Fentie: When it comes to Alaska, I noticed how quickly the NDP government snapped to attention in the 1990s, gobbling up all of that Shakwak money that the Americans were pouring into the Yukon. They were certainly standing tall and straight when it came to that investment.
The member opposite alludes to “first base”. This government and First Nations are on third base. We’ve left the members opposite behind. The reason is that we look forward, we have a vision, we have a plan, and we’re building Yukon’s future. The members opposite are dismantling Yukon’s past.
Question re: Alaska-Yukon railroad
Ms. Duncan: The Government of Yukon recently produced a paper, called “Developing a New Framework for Sovereignty and Security in the North”. The report states: “Northerners remain concerned that ballistic missile defence sites near Canada could become targets for attack.” The report also states that the U.S. is moving to install part of the missile defence system in Alaska less than 200 kilometres from our border.
We have the government admitting that Yukoners are concerned about missile defence and don’t want it to move forward. So, what did the Premier do? He signed a $3-million agreement with the Americans that will bring missile defence closer to reality. Why does the Premier place a higher priority on helping out Frank Murkowski than he does on the views of Yukoners?
Hon. Mr. Fentie: This is not about helping out Governor Murkowski and the State of Alaska. This is about the State of Alaska and the Yukon collaborating with our respective federal governments, helping out our respective countries and jurisdictions.
The paper the member alludes to is a result of our pan-northern relationship with our sister territories, a relationship that was sour when that member was leading this territory — there was no product, there was no relationship.
We are producing constructive measures for Yukon, N.W.T. and Nunavut because we’ve taken the view that it’s time to move from the politics of confrontation to the politics of cooperation and collaboration. The security paper is a shining testament and example to that fact.
Ms. Duncan: The Yukon Party wants to have it both ways. In one report, they pay lip service to the fact that Yukoners are opposed to missile defence and that they are concerned about having U.S. ballistic missiles 200 kilometres from our border. What did the Premier do to address the concern? Did he tell the governor that Yukoners are opposed to missile defence, like he should have told the governor we were opposed to drilling in ANWR? No, he signed a deal with the governor that actually helps reduce the cost of putting the missiles in place. Why has the Premier put helping to get a U.S. missile defence system ahead of the views of Yukoners?
Hon. Mr. Fentie: That’s exactly what the government hasn’t done. The government has made sure, considering the fact that the Americans proceeded with this particular defence system — Canada has opted out. The whole country has opted out, but they’re going to proceed. So the Yukon government has put Yukoners ahead of this situation to ensure that the right thing happens. We have got ourselves involved, and we’re looking at the broad aspects of the proposed rail link. A very minute portion of this is what may be transported for military. There is a tremendous other amount of freight and resources, containerization — you name it — that can go on this rail, including fuel. We are not putting anybody ahead, other than Yukoners. We are putting them ahead. Look at the stats; today more Yukoners are moving in. There are more jobs for Yukoners. We have one of the lowest unemployment rates and one of the highest growths in GDP. We are putting Yukoners ahead.
Ms. Duncan: There are competing priorities here. On the one hand, the government has acknowledged in a new report that Yukoners are very concerned about their safety, because of the missile defence system. On the other hand, the Premier is eager to please the Governor of Alaska. Which priority won? The governor got $3 million of Yukon taxpayers’ money. I guess that shows where the Premier’s loyalty lies —
Speaker: Order please. Sit down, please.
The member has questioned another member’s loyalty. From the Chair’s perspective, all members are sworn to represent people of the Yukon honourably. I would ask the honourable member not to use that terminology.
Ms. Duncan: Certainly, Mr. Speaker. The question is which priority. The Yukon Party consistently has put a friendship with Governor Murkowski ahead of Yukoners. We’re seeing it today on missile defence. We’ve already seen it on ANWR. Why has the Premier put helping to get the U.S. missile defence system in place ahead of the views of Yukoners, as clearly articulated in the Yukon’s own report?
Hon. Mr. Fentie: I hope this doesn’t come as a huge surprise to the member opposite, but all the military in Alaska that’s there is in place now, and it includes a Canadian contingent flying AWAC missions almost daily out of the Anchorage air force base. Mr. Speaker, we have placed a priority here as a government, and it is in Yukon. That is why we have strengthened the social fabric with millions of dollars improving our program and service delivery. That is why we have increased our investment in education at the leadership of the minister involved, targeting trades training, culture, language and First Nation curriculum. That is why we have invested in infrastructure, creating jobs for Yukoners. That is why we are investing in Yukon’s future: roads, railways, airports and ports. We are looking at the broad perspective because we have a vision, we have a plan, we are delivering. That’s why the Yukon is in the position it is in today. Ask ourselves: is the Yukon better off today than it was in December of 2002? The evidence is clear — yes, we are.
Question re: First Nations education
Mr. Fairclough: My question is for the Minister of Education. Since the minister was appointed, we have been asking about how he is dealing with First Nation education. First Nations have invested in reports about the education system to make it clear what is needed. They have worked on committees set up by the Department of Education, and they have gotten nowhere.
Today there was another big issue on the horizon. The Na Cho Nyäk Dun First Nation wants to set up its own school board, which they are entitled to do under the Education Act. Is the minister going to override and block this move because he thinks he knows best?
Hon. Mr. Edzerza: I’ll answer the first question first, on what we’re doing with First Nations. We have elders in the school programs. We have Yukon First Nations curriculum advisory committee. We have Yukon First Nations grade 12 text that has been developed. We have tutoring programs. We have grade 5 study units, focusing on Yukon First Nation land and governance. We have the Old Crow education working group. We have the Liard First Nation curriculum development project for Kaska culture and language.
We have $500,000 for First Nation curriculum development. We have $305,000 for cultural program activities. We also have a joint relationship with First Voices — three projects in the territory that are preserving First Nation languages. We are doing something for First Nations.
Mr. Fairclough: The minister didn’t answer the question. That’s no surprise; he never does in this Legislature. I asked him about what he thinks about Na Cho Nyäk Dun creating its own school board. It must be that the minister thinks he knows best.
Na Cho Nyäk Dun and Little Salmon-Carmacks First Nation are both making moves to draw down education and others are losing patience too. This minister has fiddled with the curriculum and he has provided some new programs. He says the money he’s throwing at yet another consultation — the education reform — is the answer. He says the education system that’s in place now is fine, it just needs a little tweaking — that’s what he said — and he refused to make decisions on the big issues.
When is the minister going to accept the new legal reality of self-government and respond in a way that recognizes the desire of First Nations to have control of their own education? Please concentrate on the question.
Hon. Mr. Edzerza: First off, I’d like to remind the member opposite that I’m First Nation, I went through the school system and I’m the Minister of Education, so obviously the education system does have some value somewhere and it does work.
I also want to say that the reports the member opposite continually raises in this House are reports that were produced by the First Nation. I respect that as a government-to-government initiative, and I’ll continue to respect it at that level.
I think it’s important to put on the record that, after the report was released by Na Cho Nyäk Dun, the Department of Education established an education task force with government to begin to address educational concerns. In February of this year, the First Nation chose to leave the task force.
The member opposite continually criticizes government for not being willing to work in partnerships. Well, the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” is very, very accurate.
Question re: Mount Lorne zoning regulations
Mr. Cardiff: I have a question for the Minister of Community Services. The Hamlet of Mount Lorne and the community of Mount Lorne have worked hard with the Department of Community Services for many years to develop zoning regulations that ensure planned, responsible land development. The community finished its work on those regulations and sent them to the government in the year 2000.
This government has promised, on many occasions over the past two and a half years, to move forward with the Mount Lorne zoning regulations. What’s holding up Cabinet approval of these regulations now?
Hon. Mr. Hart: As the member opposite indicated, we are working on the situation in Mount Lorne and are in the process of doing just what he said.
Mr. Cardiff: The minister has been promising this for a long time. In April 2003, the minister said the hold-up was in legislative drafting and translation. Last March, the minister wrote to the hamlet council, and he estimated that the regulations would be in force by late spring 2004 — that’s a year ago. The continual promises, the unending delays, and a rash of spot land applications in the Hamlet of Mount Lorne have led to a loss of trust in the minister’s department by this community.
Now, when will the Mount Lorne zoning regulations finally be approved, and what actions is the minister going to take to restore their trust?
Hon. Mr. Hart: As the member opposite stated, these regulations have been outstanding since 2000, so there have been many issues being worked on in that particular community. We have brought those to a head and we are in the process of bringing them to the process.
Question re: Seniors group funding
Mr. McRobb: I wanted to follow up with the Health minister on one of the many contradictions from this Yukon Party government. Two weeks ago I asked him a few questions about the unfairness in this government’s funding of seniors groups across the territory. When we left off with this matter, the minister provided his reason to support the $43,000 in government funding appropriated to the seniors group in the Premier’s riding. He said it was to provide home care services. We’ve checked into that and, not surprisingly, we have found that information to be incorrect. That group does not provide home care. Can the minister tell us the real purpose of those funds?
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: It’s very straightforward. It’s to provide support to seniors in the Watson Lake area. This was an initiative that was begun many years ago, over a decade ago. The Signpost Seniors organized into a group and they have moved forward. They are providing excellent services in that community to a number of seniors in one manner or other. I commend them for the wonderful job that they’ve done. Yes, it is enshrined in a line item in our budget, and the same offer has been made to Haines Junction, should they wish to organize. The letters went out this week to the two ladies who have written to me with a copy of the contribution agreement that was in place with Watson Lake and offering the seniors in Haines Junction the same opportunity to deliver similar type programs in a similar type of context as in Watson Lake.
Mr. McRobb: Well, we’ll get back to that in a minute, Mr. Speaker. This minister is waffling. According to sources we contacted in Watson Lake, the $43,000 goes toward providing taxi services, lunches, subsidized Meals on Wheels, special suppers, bowling, bingo and driveway plowing in winter. Mr. Speaker, it’s wonderful to know that some of our seniors are receiving those services, but those services are not defined as “home care”. That brings us back to the problem. This government is providing this type of funding only to one group of seniors. Other seniors groups want a similar arrangement. Will the minister now be fair with the public purse and make this same offer to all seniors groups?
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Speaker, that has been done. I have just advised the House that the same contract that is in place with the Signpost Seniors in Watson Lake has been sent to the member’s own riding for the seniors in that riding to organize into a group and provide those services. The member opposite makes a very good point, but what the member opposite has been provided is only a short list of services being provided by the Signpost Seniors. It’s much more expanded and much larger than what the member has suggested on the floor of the House.
Question re: Family Violence Prevention Act, recommendations
Mrs. Peter: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. The rate of family violence in the Yukon is intolerable, especially for First Nation women. This government reviewed the Family Violence Prevention Act three years ago. We have heard too many promises about a response to the recommendations and even about another review a year ago. The former Minister of Justice said our government has identified this piece of legislation as a priority. She promised that action would be taken in the next few months. What action has been taken to date on the recommendations to changes to the Family Violence Prevention Act?
Hon. Ms. Taylor: A lot is being done on the front of violence prevention, particularly when it comes to violence prevention for our women and children in the territory. The member opposite alluded to the amendments to the Family Violence Prevention Act. Thanks to the good work of the Department of Justice in conjunction with the Women’s Directorate, other departments and the stakeholders involved, we are reviewing those recommendations and we will be tabling amendments to that piece of legislation this fall. Our commitment was there a year ago; it’s still there today.
In addition to that, we have also increased resources to the family violence prevention unit and victim services unit. We also have enhanced services to the domestic violence treatment option, services to the Town of Watson Lake, and of course right within my own portfolio of the Women’s Directorate, we are increasing resources. We are working with stakeholders throughout the territory to prevent violence. Again, we are enhancing resources in this end and we are very proud of our government’s commitment.
Mrs. Peter: The minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate is covering for the Minister of Justice. My question is for the Minister of Justice.
There are several areas that need attention in this act. Some of them are very simple. One aspect that needs immediate attention is the ability to have emergency protection orders for women and children, removing an abuser from the home. The N.W.T. has implemented new legislation similar to ours. They have already had three times the number of orders than we have had in the same time period. Can the Minister of Justice tell us why there is a difference in the use of police powers between the two territories?
Hon. Mr. Edzerza: I believe I can go one better for the member opposite. This government has gone beyond what this member is concerned about. In fact, it has gone even so far as to develop a document called “Working without boundaries”. This is an interdepartmental collaboration project that was developed between Education, Health and Social Services, and Justice. Some of the information in here is evidence of how concerned this government is. For example, a total of 35 groups and over 160 individuals were interviewed in this phase of the project.
Focus groups were held with representatives of front-line staff and managers from all three departments. Face-to-face and telephone interviews were conducted with the judiciary, the RCMP and workers in NGOs and First Nations whose clients receive service from the three departments. Participants were asked to consider the best practices and barriers they encounter or observe with the three departments.
So, Mr. Speaker, this government has gone way beyond what the member opposite’s concerns are.
Mrs. Peter: One-quarter of all violent crimes in Canada are family violence. Aboriginal women are three times more likely to suffer family violence than non-aboriginal women. It’s not enough any more to make speeches. It’s not enough to wear ribbons. It’s not enough to print pamphlets. It’s not enough to have a help line and more conferences.
Women need real help. They need to have action by this government. Will the minister commit his government to following through on their many promises to put real support behind the Family Violence Prevention Act and do it now?
Hon. Mr. Edzerza: To start with, this government is already doing that. I am in agreement with the member opposite that, yes, violence against women is not tolerable. It should never happen. However, I want to stress one point here that we as citizens of the Yukon Territory should not, and cannot, just point the finger at the government to be the cure of all cures. I believe that every First Nation government in the territory has responsibilities in this regard. I believe that every municipal government has responsibilities in this regard. I believe that every citizen in the Yukon Territory has responsibilities to ensure that women do not have to put up with spousal abuse. I wish there were a magic solution so that we could snap our fingers today and never have this violence against women occur ever again.
However, I think that what’s more important here is for the individual citizens of the Yukon Territory to get involved and take it upon themselves to start protecting women.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now expired.
Speaker: Order please. Before proceeding to Orders of the Day, the Chair wishes to deal with a point of order raised by the official opposition House leader at the conclusion of Question Period on Wednesday, May 11, 2005.
At that time the official opposition House leader said: “Earlier this afternoon, there was a gentleman in the gallery and it was obvious he had a recording device in his possession — a recorder with a large microphone. I checked with the Clerk of the Assembly and clearly that is in contravention of the rules of the House.
“It’s also my understanding that this is a person who is in the employ of the Yukon Party government and he was introduced by the Member for Lake Laberge on April 27. I would ask you to look into this matter, Mr. Speaker, and, if what I’m saying is accurate, try to prevent it from recurring.”
The official opposition House leader is correct in stating that tape recorders are not allowed in the public gallery. This prohibition is a long-standing practice of this House that reflects practices elsewhere.
The Chair would report to the House that it has been determined that the person in question did indeed have in his possession a recorder and a microphone. The person in question has been approached about this matter and stated that at no time did he operate the recorder in this Chamber.
The person in question also stated that it was incorrect to describe him as being an employee of the Government of Yukon. This reinforces the point that members of this House should take great care when making statements about persons outside this House. Those persons do not have any right of response, either here or in the courts, to personally damaging remarks made by members.
The Chair, therefore, would state to the official opposition House leader and all members of this House that there is no need, when raising a point of order such as this, to specify the employment history of an individual. That is clearly not germane to the point of order and, as has been shown, only has the potential to cause needless harm. Rather, members, when raising points of order, are to strictly stick to the facts: that is, inform the House about what someone is doing or has done and explain how, in the view of the member, such actions are in violation of a rule or practice of the House.
When he raised this point of order, the official opposition House leader asked that the Speaker both look into this matter and “try to prevent it from recurring.”
This incident has made the Chair aware that the rules respecting the public gallery are not posted in full at the gallery entrance.
The only notices posted at this time are that guests in the gallery are to be quiet, that comments and applause are not allowed and that no food or beverages are permitted in the gallery.
The people entering the gallery, therefore, may not be aware that the rules common to legislative assemblies across this country also apply here. For example, they are not allowed to tape record the proceedings nor take pictures or film the proceedings without the permission of the Speaker nor to bring signs into the gallery nor to wear clothing on which political messages are displayed.
In response to the official opposition House leader’s request that the Speaker try to prevent the reoccurrence of events such as took place yesterday, the Chair will be looking into ways by which people in the public gallery can be more fully informed about the rules governing their behaviour.
It is difficult, however, to provide an assurance that such an incident can be prevented from recurring in the future unless the House is willing to support the posting of security personnel in the public gallery of this Chamber. Those members of this House who were here in 2001 may recall that they received, in a security review, a recommendation that a security officer be posted at the public gallery entrance. It was further recommended that this officer would be responsible for, among other things, controlling access to the public gallery and for enforcing compliance with gallery rules.
The House did not choose to take the action found in those recommendations. If members wish to receive greater assurance that the rules governing visitors to the gallery are enforced, the Chair would suggest that the security review and the recommendations found therein should be revisited. This could possibly be done through the initiative of House leaders or, perhaps, by the Members’ Services Board.
The Chair thanks members for their attention.
We will now proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the government House leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: Order please. Committee of the Whole will now come to order.
The matter before the Committee is Bill No. 15, First Appropriation Act, 2005-06. Before we begin, do members wish a brief recess?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will take a 15-minute recess.
Chair: Order please. Committee of the Whole will now come to order. The matter before the Committee this afternoon is Bill No. 15, First Appropriation Act, 2005-06. We will continue with general debate on Vote 52, Department of Environment.
Bill No. 15 — First Appropriation Act, 2005-06 — continued
Department of Environment — continued
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: When we left general debate on the Department of Environment yesterday, I had had an opportunity to outline some of the new initiatives that the department is working on. I’m sure it will come as no surprise that many of the new initiatives we are supporting this year will go toward improving service to the general public and to new partnerships with First Nations and with the private sector, and to complementing our tourism sector in the promotion of the Yukon’s natural resources as a visitor destination.
All our campgrounds are going to be open, save and except probably the ones way up the Dempster, by May 13. We’ve kept many of them open over the winter that are adjacent to lakes and bodies of water where we know quite a number of individuals, Yukoners, like to go and park and fish through the ice. When we look at the campground situation here in the Yukon, that’s under the umbrella of the Department of Environment.
Campgrounds are free to all Yukoners for the rest of the month of May, Mr. Speaker, so that bodes well. The signs have been coming down. Gates are unlocked, and we are moving very forward on this very positive initiative.
New fishing licences are being issued. Mr. Chair, the regulations will remain in place for two years. We’ve gone back to slot limits this year and next year and probably in subsequent years, but you’ll be allowed to keep the big fish, the trophy fish. The other area that we’ve examined is the transboundary waters between the Yukon and British Columbia. We have the same rules, so no longer do you have to go and get a B.C. fishing licence to fish into the Yukon waters. You can use your Yukon fishing licence and the rules are the same. We are very hopeful. We set up a process where we are going to remain, hopefully, consistent with British Columbia in our transboundary waters with respect to the fishing regulations.
Another challenge we’re facing is moving forward with the visitor interpretive centre in Tombstone Park. The Department of Environment and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in have entered into a government-to-government relationship to move forward on the design and the construction of an interpretive centre in Tombstone.
This has been ongoing for a number of years, and it also presents a wonderful opportunity for Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in members to work with Holland America, who will be taking coach tours up into that area this season.
So the opportunities are expanding in all sectors of our economy. Our government ran on a platform of restoring investor confidence in the Yukon, rebuilding the Yukon economy and enhancing opportunities for our youth. We have moved forward in all those areas, and the statistics are there to show it. We’ve created almost 2,000 new jobs here in the Yukon. The population is expanding. It’s a U-Haul economy, but people are returning, unlike the situation under the past two administrations, where it was a U-Haul economy, but we were waving goodbye to the rear ends of the U-Hauls. Now, we’re seeing them come and stay because of the opportunities here.
Further to that, we’re seeing one of the best increases in GDP of any political jurisdiction in Canada. That bodes well. Our population has increased by several thousand, and it continues to grow. On the downside, we do have a shortage of skilled people, in a multitude of categories, which comes with the issue of economic development and opportunities being presented to Yukoners through initiatives such as those of the Department of Environment.
Now, Mr. Chair, to elaborate further on some of the other initiatives that we have to put in place, there’s a tremendous effort on the Department of Education front to train new workers to come into the workforce. There’s a collaborative effort on the part of the Department of Education and on the part of Yukon College and all its campuses to train new individuals in our workforce so they can take up the opportunities that are being created in all the various departments of the government.
We recognize the importance of the Department of Environment in our monitoring role with respect to Kyoto. Kyoto is basically a process that regulates human activity. In simple words, Kyoto wants to lower by 50 percent by the year 2050 what emissions were in existence in 1990. Here we are 15 years after 1990 and the Yukon is already 60 percent lower. So we in the Yukon have achieved what is hopefully going to be achieved globally by 2050. We’ve achieved and exceeded it in the first 15 years since Kyoto was accepted. We still have a number of areas we can address and we still have a lot we can do, but we have very good recycling programs and we have a lot of initiatives that subsequently end up reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Now move forward into some of the other areas under the Department of Environment. We’ve all heard about the oil that is contaminating our soil and the contaminated sites that we have to clean up. The Department of Environment is working on an entirely new initiative in-house to ensure that we are ready to address our responsibilities in this area. These are very positive initiatives.
We are creating a new, improved unit that will address this area. We only have to look just down Second Avenue to see what hit the news just a few short weeks ago with respect to oil being pumped into the Yukon River from a sump. This is a very serious condition given that subsequently it was uncovered that there were approximately 4,000 litres removed from the soil. This is new oil. The testing is ongoing as to the source of this contaminant. We didn’t strike oil. We weren’t looking to strike oil, but there’s oil there. Now the trick is to source it and determine what went wrong, who is responsible and clean it up. To that end, the Department of Environment is working alongside those in the private sector, and we will be undertaking a drilling program to delineate where the oil may be originating and then clean it up and treat it.
Further to that, there are a number of other areas that the Department of Environment and our biologists are addressing. The recovery situation for both the Chisana and the Porcupine caribou herds is improving, helping to maintain the traditional way of life for our Gwitch’in people. This is also an area that we have concentrated on as a government. We are looking forward to continuing to work with the Vuntut Gwitchin and the chief and council, who have asked to take the lead in this area.
We as a government have agreed with the chief and are resourcing the initiatives that they are undertaking. We are moving forward. I know the leader of the official opposition critic in this area feels we should be out, running up and down the street with placards, but we’ve listened to the chief of the Gwitch’in people from Old Crow and moved forward in lockstep. They have taken the lead, and we have helped and assisted where we can.
Mr. Chair, I am sure there are many, many more excellent initiatives that I’ll be able to elaborate on as we get further into the budget debate on the Department of Environment, and I’ll look forward to that debate with the official opposition and the third party.
Mrs. Peter: The minister just can’t help himself in making those comments and —
Some Hon. Member: Point of order.
Point of order
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: I thought we were going to raise the tone of debate in the Legislature, and the member opposite is starting by imputing false or unavowed motives to this side, pursuant to Standing Order 19(g).
Chair: There is no point of order.
Mrs. Peter: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I just wanted to put on record a few more of the concerns and issues that I wanted to address on behalf of my constituents and concerned Yukon people. I listened with great interest to the minister as he addressed some of the new initiatives, as he called them. Speaking about campgrounds and visitor reception centres, I thought we were in our Tourism debate for awhile.
I also took note of his comment regarding the Porcupine caribou and how the government is in partnership with Vuntut Gwitchin.
I think I put on record yesterday that I would like to see the Minister of Environment go to Old Crow and have that dialogue with the people in the community, more especially with the elders, and he will hear first-hand how serious that situation is and would not take it very lightly.
Anyhow, I would like to move on. I think we have on record, many times over, the Porcupine caribou situation. This government can trumpet all they want how good of a relationship they have with Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation. That they do; I wouldn’t doubt that. But when it comes to our livelihood and protection of the Porcupine caribou calving grounds, then that’s definitely another story. I will say again that if it takes standing outside this Legislature with placards to make our voices heard, then we’ll do that here and any other place so that the message is clear. I’m sure that our visitors from Alaska who were in the gallery with us on that memorable day heard us loud and clear.
Moving on, the minister listed some initiatives. I wanted to ask the minister what new initiatives he had for this department, and he listed the campgrounds, the fishing licence renewals, the initiative they have about the big fish, and some of the challenges they were going to have with their visitor reception centre at Tombstone. Also with the monitoring role that this department seems to have taken on in regard to climate change and all the other issues I brought forward yesterday — and that’s pretty sad, Mr. Chair, because I believe that we as individuals in the Yukon Territory are stewards of the land, water and animals. I think it would take a great deal for a government to show leadership in that area.
I think it was a great opportunity for the Yukon Party government to show leadership in many of those areas, because they said they had this great and wonderful relationship with First Nations. If there was any understanding in making that kind of comment, then they would have the understanding of where our value system lies and how those values are priorities, yet we would like to move forward in other areas.
So if they listened very carefully in that regard then I’m sure they would have learned much from that dialogue with First Nation governments out there.
The most important is being stewards of our land. When it comes to water, that is one of the most important — keeping our rivers and lakes clean. When it comes to the minister’s own riding, a situation has been happening for many years in the community of Dawson. I’m not aware that this government addressed the sewage problems in that community. It’s absolutely amazing what the people of Dawson had to contend with over the last couple of years that this government has been in power, not only in the area of democracy but in other areas. This is another huge concern they have.
Yesterday I referred to our traditional life. We harvest from the waters and from the land. When you have situations like the sewage issue happening, then what is it doing to the fish and the animals that eat that fish?
There is a food chain that happens out there, and it’s a huge concern for people out there. It leads into health concerns and on and on it goes.
I would just like to hear from the minister if this issue has been addressed in his riding.
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: Yes, it has.
Mrs. Peter: Can the minister please elaborate on that and share a little bit of information on how it is being addressed and who is involved?
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: Initially, under the City of Dawson, the municipal government came to the Yukon government with a plan to put in secondary sewage. The budget was $4 million and something — I can’t recall the exact number, $4.5 million or $4.8 million. Those dollars were flowed under the previous Liberal administration. Unfortunately, the dollars were spent on other initiatives within the government, with the full knowledge and concurrence of the Liberal government of the day.
Some Hon. Member: Point of order.
Point of order
Chair: Ms. Duncan, on a point of order.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, to suggest that something was done by someone else — the minister just said that something was done with the full knowledge and concurrence of the Liberal government. He was not part of that government. It was a negative connotation, which, to me, would ascribe motives to a previous government. I would ask that the minister, who has no knowledge of the events, to refrain from discussing them.
Chair: The Chair obviously has no knowledge of whether or not there was concurrence. What I would suggest that we have here is a dispute between members.
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. Well, Mr. Chair, as I was saying, one only has to track the capital funding agreement in place between the Liberal government of the day and the City of Dawson to see that the undertaking was done with the full concurrence and knowledge of the Liberal government of the day here in Whitehorse.
That said, Mr. Chair, the project did go sideways. Things didn’t work out. Money was spent on other initiatives, and secondary sewage in Dawson did not come to be installed. The project has been taken over by Community Services. There is currently a test program underway, and that has been in place since early this spring — I believe it was February or March of this year when it went into place — which will determine the best method of secondary sewage.
There have been open houses in the community, but the member opposite can rest assured with a great degree of comfort that Dawson is not failing any tests at this time of the year. There are probably about two months or maybe a two-and-a-half-month period in the summertime when they do not pass the LC50 test. The LC50 test is a very simple test. A composite sample of approximately 20 litres is pulled right from the screening drum in the primary sewage treatment plant. This effluent is then flown to a lab in the Lower Mainland. Its water temperature, when it’s pulled, is about three or four degrees Celsius. When the sample is transferred to the airline in Dawson and subsequently held overnight and shipped later the next day, its temperature rises to the ambient temperature, then it is usually about 15 or 17 degrees Celsius.
The dissolved oxygen that is supposed to be contained in the water tends to disappear, and many bacteria tend to grow in that water when you raise the temperature like it has been raised. That said, the test ends up taking place in a lab in Vancouver. The composite sample of water is placed in a container. Fish fry are introduced, and if 50 percent of them live, you pass the test. If 50 percent or more pass on or pass away, end up floating on the surface, you fail. In the wintertime, Dawson doesn’t fail this test. In fact, the fecal coliform count in the Yukon River upstream of Dawson is usually considerably higher than downstream of Dawson.
We only have to move forward — in December 2004, Environment Canada published a new guideline for ammonia under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act instrument, and ammonia is the main culprit discharging into the water. But overall, there is no industrial waste, no industrial pollutants like there are in a great many other areas, and the Department of Community Services is examining all sorts of other options. I’m sure that these options will be in place in very short order, recognizing the court order that the municipal government is under today.
Mrs. Peter: The minister gave us a lot of information. I’m not sure the citizens of Dawson would be encouraged by his answers. Yesterday I listed several issues in this department. I’ll just go over some of those issues again with regard to climate change.
How is this government addressing climate change in the Yukon, and in what areas are they willing to help the communities throughout the Yukon to address changes within the environment? How are they addressing helping people to cope with changes in regard to harvesting for traditional foods?
There’s information; I know it’s being researched in regard to how the north is addressing most of these challenges. The minister keeps referring to this Department of Environment as a “monitoring agency”. Is the minister willing to just sit back and have everybody monitor situations as they’re getting worse, and not address some of those issues on behalf of the Yukon people? He’s willing to sit back and monitor while the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources is moving forward in regard to a lot of resource development.
How are they working in conjunction with each other? He was saying they’re working in partnership with that department, and they are going to monitor and just sit back and watch as these things take place?
That puzzles me. There are many people out there who are concerned about any programs happening that have to do with research and renewable energy. What are the options for them? These are some of the questions that people are very concerned about. If this department is only a monitoring department, then what vision does the minister have for the Department of Environment for the Yukon? We’re in very serious times. If we don’t address these problems now, then it’s going to be too far gone before anything takes place.
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Chair, this question has been asked and answered, but for the benefit of the House and the members opposite, let me go over it once again.
If we want to look at the Kyoto Protocol and what is going to be occurring, the Kyoto Protocol is based on achieving a 50-percent reduction in emissions by the year 2050. That’s based on emissions determined to be in place in 1990. Today it’s 2005, and we’re 15 years into the guideline era. The Yukon is on the leading front in that we have reduced emissions by 60 percent from what they were in 1990.
Now, a lot goes to make up that reduction, and we could go on and on and on in that area. Now, Mr. Chair, the issue of climate change transcends through government, through all departments. Environment and Energy, Mines and Resources are the key lead departments, but the Department of Environment primarily has a monitoring responsibility. The lead department for implementation is Energy, Mines and Resources. That said, we all have a responsibility — all departments — but that’s the way the system works, and that is how it has been set up, and we are moving forward as a government to implement what has to be implemented. We have to have databases. It has to be science-based. So you have to assemble a lot of information, and that’s what’s being done. If you measure something, you have to measure it and record it. That’s what we’re doing.
I encourage the member opposite to go back and review Hansard, because this whole overview has been spelled out before, yesterday during general debate on this very important area.
Mrs. Peter: Mr. Chair, these issues that I’m bringing forward for this minister have not been spelled out. That’s why I’m asking these questions again. I have not received any answers, and I am asking these questions on behalf of the Yukon people and on behalf of my riding, and we’re not getting any answers from this minister. He is referring to the Kyoto Protocol, and I am asking specifically about any options or research or programs in regard to renewable energy in the Yukon Territory. What is so difficult about that?
It’s pretty clear that this department has this minister with very little vision at its helm. I did ask about his vision for the Department of Environment. It’s pretty sad to see, because this department is one of the key players in how the future of the Yukon is shaping to be. Having said that, that concludes my comments. I’m sure the leader of the third party will have some closing comments.
Ms. Duncan: I have no further questions for the Minister of Environment. I would like to have stated for the record that in fact the territory’s campgrounds are open this Friday, May 13, and my understanding is also that the Yukon Party is continuing with an initiative undertaken by the Liberal government to make the campgrounds free for Yukoners for the first month of operation.
What we have not received in this House is a date when the recycling club will start, nor have we had the recycling club’s financial statements tabled. Usually there’s a report given to the members in the House. It’s just the annual report of the recycling fund in the territory. It’s a financial statement. When can we expect those two items?
Hon. Mr. Jenkins: The member raises a very important initiative with respect to the recycling club. It has a tremendous buy-in across the Yukon Territory. It has been renewed and is underway. I don’t have a specific date, but I recall signing off on a press release just recently, so I know the member anxiously awaits the arrival of our government’s press releases to have an understanding of what is going on. I can assure all present that we’re diligently moving forward on these very positive initiatives.
Ms. Duncan: As that concludes my questions, and I believe the questions of the official opposition, the Member for Vuntut Gwitchin, I would request the unanimous consent of the Committee to deem all lines in Vote 52, Department of Environment, operation and maintenance and capital expenditures, cleared or carried, as required.
Chair: Before I put the request to the Committee, is there any further general debate on Vote 52?
Unanimous consent re deeming all lines in Vote 52, Department of Environment, cleared or carried
Chair: Ms. Duncan has requested the unanimous consent of the Committee to deem all lines in Vote 52, Department of Environment, cleared or carried, as required. Are you agreed?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: Unanimous consent has been granted.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Total Operation and Maintenance Expenditures for the Department of Environment in the amount of $19,703,000 agreed to
On Capital Expenditures
Total Capital Expenditures for the Department of Environment in the amount of $3,435,000 agreed to
Department of Environment agreed to
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Chair: I’ve heard a request for five minutes. We’ll take a five-minute recess.
Chair: Order please. Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will continue with Bill No. 15, First Appropriation Act, 2005-06, with general debate on Vote 55, the Department of Highways and Public Works.
Department of Highways and Public Works — continued
Hon. Mr. Hart: Before we continue with the debate on the Department of Highways and Public Works’ budget, I would like to respond to the questions asked about the heavy equipment rental contract guidelines. The Member for Mayo-Tatchun asked this Committee about the analysis or review of the HERC pilot project. The department announced the HERC pilot project in May 2004 to provide an operational framework intended to guide contracting authorities and local contractors on the rental of equipment in Yukon communities. The intent of the HERC guidelines is to provide opportunities for small local contractors to work on highway projects near their communities and to improve our highway infrastructure.
In 2004, the department spent approximately $1.6 million under the HERC program for work on the Campbell Highway. The government issued 75 separate contracts under HERC for approximately six kilometres of upgrading of the Campbell Highway. This is a different approach from the past practice of tendering larger projects to larger contractors. The department, following the contract regulations, issued invitational or sole-source contracts depending on the equipment type, service requirements or the duration of the job itself. A number of people were hired as traffic controllers, heavy equipment operators and culvert installers through different stages of the construction.
The Member for Mayo-Tatchun also asked about comparing the cost of using HERC to projects following more traditional methods. Last year, the department applied HERC to work on the Campbell Highway while work on the Tagish Road and the Alaska Highway project followed traditional methods.
Basic analysis revealed that last year’s cost per kilometre for the Tagish Road was approximately $180,000. The cost on the Campbell Highway was around $265,000. The cost for work on the Alaska Highway was $327,000. An exact comparison, however, based on these figures, is difficult, because these costs reflect very different road standards, terrain and also geographical issues throughout the Yukon. The Tagish Road is built to a lower standard than the Campbell Highway, and the Alaska Highway is built to a much higher standard than both the other highways. The standard in terms of width, granular structure for the Campbell Highway is higher than the standard on the Tagish Road and lower than the Alaska Highway standard. The geographic terrain and soil conditions of these three roads vary considerably, and therefore a direct comparison is very difficult; however, this high-level analysis does show that the heavy equipment rental contract project costs are comparable to traditional tendering costs.
This year, the department intends to spend approximately $2.5 million on various HERC projects on the Campbell, Dempster, Klondike and other highways. At the end of this construction season, the department will have more data and be better able to complete a comparison analysis. HERC stimulates local economies and provides jobs for locals, keeps dollars in the communities and generates growth in those communities. It strengthens the social fabric of Yukon communities and the well-being of the community residents. At the end of the day, the basic highway construction figures under HERC may be somewhat higher than the standard construction costs; however, considerably more work is generated in that community than under the traditional construction contract.
This is a huge benefit to all Yukon workers and their families living in our communities. This government made a commitment to stimulate the Yukon economy, and HERC is just one of the many ways we are trying to keep that promise.
Mr. Fairclough: I thank the minister for that answer and providing the additional information.
It has been awhile since we’ve been in this department. We keep bumping it back for others. I know I’ve been questioning the minister on the HERC program.
I’m interested in a couple of things he said. It’s pretty hard for me to do any comparison between the different highways — the Alaska Highway and the Campbell Highway — other than what the minister has said — that basically, the Campbell Highway is a higher standard of highway than the Tagish Road and less than the Alaska Highway. There is a huge difference in costs per kilometre and that’s what I would like a bit more information on, if the minister can provide that.
The minister said that it is a higher cost to government to go through this equipment rental program, but he doesn’t exactly know how much. I know the department has probably spent many hours working on this, I guess, trying to put some numbers down as to how much more it is costing government to go this route. I would like to know — maybe not in dollar figures, but in percentages — how much more per kilometre this department sees going through this program rather than the conventional tendering program.
Hon. Mr. Hart: I indicated that basic highway construction figures under the HERC program may be somewhat higher than the standard of contract construction work. As I indicated earlier, we have some work to complete under last year’s program and, at the end of this year, we might be in a better position to provide a better comparison for the member opposite. Hopefully, at a later date I might be in a position to provide him with the specific figures he’s talking about.
The biggest issue, of course, is trying to make sure we’re comparing apples with apples. The main emphasis here is that we’re looking at improving our infrastructure, trying to utilize as many local skilled labourers as possible, and also improving the infrastructure in and around that community, both socially and economically.
Mr. Fairclough: We on this side of the House do not disagree with the way in which the government is approaching this and trying to put people to work. What we would like to know is how much more it’s costing the taxpayer per kilometre.
The minister said it’s generally a higher cost. He said it may be a higher cost. I don’t know what the next words would be, but there are reasons why the government is costing more. The only reason they’re saying it’s costing more is because they’re comparing numbers from previous years and so on.
Maybe the minister can give us that number in comparing, say, the Campbell Highway per kilometre to the previous year on a similar stretch of road per kilometre.
I would also like the minister to answer: he said more work is generated in communities, so how are they comparing this? Is it just basic equipment rental? How are they coming up with this number? If it was a construction outfit that comes in and hires locally or just the local people with heavy equipment putting their equipment to work elsewhere — how does he say there’s more work generated out of this?
Hon. Mr. Hart: To answer the member opposite’s first question, it would be very difficult for us to do our comparison with regard to the Campbell Highway and that section of road because, quite frankly, prior to our term there had been limited or no work of this particular style done on the Campbell Highway. The work done on the Campbell Highway previously was done between Faro and Carmacks, so again it’s a very difficult comparison to make. On the other question, I will state that the emphasis of the program, as I indicated, is that we had 75 contracts that we issued in the Watson Lake area and most of those were owner/operators — again, as I indicated, small operators. In most cases, when the equipment was rented, it usually involved the owner of that equipment operating it.
Mr. Fairclough: I asked the minister before because businesses in the communities are looked at. Some of the businesses have their equipment right here in Whitehorse, and it has been basically rented right out of Whitehorse rather than local people being put to work. That is, the business may have a business in Watson Lake, and they may have one in Whitehorse, but they still have the opportunity to have their equipment being rented. That’s the question I asked the last time we were in debate in this House. Maybe the minister can give us an update on that or some numbers for us to look at as to how many, and so on.
Hon. Mr. Hart: The emphasis is to provide local businesses with the opportunity to provide equipment rental. Whether the proponent lives and operates his equipment in Whitehorse, the fact is that if he is a qualified Watson Lake contractor with an established business in that area, he should have the same opportunities as those others have.
We can’t discriminate against that, because if he is carrying a valid permit, licence, business permit or whatever in Watson Lake, he’s eligible for the equipment contract, just like everybody else. It’s done through a tendering process, and he has the eligibility to tender on a project, just like the other citizens do.
Mr. Fairclough: Maybe the minister can provide us with that list, Mr. Chair.
When the minister was questioned about this program back in the fall sitting, the minister committed to ensuring an evaluation was done and in place before the next construction season. The minister’s reasoning now is that one project is not quite done and I’ve asked for a date when we can have a year’s review of the HERC program. I haven’t really got a commitment from the minister. I would believe that most of the work is done, if it is not already done, other than to show the success or problems with these contracts. Maybe the minister can give me an update on that.
Hon. Mr. Hart: With regard to our evaluation, as I indicated earlier, again, on several occasions, the project is not yet complete. In addition, people doing the evaluation are currently busy doing our current work for this summer. As I also indicated, we’ll continue with the work we have anticipated for the HERC program this year, and we’ll have some better numbers to provide the member opposite. On another related question, I will provide the member opposite with a list of those contracts that we provided in Watson Lake.
Mr. Fairclough: I know the minister listed where monies from this department were to go in regard to the heavy equipment rental contract: $2.5 million was for the Campbell Highway. Can he briefly outline again which projects and other roads the rest of the HERC money will be applied to?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We’re looking at $1.5 million for the continuation work on the Campbell Highway reconstruction near Watson Lake. We’re looking at $100,000 for spot improvements on the Campbell Highway between Frances River and Tuchitua. We’re looking at $500,000 for vegetation control in areas throughout the Yukon’s highway system.
In addition, we’re looking at $450,000 for the Dempster Highway to improve the driving surface by producing and placing crushed aggregate on the road surface there.
Mr. Fairclough: I thank the minister for that answer. I couldn’t help noticing in the stats — I could flip to it, I suppose — that the Yukon has two more kilometres of road to maintain. Where did we add the two kilometres on? Is it Old Crow?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Under the rural roads program, we have adjustments that are made on an annual basis, so in some cases we end up having to maintain those particular roads. In this particular case, it just resulted in a small increase in the road size.
Mr. Fairclough: I was wondering where the new roads are stretching to. I would like to ask about Old Crow, though. The government has tried to extend the road up toward Crow Mountain in the past, and they have done more work. I’d like an update as to whether it’s going to go any further or how much more work the government is going to put into upgrades of that road.
Hon. Mr. Hart: An agreement was reached with the Vuntut Gwitchin Development Corporation to develop that road to the quarry site and upgrade it to allow for the granular material to come down, to be utilized as rip-rap on the riverbank as well as improvements to be made on the airport runway for improving that particular surface.
Mr. Fairclough: Is that now complete?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Other than any damages based on the haul, but that’s the extent to which we’re working on that particular road.
Mr. Fairclough: I didn’t get that answer from the member opposite. Can he clarify that again? Did he say “other than the base”?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Maybe I misunderstood his question. We’re not making any more improvements to the road to the quarry. As I indicated, the quarry is going to be utilized for rip-rap on the riverbank as well as, hopefully, granular material for the runway at Old Crow, which has not commenced yet.
Mr. Fairclough: I was talking about whether or not the road has been extended up to the gravel pit. Is that all done? Is that all ready to go? Are there any holdups through environmental assessment?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We don’t have any environmental holdups with regard to the riverbank, for example. So we don’t have any holdup there as far as Environment goes. We have a delay with regard to the runway itself and we’re dealing with the federal government on that particular issue. The main problem we’re having right now is the bid that came in for that particular work.
Mr. Fairclough: I would appreciate it if the minister could provide any additional information to us. We don’t have time to really go into details in the debate on that.
I would like to ask about the maintenance camps around the territory. We have more roads that are chipseal and have less of the gravel maintenance taking place. I didn’t see in the O&M where there is a reduction, but maybe the minister can give us an update on the maintenance camps, which ones are going through improvements. I’ve asked this question of the Minister of Highways and Public Works before, in particular with the highways maintenance camp in Carmacks and whether or not it would be moved. The government has done a lot of work in the past to identify a spot. They’ve fenced it off. They’ve not yet made the move to move any buildings away from the downtown section of Carmacks. I would like to know whether the minister can provide a schedule of when this work will be done so I can relay this message back to the community.
Hon. Mr. Hart: With regard to maintenance around the Yukon at our camps and grader stations, we are continuing to provide excellent service on our highways with regard to snow removal and other conditions of those highways. Although many of our roads are BST, many of them still require a substantial amount of maintenance, and we are not in the mode of doing any layoffs, because we still see that we have enough work to keep these people busy. With regard to the grader station in Carmacks, we also have another grader station in Haines Junction, which we are currently looking at. We are looking at the aspect of what is going to be required to move. The member opposite indicated we have land set aside, which we do in Carmacks for the potential there, but a substantial amount of planning and environmental work still has yet to be completed to go forth on this particular issue. Once we were in that mode, then we’ll be able to provide the member opposite with some specific dates.
Mr. Fairclough: I know I’ve asked these questions before with regard to the camp. The member said there is a lot of environmental work that needs to be done. Can he clarify that? Is it on the existing grader station? I don’t think that it would be on the spot that they’ve chosen and fenced off, but is it in regard to the cleanup once the move takes place?
Hon. Mr. Hart: It obviously wouldn’t be on our land that is set aside, but it has to deal with the land where our camps are right now. This particular camp has been there for a substantial number of years. As I indicated, it would require a lot of work for us to go over that to determine just exactly what needs to be done in each area.
Mr. Fairclough: Can the minister give us an update on what the department has put together as far as the cost of moving this maintenance camp?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Our rough estimate is that it will cost $2.5 million to $3 million to reallocate that grader to its new spot. However, that does not include any remediation that might have to be done at the old site.
Mr. Fairclough: That figure has gone up about 50 percent since the last time I asked this question. I understand it’s a huge cost but, if it were done, it would make a huge improvement to the community. I notice the government has also put work into upgrades of the building there, which I think was about $500,000 a couple of years ago. Maybe it was three years ago.
All right, I’ll just go on to my next question. I did want to ask a couple more questions on highways. One was that this government is looking at a bridge in Dawson. I would like to know what the plans are for the highway on the other side of the river. What is the government going to look at as far as maintenance? Will the road be open all year? What’s in the forecast for the upgrade of this highway — the reconstruction and so on — over the years to come?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Should the bridge be built, we would look at doing the maintenance work up to Sunnydale to allow for the residents to be over there. We don’t anticipate moving any further than that, as far as winter conditions go. We anticipate continuing with our maintenance of approximately $400,000 for that portion of the highway to shore up some of our weak spots and to improve the situation to allow for travellers that come over the Top of the World Highway, mostly from Alaska.
Mr. Fairclough: That was the maintenance. The minister didn’t say what the department has looked at, as far as reconstruction of that highway.
Hon. Mr. Hart: The $400,000 is basically for capital costs to improve, as I indicated, the weak spots in the road from its original construction. It’s similar to what we’ve provided on that road in past years.
Mr. Fairclough: It’s contrary to the information that we’ve been getting with respect to the project — just the bridge project and beyond on the Top of the World Highway, so it’s a bit different from the information we’ve been receiving.
I would like to ask about the Department of Highways and Public Works and Public Works and the gravelling and sanding of roads in the winter. Over the past two and a half years, we’ve gone to the salt brine mixture. I would like to know what the costs are, first of all, because I believe it’s an increase over just using sand and gravel, and what feedback the general public has been giving to the department.
Hon. Mr. Hart: With regard to our sanding and salt brine in the wintertime, this is our second year we’ll be going into mixing it with our sand. The reason we use the brine is to help the sand stick to the road, thereby reducing the need for extra volume of the sand on the road and allowing that sand to stick on the road and provide a better surface of traction for the general public travelling over it. We have yet to receive any negative comment from the general public with regard to the system we’re utilizing, other than the fact that we get the odd complaint from somebody at 6:00 in the morning that the road is not plowed yet. As far as the sand and salt system goes, we are in that process and we anticipate that, by the fact that we have to reduce the amount of sand we had to put down with the brine in it, it sort of equals off with the sand versus just putting on sand by itself. Putting sand on the road by itself means that the first two cars that come by basically just spread the sand off onto the shoulders.
Mr. Fairclough: The minister said that it reduces the amount of sand they put on the highways. I would think that would be a reduction in costs, but there’s a cost to putting the mixture together. I would like to know what the cost difference is between ensuring there’s adequate sand or gravel on the road versus the salt brine mixture.
Hon. Mr. Hart: As I indicated, we believe that with the reduction in the actual amount of sand used that the cost of the addition of the brine to the sand is basically a saw-off.
Mr. Fairclough: In other words, the minister is saying there is no real cost difference. From what I’ve been told, there is a significant cost difference. It’s quite a bit higher to use this salt brine on our highways. If the minister can give us some numbers, I would appreciate that.
The minister also said that there were no complaints. We’ve been using this salt brine mixture on the highways for about two and a half years — maybe three years, or two years. Does it have any effects on vehicles? Is there an increase in rusting and that type of thing, over just using the sand and gravel?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The salt formula that we use on our highways meets the national standard that we were required to meet on the environmental aspect, and that is one of the key factors that we utilize in its volume.
Mr. Fairclough: Well, it’s not that clear, Mr. Chair. In regard to painting of bridges, the minister said that there was one bridge that was being painted. I can’t remember which one. It doesn’t seem like it was a major bridge. Can he tell us which one it is? And I would also like to know when the bridge across the river in Pelly Crossing is scheduled to be painted.
Hon. Mr. Hart: We don’t have any bridges scheduled for painting, with regard to this year. As far as Pelly Crossing goes, this bridge is one of the top three we’re looking at in the repainting schedule.
Mr. Fairclough: The reason I asked about the bridge is that I’m pretty sure the minister said in his opening remarks that one bridge was being painted, or the job is being finished. That’s why I asked the question. I know just to look at the bridge in Pelly Crossing that it’s pretty rough. The minister said it’s in the top three, but I know the department lobbies the minister to try to get the funding for bridge painting. I’d like to know when they expect the bridge in Pelly Crossing to be painted. Will it be in the next three years, the next five years — next year?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Obviously, safety provides a key issue with regard to this particular aspect. As I mentioned earlier, we feel that the Pelly Crossing bridge is one of the top three we’ll be looking at painting in the cycle, that we’re getting there, and a funding allocation will determine where we start and when it gets there.
Mr. Fairclough: Vague answer. I thought maybe it would be after the bridge in Teslin, Mr. Chair. I don’t have the pull that you do.
I’ve asked this question over and over — if the minister could commit to this. I’m back to highway maintenance, and it’s in regard to the signpost road in Keno. They’ve requested at least having some maintenance done about this time of year to ensure the heavy snow cover is removed before the melt so the road isn’t damaged as much. The minister didn’t commit to this before, and I’d like to know if he would give the direction to the Highways and Public Works department to ensure the maintenance does take place now, before tourist season comes.
What normally happens is the snow melt is gone and tourists are already up in Mayo, and then they put a grader on it. Some of them turn around and don’t make that trip. I’d like to know where the minister is on that little request I had from a couple of years ago.
Hon. Mr. Hart: With respect to the Signpost Road, I’ll take the member opposite’s request under advisement. I should be able to provide him with something shortly here.
Mr. Fairclough: I know the people in Mayo would appreciate that, because it is traffic that is beyond what normally comes through their community.
I would like to thank the department for putting this pamphlet together. I think it’s quite useful for a lot of our travellers and local people to know when to avoid construction and whatnot. I’ve noticed that it says on the map that the Department of Highways is doing some work on the Silver Trail near Mayo. I would like to know where that is. Is it right in the community? Is it continuing on the other side of Mayo, or is it between Stewart Crossing and Mayo?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The work that is being anticipated is basically from the turnoff to the town itself, where the road is fairly up and down. So we anticipate doing that work on that particular stretch.
Mr. Fairclough: That’s in the community — and that’s part of the highway? I just want to know because I’ve asked about the department doing some chipsealing in other municipalities.
Hon. Mr. Hart: That is still part of the highway right-of-way within that area.
Mr. Fairclough: I’m sure the community would be very happy with that. That’s a pretty rough section of road and it has eight-foot dips, or close to that. That’s what it seems like when you go through that section. I definitely would like to see improvements to that. I would assume that it would go right to the first road that turns off into the community. If it goes beyond that and it involves some of the community roads, maybe the minister could update me on that.
The department has done some work on replacing some of the surface and putting crush, I guess, on the Silver Trail between Mayo and Elsa. We’ve had some chipseal but there was also some crushed gravel. There was some work, as I requested — and I thank the minister for that — on improvements to the culvert at Silver Trail Inn. It makes a huge difference, particularly to the business owner. I would like to know how much more work, if any, is going to take place on that stretch of road.
Hon. Mr. Hart: We anticipate doing approximately $65,000 of maintenance work basically at the McQuesten pit as well as some gravel and patching work.
Mr. Fairclough: That’s another section of road that is definitely in need of a bit more regular maintenance throughout the summer. I know a lot of the tourists heading up to Keno do the turnaround at the Silver Trail because of the conditions of the road. With more improvements, I guess the word will get out that this is the place to go — Keno.
The department has also done some good work in regard to brush clearing along the highways. I’ve asked the minister about the contract — what section is that? I guess it’s near Stewart Crossing. A lot of the willows were sticking up four or five feet high. They were like spears, I guess, and the minister said it was part of their contract to ensure they were down to ground level. This didn’t happen until a year later. I would like to know whether that was a new contract and what the department will do to ensure that this damage doesn’t take place. I don’t know what you would call it. I guess it’s poor work, really, to see that along the highway, and it’s also dangerous to the animals that cross the highway or go alongside the highway.
Hon. Mr. Hart: With regard to that particular section of the highway, that was a winter works project that we piloted, with an attempt to do some road clearing in that area. As he indicates, it was one of those projects that obviously was indicated to us. We’ll do our scrubbing on the side of the roads in the fall or the spring because of just exactly what the remnants of what that particular contract resulted in. We cleaned up that particular section of the highway with a different contract, and I hope he appreciates the good job that was done on that.
Mr. Fairclough: There have been a lot of complaints about the growth along the highway, and I think it’s a forever project, obviously. The department had done some work in regard to roadside clearing on the Silver Trail. The most noticeable part is between Keno and Elsa. The knocking down of some of those trees just opened up the view to the valley, and that was quite an improvement, because over the years these willows and trees have grown up so high they just blocked the view.
There was one complaint that came forward. I guess people didn’t realize the road was on the side of a hill and it’s straight down. It takes people by surprise because they maybe weren’t driving as carefully as they were in the past, or driving the same way as they were in the past, not realizing they had a natural railing to fall on if something went wrong. I would like to know if the department is doing anything to put indicators or posts — with either paint or what they use now, I’m not sure — to indicate some of the danger spots along that road.
Hon. Mr. Hart: As a former resident of Elsa, I’m quite aware of that particular road, both in the winter and in the summer. I can remember, especially in the wintertime, that it looked like a winter wonderland on the way to Keno.
In essence, in regard to the clearing, he will also remember we took a lot of flack with regard to getting the road cleared. So now we have the road clear and now we’re taking some comments with regard to its safety.
I will provide to the member opposite that we’ll have our engineers take a look at that section of the road and do an assessment on what’s needed as far as technical issues with regard to railing and protection with reflectors.
Mr. Fairclough: I thank the member opposite. I’ve asked for this on two more sections of road, one on the Tatchun hillside going south. It seems like in the evening, when people are travelling and they’re heading south at 8:00 or 9:00, the sun is directly in their eyes there. Everything looks the same because of the road construction — the side of the road, the ditch. There’s a huge bank there and I asked the minister if he would look at the same thing — putting warning indicators or reflectors on certain spots along that road just to indicate the edge of the road.
What happens is that people don’t feel they’re going to the edge of the road; they are going to the other side of the road and into oncoming traffic, and that’s the concern people are having. There’s that spot and another one I asked the minister about. It was a little pond this side of Twin Lakes. It’s called Coffin Lake or Coffin Pond — it’s just a little pothole lake. Again, the road curves around and vehicles have gone off on that road.
There is a sharp bank. There’s no way of fighting your vehicle back onto the road once you go off there. If there are indicators, reflectors or whatnot, I think the driving public would feel a bit better. This was an issue that was brought to me by a constituent in Pelly Crossing.
When the government first got into power, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources held up a map in this Legislature about roads to resources. There were a lot of roads on that map. Some of them are pretty familiar to me; some of them are kind of new. The minister said he would be following through with this. I would like to know how much work the department has put into that minister’s roads to resources project, and which roads are they looking at for interest down the road? I’m also particularly interested in the renewed interest in the Casino Trail.
Hon. Mr. Hart: On this particular issue, the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources is the lead agency, and we are basically providing assistance with respect to engineering and techniques, depending upon where the priorities are determined.
Mr. Fairclough: Obviously, we can’t be asking that question in Energy, Mines and Resources, as we just went through that department. We are bumped back and forth when it comes to roads and highways or the responsibility of this department. Others seem to be taking on some of the big issues and projects that should be in the Department of Highways and Public Works. The bridge, for example, is in Economic Development.
The minister said that they’re providing technical support, and so on, to the minister. What information, then, on the department’s involvement can the minister give on this particular project? If he doesn’t have that in front of him, can he forward some of that information to us on this side of the House?
Hon. Mr. Hart: As I stated earlier, Energy, Mines and Resources is the lead contact. We are following with them. A committee has been set up to follow through on some of these projects, where they anticipate going. When we get further on that process, maybe we can provide the member opposite with some information at that time.
Mr. Fairclough: Can the minister tell us what the name of that committee is?
Hon. Mr. Hart: No specific name — we just refer to it as the road to resources.
Mr. Fairclough: The committee on roads to resources. Yes, maybe we can give it a name here if it doesn’t have a name yet.
The Casino Trail is part of the roads to resources, but it has also been a project through the department. It has been shut down. A survey has taken place. There was a lot of clearing that took place. A lot of money went into the Casino Trail. There are a lot of concerns around it — environmental, First Nations — and there’s also a lot of interest in it. I would like to know whether the department is doing any work on this particular highway. There’s even a dollar amount to build this road. I looked at the survey and the road is a regular highway right-of-way, and I think it’s as wide, if not wider, as the Klondike Highway.
It is certainly massive when you look at it. I would just like to know how much work has gone into it through the department over the last couple of years and what interest the government has in doing additional work on this road?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We haven’t put any dollars into the Casino Trail in the last couple of years. As stated earlier, the committee is, depending upon what comes out of it, possibly looking at issues that come out of the mining exploration that is taking place in that area. If we’re asked, we will look at trying to provide some information as to what’s required to assist in that particular area.
Mr. Fairclough: It seems to me that we have to wait to see what direction comes out of Energy, Mines and Resources on this particular road, but I would caution the member to ensure that there is proper consultation on this road because it was shut down last time there was a push to ensure that this highway was built, and it’s a huge highway. I think the dollar amount was over $100 million at the time, and it’s probably double that. The Casino Trail goes right up to the Casino properties, over into Alaska. It has major bridges in there, one across the White River. So it’s a major, major project, and it has all kinds of environment implications. I believe that there are First Nation land selections to consider on this project. So that is my input into that, and I look forward to hearing from the committee on this particular road.
I would like to ask about the mobile communications system with Partnerships B.C.
Is this another P3 project? Maybe the minister can give us timelines on when we can see this really happen, and particularly whether or not this is another ideal candidate for a P3.
Hon. Mr. Hart: There are no P3s in the Yukon, as I’ve stated in this House on several occasions. We’re exploring this option as a possibility for a P3. We’re working with Partnerships B.C. on this particular aspect.
Part of our process is that the Yukon government, in partnership with the RCMP, has initiated a multi-year project to research the implementation of what used to be called the multi-departmental mobile radio system, which we’re calling the mobile communications solution, to replace our existing system. MoCS consists of expanding our cell service to 17 communities and installing a public safety mobile radio system covering all communities and our highways throughout the Yukon.
A public request for qualifications is currently being evaluated by qualified proponents with the financial and technical capabilities to undertake this project. Upon the completion and review, the item will be submitted to us and, from there, discussion will look at whether the P3 option is viable or whether we take the traditional method.
Mr. Fairclough: Can the minister tell us when this review will be completed and whether or not it will be an open and transparent approach, other than what the government has taken on the bridge? Will we be seeing the request for proposal and how soon, so Yukoners can see what amount of taxpayers’ dollars is going toward this? I would like to know when the review will be completed.
Hon. Mr. Hart: For the member opposite, we’re looking at bringing forward the RFQs to Management Board later on this month to see if we want to go to an RFP. Then we’ll follow through with that.
Secondly, if we go to that process, construction could take place as early as the fall; regardless, we will have to look at that process to enable the program to commence, one way or the other, whether it’s a P3 or takes place in the traditional method. It will have to be decided so that we can commence construction this fall in order to meet our commitments to both the RCMP and the current provider, Northwestel.
Mr. Fairclough: I thank the minister for those answers.
The Member for Kluane asked questions and I asked questions in this House about highway signs and highway sign regulations. The new regulations that came out were abandoned by this department, but we still have businesses coming forward and expressing concerns that the commitment from Highways and Public Works for three years of highway signs — they have been forced to take their highway signs down and some of them, like new businesses, are wondering about whether they can put signs up. When will this issue be clarified? How will the minister do that, and if he does, how will he make it very public and very clear and simple so that everyone can understand where the department is going with it?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Signage, I guess, is a challenge that this minister didn’t think was a big issue but soon found out that it’s bigger than a big issue. I’m free to admit that particular thing right here in this House. I have been struggling with all the members, trying to come up with a solution that will satisfy at least the majority of the people. I believe we are at that stage now.
As I stated previously, we have been in contact with the Tourism Industry Association, the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce and the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, and we are in the process now of putting forth a solution that seems to satisfy, as I said, the majority of the people. There will always be some people who are unhappy. We anticipate that within the next three to four weeks we will be able to have something out there for everybody to look at.
Mr. Fairclough: Three or four weeks — we’ll pass that message on.
This is the same thing with us — it is a bigger issue than a lot of people think. This issue has been raised to me by members from Keno — about their signs on the Klondike Highway — and they’re wondering what steps they can take next. I’m hoping that the minister can relay some of these messages on to businesses along the highway or make it very public as to what the department is doing. I thank him for his answer that things will be resolved in a month.
I would like to ask the minister about the ATIPP review. I would like to know about the resources being applied to the ATIPP review, its priority, and the timetable allocated to the review. I noticed that in questioning last fall from the official opposition leader, the minister said that there would be full consultation, that they had identified 23 items and those would be addressed under the ATIPP review. Also, they were going to take into consideration anything that comes out of the Ombudsman. So I would like the minister to give me an update. There are a few questions in that question.
Hon. Mr. Hart: I guess I will reference this one similar to signage. ATIPP, like Swiss cheese, is full of holes. I would also like to state that ATIPP legislation provides two primary purposes: one is to provide access to information; the other one is to protect one’s personal privacy to all that particular aspect.
The ATIPP act attempts to strike a balance between the access to government records and the protection of personal privacy. Any future changes to the act must ensure that the right balance is maintained and that personal privacy is not compromised in efforts to become much more open.
The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act will not undergo a formal review at this time. In the short term, the government will focus on a number of non-legislative options, such as providing training for staff to enable them to provide better and more consistent service, reinforcing the principle of readily releasing information that is already in the public domain instead of making applicants go through the ATIPP process, and seeking input from internal and external stakeholders on other non-legislative options.
In the longer term, the government will continue to develop a plan for the future review of the act. Many of the issues are very complex and require significant planning time and research before legislative options can be presented to stakeholders. A number of other jurisdictions are reviewing the ATIPP legislation similar to the Yukon, and we would like to sit and wait to see what comes out of their particular jurisdictions and what they’re experiencing before embarking on our own process.
Mr. Fairclough: So what the minister is saying is the review is on hold? The minister said in the fall sitting, on the 22nd of November, that we’re undergoing the review of the ATIPP process at the request of the Ombudsman as well as from within our own staff. What has changed in the minister’s mind to look at non-legislative options rather than doing the review of the ATIPP at this time? Because people want to see some changes? There are a lot of problems with the legislation and, by doing this, it seems like we’re just delaying a review.
Hon. Mr. Hart: As we approach this process, it’s becoming a much, much larger problem. I don’t believe that we can tackle the problem in the time that was allocated. So we are undertaking in the interim, as I stated earlier, to focus on non-legislative options while we peruse the other jurisdictions to see what results from their changes to their ATIPP legislation. Several jurisdictions are looking at changing their ATIPP process. I think it would be valuable for us to await their results, and maybe we can experience a positive response from them and move forward at that time with that review.
Mr. Fairclough: In the finances of government, I’ve noticed in revenues that the government is getting $1,000 for charging the public for information that they request — $1,000 last year, that’s what they’re making off the public.
But it is also pushing away a lot of people who feel they’re asking for such high amounts of money for information they should normally get from government. That’s one issue that has been raised in the past about trying to make improvements to legislation to address that issue. Maybe the minister could answer that question.
Also, Mr. Chair, requests for information have gone up some 88 percent. I’d like to know why. Are we backlogged? Is it because information isn’t coming directly from departments? Why are we seeing such a high increase in access to information requests?
Hon. Mr. Hart: More people are becoming aware of the act and becoming aware of what it provides, and thus are utilizing the service on a much more regular basis.
As I also indicated earlier, part of the interim changes we propose are in training to assist our staff to help out with ensuring the information can be provided as quickly as possible and, for example, having them provide the information versus having them go through the whole ATIPP process. That is one of the issues we’re looking at trying to do.
I will also state that, although the number of requests is up, we’re still providing a substantial amount of information to people who make requests for information at our counters — a substantial amount on that process — but we’re not even tracking that particular number.
As far as the monies go, the $1,000 in revenue — I would state to the member opposite that it’s not even close to covering the cost of what it costs us to dig that information up.
Mr. Fairclough: I would think that if they were covering the costs, it wouldn’t have fallen into general revenues. I understand what the member is saying.
One of the concerns — well, there are many concerns from people out there who are trying to access information — is that many of them are turned away. They can’t access information from the departments. It seems to me that maybe there has been a change of attitude, especially since more people have been going through ATIPP, and departments are being careful and cautious. That’s why I think there’s an increase in the number of requests for information. It becomes a problem. Even businesses do that. Epcom, for example, had to go through ATIPP to get information, rather than having information flow to them from the department.
It has become a problem and I’m hoping the minister will address this issue in his improvements other than legislative options. I look forward to it and hope, when the minister is done and in a short period of time, he will flow that information to this side of the House. I thank the minister for his answers and would now like to turn this over to my colleague.
Ms. Duncan: I am pleased to enter into debate with the minister this afternoon.
The Member for Mayo-Tatchun raised the issue of the MoCS, or, mobile communications solution. I note that the RFQ has closed, or the closing date has passed. What is the current status of the request for qualifications and the review of that project?
Hon. Mr. Hart: I will try to answer the member opposite’s question in a general form because it is a live procurement issue. As I indicated earlier, we do anticipate construction to commence this fall, if it follows through its normal process. They are currently reviewing the RFQs right now, and the results of that will come forth at the end of this month or the first of June. We will then look at proceeding to an RFP, and we’ll take it from there to see what those companies bring forth.
As I stated earlier, depending upon what results from there, either way we are looking at trying to commence something on this in the fall because we’re forced to — we have to.
Ms. Duncan: The necessity for the project we’ve covered before in the Legislature. Construction, in communication terms, this fall — when does the minister anticipate we would be “live”, for lack of a better description, under the mobile system and the cell system?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We have a goal of June 2007 to be fully operational.
Ms. Duncan: I’ve heard that response before. Are we still on track for that date, then — construction this fall, and we’ve issued RFQs? There have been some changes along the way since the minister gave me that date, in that we went to an RFQ instead of straight to a request for proposals, and Partnerships B.C. is a new involvement. So, when do we anticipate being live with cell service and live with a mobile communications system? I understand we have to have it replaced by 2007. We’ve had that discussion before. I’m looking for a clearer update.
Hon. Mr. Hart: Again, I will reiterate that we have a project date of June 2007. Until such time as we receive from the proponents what their completion dates will be, it would be folly for us to give an indication. It could be earlier. Our goal is still June 2007. We are on course for that particular date, as we stand with construction to commence in the fall. Right now, we are working all our processes through the RFQ and the RFP, as well as the authority required to do the assessment with the intention of going in this fall. If we commence this fall, we will be able to be in a position to be operational by June 2007.
Ms. Duncan: Partnerships B.C. has now been involved in the mobile communications solution and the bridge proposal. What has been the total cost of their involvement to the Government of Yukon to date and the extent of that involvement?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We anticipate the cost for Partnerships B.C. to be approximately $550,000 for both projects.
Ms. Duncan: $550,000 for Partnerships B.C. to review both the bridge and the MoCS RFQs, or are they also involved in writing requests for proposals?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Partnerships B.C. is involved from start to finish — from the start of the process, the review, the RFQ to the signing of the concession agreement. They’re involved from start to finish.
Ms. Duncan: The cost is $550,000 for their involvement. What happens if, at the RFQ stage or somewhere along the way, the government decides not to use a P3? It has been stated repeatedly that there has been no decision made on whether or not to use a P3, but that’s the expertise of Partnerships B.C. and they’re involved from start to finish, and the cost of that is $550,000. I think the minister could clarify the figure and exactly what their involvement is in both cases, whether or not we proceed with a public/private partnership on these projects.
Hon. Mr. Hart: Partnerships B.C. was retained basically for their expertise in P3s as well as traditional methods. What we do has no bearing on the contract we have with Partnerships B.C. That is a contract we have with them. Whether we go with the traditional method or the P3 method, we would still be on a contractual basis with Partnerships B.C.
Ms. Duncan: There are a number of points. First of all, will the minister clarify? He said $550,000. Is it $550,000 that we’re paying Partnerships B.C.? That’s the extent of our contract at the moment. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Hart: That’s the extent of our commitment for both projects.
Ms. Duncan: I just want to clarify with the minister exactly what Partnerships B.C. is doing for that $550,000. The government goes to them — let’s take MoCS. We have had various consultants involved in that. We also have other partners. So, the government took the information they had about what was required, and all the research, because there has been several years’ worth now, and went to Partnerships B.C. They assisted in writing the terms of reference for the request for qualifications. Are they part of the review for the bids submitted? Then what happens in terms of proceeding with the request for proposals? The options presumably would be P3 or not. Who makes the final decision and is Partnerships B.C. solely providing advice and expertise?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Partnerships B.C., as I stated, is involved right from the concept stage. They provide advice to develop the statement of qualifications. They provide advice on the development of the RFQ and the RFP. They provide advice and assessment of those bids when they come in. They provide assessments and advice to us with regard to the results of the RFP, depending on whether the decision is based on the P3 or the traditional method.
Ms. Duncan: Is the request for qualifications written in such a way that those submitting a bid give the government two options? For example, here is how they would perform a contract under a P3 and here is the traditional procurement method; or is the RFQ written in such a way that P3 is the only option, and the bidder is submitting under an understanding that the project would proceed on a P3 basis?
Hon. Mr. Hart: With respect to the MoCS, this RFQ has been set up for both the P3 and our traditional method. It’s different than the bridge in that concept.
Ms. Duncan: And the bridge was a P3? So the RFQ for the bridge — because it was RFQ and then RFP as well, and the RFQ was a P3. So they did it two different ways basically. Is that correct? The RFQ for the MoCS — a contractor could make a submission under the RFQ either as a P3 or not, the traditional procurement method. A contractor under the bridge RFQ would only submit under a P3 possibility. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Hart: My learned friend to my left here has indicated to me that it’s a very simple translation of what’s there, but it is correct.
Ms. Duncan: I appreciate that. With respect to MoCS, there is a budgetary expenditure in here, and the minister has indicated that, to the best of his knowledge, we’re on track. I would anticipate that all the funds would be expended.
Are any economic studies of the bridge planned? There have been commitments expressed before that there would be an economic study. Are any economic studies planned on the bridge proposal — the bridge at Dawson City, not the other bridges?
Hon. Mr. Hart: With regard to the bridge, yes, to answer her question, there is going to be an analysis done on the bridge for the process and for internal uses to assist with the assessment during our procurement issue.
Chair: Order please. We have reached our normal time for the afternoon recess. Do members wish a recess?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We’ll take a 15-minute recess.
Chair: Order please. Committee of the Whole will now come to order. We will continue with general debate on Vote 55, Department of Highways and Public Works.
Ms. Duncan: Just before we took a break, we were discussing the Dawson bridge and whether or not there would be an economic analysis. The minister indicated there would be an analysis but I don’t have Hansard in front of me. Is that an economic analysis of the impact of the bridge, or precisely what is the nature of the study that is to be conducted? Is it part of the $1.9 million? How much of the $1.9 million that’s budgeted for the bridge this year will an economic study consume, and how much of that $1.9 million is Partnerships B.C.?
Hon. Mr. Hart: It’s a public sector comparative review that will be done on that particular issue.
In relation to how much it’s going to cost to do it, we’ll be dealing with Partnerships B.C. as far as their contracts go. The announcements will be done at a later date.
Ms. Duncan: It’s a public sector comparative review. What does that mean to the average listener? Is the minister saying there won’t be an economic analysis conducted of the economic impacts of the bridge then? There have been claims made that the bridge over the Yukon River at Dawson City will save X amount and fuel costs, and there have been discussions certainly of the tourism impacts, not just the historic sites. Will there be a specific economic analysis conducted before construction?
Hon. Mr. Hart: A transportation economics analysis has been completed on the bridge, which indicates it’s good to go forward on that basis.
The public sector comparative is an analysis that will take place to do an assessment on what it would be to go through on a regular procurement issue.
Ms. Duncan: The transportation analysis that the minister is referring to — which document is he referring to, and can we have a copy of it, if we haven’t already had it provided? Is it one of the documents that have been provided to us? In that case, the economic analysis is missing, and when is that going to be done?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The document was a transportation economics analysis for the bridge in Dawson City and that was tabled previously in this House. However, if the member opposite wishes another copy, I can arrange for that to be provided.
Ms. Duncan: No, I believe I have that. I don’t have it with me in the House but I do have the document the minister refers to, and it is not an economic analysis per se that looks at all the economics of the bridge. So what I’m gathering from the minister is that there will not be a specific economic analysis of the bridge.
The $550,000 that we’re now paying Partnerships B.C. — the contract doesn’t appear on the Web site. So could we have the terms of reference that were given to Partnerships B.C., and can the minister point to where the $550,000 is coming from? Is it coming from the $1.9 million that is budgeted for the bridge, or is part of it coming from the MoCS money — the mobile communications solution money?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We are looking at $330,000 for the bridge. That is to come out of the bridge’s $1.9 million. Portions of that are actually from last year. Also, the $220,000 for MoCS is coming out of the MoCS budget of $4.9 million.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, there are no specific economic studies of the bridge. Will the minister consider commissioning an independent economic study of the bridge?
Hon. Mr. Hart: I have conferred with my colleague and an economic analysis will be completed on the bridge and will form part of our analysis of the bridge itself.
Ms. Duncan: Is that a contract that will be tendered out of Economic Development or will it be tendered out of this $1.9 million? Is it an independent analysis? What are the terms of reference for it and when might we expect to see it?
Hon. Mr. Hart: That is a line item outside of my department. I would request that the member opposite confer with the Minister of Economic Development for that particular information. Maybe he can provide it for her.
Ms. Duncan: As we’re past the Department of Economic Development in debate, I will write to the minister and request that information.
How will the balance of the $1.9 million for the bridge be expended, given that only a portion of it is to Partnerships B.C.?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The bulk of these funds will allow us to do initial quarry development and to commence work on the approach fills. If the P3 project does go ahead, we will need some funds to cover engineering, to consult, in addition to payments to Partnerships B.C., and we will also have to make some adjustments in compensation back for fish habitat for the area where the bridge construction will take place.
Ms. Duncan: What is the current estimated cost of the bridge at Dawson? In the opposition, we’re rather endlessly criticized by the side opposite for what we believe to be realistic representations. So what is the true cost of the Dawson bridge?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Our estimates have indicated price ranges between $32 million and $34 million for the bridge, but we’re also cognizant of the fact that construction prices of steel and wood are rising at a dramatic pace right across western Canada, which we’ve seen over the last four to five months. An example is that we’re experiencing somewhere between 1.5 and two percent per month in construction costs in Alberta, British Columbia and the Yukon. So we’ve provided for a large contingency in that amount — for $32 million to $34 million — but until such time as we get the proposals in, we won’t know exactly what that price will be.
Ms. Duncan: What is the current time frame for the request and where are we on the RFQ and RFP for the bridge? I know there has been a delay in the opening of one of them, so what are we looking at in terms of award and closing dates and when the quarrying would take place, as the minister indicated?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The closing date for the RFP is May 24. The decision with regard to the bridge will be coming forth to management somewhere between July 6 and July 26.
Ms. Duncan: Once there has been a decision reached at Management Board, would the design — whatever the final agreement is — go back to the people of Dawson, or would the government just proceed on that basis?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We’ve had several meetings with the citizens of Dawson on the bridge and, before the member opposite gets up, yes, not everyone is in favour of the bridge in Dawson — I admit that — but I will state that we’ve had several public consultations, public meetings and open houses in Dawson and we’ve received their input on the bridge. There was a full house at the last meeting I was at. I would state that, generally, everybody there was in favour of the bridge — maybe not in favour of some aspects of it, but in general seemed to be resigned to the fact that the bridge will be built, and the fact that they had input into the design went a big way in allowing them to think it was part of their aspect.
Another important aspect for the bridge was that we were able to secure from the federal government, the freshwater fisheries branch, that we could reduce the height of the bridge by two metres, which would again make it a little more amicable to the citizens of Dawson and not have such a large impact on the town itself.
We have had a large involvement with the community. We’ll be making another trip up to Dawson once the RFP is closed and we have some further information to provide them, so they can be fully aware of the situation before we commence.
Ms. Duncan: So the communications and the work with the people of Dawson have not ended on this? Post a July Management Board decision, the minister will take back the costs and the Management Board decision to the people of Dawson. Did I understand that correctly?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We have an open house in Dawson City on the bridge itself scheduled for May 24 and 25. We’re also scheduling another meeting in Dawson on the bridge later on in June. We will hopefully be providing some additional information — the completion of the design itself — and will be able to provide that to the members of that community. We have a bridge design committee in Dawson, which is representative of several members of the community itself. I’ve been there myself on a couple of occasions and responded to many of their questions. In essence, we are trying to keep them as totally involved as we possibly can.
Ms. Duncan: The involvement will be before this issue goes to Management Board then?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Yes, we’ll be looking at getting the information from the bridge committee, providing advice to us on that particular aspect, and we’ll be taking the results of that back to Management Board.
Ms. Duncan: The minister may wish to deal with this in Community Services. Are the Dawson sewage treatment options part of the bridge discussions, in terms of piping it to a lagoon, or does the minister wish to deal with the sewage issues under Community Services?
Hon. Mr. Hart: I will deal with this particular question in Community Services, but I will state that there is no connection between the bridge and the sewage system.
Ms. Duncan: As I understand it, there are studies for Callison and Sunnydale sloughs. That is why I raised the issue. The minister says that there is no connection between the bridge and any sewage treatment options — absolutely no connection.
Hon. Mr. Hart: As I stated, anything to do with sewage I would be more than happy to address for the citizens of Dawson as well as for the member opposite when we get to Community Services. I will reiterate again that there is no connection between the sewage and the bridge.
Ms. Duncan: We will talk about that in Community Services, then.
The Shakwak is TEA — Transportation Equity Act — funding under the U.S. government. We were working toward a new six-year agreement. What is the current status with the Shakwak funding?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Our government has been working diligently to get our agreement with the Alaskans. We have a six-year agreement based on $18.8 million per annum. We are basically in the second year of that agreement. Unfortunately, the State of Alaska is having difficulty getting their transportation budget through Congress. It keeps getting moved back. However, it also keeps getting extended. I believe that in the last five months, the extension of the transportation act is indicative of the government’s work to advance the project.
An additional $40 million U.S. is required to complete the highway construction along the south end of Kluane Lake, from Silver Creek to Soldier Summit. We also have to replace three major bridges over the Donjek, the Slims and the Duke rivers, in addition to the ones we have already commenced.
After the completion of the highway and the bridge reconstruction, the next funding priority is asphalt and paving. We estimate this to be in the area of approximately $170 million.
It will be done in stages, depending upon what is provided through the funding from Alaska. Again, we are actively working with Canada and Alaska and the U.S. to get the TEA-21 re-established, reauthorized, so that we’re not pushing through on a month-to-month basis as we are right now. I will assure the member opposite that I’m working with my counterpart, Commissioner Barton in Alaska. He is as much interested in trying to move this thing along to get it secured for long-term funding as I am. In fact, I will be meeting with Mr. Barton early in June, and we’ll be going over the Alaska Highway from Beaver Creek to Haines together.
Ms. Duncan: I wish the minister and Commissioner Barton a safe journey; I’m sure it will be a good one. That southern bit of highway by Kluane Lake is the section of the highway that is going to be last to be done and is going to be the most challenging. They’re working on it with the Alaskan counterpart, but is it currently before the U.S. Congress? Is it attached to some other bill? Is it attached to the budget bill? Has our Canadian ambassador, Ambassador McKenna, been fully briefed? I know the staff members at the Canadian embassy are very up on this bill, but has the minister made contact with Ambassador McKenna on that?
Hon. Mr. Hart: I have been working with the Canadian embassy through our contact in Ottawa, who advises me that he is working very closely with them on that. I have also been working with the Alaskan counterpart in Washington as well. So we have been working both ends of this issue. Our lobbyist in Ottawa — I’ll rephrase that, Mr. Chair — is acting on our behalf through the Canadian consulate in Washington.
In addition, we are working with, as I mentioned, Commissioner Barton’s contact in Washington, D.C., on the American side also. The bill is actually attached to the transportation bill, and that’s where it’s stuck.
If the member opposite will recall, the original transportation bill went in at $390 billion. President Bush requested that it be cut back, and it has now been reduced to $295 billion. However, the Alaska portion is still included in that amount.
Ms. Duncan: Does the government have any money in this budget that is specifically allocated to the Cantung mine road? Are any discussions ongoing with the Kaska with respect to that road?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We are maintaining that particular portion of the road, as we did before, to a minimum standard. We have not been approached by Cantung about their interest in reopening that particular section of the road so they can utilize it.
Ms. Duncan: What roadwork is anticipated to access the Mactung property? The bridge at the Macmillan Pass road was an issue last year — I believe it was last year. Time flies. So, the road to access Macmillan Pass and mineral deposits in that area — what roadwork is anticipated?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Currently we are maintaining several bridges on the North Canol Highway to a minimum standard. At the moment, we have not received any requests to upgrade the road for the Macmillan Pass area. In general, we are just carrying on with general maintenance for the North Canol Highway.
Ms. Duncan: The rural roads funding, and road funding not for the major highways but the byways of the Yukon — and there have been issues around road access for a number of rural properties. Is the rural roads fund outlined in this department oversubscribed? Does the minister have additional monies to put into it?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The rural roads program provides an opportunity for residents and First Nations to propose road improvements to projects that meet local needs for their rural communities. It provides a significant benefit to local economies by providing opportunities for local contractors and First Nations to work on rural road improvements.
This program is often oversubscribed. There are a substantial number of requests for road improvements; however, it’s always a case of trying to make the most benefit for the most residents that is usually the first priority. After that, it becomes a case of what’s left in the fund.
We’ve been reasonably successful in trying to achieve many smaller projects, as well as doing some larger ones, on a year-by-year basis, but I will state that we did put through 22 projects last year under that program, all throughout the Yukon.
Ms. Duncan: Just with respect to the government’s road funding and money allocated this year, there’s another significant project in this area, the Old Crow airport. Could I have the timelines for that, please? When are we going to look at tenders, construction? What’s on the books for this year?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The tenders have closed for the Old Crow Airport and we’re under evaluation right now. The intent is hopefully to have commencement of that take place later this summer.
Ms. Duncan: My understanding is that it’s this department that purchased the Red Line train in Carcross. Is the train going to be operating this summer?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The train will be utilized for charters out to Bennett Lake and to Carcross later on this summer.
Ms. Duncan: Will it be available for individuals who have completed the Chilkoot?
Hon. Mr. Hart: That’s one of the options that it’s going to be used for, yes, but it is being specialized for charters specifically. If people are coming off the Chilkoot and it’s there, they’ll be able to get on.
Ms. Duncan: I would suggest that perhaps the minister and the government would like to forward that information to Parks Canada. It would be useful for them to have because they didn’t have it a month and a half ago. It would be useful for those contemplating doing the Chilkoot to know. Right now, you’re given several options, and the Red Line train wasn’t one of them. There is a private sector individual who has been working on boat charters. It would be useful to liaise with that private sector individual as well.
The one-stop shop is undergoing an expansion, although the Yukon Party doesn’t like that reference to that building. What is the total cost and why is it being done?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We are in the process of trying to get all our people — as many people as we can — into one spot and that necessitates some additional space. That’s not just for this building; it’s also for our devolution transfer agreement employees from last year, as well as the reallocation of people from the renewal process.
We are currently looking at the overall space requirements for all Yukon. That is underway. Once it is complete, we will be looking at making adjustments and moving spaces as identified in that study.
Ms. Duncan: What is the total anticipated cost?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Until we can get that study complete, I can’t provide a specific amount to the member opposite, but when we are finished with the process, we will provide it to her.
Ms. Duncan: The Canadian strategic infrastructure fund is $5.1 million. The Premier has repeatedly indicated that there is no risk of this money not being made available due to an election in Ottawa. The health money, as we know, has been put into trust funds so that it can’t be tinkered with, for lack of a better word, or not be made available for the purpose for which it was intended.
My question: what is the situation with the Canadian strategic infrastructure fund? Is the $5.1 million in the bank or is it in a trust fund in Ottawa? How are we guaranteed that that money will be there?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Mr. Chair, I almost don’t want to be political here, but the MP for the Yukon on at least a dozen occasions that I can recall has been advising that this fund is here and ready to go. I will state for the member opposite that we have a signed agreement with the federal government so, regardless of who gets into power, we do not foresee any of these funds being jeopardized.
Ms. Duncan: Or returns to power, who knows.
The last question I have is the Fleet Vehicle Agency. We’ve discussed this before — the audit. Will the minister release it? I’ll just remind the minister. On December 6, 2004, we were speaking about the Fleet Vehicle Agency and audit, and the minister said that the report we were basically looking at, the scope we asked for, was to identify the core fleet and identify cost accounting. We’re looking at charges for vehicle equipment and operating structure, and they’ve asked that that be looked into. I asked if there were any anticipated changes to the reserve fund. I can’t recall seeing the Fleet Vehicle Agency audit. Did I miss that? Has the minister tabled it already, or where is it?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The actual audit was not tabled, but I could provide the member opposite with a copy of the audit if she so requests.
Ms. Duncan: I would like a copy of the audit, please. That’s my last question for the minister. I appreciate his answers today. If he would send that information over — and would he just indicate if there is any recommendation regarding the Fleet Vehicle Agency reserve fund or changes to its operation recommended in the audit?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The report provides us with an indication of what we need to look at, as far as our core sample of supplies and equipment in the Highways and Public Works department. It does provide information for the actual fleet vehicles for the cars and trucks we drive around. We are in the process right now of identifying what specific pieces of equipment are required for us — that is currently underway — and what pieces of equipment we can rent from the private sector. That information is also going to be in the study that the member opposite will receive.
Mr. Cardiff: I have a few questions for the minister today. The first one has to do with the Property Management Agency. It’s my understanding that the Canada Winter Games athletes village is going to be built by the Property Management Agency. They are going to oversee the construction of that project — is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The athletes village will be headquartered and the lead agency will be Community Services.
Mr. Cardiff: So it would be more appropriate to ask these questions in Community Services then, I guess. Actually, I just need the minister to clarify this. Community Services will be doing the tendering for the project, or is Property Management Agency doing the tendering?
Hon. Mr. Hart: As I said, when we get to Community Services, we’ll be more than happy to respond to that. Community Services has hired a project manager to take care of that project, and they will be dealing with that process.
Mr. Cardiff: We can move on. This has more to do with highways and highway safety.
I corresponded with the minister on a number of issues regarding highway safety — two, specifically. One is the safety issue at the Cowley subdivision entrance — the one close to the Carcross Cutoff there — and the safety of cyclists, especially young cyclists travelling to and from Golden Horn Elementary School and their places of residence and the fact that vehicles are doing 90 kilometres an hour there and we’ve got young children crossing the highway there. That’s one issue.
I raised other issues regarding highway safety and cyclists as well in regard to the law and the fact that the law states that you have to ride single file and not side by side. The minister responded last September and stated his intentions — that there would be education, monitoring and enforcement. He went on in the last paragraph: “We look forward to completing the planning phase of this work over the 2004-05 winter season and hope to roll out the education and awareness phase in the spring of 2005.” Can the minister give us an update on where we’re at with that program?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We have been working on the bicycle safety program over the winter season, as he stated. In fact, we are in the process of rolling out the education and awareness program as we speak. A committee was set up involving several members — the City of Whitehorse, RCMP, and such — and that is currently underway.
Mr. Cardiff: I’d like to thank the minister for that answer. I’m glad that this is finally happening. I just feel that it’s a little bit late. I’ve been driving out that way for the last month or so and there have been lots of bicycles on the road and it’s still a problem. I’m still hearing from my constituents about cyclists riding three abreast on the shoulder and they’re afraid that somebody is going to get hurt.
I look forward to seeing this rolled out very shortly.
That’s all the questions I have, as well.
Ms. Duncan: Sorry, I had two other questions I wanted to ask the minister. First of all, the minister tabled the Driving Yukon Highways 2005 document. It was provided to the opposition parties in the briefing as well. I would just like to go on the public record to ask the minister to consider an overrun of these brochures.
My understanding is that the intent of the brochures is to make them available in visitor centres, and that is excellent. It is also information that Yukoners want to know. We drive by all these signs that give us information about the cost of construction and how far and on which highways, but we drive by them pretty quickly. This would be a handy brochure to have in the vehicle when we are planning, as we’re out and about in the summer and winter. We would know there is construction on such and such a highway at such and such a time.
My suggestion is not just to restrict this to the visitor information centres, but to do an overrun and make it more widely available to Yukoners as well.
Hon. Mr. Hart: I understand that she made this suggestion during a briefing from my department. Since then, we have acted on it and a mail-out is being sent to all Yukoners.
Ms. Duncan: I appreciate the minister and the department taking up that suggestion.
Just one last question about the brushing program for the spring and summer months. Has the brushing begun? There was brushing in Rabbit’s Foot Canyon in a particular area, but I had an exchange of correspondence with the minister about brushing on the Mayo Road area — the Klondike Highway — and the minister indicated that it would be undertaken as soon as weather permits. It certainly seems as though the weather in the last few weeks has permitted this. Has it been done, is it underway or is it being contemplated for the very near future?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We are well aware of the specific area that she is discussing. Right now, water has been our problem. We understand that work will commence next week, and hopefully the job will be completed by mid-June.
Chair: Are there any further questions in general debate? Hearing none, we’ll proceed with line-by-line. For members’ convenience, we’ll start on 12-6 with Corporate Services.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
On Corporate Services
On Deputy Minister’s Office
Deputy Minister’s Office in the amount of $317,000 agreed to
On Human Resources
Human Resources in the amount of $742,000 agreed to
On Finance and Administration
Finance and Administration in the amount of $2,612,000 agreed to
On Policy and Communication
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, the Bid Challenge Committee is identified on the statistics pages, and there’s a policy in the department that the Bid Challenge Committee can review a bid and make recommendations but they can’t make any financial awards based upon the bid, as I understand it. That was the policy in place a few years ago. Are there any changes to that policy contemplated?
Hon. Mr. Hart: The member opposite is correct. The committee can only make recommendations, but they can make recommendations to the deputy minister for an award — in most cases, it could be per diems or something along those lines, and it’s up to the deputy minister to make that choice, whether they go through or not.
Ms. Duncan: Is there then an appeal route to the minister?
Hon. Mr. Hart: They can write to me, but there is no formal appeal channel to me as the minister.
Ms. Duncan: There were two bid challenges forecast for 2004-05 and there are three forecast for 2005-06. The financial awards the minister just made mention of — have any been made in the past year? If he wishes, he can just send over this information to me by letter or legislative return.
Hon. Mr. Hart: Yes, there were a couple of awards but they were small, and I would be more than pleased to provide her with a copy of which ones were done.
Policy and Communication in the amount of $917,000 agreed to
Total Corporate Services in the amount of $4,588,000 agreed to
On Information and Communications Technology
On Finance and Administration
Finance and Administration in the amount of $429,000 agreed to
Telecommunications in the amount of $511,000 agreed to
Planning in the amount of $307,000 agreed to
On Client Services
Client Services in the amount of $621,000 agreed to
On Network Services
Network Services in the amount of $2,622,000 agreed to
On Corporate Information Management
Ms. Duncan: Could the minister explain why this line item has a 26-percent increase?
Hon. Mr. Hart: On this specific issue there has been realignment within the branch and there are several issues that are less, for example, but the increase is about two percent in the branch itself. So it’s just a realignment of the staff.
Corporate Information Management in the amount of $668,000 agreed to
On Application Services
Application Services in the amount of $1,732,000 agreed to
On Service Agreements
Service Agreements in the amount of $430,000 agreed to
Total Information and Communications Technology in the amount of $7,320,000 agreed to
On Transportation Division
On Transportation Administration
Transportation Administration in the amount of $2,513,000 agreed to
On Highway Maintenance
Mr. Fairclough: I didn’t ask this question in general debate, but I would like the minister to give us a breakdown on the costs on the highway maintenance camps. If he doesn’t have it in front of him, he can send it over.
Hon. Mr. Hart: I don’t have that in front of me obviously, but I can prepare it for the member opposite.
Highway Maintenance in the amount of $32,860,000 agreed to
On Aviation and Marine
Aviation and Marine in the amount of $5,809,000 agreed to
On Transport Services
Transport Services in the amount of $1,748,000 agreed to
Total Transportation Division in the amount of $42,930,000 agreed to
On Supply Services
On Finance and Administration
Finance and Administration in the amount of $376,000 agreed to
On Matériel Management
Matériel Management in the amount of $1,069,000 agreed to
On Queen’s Printer
Queen’s Printer in the amount of $352,000 agreed to
On Transportation and Communication
Transportation and Communication in the amount of $1,287,000 agreed to
On Prior Years’ Activities
Prior Years’ Activities in the amount of nil agreed to
Total Supply Services in the amount of $3,084,000 agreed to
On Property Management
On Realty Services
Ms. Duncan: My notes from the briefing indicate that this is leased and government-owned facilities, repair and maintenance on a variety of leases. Could the minister send over a breakdown of that expenditure? A written form is fine.
Hon. Mr. Hart: Yes, I would be more than pleased to provide the member opposite with that.
Realty Services in the amount of $16,064,000 agreed to
Total Property Management in the amount of $16,064,000 agreed to
On French Language Services
Mr. Fairclough: Mr. Chair, I understood that this was to be moved out of this department. I was wondering what’s happening with that, with the French language services, and when can we expect this to happen?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We are working currently on a job description as well as what is required for the directorate to be developed, and that is currently underway. We will be advertising for a director over the summer, with the intent that in the fall we’ll be operating as a secretary for the francophone affairs.
Mr. Fairclough: So this French language services, basically, will be staying in this department, not moving out to the Department of Education? Because I know there was dissatisfaction with having it in the Department of Highways and Public Works.
Hon. Mr. Hart: As indicated previously, I’ve been working with L’Association franco-yukonnaise. They know now that they will be a directorate of francophone affairs. They will be segregated out as that. However, I will still be their minister, which they appreciate, by the way.
Administration in the amount of $1,430,000 agreed to
On Adult French Language Instruction
Adult French Language Instruction in the amount of $99,000 agreed to
Total French Language Services in the amount of $1,529,000 agreed to
On Transfer Payments
Transfer Payments cleared
Total Operation and Maintenance Expenditures for the Department of Highways and Public Works in the amount of $75,515,000 agreed to
Chair: We’ll continue with capital expenditures for Vote 55. The page reference is 12-4, for members’ convenience.
On Capital Expenditures
On Corporate Services
On Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space
Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space in the amount of $326,000 agreed to
Total Corporate Services in the amount of $326,000 agreed to
On Information and Communications Technology
On Corporate Computer Equipment and Systems
Corporate Computer Equipment and Systems in the amount of $2,764,000 agreed to
Telecommunications in the amount of $190,000 agreed to
On Mobile Communications Solution (formerly MDMRS Replacement)
Mobile Communications Solution (formerly MDMRS Replacement) in the amount of $4,970,000 agreed to
On Prior Years’ Projects
Prior Years’ Projects in the amount of nil agreed to
Total Information and Communications Technology in the amount of $7,924,000 agreed to
On Transportation Division
On Transportation Facilities
On Transportation Facilities and Equipment
Transportation Facilities and Equipment in the amount of $1,726,000 agreed to
On Waterfront Trolley
Waterfront Trolley in the amount of $130,000 agreed to
On Red Line Train
Red Line Train in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
On Transportation Planning and Engineering
On Transportation Planning and Engineering
Ms. Duncan: What are the projects outlined for this expenditure?
Hon. Mr. Hart: This amount incorporates four activities with support and delivery of the transportation capital program as a whole — transportation capital planning of $350,000 is for FTEs, engineering support and highway inventory management of $200,000, land and granular resource management of $150,000, and aviation planning and engineering of $170,000.
Ms. Duncan: Am I to gather from the minister’s answer that it is all in-house engineering work? There is no private sector contracting involved?
Hon. Mr. Hart: Yes.
Transportation Planning and Engineering in the amount of $1,250,000 agreed to
On Highway Construction
On Non-YG Funded:
On Alaska Highway - Shakwak
Mr. Fairclough: I just wanted to bring to the minister’s attention, and those across the way, that we heard the Premier say that the New Democrats when in government snapped when the Alaskans identified this money. I just wanted to put on record that when we got in in 1996, the Yukon Party did not negotiate an extension to the agreement on the Shakwak and it had to be done under the New Democrats. That’s just information for the members opposite so they can think about it the next time the Premier gets up and says that. We had to jump and go ahead and negotiate. It was a big issue at the time because we could have lost that opportunity and not had the dollars, I guess, committed to by the U.S. government. I just wanted members opposite to realize that, because it was a big issue at the time.
Chair: Is there any further debate on the Shakwak line?
Ms. Duncan: My understanding is that this $24.4 million is being spent on bridges this summer: Beaver Creek, Donjek and the Duke. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Hart: I’m prepared to read forward what we anticipate. We’re looking at the Beaver Creek replacement of the bridge of approximately $2 million. We’re looking at BST from kilometre 1749 to 1759, Lewis Creek to Burwash, $800,000. We’re looking at the Donjek replacement bridge, approximately $5 million. We’re looking at pavement overlay, kilometre 71 to kilometre 116, Haines Junction Road, approximately $3.5 million. We’re looking at pre-engineering on Silver City of $100,000. We’re looking at a quarry at kilometre 1702 near the Slims River, approximately $2 million. We’re looking at reconstruction of kilometre 1707 to 1717, Sheep Mountain to Willow Creek, $9 million; and revegetation from Lewis Creek to Burwash, $50,000.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, the bridge construction at the Donjek River — I didn’t hear the minister mention that. Did I miss that in his explanation? He did mention it? Okay, thank you very much.
It is anticipated that all these projects will be tendered in the near future or have been tendered or will close? Are we proceeding on them?
Hon. Mr. Hart: All the road construction is underway and has been tendered out.
Alaska Highway - Shakwak in the amount of $24,450,000 agreed to
On Alaska Highway - Canadian Strategic Infrastructure Fund
Mr. Fairclough: I would like the minister to give me a breakdown on this line item and also whether or not the previous year’s $5.635 million that was identified in the books but was not given out, and has been forwarded to this — could he maybe deal with that issue first, and then the breakdown?
Hon. Mr. Hart: It is just the way in which it was booked this year versus last year. This amount is actually a combination of both the federal money and our money.
Mr. Fairclough: The $5.635 million was not spent last year, but it was identified in the budget. That was not spent — is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Hart: No, that money was spent.
Mr. Fairclough: Okay, maybe it was the other infrastructure funds, then — the municipal rural infrastructure fund. It was one or the other. It was identified but not spent. Okay, it was the other. Can the minister give us a breakdown of the $10,298,000?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We’re looking at the following: the Lewes River bridge deck replacement, $2.182 million; Marshall Creek culvert lengthening, $150,000; reconstruction kilometre 1616 to kilometre 1627, Marshall Creek to Pine Lake, $6.3 million; revegetation various sites, Pine Lake to Haines Junction, $60,000; Seaforth Creek bridge deck replacement, $306,000; surfacing kilometre 1603 to 1616, Canyon Creek to Marshall Creek, $1.3 million.
Mr. Fairclough: How long does the minister expect the dollars to flow from Ottawa? How long can they expect projects to be funded under this line item?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We’re in the second year of a three-year agreement with the federal government.
On Alaska Highway - Canadian Strategic Infrastructure Fund in the amount of $10,298,000 agreed to
On YG Funded:
On Alaska Highway
Alaska Highway in the amount of $100,000 agreed to
On Klondike Highway
Mr. Fairclough: I asked the minister this question and I would like him to refresh my memory, as he has some support with him. With regard to the Klondike Highway, I asked whether or not the government is going to do any improvements in the section between here and Carmacks. I am particularly interested in the winding section around Fox Lake. There was work done in the past. There was surveying and clearing to straighten out some of the corners. When can we expect that work to take place?
Hon. Mr. Hart: We are in the process of looking at some pre-engineering studies this year to identify what needs to be started and what needs to be completed as part of our general improvement of the Klondike Highway.
Mr. Fairclough: Would the department look at widening the highway, which was an issue the Member for Klondike raised when he was in opposition and wanted to push that forward? It narrows when you come south from Carmacks. The road narrows as you get closer to Whitehorse. I was wondering if they would consider widening the whole road.
Mr. Hardy: I’m not an engineer. I assume that the pre-engineering study will take care of that and identify the issue of widening the road and recommend what needs to be done to improve its safety.
Mr. Fairclough: Has the department given any direction for this engineering study to take place? Is the department looking at — they must have some guidelines to follow. Are they looking at widening the road to the point of where we can have something like the highway down to, say, Teslin, so we can look at increasing the highway speed?
Hon. Mr. Hart: As I stated, we’ll be looking at a pre-engineering study to identify what is required, what kind of traffic volumes are being experienced on that highway, and what needs to be done as far as renovating that highway to get it up to standard in our attempt to improve the North Klondike Highway.
Klondike Highway in the amount of $300,000 agreed to
On Campbell Highway
Campbell Highway in the amount of $2,750,000 agreed to
On Dempster Highway
Dempster Highway in the amount of $1,000,000 agreed to
On Tagish Road
Tagish Road in the amount of $320,000 agreed to
On Top of the World Highway
Top of the World Highway in the amount of $400,000 agreed to
On Pavement Rehabilitation
Pavement Rehabilitation in the amount of $2,000,000 agreed to
On Bridges - Numbered Highways
Bridges - Numbered Highways in the amount of $4,080,000 agreed to
On Other Roads
Other Roads in the amount of $1,360,000 agreed to
On Prior Years’ Projects
Prior Years’ Projects in the amount of nil agreed to
On Aviation/Yukon Airports
Airports in the amount of $7,158,000 agreed to
Total Transportation Division in the amount of $57,372,000 agreed to
On Supply Services
On Acquisition of Used Assets
Acquisition of Used Assets in the amount of $5,000 agreed to
On Central Stores
Mr. Fairclough: I request the unanimous consent of the Committee to deem all remaining lines in Vote 55, Department of Highways and Public Works, cleared or carried, as required.
Unanimous consent re deeming all remaining lines in Vote 55, Department of Highways and Public Works, cleared or carried
Chair: Mr. Fairclough has requested the unanimous consent of the Committee to deem all remaining lines in Vote 55, Department of Highways and Public Works, cleared or carried, as required.
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: Unanimous consent has been granted.
Total Capital Expenditures for the Department of Highways and Public Works in the amount of $72,071,000 agreed to
Department of Highways and Public Works agreed to
Hon. Mr. Hart: Seeing the time, Mr. Chair, I move that we report progress on Bill No. 15, First Appropriation Act, 2005-06.
Chair: Mr. Hart has moved that we report progress on Bill No. 15, First Appropriation Act, 2005-06.
Motion agreed to
Mr. Cathers: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Chair: It has been moved by Mr. Cathers that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Rouble: Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 15, First Appropriation Act, 2005-06, 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.
The time now being 6:00 p.m., this House now stands adjourned until 1:00 p.m. Monday.
The House adjourned at 6:00 p.m.
The following documents were filed May 12, 2005:
Economic Development, Department of; letter re (dated April 13, 2005) to Hon. Jim Kenyon, Minister of Economic Development, Government of Yukon from 13 signatories (Hardy)
“Services for People with Disabilities: A Yukon Guide Book – 2005 Edition” (English and French versions) (McRobb)