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Yukon Legislative Assembly=

Whitehorse, Yukon

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 — 1:00 p.m.=

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Speaker: We = will now call the House to order.

At thi= s time, we will proceed with prayers.

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Prayers

Daily Routine

Speaker: We = will proceed with the Order Paper.

Tribut= es.

TRIBUTES

In recognition of Gavin M= cKenna

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I rise today to pay tribute on behalf of all parties to an inspiring youth in= my riding of Porter Creek South and a Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in citizen, Gavin McKenna. Gavin is a dedicated and ambitious youth who, at on= ly 10 years of age, has accomplished great feats in hockey. This past July, Ga= vin was provided with the unique opportunity to play with Team BC in Edmonton at the week-long prestigious North American Brick Invitational Hockey Tourname= nt. This was a first-ever invitation for a Yukon hockey player and a huge accomplishment for Gavin, as invitations are reserved for North AmericaR= 17;s most elite hockey players at age nine and 10.

Throug= h a two-stage tryout, he was selected as one of the top players for his age gro= up in BC. At this prestigious tournament, Gavin truly made Yukon proud, helping the junior Canucks reach the finals.

Fourte= en teams from across North America participate in the tournament, with each team dra= wing upon hockey players from their designated provincial or state regions, including BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada, Michigan, Minnesota, Connecticut, California, Illinois and Massachusetts.

Althou= gh Team BC lost in overtime in the finals, Gavin scored two goals and was named second game all-star. He tied for third overall in the tournament in scoring and w= as named “game star” in four out of eight games that he played. As= a result of Gavin’s strong showing, he was scouted and received an invitation to several other prestigious international tournaments and camps this spring.

He is = here with us today, having just returned from the Belfry Super 64 hockey camp, which = is put on by Darryl Belfry, who has trained hockey greats such as Sidney Crosby, John Tavares and Patrick Kane. This camp features a hand-selected g= roup of top-64 players from across North America born in 2007.

In the= next few weeks, Gavin will play with Team BC at the Nashville Music City Invitational tournament, which is a continuation of the Brick tournament, and participat= e in the Toronto Future Legends Hockey Hall of Fame Tournament. The Future Legen= ds tournament features 190 players born in 2007 from across the world. The pla= yers will participate in a draft ceremony, followed by a weekend of competitive play.

He wil= l join Team BC again in the summer at The Show tournament in Minnesota, featuring provincial and state teams from across North America.

Here a= t home, Gavin is the top scorer on his peewee team, which is, for some who may not = be familiar with that, for players who are 11 and 12 years old. This team has = been playing against 13- and 14-year-old players throughout the season. They will wrap up playing at their tier 2 championship, which I think they just concluded.

Gavin = has accomplished all of this by being truly dedicated to his sport. This level = of dedication for someone of his young age is incredibly inspiring to Yukoners= of all ages. Not only is he an inspiration on the ice, he is also a young man = with a heart of gold — part of the reason that I felt it was appropriate t= o do this tribute today.

For hi= s fifth, sixth and seventh birthdays, Gavin asked his friends and family for gift ca= rds, which he then handed out to homeless individuals in Whitehorse. Then, for h= is eighth birthday, he asked his friends to give him cards that he could donat= e to other kids who were less fortunate than him. I would like to applaud Gavin today and wish him continued success as he pursues his passion. Yukon is pr= oud to support you, Gavin.

There = are a number of family members who are here today, but I will wait for the introduction of visitors to introduce his family.

Applause

In recognition of World Autism Awareness Day

Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>I rise in the House today to mark the 11th annual W= orld Autism Awareness Day, which is recognized every year on April 2. I am weari= ng blue today in preparation for this Monday, when we can all wear blue to hel= p to raise awareness about autism. This day is one of four global health awarene= ss days that are officially designated by the United Nations. It was created a= s a way to increase our understanding of people with autism and to recognize th= eir rights as citizens.

In Can= ada, one in 68 children is currently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, which = is a continuum of complex conditions. In most cases it affects a person’s = ability to communicate and interact with people, and it can also affect sensory sys= tems and behaviour.

The ca= use of autism is not well understood — partly genetic and partly environment= al. However, we do have extensive research showing that autism is not caused by vaccines. It usually appears before the age three and is four times more co= mmon in boys than girls, which is not surprising to me, Mr. Speaker. I have= two autistic nephews.

Unfort= unately, I know first-hand that people with autism and other learning disabilities suf= fer from discrimination. I wish this was not true.

We und= erstand the importance of providing support to people with autism and to their fami= lies to ensure that people on the spectrum can thrive and live their lives to the fullest. This requires a whole-of-government approach, including efforts fr= om family supports for children with disabilities program, Health and Social Services, Justice, Education, and Community Services’ Sport and Recreation. It is important that we also work in collaboration with key organizations like Autism Yukon.

I woul= d like to thank Autism Yukon and the families, professionals, volunteers and caregive= rs here in the Yukon who dedicate themselves to enhancing the quality of life = for people with autism spectrum disorder. Last spring, Autism Yukon brought Dr. Temple Grandin here to the territory to speak, along with the very funny Michael McCreary. Dr. Grandin is one of my heroes. Her message was one of inclusion — that we need to emphasize what children can do, and not w= hat they cannot do. She said, “It is never too late to expand the mind of= a person on the autism spectrum.”

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, I think it is never too late to expand the minds of all of us, including us= as legislators.

Later,= when my wife, Susan, and I were speaking with her, Dr. Grandin said something that really resonated with us. She said that the world needs all kinds of minds.=

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, people with autism think differently — not worse, not better, but differently. I believe we should not be afraid of this but, rather, should embrace that difference as a means to provide broader and wider perspective= s to help navigate our world. To show our support, we will light it up blue on t= he main administration building in celebration of World Autism Awareness Day n= ext week. I urge all Yukoners to wear blue this coming Monday, April 2, to show their support, and to remember that the greatest problems faced by people w= ith autism — and the spectrum — is discrimination and lack of understanding.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, I have had the opportunity to live with and travel with my two nephews. It = has been a pleasure to watch them grow from young boys into young adults, seeki= ng to live independently. I think they add to this world, and I’m very h= appy for all the support we show for autism.

I̵= 7;ll introduce our guests here, but I wonder if we could just welcome those from Autism Yukon who are here today.

Applause

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Ms. McLeod: I rise on behalf of the Yukon Party Official Opposition to pay tribute to Wor= ld Autism Awareness Day, recognized this year on April 2. On November 2, 2007, World Autism Awareness Day was proposed and then passed and adopted in the United Nations General Assembly as a supplement to the previous UN initiati= ves to improve human rights. Since its inception, there have been a number of positive outcomes around the world in autism research and awareness project= s.

Global= ly, this day brings together a large number of autism organizations to aid in specif= ic projects, research, diagnosis, treatment and awareness for those living with the disorder and their families and loved ones. Autism can be described as a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects different areas of the brain. As a spectrum disorder, it affects no two people the same and has varying levels= of severity.

Here a= t home, Autism Yukon works tirelessly with families and individuals to provide supp= ort, information and services. The board of directors is comprised of parents and children on the autism spectrum and acts not only as a non-profit board, bu= t as a support network for our community.

Yukon = families are fortunate to have complete access to the Child Development Centre. Their work is undertaken as a multidisciplinary team of professionals, and they w= ork to help families diagnose, treat and understand autism and other developmen= tal concerns they may have.

We wou= ld like to thank them for their continued dedication to Yukon families. Globally, our understanding of the autism spectrum is growing. Many steps have been made = on the scientific and social fronts toward research and tackling discriminatio= n. There’s a long way to go, and we would like to thank all those organizations and individuals who continue to strive for increased awareness and understanding.

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Ms. White: I stand on behalf of the Yukon NDP to recognize Autism Awareness Day and to perhaps challenge us to change our way of thinking and to call it autism acceptance day. Like many, I was poking around on the Internet, trying to better understand and share a better message. I watched a great video share= d on the Autism Yukon page by comedian Michael McCreary, who shares his own experience with ASD. As I searched and clicked and read more, I found a site called autistic self-advocacy network and a 2012 essay written by Kassiane S. I’m going to throw caution to the w= ind and run a little long, because I believe what Kassiane= has written deserves to be shared, and she wrote:

“= ;I often say awareness is the No Child Left Behind of advocacy. It’s a start, but no means a finishing point we should be satisfied with. It is not until people understand and accept that we can say progress has been made.<= /span>

“= ;What’s the difference, you ask? The gulf between awareness and understanding is as wide as any ocean. Awareness is all about creating a sense of urgency and f= ear. Awareness efforts present us as a problem to be solved, and yesterday. Awareness operates in stereotypes and soundbites, not real people. Awareness has no substance; it is but a tool to earn more money to fix us and to prom= ote yet more awareness.

“= ;Awareness is easy. Acceptance requires actual work.

“= ;Acceptance comes from a place of understanding. Understanding isn’t generated by soundbites and posterchildren. Understanding takes work. To accept us, peop= le first need to acknowledge us as individuals — as three dimensional, growing, developed characters. We are not all the same, and we are not but a collection of deficits. Acceptance is seeing that and seeing that one’= ;s distaste for an autistic person is more likely than not because of ‘autism’. Awareness tells you that anything objectionable about= us is ‘autism’, but that explanation is clear, simple, and wron= g.

“Acceptance requires facing that= which makes you uncomfortable about us, thinking about why it makes you uncomfortable, and confronting any prejudice at the root of that discomfort= . To accept us is to make a conscious effort to overcome that prejudice, to recognize that your discomfort with our differences is far more your proble= m to overcome than ours.

“Acceptance and awareness come f= rom vastly different mindsets. Awareness seeks to highlight how Other we are and emphasizes the differences and distance between our ways of being. Acceptan= ce looks at commonalities we share and at the strength inherent in diversity. Those who seek awareness ultimately have the goal of bridging the gap by ma= king us more like them. They’re aware that we are the problem, and they are aware that the onus is on us to be fixed. Awareness is all about the proble= ms and the difficulties, usually as experienced by the ne= urotypical majority of folks who are wanting to make everyone know. Awareness makes su= re the world knows how difficult we make it for those around us.”=

“= ;Acceptance, though. Acceptance says ‘you are you, and that’s pretty awesome= . I am me, and that’s pretty awesome.’ Acceptance seeks to meet us where we are, or at least far closer to equitably than awareness does. Those who accept are not seeing us as projects or as charity cases. Those who acc= ept us don’t ‘tolerate’ us, they embrace us, differences and = all. People who are aware care about us in spite of our quirks and challenges. T= he people who are accepting who I know care about me in part because of my qui= rks and challenges. They recognize that you cannot excise my difficulties and oddities without excising a large part of the whole package that is ‘me’.

“= ;Awareness says the tragedy is that I exist as I am. Acceptance says that the tragedy would be trying to make me any other way. In this way, it makes complete se= nse that people who have awareness as their main goal would say that I ‘h= ave autism’, whereas those who would agree that I ‘am autistic̵= 7; are those who work for or are achieving acceptance.

“= ;I know a lot of people who are aware. Awareness, as I said, is easy. I could easily = get a couple hundred people to wear a puzzle ribbon & say it’s ‘= ;for autism.’ It’s not hard at all to get people to recognize a word= and a few little associated factoids. People know a few autism factoids, usually about children and about headbanging or poop smearing, perhaps about a pop culture portrayal. Probably enough to tell autistic adults that we look normal, but not enough to know that everything they think they know about autism is wrong.

“= ;I know people who are accepting, too. They had to work a lot harder than pinning o= n a ribbon and being told that children with autism may not speak but may bang their heads and are aloof or whatever the popular doom and gloom is this ye= ar. Becoming aware is a one-time thing, more or less. Even spreading awareness doesn’t involve a whole lot of thinking. But acceptance is a constant process.

“= ;Acceptance of autistic people, like acceptance of pretty much all people, involves mov= ing past surface impressions. It involves trying to understand us, trying to kn= ow who we are, not just what our operating system is. People who accept us = 212; or at least those who accept me — have made a conscious effort to not just know what I do, but to relate to why I do it. I don’t flap my ha= nds to be embarrassing, I flap my hands because I am happy (usually) so flappin= g is a good thing. If I’m being unnaturally still and subdued, that isn’t ‘good sitting’ or ‘controlling autistic behaviors’, it is a sign of being deeply overwhelmed — the more normal appearing actions are known by those who accept and embrace me as be= ing not good things. Acceptance is taking into account not what ‘people’ do in a situation, but what I do, and recognizing that= as valid. Acceptance is joining in my oddities instead of condemning them. Peo= ple who accept us would much rather see us happy and stimmy and obviously diffe= rent than miserably quiet and blending in. Acceptance is about us belonging, as = we are, to the ranks of fully human people.

“= ;I wish to live in a world where acceptance is not just the goal, but the reality. I w= ant to live in a world where someone talking in the deficit model of awareness = is regarded as uncomfortably out of touch with how things should be. This is my world too, and I want it to be filled with people who know that I am autist= ic and fantastic, not that I ‘have autism’ and that is tragic. In = my ideal world, flapping will be just as acceptable as smiling, earplugs will = be a normal sight, AAC devices will be common and everyone will know how to conv= erse with AAC users. In that world, neurodiversity will be just another way that people are unique, and everyone will agree that diversity is part of what m= akes the world so beautiful.”

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, from this day forward, I’m going to celebrate acceptance and not awareness, because I want to celebrate the commonalities that we share, bec= ause you are you, and that’s pretty awesome, and I am me, and that’s pretty awesome.

Speaker: Int= roduction of visitors.

Introduction of Visitors

Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>Just following up on the member opposite, I would like us to w= elcome and accept into the Legislature here, Mr. William Macklon, an autistic young adult; May Blysak, a grandpar= ent and supporter; Karen Macklon, who is a boa= rd member of Autism Yukon and a parent; William Nelson, a board member of Auti= sm Yukon and a parent; Leslie Peters, the executive director of Autism Yukon; = and Katie Swales, who is the president of Autism Yukon. We welcome them.=

Applause

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Hon. Mr. Pillai: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleagues here to please help me in welcoming a num= ber of people from the McKenna-Mason family and other families that are here to= day to support Gavin. I’ll just go through the team that is here today and then we can give them a hand.

I woul= d like to recognize Krystal McKenna, who is here, Gavin’s mom. Madison and Kasey are here, and they have confirmed to me that they provide him with good foc= us and advice and keep him going in the right direction. Grandparents Karen and Joe Mason — and I think it touches upon how important grandparents ar= e. On the next trip — they were just mentioning — they are on the = road with Gavin while his mom and dad are back looking after his sisters and wor= king — how important grandparents are. It was a privilege today to meet his great-grandmother, Irene Crayford. Irene is a long-time business person in Yukon and a very successful entrepreneur in Dawson City, so it was a real pleasure to meet her today. I also would like to recognize his aunt Taelor Mason and her mom — extended family here= as well — Rhonda Morrison.

Let= 217;s give a big hand for everybody here today.

Applause

 

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I would like to take a moment for members to please join me in welcoming my constituents Karen Macklon and Wil= liam to the House.

Applause

 

Speaker: Are= there any further introductions of visitors?

Are th= ere any returns or documents for tabling?

Are th= ere any reports of committees?

Are th= ere any petitions?

Are th= ere any bills to be introduced?

Are th= ere any notices of motions?

Notices of Motions

Mr. Hassard: I rise to give notice of the following motion:

THAT t= his House urges the Deputy Premier to:

(1) re= tract his incorrect statements made during Question Period on Tuesday, March 27, 2018= , in which, when responding to a question about why the Liberal government hijac= ked a community association meeting in order to silence criticism of the government, he accused the MLA for Porter Creek North of knocking on people’s doors regarding the group home the Liberal government is mov= ing forward with, without public consultation; and

(2) ap= ologize to this House and to the Member for Porter Creek North for making that factual= ly incorrect accusation.

 

Ms. White: I rise to give notice of the following motion:

THAT t= his House requests the Government of Yukon to demonstrate to this House and to all Yu= kon citizens how it is giving effect to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action 1, which calls upon governments to reduce the number of aboriginal children in care by:

(1) mo= nitoring and assessing neglect investigations;

(2) pr= oviding adequate resources to keep aboriginal families together where appropriate, = and keep children in culturally appropriate environments, regardless of where t= hey reside;

(3) en= suring that social workers and others who conduct child-welfare investigations are properly educated and trained about the history and impacts of residential schools;

(4) en= suring that social workers and others who conduct child-welfare investigations are properly educated and trained about the potential for aboriginal communities and families to provide more appropriate solutions to family healing; and

(5) re= quiring all child and welfare decision-makers to consider the impact of the residen= tial school experience on children and caregivers.

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Speaker: Are= there any further notices of motions?

Is the= re a statement by a minister?

This t= hen brings us to Question Period.

QUESTION PERIOD

Question re: Childr= en in care

Ms. McLeod: Today, the CBC had new disturbing allegations about abuse within group homes. These allegations went further than last week’s and suggested that the government is not properly following up to protect children from sexual abu= se within their homes.

With today’s new allegations, what is the government doing to investigate?=

Hon. Ms. Frost: First off, I would like to just acknowledge the staff members = who are coming forward and bringing these issues to light. We know that there a= re concerns — serious concerns. We are currently dealing with one specif= ic allegation and following through with the procedures that are required ther= e.

We als= o would like to really extend, again, to the staff who are coming forward to the me= dia — it is very difficult for us to follow through on allegations that a= re made through the media. If we know specifically what the issues are —= and they came to the department — and set up opportunities for them to do that where they feel safe. We are working together with the Public Service Commission and, of course, the Department of Justice and the other departme= nts to allow staff to feel safe to come forward. So we are looking at that. It is = very important that anyone who observes wrongdoing needs to feel comfortable in coming forward, not to mention that they have a legal obligation if there a= re any allegations of any form of abuse. The member opposite — if she is aware of some allegations, if the media is aware of allegations, then they = too have a legal obligation.

Ms. McLeod:&#= 8195;As I mentioned, today CBC reported allegations that safety investigations into= the homes of children who are suspected of being abused are not being properly conducted or followed up on. The review that the minister announced last we= ek was specific to group homes.

Will t= he review be expanded to include these new issues, which go beyond just government-run group homes?

Hon. Ms. Frost: I’m happy to say that — whatever concerns come to = our attention — we are taking them very seriously and we are doing the go= od work and we are ensuring that children, first and foremost, are protected a= nd that we have a safe environment for them to thrive.

The me= mber opposite and the Official Opposition were fully engaged in the report from = the Auditor General of Canada in 2014. We are leading up now to another report = and another review in 2019. We are taking an internal review to see and look ba= ck on all of the reports, all of the recommendations — the Truth and Reconciliation recommendations, the Auditor General’s recommendations — and looking at what we actually did and how successful we were at implementing those recommendations. If we are not doing so, then we want to= be prepped for the next review in 2019 and do our good work internally.=

Ms. McLeod:&#= 8195;It is becoming clear that the best path forward is for the government to launc= h an independent review conducted by someone other than the Child and Youth Advo= cate to look at the issue of group homes and children in care. The Third Party h= as brought forward a motion to this effect, and the Yukon Party will be suppor= ting this motion when we debate it later today. Will the government support this independent review?

Hon. Ms. Frost: I do want to note that we have a few different things happening. Just to clar= ify, we have a child welfare matter that is being dealt with. We have the childr= en in care process that the Child and Youth Advocate office is proceeding with= . We have some internal staff relations issues that have long been known to us — that have been known to the opposition — and that has come ou= t in the 2014 report that they did nothing with.

We wil= l do something with it. We will work with respect to the policies. We will ensure that our staff are provided an opportunity and engage in best practices and= on what we need to do to address the concerns that are in the workplace right = now — transitional support, integrated support and incident reports that = need to come forward and come to light. I am really happy and pleased that we are finally at this place where we can do something substantive to make changes within our Family and Children’s Services process and within our care facilities. It is our job, Mr. Speaker — it is our job to do that good work to protect our children and ensure that there are opportunities to make advanced and positive changes.

Question re: Children in care

Mr. Hassard:&= #8195;I would just like to start by saying that I am not happy we are in this place. Yesterday, we asked the minister to explain her comments that suggested the= re was an internal review of the serious allegations of abuse in government-run group homes. The Premier claimed — and I quote: I will say that the minister and I have been very clear in our response. We very clearly explai= ned what is going on…” Mr. Speaker, let’s walk through t= he so-called clear responses. On March 21, the minister said — and I quo= te: “We are looking at doing an internal review.” Later, on March 2= 1, the minister said — and I quote: “…we are not doing an internal review…” On March 22, the CBC story states — and= I quote: “Speaking later with reporters, she said ‘internal assessments’ had been done and children and youth are safe in group homes.”

Despit= e the Premier’s claims, the government has been anything but clear. Can the minister tell us why she keeps changing her story on whether or not there w= as an internal review?

Hon. Ms. Frost: Just for the record and for clarity, when an issue of this mag= nitude comes to our attention, we take these allegations very seriously. We need t= o do the good work internally to determine what avenue we proceed with. A few da= ys after this came to our attention, as the members opposite well know — they have raised it here in the Legislature: Why did we not engage with the RCMP? That is a process that takes its own avenue. We will participate wher= e we can. We have indicated that we will participate 100 percent and provide opportunities for staff to come forward to substantiate, to provide input i= nto making this a better investigation and to clarify what’s happening. We know, from the auditor’s report, many things have happened over the course = of the last 15 years in the hands of the opposition. We know they were obligat= ed to provide and implement better services and better support — and I c= an go back and start reporting.

We hav= e gone back now to look at all the recommendations and all the reports, and we are coming back to the table to ensure that we start implementing those, that we start taking those things seriously and doing the good work we’re obligated to do as public servants.

Mr. Hassard: Again, we see the government unable or unwilling to give straight answers to very straightforward questions, so here’s another one, Mr. Speaker: Yesterday, the Official Opposition received information from a concerned whistle-blower who wants to speak out about how the government has responde= d to these allegations. They want to go public, but they’re afraid for the= ir job.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, this individual told us that staff have been told not to put any concerns in writing. Can the minister investigate these claims for us?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I can tell you this afternoon I’m very happy to speak to this very important subject, which is empo= wering the civil service to bring matters of importance to the proper authority. I want to personally thank employees for coming forward with their concerns a= bout child welfare. It takes courage to come forward to the media or to others in authority, so I want to thank them. I want them to know we take these issues very seriously, a point my colleague just to the front benches has made this afternoon.

Once a= gain, I thank them.

I want= them to know we take these issues very seriously, and it’s important for anyo= ne who observes wrongdoing to feel comfortable coming forward. Judging from the news today, we have some work to do to dispel the legacy of fear and recrimination that exists in the civil service. We want employees to feel confident about raising concerns. We as a government, as a society, cannot address concerns without good information — source information.

If emp= loyees see things they feel need to be reported, report them. I want those employees to tell their supervisor. If they don’t feel comfortable talking to their supervisor, I want them to phone their deputy. That is a matter I have take= n up with the deputies this morning, so if any employee has concerns they don’t feel comfortable reporting to their direct supervisor, phone th= eir deputy, and that deputy will then take the proper action in investigating t= he matter that comes before them.

Mr. Hassard: We have heard that the department is actively pulling people into offices to t= ry to figure out who has released this information to the public, and people a= re genuinely afraid for their jobs, Mr. Speaker, that’s why we hear their voices disguised on the radio.

Will t= he Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission commit in this House that any investigation into who the whistle-blowers are will stop immediate= ly, and that no one will be punished for coming forward?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: We are committed to fostering a culture of trust and openness = within the civil service. I know personally how hard it is to foster that trust. I worked in the media for a good many years in this community. I know that tr= ust is a difficult thing to foster within the civil service. These problems have not existed for six weeks or six days, they have existed for almost 30 year= s in this small town, and it takes a lot of work to break that culture — to change that culture. We know it takes time to build that trust and we know it’s not — a culture of trust is not a culture that we have inherited. We are committed to fixing this. It is essential to good governm= ent, and again I applaud the civil servants who brought their problems to the attention of the public. I believe in my soul that good journalism is an important part of our democracy, so I thank them for making their problems public.

ItR= 17;s a start, but it’s not enough. It is also important that people feel confident bringing their concerns to authorities in the departments who can effect change. We need that source information to address the problems. I’m sorry some employees don’t feel comfortable enough doing th= at. We have legislation, the Public Int= erest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act that was passed by all members of the Legislature a few years ago that protects its employees. If they don’t feel comfortable talking to their supervisor, please talk to your deputy.

Question re: Children in care

Ms. Hanson: A week ago, the CBC reported on abuse and mistreatment in government group ho= mes. Since then the government has been mired in contradictions that have raised doubts about its ability to solve the systemic issues raised. When it comes= to the protection of staff who come forward, the minister has repeatedly encouraged staff to speak with her, yet the assistant deputy minister sent = an e‑mail to employees saying — and I quote: “In the near future, we will develop a process for staff to express their views and insights.”

On the= other hand, the Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner says that the disclosure = must be made to an employee’s immediate supervisor, their deputy minister = or to her. In the midst of all this confusion, whistle-blowers who spoke to the CBC talked, as we have heard, about a culture of fear and concern that they= may be targeted or discredited should they speak up. What are whistle-blowers supposed to do — take the minister’s advice, obey a directive f= rom an assistant deputy minister or listen to the Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for another opportunity to talk ab= out this very important subject, because the more we talk about it, the more we= can bridge this gap and actually create the trust that we need to properly gove= rn and work within this society.

I will= say again that if an employee of the civil service has a problem, sees something that they think needs to be addressed, be it with children in care or any of the issues that touch our civil servants on a daily basis, they have a few opti= ons. You have mentioned the Public Interest Disclosure office. That is one avenue they could take, but I am recommending that they go either to their immedia= te supervisor as dictated in the act or, if they do not feel comfortable with that, go directly to your deputy. That is the procedure we have in place. G= o to your deputy if you do not feel comfortable talking to your supervisor, and = they will then make sure the issue is addressed and make sure they do the investigation we need to properly look after our children, our students = 212; whatever it is that we have to address.

That i= s the process, and that right is protected through the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act, which every membe= r of this House passed several years ago. It is a culture change. It is something that a lot of people do not realize.

I know= it takes a lot of courage to come forward with your concerns. I am telling people th= ey can do so with impunity; they can talk to their supervisor or talk to their deputy.

Ms. Hanson: The minister’s advice runs contrary to what the Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner has already said many times — trust is not a given; it is earned.

The contradictions of this government do not end there. The government’s inaction has raised serious doubts about the independence of the review they asked the Child and Youth Advocate to conduct. On Friday, the Premier talke= d to the press about a review that’s going to be set up by the minister and her department. Then the Child and Youth Advocate, in a letter dated this Monday, says that she has decided to conduct a review of group homes, despi= te the government sending a press release earlier announcing the review.

On Mar= ch 20, the assistant deputy minister says that the Child and Youth Advocate is expecte= d to submit terms and reference for the systemic review, while the advocate hers= elf says in her letter — and I quote: “I am not required to submit = to Yukon government any terms of reference for this review…” Who should Yukoners believe: the Premier, a directive by a senior official or t= he Child and Youth Advocate?

Hon. Mr. Silver: I do appreciate the concerns coming from the opposition. We do= want to thank the employees for coming forth with these serious issues, which we= do take very seriously. It’s important that anyone who observes wrongdoi= ng feels comfortable in coming forward — that’s absolute. We want = to encourage people to do so.

We als= o want employees to feel confident about raising those concerns. It’s unfortunate that the trust has been eroded. We have had many conversations = over the last few months about that ability to report wrongdoing. We had a fanta= stic conversation with the Member for Mayo-Tatchun just about his experiences wh= en he was a public servant, and my experiences when I was a public servant, be= ing a teacher. This is not new.

What w= e need to do is make sure our whistle-blower protection is succinct, and we want to m= ake sure that it is working properly. We also want to make sure that if somebody who is working for the government has great ideas, as well as issues or concerns, that these issues are heard. I believe that, by taking a whole-of-government approach, we will rebuild this trust that has been erod= ed over the years.

I beli= eve that the Minister of Health and Social Services has been tremendously responsive= on this issue. For months, she has been working on this with her department, a= nd also the other departments — whether it is Justice or the Public Serv= ice Commission. Are we going to solve things overnight? No. But I do want Yukon= ers to know that we are working on this issue and we want to make sure that peo= ple are heard.

Ms. Hanson:&#= 8195;This government’s attempt at doing damage control on the issue of safety of kids in care has backfired. We are left today with a process that is sorely lacking credibility and the responsibility for this rests solely on this government’s shoulders. The president of the Yukon Employees’ U= nion and whistle-blowers who have spoken to the media don’t believe that either of the proposed reviews by the Child and Youth Advocate will bring t= he needed change.

Kwanli= n Dün First Nation Chief Doris Bill said in a media interview that she has also raised concerns. She proposed a solution — and I quote: “What t= hey can do is give the office that authority to hire an independent investigato= r to conduct the review and have that investigator report back to an all-party committee. I think that’s one avenue … that government should l= ook at.”

Will t= he government hear the call from the Kwanlin Dün chief and give the authority and the resources to the Child and Youth Advocate to hire an independent investigat= or to conduct the group home review?

Hon. Mr. Silver: I’m glad we’re having this conversation, because t= his is an extremely important conversation to be had, and it’s something that this Liberal government is taking very seriously.

In the= end, whether we take the advice of the member opposite, the Leader of the NDP, a= s to what she sees as far as an independent review, or whether we take the direc= tion that we believe we should be taking as far the policies and understanding t= he acts — in the end they are all recommendations for a government. Whet= her it is the Third Party, whether it is the Child and Youth Advocate, the responsibility is going to be on this government as to how we implement cha= nge that is needed, and that is what we are going to do, Mr. Speaker. This Liberal government will deal with this issue; this government will take car= e of the concerns.

If the= members opposite want to speak off-mic on this, that is fine, I will continue the conversation, but our point is when recommendations come forward, we will d= eal with it. I guess what we will have to look for is how this government deals with recommendations, however they come in.

Question re: Children in care

Mr. Hassard:&= #8195;Regarding the serious allegations of abuse in government-run group homes that the Minister of Health and Social Services became aware of six weeks ago, the government has tried to claim that they took immediate action. Yesterday the minister claimed, “We did take action as soon as the information came ...”

A quic= k look at the facts, however, shows that the minister is incorrect. The minister found out about these allegations over six weeks ago, Mr. Speaker. She did n= ot report them to authorities, which her own legislation and website says she = is required to do. In fact, the minister only issued a last-minute press relea= se announcing she would conduct a review after she found out that the media was digging into this.

If the= minister can’t even be up front about how quickly she took action, how can we = have confidence in her ability to act upon this review?

Hon. Ms. Frost: I would like to pick up on the point of confidence. Historically, the members opposite know that they had some solid recommendations in which to proceed = to make changes — provide better services, transitional opportunities, t= he department must report in 2011-12, and look for identified protections and concerns that have come to their attention. All this, we know, has been long rooted in the process, and we want to ensure that we take appropriate steps= and ensure that, as we move forward, we react, and we react in a way that is in= the best interests of the child.

The me= mber opposite does not know what happened; he is making assumptions, and the assumptions are incorrect. We had notice, and the notice came to our attent= ion on February 5. The letter that was received, we followed through — February 14 it went back out. We had a meeting and February 14 the staff provided information back from the youth. On February 15 I met with the you= th; on February 16 we went out and we provided opportunities for engagement. We= put it back to case management, as the members opposite well knows. As minister, that is what we do; we put it back to the staff who are there to do that go= od work.

Mr. Hassard: I think it is important to let the minister know that my assumptions are base= d on the information that I received right here in this Legislature from this minister. Mr. Speaker, the minister’s claims on this file seem to shift by the day. Let us go through all the things that she has told us, ab= out when she found out.

Last w= eek she told the House she found out six weeks ago. This Monday that story changed = and she told us that she found out February 14, which would actually be five we= eks ago in relation to last week. Then yesterday the minister said, and I will quote again, “This didn’t just come to light six weeks ago.R= 21;

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, the minister is either making it up as she goes, or she isn’t taking = this issue seriously at all.

So can= the minister tell us why she keeps giving us different answers when we ask the = very simple question: When did you become aware of these allegations of abuse? <= /span>

Hon. Mr. Silver: Quotes are one thing, but the issue is — you know, Mr.&n= bsp;Speaker, we have been in government for about a year and a half, or 14 months, and I= can attest that whether it is reacting to something that is happening in the me= dia or looking at a systemic issue Health and Social Services-wide, this minist= er has been active on this file since she came into the role.

We hav= e had conversations from the get-go about the Handle with Care program for the TSS and how we make sure that the workers know and make sure that they are using this program when dealing with children who are young as two years old or u= p to six years old.

On hir= ing practices, the minister has been on this from day one to make sure that the people we hire have the education and training in early childhood education= , as well as child and youth care — making sure that we have transitional = care for our youth as they age out of the system and demanding that the young ad= ults between 19 and 23 years of age who are in custody absolutely have that abil= ity to transition into independent living.

So to = say the member opposite is putting everything into the context of how they find out about this during a media story, and so now they are asking these questions about the media story — that is one thing. But as of January 26, 2018, there were 27 youth in care. These numbers are down. The bigger issue that = the minister is dealing with right now is: How do we get that percentage of First Nations in care down as well?

Speaker: Ord= er, please.

Mr. Hassard:&= #8195;We have heard the Premier talk in this Legislature about how he and the Minist= er of Health and Social Services have been answering the questions, and answer= ing the questions very clearly, but again, this is an example of that being the exact opposite.

The la= ck of seriousness that this government is giving this issue is certainly disappointing. The minister became aware of serious allegations of abuse wi= thin government-run group homes. We don’t know exactly when the minister f= ound out because she has given us several different dates. The minister, like all Yukoners, is required by law to report suspected child abuse to authorities= . We have asked the minister several times why she did not report these allegati= ons to the RCMP. She has still not provided us with an answer to that question.= The Premier keeps saying she has answered it, but she hasn’t.

So if = he is so confident that they have a good answer, then why not just tell us?

Hon. Mr. Silver: Lots to unpack from that. When did we become aware that there = were serious issues within group homes? I think the Office of the Auditor General told us that when the Yukon Party was still in power, so that answers that question very clearly. When did we know? We knew for a while — this is not a new issue.

Specif= ic allegations — allegations are going to be dealt with through the RCMP= . I believe that this is the role that the RCMP plays, as the members opposite = know as well. We keep on giving information — open and accountable —= and what we hear from the opposition is mincing of facts back and forth again.<= /span>

So let= me be clear again: The Minister of Health and Social Services has been tremendous= ly responsive on this issue, and she has been working with her department on t= his for months. While I do appreciate that the members opposite are now taking = an interest in this issue, I will point out that this has been a priority for = the minister since she took on her role, and I want to thank her for what she h= as been doing. I have full confidence in her abilities. I think it is an honou= r to be working on this side with such a dedicated group of people who are takin= g a whole-of-government approach to an issue that needs to be dealt with.

Again,= this is not a new issue, and we are going to be working on this. I guess, for the f= irst time, we see a minister who is actually taking action on this issue.=

Question re: Children in care

Ms. McLeod: When the minister met with the youth who came forward with these serious allegations, did the youth have a representative present?

Hon. Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, we are not going to talk about the specifics of these issues. We have been very, very clear about what we are doing on this side of the House when it comes to the obligations and the responsibilities. If the member is getting= to some kind of accusation here, then let’s just hear it.

Ms. McLeod:&#= 8195;Beyond the minister, has anyone else from the government met with the youth to dis= cuss these serious allegations?

Hon. Ms. Frost: The child we are speaking about has been in the care of Health and Social Servi= ces for quite some time. We have been providing support to this young man. He h= as had a case manager. We have worked with him to meet his needs and address t= he concerns that were brought forward. The main point that he wanted to raise = with us was transitional support services. How does a young man transition well = out of our program into the community? The commitment that he has made is to participate in a process to address some of the systemic issues and concern= s. This individual who has raised the concern and brought it forward — we have one major concern with one person coming forward, and we have acted on= it.

Other allegations that have come forward have been raised through the media. We a= re acting on that, Mr. Speaker. When we have concrete evidence and are ab= le to substantiate and verify these to be true, then we will deal with it as t= hey arise.

We are= looking at our internal policies. As we have this discussion, the department is wor= king on several internal reviews and policies that look at gaps and at transitio= nal support models and recommendations. It is looking at providing opportunities for staff to come forward and be respected, as well as ensuring that they a= re safe and feeling confident.

Ms. McLeod:&#= 8195;If the minister and the government took immediate action, then why did these y= outh feel like they had to go to the media in order to make this story public?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: No one on this side of the House is going to speak for the youth in this situa= tion or for any of the other people who have spoken to the media. That is absolu= tely their right to do so.

You ha= ve heard the Minister of Highways and Public Works implore them to come forward and speak to members of the government, to their supervisor, to their deputy minister, to their minister. The more information we have about this, the better it will be.

It is = important, I think, to remind Yukoners that we have been criticized somewhat for comin= g to this job as new members of the Legislative Assembly, and we are all very pr= oud of that.

But I = can remind Yukoners that none of us have come here without vast amounts of experience — extensive experience and knowledge with respect to child protection — and child welfare matters, quite frankly. The knowledge and experie= nce that we bring from our former roles are important parts of our one-governme= nt approach.

We are= former teachers, former child welfare workers, former youth-at-risk coordinators, former legal counsel for the child protection unit, journalists, former directors of First Nation justice, former human resources advisors, former community organizers and current parents, coaches and people involved in all areas of child welfare. Our extensive experience has brought a one-governme= nt approach here to the territory, and we can assure Yukoners that this is a serious matter that we’re addressing.

&= nbsp;

Speaker: Tim= e for Question Period has now elapsed.

We wil= l now proceed to Orders of the Day.

Orders of the Day

Opposition Private Members’ Business

Motions other than Government Motions

Motion No. 274

Clerk: Motio= n No. 274, standing in the name of Ms. Hanson.

Speaker: It = is moved by the Leader of the Third Party:

THAT t= his House urges the Government of Yukon to immediately appoint an independent body wi= th the requisite expertise to conduct a fully independent review of all aspect= s of the operations of Government of Yukon operated and/or funded group homes for children and youth; and

THAT t= he review body be given access to:

(1) cu= rrent and former residents of Yukon group homes;

(2) cu= rrent and former staff of Yukon group homes, managers, directors and senior management responsible for Family and Children’s Services;

(3) an= y other materials or individuals as determined by the independent review body;

THAT t= he independent review body make recommendations for amendments to the Child and Youth Advocate Act to strengthen the independence and powers of the office of the Child and Youth Advocate to act in the best interest of children and youth; and

THAT t= his review body report to the Legislative Assembly no later than October 31, 2018.

&= nbsp;

Ms. Hanson:&#= 8195;At the outset, I want to make it clear that this motion is brought forward tod= ay with reluctance and sadness. From the days when this whole discussion about= the office of the Child and Youth Advocate was being discussed over 10 years ago — rejected by the government of that day and forced into happening — it has been very important in my mind, and to those in my life who = have been working with children all of their careers, that there be an independe= nt voice that can speak and advocate on behalf of children and youth.

 I’m reluctant to have to deal= with this today because, as I indicated last week when I introduced a motion on March 20 — in that motion you may recall that I did that at that time because I was responding to a press release by the Yukon Liberal government= announcing that there was going to be a review by the Child and Youth Advocate.=

At tha= t time, the information about what that was to comprise was solely contained in the press release coming from the Government of Yukon — nothing from the Child and Youth Advocate. My concerns about the independence of this office were spiked.

I intr= oduced that motion because, at that time, I was trying to reinforce — through the motion, at least — those very principles of the independence of t= hat office. I did it in the hope that if only the Legislative Assembly could provide a strong message of support for a fully independent review by a Chi= ld and Youth Advocate of all matters related to the issues most recently making the media with respect to a wide range of allegations surrounding YukonR= 17;s group homes, we, as legislators — but perhaps more importantly, the k= ids currently in the care of government group homes and those who have sought t= he protection offered by the director of Family and Children’s Services = — would know that their voices have been heard. It is not just the kids who a= re in care, but those who have sought the care. They would know that their voi= ces have been heard and that no more would they be shunned, ignored, ridiculed, shamed or left in the cold. They would know that we, as members of the people’s House, care enough to step outside the confines of past proc= edure — perhaps even of the legislative strictures — to say that we do believe the voices of young people and of the people who work within our so= cial services system when they tentatively, and sometimes fearfully, reach out to say this is not right. We, as Members of the Legislative Assembly, are obli= ged to make it right.

In the= absence of this, we are left with many troubling questions. I think we have to ask ourselves: How did we get to this point? What do we do to ensure the safety= of children and youth — both those in care, as well as those seeking care — and the safety of those working directly with them, as well as the multitude of social service professionals whose roles either touch directly= or indirectly on the lives of those involved in Yukon’s group home syste= m?

I have= listened to the discussion over the last week or so in this Assembly and outside of = it. I have come to the realization that what we are collectively missing is the realization that the reason we are having this debate — the reason why there is still such uncertainty verging on chaos within the systems that are supposed to be in place to respond to at-risk, neglected and abused childre= n and youth — is that we have continuously, over the past number of years in this territory, been working around the issues, denying the facts and ignor= ing the reports. The truth is that the dire situations coming into public aware= ness through the intrepid journalism, I would say, of the CBC and other local me= dia are not new.

Not ne= w, either, is the repeated and successful attempts by government systems to deny, to obfuscate, to divert attention and to placate with grand words, all the whi= le successive generations of kids endure conditions of abuse and neglect or indifference, both inside the child welfare system, and outside.

We are= — or we should be, and I heard the Minister of Justice make this assertion earlier today — aware and familiar with the legacy of inept child wel= fare policies over time. We have evidence aplenty, such as the Sixties Scoop in Yukon and across the country. We do have to recognize that, within all syst= ems, there have been progressive efforts within child welfare, childcare, group-= home workers, mental health, et cetera, but systemically there has been little change, except perhaps in the language we use.

Today = we are focusing on issues that have arisen in the context of Yukon group homes. The issues we are hearing today about alleged abuse, neglect, denial of service= and poorly supported and/or trained workers are a continuation of a reality that goes back years. One of the ministers across the way referenced reports and talked about the Auditor General’s report of 2014 — yes, an imp= ortant report, and I’ll come back to that. But in 2001, the Yukon government commissioned the Anglin report, prepared by a University of Victoria profes= sor of social work who was commissioned to report and investigate specific allegations regarding Yukon group homes — 17 years ago, Mr. Spea= ker.

One of= his key recommendations was to replace group homes with smaller therapeutic foster homes. Every attempt over the last number of years to have smaller therapeu= tic settings for kids, for youth, has been cut to save money. What do we save in the long run? Was that report followed up on? Hardly — hardly at all. Why?

I beli= eve we have to have this debate because we haven’t. We will do those reviews, we’ll talk about it, but we won’t do anything. I heard the Prem= ier say that government will make the decisions; people can make recommendation= s, but we’ll make the decisions. What I heard the Chief of the Kwanlin Dün saying is: Why not have an all-party group do this? That’s w= hy I called last week for an all-party standing committee on the most important issue facing us, which is our children and our youth. If we screw up much m= ore with them, we don’t have much of a future in this territory.

We are= having this debate about the need for a completely independent body to do a thorou= gh review because of the failures of our predecessors in this Chamber to institute systemic change to how we, in this territory, with a small population ̵= 2; a population of indigenous and non-indigenous peoples — who, although t= hey may have divergent views on many matters, all share, I believe, a deep love= and concern for the welfare of our children.

In the= early 2000s, when a then-new Yukon Party government was in = power, then-Premier Fentie announced that the Yukon was going to work with Yukon First Nations to rewrite Yukon’s child welfa= re laws. That was to have been done in the context of reflecting and respecting the rights and responsibilities and traditions of Yukon First Nation citize= ns and their governments, and it was lauded as a good step.

But, Mr. Speaker, I think it is informative to us, as Members of this Legislative Assembly, as we deal with the fallout of that and we deal with = the reality of a system designed to fail. The Council of Yukon First Nations in 2008, as that legislation was coming forward, published a letter in which t= hey said — and I quote: “… correct the record.” I will = just give a little bit of history, because sometimes we forget and we tend to re= peat history because we don’t look back at what happened. From the then-Gr= and Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations, he said — and I quote: “In October 2003, an agreement was reached between then-Minister Peter Jenkins and then-grand chief Ed Schultz regarding the process that would be used to consult with the public, Yukon First Nations and other interest gro= ups regarding the development of a new children’s act.

“= ;A consultation plan set out a five-step process that would commit the Yukon government and the CYFN to undertake a thorough and meaningful consultation with all Yukoners.

“= ;Furthermore, this plan identified that the children’s act revision project would be composed of two co-chairs, one from the CYFN and one from the Yukon government.” It’s sounding pretty much in parallel.

“= ;This approach was implemented to ensure both governments would collaborate and approve all documents produced by the project team.”

The le= tter went on to say: “The Yukon government agreed to enter into this joint proc= ess because it has a fiduciary or ‘trust-like’ obligation to … First Nation children in its care.”

The Gr= and Chief went on, “The CYFN was fully engaged as an equal partner in the preliminary consultations and the development of key products of the project team, in particular, the What We Heard consultation documents and the policy forum papers.” I will come back to those “what we heard” documents later.

The Gr= and Chief went on, “However, this joint collaborative process broke down in July 2005, when the Yukon government advised the CYFN that the new law would not permit Yukon First Nations or extended families to work in collaboration wi= th a social worker in child welfare decision-making.

“= ;At that time, the CYFN was told the Yukon government would not entertain any discus= sion regarding the creation of an independent body to hear complaints. We were a= lso told that the Yukon government would not create a child advocate’s office. “The ‘joint’ process did not proceed past the thi= rd stage of the consultation plan. In March 2006, the CYFN discovered that a d= raft policy option document was being developed without CYFN's knowledge or dire= ct involvement.” And the chiefs’ committee withdrew.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, the Yukon First Nations expressed — not just in that one letter ̵= 2; their concerns and their dismay at the process, but also at what they had s= een, which was a repetition of what had happened before and since.

The pr= omise of change was replaced by government intractability, a refusal to take serious= ly or accept that ideas and proposals for change can come from others — = in this case, First Nation members of the group assigned by the First Nation a= nd the Yukon government to do the work to develop a modern child welfare servi= ce law — one that created opportunities for true cooperation and collaboration in the best interest of Yukon children, youth, families and c= ommunities.

The re= sult was that, yes, in this territory we did get new child and family services legislation and child welfare legislation. It was described by many — including many First Nation leaders — as weak, and that it only tinke= red with the child welfare system.

When t= he Child and Family Services Act was introduced in 2008, Yukon First Nation leaders showed up in this Legislatur= e en masse to protest against the new act. The oppositi= on leaders and members of this Legislative Assembly — yes, members of opposition, Liberal members, the Liberal leader of the day, the NDP leader = of the day — had said that we, as members of the Legislative Assembly, should be listening to those leaders.

Now I = hear our Premier saying that we’ll take recommendations, maybe, but we make the decisions.

The le= aders wanted to have their voices heard about the concerns with the legislation. = The then-leaders of the NDP and the Liberals — Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Hardy — tried to get the majority government to allow hearin= gs to have the voices of the leadership heard. The CYFN leadership said that t= his new law missed the opportunity to substantively reform the territorial child welfare system. They said they sought a reformed system to establish accountability measures with respect to the decisions and actions of the director of Child and Family Services. The First Nation leadership felt that the weakness of accountability demanded a requirement for the establishment= of the office of a child advocate.

At the= time, the CYFN expressed frustration at the government’s refusal to allow the F= irst Nations as witnesses and to speak directly to MLAs when bills of this nature are debated. Again, that is why the NDP had proposed that we, as members of this Legislative Assembly, look to amend our Standing Orders to establish a= new standing committee to recognize the importance of children and youth and systemic matters that occur with respect to how our children and our youth = are faring — whether it is the child welfare realm or childcare or educat= ion; there are so many aspects — but you can have a more engaged discussio= n if you actually use the Standing Orders to create these kinds of standing committees.

They w= anted to be engaged; I think we should find ways of modernizing our operation so tha= t we can engage on these kinds of matters, and it is not just us having these ec= ho chambers.

They s= aid that the strategies of not allowing that kind of engagement are counterproductiv= e to having a relationship based on mutual trust and respect.

It was= important to the First Nation leadership then, because youth — as we have heard= so many times — are our future, the future of this territory and the fut= ure of Yukon First Nation communities and nations. The take-it-or-leave-it stan= ce of the Fentie era that we became all-too-famili= ar with was not only counterproductive, it paved the way for continued sour relationships between First Nations and Yukon governments. It wasted a heck= of a lot of time and effort and eroded that trust.

As I s= aid to the Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission today: trust is earn= ed; it is not a given. As legislators, we need to understand that, because we h= ave to constantly re-earn it.

So tod= ay we are living with the legacies of that era because, yes, the Yukon Party did agre= e to put in place — ultimately, under pressure — the Child and Youth Advocate Act, but = they did so in a manner that was designed to maximize offence and to minimize any potential for the effectiveness of the Office of the Child and Youth Advoca= te. First Nation leadership expressed frustration over the lack of consultation= as that act was being developed. It was one of those classics, Mr. Speake= r, where a discussion paper is developed and held on to for a number of months — I think it was four or five months — and then shared with Fir= st Nations just before Christmas. Then they were told that we were going to ta= ble it in the spring. In January, it is being tabled in March — it was Ma= rch.

It was= hoped that the new act would give children and youth a voice and ensure that the child welfare system had some oversight and accountability. That is what pe= ople were seeking — First Nation leadership, as well as those outside of t= he child welfare system who understand the imperative that the systems that literally have control over the lives of individuals need to have external oversight and accountability.

I can = tell you that, having worked in that system, Mr. Speaker, it gets pretty imperv= ious to criticism. The hope was that a Child and Youth Advocate office would be granted those powers in legislation. As they rushed through the so-called consultative process, they did get pushed back. First Nations recognized the potential and the importance of the Child and Youth Advocate office. They pushed back at the Yukon government-driven process. Names that are familiar= to all in this Legislative Assembly — the then-Ta’an Kwäch’än chief, as well as Diane Strand, the former Chief of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations — were on record in the medi= a as expressing their frustration. Chief Ruth Massie said, “They keep sayi= ng they want to collaborate with the First Nations. But how do you collaborate= if you keep people on the other side of the door all of the time?”

Then, = as now, more than three-quarters of the kids in care were First Nation. When child = and youth advocate legislation was introduced at the end of March 2009, the opposition Liberals and the NDP, along with the independent MLA, raised a number of concerns.

I̵= 7;ll identify a couple of them, because it’s instructive for us as we think about why it’s so important, given the failings of this legislation, = that an independent review be done so that we can move to strengthen, as the mot= ion says — to have an independent review body make recommendations, not o= nly to address the immediate issues of what’s going on with our Yukon-operated and Yukon-funded group homes, but also to make recommendatio= ns for amendments to strengthen the independence and powers of the office of t= he Child and Youth Advocate.

When t= he bill was introduced at the end of March — and then it was brought back for second debate in April 2009 — the then-leader of the Liberals, the Official Opposition, tried to push the government of the day with respect to the independence of this office and the powers. He asked the minister of the day, Glenn Hart, to describe the kinds of powers that the advocate would ha= ve. Basically, there were none. So Mr. Mitchell identified all of the restrictions that were being put in place, and he asked what we could do ab= out this. Could we not possibly come to some sort of agreement that what we rea= lly want to see here is an opportunity for the Child and Youth Advocate to have= the ability to make recommendations, to be heard and to be able to do independe= nt reviews?

I have= to say that the government of the day was very resistant to having any ideas coming from the opposition. I know this government says that it is open to hearing ideas coming from the opposition, which is why we put this motion forward. = At the time when this legislation was going forward, the House Leader for the = New Democratic Party, Steve Cardiff, said that the advocate’s primary role was to support, assist and inform, and that there didn’t appear to be= an overall public advocacy role for this person to speak out on issues of importance to children, about the need for good foster care, about the need= for a youth emergency shelter, about more funding for homeless youth or about t= he need for more training for social workers or to address cultural issues that children have on the delivery of the services that they’re trying to access.

The minister’s lines were continually that the primary role of the youth advocate is to assist individual children and youth — to assist. So w= hen we keep going back and forth, what are they actually going to be able to do= ?

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, I can tell you that there was a heck of a lot of frustration in the Legisla= tive Assembly, which then led to the Leader of the Official Opposition of the day coming up with some proposed amendments. I think it’s also important = to note that the Independent member of the day in the Legislative Assembly = 212; I believe it was the Member for McIntyre-Takhini, as it was called then = 212; John Edzerza said — and I’m quoting= here from Hansard, April 30, 2009: “It has become common knowledge among F= irst Nations that they stand alone when it comes to the government developing legislation, because the government has a policy etched in stone: no sharin= g of power with any other government regardless of how much the legislation flie= s in the face and works against other governments, such as First Nation governments.”

Mr.&nb= sp;Edzerza spoke passionately about the importance of the child advocate being independent and about the child advocate having more t= han simply a role to occasionally provide advice, but to have no power to do investigations or to make recommendations to direct.

The Of= ficial Opposition tried to make amendments to the legislation to basically allow t= he Child and Youth Advocate to review and investigate any matter that comes to their attention concerning services provided or available to children or any non-government agency — not just government, but any government agency — to try to resolve issues and, where appropriate, make recommendatio= ns. Of course, those weren’t allowed by the government of the day.

What w= e have seen through the passage of this act is that we set up systemically, through our legislation, a piece of legislation that has a voice, and that has very strong and committed individuals. I believe the individuals who have been appointed as child and youth advocates — the two we have had over the course of the time when this legislation has been in effect — are str= ong and passionate in their belief about the importance of having somebody to s= tand up for those kids, for those youth. But I believe that they’re very m= uch hamstrung.

I will= say that I did meet last week, at my request — I sent a note to the Child and Youth Advocate and said that I don’t like talking about people unless= I have talked to them. So I said I wanted to meet with her, and so my colleag= ue and I met with the Child and Youth Advocate and her deputy last week. I was frank with her, and I will be as clear and frank with all the members of th= is Legislature about our conversation.

I had = asked to have an opportunity to meet with her to discuss the concerns that I had whe= n I heard about the press release coming from the government about a review that was going to be conducted by the Child and Youth Advocate and then, because= of my concerns about the independence of this office, I expressed my concerns. After that meeting, I received a copy of the March 20 e‑mail from the senior official in the government, which basically outlined — and I w= ill come back to that in a minute — the government’s position with respect to how that would be conducted.

I will= say for the record here that, in our meeting with the Child and Youth Advocate, I s= aid that my initial sense from the way the Yukon government rolled out the press release Monday, and their actions since — and it holds today — = was that they would be attempting to co-opt the Child and Youth Advocate office. After reading the protocol that has been established between the Government= of Yukon and the Child and Youth Advocate, I don’t back down from that o= ne bit.

During= our meeting, we talked about — I mean, it is progress. The previous Child= and Youth Advocate was unable to get the Department of Health and Social Servic= es to engage, even to the point of getting a protocol. There is a protocol in place, but that protocol — much like the e‑mail to all staff th= at was issued on March 20 — reiterates the control vested in the Governm= ent of Yukon. I would ask members opposite to look at the protocol that exists between the parallel office in British Columbia and the ministry responsible for child welfare there, which is much more declarative with respect to imposing conditions and legal duties on public bodies, including the child welfare department, Child and Family Services, with respect to providing and sharing information.

Wherea= s, I have to say, the language in the protocol that exists, and I understand how hard= it was for the child advocate to even be able to get that, it doesn’t ma= ke it right. I said to her that I feared that, unless her job and her office a= re able to see clearly — and I said this to her before I saw the memo, because that memo didn’t become available to me until after the meeti= ng with the Child and Youth Advocate — I said to her, when I was still talking about the potential or the possibility of her being able to conduct= a review that the government had announced on the Monday night — that t= here had to be some way of being able to assert whatever full powers that the Ch= ild and Youth Advocate had, and that she would be exercising, because, otherwis= e, her work could be compromised by that protocol.

I am n= ot a lawyer, Mr. Speaker, and I don’t have access to legal counsel, b= ut from a layperson’s perspective and somebody who has worked in this fi= eld, I read that protocol, and my initial reaction, and my reaction today is: Ye= ah, right; sure.

The go= vernment has said that they will cooperate with the Child and Youth Advocate, but on their terms, and it is that qualifier that gives me great concern, because = that is not necessarily what is in the best interest for kids.

I said= to the Child and Youth Advocate — and I will say this here — that I believe that independent officers of the Legislative Assembly are expected = to conduct their affairs in a civil manner, but when taking on systemic issues that affect the lives of our youth and children, the public has a right to expect that the officers can go anywhere they may need to get the correct information.

They m= ay not always be welcome, and they should be able to ask questions that are more t= han uncomfortable, because that may be the role that is necessary to be played = to make change. I have never seen a system change because we’re comforta= ble. We make a change because we’re uncomfortable. That goes for our perso= nal lives, as well as the systemic situations we’re in. That officer need= s to have access to information that agencies and departments may not want to sh= are. Oftentimes, we don’t want to share information that puts us in a bad light, but if the goal is to serve the best interest of our kids and our yo= uth who are merging into adulthood, we have no choice.

As I s= aid, Mr. Speaker, I was and remain surprised at the constraining language of that protocol. At some point, perhaps we’ll see a more comprehensive review of the kind of language that’s used elsewhere.

I spen= t some time on the background of the Yukon Child and Youth Advocate, because I bel= ieve it’s important to convey what I believe was the intent of the previous government — to ensure that the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate would be neutered from the get-go. As I said, one of the things that my for= mer colleague, the late Steve Cardiff, said after all the proposed amendments t= hey tried to put in to give some teeth to the advocate’s office — so they’re doing line-by-line debate, and Mr. Cardiff said, when th= ey got to the title, that maybe the title is where we need to be honest with e= ach other and with the public about what this is. It’s hard to believe th= at the role of the person or body that is empowered under this piece of legislation actually has the powers to advocate, given what we didn’t= do today.

I hope, Mr. Speaker, that we will not find ourselves in that kind of position again, where we do something as a result of inaction or other means that wi= ll further undermine the work that needs to be done on behalf of our kids thro= ugh that office, and instead look at how we can empower and strengthen that independent role.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, I said earlier that I had a strong sense and commitment to the importance of having a fully independent and empowered youth advocate. I envision this yo= uth advocate as being somebody — when you talk about an independent offic= er of the Legislative Assembly, I also view it similar to Parliament, when they set up the independent Office of the Auditor General, or any of the other independent offices.

They s= et the broad parameters and rules of those, but they don’t constrain them the way we have in this particular legislation.

Shortl= y after I was elected, over seven and a half years ago, I had occasion to see how our system — our child welfare and the array of agencies — choose to work with that office.

I̵= 7;ll just give a small example: At the request of a family and with the permission of= the advocate, I was asked to sit in on some meetings involving an array of Yukon departments and agencies with respect to a young person who was experiencing really serious challenges, not unlike some of the ones we have heard descri= bed in the media, who was desperately trying to access services. What I witness= ed was, at a minimum, a dismissive attitude toward the efforts of the Child and Youth Advocate to assist the voice of that young person being addressed and respected and, at worst, neglect. Ultimately, the child was not provided services. Ultimately, we, as a community became responsible for that child’s serious, serious problems that occurred, leading to yet more failures of our system in terms of mental health systems, where we put peop= le in jail because we wouldn’t work and wouldn’t listen to the voi= ce of the Child and Youth Advocate who was trying to amplify that voice — trying to get people to work. The Child and Youth Advocate was seen as just another interfering agent.

Over t= ime, I have watched and hoped that with the legislative review — because I w= as hopeful when I was first elected in 2010 and knew that the imperfect legislation of the Child and Family Services Act and the then-recently passed Child and Youth Advocate Act were required and should have happ= ened after five years. I was hopeful that we would have a chance to see that legislation strengthened, but that hasn’t happened. It is not good en= ough to say: Those guys didn’t do it under their watch. They didn’t = do it when they should have done it in 2014.

I didn= ’t see it on the mandate letter for any minister in this Legislative Assembly,= in terms of a priority.

So no legislative review was initiated by the previous Yukon Party government, an= d we hear now, via the leaked e‑mail that I referenced — the one that goes back to March 20 from the senior official in the Government of Yukon — an e‑mail which covers just about everything except the kitch= en sink in terms of things that are supposedly going on. It’s a bit difficult. If I was an employee receiving this, I would be sort of wondering — there are speaking points that were attached to it that are not any more clear, but we understand that there is a review of the Child and Family Services Act, and somehow this child advocate w= ill be rolled into it. What concerns me is the language used.

At wha= t point does government let go? At what point does government say that we need to be engaged, not just within our system, but with the members of this Legislati= ve Assembly who collectively represent, on this side of the House, the other 60 percent of Yukoners?

I hear= d that the minister announced through this “good morning” e‑mail to staff that the Child and Youth Advocate was asked by the minister to comple= te a review of children and youth who have been in care and have lived in one of= our many group homes — and that news release was issued the night before . The official thought it was important to say to staff that, as we head into= a five-year review of the Child and F= amily Services Act, and as an advisory panel for the review will be announced over the next month and is expected to actively engage with Yukoners over t= he spring and summer, the review from the Child and Youth Advocate focused on group homes will contribute to the overall advisory review.

That is interesting, because I wonder how the official knew that at the time and how the terms of reference that hadn’t been established by the Child and Youth Advocate or — clearly, by the minister at that time — I shouldn’t say “clearly” because perhaps they had been and just hadn’t been conveyed to the public. The department is saying to officials within the system that there will be a — and it says in quo= tes: “review of the territory’s child welfare legislation.” It goes on to talk about how this is going to be done.

This s= eparate process will ensure that any recommendations put forward by Ms. King w= ill be supportive to the CFSA — the Child and Family Services Act — review. This is where we got the confus= ion, perhaps, that we heard in the House earlier today, about how the terms of reference — as I have mentioned — will be prepared by the government for the Child and Youth Advocate, and that would be done over the next while — and then to stand by while government prepared how you, = as an employee of Family and Children’s Services — or Health and Social Services, because this was sent out quite broadly, as I see — = can have your voice heard — we will tell you how. That is contrary to what the ministers opposite have said.

The Mi= nister of Health and Social Services rightly pointed to the audit done by the Auditor General in 2014. I know that the Premier was paying attention, as were other members of the opposition currently, when the audit was done. The audit that was done by the Auditor General in the February 2014 report did identify th= at its overall objective was to determine whether the Department of Health and Social Services adequately fulfills its key responsibilities for the protec= tion and well-being of at-risk children, youth and their families.

Unfort= unately, it’s now four years-plus. The Auditor General’s conclusions were that — it was unfortunate, because what they found was that the department doesn’t adequately fulfill several of its key responsibili= ties for the protection and well-being of at-risk children, youth and their families. It had to do a lot with actually doing what it said it was going = to do. So it goes back to language and action, because we can have the best objectives — and I see in the kind of communications that come out fr= om the government, and certainly in the messaging that came out from the Family and Children’s Services, or from the senior officials in the departme= nt, lots of really lofty language — but what the Auditor General said is = that you have to match the language with the actions. That’s where we fail= ed our kids, and that’s where we need to have the empowering of the Child and Youth Advocate to keep us on our toes, to keep the integrity of the sys= tem. We’re failing those kids and we’re failing the incumbents of th= at office by not being willing to have — and opening ourselves to the scrutiny of somebody other than those who we control.

I̵= 7;ll leave it to members of this Legislative Assembly to review the comments made by t= he Auditor General. I anticipate that they will be coming back to do a follow-= up review, as they do on a regular basis. I hope that, unlike other department= s, we won’t see — as we saw with the previous audit that was done — neither I nor the minister pointed out that the Auditor General unfortunately did say, we’ve been here before — as he has done = with other departments. We have been here before, and we’re still coming b= ack on the same issues. We can’t afford to let that happen, because one of the things — as I said earlier — that the Auditor General’= ;s report pointed out was the need for timely and accurate information, as recommended by the Auditor General. Perhaps if the minister had been receiv= ing accurate and timely information from her officials, as recommended, the fla= gs would have gone up earlier. But unfortunately, that’s not what occurr= ed.

Now we= have before us serious issues affecting the lives and safety, the well-being of youth in our care, or denied care by the very government department and agencies created to support them. We have Yukon employees trying to reach o= ut to express the concerns for what is an untenable situation, because when you choose a career that is intended to provide care for vulnerable people, you adhere to ethics, you adhere to principles — and seeing those trammel= ed is traumatic.

We hav= e at-risk youth reaching out to the Child and Youth Advocate and to the minister, and then, when those avenues produced no response, they reached out to the medi= a.

We hav= e heard some powerful voices that have been reported in the media, and sadly, there= are more — more voices of children whose voices are not yet in the media — children at risk, children who have been and are being sexually abu= sed, those who have sought the care of this department — teens, not childr= en, asking to be admitted to group homes to get them out of dangerous situations and are being refused.

We have information that I am not going to put on the record here because it is very sensitive — not just one, but a number. As it stands right now, I, for one, do not believe that the Child and Youth Advocate, with access to that information, would be able to effect change. When staff are told by their management, that no, we are not going to act, and when I hear a minister dismissing that, it worries me, because I heard another minister saying tha= t we believe you.

We eit= her believe people who express their concerns — we may not like the situations that those kids are in, or the circumstances that led them to be= ing in those situations, but we have an obligation to provide them a safe place, value-judgment-free. It is in more than one piece of legislation that we all are responsible for it.

When w= e hear the voices of youth supported by those within the system — who, despite t= he system and despite their fears, corroborate what the youth have reported &#= 8212; I think we have to do more than allow the system to clamp down to attempt to silence the messenger and to control the message. We don’t need messa= ge boxes going out to senior management; what we need is compassionate action. Because if that is the outcome — if we set down, if we clamp down, if= we attempt to silence the messengers — we will have failed. And if that = is the outcome of this debate — that if we refuse to allow an independen= t, neutral, objective body to review what has been going on in one aspect of o= ur child and family services system — our group homes — to give vo= ice to the current and former residents of Yukon group homes, to give voice to current and former staff who have been involved with Yukon group homes, including managers, directors, senior management and advocates outside of t= he system; if we refuse to allow information that may make us uncomfortable, t= o be open to scrutiny, then how do we ever believe that we will ever actually ha= ve an independent Child and Youth Advocate office?

Becaus= e if this government is going to deliver, as I hope it is planning to do, on what I believe I have heard — and I will ask the minister to confirm this — which is a review of the Ch= ild and Family Services Act and, concurrently, a review of the Child and Youth Advocate Act, and = if that review is going to be a repeat of what we saw in the mid-2000s, it will be more than a shame and more than disappointing; it will be absolutely unacceptable for any number of reasons, not the least of which is the basic reason of social justice.

The ev= ents of the past week have been, to say the least, confusing, but our job as Member= s of the Legislative Assembly is to dispel the confusion, to confirm that we do = not only say that we believe in the rights of children and youth, but demonstra= te it by being open to scrutiny and by calling for, appointing, listening to a= nd acting on the recommendations of an external review of Yukon group homes, w= ith the end product of not only changing immediately whatever malaise has taken hold over time within that system, but also with the longer term view of strengthening both the group home situation, as well as strengthening the independence and the powers of the office of the Child and Youth Advocate.<= /span>

I hope= that we will see a thoughtful discussion this afternoon. I hope that we will hear f= rom the members around this room — their views and how they would like to dispel the confusion, dispel the concerns, and the chaos that exists within= the system and outside of it with regard to what actually has happened and is happening within Yukon’s care system for youth. I look forward to hea= ring the voices of members of this Legislature saying bravely that they are prep= ared to hear criticism, they are prepared to hear views that are painful, that m= ay express trauma — but they are prepared to work through that to get to= the right end, which is to serve the best interests of our kids and our youth a= nd to ensure going forward that the office that we, together, establish through legislation to advocate that we actually take seriously what that means and that we don’t further fetter that office.

We hop= e that members here will be willing to be open to the suggestion made in the motion put forward today — that this government immediately appoint an independent body with the requisite expertise to conduct a fully independent review of all aspects of the operations of Yukon’s group homes and th= at we allow that independent review body to make recommendations for amendment= s to the Child and Youth Advocate Act to strengthen the independence and powers of that office to act in the best interests of children and youth, and that we follow up on that commitment by setting a timeline so that this doesn’t not drag out. It is in nobody’s best interests — I don’t want to be talking about this six months from now. I want to be celebrating the fact that we took so= me risks here.

&= nbsp;

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I thank the member opposite for the motion and for the commentary that she has brought today to this House.

I appr= eciate and agree with the sentiment and the actions that are the spirit of this motion. However, in my submission to this Legislative Assembly, the motion confuses more than one process, and the actions that are requested by this motion are already underway.

The ot= her significant issue with respect to this is that I fundamentally disagree with the idea that the Child and Youth Advocate is not independent and does not = have the requisite expertise or authority to carry out such a review. I think that’s important to state up front because, while I appreciate much of what has been said already here in this House — and I can assure you = that nobody on this side of the House would disagree with the importance and the emphasis that has been placed by the Leader of the Third Party with respect= to the protection of children, and I will say more about that in a few minutes — I have a fundamental disagreement with respect to House Officers. Mr. Deputy Speaker, that may be partly because I have been one. I know about those responsibilities and authorities, and I will speak a little bit about that as well. But it’s not personal. It’s a process in wh= ich I believe intently.

As a r= esult of the two factors that I have noted — the disagreement with respect to = the authority of the Child and Youth Advocate, as well as the confusion of the motion and the actions that are already underway — we will not be supporting the motion. I have very good reasons for that. I implore the mem= bers of this House to listen to my submission on this motion. All of the individ= uals who will speak on this today have put a significant amount of energy and thought into exactly what is being asked and exactly what our response to t= his would be.

I am e= mphasizing and, please, imploring the members of this House to listen to the submissio= n, because it is thoughtful, in my view. I will break down the motion and atte= mpt to clearly explain why we are not supporting it today, despite the fact tha= t we do support the actions that it recommends. I appreciate that this is maybe — to the member opposite — a distinction without a difference, = but it is not, to me.

We are= taking action with respect to this matter. I very much appreciate the opportunity = to speak about this by way of a motion in this Legislative Assembly. I think i= t is an appropriate venue in which to do so. By my count, there have been more t= han 20 — maybe 25 — questions during Question Period about this top= ic. It is one in which this government is extremely interested in changing what= has happened in the past with respect to child protection and the issues that a= rise with respect to child and family services, group homes, et cetera. I will s= peak about that.

Specif= ically, the motion urges the government to appoint an independent body with requisi= te expertise to conduct an independent review of group homes for children and youth. That is the basis of what has been asked here. There is also a provi= sion in the motion about having access to certain information.

In my = submission to this House, there is an independent body that has requisite expertise and has indicated that they are going to conduct an independent review of group homes for children and youth in the territory. It is not good enough to just say that, but those are the facts as I see them.

As I s= tated on Monday in this House during Question Period, I am very concerned about the position taken by the Leader of the Third Party that our independent office= r of this Legislative Assembly is not what I have just described — an independent expert who has the authority to undertake this. I expressed tha= t on Monday, and I will do so again here with respect to the motion brought by t= he Member for Whitehorse Centre. Perhaps on Monday those were insinuations as = part of a question but clearly, today, the Member for Whitehorse Centre has stat= ed that she does not believe that the Child and Youth Advocate has those eleme= nts that will address this issue or that she has the authority under her act in this territory to conduct an independent review. The Child and Youth Advoca= te is an independent officer of this Legislative Assembly.

This m= otion seems to question the expertise of the Child and Youth Advocate and her abi= lity to conduct this independent review. As an independent officer of this Legislative Assembly, this officer is appointed by this Legislative Assembl= y. Our Child and Youth Advocate is appointed by careful consideration by this Legislative Assembly after careful consideration of their skills, their qualifications and their experience. That is the law.

In my = view, this Legislative Assembly should not be questioning the integrity of Yukon’= ;s Child and Youth Advocate, her expertise or her abilities, or the abilities = for her as an officer to conduct a review of the systemic issues that are of concern here.

In a l= etter dated March 26, 2018, which has been referred to — it was written by = the Child and Youth Advocate, and was tabled in this Legislative Assembly ̵= 2; the independence, authority and expertise of the Child and Youth Advocate a= re clearly set out. She says in that letter — and I hope my colleagues w= ill indulge me a bit — I am going to quote from her letter. For your information, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I have provided a copy of this letter= to Hansard so they can deal with the quotes as I read them.

She sa= ys in that letter, tabled here in this House: “… I am formally launching an independent systemic review of the experience of children and youth living = in the Yukon Transitional Support Services program (“Group Homes”), pursuant to s. 12(1) of the Child a= nd Youth Advocate Act (the “Act= 221;).”

That i= s the end of the first quote.

She al= so states, and I quote: “As an independent officer, I have the mandate to suppor= t, assist, inform and advise children and youth with respect to designated services as set out in the Act.= ”

She go= es on and I quote again: “Our accountability is to the children and youth of the Yukon. We are focused on finding resolutions to advocacy issues and making meaningful differences in the lives of children. While our primary function= is providing individual advocacy services, we also have the power to undertake systemic reviews of issues affecting children and youth.”

She go= es on, and I quote again: “I have the authority to independently conduct a syste= mic review of the experience of children and youth in Group Homes pursuant to s. 12(1) of the Act…”<= /span>

She th= en goes on to say, and this quote is slightly longer: “In accordance with the Protocol between HSS and the Child and Youth Advocate office (the “Protocol”), I communicated with officials from the HSS between March 8th and March 19th, 2018 and discussed this systemic issue. Following these conversations, I made the decision to undertake an independ= ent review of the experience of children and youth in Group Homes pursuant to s. 12(1) of the Act. In accordance= with the Act, I have the ability to educate the public about my role in order to advance the rights of children and youth. Therefore, I may inform children, youth and members of the public about the process and the findings of this review.

“= ;This letter serves as official notification to HSS of my decision to undertake t= his systemic review, as consistent with the Protocol. The Department’s announcement of cooperation for this review is appreciated and is also in accordance with the Protocol.

“= ;To be clear, as Minister of HSS…” the letter was written to the minis= ter — I should have noted that — “… you have not made a referral to the Child and Youth Advocate Office to undertake a review under= s. 15(1) of the Act, which would h= ave enabled you, as Minister, to establish the terms of reference for the revie= w. Rather, I am undertaking a review under s. 12(1) of the Act.

“= ;As a result, I have complete independence and authority over the framework, scop= e, nature, timeline and advice that may result from the review.

“= ;I am not required to submit to Yukon government any terms of reference for this review.”

Lastly= , one of the notes she makes in this letter — and I quote: “… once= I have finalized the review, I am guided by my Act in releasing the findings of the review and any advice that= I may have for Yukon government.”

Mr.&nb= sp;Deputy Speaker, the second part of this motion requests that the review body have access to certain information. Again, I quote from the Child and Youth Advo= cate letter on page 2, near the bottom: “Pursuant to s. 23(1) of the Act, I have the right to any infor= mation that is in the custody or control of Yukon government that is necessary to enable me to exercise my powers or perform my functions and duties under th= e Act. Further, s. 23(2) of the Act requires Yukon government to disclose the information to which I am entitled and respond to any reasonab= le questions that I may have regarding the clarification or explanation of the information provided. This may include information about persons other than= the children or youth who are the focus of the review.”

I note= that the centre part of this motion requests that current and former residents of gr= oup homes could be spoken to; other information would be provided — the current and former staff of Yukon group homes, managers, directors, et cete= ra, and materials, et cetera. In my submission to this House, what I have just = read clearly encompasses the access by the Child and Youth Advocate to all of th= at information — and clearly she thinks so too.

The Ch= ild and Youth Advocate also explains in her letter that the protocol between the of= fice and the Department of Health and Social Services requires Health and Social Services to work cooperatively with her and provide the Child and Youth Advocate with the information that she requests and is entitled to receive under the act.

She no= tes section 26 of the act, which requires Health and Social Services to provide= a means and access to the child, or any child, to the Child and Youth Advocat= e, in private, should they request it — immediately. She also notes in h= er letter — and this is the Child and Youth Advocate again — that section 27 of the act that governs her role provides protection for persons giving information to or assisting the Child and Youth Advocate — protections therein, so that individuals can feel free to not only cooperat= e in this process, but to answer questions and to provide information that we can act on, that the Child and Youth Advocate can take into account in her revi= ew and, ultimately, make recommendations to the public, to children, to youth = who are affected and to this government.

Mr.&nb= sp;Deputy Speaker, as you can see in my submission, the Child and Youth Advocate is an independent officer of this Legislative Assembly. She is an expert in this field. She has chosen to do this job because of that expertise and experien= ce. She has the authority and the power to conduct an independent review —= ; in fact, the independent review that is being requested in this motion. As her letter of March 26 states, she has formally launched an independent systemic review.

For th= ose who have criticized this independent officer of the Legislative Assembly and the legislation that grants her authority as having no power, I note section 21= of the Child and Youth Advocate Act, as does she in her letter. She says — and I quote: “Section 21 of = the Act provides me with the authority= to provide advice to HSS, and any other relevant departments. I may also then request to be advised by the department(s), within a specified time, of the steps that have been taken, or are proposed to be taken, to give effect to = the advice provided. If no steps have been taken, or are proposed to be taken, I may request the reasons for not following the advice provided.”

Mr.&nb= sp;Deputy Speaker, some might say in this debate that this is not power or authority = to act. I would beg to differ. This is an authority very similar to the recommending power that is contained in our very own Ombudsman Act, a piece of legislation that has assisted hundred= s, if not thousands, of Yukoners to resolve issues and have government practic= es improved. You see, the way it works, Mr. Deputy Speaker, is that, when= the Ombudsman or another independent officer of this Legislative Assembly makes recommendations, there does not need to be the authority to make an order, necessarily. It is long-standing debate with respect to independent officers — no doubt.

In som= e cases across Canada, ombudsmen and privacy commissioners have order-making powers, and in others they do not. I can attest to the fact that, without order-mak= ing powers, the vast majority, if not close to 100 percent of recommendati= ons made by the Ombudsman’s office — certainly when I was there = 212; were implemented by the department because they are reasonable, they are important, they are about improving government services and decisions that affect Yukoners. Our public service is keen to make sure that those decisio= ns are given credence, are given authority and are implemented. If that’s not the case, certainly we have active media, we have active opposition and= we have active individuals in our community who will hold us to account. Am I saying that this is the way it happens or that it’s the way it should happen? Absolutely not — but what you have heard this government say = is that recommendations will be implemented and that we are taking a look at t= he many, many recommendations that have happened over the last 10 years or mor= e in relation to issues of child protection and family and children’s serv= ices that have not been implemented. That is a solid, important place to start. = It is not all that is being done.

The th= ird thing that this motion asked for is for an independent review body to consider amendments to the Child and Youth Advocate Act. As members of this Legislative Assembly probably are well aware, the Child and Youth Advocate= Act contains a provision for review of that act — a look at how it’s working, if it needs amendments, how it can be improved — five years after it came into force. That act came into force in 2009. That review on = the five-year mark was not done. That process of review of the Child and Youth Advocate Act is stated in the law in the legislation that governs the Child and Youth Advocate — that the proc= ess is to be directed by the all-party Members’ Services Board. The Members’ Services Board — section 30 of that piece of legislati= on says that the Members’ Services Board must establish a process for the review of that piece of legislation. As I noted, it has not been done previously, so, yes, it is certainly outside the scope of five years. It sh= ould be done by law.

This m= otion, unfortunately, asks that we usurp the authority of the Members’ Servi= ces Board. The motion asks that we take it from an all-party arena, the Members’ Services Board, and actually bring it into a political one. = That is not appropriate. This Legislature carefully considered the enactment of = the Child and Youth Advocate Act when = it was brought into force and effect and carefully considered who should have the responsibility for its review. We have heard today about the five-year revi= ew required by section 183 of the Chil= d and Family Services Act. That act came into force and effect in 2010. It is required to be reviewed within five years. That act review is to be brought about and set up by the Minister of Health and Social Services. Again, that= was not done.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, you may have said this in the past — “It’s a new day.R= 21;

I know= that we are asking a lot on behalf of Yukoners and of Yukoners. We are asking them = to trust us. We are asking them to trust that the safety of children is our top priority and that we will take action to address the ills, systemic issues = and concerns that many — including us, as members of this Legislative Assembly and representatives of the people of the Yukon — are aware of and believe to be true concerns and true issues.

We all= come here with the knowledge and experiences that inform our work and decisions regar= ding child welfare. You heard me say that earlier in the House today. This government has brought a fundamental shift to the understanding and respect= of our officers of the Legislative Assembly.

I have= been one of those officers. As the Yukon Ombudsman and Information and Privacy Commissioner, I spent five years talking to Yukoners — many of them employees — investigating government decisions and actions and ultima= tely making recommendations for the improvement of government for Yukoners. Duri= ng my tenure there, as the Ombudsman and Information and Privacy Commissioner,= I tried to have the government of the day understand and support officers of = this Legislative Assembly. I tried to have them understand — the elected officials at the time — that the independent officers of this Legisla= tive Assembly are, in fact, an asset to government, rather than an overseer to be feared. Independent officers of this Legislative Assembly are a place where Yukoners can go with concerns and complaints, to find solutions and, most importantly, to improve government services and fix processes that may be unfair to Yukon citizens.

Unfort= unately, I was unable to persuade the government of the day that our officers of the L= egislative Assembly were not to be opposed by the government — again, I am speak= ing about elected officials, not the public service, because, as I said earlier, the vast majority of recommendations made in that context were implemented = by government departments because they were reasonable and they addressed important issues. They were seen as improvement to services and to practices that affect all Yukoners. I always worked cooperatively to resolve issues w= ith the public service, and recommendations were accepted.

It is = a new day. Our government respects the role, responsibilities, independence and author= ity of our independent officers of the Legislative Assembly. We encourage Yukon= ers to bring issues to our attention, but also to the attention of our independ= ent officers of this Legislative Assembly. They have a key role in our democrac= y. For all the reasons noted here, we will not be supporting this motion.

I woul= d like to note, in response to a comment made earlier with respect to introducing this motion, that we are interested in hearing criticism. I think there are a nu= mber of examples of that already, not the least of which is the inspection initi= ated with respect to the Whitehorse Correctional Centre in a never-used-before section of the Corrections Act = to determine what the facts are in that situation. The reason that the inspect= ion was ordered was because we must know the facts, we must know the problems a= nd we must understand what is going on before it can be addressed.

We als= o know the importance of protecting children. Abused children become harmed adults. Protecting children is the single most critical improvement that we can mak= e in society. If we address harmed children — abused children — then= we can affect how they become young adults; we can affect how they become productive adults in society; we can affect how our Health and Social Servi= ces department operates; we can affect how our justice system operates; we can affect how our economy operates; we can affect how Yukoners grow up here to= become happy, healthy, productive adults.

It is = absolutely key that we devise a system, that we repair a system, that we work to addre= ss the issues that are brought forward in this situation to have healthy, happ= y, safe and secure children, because the payoff — the benefits of that g= oing forward — as they become young people, youth, young adults and ultima= tely adults is immeasurable.

I will= return to my earlier comment that, while I certainly appreciate and agree with the sentiment and the actions that are the spirit of this motion, I fundamental= ly disagree that our own Child and Youth Advocate is not the person who has ei= ther the authority, the power, the responsibility or the independence to conduct this review, and, as such, won’t be supporting this motion.

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Ms. McLeod: I am pleased to rise to Motion No. 274, brought forward by the Member for Whitehorse Centre, and I thank her for that.

I woul= d like to begin by conveying that I agree with idea that any review of such a nature should be undertaken by a review board that is independent of all aspects of government to ensure that it is carried out in the best interests of our children.

The al= legations that we have heard over the past week about issues in group homes are serio= us and unacceptable. We know that the government’s approach on this file= has been to try to blame the previous government, even though they have been in power for almost 17 months. But let us be clear: these allegations are seri= ous, regardless of who the government is, and we need to get to the bottom of th= em.

If the= y have been occurring for a longer period of time, then I think that just further speaks to the necessity of this motion. If allegations of this nature had c= ome to our attention while in government, I believe we would have taken action = to get to the bottom of it. Of course, the problem that we’ve highlighted over the last week is that the Minister of Health and Social Services was a= ware of these serious allegations for at least six weeks and has apparently done nothing. We are concerned about that, but that’s not the purpose of today’s motion.

Today&= #8217;s motion is an opportunity. We’re MLAs in the Yukon Legislative Assembl= y. We’re elected to represent Yukoners, and this includes children in gr= oup homes; this includes workers in group homes. Over the last week, we have had children come forward and we have had workers come forward, all to tell us = that there are some serious problems — so let’s fix them.

A step= toward fixing it is supporting an independent review. The government has given us conflicting answers on whether there are internal reviews and assessments b= eing done regarding allegations of abuse, and when we ask for the findings of th= ese reviews and assessments, we’re met with even more conflicting stateme= nts from the minister. We have yet to see a solid answer from this government o= r a plan going forward, and they have had at least six weeks now to figure it o= ut.

I̵= 7;m not opposed to reviews or assessments taking place to ensure that there is immediate action taken to ensure the safety of all those children in care. = This should be happening already, but we have before us some serious and specific allegations, so what’s being done to address those? Going forward, we= do need to look beyond the situations that have been recently reported and fin= d a way to fix the system. I believe this must be done externally.

There = is a common goal we should and can share in this House, and that is to ensure the safety and security of the children who reside in our group homes. The only option to a fair and just review to all parties involved is for it to be undertaken by a body external to government. Ideally, this body would be external to the territory. This motion also speaks to recommendations being made for amendments to the Child and Youth Advocate Act to strengthen the independence and powers of the Chi= ld and Youth Advocate to act in the best interest of children and youth. This should absolutely be part of the legwork undertaken by a review body, once it’s assembled. It is crucial that an investigation of this nature in= to allegations of child abuse be conducted from an objective, independent and impartial approach. When the well-being of a child or children is on the li= ne, as well as the positions of those in charge of their care, there must be no possibility of prejudice and no potential for allegations of procedural unfairness. This is a serious issue and it needs to be taken seriously by t= his government. It’s our view that the scope of this review goes beyond t= he capacity of the Child and Youth Advocate office.

I woul= d like to recognize the work done to date by the Child and Youth Advocate and hope th= at the systemic review just announced to be undertaken by the Child and Youth Advocate will target the allegations that require immediate action. We do h= ope that the government can support this motion — apparently that is a fa= lse hope — because, after last week, I think it is clear that we need to = take a closer look at this.

I urge= the government to immediately set to work on appointing an independent body with the capacity to undertake this review. I also urge the government to put forward the changes necessary to ensure government employees who choose to = come forward can do so with zero fear of reprisal.

As rai= sed by the Member for Whitehorse Centre in the House previously, there are currently problems faced by those who work in group homes who have come forward to confirm the reports of abuse raised by some residents. The Yukon Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner issued a press release that states that the act protects an employee against reprisal if they disclose a wrongdoing in = one of two ways. The disclosure must be made to an employee’s immediate supervisor or to the Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner. Disclosing a wrongdoing in any other way would result in the loss of protection from reprisal. As you know, the Minister of Highways and Public Works has stated that people should come forward to him with complaints. I wonder if this statement from the commissioner would mean that, if someone went to the minister, they would have no protection against reprisal.

This r= eview is of the utmost importance. We have seen some courageous youth and workers co= me forward to bring light to the issue. They want to see a change and we owe t= hat to them. I hope this motion receives the support that it deserves.

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Hon. Ms. Dendys: I rise today to speak to the motion at hand. This is an issue that is absolut= ely near and dear to my heart. I have spent a good many years working for the protection of children and the protection of communities and have dedicated= a good deal of my life to it. I have sat and listened to the debate — if you want to call it debate, because it hasn’t felt that way, sitting = in this chair listening. I want to add my voice.

My col= league has done a great job in outlining why we will not be supporting this motion tod= ay. I agree that it is not that we do not support the actions that are within t= his motion — we absolutely support that. I think my colleague has done a = good job unravelling this motion. There are many issues within it that she has d= one a great job in outlining — the independence of the Child and Youth Advocate — and I absolutely support that.

What I= want to speak about today is the number of processes that are underway. I will also address some of the comments that were made by the Leader of the Third Part= y, in terms of when the act came into effect and my experience in that.=

But fi= rst I would just like to go through what we have unfolding in front of us today in the Yukon, in terms of these processes. The Child and Family Services Act of 2009 has — and my colleagues and others have spoken about it today — a legislative review that is long overdue — three years overdue. These reviews are put in place to assess and to look at areas where we can improve.

The pr= evious government — and I know that we’ve heard “not pointing fingers” — but really, this review was put in place for a reaso= n. That is why it is legislated. A five-year review is a long time to be able = to have a good look at what is working, what isn’t working, and to ensure that our partners in this are heard. The committee that is being establishe= d to do this legislative review includes our partners. It includes all of those = who are affected by this, and I know from working in First Nation governments t= hat this is absolutely one of the most important issues that they have. They are paying attention to it and they are a partner to this.

The se= cond process that is underway is in response to the allegations in our group hom= es. These investigations are internal to the department. This is a process that will look at the issues at hand and make immediate changes to ensure the sa= fety of our children. I think that we have heard that loud and clear today ̵= 2; that is our priority. Our priority is the safety of our children. That is o= ur job — that is one of the reasons why I am here on this side of the Ho= use, why I entered into a political career — to be part of decision-making= , to be on the receiving end of recommendations and to ensure that these reviews happen in a way that will benefit our entire Yukon. Our children are our mo= st precious resource.

In ter= ms of the Child and Youth Advocate Act review under section 12(1), this is an independent review, and I believe that my colleague has done a very good job outlining the independence of that offic= e. I respect the work of our Child and Youth Advocate. I have worked alongside h= er. I know that she is absolutely capable of conducting an independent review, = and I welcome every recommendation she brings forward.

Part o= f this motion speaks to — and the Leader of the Third Party has spoken about this at length — the child act review. This is a responsibility of the Members’ Services Board. Again, it is overdue. We are new members to = this Legislative Assembly. There is a legislative review under section 30: “Within 5 years after this Act comes into force, the Members’ Services Board must establish a process, including terms of reference, for = the review of the operation of this Act.” This has not happened. That is = a huge question for me, Mr. Speaker, as to why that hasn’t happened. It= is something that our government will certainly support. I believe that it sho= uld be parallel to the review of the Ch= ild and Family Services Act. There will be some common issues that will come out as the Child and Family Service= s Act is being reviewed. We have three processes underway right now. We know that there is a fourth process that should be undertaken, and it will be up to t= he Members’ Services Board to undertake that.

I woul= d really like to speak to some of the comments that were made by the Leader of the T= hird Party in terms of First Nation participation in the child act, how all of t= hat came to be and some of the issues that arose when that act was enacted.

Yes, F= irst Nations came together as an equal partner in the review of child and family services throughout the Yukon and had very high expectations. There was a l= ot of commitment, and I worked on that review — I participated in it. I worked for two First Nation governments during the time of the review, so I= am very familiar with what the issues were and how the support broke down prio= r to the act being enacted and coming into effect. Yes, there was absolutely a my-way-or-the-highway approach taken by the government that was in power at that time. That was disappointing — it was absolutely disappointing. = What happened as a result of that? We started on pretty shaky ground.

This n= ew act came into force. At that time, I was working as a director of justice for t= he largest First Nation in the Yukon, and I was on the receiving end of having= to implement that act. Things broke down very fast. What happened is that there was such a breakdown in the way that the First Nation wanted to work and the way that the Yukon government saw this act coming into force, that there wa= s an actual banishment of social workers from the Kwanlin Dün community. Th= at is a piece of history that should be told.

At the= First Nation government, what we did was to work in partnership with the Yukon government to establish a memorandum of understanding. It took 18 months to negotiate that agreement — a lot of work on the ground to ensure that= our voices were heard, that our families were protected and that we had a say in absolutely everything that impacted our children in our community. Was it perfect? Absolutely not — but there was commitment on both sides, so relationships were built.

I part= icipated in the Auditor General’s report during the whole investigation. We we= re a collateral contact, and we submitted written submissions to the Auditor Gen= eral and we pointed out exactly what the issues are. Have those issues been addressed? I don’t think they have. You have a government that is wil= ling to look at all of the issues, historically, and as we go forward. There are= a number of processes in place that we are committed to. Yes, they will be recommendations. Will we implement them? We will make every effort to do th= at. That is why we are here.

Child = welfare in our country is one of the biggest issues we have. As an indigenous woman, I= am going to speak from my perspective. Our children are at risk every single d= ay in this country, and there are many reports that point out exactly what the issues are. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the human rights ca= se that Cindy Blackstock has led — and we are right now undertaking a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigeno= us Women and Girls. It is yet another chapter that must be told.

Am I h= appy that I am on the receiving end of those reports? Absolutely, because it is our j= ob as a government to protect our children, to make the changes that are neces= sary and to ensure that our communities are safe and that our children — o= ur most vulnerable in our community — are safe.

I have= heard that we are not taking this seriously. Of course we are; of course, we are taking this seriously. You have two indigenous women on this side of the Ho= use who have worked in the system. We have done work that is unimaginable, and = so to have a finger pointing across the way, saying that we are not serious ab= out this — that, in my opinion, is absolutely unacceptable, because we are taking it seriously.

I stan= d by my colleague. She made the right steps here. She did what was legally required, but she did more than that — she did it with heart. She did it because she cares; that is why we are here. We all came from jobs that we absolutely loved. I loved my job.

I did = everything I could to protect my community. Coming into a position within this Legisla= tive Assembly was a leap of faith for me because this is a very different system= to work in. Question Period and doing business sometimes in the way that it is done here is unfair. I have watched it and I have listened to it. The story doesn’t get told — much of it is out of context.

So I&#= 8217;m happy to stand and speak to this motion today, to bring my voice into this debate, because I haven’t had the chance. I want to say how much I respect and stand with my colleagues on this side of the House. I will cont= inue to do that, and I will be part of the reviews that are happening, as the Minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate, on behalf of all Yukoners.

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Ms. White: I thank the Minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate for her comments, but I would also highlight that everyone on this side came in from jobs we loved and from things we loved because we were passionate about mak= ing changes — so it’s not just government members.

I thin= k what is being missed here is that, prior to the Monday night press release from government that said there was going to be a review done by the Child and Y= outh Advocate, we weren’t concerned. We did not have the same concern. When the press release went out on Monday night and then the e‑mail went o= ut to staff in Health and Social Services on Tuesday morning — and at th= at point in time, the Child and Youth Advocate had not spoken — that is = when we became concerned. That is when we felt like the water was getting muddie= d.

When t= he Member for Whitehorse Centre and I went to see the advocate on Thursday, the conce= rns that we raised were that the press release came from government, and it sou= nds like that is how it is being triggered. We had the conversation about the differences between section 15, I think, and section 12.1, and we talked ab= out that. I think one of the really important things in this conversation is the perception.

When g= overnment sent out that press release on Monday night, prior to the Child and Youth Advocate Office being able to say anything, that is when it started to get muddied, because the only person who should be talking about the independent review that is going to be done — the first person should have been t= he office, and it should not have been government. That is where it started to= get complicated.

Then t= here was a statement today in Question Period — I’m quoting now, Mr. Speaker: “Quotes are one thing…” but when a mini= ster or the Premier speaks to the media, or they speak to Question Period, the w= ords that they say — those quotes — become part of the record and pa= rt of the truth as people hear them, and as they understand them.

The Pr= emier is right: quotes are one thing, but we put in two motions. I think I am going = to remind the House that we put in two motions that were worded very similarly. One talked about the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate being allowed t= o do this work independently. We put in that motion in response to the press rel= ease that came out on Monday night, because we wanted to be sure that the Office= of the Child and Youth Advocate had that independence. Then we got a copy of t= he e‑mail that came out from Health and Social Services to all employees on Tuesday morning, and that felt less independent. Then when we found the protocol between Health and Social Services and the Office of the Child and Youth Ad= vocate saying that the department would review terms when they were doing investigations, it felt even more muddied — and this is in the e̴= 9;mail from the Assistant Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services to employe= es.

The fi= rst motion we put forward was to strengthen the independence of the Child and Youth Advocate office. When we went to the office and we had the conversation = 212; to be perfectly honest, we felt pretty good when we left. Then we found the protocol, and then comments were made, and there were quotes, because quotes are one thing, but they form the perception of the community. So we had one whistle-blower talk, and then today, we have had two more talk, and one of = the things that they said today — the one who spoke this morning, whose s= heet I don’t have — was that the only way it was going to happen was through an independent review.

We put= in two motions the first time, because the first motion we put in was about the Ch= ild and Youth Advocate office. We do not have a lack of confidence in the people who work there — we do not. Our concerns are with the legislation; our concerns are with the fact that there are no teeth in that — and government is 100‑percent right when they say that the previous government dropped the ball when reviews weren’t done. We’re not going to deny that. The Premier and the two of us sat in this House and we called for those reviews. We did, because we knew the importance of it. We = from the Third Party are not discrediting those comments, because they are true,= and there was that responsibility. I’m glad that the current government is going to pick that up again and we’re going to do that review.

My hop= e is that, based on the comments that have been read by my colleague that the understanding is that the Child and Youth Advocate office, even when it was being debated in the Legislative Assembly in 2008, had identified weaknesses — they were identified — the comment from Steve Cardiff, when he said that maybe the most honest thing we can do is debate the name of the a= ct. That’s a pretty huge statement from a guy who spoke pretty straight f= rom the hip at all times.

When w= e’re having this conversation right now, it’s not in criticism of the offi= ce. My concern is that, whether the government realized it or not, the steps th= at were taken caused confusion, and that confusion has now made an office that= is independent appear less independent to the community. We appreciate when the Minister of Justice called for an independent review of Corrections. We appreciate that she was able to understand where we had been coming from wh= en we had been asking for that.

Today = when we are talking about the importance of the independence right now, it is just trying to work through the mud. It is just trying to find the common ground, and making sure that the perception — government can say all they want that it is independent, but if the perception in the community, the percept= ion from staff, the perception from children — if the perception exists t= hat it is being controlled by government, will it be as effective? That is my question.

I don&= #8217;t know the answer.

When w= e put this second motion forward, we actually didn’t want to call it. My colleag= ue — this was not our desired — this we put in, because we had to insulate from the first one we put in, when it felt like the independence of the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate was being eroded by government p= ress releases and statements from the department. When we decided to call this o= ne forward, it is because it is echoing the calls of the whistle-blowers today= . It is echoing the calls of the youth. The community is asking for that clarity= . It is not in criticism of the office. We can’t wait until a review of the legislation — whose name escapes me right now — is done as to h= ow we give them the power to be more than just a recommendation body.

We tal= k all the time about YESAB, and we talk about how it is powerful, but it is a recommendation body. You can accept, reject or modify the recommendations. Government has the ability to accept, reject and modify any recommendation,= but the issue right here is that, when it feels like it has been interfered wit= h, it feels like the independence has been eroded.

When w= e brought this forward, it wasn’t our first choice. Getting communication from people who are afraid — it is not super pleasant, as I am sure the Premier understands from when he was on this side, from our colleagues to t= he right here. When we brought this forward, it was because we wanted to talk. Whether it was intentional or not, or maybe we didn’t want to talk ab= out that, but the point is, whether the intention with that press release on Mo= nday night — I don’t believe the intention was there. I don’t think this press release was sent out in a way that muddied the water, but = when this was sent out at around 6:30 p.m. on Monday night, pre-emptive of the C= hild and Youth Advocate speaking — pre-emptively of that office saying that they will conduct an independent review — this press release, which s= ays that this is going to happen before the Child and Youth Advocate office has= had an opportunity to say it, started the process of making the independence of that office feel like it had been eroded.

That w= as not the intention, Mr. Speaker. I can’t imagine that it was, but that is where we are right now.

The ex= perience that I have in this Assembly is that the motion that we put forward was the strongest that we could do; that the recommendations come to all parties; t= hat, as a group, the decision gets made as to what gets followed because then it= is more independent — then it is not being decided by one group.<= /p>

I than= k the members, both the Minister of Justice and the Minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate, for their words. I will remind all members that = we are here for the same reasons. No one likes asking questions about this in Question Period. It’s not fun — it doesn’t feel really go= od — but you have a responsibility, no different than the ministers have= a responsibility to answer to the best of their ability. What I would really = like to do — not in this motion — is have the opportunity to have the conversation on a larger scale, back and forth, to figure out what happened — when and how it was done — because the criticism is being unjustly put on the shoulders of one. Really, it deserves to be on the shoulders of many.

So what we’re trying to do right now is we’re trying to unpack this. We’re trying to spread out the responsibility, so instead of it being= on one, it comes on 18, and that is what the intent of this motion is, Mr. Speaker. It is not to undermine the Child and Youth Advocate offic= e or the good work that is done there; it is merely saying that the responsibili= ty belongs to 18 of us and not just to one.

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Speaker: Is = there further debate on Motion No. 274?

If the= member now speaks, she will close debate.

Does a= ny other member wish to be heard?

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Ms. Hanson: I thank all members who have spoken to the motion today that we put forward, = as my colleague has just outlined in good faith. As I said at the outset when I put the motion forward, I did it with reluctance and a sense of sadness tha= t we were having to do it.

There = are a couple of comments, in closing, that I wanted to make. My colleague has just outlined why we felt we had to bring this motion forward — because of= the actions taken by the government. I have no idea what thought process was at play for the government in terms of how it rolled out, and basically the ch= aos that they have brought upon themselves and, in so doing, has created a situation where it is incumbent on them to demonstrate the integrity and the independence of the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate.

When my colleague was speaking and made the comment about the fact — and using the model of the YESAB — that governments can accept, modify or reject recommendations, but you know what? Citizens will accept — and the Premier was sort of making comments off-mic that yes, of course, we can do that. We know that, but citizens will accept when governments reject or mod= ify recommendations when they are done in good faith — and not just when = you believe, as government, that they are done in good faith, but when you can demonstrate it. Unfortunately, the more the government piles on to say what= a good job we’re doing, the more citizens feel that it doesn’t fe= el good in their gut.

You kn= ow, we have heard a lot about whistle-blowers — and the minister knows ̵= 2; and I’m not trying to personalize this.

The re= ality is that when we come into this Legislative Assembly, we are the voices of many. The members opposite are accountable and responsible for everything that transpires in their government — in their department. That is the sys= tem we operate in. Unfortunately, as much as I have respect for each individual= , I do know — as they know — that, operationally, there are some problems. There are some serious problems. When, purposely or inadvertently, government takes steps that effectively undermine the  — in the case of children and= youth — potential for that office to exercise its independence by public statements, by press releases and by memos to staff, it has created confusi= on that they alone can dispel, and they have not done that this afternoon, Mr.=  Speaker. I am sorry — they have not.

I rece= ived an e‑mail the other day, and the person said, “I would contact you directly, bu= t I would be promptly fired.” The person said, “I was hopeful that = this government would address the long-standing issues with indigenous youth in care, but that is not the case. I send this to you because I am hopeful that you will do something or ask the questions, if for no other reason than it = is about youth and their care.” They said, “You should be asking f= or an immediate inquiry about what people did know and when they did know it.” It says, “You can get rid of as many staff as you want. You haven’t made the change to the management who know about it and conti= nue to cover up.” Those are the kinds of things that whistle-blowers are saying. Where are they going to say that?

The Mi= nister responsible for the Public Service Commission said today: “Talk to yo= ur deputy minister.” Well, look at the legislation. It says the deputy minister’s reach in the departments — including the Child and Y= outh Advocate, who is, according to the legislation, an executive — to make known the process. I can’t find on any government website — Hea= lth and Social Services, Justice, Public Service Commission — what process the deputies have set up. This legislation has been in effect for how many years? We keep having these statements: Talk to your supervisor or, if you don’t like that — don’t talk, write, because you have to = put it in writing to the disclosure commissioner. But the deputy minister is al= so responsible for putting in an in-house or in-departmental process. It is ea= sy enough for the minister to say: Do that; talk to us. But how?

When t= he fear is that I will probably be fired when I raise these concerns — and I don’t care if the minister makes faces about that not being true. When you live that experience, it is the truth. The more you deny it, the more it becomes the truth for those individuals. There is some serious work to be d= one to make sure that those systems are effective, and that is another piece of legislation, as we all know. When that legislation was passed, there were r= eal concerns expressed by the commissioner about the fear of reprisals and the = fact that there are no effective protections for employees. That was on the reco= rd.

There = are many situations where it is really uncomfortable. What we need to understand, as members of this Legislative Assembly — I will respond to the assertio= ns by the Minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate and the Minis= ter of Tourism and Culture who personalized the comments that she made — = and it’s not personalized. I am not speaking out of disrespect for the individual human beings in this room, but I am absolutely clear in my criticisms of the systems that we have established and the dysfunction of t= hese systems as long as they harm people in this territory — and they are harming youth and children who should not be at risk. I do take it seriousl= y, but it’s not a personal issue that we are talking about. In this case it`s not about whether or not — I actually had this conversation with= the child advocate last week. I said that when you are doing this kind of job, you’re not liked. That doesn’t matter. The job is to be the representative of youth and children, just like the job as an MLA is to rep= resent, echo and amplify the voices of our citizens. We do that in opposition, and = we expect the government to do that on behalf of all citizens.

I thin= k we need to realize that when we raise issues in this Legislative Assembly and when = we call on the government to appoint an independent body, it’s not done = vexatiously. It’s not done with malice. It̵= 7;s done because the actions over the last week and a bit have led to much conf= usion. These are serious issues; they need to be addressed, and the very actions of this government have, at best, caused the integrity and independence of the office of the Child and Youth Advocate — there’s no doubt about their commitment, but they have been co-opted by this government. That̵= 7;s sad and it’s unfortunate. What we need to do is try to get it back on track. We need to find ways to reinforce the independence of this important office, and that’s what we’re calling for in terms of the recommendations — the second part of this motion.

I have= heard clearly that the government is not going to support it. That’s fine. = They are really increasing the scrutiny that will be placed on them. I can tell = you now that the lens is not just through the opposition. It is broader.

I have= sadly come to realize that if motions come from this side of the Legislature R= 12; they are not ours, and so if they are decided to be either the NDP’s motion or the Yukon Party’s motion, it’s not that we somehow fi= nd a way to embrace it as a motion that reflects the issue at hand here, which is not what good things the government is saying it is going to do or has done= . It is about how we ensure the integrity of the independence of a body that is created by this Assembly.

With t= hat, Mr. Speaker, I hope that at some time we will be able to hear from the government how they will be supporting the independence of this office, and= we will continue to keep a focus on the very serious issues that have arisen, = not just this last week — which is why this systemic review is so importa= nt.

We hav= e an obligation; we will fulfill it.

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Speaker: Are= you prepared for the question?

Some Hon. Members: Division.

Division

Speaker: Div= ision has been called.

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Bells

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Speaker: Mr.=  Clerk, please poll the House.

Hon. Mr. Silver: Disagree.

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Disagree.

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Disagree.

Hon. Ms. Dendys: Disagree.

Hon. Ms. Frost: Disagree.

Mr. Gallina: Disagree.

Mr. Adel: Disagree.

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: Disagree.

Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>Disagree.

Mr. Hutton: Disagree.

Mr. Hassard: Agree.

Mr. Kent: Agree.

Ms. Van Bibber: Agree.

Mr. Cathers: Agree.

Ms. McLeod: Agree.

Mr. Istchenko: Agree.

Ms. Hanson: Agree.

Ms. White: Agree.

Clerk: Mr.&n= bsp;Speaker, the results are eight yea, 10 nay.

Speaker: The= nays have it. I declare the motion defeated.

Motion No. 274 negatived

Motion for the Production of Papers No. 8

Clerk: Motio= n for the Production of Papers No. 8, standing in the name of Ms. Van Bibber= .

Speaker: It = is moved by the Member for Porter Creek North:

THAT t= his House do issue an order for the return of all current applications for infrastruc= ture funding that the Government of Yukon has submitted to the Government of Can= ada.

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Ms. Van Bibber: I am pleased to rise today and speak to this motion for the production of pap= ers. Investing in infrastructure in the territory is very important to the stren= gth of our economy. Building and improving roads and highways, bridges, airport= s, and IT infrastructure, as well as water and waste-water infrastructure, provides both short- and long-term benefits to Yukoners. However, planning ahead for major infrastructure projects can be a timely process, particular= ly when it comes to securing funding. We recognize that, for many planned projects, they would not be possible without partnership and financial supp= ort from the Government of Canada. Of course, these partnerships start with the funding applications.

We bro= ught this motion forward simply to allow the government to be open and transparent wi= th Yukoners on projects that they are submitting applications for. The previous government was very open in this respect. They frequently released informat= ion, explaining to Yukoners what they were requesting money for and how much they were requesting. We just need to look back to the territorial government’s pre-budget submission to the federal government from Feb= ruary 23, 2016, which outlined key projects that the government was requesting to= be included in the federal budget. This included details on what the project w= as, why the project was important and how much the Government of Yukon was look= ing for.

Additi= onally, as you know, Mr. Speaker, the previous government submitted the applicati= on for the Resource Gateway project and, when the application was submitted to Canada, the previous government was very open and if fully disclosed the en= tire application, and that’s what this motion is about today — allow= ing the government to be open and transparent with the applications it is submitting to Canada.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, you remember in debate last week that my colleague from Pelly-Nisutlin had asked the Minister of Highways and Public Works how many applications were currently submitted for transport infrastructure projects to the Government= of Canada. This was raised following the release of an ATIPP request filed by = CBC regarding potential federal funding for the north Klondike Highway. I will emphasize that Yukoners wouldn’t have even been aware of that project funding application had it not been for that ATIPP request.

In ans= wering the question from my colleague, the minister then told the House that there were seven projects under application for federal funding, totalling about $470 million — $470 million, Mr. Speaker. That’s= a lot of money — a lot of taxpayers’ money. Taxpayers have the ri= ght to know how this government intends to spend nearly half a billion dollars.

The Mi= nister of Highways and Public Works mentioned the following applications: $121 m= illion for the Klondike Highway, $116 million for the Alaska Highway, $64 million for the Campbell Highway from Ross River to Faro, $39 million for the Campbell Highway from kilometre 114 to kilometre 2= 32, $41 million for safety infrastructure, $9 million for ITS, and approximately $70 million for airports. We thank the minister for identifying those project funding applications.

We loo= k forward to hearing back about the status of these applications and the timelines by which they may be approved. But in the meantime, we are looking for a little bit more information. What is the nature of the work that the government is planning on these projects? What is the expected benefit to Yukon? When is = the construction date? When is the completion date? How much money is Yukon put= ting in? Are there any other partners putting money in? Why, if the federal pot = of funding is only $400 million for the entire north, did the Yukon purpo= sely oversubscribe?

Wouldn= ’t it make more sense to choose a couple of urgent priorities to ensure they a= re funded, instead of throwing everything at the wall and letting the federal government decide our priorities for us? What thought process went into that decision? Was this government afraid to make priorities?

These = are some of the questions that Yukoners have a right to know, so we do hope the government is open and transparent and provides us with this information. T= he minister identified these seven infrastructure projects, but they were specifically broad in this motion and we want to not limit the requests to = just these seven.

We kno= w there are a lot of pots of funding for infrastructure funding for Canada, so we w= ould like to see all current applications for infrastructure funding in the territory. Again, building and improving infrastructure in the territory pl= ays an important role in the Yukon’s economy. Yukoners benefit from impro= ved access to roads, bridges, airports, buildings, water mains and waste-water treatment facilities — and the list goes on.

I have= no doubt that these projects will not only benefit the economy as a whole, but also = the contractors who take on these projects and every Yukoner who will use this infrastructure for decades to come. Further, all Yukoners benefit from the openness and transparency of a government that is planning these projects.<= /span>

The mi= nister was willing to identify a few of the applications and the amounts they were ask= ing for, so we feel that it shouldn’t be a problem to provide the documen= ts explaining the details of all of the current applications. Yukoners should = know what is currently in the works for this government with respect to future projects. We believe it is certainly in the interest of Yukoners, Yukon bus= inesses and contractors who will eventually have the opportunity to bid on these projects, to know what is in store for the future. They are important piece= s of infrastructure that will create important jobs for Yukoners.

Again,= we thank the minister for identifying some of the applications put forward to the Government of Canada, and we look forward to hearing more information about them. But, as we stated in this motion, we were specifically broad to inclu= de a request for information regarding all current applications for project fund= ing that have been submitted to the Government of Canada.

It is = in the public interest that this government be open and transparent and provide th= is documentation to Yukoners. We hope this government will agree that it is im= portant to share this information with Yukoners, and we hope that you will support = this motion.

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Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>I thank the member opposite for her motion.

I will= begin by talking about motions in this Legislature, generally. Maybe it was two weeks ago, but it was on a Wednesday. I heard from the Member for Takhini-Kopper King, and she was talking about motions here and about how they are treated= . I decided to go back through our time in this Legislature to look at motions, both from this side of the House and the other. We have had seven government motions. We have had 15 motions from the Liberal caucus — private mem= bers — counting this motion today, and 13 from the members of the oppositi= on — six of which have passed, two of which have failed, four of which h= ave adjourned and one that we are debating right now.

For th= e members of the Third Party, there have been 13 motions that have been put forward, eight of which have passed, four of which have failed, counting today’= ;s, and one that was adjourned. Of the eight that have passed, four passed with amendment and four passed without.

What I= am trying to say is that I believe the motions that are in front of us are of import = and that they are actually debated, including the one that is in front of us ri= ght now.

Turnin= g to the specifics of the motion, the member opposite has talked about how important= it is for our territory that we invest in infrastructure, and I agree with her. She has talked about making sure that we secure funding, especially in partnership with the federal government, and I agree with her again. She has discussed the importance about being open and transparent, and I agree with= her again.

I will= talk about a few points that she has raised. Let me begin, though, by talking ab= out how infrastructure works here in the territory, about how monies are identi= fied and how we then go about applying for those monies. First of all, much infrastructure that we spend on in the territory, we just invest directly a= s a government. We identify it and we invest in it, although there are many opportunities that come from the federal government, and we take as much advantage of that as we can.

The pr= ocess for identifying projects begins by working with our communities. We identify so= me projects that are territory-wide in nature — fibre is an example, and highways are an example — but there are many projects that belong predominantly within our communities. To understand those, we talk with the communities; we involve them. We talk with the municipal governments and the First Nation governments, and we ask them to identify to us directly their priorities. We then look at where the various funding opportunities are and= we attempt to slot them in, and we put them in the priority in which we hear t= hem. It doesn’t always work exactly, because it might not be that the fund= ing pot that priority fits into is ready to go, but, based on the types of fund= ing that are available, we prioritize them according to our communities. We wor= k in collaboration with the communities and we value the input that comes from t= hem.

I will= say clearly that, in talking with our communities, I hear from municipalities a= nd First Nations that they would love to have support for independent infrastructure funding, whether that comes from us or the federal governmen= t. For example, the gas tax is one of the funds that they really appreciate because it gives them the opportunity to plan out that funding directly. Unfortunately, the funding pots that are available these days with the fede= ral government are project-based funding pots, so we have to work within that realm. We always work to try to support our municipalities and First Nation= s to have more independence in infrastructure funding, however, on any agreement where we have funding that comes from the federal government. As I have sta= ted in this Legislature, currently we are very lucky to receive 75-cent dollars from the federal government and 25-cent dollars from us here in the territo= ry. Whichever agreement we are referring to — whether it is the small communities fund, the clean water and waste-water fund or the investing in Canada infrastructure plan, which is coming up, we will always try to see t= hat money distributed fairly across the territory. We will work with community partners to identify their priorities.

What h= appens after those priorities are identified? A project application is developed by the relevant department — typically it is Community Services or Highw= ays and Public Works. If it is a community-based project, then that development= is in consultation with the community partner, based on the federal guidelines= for that fund. Generally, the application includes information on scope, timeli= nes, funding breakdown, location, consultation requirements and assessment requirements under the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act. It has within it engineering estimates on those projects.

The ap= plication is vetted at the officials’ level at Infrastructure Canada. The application is then submitted via the Canada-Yukon Oversight Committee. The application is forwarded to Infrastructure Canada’s project review pa= nel, which provides recommendations to the Minister of Infrastructure Canada. Th= en the Minister of Infrastructure Canada reviews it and provides a decision. Of course, if that infrastructure project is not funded, that doesn’t me= an that the infrastructure project doesn’t go ahead; it just means that = it is not funded through that funding formula.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, for a few moments I would like to reference debate that took place in this Legislature on April 20, 2016. On that day, the then-Minister of Highways a= nd Public Works — now the MLA for Copperbelt South — chose to tabl= e a summary of the Gateway project. From comments I read later on that day, the= re was an acknowledgement of that and an appreciation for that. Just after tha= t, the Minister of Community Services tabled a list of the New Building Canada fund projects. I thank him for doing that. I note that I have done that twi= ce now in this Legislature as well. It has come from questions from members of= the opposition to ask whether I could share those lists, and I have done so.

April = 20, 2016 was a Wednesday slotted for opposition members’ motions, and later th= at day, the then-MLA for Klondike and Leader of the Third Party moved a motion= for the production of papers, worded exactly as the motion before us today R= 12; and I quote: “THAT this House do order the return of all current applications for infrastructure funding that the Government of Yukon has submitted to the Government of Canada.”

From r= eading Hansard, the purpose of the motion was slightly different from what I heard from the Member for Porter Creek North today. On that day, April 20, 2016, = the government was being asked to disclose whether there was actually funding b= eing sought or not. The list that was provided through the debate was the Whistle Bend continuing care facility, fibre project, Stewart-Keno transmission line and the Yukon Resource Gateway project.

In lis= tening to the debate today from the MLA for Porter Creek North, she talked about an inter= est in trying to inform Yukoners about where funding is going to be going and to just let them know how we are going to be investing in the territory. I will talk about that in a bit but, for now, let me just keep going with the deba= te on the day of April 20, 2016.

The fo= ur projects that I talked about had very different fates. Again, they were the Whistle Bend continuing care, fibre redundancy, the Stewart-Keno transmissi= on and the Gateway project. During the debate that day, the MLA for Klondike — now the Premier — stated — and I quote: “Mr. Speaker, just today, I asked about the Auditor General̵= 7;s advice not to build things until you know what the costs will be to operate.”

We now= know that the government ignored that advice, and we now have a $24‑million bil= l to pay for the Whistle Bend continuing care facility operation and maintenance budget this year. We know that the budget will rise above $30 million = per year, and that was not budgeted for, so this year, here today, we are in deficit.

Furthe= r to that topic, the then-MLA for Copperbelt South, Ms. Lois Moorcroft, stated on April 20, 2016, that — and again I quote: “… the governme= nt was unable to answer questions on what the operation and maintenance costs would be after spending millions on the capital construction of a new continuing care facility.” In an eerie sense of foreboding, the MLA f= or Klondike, now the Premier, went on to say — and I quote: “It wi= ll certainly be left to the next government to resolve these outstanding finan= cial questions.”

At tha= t point in time, the Yukon Party government was saying that the territory would be mov= ing ahead with the fibre project but, as it turned out, they had not secured infrastructure funding for that project and it did not move forward. I think that the project had been discussed for many, many years, but it was not to happen at that time. We are looking forward to proceeding with that project= .

As wel= l, the Steward-Keno transmission line did not happen. By getting agreement that the affected First Nations would have direct involvement in any gateway funding= , we were able — in this government — to get an agreement in place regarding the gateway, and we disclosed all of that information publicly. <= /span>

Again,= I appreciate that the members opposite talked about sharing or tabling the Gateway application; however, it’s not the same as the other types of applications that we’re referring to here. It’s more of a fundi= ng agreement, more like the Building Canada fund or small communities fund. Now that the Gateway project has been announced and we have gotten approval, we have disclosed all of that information and shared it with Yukoners.<= /p>

Later = in the debate, the then-Minister of Community Services referenced that — and again I quote: “…the Burwash water treatment plant, has since b= een approved by Canada…”

Howeve= r, Mr. Speaker, I note that this project did not get started. It is part = of our capital plan this year, and we hope that this project will be undertaken this coming fiscal year.

Later = still in the debate, the MLA for Copperbelt South stated — and again that woul= d be a member of the opposition at that point — and I quote: “Govern= ment should be conducting long-term fiscal planning. The Auditor General has poi= nted that out repeatedly to this government.” Again, I agree with this comment.

For a = moment, let me discuss the Member for Porter Creek North’s debate today on the motion about how to help our private sector be aware of what upcoming build= s we will have. That is the reason that we have worked to try to develop a five-= year capital plan in which we listed the amounts of money that will be spent und= er each of the broad categories and listed as well a sample of a cross-section= of the projects under those various categories. I have heard the members oppos= ite talk about their capital plan where they gave more information, and I have = gone to the bizarre length of counting that up to try to understand whether that= is correct. I took their budgets and I went through and looked at what they are talking about. I counted up the number of projects and, from my count, we h= ave listed twice as many projects that will be underway this year than they lis= ted in their budget.

The pi= ece that seems to still be of interest for the members opposite is the dollar amount= s.

I want= to be careful. Each time I have stood up in this Legislature and talked about tho= se dollar amounts, I have said that I don’t wish to state the engineer’s estimate. I don’t want to give that explicit informa= tion because, if it is early in the planning or the design of the project, that engineer’s estimate is a coarse estimate, and so it gives a false sen= se of what the dollars might be in time. If we’re closer to that project being delivered, then it is a much better estimate, but I want to ensure — or I think we all here in the Legislature wish to ensure — th= at the bid process is free from that bias and that we allow our private sector= to bid on these projects.

What w= e have done, and will continue to do, is to put them in the tender forecast, which gives them a dollar range rather than an explicit dollar amount. That is wh= at I don’t think we want to share.

With t= hat, let me return to the motion in front of us regarding the disclosure of all curr= ent applications for infrastructure funding that the Government of Yukon has submitted to the Government of Canada. The Member for Porter Creek North discussed the Minister of Highways and Public Works’ comments in this Legislature talking about funding applications that we had put in with the Government of Canada.

One of= the criticisms — at least as I heard it — was that we had asked for= too much money and that maybe that was an unfair amount compared to the other territories. I think what we did as a government was to say: Let’s ex= plore what options are out there.

What I= heard the member opposite ask for is some clarity for the private sector — the construction community — about where that money was going to be spent. However, some of those applications, by their very nature, are exploratory = in nature with the federal government, and they will help to drive those decis= ions once we resolve those questions. Part of that is — I think the time to share that information is once those monies have been approved, rather than trying to build expectations ahead of time, which we don’t want to create.

We do = want to seek opportunities and, as I have noted, we are able to share where the priorities lie through the five-year plan, which allows for the ability of = our partners — like municipalities and First Nation governments — to say to us: Here are our priorities. Some of them emerge. For example, there= was a time when the Carmacks rink didn’t have problems with the roof and = the structure, and so they might not have put that in as their priority, but wh= en that roof deteriorated, then they did. Or, for example, the Kwanlin Dün First Nation had several meetings with me to describe concerns that they ha= ve with their administration building right now, and they are looking to try to invest in that piece of infrastructure. We are working with them to try to = help achieve that. What we need to do, Mr. Speaker, is work with our partne= rs to respond to those priorities as they change in time.

I woul= d like to note that, when asked to share information like this by members opposite, I have at all times in this Legislature worked to try to get the information = that was asked for, short of sharing information that I think would impede our bidding process, because I think we need to make sure that we protect the stretch of the taxpayers’ dollars here so that we can get as much infrastructure as possible out of the public purse. I don’t want to compromise that.

One of= the challenges that I have with the wording of the motion as it is right now is that we are just meant to share the application, but that application has information that I don’t want to be shared publicly.

What I= would rather do is share a summary of that information — enough information= , I hope, that the members opposite are seeking to try to inform Yukoners about where these projects are going. I also want to make sure that we manage expectations. The way I think that should happen is that we share it as soo= n as that application is approved. That way we know that the money is there. The final way, which I hope is an improvement, is that I want us to not have to= do it when we are asked. I think this should be a situation of — letR= 17;s do it all the time.

There = is wording in the motion that talks about current applications. When asked in the spri= ng of last year for the list of clean water and waste-water fund projects, I produced it for the members opposite. When asked this year for the small communities fund and the clean water and waste-water fund projects, I produ= ced it. I am wondering if it would be better — when those projects are approved by the Government of Canada — to automatically share them wi= th all members.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, I am going to move an amendment. I will say that I did have a conversation = with the Member for Porter Creek North. I discussed this possibility with her, to let her know that I would be moving an amendment. I will put it forward to = the House now.

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Amendment proposed

Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>I move:

THAT M= otion for the Production of Papers No. 8 be amended by:

(1) re= moving the words “all current” and replacing them with the phrase “a summary of all”; and

(2) ad= ding the words “after they are approved” after the word “Canada”.

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Speaker:       I have reviewed the proposed amendment to Motion for the Production of Papers No. = 8 with Mr. Clerk, and can advise that the proposed amendment is procedurally = in order.

Therefore, it has been moved by the= Member for Mount Lorne-Southern Lakes:

THAT M= otion for the Production of Papers No. 8 be amended by:

(1) re= moving the words “all current” and replacing them with the phrase “a summary of all”; and

(2) ad= ding the words “after they are approved” after the word “Canada”.

The amended motion would then read = as follows:

THAT this House do issue an order f= or the return of a summary of all applications for infrastructure funding that the Government of Yukon has submitted to the Government of Canada after they are approved.

 

Hon. Mr. Streicker: I won’t speak too much further. I do want to just highli= ght what it is that I am trying to achieve with this amendment. By way of comparison, I will just turn back to April 20, 2016 — I didn’t note, but I will now, that the government of the day — the Yukon Part= y, the then-government of the day — voted down this motion. I am trying = to work here to support the notion of transparency, while not compromising the work of the government.

What I= am suggesting first is that, rather than sharing the application as submitted, they are summarized to give the relevant information, and I am happy, as I = have stated in the Legislature here in the past, to add, for example, an equival= ent amount — which is somewhat like the tender forecast system, so it giv= es a budget range — and that is used to give an indication of the size of = the project, as we do on the existing system through the procurement centre of Highways and Public Works, hoping that will accomplish what the member oppo= site is asking for in terms of information to the public — and particularly the private sector — about what these projects look like and their re= lative size.

I also= want to manage expectations so that there isn’t a sense that a project is goi= ng forward. When we put in applications, we don’t always know whether th= ey will be successful or not, and so I want to wait until we know that funding= is available before we start saying publicly that this is a project that is happening.

I̵= 7;m always happy to talk about projects that communities have talked to me about and to share with the members of this Legislature projects that they have identifi= ed, so long as they haven’t embargoed me from doing so, with the notion t= hat I am sharing information that they wish to be shared. That is the clause th= at says that we disclose this information once the projects are approved.

Finall= y, I’m asking — and even though the amendment may not be friendly,= or this one element, I hope, is friendly — that we go beyond just the current set of applications and make this a practice. That is because it se= ems to me that members opposite are looking for this information, and I appreci= ate the notion that they have, which is that they wanted to try to share more broadly with the public — and I think that’s great. While we do= put out press releases on many infrastructure projects, we certainly don’t put out press releases on them all, and this would then be a way of providi= ng that information on a standard basis.

I just= think that this would be good to do on an ongoing basis, and that is why I propose the amendment in front of you today, Mr. Speaker.

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Mr. Hassard: On the amendment, I guess I would have a few questions for the Minister of Community Services. When he changes the words to a summary of the applicati= ons, I guess we already have a summary, so I don’t really know what the po= int of that would be.

In ter= ms of providing the information after it has been approved, he talked about the p= ress releases and we all get those press releases already, so I guess my question would be: Why bother?

The on= ly real reason that I have seen that he has given for not wanting to have the information out there is that the numbers would be out in the open — = the prices and the amounts that are directed to each particular project.=

I have= to question that too, because if someone ATIPPs it, then you have all of the information anyway. I guess I don’t really know what it is that he is trying to protect or trying to hide, or whatever the case may be. I certain= ly don’t agree with the amendment. I think it takes away entirely from t= he original motion. We are asking for particular items for a particular reason= . I guess the other thing I would probably say in closing, Mr. Speaker, ju= st for the Premier’s benefit, is that obviously if the government isn’t willing to give us this information, then we will have to ATIPP= it. To save staff and himself some grief, he doesn’t have to go looking to see who is doing the ATIPPing on this one, beca= use it will be us, Mr. Speaker.

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Mr. Istchenko: I think I am a little bit confused here, and I will speak to the amendment. I think the minister said that the reason why we would like this is because we are looking to share with the public, but by looking at the motion as it wo= uld read after, you are pulling out “all current” and replacing it = with “a summary of all”, but then in the end you say “after th= ey are approved” by the Government of Canada. Well, the government of the day is going to sit with the local First Nations, sit with the municipaliti= es or LACs and have a discussion on what infrastructure they need. Infrastruct= ure is public — the meetings are public. They talk about what is needed. = We have a failing water and septic system in Haines Junction, and we have five= to seven years within the whole community, including the First Nation, for work that needs to be done. Are we going to keep it a secret until we finally get approved from Canada, and then we are telling everybody? No, the municipali= ties or the First Nations are going to be planning and moving forward with this.=

So I d= on’t agree with the amendment. I just don’t understand it. I don’t k= now if this was not thought out or what.

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Mr. Cathers: I am just going to be brief in speaking to this, but I would note that it is a bit surprising and disappointing to see this amendment being proposed by my colleague, the Minister of Community Services. For Yukoners who don’t intimately follow on a day-to-day basis the goings-on in the Legislative Assembly, or don’t have a photographic memory about what the Premier = said when he was the then-Leader of the Third Party on April 20, 2016, I would p= oint out that, at the time, the Premier — who was then the Third Party lea= der — referred to this type of disclosure as — and I quote: “= It would also be a good step toward making the government more open and more accountable.”

So we = see the Premier — again, another case of where, in opposition, he said one th= ing to get elected, but has changed his tune completely upon taking office.

Again,= in the Premier’s own words, he referred to releasing this type of informatio= n as — and I quote: “… a good step toward making government mo= re open and accountable….”

Why ha= ve the Liberals changed their tune on this type of disclosure? As my colleague, the Leader of the Official Opposition, pointed out, what the amendment proposed= by the Minister of Community Services would effectively do is say that governm= ent has to issue a press release once it has agreed with the federal government= on a funding application. That is effectively what happens now. The fact that = the government is not even willing to tell us which projects they have applied = for — with or without the dollar amounts attached to them — is certainly not in keeping with the Liberal Party’s statements and the Premier’s statements and assurances to the public before they took of= fice about how they would raise the bar on being more open, more accountable, mo= re transparent and more forthcoming.

The am= endment effectively guts the motion brought forward by my colleague, the Member for Porter Creek North, and it effectively would render the motion, if passed w= ith the amendment, as completely meaningless and something that is already dealt with currently through press releases and press conferences.

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Hon. Mr. Pillai: I have just a couple of quick points of clarity. As we have he= ard, the three Hail Marys across the way there on the scramble in the last quarter — certainly, just for the record here, w= hen we look at how these proposals are put in, I just want to commend my collea= gue. There is a bit of concern — I don’t know if history is being rewritten as to how these previous three individuals, as ministers, handled= their bilateral relationships and their proposals when it comes to capital projec= ts.

First = and foremost, in some programs that we’re dealing with, there is a competitive process underway. We are competing against other jurisdictions. There is very specific information within those proposals. We can talk thematically. We want to build the road, we want to fix this — sure. = That is what this speaks to. We are talking about high-level macro discussions w= here we speak to particular projects. When you get into handing over proposals to individuals when they are still in the queue and you are competing with oth= er jurisdictions, I would hope that our friends across the way could understand the challenges with that.

As we = start to look at priorities, we’re looking at projects and programs that are available, and our team is working through that process.

The Me= mber for Kluane touched on — I have, I guess, a different memory of — ag= ain, we talk about this, it is such a tough one. It always comes up how, with the municipal infrastructure in Haines Junction, there were failing pipes and everybody sat down with the First Nation. That is not what happened, and th= is is the third time I have stood up in the House. I appreciate the fact that = the Minister of Community Services has gone back so that this can be done in an appropriate manner. The infrastructure was announced, I think, three times before, and still nothing happened by the previous government. I just remem= ber announcements or, as the Member for Lake Laberge says —

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Point of order

Speaker:= 195;The Member for Lake Laber= ge, on a point of order.

Mr. Cathers: The Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources doesn’t appear to be speaking= to the amendment.

Speaker’s ruling

Speaker: Wha= t I would say is that he is responding, to an extent, to what the Member for Kl= uane did talk about — broken infrastructure in Haines Junction. Perhaps th= at was out of order at the time, as well as to not speaking to the amendment, = but two members have taken up the cause of Haines Junction infrastructure during the course of the debate on infrastructure for this amendment.

In any= event, if the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources could focus his attention on the proposed amendment — but you have some latitude to proceed.

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Hon. Mr. Pillai: I am sorry if I’m veering away from the motion. I thought that, through the process, we have an opportunity to counter some of the remarks that were made. This is the Legislative Assembly; we are in debate.= I think that this is part of the process — at least that is what they taught me in grade 9 social studies.

Going = back to it, I think that where we stand today is just a rewriting of history. We are sitting down to talk about infrastructure projects. Absolutely, it is impor= tant to plan. I was touching on one particular vignette from across the way, whi= ch talked about how everybody sat down and came together, and inevitably what ended up happening through that process was that half of the community was going to get new streets, new sidewalks and new sewer and water, and the ot= her half of the community was not. I don’t think that was a great process. Certainly that is not the process that we are undertaking, and that is why = the Minister of Community Services has gone back to work with the municipality = to ensure that there is equality within the community after there is a conversation on that topic.

As for= the comments made by the Member for Pelly-Nisutlin on this particular topic, I don’t see how it affects the budgeting process whatsoever. There are a series of projects that have been identified — or there are processes= in place to apply for this funding pot. I don’t see us being any less competitive.

As the= member opposite said — a comment about the Premier, saying that the Premier would then have to go and look, or something about ATIPP. That was a totally inappropriate comment, but that is kind of the week we are having.

Then t= he Member for Lake Laberge — with all due respect, I can’t even unpack wh= at was said there. I don’t know — it had nothing really to do with= the amendment — opportunity to touch on a few points.

Once a= gain, we are giving more information; we are respecting the bureaucracy and the proc= ess; we are standing up for Yukoners to ensure that we get infrastructure projec= ts in place, and that seems to be a problem with this process. Like they say, = the best form of flattery is imitation, so I guess today what we are seeing is a rehash of the questions that the Premier used when he was in opposition = 212; so check one on that one for flattery. We can go back and get all of the questions for you if you don’t want to rewrite your own, if that woul= d be more effective for you.

I will= leave it at that. I really think that this motion is pretty clear. We are going to protect the work that has been done by the bureaucracy to effect good chang= e in this territory.

As the= y said before, the members opposite submitted the Gateway project. I want to thank them for that, and then I want to thank the people I get to work with for actually getting it across the finish line, which we see is a standard tren= d on most of our conversations — either problems left behind for my collea= gues to fix, or getting things to the finish line.

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Ms. Hanson: Just for the record then, the amendment that has been proposed by the Member for Mount Lorne-Southern Lakes is the status quo. Members of the opposition will receive the information when it comes out in press releases — fine. I would only suggest or request that when members opposite, particularly ministers, are speaking about public servants, they do it respectfully and = call them “public servants” and not “the bureaucracy”. Y= ou might want to look at that and the derivation and how that has been misused= and really does sting when you are a public servant trying to serve the public.=

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Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I have enjoyed the discussion this afternoon about our infrastructure, and I really do take the Leader of the Third Party’s comments to heart about the term “bureaucrat”. I totally agree = with her, and we should definitely watch our language in terms of referring to c= ivil servants and not bureaucrats.

I̵= 7;m more than happy to provide more information to the public about what work we’re doing to build Yukon’s infrastructure in this House and before the people. We do wish to share information with the members opposite and all Yukoners, and that’s what this is all about.

Over t= he past several weeks — we were just in the House discussing our budget with = the Leader of the Official Opposition and, during that debate, we did lay out w= hat projects we have before us and what projects we’ve submitted to Ottawa for approval, in very broad terms. I was more than happy to do that with my officials in the room and that type of thing, but to get the actual documen= ts that we’re basing our decisions on and that Ottawa will base its decisions on prior to actually getting an approval, I think that would be negligent on our part. I agree with the Member for Mount Lorne-Southern Lak= es in his assessment that it might interfere with the procurement process. We = just want to make sure that we do this properly. In broad terms, we are providin= g an awful lot of information to the Legislature and to the House, and we are do= ing it much more.

The Me= mber for Lake Laberge did reference what was happening in 2016, and he’s right= . In a sense, what we are doing this afternoon is amending our own motion, becau= se it was the Premier’s motion. He brought it up at that time, and we did have the discussion in the House. In the run-up to the election, the opposi= tion at the time did release a little bit of information about infrastructure. It was the first time they had ever done it. They actually did it twice that y= ear within a couple of days of one another — or very close together ̵= 2; and it was the only time they had done it in about 14 years — in a ru= n-up to an election.

It was= a little bit like a deathbed conversion to transparency, and I applaud them for that. That was a great move on their part, but on —

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Point of order

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

Mr. Cathers: As entertaining as the Minister of Highways and Public Works is, he seems to be well off speaking to the amendment to the motion.

Speaker’s ruling

Speaker: The= re has been debate, even on the amendment, about how the government is going to be providing information on infrastructure programs, so my view right now is t= he Minister of Highways and Public Works is still on topic with respect to the amendment. There is no point of order at this time.

You can continue, Minister of Highways and Public Works.

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Hon. Mr. Mostyn: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The point of this whole afternoon is to make sure th= at we get information to Yukoners about where the funding is going and how to invest in the territory. That is part of our fiscal planning. It is part of= our five-year planning. It is part of our budgeting process, and it is important that we relay as much information as we can to provide Yukoners with the direction — to tell them where we are going — and we are endeav= ouring to do that. We have the five-year plan in place, which shows where the mone= y is going — real property, transportation infrastructure, community and F= irst Nation infrastructure, land development and other projects, information technology, equipment, loans, programs, capital transfers.

The am= ount of money going into those programs as well — it’s all laid out in = our budget planning and highlights. I’ve done it before, and I could read= it again, but this is a debate about the motion and the amendment to the motio= n at this time, which is about providing documents after they’re approved — and that just seems to be responsible and makes sense to me.=

One of= our enduring priorities of government is to ensure our strategic investments bu= ild healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities. From airports to highways to information technologies to bridges to government assets across the territo= ry, it’s what we work on every single day. It’s why we created the five-year capital plan, which I just referred to. It’s the first time= in history — in Yukon history — we’ve had such a plan. It’s why we focused on getting seasonally dependent contracts out the door earlier in the year — close to $50 million this year in seasonally dependent contracts. It’s why we’re working on imple= menting the work of the Procurement Advisory Panel. We have been working on all this since day one and with the Government of Canada on infrastructure planning.=

My col= league, the Minister of Community Services, is involved; the Minister of Economic Development has been involved, and we’re getting good results. We’re moving projects that have been on the drawing board for years i= nto reality. The Ross River bridge is one example, the diverse fibre project is another — that was one that my friend, the Minister of Community Services, referenced. It was promised. The members opposite did make some information — said they were going to diverse fibre — but they didn’t actually deliver. There’s no money in there. They didn’t actually do anything. They hadn’t even submitted an application to Ottawa on that project.

Replac= ement of the Nares bridge in Carcross is another example. It was in the budget, but = did it happen? No, they didn’t have the social capital to move ahead with that project. Gateway — another one — is a great project to announce in the run-up to an election — half a billion dollars in infrastructure funding. But had they done the ground work to actually land = that project, Mr. Speaker? No, they did not have that hard work — the ground work, the ground-truthing, the relations= hips — to deliver on that project.

When w= e took office, we worked very hard and got that social capital — reached out — and the Prime Minister announced the project a few months later. Wh= at this means, though, is that instead of — to the amendment’s poi= nt, we don’t want to go announcing hypotheticals — here, this is so= rt of our pie-in-the-sky plan; we are going to do fibre — without actual= ly having any agreements in place. Why would you do that? You build expectatio= ns that something is going to be done, but there is nothing behind it to back = it up. That is a problem. We heard about that problem for a long time, so this= is a different approach than what the members opposite are trying to postulate. They want to speculate. They want to continue the speculation that was ramp= ant during their time in office, and we are saying no. We are saying we will provide the information, once it is relevant in ground truth and is actually tangible, so that people have an idea where the money is going to be spent = and how.

That i= s what the amendment speaks to. The amendment speaks to providing good information to = the people of the territory — like our five-year capital plan. People now have an idea where the money is going to go. We know that there is going to= be $280 million spent by this government over the next four years. It is = in the budget — they know. It is not going to be $320 million in the budget and spending $190 million — lapsing all of this money that never actually goes anywhere. It is not like these grandiose statements with nothing to back them up. We are saying that this is what we are spending — $280 million in this budget — next year and next year — that is where we are going.

We are= also saying that we are going to be spending $88 million in real property in 2018‑19; we are going to be spending $69 million in 2019-20; we = are going to be spending $71 million in 2020-21; $74 million in 2021-= 22; $43 million in 2022-23. It is all there in black and white, the five-y= ear plan. If you are in real property, you know the government is going to be spending this much going forward. We can count on that, because that is what they have said they are going to do.

That i= s what the amendment speaks to. It is about actually tying what we are doing to what we know is going to happen. In the past, that hasn’t been the case. We h= eard about fiscal planning, and my friend, the Minister of Community Services, referenced the fact that fiscal planning in the past was — may I say “fast and loose,” Mr. Speaker? It should have been done, a= nd members in the opposition at the time said this fiscal planning should have been done, but it wasn’t.

We had= the former Premier saying that future spending on these capital projects — the running of these capital projects — is going to be a problem for = the next government. That is not a good way to run the government, Mr. Speaker, and the amendment talks to that; it takes away that need = to start — that intangible talk about hypotheticals — and serves to bring it into the real, so that people can actually — when we say we = are going to do work on the Klondike Highway and we have money from Ottawa, they know that it is coming, that we actually have the money approved and we can actually do that work.

It is = a bit of a departure from the previous government, which talked a lot about projects b= ut never actually got around to building them or working with the Government of Canada on funding options. The previous government set the record for lapsi= ng funds year after year — I have said this before, I can talk about it again: big announcements in the spring about record capital budgets, and th= en silence at year-end when the money didn’t get out the door — $100 million one year — $100 million. So the amendment star= ts to bring some clarity to that plan.

The fi= bre project is another example of why we don’t want to go down this road — why the amendment is so important: lots of talk over 14 years and no action, not even an application in Ottawa to ask for help getting the proje= ct done — nothing. It was low fibre, Mr. Speaker.

WeR= 17;re actually doing the work — filing the applications with the Government= of Canada to get projects underway. We will, as my colleague said today, provi= de summaries of those applications once they have been approved. We don’t want specific amounts for specific projects being released before the proje= cts are tendered. Members opposite can appreciate that this would undermine the competitive bidding process, and we don’t want to do that. We actually support a competitive bidding process.

As to = the amendment, the plan is to do that continuously — to provide informati= on throughout our mandate. It’s another example of more information being provided to the public by our administration. Whistle Bend came up too R= 12; my good colleague mentioned Whistle Bend — the O&M wasn’t budgeted for, $24 million — a huge capital project, $150 million capital spent — no money for the running of that th= ing. It’s ridiculous.

Stewar= t-Keno is somewhere in the neighbourhood of $80 million — a capital project announced with much fanfare, but again, nothing to back it up. It’s a= lot of words — big cable — no energy. The Gateway application was a funding agreement and, once we had the information and had approval, we sha= red the information with Yukoners.

Burwas= h water treatment: my good colleague brought that up, as well — it was refere= nced and approved by Canada. It wasn’t started, but it is part of our capi= tal plan this year. That was a project that was announced long ago — much fanfare, but nothing done. We are finishing that, as well.

The pr= ivate sector has to be made aware of these upcoming builds. That is the very esse= nce of our five-year capital plan. We have spending done under broad categories= and listed in the cross-section of potential projects — examples that we provided.

The me= mbers opposite talked about a capital plan, but they haven’t had one. We ha= ve listed twice as many projects as the member opposite has — as my colleague, the Member for Mount Lorne-Southern Lakes, has mentioned —= but we don’t want to give explicit information, because it could impact t= he procurement process. If you make it too vague, it is not accurate; if you m= ake it too specific, you are going to perhaps taint the bid — we don̵= 7;t want to do that. It is important that we keep these free from bias, which a= gain is why the amendment is talking to broaden this thing out and only make announcements once we actually have approval for these projects.

The Me= mber for Porter Creek North did mention that we have suggested that we have asked for too much money. Why did you put in applications for $400 million when = the north was only going to be eligible for $400 million? Well, I talked a= bout that with the department, and to me it made sense strategically. If we have= a lot of shovel-ready projects and we can get those things right before the federal officials quicker and have them start — if we can do that and= get a jump on the other territories, it made a lot of sense for me, and we will= see what happens. Maybe we can get some money that we wouldn’t otherwise = be allowed to get.

We mad= e the applications, put them in and, once we get permission from Ottawa to procee= d, we will actually go through with those projects and the people — the contracting community — will actually have some confidence that when = we say we are going to be pumping money into the north Klondike Highway with federal assistance, they know that we actually have that federal assistance= and we can actually proceed with that project. That’s a big change from, = hey, we’re going to proceed with the north Klondike Highway or Ross River — whatever it is — and having nothing to back it up — vapourware.

Of cou= rse, some applications are exploratory in nature with Ottawa and will help drive decisions, once we resolve the question and get that decision from Ottawa. = Once we get that approval, we will be more than happy to share it with the peopl= e of the territory, because Yukoners want opportunity, not speculation. <= /p>

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Speaker: Ord= er, please.

The ti= me being 5:30 p.m., this House now stands adjourned until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.=

Debate on Motion for the Production of Papers No= . 8, and the proposed amendment, accordingly adjourned

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The House adjourned at 5:30 p.m.

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