Thursday, November 23, 2006 - 3:00 p.m.
THE FIRST SESSION OF THE 32ND LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF YUKON, CONVENED IN THE ASSEMBLY CHAMBER AT 3:00 P.M. ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2006
Clerk: "To the Members of the Legislative Assembly of Yukon, and to all others whom this may concern
"Know ye that under and by virtue of the power and authority vested in the Commissioner of Yukon, the Legislative Assembly is summoned to meet for dispatch of business in the Legislative Assembly Chamber, Yukon Government Administration Building, Whitehorse, Yukon, on Thursday, the 23rd day of November, A.D., 2006, at the hour of three o'clock in the afternoon, all of which all persons concerned are required to take notice and to govern themselves accordingly.
"Given under my hand and seal of Yukon, at Whitehorse, Yukon, this 6th day of November, A.D., 2006.
Geraldine Van Bibber
Commissioner of Yukon"
REPORT ON MEMBERS ELECTED
Clerk: Pursuant to the provisions of the Elections Act, the Commissioner has been informed of the receipt of Returns to Writs for the general election conducted on the 10th day of October 2006. These returns show that the following members were duly elected:
the Electoral District of Copperbelt, Arthur Mitchell;
the Electoral District of Klondike, Steve Nordick;
the Electoral District of Kluane, Gary McRobb;
the Electoral District of Lake Laberge, Brad Cathers;
the Electoral District of McIntyre-Takhini, John Edzerza;
the Electoral District of Mayo-Tatchun, Eric Fairclough;
the Electoral District of Mount Lorne, Steve Cardiff;
the Electoral District of Pelly-Nisutlin, Marian Horne;
the Electoral District of Porter Creek Centre, Archie Lang;
the Electoral District of Porter Creek North, Jim Kenyon;
the Electoral District of Porter Creek South, Don Inverarity;
the Electoral District of Riverdale North, Ted Staffen;
the Electoral District of Riverdale South, Glenn Hart;
the Electoral District of Southern Lakes, Patrick Rouble;
the Electoral District of Vuntut Gwichin, Darius Elias;
the Electoral District of Watson Lake, Dennis Fentie;
the Electoral District of Whitehorse Centre, Todd Hardy;
the Electoral District of Whitehorse West, Elaine Taylor.
Signed by Patrick L. Michael,
Clerk of the Yukon Legislative Assembly."
Commissioner Van Bibber enters the Chamber announced by her Aides-de-Camp
Clerk: I am commanded by the Commissioner, in her capacity as Lieutenant Governor, to state that she does not see fit to declare the causes of the summoning of the present Assembly of Yukon until a Speaker of this Assembly shall have been chosen according to law, but today at a subsequent hour she will declare the causes of the calling of this Assembly.
Commissioner Van Bibber withdraws from the Assembly accompanied by her Aides-de-Camp
Motion No. 1 - Election of Speaker
Clerk: Hon. members, nominations are invited for the Office of Speaker of this Assembly.
Hon. Mr. Fentie: I move, seconded by the leader of the official opposition and the acting leader of the third party that Ted Staffen, Member for Riverdale North, do take the Chair of this Assembly as Speaker.
Clerk: It has been moved by the Premier, seconded by the leader of the official opposition and the acting leader of the third party
THAT Ted Staffen, Member for Riverdale North, do take the Chair of this Assembly as Speaker.
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Clerk: The ayes have it, and Ted Staffen, Member for Riverdale North is, by direction of this Assembly, duly elected as Speaker of the Yukon Legislative Assembly.
Motion No. 1 agreed to
SPEAKER'S ADDRESS TO THE ASSEMBLY
Speaker: I'd like to express my thanks to the Assembly for the great honour it has given me by electing me to be its Speaker. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my wife, Susan, our son, Jess, and our daughter, Bailey, for their unqualified support. I'd also express my gratitude to the constituents of Riverdale North for re-electing me. I look forward to representing and serving you in the future. Thank you.
Please be seated.
Mr. Clerk, will you please advise the Commissioner, in her capacity as Lieutenant Governor, that the Assembly is now prepared to hear the Speech from the Throne.
Clerk withdraws to ask Commissioner to return
Speaker: We are now prepared to hear the Speech from the Throne.
Commissioner Van Bibber enters the Chamber accompanied by her Aides-de-Camp
SPEAKER'S ADDRESS TO THE COMMISSIONER
Speaker: Madame Commissioner, the Members of the Legislative Assembly have elected me to be their Speaker and I recognize the important duties now given to me. If, in the performance of those duties, I should at any time make a mistake, the fault is mine and not that of the Assembly, whose servant I am. At this time, so that all Members of the Assembly can best carry out their duty to Yukon, to their country and to the Queen, I would claim for them their undoubted rights and privileges, especially freedom of speech in their debates, access to your person when necessary and your favourable consideration of their proceedings.
RESPONSE BY THE COMMISSIONER
Commissioner: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to declare to you that I believe in the duty of the Assembly and, not doubting that the Assembly's proceedings will be conducted with wisdom, temper and care, I grant and allow the Assembly's constitutional privileges. I assure you that the Assembly shall have ready access to me and that the Assembly's proceedings, words and actions will receive from me favourable consideration.
Please be seated.
SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Commissioner: Mr. Speaker, Members of the Yukon Legislative Assembly, Yukoners, visitors and honoured guests, I welcome you in our Sovereign's name to the First Session of the 32nd Legislative Assembly.
In today's Yukon, there is a rekindled economy, unemployment is at historic lows, our population is increasing, property values are on the rise and my government's financial health is among the best of all jurisdictions in Canada.
The Yukon is poised to continue its advance on the pathway to growth and prosperity by continuing the vision and the direction that was established by my government in the election of 2002.
It was through dedication and hard work that my government built a strong foundation for Yukon's future over the past four years. On October 10, 2006, my government received a second mandate from the people of Yukon to continue to advance and to keep the territory on its current pathway of growth and prosperity.
It is worthy to note that my government is the only government since 1989 to achieve a second mandate. This is indeed historic and clearly demonstrates that the people of Yukon wanted political stability and continuity. My government's vision, "Building Yukon's Future Together - A Clear Vision for a Bright Future" has four major pillars: achieving a better quality of life by building healthy, safe communities with skilled and adaptable people; protecting Yukon's pristine environment, preserving our wildlife and studying and mitigating the impacts of climate change; promoting a strong, diversified, private sector economy by developing Yukon's vast natural resources, wilderness tourism potential, agriculture, arts and culture, information technology and film and sound, as well as the traditional industries of outfitting and trapping; and, practising good government with strong, fiscal management and a climate of cooperation, collaboration and partnership with our First Nation governments, our sister territories, our provincial counterparts and the federal government.
These are the pillars upon which my government will build Yukon's future.
In the recent 2006 election, my government asked Yukoners to imagine a better and brighter future. It asked Yukoners to imagine a tomorrow where our children are not faced with crack houses and drug dealers in their neighbourhoods.
In order to achieve this objective, my government is committed to implementing its substance abuse action plan based on four strategic directions: harm reduction, prevention and education, treatment, and enforcement.
My government has stated that there will be zero tolerance for drug dealers and that the enforcement provisions of the substance abuse action plan will be utilized to ensure drug houses are shut down in Yukon and drug dealers leave the territory.
One of the enforcement tools is the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act that allows enforcement officers to shut down drug houses and other illegal activities in our communities. Investigators have now been hired and the office should be in operation in the very near future.
My government is also focusing on new treatment options and facilities for those who have become addicted to drugs in accordance with the initiatives outlined in its corrections action plan.
To this end, my government will be introducing a therapeutic problem-solving court to the Yukon justice system, where those offenders with challenges such as addictions, FASD, or mental health problems are able to work with the court in a holistic manner to address the treatment needs of the offender.
During the election, Yukoners were asked to imagine a tomorrow where our elders and seniors are able to stay in their homes and within their communities as their needs increase.
To achieve this end, my government is committed to delivering expanded homecare services, reopening the Thomson Centre, establishing a palliative care unit, and consulting with Yukoners on new elders and seniors facilities in Teslin and other communities, in addition to those being planned or under construction in Watson Lake, Dawson City and Haines Junction.
Yukoners were also asked to imagine a tomorrow where affordable, accessible, high-quality childcare and early learning services are available for children and parents in all Yukon communities.
My government is committed to delivering a territory-wide childcare and early learning strategy for children and parents based on the priorities that parents themselves have established.
Yukoners were asked to imagine a tomorrow where children with disabilities receive therapies and support services they need to achieve their full potential and live happy, productive lives.
My government is committed to expanding support services currently provided to children with autism to include children with other severe disabilities such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Down's syndrome.
Yukoners were asked to imagine a tomorrow with more doctors and other health care professionals because more of our children have been given access to higher education and have returned home to practise here.
My government is committed to ensuring that Yukon families have improved access to the doctors and other medical professionals they need through measures designed to increase accessible health care for Yukon families.
Yukoners were asked to imagine a tomorrow where all the skills and trades training that Yukoners and their children need is available in Yukon schools and more and more Yukon children are able to graduate from high school and pursue post-secondary education.
My government is committed to introducing a comprehensive skills and trades training strategy to meet the needs of our growing and prosperous economy and to implement the findings of its major education reform initiative.
Yukoners were asked to imagine a tomorrow where help is available for seniors, stay-at-home parents, those on social assistance and students to participate in the job market.
My government is committed to assisting potential employees to enter the labour market and help employees fill existing vacancies in the entry-level workforce.
Yukoners were asked to imagine a tomorrow where Yukoners have ready access to land to meet their needs.
My government is committed to making land available to Yukoners for community, residential, recreational, agricultural, commercial and industrial purposes while respecting the interests of existing land holders.
This will be accomplished by streamlining the land-application process and ensuring that appropriate policies and administrative structures are put in place to manage Crown land in the territory.
Yukoners were asked to imagine a tomorrow where the Yukon is renowned for taking innovative steps to address climate change, with its own Climate Change Research Centre of Excellence for the North.
As part of its climate change strategy, my government is committed to: establishing Yukon College as a Climate Change Research Centre of Excellence for the North; building a cold climate innovation cluster situated at Ayamdigut campus at Yukon College to specialize in three general areas of cold climate technology including building construction and maintenance, municipal infrastructure and geotechnical works; increasing inventory monitoring, data collection and research on the impacts of climate change on the Porcupine caribou herd and other wildlife species such as moose, caribou, bears and Yukon wood bison; promoting the Old Crow campus of Yukon College as an integral part of research on the Porcupine Caribou herd to ensure local and traditional knowledge is utilized in strategies to lessen the impacts of climate change; and including the Yukon Wildlife Preserve as an affiliate of the Yukon College Climate Change Research Centre of Excellence in order to study the impacts of climate change on Yukon wildlife.
Yukoners were asked to imagine a tomorrow where the Yukon is renowned for protecting, preserving and celebrating its pristine environment, sensitive ecosystems and wilderness landscapes for the benefit of future generations and the global community.
My government is committed to meeting its obligations to establish special management areas and habitat protection areas under the land claims settlements as well as to plan and manage a system of wilderness preserves, natural environment parks and ecological reserves throughout the territory.
As part of this initiative, my government is committed to showcasing Yukon parks and urging the Government of Canada to increase its investment in its three national parks in Yukon, including Parks Canada's presence in Dawson City.
Yukon's breathtaking wilderness has been identified as one of the major drivers in promoting the future economic growth of the territory.
Yukoners were asked to imagine a prosperous tomorrow, whereby economic activity will be robust from now into the foreseeable future, fuelled by the demand for the territory's abundance of minerals, oil and gas and other resources as well as a dramatic expansion in the tourism sector due to an increasing demand by international travellers seeking to experience Yukon's breathtaking wilderness and northern cultures.
My government is committed to providing access to land, regulatory certainty, business incentive and marketing programs, and the provision of necessary transportation and energy infrastructure to support the development and growth of a prosperous and diversified private sector economy.
Yukoners were asked to imagine a tomorrow with the Yukon coming of age through effective leadership, political stability, cooperative governance and strong fiscal management.
My government is committed to continuing its cooperative approach to governance whether it be with municipal governments, First Nation governments, our two sister territories, neighbouring jurisdictions such as Alaska, British Columbia and Alberta, the provincial governments through the Council of the Federation, and the Government of Canada.
My government is committed to working with the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Canada to create a new northern vision demonstrating that Canada north of 60 is coming of age, that Canada's northern frontier will become Canada's future and that the territories will play an increasingly important role in Canadian Confederation. The fact that Yukon, in collaboration with its two sister territories, is hosting the 2007 Canada Winter Games is an acknowledgement of this new reality and gives the north an opportunity to showcase itself to southern Canadians.
My government remains committed to completing and implementing land claims as well as making First Nations full partners in the economic development of the territory.
To accomplish this end, my government will work with First Nations, Yukon College and the private sector to provide training for Yukon First Nations for land claims implementation, especially in relation to capacity development for First Nation governance.
My government looks forward to continuing our constructive and cooperative relationship with the dynamic Yukon francophone community.
It also remains committed to practising open, accountable, fiscally responsible government through legislative renewal and the provision of balanced budgets as the way of the future.
My government is committed to working constructively with all members of the House to improve the operation of its committees and the proceedings of the Legislature itself.
Most importantly, my government will work closely with all Yukoners, whether it be in the private or public sector to ensure a future filled with promise for every one of our citizens.
During this sitting, honourable members will be asked to consider Bill No. 2, Fourth Appropriation Act, 2005-06, Bill No. 3, Second Appropriation Act, 2006-07, and Bill No. 31, Act to Amend the Income Tax Act.
May divine providence attend your deliberations. I thank you in our Sovereign's name.
God bless Yukon and God bless Canada.
Commissioner leaves the Chamber, accompanied by her Aides-de-Camp
Speaker: Members, ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce former Speaker Sam Johnston to give the opening prayer of the first day of the 32nd Legislative Assembly.
Sergeant-at Arms escorts Mr. Johnston to the floor of the House
Mr. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, honourable members, clerks and staff, ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honour to be here for the opening of the first session of the 32nd Legislative Assembly.
Today, I would like to take a moment to say thank you to the members who have taken the time to run to make Yukon the best that it can become. Congratulations to each and every one of you for taking this trip to benefit all Yukon people.
I once again congratulate all of you, as I have the greatest confidence each one will do their very best, when making the best decisions for our Yukon.
May the Creator always be with all of you to work for the benefit of the Yukon people.
Now, I will open the Legislature in a prayer first in my native tongue, the Tlingit language, and then in English.
[Mr. Johnston spoke in Tlingit. Translation unavailable.]
Oh Great Spirit, Leader of all people, thank you for the gathering of our elected members. I ask your blessing on each and every one in this House today, that in all the days to come you will help guide them to make strong, fair, and sound decisions on behalf of the people they represent throughout Yukon.
We are thankful for your many blessings. Thank you for everything. Günilschish.
INTRODUCTION OF PAGES
Speaker: I am pleased to announce the following students who will be serving as legislative pages for this sitting. They are Napanda Ausiku, Tanner Cassidy, Erin Eady, Craig Flaherty, Kathleen Hare and Mauricio Ruiz from Vanier Catholic Secondary School.
I would ask all members to welcome the pages to the House at this time.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 101: Introduction and First Reading
Steve Nordick: Mr. Speaker, I move that a bill, entitled Act to Perpetuate a Certain Ancient Right, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Member for Klondike that a bill, entitled Act to Perpetuate a Certain Ancient Right, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion agreed to
TABLING SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Speaker: I wish to inform the Assembly that I have received a copy of the Speech from the Throne, which I will now table.
CONSIDERATION OF SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Hon. Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, I move that the Speech from the Throne be considered on a day following.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Premier that the Speech from the Throne be considered on a day following.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. Cathers: Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform the House that, pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 26(2), consideration of a motion for an Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne will take place on Monday, November 27, 2006.
Motion No. 2 - Election of Deputy Speaker
Speaker: I will now ask whether the House is prepared to elect a Deputy Speaker.
Hon. Mr. Cathers: I move that Steve Nordick, the Member for Klondike, be appointed Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the honourable government House leader that Steve Nordick, the Member for Klondike, be appointed Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
Bill No. 2: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 2, entitled Fourth Appropriation Act, 2005-06, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Premier that Bill No. 2, entitled Fourth Appropriation Act, 2005-06, be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill No. 2 agreed to
Bill No. 3: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 3, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2006-07, be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. Premier that Bill No. 3, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2006-07, be now introduced and read a first time.
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mr. McRobb: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that
(1) the public has made clear its desire to see the Yukon's Legislature become a more productive place;
(2) all three political parties and all MLAs have pledged to improve the workings of the Legislative Assembly;
(3) there must be greater cooperation between elected members of this Assembly;
(4) improvements are needed to attract more female members;
(5) changes are necessary to increase the public's respect for the Assembly; and
THAT this House urges the members to participate in a non-partisan process of legislative reform with the goal of implementing changes prior to the commencement of the spring sitting of the Yukon Legislative Assembly.
Mr. Cardiff: Mr. Speaker, I give notice of the following motion:
THAT in keeping with the provisions of Standing Order 45(3.1) and (3.2), a Standing Committee on Appointments to Major Government Boards and Committees be immediately established, consisting of an equal number of members of each of the three political parties of the Legislative Assembly in addition to a non-voting chair appointed by the government party.
I also give notice of the following motion:
THAT in keeping with the provisions of Standing Order 45(4), a Select Committee of the Legislative Assembly, consisting of equal representation from all three political parties in addition to a non-voting chair be immediately established to examine, consider and recommend options for territorial whistle-blower protection legislation to be introduced no later than the fall sitting in 2008, and that one of the primary duties of this committee shall be to ensure that the needs and wishes of workers are fully considered in the development of such legislation through meaningful consultation with employees and their representatives.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Hon. Mr. Hart: I would ask the members of the Legislature to help me recognize Bert and Thérèse Lacroix who are with us today and are celebrating their anniversary also.
Hon. Mr. Cathers: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the honourable government House leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: The House now stands adjourned until 1:00 p.m. Monday.
The House adjourned at 3:38 p.m.
The following Sessional Paper was tabled November 23, 2006:
Speech from the Throne (Speaker Staffen)