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104 Hansard

Whitehorse, Yukon

Thursday, May 15, 20081:00 p.m.

Speaker:   I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will proceed with prayers.

Prayers

DAILY ROUTINE

Withdrawal of motions

Speaker:   The Chair wishes to inform the House of changes that have been made to the Order Paper. Motion No. 327, standing in the name of the Member for Porter Creek South, has been removed from the Order Paper as it relates to Bill No. 106, which was negatived at second reading yesterday. Also, Motion No. 473, notice of which was given yesterday by the Member for Kluane, was not placed on today’s Notice Paper as it is also related to Bill No. 106.

We will proceed with the Order Paper.

Are there any tributes?

TRIBUTES

In recognition of Journée de la francophonie yukonnaise

Hon. Mr. Hart:  Monsieur le Président, je prends la parole aujourd’hui pour rendre hommage à la communauté franco-yukonnaise. Aujourd’hui marque la Journée de la francophonie yukonnaise. L’année 2008 a été proclamée Année internationale des langues par l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies.

L’année 2008 marque également le 20e anniversaire de la Loi sur les langues qui est entrée en vigueur le 18 mai 1988.

Nous célébrons la contribution des Franco-Yukonnais qui ont joué un rôle important dans l’histoire, l’économie et la culture du Yukon.

Des francophones habitent le territoire depuis les années 1800. Aujourd’hui, le Yukon compte une école francophone, une galerie francophone et un journal francophone.

La communauté francophone fournit des services aux entrepreneurs, aux immigrants, aux apprenants adultes, aux jeunes et aux femmes ; elle fait activement la promotion des arts et de la culture.

Les francophones participent aussi aux activités de l’ensemble de la population yukonnaise et ont établi de nombreux partenariats. En resultat, il n’est pas rare d’entendre parler français partout dans le territoire.

Nous sommes fiers de voir que la communauté franco-yukonnaise est reconnue comme l’une des plus dynamiques au Canada. Sa présence enrichit notre vie de tous les jours.

Monsieur le Président, j’invite tous les Membres de l’Assemblée Legislative à se joindre à moi pour rendre cet hommage aujourd’hui.

Merci beaucoup.

Mr. Mitchell:   Je prends la parole aujourd’hui au nom de l’Opposition officielle afin de souligner la journée de la francophonie yukonnaise et le 20e anniversaire de la Loi sur les langues.

Le Canada est un pays multiculturel et bilingue qui a deux langues officielles : le français et l’anglais.

Les francophones vivent au Yukon depuis plus de 150 ans et font partie intégrante de notre passé et de notre présent.

In 1988, the Yukon Legislative Assembly passed the Yukon Languages Act and the Government of Yukon created the Bureau of French Language Services to assist government departments and corporations in providing services in French.

Il y a plus de 1200 francophones qui vivent au Yukon, et de nombreux Yukonnais qui parlent le français comme langue seconde.

L’Association franco-yukonnaise célèbre son 26e anniversaire au Yukon. L’AFY, comme on la nomme affectueusement, est l’organisme porte-parole de la communauté francophone. L’AFY fait la promotion de la collaboration avec les parties en français dans la collectivité.

Il existe plusieurs secteurs à l’ AFY, notamment le Comité Espoir Jeunesse, which brings together young francophones and francophiles to strengthen their cultural identies.

The cultural sector organizes social, cultural and artistic activities, celebrating French language and culture.

SOFA Yukon is a one-stop service that caters in French to the needs of adults and families, such as literacy, employment skills, career development and post-secondary education to name a few.

Les EssentiElles est un organisme à but non lucratif qui représente les intérêts des femmes francophones du Yukon.

RDÉE Yukon provides individuals, businesses and organizations with a wide variety of advisory and networking services, with its main focus including tourism and the integration of young people into the economy and services in French.

The francophone community has had its own newspaper since 1983. L’Aurore boréale is a semi-monthly publication and has a circulation of over 1,000 copies. It offers information on all the current activities, meetings and happenings in the French community.

In the Yukon, we have the francophone school, l’École Émilie Tremblay, the French immersion school, l’École élémentaire de Whitehorse and the French daycare centre, La Garderie du Petit Cheval Blanc.

In 2001, the Centre de la francophonie run by the l’Association franco-yukonnaise opened its doors offering a variety of services and a gathering place, a home for all francophones.

Les francophones du Yukon viennent de toutes les régions du pays et l’AFY agit comme une porte d’entrée pour l’ensemble de la communauté francophone et donne aux francophones un sentiment d’identité et d’appartenance.

Congratulations to l’AFY on the launch of your new Web site. It will be a benefit to all Yukoners. We salute you. Merci pour tout ce que vous faites pour le Yukon. Merci.

Mr. Hardy:   Monsieur le Président, c’est avec plaisir aujourd’hui que je salue les réalisations de l’Association franco-yukonnaise au nom du Nouveau Parti Démocratique.

Mr. Speaker, the French community has had a very long history in the Yukon. The number I have seen is 150 years of involvement in the Yukon, and it is a testimony to their strength, their belief and their culture. It is an inspiration as well, to all people, what they have contributed to the people of the Yukon and our community up here. We can see that in so many areas.

I grew up in the Yukon and even in grade 8 — I can’t even remember how many years ago that was now — which is 35 or 38 years ago, they were teaching French at F.H. Collins. Where they are today with the language is really quite amazing. L’École Émilie-Tremblay and Whitehorse Elementary School are doing so much in teaching the language. It is something for all of us to celebrate.

They demonstrate the multiculturalism that has made Canada very special and, if anything, it has really made us different from the United States, for example. A large percentage of people in Canada speak two, three or four different languages. Just yesterday I was talking to a friend in a store and asked him about his child. He said his child speaks four languages now: Portuguese, French, English and Spanish. That is something to celebrate when we see that. It adds so much to our culture and to our country.

I am not a good French speaker, unfortunately. Being isolated in the Yukon without having been exposed on a daily basis to the language has had its constraints. However, my granddaughter is in Whitehorse Elementary and just yesterday she gave me another French lesson. She is in kindergarten and she speaks better French than I do already. I was learning how to say the alphabet from her. At one moment she said to me — just so people will understand, I am “tadcu” — “tadcu” is Welsh for grandparent or grandfather. She is learning a little Welsh too, which is my ancestry. She says, “Tadcu, you are really bad at this.” I said, “Yes, I know. That is why you are teaching me, isn’t it?”

It is wonderful to have that. It is absolutely amazing to have children and adults continuing to learn other languages, especially one of our official languages. With that in mind, nous félicitons la communauté franco-yukonnaise pour leur succès inspirant et nous les remercions pour leur contribution positive au Yukon.

Merci beaucoup.

In recognition of Canadian Nurses Association honourees

Hon. Mr. Cathers:   I rise today to ask my colleagues in the House to join me in honouring three local women who have received national recognition for their outstanding contributions to the nursing profession.

As part of National Nurses Week, registered nurses Patricia McClelland, Lee Holliday and Gaye Hanson have been honoured by the Canadian Nurses Association with one of the association’s centennial awards. These awards are one-time awards in celebration of the Canadian Nurses Association’s 100th anniversary and are created to celebrate a mere 100 exceptional registered nurses across the country whose personal contributions have made an outstanding and significant impact on the nursing profession.

In addition, the awards celebrate the creative thinking of nurses who have developed solutions and innovations to strengthen patient care and to contribute to research and nursing education.

Patricia McClelland has worked in a wide variety of clinical settings and is currently the instructor and coordinator of health programs at Yukon College. Patricia’s commitment to the nursing profession is evident in her long and strong relationship with the Yukon Registered Nurses Association. She was a driving force in establishing the Registered Nurses Profession Act which is the legislation that regulates registered nurses in the territory in the interest of public safety. Patricia is the past president of the Yukon Registered Nurses Association and former member of the board of directors of the Canadian Nurses Association.

Lee Holliday has practised nursing in remote northern communities for more than 20 years and is highly regarded as a clinician and administrator. She has represented the Yukon on a number of national committees and working groups. Most recently, her involvement with the Canadian nurse practitioner initiative ensured that Yukon and rural and remote perspectives were embedded in that project’s recommendation for national policies. Lee is currently the quality improvement and training coordinator for Yukon community nursing.

Gaye Hanson is an aboriginal nurse leader who has remained committed to nursing throughout a diverse career. As past president of the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada and a member of national groups, she draws on her practice experience to be a strong voice for the interest of nurses and populations in rural, remote and aboriginal Canada and, of course, in the north. As a former assistant deputy minister and deputy minister in the Yukon, Gaye led policy initiatives such as the Yukon Health Act and the Registered Nurses Profession Act. She is currently a consultant and a researcher.

These three nurses have made amazing contributions to the north and to the Yukon through their work and through their commitment to quality nursing. I want to thank them and to acknowledge the work that they and the many other fine nurses in the Yukon do each and every day to protect and preserve the safety and the health of Yukon citizens and to help them in their time of need.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In recognition of International Museum Day

Hon. Ms. Taylor:    Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the Legislative Assembly to pay tribute to International Museum Day. It is an annual celebration that occurs on May 18. First celebrated in 1977, International Museum Day promotes the importance of museums at the local, national and international levels. This year’s theme, “Museums as agents of social change and development”, reflects that it is indeed possible to interpret the past in new ways for the betterment of our community today.

Yukon is truly fortunate to have a number of community museums that are dedicated to promoting the wealth of Yukon’s history and culture through a variety of themes. Whether it’s through a museum, an interpretive centre or a Yukon First Nation cultural heritage centre, all are very much dedicated in their mandates to provide authentic experiences to their many visitors.

These heritage institutions showcase our natural history and diverse cultures through a variety of displays, kiosk, collections and personal stories, which tell the development of our northern climate, our culture and our human history.

Many of our museums are managed through a small core group of dedicated employees and many volunteers who selflessly give of their time and expertise. We thank them for their many dedicated hours of service to make our history and culture come alive and available to Yukon residents and visitors alike.

This year’s International Museum Day is being celebrated with a week of activities. On May 18, the Yukon Beringia Centre will be hosting a recreated archaeological dig with free admission that day. On May 20, the Yukon Historical and Museums Association will also be hosting an exhibition of the heritage places photo contest winners. On May 21, the Old Log Church Museum is offering free admissions with a video presentation that tells the story of connecting to the past and leaving a legacy for the future.

The Yukon Arts Centre public art gallery is also open Thursday, May 22, with free exhibition openings: “Roots”, curated by the Yukon Art Society, and “Psyche” by James Kirby.

That very same day, MacBride Museum will also be celebrating their gala opening around their completed expansion, and on Friday, May 23, they will also be hosting an all-day public event for visitors and Yukoners.

I encourage all Yukon residents to participate in these events as an opportunity to learn about our past and an opportunity to demonstrate how much we value and support their efforts to preserve our culture, our natural world and our past accomplishments.

Thank you.

Speaker:   Are there any future tributes?

Introduction of visitors.

INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS

Hon. Mr. Hart:    I’m asking all Members of the Legislative Assembly to assist me in welcoming le president of l’AFY, Monsieur Marc Perreault, Monsieur Régis Saint-Pierre, and the team from the French Language Services Directorate, who are in the gallery with us today.

Applause

Mr. Cardiff:   I’d like all Members of the Legislative Assembly to join me in welcoming Anni Elliston and friends, who have been working together in solidarity with the people of Tibet.

Applause

Speaker:   Are there any further introductions of visitors?

Returns or documents for tabling.

TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS

Hon. Ms. Taylor:    I have for tabling the 2007-08 annual report for the Yukon Advisory Council on Women’s Issues.

Speaker:   Are there any further documents for tabling?

Are there any reports of committees?

Petitions?

PETITIONS

Petition No. 5 — response

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I rise to respond to Petition No. 5, regarding the situation in Tibet. Like other democratic governments around the world, the Yukon government supports the free expression of opinion, freedom of religion and respect for individual human rights and civil liberties.

This government, like those of our sister territories and provinces, supports Canada’s efforts as a world leader to voice concerns about human rights issues in China and to encourage and urge the Chinese government to address these concerns in a respectful and humanitarian manner.

The Yukon government also supports Canada’s position that China is an important trading partner and that trade and investment between our two countries is linked to future prosperity. Trade and other interactions provide this country with the opportunity to further promote and encourage human rights and democratic practices.

We recognize that freedom of the press and the free expression of peoples is an ongoing challenge in today’s world, and we are committed to working with the federal government and doing our part as a member of the global community in support of efforts to encourage the practice of democratic principles throughout the globe.

Speaker:   Are there any petitions to be presented today?

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 this House urges the Yukon government to stop dragging its feet on the promised legislative renewal process and to work with all members of this Assembly and the Yukon public toward making their Legislature more productive, accountable and fair to all.

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

THAT this House urges the Yukon government to inform and educate business on the new Smoke-Free Places Act as it takes effect today by:

(1) making the act and regulations publicly and easily accessible;

(2) mailing out the act and regulations to all affected businesses; and

(3) informing businesses with an education campaign that consists of radio ads, newspaper ads, television ads and mail outs.

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

THAT this House urges the Yukon government to review the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act and bring forward amendments in the 2008 fall sitting that:

(1) include provisions to ensure that appropriate intervention can be applied when criminal activity resumes at a location previously known to the SCAN program and where such criminal activity has been previously stopped as a result of actions taken by the SCAN program; and

(2) ensure that the neighbourhood residents are not required to file a new complaint about pre-existing criminal activity.

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

THAT this House urges the Deputy Chair to convene a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee to discuss the content of Motion No. 462, as the chair of this important legislative committee has neglected to call a meeting.

I give notice of the following motion:

THAT this House urges the Yukon government to live up to section 7(1), (2) and (3) of the Health Act which states that:

(1) the health budget shall be increased an equivalent of five percent of the total health treatment budget;

(2) this increase shall be appropriated for preventive health and health promotion programs and services;

(3) money appropriated under section 7(1) shall not be spent otherwise than for preventive health and health promotion programs and services; and

THAT the Minister of Health and Social Services demonstrate that the amount of $4,187,800, which is the amount of five percent of the health treatment in the current budget, is allocated for preventive health and health promotion programs and services.

I give notice of the following motion:

THAT this House urges the Standing Committee on Appointments to Major Government Boards and Committees to convene immediately with the purpose of addressing the number of vacancies on important Yukon boards and committees.

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

THAT this House urges the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges to convene immediately for the purpose of developing recommendations to improve the conduct of the public’s business in the Yukon Legislative Assembly, including but not limited to such recommendations as:

(1) elimination of Standing Orders 75 and 76, which prevent thorough debate on the budget and other government legislation;

(2) making provision for members’ statements in the Daily Routine;

(3) allocation of time limits on speeches and replies during motion days and in departmental budget debate;

(4) allocation of overall time limits for debating individual motions;

(5) equal representation on all standing, select and special committees of the Legislative Assembly;

(6) provisions to increase opportunities for members of the public to appear as witnesses or to make presentations about matters currently before the Legislative Assembly;

(7) amendments empowering the Speaker to rule against evasive or irrelevant responses during Oral Question Period;

(8) establishment of a code of ethics for members of the Legislative Assembly;

(9) establishment of fixed dates for the commencement of the spring and fall sittings; and

(10) any other changes gleaned from the best practices found in other legislatures.

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

THAT this House urges the Yukon government to withdraw Bill No. 46, Act to Amend the Liquor Act, until the fall sitting of the Legislative Assembly.

I also give notice of the following motion:

THAT this House urges the Yukon government to strike an all-party committee to establish criteria for donating public funds to international emergency relief efforts to ensure the process is fair, timely and appropriate.

I also give notice of the following motion:

THAT this House urges the Yukon government to urge the federal government to cease its current stand of withholding support for the United Nations Human Rights Council’s “right to food” emergency meeting on May 23 since:

(1) 41 of the 47 member council are supporting the meeting;

(2) 37 countries are now in food crises;

(3) 21 of these countries are in Africa;

(4) soaring food prices have diminished people’s rights to enough to eat; and

(5) to withhold support is in violation of international treaties ratified by Canada; and

to urge the federal government to investigate national programs that will alleviate the current global food crisis.

I give notice of the following motion:

THAT this House urges the Yukon government to encourage the federal government to prohibit the trade of food staples such as rice and flour as commodities on the speculative exchange markets since:

(1) consumption of rice has increased one percent since 2006 and the price of rice has increased 75 percent in the last two months;

(2) hoarding and speculation in rice as a commodity is driving up the price and creating panic buying in rice futures;

(3) the development of exchange-traded funds allows small investors to invest in food as a commodity; and,

(4) speculation in the future price of rice and other food staples is an investment in starvation.

NOTICES OF MOTION FOR THE PRODUCTION OF PAPERS

Mr. Hardy:    I give notice of the following motion for the production of papers:

THAT this House do issue an order for the return of the Yukon state of the environment interim report for 2006.

Speaker:   Are there any further notices of motion?

Is there a ministerial statement?

This then brings us to Question Period.

QUESTION PERIOD

Question re:  Asset-backed commercial paper investments

Mr. Mitchell:    I have a question for the Minister of Finance. Last summer, the minister invested $36.5 million of Yukoners’ money for a 30-day period. Almost a year later, we still cannot access the money because it has been frozen. The investment is worth considerably less today than it was when we bought it. Now the Premier will deny it, but everyone but this Premier knows it.

The Premier’s decision to invest money in faulty asset-backed commercial paper will be his legacy to Yukon. The decision he made has tied the hands of the Yukon government for years to come. The Premier went outside the Financial Administration Act when he made these investments. The minister is on the wrong side of the Auditor General of Canada on this issue and he is on the wrong side of Yukoners.

Why did the minister put taxpayers’ money at risk in these bad investments?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Mr. Speaker, I think we’ve gone over this issue extensively with the member opposite. The member opposite has demonstrated an aversion to dealing with the facts of the matter. As we’ve stated all along, the process is well underway for restructuring. There has not been a loss incurred to date. In fact, under the process, full value will be given under new notes through the restructuring. All that is changing is the length of time for maturity date.

This government, by the way, is not cash poor — unlike under the former Liberal government, when we were paying overdraft charges just to pay wages and the daily bills of the operations of government. That is not the case today because we have an excess of close to $200 million of cash available. This is a long-term investment, like many other long-term investments.

Mr. Speaker, the member has made many statements here in the House and in the public — they are not factual and are incorrect. So when it comes to the issue of demonstration of conduct and all other matters relating to the station of this office and this institution, the member has a lot to answer for. The government continues to do its good work, investing on behalf of Yukoners, earning millions of dollars.

Mr. Mitchell:    Here are some facts for the Premier. Across Canada, governments and private companies are acknowledging there will be losses on these ABCP investments. The Premier refuses to admit that, and he’s simply delaying the inevitable.

As the Auditor General said when she was here this winter, there will be losses; it’s just a matter of how much. Never before in the history of responsible government in the Yukon has a Finance minister lost money on an investment like this. It’s a first, Mr. Speaker, and it’s certainly nothing to be proud of.

The Premier has failed Yukoners and violated the trust they have placed in him. Our money is locked up for years to come and we may never get it all back. The result will be delayed capital projects, such as a new F.H. Collins school, or perhaps the new Dawson health centre.

Why did the Premier gamble with Yukon’s future by making these risky investments?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I’m sure those in the Department of Finance who for over 20 years have been making investments in this area, are listening intently to the member’s dissertations here today. I’m sure they will be reflecting on that as we continue on in the business of governing in this territory.

We all know the member has made statements once again that are not factual and are incorrect. There has been no loss. The member says “first time ever”, and there were some “first time evers” when it came to the Liberal government. For the first time ever, the cupboard was bare and we were paying overdraft charges because of the expenditures of the Liberal government and their fiscal management; first time ever the community of Dawson was allowed to overextend its debt limit and be in contravention of the Municipal Act; the first time ever a project like the Mayo-Dawson inter-tie, which is still in the process of trying to determine exactly how much this cost Yukoners, was done on a decision made by the former Liberal government and their mismanagement of the Yukon finances.

When it comes to loss, under the former Liberal government we lost population, we lost jobs, we lost money, we lost our position in the federation, we lost a lot. Today that’s turned around. We’ve gained jobs, we’ve gained population, and we’ve gained stature in our federation.

Mr. Mitchell:    This isn’t about officials, and it’s wrong for this Premier to try to point the finger of blame at them. Yukoners want accountability from the Premier for his actions; all they’re hearing are personal attacks.

When the Auditor General of Canada said the Premier had messed up, what was his response? Did he take responsibility for his actions? No, he attacked the Auditor General and dismissed her decision as just her opinion.

It’s this Premier who gambled with Yukoners’ investments. It’s this Premier who is refusing to acknowledge a loss. It’s this Premier who didn’t follow the rules. It’s this Premier who is refusing to take responsibility for his actions. It’s this Premier who is responsible for making the decisions. It’s this Premier who refuses to accept the Auditor General’s ruling. It’s this Premier who said the investments were guaranteed when they were not. It’s this Premier whose legacy will be this investment fiasco.

The Premier says all is well. If he has the money, let’s see it. Can this Premier demonstrate he has the money and can make use of this $36 million on behalf of Yukoners?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Well, we’re debating a budget that’s making use of $900 million, so I think the member opposite is certainly out of touch with what is really going on in this territory. But it’s not this side of the House that has been making the accusations and pointing the finger and laying blame. It has been the member opposite and the Official Opposition that has been doing that for months — and he knows full well what the Auditor General said. He has again made an incorrect statement on the floor of this House in relation to what the Auditor General’s job is and what the Auditor General actually articulated in the territory.

Now let’s get on to this Premier. It’s this Premier and this government that have turned the territory around. It’s this Premier and this government that are in charge of an economy that has historic lows in unemployment. It’s this Premier and this government that have taken the Yukon finances from a mere $400 million or $500 million, to almost a billion dollars. It’s this Premier who has taken deficits to surpluses. It’s this Premier who is building a better quality of life, along with the government colleagues and the Yukon Party government. It’s this Premier improving health care, improving education, building our infrastructure, lowering our emissions, coming forward with a climate change strategy, a climate change action plan. It’s this Premier and this government that have demonstrated the difference between solid government and leadership and the members opposite.

Question re:     Environment report

Mr. Elias:   I have a set of questions for the Environment minister. The minister continually says that protecting and preserving the territory’s pristine environment and its wildlife are of paramount importance, yet the facts suggest otherwise.

By refusing to bring forward a current state of the environment report — something he is required to do by law — Yukoners don’t know the current populations and health of our wildlife. Yukoners want to know about our species at risk and how we’re going to look after them. Yukoners want to know about the state of our wetlands and protected areas. Yukoners want to know about our air quality and about our fresh water quality throughout the Yukon. Yukoners want assurances that we are using our resources sustainably. Yukoners need to know the presence and quantity of contaminants in our ecosystem.

The minister has kept Yukoners in the dark for far too long. Can the minister please explain to Yukoners why he continually fails to produce a current state of the environment report?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   When it comes to being in the dark I think it is clear who is. The Official Opposition has been in the dark since this mandate began in 2006. Their demonstration here shows clearly that they are not in touch with what is going on in the Yukon.

The member wanted to know about counts and our biophysical database. Well, let me delve into some of the initiatives that we have done. The elk survey is done; the caribou representative counts — Clear Lake, Ethel Lake, Tatchun, Logan Mountains, Ibex, Carcross, Aishihik, Kluane, Chisana — all done; the Hart River herd, fall and winter telemetry surveys, done; the Forty Mile caribou distribution survey, done; Ibex caribou herd census, done; the Porcupine caribou body conditioning monitoring, done; the radio-collaring for Porcupine caribou is underway; ground-based moose surveys, as far as Mayo, Selkirk, Carmacks and southeast Yukon, done; moose survey in the Carmacks west area, done; moose stratification survey in Dawson goldfields, done.

What I am saying here is the member opposite wants a report; words on paper. This government is out on the land base physically doing the work.

Mr. Elias:   I wonder why he is keeping all of that a secret. I understand the minister has been on his toes for awhile in this sitting, so I will consider his comments as tasteful advice, and that is about it.

The Yukon Party spent its first term in office denying that climate change was even an issue. It has been six years and the minister tables a weak and fluffy climate change plan. 

On page 29 of the Premier’s climate change action plan, it says “continue to participate on national and international climate change forums”. It would be great if the Premier actually started to participate because he refused to attend a major United Nations conference last fall.

We have to reduce carbon emissions and this minister has no will to make that happen. Why is the minister satisfied to be the last jurisdiction in all of Canada to make climate change and our environment a priority?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Wrong again. It is evident the member opposite is back on his heels once more.

This is the first jurisdiction to demonstrate that climate change is an issue in the north and that adaptation is a priority, not just mitigation. Yukon took the lead on that front.

What is more important here is, when it comes to actual reductions, real reductions in this territory, these members opposite voted against $50 million of investment for reducing thousands of tonnes of CO2. The member just stated we have done nothing in regard to reducing emissions; I challenge the member to explain why they opposed the reduction of thousands of tonnes of carbon output into Yukon’s atmosphere. That is their problem; the government is doing its work.

Mr. Elias:   Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence, the minister seems intent on challenging our environmental leadership. Well, I for one will put my achievements and successes up against the minister’s and on the record right here, right now, so there’s no confusion. I will say that, if we had the reins, the Yukon climate change action plan would be just that — an action plan. It would have been signed, sealed and delivered to Yukoners long ago. We would be keeping Alaska accountable for their mismanagement of the Chinook salmon fishery and the winter tick infestation would have been under control long ago. We would have species-at-risk legislation. We would have a plan to energize the trapping industry for Yukoners.

History will show this Yukon Party government is weak, last and non-compliant when it comes to the environment. The difference between us and the Yukon Party is that we Liberals don’t spend our time imagining. We make things happen. I rest my case.

When is the minister going to stand up and stop paying lip service to our precious environment?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Speaking of emissions, let me point something out. If that was the case, then why didn’t the members opposite, the Liberals, the Official Opposition, demonstrate that to the Yukon public in October 2006? Unfortunately, I guess they didn’t, because the Yukon public didn’t believe what they were saying and they voted for the Yukon Party government, which had a real action plan, had a strategy, and had a vision for the Yukon.

That vision is building a better quality of life. The evidence is all around us. That vision is improving our infrastructure and really reducing emissions. The evidence is out there. That vision and that plan are improving education and health care. The evidence is clear. We are the government as elected. We are continuing to implement our vision, our plan, and our strategy for the Yukon. We are a leader in the country and we now have become a major player in the global community because of that vision, that plan, and because Yukoners believed in it and elected us to office.

Question re: Standing Orders, amendments to

Mr. Hardy:   When the current sitting ends in just over three hours, there will likely be several hundreds of millions of dollars in government spending that hasn’t been properly scrutinized. Because of an ill-conceived rule adopted seven years ago, the government can use its majority to vote itself massive spending authority without adequate public debate. That shouldn’t happen, Mr. Speaker.

Of course the Premier will claim it’s the opposition’s fault. He will ignore the fact the government sets the schedule for a debate. He will ignore the fact he introduced complex and controversial legislation during what is supposed to be a budget sitting.

My question is this: before we reach the Orders of the Day today, will the Premier agree to meet with me and the Leader of the Official Opposition to discuss suspending the so-called guillotine clause until all departmental budgets have been properly debated?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   First, the Leader of the Third Party is essentially dealing with the only position and issue the opposition has, and it’s called “procedural”. I wish the members opposite would demonstrate to Yukoners that they have some substance and plan and vision and strategy for the territory outside of rearranging the deck chairs.

I would encourage the Leader of the Third Party to talk to his colleague. It was the Liberals who brought in the Standing Orders we work under today.

Let me be clear: the Yukon Party government puts procedural issues second and puts first and foremost the priorities of Yukoners, and that is building our economy, protecting our environment, improving education and health care, building our infrastructure and passing bills like the Child and Family Services Act, Workers’ Compensation Act, Smoke-free Places Act, which that member tabled in this House and we unanimously passed. These are the things this government places a priority on, not rearranging deck chairs.

Mr. Hardy:   I’m trying to keep my tone very level for the people of this territory to be proud of. I don’t think the people of the territory want to continue hearing this aggressive dialogue that seems to be going on in the Legislative Assembly today.

The NDP caucus has made every effort to keep its questions and speeches very focused throughout this sitting. We have tried to avoid being drawn into irrelevant and unproductive debate, which takes so much time away from the real purpose we’re here for. In the Child and Family Services Act debate, we introduced a number of important amendments that came directly from the concerns of First Nations and others — over 40 of them. We offered to sit during the evening hours so that First Nation witnesses could help us try to get that legislation right, and the government did not agree with that and blocked all our efforts in that regard.

So my question is in regard to another act. Will the Premier at least agree to defer any further discussion of Bill No. 46, the Liquor Act amendments, until the fall sitting, which is when major legislation like Bill No. 46 should probably be debated?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   With all due respect, I want to point out to the Leader of the Third Party that, when it comes to the Child and Family Services Act debate and the amendments brought forward, I encourage the Leader of the Third Party to read Hansard. I would point out that, when we in this House have to deal with amendments that include periods, commas and semicolons, when we have to listen to the Opposition make great claim about the fact there has been no consultation on a bill that has been in the public for five years in a partnership that was agreed to by First Nations, I stand here and tell the member opposite that we have done our work; the government has gone the distance on all these items, and that’s why they’re tabled here in this sitting.

We’re here to pass the Yukon public’s business and that is exactly what we’re doing, and now we’re moving on to continue to build Yukon’s future.

Mr. Hardy:   Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite remembers his English lessons, he would recognize how unbelievably powerful a period or comma placed properly can be and how much it can change the meaning or the intent of any kind of sentence.

We have tabled numerous motions aimed at making this Assembly work better for the people who put us here. Twice we have introduced a private members’ bill calling for discussions with Yukon people about how to improve the way we conduct business on their behalf. It is called the Legislative Renewal Act. Quite frankly, Mr. Speaker, if we don’t do something, we will all be guilty of betraying the public trust.

I am appealing to the Premier on this one because I think this is the next big step that we could do for the people of this territory, moving forward. Will the Premier direct the Government House Leader and the Chair of the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges to work with the two Opposition parties over the summer to come up with some effective recommendations on legislative reform that can be debated this fall?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   The first thing I would suggest to the Leader of the Third Party is sit down with the Leader of the Official Opposition and have a discussion on the Code of Conduct that those members signed and committed to Yukoners in the last election. When it comes to improving this Legislative Assembly, that is a great starting point.

As this is the end of the sitting — a long one, with a significant amount of work that has been dealt with by all members in this House — let me point out that if the member truly wants to improve the political situation in Yukon, join the Yukon Party. We are leading, we are building Yukon’s future and this is the place to be.

Question re: Standing Orders, amendments to

Mr. Cardiff:   Mr. Speaker, one of the high points of this sitting has been the cooperative work of the House to pass the Smoke-free Places Act, and today it became the law of the land. When the House works cooperatively in the interest of all Yukon people, we demonstrate the good in politics. Unfortunately, this type of cooperation is an exception; it is not the rule of this Assembly.

Yesterday the NDP caucus gave up its scheduled motion so that we could focus on the huge amount of public business that is still before us. Unfortunately, the Official Opposition refused to do that, so we were treated to nearly three hours of the Energy minister’s thoughts on net metering, on top of the three hours he had spoken on the same subject previously.

Will the Premier commit to working with the Opposition parties to improve debate and decorum in the Yukon Legislative Assembly as he promised in the 2002 election platform?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I am somewhat astonished that the third party has taken this approach, and their opening preamble was all about the cooperation in this Assembly with Bill No. 104.

Let me go further; let’s delve into the long list of unanimous motions and instruments that have been passed in this House that the government side has brought forward. We are doing our part to ensure that this institution is working as it should on behalf of Yukoners. Again I say, get together with the Official Opposition; the starting point is their contract to Yukoners and commitment in the last election; the Code of Conduct of respect and understanding in this House.

Mr. Cardiff:   I heard the Premier say on occasion that some people have an aversion to the facts of the issues. The Premier is totally blind to this issue and what happened yesterday and about two weeks ago.

Unfortunately during this sitting there have been many examples of the bad side of politics where good ideas are ignored and the public’s time and money are wasted. It is no wonder that Yukoners have such a low opinion of politicians and the affairs of this House when we see the daily time-wasting, grandstanding and evasive answers to questions.

The NDP caucus has tabled a motion to improve the way the House conducts the Yukon people’s business.

Will the Premier direct the Government House Leader and the Chair of the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges to begin working on a code of ethics for members of this Legislative Assembly?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   The Opposition members may feel that they require a code of ethics for them to conduct themselves in the appropriate manner. The government side does not need that, but there is a commitment to the Yukon public by the Official Opposition when it comes to that very issue. So I would encourage the two Opposition parties this summer to get together in that regard and then when we reconvene in the fall, we can talk about it.

The member can’t ignore the facts of the matter. This government did cooperate with the third party: Bill 104. This government did cooperate with the Official Opposition by incorporating the Member for Porter Creek South’s issues on human rights and have struck a select committee to deal with human rights in the territory represented by all parties in this House.

This government continues to cooperate with the members opposite when we are conducting the public’s business in a manner that we should be. What this government won’t do is engage in the needless political grandstanding that serves no purpose for the Yukon public and its future. That is the difference. We are here to build Yukon’s future and do our work on behalf of the Yukon public, not in self-interest.

Mr. Cardiff:   The Premier is quite selective in the examples he brings forward and refuses to acknowledge what happened yesterday afternoon or two weeks ago, when we heard a long dissertation from Wikipedia. God forbid we ever get computers in here.

This sitting is in its eleventh hour, Mr. Speaker. We still have $300 million in spending to consider, plus a bill that would drastically change our liquor laws. Our caucus isn’t interested in finding blame or making excuses. There has been time wasted by both sides of this House. We need to get down to work; we need to make changes that will make this House more effective and relevant to people’s lives here in the Yukon.

We all recently got a big pay raise; we owe it to the Yukon people. Can we count on the Premier’s support to extend this sitting by a few days, in the best interests of the public, or does the government intend to use the guillotine clause to ram through the rest of his budget and the Liquor Act amendments?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Here we are at the eleventh hour, the last day of this sitting, a 32-day sitting that was agreed to by all members of this House in the first week of reconvening this Assembly. Now we’re hearing this from the members opposite.

The members opposite had ample time, as they agreed to at the beginning of this sitting, to debate the business before them. That’s what they said; that’s what the government side agreed to. They offered 32 days; we agreed and accepted and we’re moving on. There’s much work to do and the most important thing is to start implementing the $900-million budget we have before us, to start implementing the changes in the Workers’ Compensation Act, to start implementing as quickly as we can the Child and Family Services Act, to start going beyond today to continue to build Yukon’s future with more legislation to come in the fall and another budget next spring. That’s what the government side is about.

We would encourage the members opposite to join us in that process. Stop leading from behind; let’s get in tune and start working in this institution on behalf of all Yukoners. The members have a responsibility to do that; I encourage them to live up to that responsibility and demonstrate it, as the government side is.

Question re: Teacher staffing

Mr. Fairclough:   The Minister of Education has cut at least 8.5 FTE teaching positions from our Yukon schools for the next year. The Golden Horn Elementary School Council now feels betrayed. With an expected student increase due to the opening of the Whitehorse Copper subdivision, the school will probably need more teachers, not fewer.

The school council is presently considering a fundraising action plan to raise the necessary funds to keep the teaching positions. This government has $108 million in the bank.

Will the minister rescind the cut, or do parents and children have to fundraise to keep the quality of education they want and deserve?

Hon. Mr. Rouble:    Mr. Speaker, it’s very unfortunate that once again the Liberal Party is putting forward statements that simply are not supported by the facts. They aren’t supported by this budget. They aren’t supported by the number of teachers that we have in our system. They’re simply not supported by reality.

Under this party’s watch, unfortunately the number of students in our Yukon education system have declined. At the same time, the number of teachers has increased. The number of education assistants has increased. The overall spending for the Education budget has gone from $100 million to $130 million.

There are going to be the same number of teachers in our education system this coming school year as there were last year. There are no cuts. The member opposite knows that, but for some reason is not reflecting that in his statements.

One only has to take a look at the budget, at the statistics and at the information that’s presented and to listen to the answers that are given, and to accept them for the reality that they are. I would encourage the member opposite to take a closer look at the budget, to look at it, to analyze it and to look at the plan that is in place.

Question re: Electrical rate relief

Mr. McRobb:   Yukoners have again asked me to question the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources about his involvement in fuelling the rising cost of living in our territory.

Yukoners are being forced to dig deeper and deeper into their pockets to pay for essentials such as food, electricity, gas and home heating fuel. The cost of living just keeps going up and up and up with no relief in sight.

Without asking Yukoners, this Yukon Party government decided on its own to hike power bills by 30 percent. Sure, it has promised to lower rates, but what about the two-year period in the meantime? The minister has had more than two weeks to do something since I last asked him about this.

What new material measures has the Energy minister produced to help Yukoners who simply cannot afford these drastic cost of living increases?

Hon. Mr. Lang:    I would recommend to the member opposite to take a look at the draft energy strategy. That’s exactly what it’s all about: how we can better manage our energy and how that would reflect on Yukoners’ bottom line. That’s out for review right now. We’re looking forward to the final draft coming this fall or early next year, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. McRobb:   Mr. Speaker, this is the same minister who said on the record that he’d work with Yukon to address these concerns. It is obvious he’s not working hard enough because the cost of living continues to increase unabated.

Yukoners know that he and his Yukon Party colleagues are solely responsible for increasing their power bills by 30 percent. Yukoners also know that he and his Yukon Party colleagues are solely responsible for the building lot shortage in Whitehorse because the government failed to live up to its promise to provide a continuous supply of fully serviced residential lots. This has created a severe lot shortage that has priced many home buyers out of the market. It has also created a drastic shortage in the availability of rental housing that is contributing to rental increases far above the reported inflation rate.

How is this minister going to help Yukoners who are having difficulty making ends meet?

Hon. Mr. Lang:    We’re obviously at the end of the sitting, but I’ll remind the member opposite that the Liberal Party members are going to stand up today and vote against a hydro project. This is a $15-million infrastructure investment this government made and they are going to vote against it. I hope all Yukoners take that under consideration.

Mr. McRobb:   Obviously, this minister is bankrupt when it comes to options to help Yukoners. The Yukon Party created a smokescreen to make it appear as if it was trying to help consumers by talking to a motion asking the federal government to exempt the territory —

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

Point of order

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

Hon. Mr. Cathers:   Mr. Chair, I believe the term “smokescreen” has been ruled out of order in the past because of the obvious implication that the member is not being truthful and that is, of course, contrary to Standing Order 19(g).

Speaker’s ruling

Speaker:   I think in this particular instance it is simply a dispute among members. Member for Kluane, you have the floor.

Mr. McRobb:   — by talking to a motion asking the federal government to exempt the territory from the GST on fuel and electricity. Mr. Speaker, that debate was another waste of time, courtesy of the Yukon Party. We know there is no chance of this succeeding, especially without first having at least a pan-northern combined effort, but it failed to do the ground work for that.

The Yukon Party should now be aware of the pain it is causing homeowners, homebuyers, renters and others, yet it has done nothing to counter these significant cost-of-living increases for which it is responsible to Yukoners. We brought forward constructive options but this minister has ignored them.

How is this minister going to help Yukoners who are having difficulty making ends meet?

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   This member — and this is unbelievable — has just criticized what was a unanimous motion debate in this House where all members of this Assembly supported an initiative to go to work and do exactly what the member is requesting. Now he is criticizing it.

For the member’s information, I will be travelling east in the coming days to meet with Minister Flaherty, the federal Finance minister; as far as laying groundwork, so much for that comment.

Let me point out to this member some of the things we have been doing — there are many and it would take me hours to relay to the members opposite in this House all of what we have been doing to assist Yukoners. 

In 2005 we revised tax brackets, putting hundreds of thousands of dollars back into Yukoners’ pockets; there was the Yukon energy rebate in 2005 and hundreds of thousands more back into Yukoners’ pockets. In 2006, increased and improved tax credits on eight credits, which puts $2.6 million back into the pockets of Yukoners; the Yukon child tax credit and hundreds of thousands more back into the pockets of Yukoners; improvements to the monthly Yukon child benefit and hundreds of thousands more back into the pockets of Yukoners.

The member asked what we have done: over $5 million a year back into Yukoners’ pockets to help their quality of life.

Speaker:   The time for Question Period has now elapsed.

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

Unanimous consent re suspension of Standing Orders

Mr. Hardy:   On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Pursuant to Standing Order 14.3, I request the unanimous consent of the House to suspend Standing Orders 75 and 76 and to rescind the Speaker’s declaration of April 2 designating May 15 as the final sitting day of the 2008 spring sitting.

Speaker:   The Leader of the Third Party has requested unanimous consent to suspend Standing Orders 75 and 76 and to rescind the Speaker’s declaration of April 2 designating May 15 as the final day of the 2008 spring sitting. Is there unanimous consent?

Some Hon. Members:  Disagree.

Speaker:   Unanimous consent has not been granted. We will proceed with Orders of the Day.

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

Point of order

Speaker:   Member for Mount Lorne, on a point of order.

Mr. Cardiff:   I would like some clarification. Yesterday during the debate on Bill No. 106, the Net Metering Act, I rose on a point of order and requested a ruling today about needless repetition. I wondered if we were going to receive that today.

Speaker:   Unfortunately, the Speaker missed that.

Although that was not a point of order, I appreciate the reminder.

Speaker’s ruling

Speaker:   Before the House proceeds to Orders of the Day, the Chair will rule on a point of order raised yesterday by the Member for Mount Lorne during the debate on second reading of Bill No. 106, Net Metering Act.

In raising the point of order the Member for Mount Lorne cited Standing Order 19(c), suggesting that the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources had persisted in needless repetition. Specifically, the Member for Mount Lorne said he believed that this was the third time the minister had informed the House about wiring permits and how net metering operates in the Province of Nova Scotia.

The Chair indicated that he could not verify that repetition had taken place. Members will appreciate that it’s difficult for the Chair to keep track of what statements a member has made in debate when the member’s speech took place over three sitting days, the first of which was almost six months ago. The Chair did, however, commit to have the Table Officers research the point of order and report the results.

Based on the report of the Table Officers, the Chair finds there was a point of order. During the debate on Bill No. 106, on November 28, 2007, the minister used the sentence, “People wishing to become net metering clients of Nova Scotia Power must file an application with their address and installation and wiring drawings of their plant.” The minister used the same sentence — verbatim — during debate on April 16, 2008, and again with only slight modification during debate yesterday. The use of one sentence would not constitute needless repetition if it were used in a different context on the three days in question. However, much of the information surrounding that sentence was the same, or similar, on those three dates.

All members may wish to contemplate the significance of this ruling. Over the past several years, the House has adopted Standing Orders that limit the number of sitting days per calendar year and have reduced the number of hours in a sitting day. The House now has a finite amount of time to deal with the business placed before it. This makes it increasingly important that members do their utmost to adhere to the rules regarding repetition — as well as the rules regarding relevance — so the House may use its time as efficiently as possible.

We will now proceed to Orders of the Day.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Hon. Mr. Cathers:   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 Hon. 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

Chair:  Order please. Committee of the Whole will now come to order. The matter before the Committee is Bill No. 11, First Appropriation Act, 2008-09, Yukon Housing Corporation. Do members wish to take a brief recess?

All Hon. Members:  Agreed.

Chair:   Committee of the Whole will recess for 15 minutes.

Recess

Chair:   Order please. Committee of the Whole will now come to order. The matter before the Committee is Bill No. 11, First Appropriation Act, 2008-09, Yukon Housing Corporation.

Bill No. 11 — First Appropriation Act, 2008-09 — continued

Yukon Housing Corporation — continued

Hon. Mr. Kenyon:   I’d like to spend a few minutes at this time to conclude some of the answers from yesterday’s debate and to give some of the answers in that respect.

With respect to the Whitehorse Copper subdivision, for instance, there have been three persons to date who have accessed bridge financing from Yukon Housing Corporation and actually started construction. All of the feedback on the interim financing initiative has been positive and the Yukon Housing Corporation has also worked with other financing institutions to assist clients with financing.

The survey is scheduled to be completed in late July. Clients must meet the terms and conditions of their agreements for sale before they can request title. Whitehorse Copper and Mount Sima clients have three years to complete the work on their lots as per the terms and conditions of agreement for sale.

The delay in registration of a survey plan has really not caused any breach of the agreement for sale. Clients who need financing for their construction can access interim financing through the Yukon Housing Corporation. Therefore, there are really no reasons to extend the building commitments for the Mount Sima and the Whitehorse Copper clients. However, as is the case with all holders of agreements for sale, individual clients can apply to Yukon Housing Corporation for an extension. Under special circumstances, the Yukon Housing Corporation can grant extensions. The corporation will also take back the lot and provide a full refund to clients who wish to do so.

Flood relief clients can access financing to repair damages caused by the flood and mould remediation, and mitigation is included as an eligible repair. Once mould remediation has been completed, it should eliminate mould growth.

To date, the Yukon Housing Corporation has advanced $470,000 in grants to assist clients with damages to their principal residence. This money is recoverable from Canada under the disaster financial assistance program.

I have an update on the tender of two super green staff housing units in Watson Lake that the Member for Mount Lorne was questioning. The tender has now closed and a decision on awarding a contract is imminent.

Finally, as of March 31, 2008, the seniors housing management fund has a balance of $3,059,271. I understand the Yukon Housing Corporation Board of Directors is now considering the use of the fund to support seniors housing.

I think that covers the last round of questions. I would like to invite the member opposite to put any more on the table.

Chair:   Is there any further general debate? Seeing none, we will proceed line by line.

Mr. Cardiff:   I would like to request the unanimous consent of Committee of the Whole to deem all lines in Vote 18, Yukon Housing Corporation, cleared or carried, as required.

Unanimous consent re deeming all lines in Vote 18, Yukon Housing Corporation, cleared or carried

Chair:   Mr. Cardiff has requested the unanimous consent of Committee of the Whole to deem all lines in Vote 18, Yukon Housing Corporation, 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 in the amount of $13,928,000 agreed to

On Capital Expenditures

Total Capital Expenditures in the amount of $16,581,000 agreed to

Yukon Housing Corporation agreed to

Chair:   Committee of the Whole will now proceed to Department of Justice.

Department of Justice

Hon. Ms. Horne:    I am pleased to speak to the 2008-09 budget for the Department of Justice. I would like to acknowledge all the hard work that the Premier, my fellow Cabinet ministers and our department officials have put into this budget. As I outlined earlier in this Assembly, as a government we committed to Yukoners that we would achieve a better quality of life, protect Yukon’s pristine environment, promote a strong and diversified private sector economy and that we would practise good governance. This budget delivers on those commitments.

With respect to our department’s specific undertaking, the government reaffirms in this budget its continuing commitment toward fulfilling the initiatives put forward in the correctional redevelopment strategic plan released last year and updated in March.

I would again like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of all the staff in the Department of Justice as they undergo dramatic change, fulfilling the initiatives set out in the correctional redevelopment strategic plan to create the best correctional system in Canada. The correctional redevelopment strategic plan is the road map the government must follow to ensure correctional reform in the government is possible.

We are now entering year 2 of correctional redevelopment in the Yukon. The correctional redevelopment strategic plan provides the steps this government must take to redevelop the Yukon correctional system in a manner consistent with the spirit and recommendations of the consultation on corrections.

As this House is well aware, one of the fundamental aspects of redeveloping our correctional system is to replace the Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

I am pleased to announce that this government is committing $5.592 million this year toward the construction of a new Correctional Centre for the territory. This funding will be used to create a schematic design for a new, modern Correctional Centre that equally emphasizes healing and punishment in a secure environment for inmates, staff and the public.

This design will include floor plans and exterior elevations. It will include building cross-sections to show the new facility’s general structure, and it will provide a site development plan for the current location. Finally, it will provide a construction cost estimate.

We are very aware that the majority of inmates within our Correctional Centre are of First Nations descent. On average, 74 percent of the inmate population at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre is of First Nations descent. This government has considered this in planning for the new centre, which, I might add, is on schedule, to be completed in 2011.

The new facility will reflect Yukon First Nation cultures in design and operation. It will provide a safe and secure facility for staff, inmates and the public. It will allow for positive correctional programming that will emphasize healing.

This will allow correctional officers to carry out their responsibilities in a positive environment. A revamped correctional system is about more than a new correctional facility. It is about offender accountability, motivation, rehabilitation and healing.

While this government constructs a new facility, offenders must continue to live and employees must continue to work in the existing building. This government announced last year that the current centre will be improved to ensure proper operating, health and safety standards are in place for inmates and staff.

This budget identifies the improvements to the Correctional Centre in the interim space plan. The improvements outlined in the plan include both improvements to the space and improvements in practice for the use of the space that can be transitioned to the new facility in 2011.

I need not remind this House that community safety is the utmost priority for this government.

The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act has proven to be extremely effective and popular in eliminating illegal activity in Yukon neighbourhoods.

Because of direct public involvement through the complaint process, the SCAN office has shut down at least 17 drug houses in the territory since it opened in 2006. This is a result of investigations into more than 100 calls to the office in just over a year. Residents at 20 other houses voluntarily ceased activity after they were fully investigated. These numbers show this government is giving people a simple choice, Mr. Chair: they can choose to stop their activity or there will be consequences.

I am pleased to announce that the SCAN office will receive $15,000 in additional funding for capital expenditures this year. This money will be used for enhancement of a SCAN registry system so that we can improve the tracking of our complaint process. Yukon is a small jurisdiction. The SCAN office has the ability to track these people if they renew their activities in a new residence and if the community once again complains about these actions. If this happens, the SCAN offices will know and understand their history.

Much has been said about the replacement of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre but the department has another ongoing capital project that is also extremely important to correctional redevelopment. This is the replacement of the court registry information system. This system will allow the courts to share information with probation services and the Correctional Centre about a client’s history. It will also link to the RCMP databases.

The department is in the third year of a five-year project to update the court registry information system. $180,000 has been allocated for this project in the next fiscal year.

Management services will also be upgraded, including much of the computer and networking infrastructure for the department so that information sharing can reach its maximum potential. We have committed $57,000 to replace 27 computer stations within the department.

We have also committed a further $52,000 to improve networking infrastructure within the department. These improvements include a $45,000 expenditure to improve the courtroom video conferencing system used between Whitehorse and the communities.

The public law library will also receive a technological improvement. $10,000 will be spent to install a virtual self-check solution that will enable people to check out reference materials more easily.

Ongoing capital maintenance is required to maintain the Andrew A. Philipsen Law Centre. It includes roof repairs and mechanical upgrades to ensure this building is maintained properly. $57,000 has been budgeted for these upgrades.

The courts also require capital upgrades. The budget provides $94,000 to ensure our courts are maintained and functioning properly. We are spending $36,000 on building secure seating areas for the accused in two of the courtrooms in Whitehorse. We are also spending $20,000 for security improvements to the judges’ chambers.

We are also continuing to keep the Whitehorse Correctional Centre properly maintained while the new Correctional Centre is constructed. $778,000 has been set aside in this budget for renovations to the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. This money, in part, will be used for our interim space plan at the Correctional Centre that I have previously mentioned.

Some of these renovations began in 2007-08 and will be completed in the 2008-09 fiscal year. They include changes to the interior of the centre to create a new healing-oriented program area for all inmates. There will also be an improved living area for female inmates, including new washrooms and an improved outdoor area.

Our government is committed to a redevelopment of the correctional system and using our capital dollars wisely. The capital budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year reflects that commitment.

The Department of Justice O&M budget for 2008-09 is $4,446,000 with offsetting recoveries of $2,233,000. This is a 4.1-percent increase.

Let me begin with a request for an increase to human resources, as required by the collective agreement.

This significant increase of $1,062,000 is to acknowledge collective agreement and merit increases for the department staff and management who are working hard to ensure the goals of the strategic plan are met.

There is a $39,000 increase in contract services from last year because the worker advocate office review implementation has been completed.

The correctional redevelopment strategic plan identified the requirement for a new Corrections Act.  The process to replace the Corrections Act began in 2007-08. This development consisted of consultation throughout Yukon as well as committee meetings of the Legislative Advisory Committee that was established to oversee this project.

The $115,000 that was budgeted for this project has already been allocated, so the 2008-09 budget will be reduced by $115,000. The drafting and French translation of this legislation will occur in 2008-09 and these services will be performed in the House by legal services branch.

The actuarial evaluation for the Territorial Court judges’ pension plan determined that the pension plan was adequately funded April 1, 2007, through March 31, 2008. The employer contribution not required for the 2007-08 fiscal year is due to be reinstated in the 2008-09 fiscal year. This has resulted in an expense of $266,000 for 2008-09. This department is always aware that Yukoners throughout the territory require access to justice. As a result, court services branch will have a budget increase of $10,000 for jury fee increases that will allow Yukoners to serve their civic duty without undue financial hardship.

Mr. Chair, this government is committed to providing court services in both of Canada’s official languages. This government is committing $100,000 toward ensuring future changes to the rules of court. Forms, notices and directives are published in French and English. These changes will ensure the public can communicate with the registry, read document files and receive transcripts in either official language.

The facilities management function is being centralized. This means a budget decrease of $198,000 from last year. The Whitehorse Correctional Centre requires additional funding of $20,000 to cover increasing costs for medication, inmate clothing and day-to-day operating expense. These costs are offset by a contribution of $20,000 for the housing of federal offenders at Whitehorse Correctional Centre. An additional $5,000 is required for the inmate pay grant at Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

The department is equally concerned about services to victims of crime and we have an increase of $8,000 for funding of the family violence treatment unit.

The Journey Far carver program has been transferred to the Department of Justice. This program started in 2006-07 and will continue through 2008-09. We are spending $245,000 toward this career development program for First Nation youth.

We are also committed to reducing substance abuse in the territory and will spend $142,000 as part of the initiatives of the Yukon substance abuse action plan. This will cover costs of a second community justice coordinator.

I have previously spoken about the success of the safer communities and neighbourhoods office. This government is committing an additional $461,000 to the RCMP to ensure their human resource and operational requirements are met.

A portion of the northern strategy fund was previously transferred from the Executive Council Office to the Department of Justice. This money was used for the northern institute of justice research project.

Two new projects will be funded by the northern strategy trust in 2008-09. The first is a therapeutic community resource feasibility study. The funding allocated to this budget is $100,000. This is a joint project between Department of Justice and KDFN.

The second project is the Southern Lakes justice development project. This is a three-year pilot project. The funding allocated is $151,000.

This government also remains committed to ensuring human rights are in place and enforceable. We are committing an additional $27,000 toward human rights. This funding will be allocated to increase salary, general office expense and lease costs.

This concludes the significant increases and decreases to the Department of Justice O&M budget for 2008-09.

I would again like to commend the staff for their significant efforts in completing this budget.

I would now be delighted to answer questions on this department.

Mr. Inverarity:   First of all, I would like to start my preamble by thanking the officials who have come here today. In particular I want to draw attention to the briefing that we had earlier in the session. I have to say that the briefing notes that we get from your department are excellent. I only wish we could get these from the other departments that I am critic for, because in a lot of ways they would make my job a whole lot easier. I would like to thank you for that.

I would also like to thank all the hard-working employees who are down in the trenches, so to speak, doing the work, and in particular the people working at the Whitehorse Correction Centre, including the guards, the guards at the Justice building and throughout the territory. I don’t think they get the kind of credit that we would like to see they get and they have my full support, that’s for sure, as we go through this sitting.

I know we are pressed for time here, so I am going to go straight into a number of questions. Hopefully we can get through them all without too much trouble.

I’m not sure if I quite heard the minister right when she was just giving her introduction there about an increase in the human rights operation and maintenance budget because the book that I have reflects a 22-percent decrease. I have to say, just as an anecdote to this, that I am looking forward to the Select Committee on Human Rights that we both serve on. I think that I’m looking forward to participating in that fully. As it is a select committee, it is non-partisan and I think that as we move through this process of trying to determine where we are going, that this non-partisan attitude will be foremost in our minds in trying to make sure that we move forward.

As I indicated in my remarks when the motion was put on the floor, I intend to make sure that it moves in that direction and stays in that direction and that it stays a productive committee. I have to say that human rights is of some importance to me and I think to most Yukoner, and I’m looking forward to hearing what they have to say in the near future.

Again, it is odd that I find that there is a decrease in the Human Rights Commission budget, if I understand this right because, if this is important to the government to bring forward this motion, I would have thought that they would have had at least a flat budget or preferably an increase in their budget to account for any additional work that they may have to do with regard to the act revision that they are responsible for. Perhaps the minister might like to give us some comments on that — I would appreciate it.

Hon. Ms. Horne:    Over the past couple of years the Department of Justice has been working with the commission to help stabilize its operational costs and resolve its funding issues. This year’s annual funding of $478,000 includes a $27,000 increase in ongoing funding that was approved in the 2007-08 fall supplementary budget.

The 2008-09 budget shows a net decrease of $97,000 over the 2007-08 forecast. This decrease is actually a result of two increases that were provided to the commission during the 2007-08 fiscal year.

This funding included a one-time addition of $40,000 for the 2007-08 fiscal year’s operations to address unusually large expenditures incurred for legal investigation, Board of Adjudication costs, moving and other related operating costs.

Also included in the 2007-08 supplementary budget was $57,000, which has eliminated all the commission’s prior year operating deficit. This additional funding, provided throughout 2007-08, resulted in the commission starting the 2008-09 fiscal year in a positive financial position.

As to the member’s comments on the select committee, I consider it a privilege to sit on this committee and consult with Yukoners on this very important legislation. We all recognize the important role the commission plays in our human rights regime in Yukon. We have identified them as one of the groups with whom the select committee will meet.

This Assembly passed a motion — one that the members opposite supported — that laid out the terms of reference for this select committee. The select committee is a Legislative Assembly body that is tasked with holding consultation and reporting back to this Assembly on our findings. I’m happy and proud to be sitting on this committee with the members opposite.

Mr. Inverarity:   I have just a couple of small items from the sheets that were handed out. I noticed under “management services systems development”, that there’s a small amount — $15,000 — for the SCAN registry system. I’d like to know exactly what the system is, how it works, who they’re registering and how that information is being collected and used, from a privacy point of view.

Hon. Mr. Cathers:   It would make the debate go smoother if members would ask line-by-line questions during line-by-line debate. The minister is attempting to provide the member with answers to the question but we could expedite debate if the member would save such questions for line-by-line debate.

Hon. Ms. Horne:    I believe I mentioned it in my speaking notes that it is an enhancement to register our calls and follow up on complaints to the SCAN office. It would be a lot easier, as the House Leader said, if we were asked these questions in line-by-line debate, because we have the notes in that order.

Mr. Inverarity:   I meant it just as a general question, not as a specific one; however, I was hoping also to be able to clear all the lines. I don’t have that many with regard to it, and it would certainly make life go a lot easier today if the questions were answered at the time so we could clear the lines in one fell swoop, but if that is the way we want to go, it’s not a problem.

The SCAN legislation — I guess we might as well talk a little bit about it. I would like to know what kind of implementation for SCAN is being planned in rural communities, especially isolated ones like Old Crow.

Hon. Ms. Horne:   I don’t have any specific details on communities; I can tell you that they are investigating complaints in the communities, and I would rather not go into detail on the communities at this time when things are under investigation.

Mr. Inverarity:   In your opening remarks you made reference to SCAN and the registry system in keeping track of those individuals who have been evicted or chose to be evicted from their residences. As you know, in the House recently I have asked a couple of questions regarding the reoccurrence of drug houses in existing locations, and I am just trying to determine whether the individual residences in that neighbourhood have to go back and start the whole process again, where they start complaining and where they start saying, “Look, we have this problem with a reoccurrence of the drug house.” I’d like to find out if that process is going to be streamlined at all, particularly the fact that there may be a new drugger — I guess would be the word — in that house, as opposed to one who has moved out of the neighbourhood and then moved back in. So I’d like to know how the department is going to deal with those new renters. 

Hon. Ms. Horne:     As I stated in this House previously, SCAN follows complaints. SCAN does not follow people. The individuals can move to a new location. If SCAN receives a complaint on the new location, SCAN will investigate the new location.

Mr. Inverarity:   Moving on to the worker advocate’s office, I understand that the worker’s advocate office is supposed to prepare an annual report. I understand it is actually a legal requirement that they prepare an annual report. In my searching around, I have only found one from 2004. I understand that there have been some significant changes going on within the department, and perhaps the minister could tell us if the report is available for 2005 and 2006, and I know it might be much to ask for 2007.

 Hon. Ms. Horne:  It’s being prepared; it is complete and it is available.

Mr. Inverarity:   For all three years?

Chair’s statement

Chair:   Order. In Committee of the Whole, before members speak they have to be recognized by the Chair. Mr. Inverarity, you have the floor.

Mr. Inverarity:   My apologies, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Chair, I would like to know if the report is available for all of the past three years and if it is located anywhere on the Web site where I can have access, or do I need to request that specifically from the minister? If so, could she forward them to me?

Hon. Ms. Horne:    I do know for sure that the report is complete for the last year and it can be available at the worker advocate office.

Mr. Inverarity:   Thank you very much. Okay, I think I’m going to just about wrap up my questions. I know the Member for Mount Lorne has a number of questions, but I would just like to refer to the strategic plan that was done December 8, 2006. My background is one where I have always maintained that if you’re going to make commitments to something, you should try to keep those commitments as much as possible. I understand there are exceptions to fulfilling commitments.

Let’s just go through a few and see how we’re doing on the progress of the strategic plan. I know the department is working hard to get them through. I can appreciate there might be some delays in some, but hopefully, most of them are on track.

The first one is to implement the offender program model. It was supposed to have a deadline of March 2008 for full implementation. I’m just curious if we’re on track with that or if it’s early?

Hon. Ms. Horne:    This government is redeveloping its correctional system to reflect Yukon’s social environment, the needs of its clients and modern-day correctional practices. These changes will provide offender rehabilitation and healing, help offenders rebuild identity and renew relationships with family and community.

These changes will also provide hope for a better future for all Yukoners. This government has committed to ensuring safer communities and to increase the quality of life for all Yukoners. We have committed to meeting the correctional services needs of offenders, victims and communities. A significant amount of work has already been undertaken to fulfill these commitments by making the necessary changes to Yukon’s correctional system.

Let me provide you with a brief history of correctional redevelopment measures already taken by this government. As you are well aware, in 2005, the Government of Yukon and Council of Yukon First Nations co-chaired a 15-month Yukon-wide public consultation on corrections. The focus of the consultation was correctional reform. Yukoners were asked about the challenges facing victims, offenders, families and communities. They were asked to meet those challenges. Out of this consultation an action plan was created to guide the delivery of programs and services in the Correctional Centre and in communities. Consultation participants told us that while there are many challenges that needed to be addressed, there is hope that offenders can be motivated to rehabilitate and heal. Through our help they can rebuild identity and connect with their families, community and culture. It is with this hope and belief that our government has proceeded. On April 3, 2006, the corrections action plan was endorsed at the Yukon Forum by government and First Nation chiefs. At that time, the Yukon Forum endorsed a framework to move forward with change. In the following months, the government’s correctional redevelopment strategic plan was developed and approved by the Yukon Forum and released to the public in February 2007. The strategic plan is a living document that provides a direction for achieving correctional reform in a manner consistent with the spirit and intent of the corrections action plan.

The plan has two goals. The first goal is to implement the recommendations of the corrections action plan in order to substantially improve the quality of correctional programs offered to victims, offenders, and community members. This will be accomplished by implementing a client-focused correctional program delivery model and developing a Correctional Centre that reflects the needs of offenders and supports the professionals who work there.

The second goal is to fundamentally change the operation of the correctional system so that the Department of Justice, First Nations and other service providers are better able to deliver high-quality correctional programs.

This will be done by developing vision, mission and values statements that provide the foundation for the new correctional system by providing support and development opportunities to employees, volunteers and community members who deliver correctional programming and by developing a regulatory environment and organizational framework that supports the delivery of high-quality correctional programs to Yukoners.

Much of the work in reaching these goals is already underway. This March during the victims conference, a revised strategic plan was released that outlines the progress to date and our accomplishments to date. As a quick summary, I am pleased to advise all members of this House that a number of specific initiatives have been accomplished.

In 2007-08, in concert with Council of Yukon First Nations, an implementation committee infrastructure has been set up engaging First Nations, NGOs and other departments. The development of a new offender program model for Whitehorse Correctional Centre was completed working with other departments, First Nations and NGOs.

This will set the stage for a new style of delivery for correctional programming and is the result of a wonderful partnership and cooperation between the Department of Justice and the programs and services advisory committee, which is made up from a number of non-government agencies and First Nations.

A new vision, mission and values statement for the community justice and public safety division has been completed following stakeholder and staff consultation. Design and implementation of the interim space plan for the current Correctional Centre is underway. This will allow for necessary improved living and working conditions in the current facility and provide the opportunity for transition into the new facility.

We have reviewed options and identified a site for the new facility. We have finished focus groups and concluded functional and spatial programming work for the new facility. The schematic design phase for the new facility has begun.

Major training to Correctional Centre staff has been delivered. Pilots have been set up for some assessment tools through the Community Wellness Court. An elders working group has also been established to advise the superintendent on the operations of the WCC. Finally, the consultations on the new Corrections Act have begun.

This is just a brief overview of some of the initiatives in the strategic plan that have been undertaken. The list goes on with the work that we have done in the strategic plan and I can continue if the member opposite would like me to continue.

Mr. Inverarity:   Well, let’s go back to the question because that’s really what I am looking for an answer to at this point in time.

The question was regarding the implementation of the offender program model that was supposed to be implemented by March 2008. While I really appreciate the history lesson on the Department of Justice, what I am particularly interested in is whether or not that implementation process is on time, early, or late. You don’t even have to tell me the time frame that it will be completed in; I am just wondering how it is going.

Hon. Ms. Horne:    I feel I should have completed my speaking notes so I could have let you know how far we have gone. If you had listened, I did address your question. On our accomplishments to date, the development of a new offender program model for Whitehorse Correctional Centre was completed, working with other departments, First Nations and NGOs. I will continue and I will tell you what initiatives we have planned for 2008. Work will continue on all areas of the strategic plan. A few of the areas —

Chair’s statement

Chair:   Order please.

The Chair has noticed during the debate today from both sides that members are directing the debate to each other. I would encourage members to direct the debate through the Chair only and not to refer to each other by name. I remind all members to refer to other members as “members” or as groups from the opposite sides, but do not speak to individuals alone, and please direct comments through the Chair.

Hon. Ms. Horne:    To continue with the strategic plan, I would like to also convey to you, Mr. Chair, what we are doing in continuing the good work on the strategic plan. Work will continue in all areas of the strategic plan.

A few of these areas that we’re now working on and we’re going to focus on in 2008 are to complete the consultations and introduce the new Corrections Act, implement a Whitehorse Correctional Centre supervision and program model and complete the victims program model, pilot the integrated offender management model — a new approach to case management at Whitehorse Correctional Centre — continue to work on the new healing centre, complete renovations in the interim space to improve program and residential space at Whitehorse Correctional Centre, continue to work on community capacity building plans, and finalize and start implementing the staff recruitment and retention strategy.

Following that, we will start work on a volunteer recruitment and orientation strategy, and continue progress on integrating an offender management information system, with a new information management system planned for the courts.

Yes, we are on schedule with this strategic plan. We are doing very well and it is being implemented. It is a living document. Wherever improvements are needed, we work on that area.

Mr. Inverarity:   I appreciate that very much.

Perhaps the minister might be able to give us a little more information. I notice the minister had mentioned implementing a victim service model and that ongoing work in this area is going on in the 2008-09 fiscal year.

I’d be curious as to how far the program has gotten and what outstanding issues remain regarding that — considering that the minister’s target was full implementation by March 2008.

Hon. Ms. Horne:    Again, I wish to reiterate that we are committed to ensuring the needs of victims and families are well supported. That is why the development and implementation of a victim services program model is a key action item identified in the correctional redevelopment strategic plan.

During the consultations on corrections, we heard that not only did we need to develop programming and services that better meets the needs of offenders, but there was also work that still needed to be done to address the needs of victims in a way that is cohesive with the changes being made in the corrections system.

As such, a victim program model is being developed through collaboration with other government departments, First Nations and community agencies to further enhance our responses to needs of victims, families and communities. As part of this initiative from March 4 to 6 this year, the Department of Justice hosted the Moving Forward Together: Focus on Victims of Crime Conference. This conference was very successful, with attendance by over 80 people representing First Nations, community agencies and Government of Yukon employees from throughout Yukon. The conference focused on support for victims by exploring existing options and possible enhancements within the criminal justice system. This conference allowed service providers, community leaders and all participants the opportunity to talk about important issues facing victims today and how we as communities and service providers can best respond to the needs. This is valuable information that will greatly assist in drafting the victim program model.

Some of the items that we need to consider in implementing the model are the following: long-term goals, victim and community needs, program gaps and priorities, evidence-based research on Yukon First Nation traditions and practices, program objectives and desired outcomes, options and requirements for delivering programs such as human and financial resources and partnerships, and short- and long-term initiatives that can be realized. Once this model has been drafted it will go forward for review by the programs and services advisory committee established under the correctional redevelopment strategic plan.

With the help of our partners, it is our hope that the victim program model will be finalized and ready for implementation before the end of this year. This model will also put into context all of the good victim and family service programs currently offered by the department.

I am pleased to be able to advise you, Mr. Chair, that the Department of Justice already offers a number of innovative and positive services to individual victims, families and communities throughout Yukon.

Mr. Inverarity:   I would like to thank the minister for the information; it was very informative. It didn’t answer the question, but that’s okay.

I would like to get some information on whether or not the department is planning to fund or has funded in this particular budget any monies for the John Howard Society or the Elizabeth Fry Society. I understand there were difficulties last year in getting funding.

Hon. Ms. Horne:    Elizabeth Fry and John Howard societies provide valuable voluntary advocacy work and operate as a service agency across the country. I was pleased to attend their kick-off ceremony and I continue to welcome their establishment in the Yukon. Members of these societies have been invited to participate in discussions with other NGOs and First Nations around the new Correctional Centre.

They are also members of the Programs and Services Advisory Committee set up to provide advice on new programs and service models as part of the correctional redevelopment. Both societies provided proposals for the Yukon government to fund their core operations. Together these proposals would have exceeded $750,000 per year. Officials have offered to meet with the societies to discuss these broad proposals further to identify possible sources of funding and to see what other help the department could give.

Two meetings with officials were scheduled in the fall but were cancelled at the request of the societies. These societies have made no efforts to reschedule. I would encourage the societies to make contact with the department to reschedule these meetings to discuss funding.

The Yukon, as you know, has a long and proud history of developing volunteer organizations. The Elizabeth Fry and John Howard societies in other jurisdictions obtain funding from a variety of sources, including the United Way foundation; individual donors and so on.

The recent audit of contributions by the Yukon government’s audit services branch highlights the need to be very clear on how recipients will benefit from funding and to what end, with clear accountability.

The Department of Justice currently administers the crime prevention and victim services fund and the youth investment fund. Both of these programs require applications, as do most government funding programs. The department is open to ideas on services and programs from the societies. Again, we would encourage them to schedule meetings.

Mr. Inverarity:   I am just wondering if the minister could tell us how many early releases have been allowed since the start of, lets say January 1, from the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, in order to accommodate overcrowding.

Hon. Ms. Horne:    We don’t have that data on hand right now.

Mr. Inverarity:   Could I request that in a legislative return then at their earliest convenience? That would be appreciated.

I would like to know what the current state of the interim space plan is. I understand it was supposed to be completed by the end of March. It has moved into the current year and there is some money rolled over in the budget to accommodate the interim space plan. Specifically I would like to know when it will be completed, and what the final cost will be.

Hon. Ms. Horne:    I will take the request for data under advisement.

I did go through the interim plan when I first started speaking; maybe the member wasn’t paying attention. The property management division and the Department of Justice are working with the contractor, Ketza Construction, to complete the renovations as timely as possible.

The renovations are expected to be complete by mid-July 2008. The renovations are being carried out in phases to allow for a coordination of ongoing use and occupancy of the facility. Work is nearing completion in the infirmary, the spirituality room and program area, and work is complete in one of the living areas. The interim space management plan is a significant component of the correctional redevelopment strategic plan. I keep going back to this correctional redevelopment strategic plan — it’s a living action plan, which is very important and this is why I keep emphasizing it. It is essential in preparing for the transition to the new Correctional Centre.

I think that about does it, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Inverarity:   On the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, I know this is one of the minister’s flagship projects this year, and I know we’re all looking forward to seeing it develop. It will be 12 years in the making by the time it’s done. We started at $24 million and now I think we’re up to $32 million.

Have there been any — I could hardly call them final, because we know we’re probably going to run over budget, as most of the projects under the Yukon government do. Have there been any significant changes the minister can tell us about over the $32 million she expects the new corrections facility will cost? Also, what are the time frames, if any?

Hon. Ms. Horne:    We keep going back to the long delay in the new WCC. As a government, we committed and completed the corrections consultation throughout the Yukon — one of the most comprehensive consultations ever undertaken in the Yukon. We started to deliver action, as laid out in this strategic plan, which I have just gone over a few times. We promised safer neighbourhoods and communities — we’re delivering just that. Included in the strategic plan is also the delivery of the new Correctional Centre.

This means delivering fundamental change to the operation of this new Correctional Centre. This strategic planning will enable us to deliver high quality correctional programs so we really can make a difference in the recidivism rate in the Yukon.

I am pleased with the direction and the delay in the study to study the new Correctional Centre to make sure it is done right. This means good planning; it means the new Correctional Centre will serve the needs of the quality programming we are bringing forward, not the other way around, as the Liberals were going to do. I call that good planning, not a delay of 10 years. We are delivering what we promised.

We are not building a field of dreams — not “build it and they will come”; we are making sure that the building, the new Whitehorse Correctional Centre, suits the needs of Yukoners.

We have moved forward with planning for the new Correctional Centre this past year and I am pleased to report that we have completed the functional and spatial programming work, and we now have a facility plan. I believe I went over this earlier for the member opposite. This document includes information that describes the space needed within the new Correctional Centre, what the space will be used for, what material should be used and how the space should feel.

Further, I am pleased to report to this House that we are also well into the development of a schematic design report. During the schematic design, the consultant team will complete a number of tasks required before proceeding to the design development. This will include site and facility program analysis, exploring different building design strategies, creating different sketch plans and developing detailed room requirements.

The schematic design report will provide floor plans drawn to scale, exterior elevations to show generally what the building will look like, build cross-sections to show its general structure, a site development plan, a formal report with descriptions of building systems, material and component selection, and a summary construction cost estimate based on the numerous design decisions up to that point.

We are following a building development process that allows for ensuring this new facility reflects the Yukon’s unique social context and provides secure custody options, while promoting offender accountability, motivation, rehabilitation and, most importantly, healing to cut down on our recidivism rate.

A new facility cannot be planned or built overnight. We are — as I said earlier several times — on schedule for completion at the end of 2011.

Mr. Inverarity:   Thanks very much, Mr. Chair. I’m just about done here.

I noticed a number of ads in the paper in the last few months where the department has been going around doing consultations within the communities. I was wondering if the minister could tell us the outcomes of those.  I think it was just recently that the last consultation was held in late April — it might have been May. Could she give us some information and background on that?

Hon. Ms. Horne:    I would be very pleased to fill you in on the Corrections Act consultations.

Consultations on the new Corrections Act are currently underway in every Yukon community. Each community will be provided the opportunity to participate. This consultation process is being led by the Corrections Act consultation working group, which includes Yukon Department of Justice officials and a Council of Yukon First Nations official.

The actual consultation meetings are being facilitated by two Yukon Department of Justice officials and the Council of Yukon First Nations. The Corrections Act consultation is overseen by the Legislative Advisory Committee. This committee includes senior officials representing the Government of Yukon, Council of Yukon First Nations, and the Kaska Tribal Council. The consultation presents six themes to Yukoners as a starting point for these facilitated discussions and the development of the new legislation. The six themes include community involvement; First Nation involvement in corrections; correctional services; offender accountability, security, motivation and healing; client-focused programming and partnerships with community resources.

These themes were developed based on what Yukoners told us during the corrections consultation in 2005-06 and on what we learned from other jurisdictions. The need for the new Corrections Act was identified during the corrections consultation throughout Yukon. This consultation is an action item identified again in our correctional redevelopment strategic plan. This strategic plan was approved at the Yukon Forum in December 2006 and has been recently updated to reflect current status of work to date.

Approximately 160 meetings were held throughout Yukon during the consultation. The consultation concluded with the minister and chiefs roundtable on correction in March 2005. After the roundtable the implementation framework was negotiated by the Yukon government and the Council of Yukon First Nations. On April 3, 2006, the Yukon Forum endorsed the corrections action plan and approved the implementation framework. The plan provided the vision for correctional reform. The implementation framework provided for the establishment of an oversight committee, co-chaired by the Yukon government and the Council of Yukon First Nations. The committee has overseen the following: the preparation of the correctional redevelopment strategic plan by the correctional framework committee and the development of planning options for a new Correctional Centre by the building advisory committee.

Our government formulated its substance abuse action plan after consulting with Yukoners and hosting an unprecedented summit on substance abuse in June 2005. The Yukon substance abuse action plan has an advisory committee that has been consulted with periodically. The committee consists of RCMP, Yukon Status of Women Council, Health Canada, Association of Yukon Communities, Council of Yukon First Nations, Yukon Family Services Association, and FASSY.

Mr. Inverarity:   I really appreciate the response from the minister. I’m particularly interested in the motivational healing components of the Corrections Act consultation and the programming. How will those consultations impact on the development of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre? I don’t know if that is clear, but I am trying to understand how they will be implemented.

Hon. Ms. Horne:    I did understand the question. We are committed to ensuring that programming offered to offenders at Whitehorse Correctional Centre not only addresses the underlying causes of crime but also gives the inmates the resources and skills that will help them stay out of trouble in the future.

We recognize that we cannot simply lock offenders up and hope that when they are released they will be able to avoid reoffending without programming. Programming is available to offenders depending on their individual motivation to address the reasons that have caused them to become incarcerated in the first place.

Our commitment to providing effective offender programming is outlined in the correctional redevelopment strategic plan. The correctional redevelopment strategic plan lists as its two primary goals: to implement the recommendation of the corrections action plan in order to substantially improve the quality of correctional programs offered to victims, offenders and community members; and to fundamentally change the operation of the correctional system so that the Department of Justice, First Nations and other service providers are better able to deliver high quality correctional programs to offenders. In order to achieve these goals, the plan identified a commitment to develop and implement a new program model for offenders.

I am pleased to be able to advise that a Whitehorse Correctional Centre supervision and program model has been developed by the programs and services advisory committee. The development of this model included input from a sub-group that looked at the needs of female offenders. The new Correctional Centre supervision and program model provides an evidence-based rationale that supports the delivery of correctional programs at Whitehorse Correctional Centre and in the community.

The model provides the framework for the client-focused healing-centred approach to corrections in the territory. The model also outlines a new approach to supervision at the Correctional Centre.

Correctional officers will directly observe, supervise and work with offenders at the facility on a constant basis. This means that their involvement in an offender’s healing journey is significant and critical. The new supervision and program model includes training and development for correctional officers preparing for transition to dynamic and interactive supervision of offenders.

In the coming months implementation of the supervision and program model will begin at Whitehorse Correctional Centre. The model will be subject to ongoing review as implementation progresses.

The interim space transition planning also includes the implementation of the interim space plan. This plan involves a number of renovations and changes to the current facility that will allow for more frequent and varied inmate activities, reducing boredom and promoting motivation for change.

These changes will allow for increased space for women with more washroom facilities, improved supervision and easier access to programming. The changes will also allow us to introduce improvements to living units and offer new programming and recreation opportunities to all offenders.

We repeatedly heard through consultation the importance of ensuring that programming for offenders include culturally relevant programs. We have acknowledged the importance of ensuring that First Nation offenders have access to culturally relevant programming in order to help them move forward in their lives. We have also acknowledged the fact that culturally relevant programming must be offered now, not just when we have finished building the new facility. To this end, an elder’s advisory group has been created to provide advice in the operations of the Correctional Centre in ensuring that First Nation traditions and values are reflected.

Skookum Jim Friendship Centre and the Council of Yukon First Nations are also involved in the programming. An array of traditional programming activities are offered to First Nation offenders, including elders counselling, talking circles, traditional crafts, individual counselling, traditional parenting, solstice gathering and feasts.

Part of the changes associated with the interim space plan also address the need for culturally relevant programming. Appropriate space will be made available for First Nation programming needs, such as the elders program. We are also renovating an existing program area to create a spiritual room that can be used for First Nation programming opportunities.

As we proceed with the correctional redevelopment process, we will continue to work with all our partners to ensure the services and programs offered to First Nation offenders are culturally relevant and able to provide them with the help they need on their healing journey.

We also have mental health services. We must not forget those offenders who have mental health issues. Some of the programming options available to offenders include increased access to mental health services, both at WCC and in the community.

The mental health area also consists of hospital beds and is equipped with a camera for monitoring the occupants. Two mental health nurse clinicians and a psychiatrist provide services to individuals in community corrections.

Many offenders serve their sentences in the community and these clients benefit from the services offered by qualified professionals. The mental health nurse clinicians provide comprehensive services, including mental health assessment, counselling services, pre-release planning and consultation with other service providers.

These services allow us to be better able to ensure a smooth transition for the offenders when they leave the Correctional Centre and re-enter the community. The needs of offenders with mental health issues will be closely considered as we move forward in fulfilling the goal of the correctional redevelopment strategic plan.

We also have academic programming, in recognition that success upon release is directly related to employability and education. Offenders at Whitehorse Correctional Centre can access a number of upgrading and academic courses. For example, from the on-site Yukon College campus, we have general studies, GED preparation and testing, as well as resumé workshops. We have programs for female offenders.

Female offenders at WCC have opportunity to regularly take part in anger, violence and other counselling provided by the Department of Justice staff. Female offenders are also able to participate in women only AA programs when offered.

There are other programs and services available. In addition to the initiatives already mentioned, we have a number of programs that directly address the root cause of crime; these include: substance abuse management program, commitment to change, and violence prevention, and a variety of volunteers also offer programming for offenders at the Correctional Centre and these include AA.

The Correctional Centre maintains a contract for chaplaincy services through the Whitehorse Ministerial Association.

As you can tell, the number of programs and services available to offenders at WCC is continually developing and will continue to develop.

The new Community Wellness Court also plays a significant role in directing relevant and therapeutic programming for suitable offenders. As of February 25, the Community Wellness Court has had 32 clients; eight are currently in the process of moving forward with a wellness plan. This is a huge step in the right direction of creating healthier communities, inspiring hope for change, and cutting down our recidivism rate.

The Community Wellness Court is designed to make a concerted effort to break the cycle of substance abuse and criminal recidivism by providing a court-managed therapeutic alternative to the regular court process. The Community Wellness Court has been developed to provide a structured environment to support and assist offenders. The quality and intensity of services will allow these offenders to bring about meaningful change in their lives, to in turn contribute to the safety and health of the greater Yukon community.

Offenders who choose to participate in the court will have court-supervised intensive supervision and support from a multidisciplinary team of professionals and be required to participate in an individualized treatment plan.

This project, which was identified through work on the draft Yukon substance abuse action plan and the consultation on corrections provide one more way within the Yukon criminal justice system to address the more significant factors associated with crime in the north. These crimes are the relationship between alcohol, drug addiction and crime, the growth in the number of offenders who have mental health problems and the inability of the current justice system to respond adequately to individuals with FASD.

As we look toward the future, we will continue to improve programming for all offenders. We must all take responsibility for providing offenders with the necessary tools that they need to ensure that they don’t reoffend. As we proceed with implementing the correctional redevelopment strategic plan, we will continue to work to improve the programming and services. As you can see, I am very passionate about our justice system and healing in the Correctional Centre.

Thank you.

Mr. Inverarity:   I can see the passion. I understand it. I believe it. I have the passion too. I think that correctional redevelopment is an important issue. In fact, perhaps I would be going too far to say that the correctional redevelopment process that the minister is referring to is certainly high on her priority list, and I’m happy to see that. I understand that it is not finished yet and that it is an ongoing process. Perhaps more consultation is required.

I’m also very excited to see that the new program model is coming along. These are coming out of the Corrections Act consultations that have been going on, and I think they are pretty much finished or just about finished if I understood the minister correctly.

An important comment that I heard in the reply, Mr. Chair, was the fundamental change to the Correctional Centre and how we deal with prisoners and inmates and things along those lines. Because this will probably be my last question, I would again like to thank the officials for coming here today and for spending their time. I know their time is very valuable with all the work that is ahead of us in regard to corrections.

I think it’s important. I was appalled when I went on my tour last year of the correctional facility. It certainly is a long time coming and it needs to be corrected. I think it needs to be done right and I know the officials are working their hardest to try to accomplish those tasks as we move forward.

There are consultations going on currently, and some of them are not completed or just being completed as we speak. Clearly issues like programming, the healing centre, security, and how we’re going to deal with offenders are all critical to this corrections redevelopment process.

The final question I have for the minister: how can we go to tender on building a new corrections facility and not have answers to these questions first before we actually lay out the floor plan and what the physical structure is going to look like?

Hon. Ms. Horne:    The new Correctional Centre and programming go hand in hand. We have committees in place that constantly look at both, to see where programming needs tweaking and where the building fits in with the programming. I have faith in the department that this is being done and it is one of their priorities.

Mr. Cardiff:   In light of the previous question, I’d like to ask another one.

Unfortunately this is another one of those projects where tender documents are on the contract Web site. I’m not going to get a chance to ask the Minister of Highways and Public Works this question, but I promise him I will send him a letter about this. You can’t print the documents off the Web site so you can bring them into the Legislature here and actually quote from them, because they’re secure documents.

I’m not sure why that is. The raw cost for the facility, which doesn’t include furniture or demolition or a whole list of things in that document, is $32.3 million. It appears that the department or the Department of Highways and Public Works has gone to a project management style model, fast-tracking the facility and the project. As someone who has worked in and still has ties to the construction industry and who talks to contractors and people who work in the construction industry, they are concerned about the coordination of work. As the previous member stated, we don’t have detailed plans, and the minister said as much earlier, and yet we are going to tender part of this project.

A couple of questions: is the minister concerned about the coordination of the work with this method of contracting, specifically project management, and does she have any idea of what the final total cost of this facility, when it is completed, will be? The raw cost is $32.3 million but that doesn’t include many aspects of what is going to be done to build a new correctional facility.

Hon. Ms. Horne:    As to the construction management, the coordination is the responsibility of Highways and Public Works and we have faith in that process. We agreed to these terms and it is the best and most time-effective. The member opposite can direct questions to them.

This new project, the construction of the new Whitehorse Correctional Centre, is the result of extensive community consultations leading to the approaches I described earlier in the correctional redevelopment and the strategic plan. Our government recently let a request for proposals for the management of the construction of the new facility. This RFP contained an estimate of the raw construction cost based on information available at this stage. This raw construction cost of $32.3 million is preliminary only — a class 5 cost estimate, which is normal for this stage of project. The finalizing of this schematic-design stage will lead to updated estimates followed by the tendering process. It is expected that our schematic design will be completed later this year.

Mr. Cardiff:   I guess the only other question with regard to the contract is whether or not the minister is concerned about cost overruns. Typically when a project is managed this way there are a lot of change orders because of lack of coordination and cost overruns — lots of change orders and cost overruns. I just want the minister to be aware of that. I’d like to know whether or not she’s concerned about that and if the Department of Highways and Public Works is concerned about that.

Staying almost in the same vein, or leading up to a question in the same vein, I recently requested something from the minister. There was a study done last year with Yukon College for a marketing analysis on the uptake of the proposed justice institute, and that was being reviewed. I’d like to know if that review has been completed and if we could have a copy of that analysis sent over or delivered to our offices.

As to the member’s first question, Mr. Chair, we chose construction management to minimize the possibility of cost overruns. I am not concerned; I am confident about this process.

To answer the second question on the northern institute of justice, as the member opposite knows, we are taking the lead in identifying ways to address chronic shortage across the north of qualified people to work in the justice system. As part of our commitment to increase the safety and security of Yukoners and to diversify the economy and provide training and education for Yukoners, the Department of Justice, along with its partners has been working on the creation of a northern institute of justice.

We have had discussions about this project with a number of Yukon First Nation governments and plan to continue involving them as the project proceeds. We have completed a feasibility study and comprehensive market analysis and are currently developing a business case in governance framework based on the needs of Yukon employers and perspective learners to address the labour market gap in justice-related fields.

The creation of a northern institute of justice will allow us to offer training and education in justice-related fields. This facility would not only ensure that those who enroll in the institute receive training on justice issues that are specific to the north but also allow Yukoners to remain in the north while undertaking this training and education. It is our belief that the creation of a northern institute of justice will help create a better quality of life for all Yukoners. We can certainly provide the member opposite with a copy of the market analysis if he so wishes.

Chair:   Order please. Committee of the Whole will recess for 10 minutes.

Recess

Chair:   Order please. Committee of the Whole will now come to order. The matter before the Committee is Bill No. 11, First Appropriation Act, 2008-09, Department of Justice.

Mr. Cardiff:  I believe before we took the break, I had asked the minister a question about the justice institute. I’d like to thank her for that. I think it’s very important in light of some of the problems at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. I think it’s important that we have the ability to train corrections officers, probation officers — people who work in the corrections system and the justice system here in the Yukon who live here — can get that training in a northern context.

The issue I’d like to raise with the minister and the reason why I think that this justice institute is so important — and I look forward to receiving that market analysis, because I hope we can move on this — is that one of the concerns I hear from people is the staffing levels at the correctional facility. It’s not so much the staffing levels as the procedure for backfilling when corrections officers call in because they’re unable to attend work.

It’s my understanding — and it’s unfortunate that it is this way — that if a correctional officer or two correctional officers aren’t able to come to work, then those positions are backfilled and there’s a list. There’s a list and they backfill those positions from that list and, if nobody is available on that list, then those positions don’t get filled. The criteria for the list is they don’t call people who would be coming in to work overtime; so if there was a correctional officer required and it required overtime, those people aren’t called.

What this leads to is two things: number one, it leads to understaffing; number two, it leads to possibly not having gender balance on staff. It is my understanding from conversations that there are actually quite a few women corrections officers working at the jail. My concern is, if there are none available who wouldn’t be required to work overtime, there may be no female corrections officers to work in the female portion of the correctional facility.

I think that it would be important that if there are women inmates, that there also be women corrections officers on staff.

I am not looking for a long detailed explanation from the minister. I have read the corrections action plan. I have read the Corrections Act consultation, and I have a question about that later, but I don’t need her to read all that information to me. What I would like to know is why the correctional facility operates in that manner without calling in corrections officers, because of the overtime requirement and how they justify not having women corrections officers on staff when there are women inmates in the facility. It would be conversely the same if there were no male corrections officers available when there are male inmates in the facility.

Hon. Ms. Horne:    I will first address the issue of women and the gender equity at Whitehorse Correctional Centre. We have made efforts to increase the number of women in the Whitehorse Correctional Centre workforce. Over one-third of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre workforce is female; 26 out of 74. The number of permanent female corrections officers has increased over the past year from six to 11. There are now 20 women in security out of 57. Direction was given to increase the number of female corrections officers on shift. So as you can see, that number has increased significantly over the past year.

To address your question on overtime, there is an overtime budget for auxiliary and overtime staff at Whitehorse Correctional Centre. We did have some shift schedule issues on this point over this past winter but I am pleased to report to you that management at Whitehorse Correctional Centre and the staff developed a solution to this problem, as you described. I was also pleased to hear that the union has also endorsed this plan to cover this problem, so we are well covered in that area.

Mr. Cardiff:   I thank the minister for that question and I will be following up. I know this was a problem. I checked it as recently as a few weeks ago and as far as I knew from the individuals that I was talking to, they were still concerned about it, but I will be talking with them again. If it remains a problem, the minister can count on me to raise this issue again in the fall. I will be paying attention.

INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS

Mr. Cardiff:   If I could have the indulgence of the House for just one moment, I’d like all members to assist me in welcoming a constituent of mine, Mr. Mike Brown, who has joined us in the House.

Applause

Some Hon. Member:   (Inaudible)

Mr. Cardiff:   I had a little question there — the Member for Kluane wanted to know if I was coming back in the fall and of course I’m going to be back in the fall.

I’d like to ask the minister a question regarding legal aid. According to this, there is a reduction in the recovery and the transfer payment. We were advised by the very capable officials at the briefing that the contribution agreement with Canada hadn’t been signed at that point.

I’d like the minister to advise us now if the contract is signed, how long that contract is for and what amounts annually are in that agreement.

Hon. Ms. Horne:    I am pleased to advise the member opposite that the access to justice agreement has been signed, which covers up to March 31, 2009.

This covers legal aid, Yukon public legal education and the aboriginal court worker program.

Mr. Cardiff:   I thank the minister for the brevity of the answer. I don’t know if I missed it, but did she have the amount of the agreement with Canada?

Hon. Ms. Horne:    This would have been covered in line by line. The amount recovered for legal aid is $864,000; the aboriginal court worker program is $158,000 and Yukon Public Legal Education Association is $70,000.

Mr. Cardiff:   I know this question was asked previously, and the minister went into a long explanation about the fact that she was at the kick off and gave an overview of what the Elizabeth Fry and John Howard societies do. I am well aware of that, and I thank the minister for that explanation. What I would like from the minister is to know whether or not she is committed and whether or not the officials in her department are committed. I realize that the minister is somewhat limited and that they don’t provide core funding, that they do things like contribution agreements or that there are funds to which these organizations can apply for projects. I just would like a commitment from the minister that she is supportive of the two organizations, John Howard and Elizabeth Fry. I have a special or an extra concern about the Elizabeth Fry Society. There is at least a half-way house, and there are some services provided to male inmates who are in transition back into the community from the correctional facility. There were virtually no services and no halfway house for female inmates who are faced with the same situation.

I am looking for a commitment from the minister that she will work with these organizations and that she will have officials work with them to assist them in finding and accessing funding, whether it is project funding through the crime prevention fund or some other fund in the Department of Justice or Health and Social Services, the community development fund, corporate funding or federal funding. Will she work with those organizations to assist them in obtaining some funding to get them up and running? I know there are some committed individuals there who really want to provide some services and their hearts are in the right place. I know the minister’s heart is in the right place, too, so I am just looking for a commitment that she will work with them.

Hon. Ms. Horne:    As I said before, I am so well aware that the Elizabeth Fry and John Howard societies provide very useful advocacy work. We are committed to work with them and, as I said before, we would like to meet with them and sit down and develop a proposal. We work with all NGOs and First Nations but we have to ensure that we get value for our money and that it fits into our correctional redevelopment programming. Of course, we will sit with them and help them develop a proposal that works with us.

Mr. Cardiff:   That is good news because it is my understanding that formerly they tried to set up meetings and they have been refused. This is a positive step forward and I thank the minister for that commitment. I know they will be happy to know that the minister is on their side and that officials will be there when they ask for that assistance.

I’d like to take a little time today and we’re down to the end here. Pretty soon we’ll have the Commissioner coming in and granting assent to everything we’ve done or haven’t done.

This is an issue I’d like to just bring back to the table with the minister. This goes back to last spring. Some questions I asked of the minister go back to last summer and last fall. I sent some letters to the minister regarding the Family Property and Support Act, so dig your files out. 

I wrote a letter to the minister and I asked some questions about the Family Property and Support Act. It doesn’t provide the same level of protection or benefit of law to same-sex or common-law spouses as it does to couples or spouses who have been married through that formal process. I wrote the minister July 5. I wrote her again on September 13 because I hadn’t received a response. There was an attempt at one time — I know the minister is going to say the NDP government back in whatever year it was could have done this. Well, it was passed but unfortunately the law wasn’t proclaimed. I wasn’t in government at that time and neither was the minister. We have an opportunity now to make a positive change for people.

The minister replied on September 25 and she cited a case in the Supreme Court of Canada — the case of Nova Scotia v. Walsh — where they decided that the exclusion of unmarried, cohabiting opposite-sex couples from the definition of “spouse” was not discriminatory.

This is what the minister wrote to me: “The court said there is no discriminatory denial of benefit in this case because they opted for a common-law marriage instead of a marriage and because those who do not marry are free to take steps to deal with their property in such ways as to create an equal partnership between them.”

That’s fine, if you’re going to go out and do that tomorrow.  There are couples who have been in this situation who don’t have the benefit of what is better known as a prenuptial agreement, which is what the minister is talking about. And there are those who don’t feel the need to have a prenuptial agreement, but circumstances change in people’s lives and they do require protection — and maybe they really did require a prenuptial agreement. But you can’t do that after the fact and the minister is not recognizing that.

Recently the federal government also made changes to legislation with regard to this same issue on reserves. So the federal government has stepped up to the plate to ensure that, on reserve, this issue is addressed. In the Yukon the issue hasn’t been addressed. It seems like a fairly straightforward issue and that the changes had been made — there was one issue, which I believe was the duration of time and whether or not the definition of a common-law relationship was six months or 12 months or 24 months. That is easily remedied and I’m sure we could remedy that.

Just because the minister believes that there is protection under the current law for people or that they can get a prenuptial agreement, it doesn’t mean that this wouldn’t be a good legislative change to protect people. Just because she thinks that it is not necessary doesn’t mean that it is not  necessary.

I’ve had individuals come into my office when this was raised going, “Yes, please.” Because they’ve talked to lawyers and lawyers have told them that this is an issue for them. Some individuals have had conflicting opinions from different lawyers. I believe that this is a worthwhile effort. It doesn’t take a lot of work for the minister, because the work has been previously done. It can be reviewed and it can be reintroduced.

I would offer my support to the minister if she were to bring those changes forward. So I’d just like the minister to give her rationale for not making those changes under the Family Property and Support Act.

Hon. Ms. Horne:    I am well aware that there are concerns regarding various sections of the Family Property and Support Act, and I thank you for your letter. My response to it — I can update you that I have instructed the Department of Justice to undertake the necessary research that will inform a set of proposals to deal with the various aspects of this issue.

The Department of Justice is preparing an options paper for the minister, from which direction will be obtained for the department to decide the scope of changes to be brought forward to Cabinet for consideration. It is my hope that I will be able to see the results of this work from the Department of Justice later this year. From there, we can have the necessary information to give clear direction to the department regarding the best way to proceed.

There are many issues surrounding this legislation and our government will be carefully weighing our options before proceeding. Other governments before us have started down the road of making these changes that were never proclaimed, and the result has been a furthering of the confusion surrounding the act. We are committed to looking at this issue so that any changes made will stand the test of time — to make sure that they are correct.

As I’ve already stated, this really isn’t a straightforward issue. There are many issues surrounding this act that we will be carefully weighing before we make any decisions. But I am aware and am looking into this.

Mr. Cardiff:   That is welcome news. I am happy to hear that. I look forward to hearing from the minister. I would be interested — I know I’m not privy to Cabinet submissions, but I am looking forward to that and hope that we move expeditiously on this because I think it is important. I know there are other issues; this one seemed like it was a quick fix, a housekeeping issue, and that it could be done rather expeditiously. It made sense to me that we should act as soon as possible on it. I know it has been a concern for some of my constituents.

The minister answered extensively many questions on the Corrections Act consultation and I thank the minister and the officials for providing those answers.

I have one question for the minister and it is in regard to a question that was asked recently by the Member for Whitehorse Centre. It was in respect to the length of the consultation process; it was said today about the consultation process — I believe the last meeting was held just last week — that there has been some desire apparently to have that lengthened. I don’t have the date in front of me but the minister said, to quote, “To answer the member opposite, we are already discussing lengthening the consultation period. We will bring it…” it being the Corrections Act “…to the Legislature in the spring sitting.”

It appears to me to be an indication that the Corrections Act won’t be coming before the Legislature in the fall, but it will be coming in the spring. Can the minister confirm that?

Hon. Ms. Horne:    I thank the member opposite for asking this question because we did recognize that we needed more time for consulting to ensure that we have the best possible Corrections Act when it does go out and we definitely recognized that we needed more time to consult with the communities, with First Nations. We are not rushing it and we will make sure it’s done right.

Mr. Cardiff:   In that same vein, and I know this is probably a long shot, but can the minister tell us how many other pieces of legislation will be coming forward in what’s better known as the budget sitting in the spring sitting next year? Is she aware of any other pieces of legislation?

Hon. Ms. Horne:  At this time, I am not able to give those figures but I would say to stay tuned and you’ll find out.

Mr. Cardiff:   I am just curious. The spring sitting is normally a budget sitting, and this year we had quite a bit of substantive legislation brought forward. I would like to ask the minister a couple of other questions. I know some of these questions were asked previously but I would like the minister to give me her thoughts. I also look forward to participating with the minister and the Member for Porter Creek South on the Select Committee on Human Rights.

When you look at the funding for the Human Rights Commission, the explanation that’s given is that it basically has more or less stable funding, or there was an increase a year ago but there was extra funding.

There was an article in the paper and there was a report recently. I introduced the motion in the Legislature just the other day about public education in the education system for our young people. The survey of women, especially young women, showed that women weren’t as aware of their human rights and their rights under the Yukon human rights legislation. I think that is a concern.

One of the mandates of the Human Rights Commission is to do just that: educate Yukoners, Yukon citizens in communities about what their rights are under the human rights legislation. I trust that when we travel around the territory this summer consulting people that we will be educating people, at the same time as we’re listening to them, about their rights under the human rights legislation. Maybe in some small way that will take part of the burden off the Human Rights Commission because I think they are finding themselves financially stretched in their efforts to keep up. It is not just about hearing cases, it is about public education. It is about striking that balance between action and education about doing those proceedings and educating the public.

There are a couple of things that could be done. One would be to increase the budget to the Yukon Human Rights Commission. I would urge the minister to take that under consideration. I know that we’re not going to change the budget in the next 15 minutes and get more money for the Yukon Human Rights Commission, but I would like her to take it under consideration to maybe consider some funding in the supplementary budget or to do a review and listen to what the Human Rights Commission has been saying. There has been a backlog of cases over years. There are a large number of complaints that are concerning discrimination on the basis of sexual, physical or mental disability. We need to do public education about that.

There’s another option: the minister could talk to the minister responsible for the Public Service Commission and there could be education and training delivered to Yukon government employees around human rights legislation.

As I indicated earlier, she could support the motion that I tabled in the Legislature and talk to the Minister of Education to ensure we have that kind of education in our public school system.

I have a couple more questions I would like to ask the minister. If she could give me a brief answer as to whether or not she would consider those few ideas that I have, I would appreciate hearing from her.

Hon. Ms. Horne:    As I said earlier, it is the privilege of this select committee to go out to Yukoners and consult with them on human rights and find out about their views and opinions. This Assembly passed a motion that laid out the terms of reference for this select committee, what our duties were in going out to the communities.

In terms of funding for human rights, I can say — as I’ve said many times here before — that the funding has increased significantly over the past couple of years. We have worked with the commission to help stabilize its operational costs and resolve its funding issues. I am pleased to announce that the 2007-08 second supplementary budget includes an additional $67,000 for the commission.

The increase from 2000-01 to 2007-08 in approved funding and additional funding represents an increase of 227 percent over seven years — one-time funding approvals during this time period plus one-time funding increases of $265,700.

It is in the terms of the Human Rights Commission that their mandate is to educate the public. They have legal education staff who are available and who work very hard for the commission to educate the public. I can also say that the Human Rights Commission has had workshops with Yukon government employees to advise them of their rights and to make sure they are up to date.

Mr. Cardiff:   I have said this already and the Minister of Education is going to say, “Oh, not again”. I have a bumper sticker in my office that says, “It will be a great day in the Yukon when we have to sell chocolate bars to maintain our highways and public education is fully funded”.

We heard today that the school council at Golden Horn Elementary School is seriously considering some fundraising efforts in order to raise money to get one more FTE for their school for September, and I certainly hope the minister isn’t going to put the Human Rights Commission in the same situation where they have to fundraise so they can fulfill their mandate.

Just for the minister’s information about the conference, there is not sufficient funding in the Human Rights Commission budget for members of the commission to attend the conference. We were reviewing the conference agenda at our first meeting the other day. They don’t have enough money in their budget; they can fly there, but they don’t have enough money to cover accommodation and per diems. Consequently, members who are travelling are going to be staying with relatives. It is commendable that they are finding their own accommodation but covering their own costs for food and ground transportation, I find unacceptable. It is important that they attend this conference, and I find this unfortunate. They are dealing with human rights complaints and public education and they are putting that ahead of other things. That would be very beneficial to the commission and it would be very beneficial to the citizens of the Yukon.

That’s the minister saying that they’ve got more than adequate funding. It doesn’t matter how much the increases were over any given period of time. As there is more education, education can do two things. It can lead to an increase in complaints because, as people become more aware, they take advantage of the protections under the legislation. So that can drive the costs of the commission up.

Education can also be a preventive measure in educating Yukoners about what human rights violations are. So it can be a preventive measure, because the more educated people become about what protections are available under the human rights legislation, maybe we’ll have fewer complaints. It can go either way.

But to ask this group to operate with the budget and the constraints they have, I think the minister should take a closer look at that.

This is probably going to end up being the final question. As the minister can see, I have five sheets of questions here I could ask. I’ve got tons of questions I could ask the minister. But I’d like to ask the minister about community justice projects and the funding that’s provided to community justice projects. Restorative justice is a very important aspect of our justice system. It’s a new way of — it’s actually not that new; it’s a more traditional way. It’s new for the court system that we’ve inherited. It’s kind of groundbreaking here in the Yukon.

But there are community justice groups, community group conferencing societies, which receive funding from the Department of Justice.

Last year there was a problem with some of that funding in that it came very late. Here we are again, Mr. Speaker, and it is May and this is when this issue came up — I believe I asked the question at the beginning of May last year and I haven’t had an opportunity to ask this question yet in Question Period, so I wanted to ask it here today.

The Premier said, last year, that “There are seamless resources and delivery of services in a seamless manner for all Yukoners by government and by our non-governmental organizations.”

Well, the response to that, Mr. Speaker, from NGOs and community justice groups was that they disagreed with that. If that was the case, we wouldn’t have NGOs continually lobbying so hard to continue to exist — just for their existence, so that they can survive. Or employees of non-governmental organizations going without paycheques — foregoing their paycheques and waiting for funding to come from the government, or having to run their office off credit cards.

I’d just like the minister to confirm that, because of the late time that we’re debating this budget and the budget passing, there hasn’t been any delay in funding to these groups this year, as there was last year. Can she assure me of that? Can she assure me that the funding is adequate and that NGOs dealing with community conferencing, community justice groups, have all received their funding and that the funding is adequate this year?

Hon. Ms. Horne:    We believe that the community-based justice projects are a very important part of assisting communities in developing local capacity to deliver programs. The problem with the funding last year was not with the Yukon government, but it was with the federal government.

As we made well aware, we had our money in place for the community justice project and it is confirmed for 2008-09. The Government of Yukon expects to provide just over $433,000 of in-kind and financial support to nine community justice projects. With the funding for the aboriginal justice strategy it is estimated that over $870,000 will go toward supporting the community justice projects. The Yukon government supports the community-based justice projects.

Mr. Cardiff:   I have the opportunity to ask one more question.

I sent a letter to the minister on May 8 outlining some of the questions I have asked. I would just like the minister to confirm the request I made for statistics on the community court program. I wanted to know the number of clients on any waiting list, the numbers of clients who had taken part in the service up to now, how many had completed their healing plan successfully, and the number of First Nation people in that community court program who had availed themselves of that.

How many with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, who are diagnosed or apparently affected by it, had participated in the community court program? There was also an evaluation done of the community court program and I would like to know if we could receive a copy of that from the minister. I look forward to the response from the minister.

I would like to thank the minister for her time today. I would like to thank the officials as well for their time and attention today to the Justice debate here in the Legislative Assembly. I would also like to thank all the staff who work in the Department of Justice, whether it be in court services, probation, corrections, legal services or any of the other areas, for their ongoing work. I would like the minister to confirm that I will receive a response to my questions.

Termination of sitting as per Standing Order 76(1)

Chair:   Order please. The time has reached 5:00 p.m., on this, the 32nd day of the 2008 spring sitting. Standing Order 76(1) states: “On the day that the Assembly has reached the maximum number of days allocated for that sitting pursuant to Standing Order 75, the Chair of the Committee of the Whole, if the Assembly is in Committee of the Whole at the time, shall interrupt proceedings at 5:00 p.m. and, with respect to each government bill before Committee that the Government House Leader directs to be called, shall:

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

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

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

“(d) when all bills have been dealt with, recall the Speaker to the Chair to report on the proceedings of the Committee.”

It is the duty of the Chair to now conduct the business of Committee of the Whole in the manner directed by Standing Order 76(1).

The Chair would now ask the Government House Leader to indicate whether Bill No. 9, Bill No. 11 and Bill No. 46, the three government bills now before the Committee of the Whole, should be called.

Hon. Mr. Cathers:   Mr. Chair, the government directs that Bill No. 9, Bill No. 11 and Bill No. 46 be called at this time.

Bill No. 11 — First Appropriation Act, 2008-09 

Chair:   Committee of the Whole will now deal with Bill No. 11, First Appropriation Act, 2008-09. The Chair will now recognize Mr. Fentie as sponsor of Bill No. 11 for the purpose of moving a motion pursuant to Standing Order 76(1)(b).

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I move that all clauses, schedules and the title of Bill No. 11, First Appropriation Act, 2008-09, be deemed read and carried.

Chair:   It has been moved by Mr. Fentie that all clauses, schedules and the title of Bill No. 11, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2008-09, be deemed read and carried.

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

Motion agreed to

On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures

Total Operation and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of $701,978 agreed to

On Capital Expenditures

Total Capital Expenditures in the amount of $202,777,000 agreed to

On Clause 1

Clause 1 agreed to

On Clause 2

Clause 2 agreed to

On Schedule A

Schedule A agreed to

On Schedule B

Schedule B agreed to

On Schedule C

Schedule C agreed to

On Title

Title agreed to

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Mr. Chair, I move that Bill No. 11, First Appropriation Act, 2008-09 be reported without amendment.

Chair:   It has been moved by Mr. Fentie that Bill No. 11, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2008-09, be reported without amendment. As no debate or amendment is permitted, I shall now put the question. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members:      Agreed.

Chair:   The yeas have it. I declare the motion carried.

Motion agreed to

Bill No. 9 — Third Appropriation Act, 2007-08 — continued

Chair:   Committee of the Whole will now deal with Bill No. 9, Third Appropriation Act, 2007-08. The Chair will now recognize Mr. Fentie as sponsor of Bill No. 9 for the purpose of moving a motion pursuant to Standing Order 76(1)(b).

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Mr. Chair, I move that all clauses, schedules and the title of Bill No. 9, Third Appropriation Act, 2007-08, be deemed read and carried.

Chair:   It has been moved by Mr. Fentie that all clauses, schedules and the title of Bill No. 9, entitled Third Appropriation Act, 2007-08, be deemed read and carried. As no debate or amendment is permitted, I shall now put the question. Are you agreed?

Motion agreed to

On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures

Total Operation and Maintenance Expenditures in the amount of $13,018,000 agreed to

On Capital Expenditures

Total Capital Expenditures in the amount of $1,589,000 agreed to

On Clause 1

Clause 1 agreed to

On Clause 2

Clause 2 agreed to

On Clause 3

Clause 3 agreed to

On Schedule A

Schedule A agreed to

On Schedule B

Schedule B agreed to

On Schedule C

Schedule C agreed to

On Title

Title agreed to

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Mr. Chair, I move that you report Bill No. 9, entitled Third Appropriation Act, 2007-08, without amendment.

Chair:   It has been moved by Mr. Fentie that Bill No. 9, entitled Third Appropriation Act, 2007-08, be reported without amendment. As no debate or amendment is permitted, I shall now put the question. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Chair:   I think the yeas have it. I declare the motion carried.

Motion agreed to

Bill No. 46 — Act to Amend the Liquor Act

Chair:   The Committee will now deal with Bill No. 46, Act to Amend the Liquor Act. The Chair will now recognize Mr. Kenyon as the sponsor of Bill No. 46 for the purpose of moving a motion pursuant to Standing Order 76(1)(b).

Hon. Mr. Kenyon:   I move that all clauses and the title of Bill No. 46, entitled Act to Amend the Liquor Act, be deemed read and carried.

Chair:   It has been moved by Mr. Kenyon that all clauses and the title of Bill No. 46, entitled Act to Amend the Liquor Act, be deemed read and carried. As no debate or amendment is permitted, I shall now put the question. Are you agreed?

Motion agreed to

On Clause 1

Clause 1 agreed to

On Clause 2

Clause 2 agreed to

On Clause 3

Clause 3 agreed to

On Clause 4

Clause 4 agreed to

On Clause 5

Clause 5 agreed to

On Clause 6

Clause 6 agreed to

On Clause 7

Clause 7 agreed to

On Clause 8

Clause 8 agreed to

On Clause 9

Clause 9 agreed to

On Clause 10

Clause 10 agreed to

On Clause 11

Clause 11 agreed to

On Clause 12

Clause 12 agreed to

On Clause 13

Clause 13 agreed to

On Clause 14

Clause 14 agreed to

On Clause 15

Clause 15 agreed to

On Clause 16

Clause 16 agreed to

On Clause 17

Clause 17 agreed to

On Clause 18

Clause 18 agreed to

On Clause 19

Clause 19 agreed to

On Clause 20

Clause 20 agreed to

On Clause 21

Clause 21 agreed to

On Title

Title agreed to

Hon. Mr. Kenyon:   Mr. Chair, I move that Bill No. 46, entitled Act to Amend the Liquor Act, be reported without amendment.

Chair:   It has been moved by Mr. Kenyon that Bill No. 46, entitled Act to Amend the Liquor Act, be reported without amendment. As no debate or amendment is permitted, I shall now put the question. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Chair:   I think the yeas have it. I declare the motion carried.

Motion agreed to

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

Speaker resumes the Chair

Speaker:   I will now call the House to order.

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

Chair’s report

Mr. Nordick:    Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 11, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2008-09, and directed me to report it without amendment.

Committee of the Whole has also considered Bill No. 9, entitled Third Appropriation Act, 2007-08, and directed me to report it without amendment.

Further, Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 46, entitled Act to Amend the Liquor Act, and directed me to report it without amendment.

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

All Hon. Members:  Agreed.

Speaker:   I declare the report carried.

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

“(d) with respect to each government bill standing on the Order Paper for third reading and designated to be called by the Government House Leader,

        “(i) receive a motion for third reading and passage of the bill; and

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

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

Hon. Mr. Cathers:   Mr. Speaker, the government directs that Bill Nos. 9, 11, 52, 51, and 46 be called for third reading at this time.

GOVERNMENT BILLS

Bill No. 9: Third Reading

Clerk:   Third reading, Bill No. 9, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Fentie.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I move that Bill No. 9, entitled Third Appropriation Act, 2007-08, be now read a third time and do pass.

Speaker:   It has been moved by the Hon. Premier that Bill No. 9, entitled Third Appropriation Act, 2007-08, be now read a third time and do pass.

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

Some Hon. Members:   Division.

Division

Speaker:   Division has been called.

Bells

Speaker:   Mr. Clerk, please poll the House.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Cathers:   Agree.

Hon. Ms. Taylor:    Agree.

Hon. Mr. Kenyon:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Rouble:    Agree.

Hon. Mr. Lang:    Agree.

Hon. Ms. Horne:    Agree.

Hon. Mr. Hart:    Agree.

Mr. Nordick:    Agree.

Mr. Mitchell:    Agree.

Mr. McRobb:   Agree.

Mr. Elias:   Agree.

Mr. Fairclough:   Agree.

Mr. Inverarity:   Agree.

Mr. Hardy:   Agree.

Mr. Cardiff:   Agree.

Mr. Edzerza:   Agree.

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

Motion for third reading of Bill No. 9 agreed to

Speaker:   The yeas have it. I declare the motion carried and that Bill No. 9 has passed this House.

Bill No. 11: Third Reading

Clerk:   Third reading, Bill No. 11, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Fentie.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   I move that Bill No. 11, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2008-09, be now read a third time and do pass.

Speaker:   It has been moved by the Hon. Premier that Bill No. 11, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2008-09, be now read a third time and do pass.

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

Some Hon. Members:   Division.

Division

Speaker:   Division has been called.

Bells

Speaker:   Mr. Clerk, please poll the House.

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Cathers:   Agree.

Hon. Ms. Taylor:    Agree.

Hon. Mr. Kenyon:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Rouble:    Agree.

Hon. Mr. Lang:    Agree.

Hon. Ms. Horne:    Agree.

Hon. Mr. Hart:    Agree.

Mr. Nordick:    Agree.

Mr. Mitchell:    Disagree.

Mr. McRobb:   Disagree.

Mr. Elias:   Disagree.

Mr. Fairclough:   Disagree.

Mr. Inverarity:   Disagree.

Mr. Hardy:   Disagree.

Mr. Cardiff:   Disagree.

Mr. Edzerza:   Disagree.

Clerk:   Mr. Speaker, the results are nine yea, eight nay.

Motion for third reading of Bill No. 11 agreed to

Speaker:   The yeas have it. I declare that Bill No. 11 has passed this House.

Bill No. 52: Third Reading

Clerk:   Third reading, Bill No. 52, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Cathers.

Hon. Mr. Cathers:   I move that Bill No. 52, entitled Workers’ Compensation Act, be now read a third time and do pass.

Speaker:  It has been moved by the minister responsible for the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board that Bill No. 52, entitled Workers’ Compensation Act, be now read a third time and do pass. As no debate or amendment is permitted, I shall now put the question. Are you agreed?

All Hon. Members:  Agreed.

Motion for third reading of Bill No. 52 agreed to

Speaker:  I think the yeas have it. I declare the motion carried and that Bill No. 52 has passed this House.

Bill No. 51: Third Reading

Clerk:   Third reading, Bill No. 51, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Cathers.

Hon. Mr. Cathers:   Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 51, entitled International Child Abduction (Hague Convention) Act, be now read a third time and do pass.

Speaker:   It has been moved by the Minister of Health and Social Services that Bill No. 51, entitled International Child Abduction (Hague Convention) Act, be now read a third time and do pass. As no debate or amendment is permitted, I shall now put the question. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members:   Agreed.

Motion for third reading of Bill No. 51 agreed to

Speaker:   I think the yeas have it. I declare the motion carried and that Bill No. 51 has passed this House.

Bill No. 46: Third Reading

Clerk:   Troisième lecture, projet de loi numèro 46, proposé par l’honorable M. Kenyon. Third reading, Bill No. 46, standing in the name of the Hon. Mr. Kenyon.

Hon. Mr. Kenyon:   I move that Bill No. 46, entitled Act to Amend the Liquor Act, be now read a third time and do pass.

Speaker:   It has been moved by the minister responsible for the Yukon Liquor Corporation that Bill No. 46, entitled Act to Amend the Liquor Act, be now read a third time and do pass. As no debate or amendment is permitted, I shall now put the question. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members:   Division.

Division

Speaker:   Division has been called.

Bells

Hon. Mr. Fentie:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Cathers:   Agree.

Hon. Ms. Taylor:    Agree.

Hon. Mr. Kenyon:   Agree.

Hon. Mr. Rouble:    Agree.

Hon. Ms. Horne:    Agree.

Mr. Nordick:    Agree.

Mr. Elias:   Agree.

Mr. Fairclough:   Agree.

Mr. Inverarity:   Agree.

Mr. Hardy:   Disagree.

Mr. Cardiff:   Disagree.

Mr. Edzerza:   Disagree.

Clerk:   Mr. Speaker, the results are 10 yea, three nay.

Motion for third reading of Bill No. 46 agreed to

Speaker:   The yeas have it. I declare the motion carried and that Bill No. 46 has passed this House.

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

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

ASSENT TO BILLS

Commissioner:   Please be seated.

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

Clerk:   Act to Amend the Tobacco Tax Act; Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 2008; Act to Amend the Summary Convictions Act; Act to Amend the Financial Administration Act; Third Appropriation Act, 2007-08; First Appropriation Act, 2008-09; Act to Amend the Liquor Act; Workers’ Compensation Act; International Child Abduction (Hague Convention) Act.

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

As you begin your summer recess and as is my custom, I wish to say a few words. I hope you’re going to be able to unwind and take some well-deserved rest. For many of you, the work will continue as you visit your constituents and represent your area. Of course, ministers will have to find that time as their work load allows.

As Commissioner of Yukon, I extend a thank you for all the attention to Yukoners’ needs and concerns. No matter which party is in government, it is not an easy task that elected members have taken on. I cannot say it often enough and I want to express our gratitude to each of you for your continued dedication. So have a wonderful summer with your family and friends.

Thank you.

Commissioner leaves the Chamber

Speaker:   I will now call the House to order.

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

The House adjourned at 5:24 p.m.

The following Sessional Paper was tabled May 15, 2008:

08-1-78

Yukon Advisory Council on Women’s Issues 2007-2008 Annual Report  (Taylor)

Last Updated: 5/20/2008