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Yukon Legislative Assembly=

Whitehorse, Yukon

Monday, April 23, 2018 — 1:00 p.m.

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Speaker: I w= ill now call the House to order.

We wil= l proceed at this time with prayers.

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Prayers

Daily Routine

Speaker: We = will proceed with the Order Paper.

Tribut= es.

TRIBUTES

In recognition of school councils, Carol Coote and school graduations

Hon. Ms. McPhee: As we approach the end of our school year, I would like to recognize the stude= nts, families and school communities of the Yukon. Students have worked hard all= year, and their families have been busy behind the scenes, rushing to school buse= s, helping with school events and packing the dreaded lunches.

Part o= f our students’ success at school is thanks to the good work of school coun= cils and communities. I know first-hand from my time on school council how challenging and important their contributions are. This spring, there is an upcoming election for new school council members. I encourage people to consider running for a seat on their local school council and voting at the= ir local school on May 7, 2018. School councils’ leadership in their sch= ool community shapes the character of our schools, ensures that students’ needs are met and involves families in their child’s life at school. I would like to thank all school council members for their dedication and commitment.

I woul= d also like to take the opportunity to recognize an organization that supports sch= ool councils in their important work, the Association of Yukon School Councils, Boards and Committees — known as the AYSCBC — and its founding executive director, Carol Coote. Carol Coote served the AYSCBC in the Yukon in this role fro= m 2001 to 2017.

Her ma= ny, many years of supporting and encouraging school councils has led to greater and = more informed parent participation in schools. We know that student success is enhanced by a family’s participation in school and school activities. Over the years, Carol served on numerous education committees. Her voice at these tables brought community perspectives to conversations and many decis= ions about programs and services in schools. Carol’s leadership and advice= has been critical in the growth of school councils.

On beh= alf of the government, I would like to thank Ms. Coote for her dedicated contributions to schools and to school councils across the territory. We wish her all the best in her future challenges.

Just a= s Ms. Coote is moving on to the next adventure, so are many= Yukon students as they graduate this year — also the students moving from elementary school to high school, those graduating from high school or from Yukon College, and Yukoners graduating from colleges and universities and programs across the country and beyond. Whether a student is moving on from kindergarten, high school or post-secondary, they are about to face new challenges in their education, careers and lives.

Lifelo= ng learners contribute to happy and healthy communities. Such an important rol= e is played by our students, families and friends and mentors, so thank you to a= ll those who instill confidence and support our students to realize their goal= s.

Thank = you, Mr. Speaker.

Applause

 

Mr. Kent: I rise today on behalf of the Yukon Party Official Opposition and the Third P= arty to recognize the hard work and dedication of our school councils across the territory.

Until = a person puts their name forward to serve on a school council, it is hard to grasp j= ust how much work is required of the position.

I know= that many members of this House on both sides of the aisle have served on school coun= cils at various times, so they would recognize the hard work that goes into these jobs.

School= councils are made up of parents of children who attend a Yukon school or residents w= ho reside within the school’s attendance area. The duties of school coun= cil members range from advising on matters of interest to the school and the Department of Education, participating in the hiring of school principals, providing frameworks on how to spend school budgets and reviewing disciplin= ary policies.

These = are not small feats and they require a high level of dedication and a desire to sup= port and enhance student learning. We all know that education is a partnership. = It requires the cooperation of parents, students, administrators, teachers, sc= hool councils, all levels of government and the community. School council members not only strengthen this partnership, but work to ensure quality education = for Yukon students and an accountable education system here in the territory. T= hank you to each and every one of our Yukon school council members for all you d= o to support Yukon students and education.

As the= minister mentioned, school council general elections are held every two years to ele= ct between three and seven members for each school council. The next school council election is to take place on May 7. In order to participate as a candidate, a nomination paper must be filed by this Thursday, April 26, 201= 8. For more information on becoming a candidate or details on school council elections, we encourage Yukoners to contact Elections Yukon or visit their website.

Like t= he minister, I would also like to give a very special thank you to Carol Coote and the AYSCBC for all the work they have done = in supporting our school councils over the years. I would also like to congratulate and wish Sue Harding the best of luck on her new position as president of the Yukon Teachers’ Association.

In con= clusion, I would like to congratulate all of the classes of 2018. I hope everyone has a safe and happy graduation and best of luck in your future endeavours.

Applause

In recognition of National Day of Mourning

Hon. Ms. Dendys: I rise today on behalf of the Yukon Liberal government to pay tribute to the = Day of Mourning.

When I= was young, I would race home from school every day. I went to Jack Hulland and = lived just a few blocks away. I would meet my sisters there and we would wait for= our mom. She worked downtown and usually got home shortly after we did. We would spend long anxious moments anticipating her arrival. The house seemed enorm= ous and especially empty without her there. We would make as much noise as we c= ould to fill up the silence of her temporary absence, and even though we would t= urn on the lights, the room still seemed a little bit dim.

Eventu= ally, we would hear her pull up outside. The car door would open, then close; her footsteps would approach the house; the front door would open, and when she walked in, it felt like that moment when the dark clouds part on a cold day= and the bright sun warms your face with its light. There was nothing better than when mom got home from work.

As I s= tand here today and reflect on the Day of Mourning, I can’t help but wonder, “What if she didn’t come home one day? What if my sisters and I= had been left alone because of something that happened to her at work?” I feel blessed to say that this was never the case, but I am pained to recogn= ize that it is not true for everyone.

People= still die in Yukon because of their experiences at work, and workers still suffer ser= ious injuries on a daily basis.

The wo= rkplace is where many of us spend most of our time. It defines who we are as people an= d as citizens. It’s a place that, for many, is always the same, but, for s= ome, is ever-changing. For a mechanic, one garage might be their workplace for d= ecades. For a field biologist, every day could bring a new work environment. Regard= less of what defines a “workplace” for any person, they have the rig= ht for it to be safe. They have the right to it not threatening their health. = They have the right to leaving in the same condition in which they entered it. T= hat goes for their body and their mind. In recent years, we have come to recogn= ize that workers’ mental health must be safeguarded with the same steadfastness as their physical health. That is reflected in this year̵= 7;s Day of Mourning ceremony.

The th= eme is: “Violence and harassment: not part of the job”. This expression captures the spirit of a new era here in Yukon. It began last year when we,= as a Legislature, made amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act and established a PTSD presumption for emergency respo= nse workers. We also amended the Occupa= tional Health and Safety Act to enable the development of regulations that will protect mental health in the workplace.

A long= time ago, some words of wisdom were passed on to me by a mentor: “Tomorrow is n= ever guaranteed — be grateful for each day.” I cherish that notion, = but I do not accept that work should ever be allowed to threaten a night’s peaceful sleep or the dawning of a new day. Work should never rob a child of their parent or any person of their friend or loved one. Work empowers us. = It should never defeat us, and it never will.

Work a= nd safety are complementary initiatives. Together, they are stronger. I know this bec= ause I see workplace health and safety practices getting better year after year.= I see children being born into a culture of safety that fosters their growth = into safe workplaces of the future. I can see the territory itself growing stron= ger and richer as work and safety unite.

I know= that one day, someone will stand here in my place and celebrate the fact that a year passed in Yukon without a single worker injured or killed. I can sense their future pride from my position in history. However, I know that, for now, we still have to turn to one another for comfort in the face of losses that continue.

Please= consider attending the Day of Mourning ceremony this Saturday, April 28. It will take place at 12:30 p.m. in the Shipyards Park at the workers memorial monument.=

We hav= e a number of guests and I will introduce them at that time on our Order Paper. Thank = you so much for coming today. You are very much appreciated.

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Ms. McLeod: I rise today on behalf of the Yukon Party Official Opposition in recognition = of the National Day of Mourning.

This S= aturday, April 28, we commemorate workers who have been injured or killed due to workplace-related incidents. We recognize those who went to work on a normal day and either did not make it home to their families or sustained injuries= on the job.

Each y= ear, we call on our community to make a commitment to the safety of themselves and their co-workers. We ask that safety standards are reviewed by employers and that employees are tasked with meeting them. Each year, we remind Yukoners that workplace injury and death are preventable, but only if safety is taken seriously. It is easy to make a commitment each year on April 28 to be safe, but we have to make this commitment each and every day. We need to continue= to focus our attention on workplace health and safety and the importance of adhering to safety regulations on the job. Employers and employees must wor= k in partnership to improve health and safety conditions in the workplace. Workp= lace injuries are preventable and the responsibility for safety belongs to each = one of us.

As we = pause to think about and mourn those who have been injured or killed on the job, ref= lect on what the concept of workplace safety means to you and strive to make it a priority within your workplace. We must make a commitment to our communities and to ourselves to improve health and safety conditions on the job.=

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Ms. White:= 195;I rise today on behalf of the Yukon NDP caucus to pay tribute to the National= Day of Mourning for workers injured and killed at work.

Like f= ar more Canadians than maybe we realize, the Day of Mourning is a very personal one= for my colleague and me. Between us we have lost a father, a colleague and close friends. How many of us out there are feeling the heartache of loss this Ap= ril? How many new people will be joining ceremonies across the country — s= ome for the first time — because they have been impacted by lives that we= re lost to or affected by workplace injuries or accidents this year in Canada? There are countless numbers of Canadians who feel like we do, who feel the = very real loss of a loved one, a friend or a colleague who was taken before their time. Families, workplaces and communities won’t ever be the same aft= er one of these losses.

I wish= that Yukon families had been spared this burden and were not included in these ranks, but we are and we continue to be. Those left behind all try to figur= e it out. We try to find the hidden meaning behind a loss and try to somehow make sense of the senselessness. It pains me deeply that people across the count= ry and here at home are wrestling with feelings of loss and heartache, and ask= ing themselves how an ordinary day could end so badly.

What d= oes your ordinary routine look like before you head off to work? Are you in the midd= le of the chaos of a busy house or do you savour the silence of the world waki= ng up? Do you spend some time with your kids, herding them toward the door or = the school bus, reminding them of homework and after-school activities? When you get up in the morning, going through your normal routine before heading out= the door, how many of us stop and think: This may be the last time I do this. M= aybe tomorrow my life will be different. We don’t and we shouldn’t — no one should live with these fears looming around the corner, but there exists the sad reality that there is no guarantee that you or the one= you love will make it home from work. That is why we have the Day of Mourning — to remember those who didn’t make it home.

Every = April, we mourn the stories that never got finished, the thousands of bedtime stories= that never got read, the countless numbers of sunrises and sunsets that never got savoured, the dog scratches and kitten cuddles missed, the smiles, laughter, graduations, weddings and life events that weren’t shared, the tears = that never fell and the millions of tears that did. Loss is never easy, but= the unexpected loss to a workplace incident is indescribable.

The Da= y of Mourning is more than just a ceremony or a pledge; it is about people and families. We honour those lives that have been dramatically altered, those lives that were lost and those who are left behind to do the remembering. We need more than pledges to do better to keep each other safe. We invite ever= yone to join us in remembering at the workers memorial at Shipyards Park on Saturday, April 28 at 12:30 p.m.

Speaker: Int= roduction of visitors.

Introduction of Visitors

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I ask my colleagues to help me in welcoming some visitors who = we have here today. With us we have Tracy Thomas, the new executive director of the AYSCBC. We have, of course, Carol Coote, the founding executive director of the AYSCBC, and some of her family and frien= ds with us. We have Brian Farrell, Darnel Coote, <= span class=3DSpellE>Duchane Richard, Neil MacDonald, Emily Farrell and Pe= nelope Gawn. Thank you for all that you do for our communities and for being here today.

Applause

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Hon. Ms. Dendys: I would ask all my colleagues in the House today to help me we= lcome Linda Moen, Lee Tanguay and Justin Lemphers. They’re all from the Yukon Federation= of Labour. Thank you so much for being here.

From t= he Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board, we have Kurt Dieckmann, who is the president and CEO; Mark Pike, the chair of the board; and a numb= er of staff members. We have Bruce Milligan, Andrew Robul= ack, Sheila Vanderbyl, Nathalie Ouellet, Pauli Gabb, Clarence Timmons, Jes= syca Gutt and Lucie Wrig= ht. Thank you so much for all that you do on behalf of all Yukoners. We really appreciate the work that you do for us, so thank you for coming today.

Applause

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Speaker: Are= there any further introductions of visitors?

Are th= ere any returns or documents for tabling?

Tabling Returns and Documents

Hon. Ms. Frost: I have for tabling a number of documents today.

I woul= d like to table the Environment Act perfo= rmance audit report from 2012 to 2015.

I woul= d like to also table two responses to questions raised by the Member for Porter Creek North on April 16.

I also= have for tabling a document as it relates to a matter outstanding for the discussion related to Vote 52, Department of Environment, in Bill No. 206, entitl= ed First Appropriation Act 2018-19, on April 12. This map of the boreal caribou population range is, as requested,= for the MLA for Takhini-Kopper King.

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Hon. Ms. McPhee: I have for tabling the annual report for the Department of Edu= cation for 2017, which is tabled pursuant to section 5(h) of the Education Act.

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Mr. Kent: I have for tabling a screenshot of a Facebook conversation between the Premier and a constituent of the Member for Kluane on October 29, 2016.

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Mr. Istchenko: I have for tabling a letter to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources regarding the Alaska Highway west local = area planning process.

 

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

Are th= ere any reports of committees?

Petiti= ons.

PETITIONS

Petition No. 2 — re= sponse

Hon. Ms. Frost: I rise in response to Petition No. 2 calling on me, as Minister of Environmen= t, to reappoint John Trotter to the Alsek Renewable Resources Council. While I thank those individuals who have taken the time to sign the petition, I must advise that there is a defined process under Yukon First Nation final agreements, which we must follow with respect to appointments to councils.<= /span>

The Champagne and Aishihik Final Agreement= identifies that the Alsek Renewable Resources Council has six full members; half are nominated by Yukon First Nations and half by the Government of Yukon. Appointments to the renewable resources councils are made by Cabinet. Eligibility requirements for councils are outlined in Chapter 16 of the fin= al agreement, which also guides the nomination and appointment process. In the spirit and intent of the final agreement, which established the renewable resources councils, these appointments are not political. Once appointed, t= he council members must work within the renewable resources councils’ mandate pursuant to the final agreement and the RRC’s operational man= ual.

Renewa= ble resources councils are community-based groups that provide input, advice and recommendations to government. While I have this opportunity, I would like = to express my appreciation for the important contribution of Yukoners who sit = on various boards and committees on behalf of their communities. Their work and deliberations are important to the government. In the 2018-19 fiscal year a= lone, we have had over 80 vacancies on the renewable resources council which have been filled through this process.

We wil= l continue to work in a timely manner to fill vacancies to ensure continuity for renew= able resources councils in Yukon.

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Speaker: Are= there any petitions to be presented?

Are th= ere any bills to be introduced?

Are th= ere any notices of motions?

Notices of Motions

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

THAT t= his House urges the Government of Yukon to include energy storage technology and ener= gy storage targets in its independent power production policy.

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

THAT t= his House urges the Yukon government to use its 2018-19 budget to develop communicati= ons infrastructure in rural Yukon, including partnering with the private sector= to expand cellular phone coverage to people without service in areas including Grizzly Valley, Deep Creek, Fox Lake, Ibex Valley, Junction 37, Champagne a= nd Mendenhall.

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

THAT t= his House urges the Government of Yukon to ensure Yukoners get the best care every ti= me by:

(1) not outsourcing microbiology testing to outside resources;

(2) up= grading equipment in the microbiology laboratory at Whitehorse General Hospital to ensure access to timely results; and

(3) su= pporting staff to receive and maintain up-to-date training on the new and existing equipment.

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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: Carbon= tax

Mr. Kent: Last week, we highlighted how the Premier and his Liberal candidates authored a = work of fiction during the election by telling Yukoners that every single dollar from the carbon tax would go back to every individual’s pocket.

Unfort= unately, the Premier suggested that, even though that was what he promised, anyone w= ho believed that was the way it would work was naïve.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, the Official Opposition has obtained copies of Facebook messages sent by the Premier himself, proving that he was telling Yukoners that everyone would g= et every cent back. Here is what the Premier wrote in a Facebook message ̵= 2; and I quote: “… if a 3-4 man placer camp spends $2500 carbon ta= x on average, we will give back in cash. So the tax doesn’t effect them...” That is directly from the Premi= er, Mr. Speaker. If you pay $2,500, then you get $2,500 back in cash. Those are his own word= s.

Does t= he Premier still think that Yukoners who believe they would get everything back, like = he promised, are naïve?

Hon. Mr. Silver: We, again, see some needless confusion from the Yukon Party. We remain committed to our carbon-pricing mechanism rebate, which is that every dollar will be going back into individuals’ pockets. We committed to = that in the campaign and we’ll move forward with that commitment.

The qu= ote from that conversation on Facebook did use the words “on average”, a= nd that is how carbon pricing works. The members opposite know that.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, if you take a look at how much money is going to actually go back to Yukone= rs and Yukon businesses — as a complete whole — it is probably more than 100 percent if you take a look at the Government of Yukon’s contribution, and also the people travelling through the Yukon contributing= to that pot of money as well.

We rem= ain committed to our campaign promise, which was to make sure that 100 percent = of the money that is collected in the Yukon for a federal carbon-pricing mecha= nism — 100 percent of those fees that are collected — will go back to Yukoners and to Yukon businesses.

Mr. Kent: Let me read another quote from the Premier’s Facebook messages. The individual who was speaking with the Premier asked — and I quote: “What do I get out of the deal other than about an $1,800 a year incr= ease in my cost of commuting?” The Premier replied — and I quote aga= in: “… grant money for new windows. and all that extra carbon tax m= oney back in your pocket…” “Back in your pocket” is what= the Premier said — “… all that extra carbon tax money back in your pocket…”

Last w= eek, the Premier laughed off the suggestion that each Yukoner would get all their mo= ney back, so either the Premier forgot he promised this, or he was just saying = this to get elected, knowing full well that he wouldn’t honour this commitment. Which is it, Mr. Speaker?

Hon. Mr. Silver: Again, we committed to 100 percent of the money collected in t= he Yukon — 100 percent of that money — going back to Yukoners and Yukon businesses. I don’t know what part of that the members opposite have a hard time understanding.

Maybe = it is the matter of figuring out how the rebates are going to actually be given. We a= re looking forward to the work that we’re going to do with the Chamber of Commerce when it comes to how the businesses will be rebated. We are going = to be listening to Yukoners from “what we heard” — we get the document out in December — as to their suggestions of how to rebate t= hat money. Again, Mr. Speaker, we maintain the commitment that 100 percent= of the money collected in Yukon will be given back to Yukoners and Yukon businesses.

Mr. Kent:Q= 95;We know that the Premier promised Yukoners that everyone would get every dollar back that they pay into the carbon tax. In October 2016, he told CHON FM — and I quote: “…100 percent stays in your pocket for Yuk= on Liberal Party.” On Facebook, he wrote to someone in a private message= to say — and again I quote: “… if a 3-4 man placer camp spen= ds $2500 on the carbon tax on average, we will give back in cash. So the tax doesn’t effect them…” In that= same Facebook message, he also stated that you would get — and I quote: “… all that extra carbon tax money back in your pocket…”

Howeve= r, last week, the Premier said that anyone who actually believed that they would get all the money back is naïve. Well, the only person who is naïve is the Premier for thinking that he could get away with this and not get caugh= t.

Will t= he Premier apologize to Yukoners and live up to his promise that every individual Yuko= ner and Yukon business will get 100 percent of their money back?

Hon. Mr. Silver: Oh, how the mighty have fallen. A once-proud Yukon Party gover= nment reduced to soap-opera-style politics, Mr. Speaker. It is unbelievable.=

Again,= we have been very clear in our campaign commitment to giving 100 percent — I don’t know if the member opposite can hear me through my mic — again, 100 percent of the money collected in the Yukon to Yukon individuals= and Yukon businesses. We remain committed to that. It will be interesting to see the Yukon Party’s chagrin when these rebate cheques start coming out = in the mail. I guess they don’t want to see us rebating this money to Yu= kon businesses, because we keep saying that we are going to do it, and they keep having complaints about it. We keep saying that we are giving back the mone= y to Yukon individuals and we keep hearing complaints about it.

Again,= Mr. Speaker, no change here — just another question from the opposition on this and another answer from the Premier saying that we will give 100 percent of the money collected to Yukon businesses and Yukon individuals.

Question re: Carbon tax

Mr. Istchenko: We know that the Premier promised that every Yukoner would get every cent back= on this carbon tax that he has signed on to. Not only did he say this on the radio, but Liberal candidates were going door to door during the election saying this. Facebook messages directly from the Premier confirm this as we= ll; however, the good work of the Yukon Party last week revealed that GST will = be charged on top of the carbon tax and Yukoners are not going to get that mon= ey back. This tax on a tax is going to take even more money out of the territory’s economy and Yukoners aren’t getting any of it back.=

Why di= d the Premier tell Yukoners that they would get 100 percent of the carbon tax mon= ey back in their pockets even though it isn’t true?

Hon. Mr. Silver: I hate to tell the Yukon Party this, but the concept of the GST debate has be= en going on in the nation for quite awhile, so it = is good that they finally caught up to that conversation.

Again, let’s review the facts. The federal government is implementing a carbon-pricing mechanism across the country. We are not implementing our own mechanism, so the federal government backstop will apply here in the Yukon.= The Yukon Party seems to be hung up on some kind of fantasy that Yukoners could somehow avoid that carbon-pricing mechanism altogether. But again, I digres= s.

We neg= otiated an agreement with the federal government to have all of the carbon-pricing revenues returned here to the Yukon. That is good news, Mr. Speaker, to Yukon businesses and Yukon individuals. We will distribute it to Yukoners through a rebate, just like we committed. Without our negotiations with the federal government, this money wasn’t coming back to Yukoners. It wou= ld be interesting to see what the Yukon Party would do if they were in power a= nd Ottawa was going to collect all of that money and then Ottawa was going to decide how to spend that money.

Mr. Istchenko: During the election, the Premier told Yukoners that everyone would get 100 percent= of the carbon tax money back in their pockets. According to the Premier’s Facebook message — he went on and said that a placer mining camp that paid $2,500 in carbon tax would get that $2,500 back in cash. In those same Facebook messages, he also told an individual that they would get all the e= xtra carbon tax money back in their pocket.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, I have a simple question for the Premier. This is switching from fantasy to reality for the Premier — let’s not forget that. It is estimated that the Liberal carbon tax scheme is going to increase the cost of living = in rural Yukon by $825 per household. The Premier promised during the election that the carbon tax money goes back into your pocket. So I have a simple question for the Premier: Will every rural household get back that $825 = 212; yes or no?

Hon. Mr. Silver: Again the Yukon Party is confusing indirect and direct costs to their advantage. They are taking my quote that they just put into the Legislative Assembly on record and only using part of it in the response — very interesting style from the Yukon Party.

Again,= Mr. Speaker, we have committed to giving 100 percent of the rebate — 100 percent of that money collected here in the Yukon — back to Yukoners.

I don&= #8217;t know if the member opposite knows this or not, but when he is using the amo= unt of $800, he’s talking about direct and indirect costs. I guess what he wants me to do now is to go into Ottawa, into Quebec and into British Colum= bia and Alberta and give back that money that has been collected in those carbon-pricing mechanisms. I don’t know if that’s what he wants= or if he doesn’t know the difference between direct and indirect costs, = but that’s what that $800 amount is. We have committed that any money collected here in the Yukon will go back 100 percent to Yukoners.

Question re: Ombudsman, Information and Privacy Commissioner, and Public Inter= est Disclosure Commissioner 2017 annual report

Ms. Hanson: &= #8195;The Office of the Ombudsman, the Information and Privacy Commissioner and the Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner issued an omnibus annual report last week. My questions today have to do with this report and the legislation th= at guides this office.

The Ombudsman’s office has pointed out that Yukon is the only jurisdictio= n in Canada where the Ombudsman doesn’t have the ability to initiate inves= tigations on its own. Currently, the only way an investigation can be launched is if a complaint by someone directly affected is filed with the Ombudsman. It̵= 7;s easy to understand how this both limits the action of the Ombudsman and disadvantages vulnerable people who may not be familiar with the Ombudsman’s office or the process involved.

When w= ill this government give the Ombudsman the power to initiate its own investigations = like every other Ombudsman in Canada?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: The member opposite is correct. The Ombudsman has just issued = her annual report. She does have commentary in there about improvements that she suggests with respect to the legislation. She is an officer of the Legislat= ive Assembly, of course, and reports to this Legislative Assembly through the Members’ Services Board, which is an all-party committee in which contemplation of such matters takes place. In addition to that, what is contemplated in the question is a legislative change, so, obviously, the all-party committee will need to contemplate the annual report, take into account what the Ombudsman has suggested and make some decisions and direct= ion for this Legislative Assembly.

Ms. Hanson: Ultimately, it is government that makes that decision. The report also speaks about the limits of Yukon’s access-to-information and privacy laws. Those limits are obvious to anyone who has ever filed an access-to-information request. = In fact, this very morning, our office received an ATIPP containing over 50 completely blank pages.

The pr= evious government amended the ATIPP act, making Yukon government one of the most secretive in Yukon. At the time, when he was in opposition, the Premier sai= d of the amendments — and I quote: “They are a step backward and only serve to keep information from the public, period.”

The mi= nister responsible has stated that draft amendments to the ATIPP act will be distributed for consultation this May. Will the amendments roll back the changes made to ATIPP by the previous government that, in the Premier’= ;s own words, only serve to keep information from the public?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I want to thank the Leader of the Third Party for her question= this afternoon because, frankly, the public’s access to information is a subject that is very important to me and it is very important to society. I= t is one of the reasons why we have undertaken a review, a rewrite and recasting= of the ATIPP legislation so that it reflects today’s modern society.

The de= partment is currently doing the good work to look at how to improve, bolster and strengthen our privacy protections that we have in that act as well as maki= ng sure that we get as much information as we humanly can to the people of the territory, who own the information. I have projected — I have spoken = to the media about this and I have spoken in this House about this — this information is the public’s information. There are privacy concerns, = of course, and we have to respect that, but, for most of the information held = by this government, it is the public’s information.

We hav= e an open data repository that we are launching; we are rewriting the ATIPP act; we a= re doing a lot of good work on this front, and I am more than happy to talk ab= out it at length to the member’s next question.

Ms. Hanson: Unfortunately, he didn’t answer the question about the ATIPP act.

The th= ird section of the annual report speaks to the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act, known as the whistle-blower act.= The act was proclaimed three years ago; it says that government departments and corporations have to develop their own disclosure procedures and educate th= eir employees on their rights and the process to follow to make a disclosure. Y= et the commissioner is — and I quote: “… not aware of any wo= rk undertaken by public entities” — that includes departments R= 12; “to inform their staff.” The commissioner adds that she is only aware of one public entity currently drafting disclosure policies.

Why ar= e all government departments except one not complying with the whistle-blower legislation and failing to implement disclosure procedures?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for this question as well. I have gone through the annual reports released last week as well, and we have done a lot of talkin= g in the last few weeks about the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act that was passed by this House in 2014, I believe.

Imagin= e my surprise to learn that, after that legislation was passed, suddenly it went= to radio silence. There was no work done. There was no work done on this integ= ral piece of legislation designed to protect our civil servants from reprisal should they come forward with legitimate and significant concerns of wrongd= oing and malfeasance in this government. Well, that’s part and parcel of a much bigger discussion. It has to do with the legacy of fear that we see in this territory that goes back years, which this legislation was supposed to address.

Frankl= y, my colleagues here and I are committed to dispelling this legacy of fear. I ha= ve spoken at length about the processes that people can use to go forward. I h= ave spoken with the Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner recently. These processes are going to get beefed up under our watch.

Question re: Pharmacare

Ms. White: Last week, the federal government released the report Pharmacare Now: Prescription Medicine Coverage for All Canadians. It should come as no surprise that a universal pharmacare program would red= uce drug costs, ensure all Canadians have access to needed medication and save taxpayers’ money.

This g= overnment talks about the importance of research and statistics. In Yukon, we have the highest prescription drug costs in the country — not a particularly g= reat statistic. Will this government be looking at universal pharmacare for Yuko= ners in order to bring down drug costs, reduce poverty, and ensure access to necessary and prescribed medications for all Yukoners?

Hon. Ms. Frost: Certainly, the Department of Health and Social Services is rev= iewing the overall federal mandate and we are taking that into consideration as we proceed in the Yukon. We will assess the costs of pharmacare, recognizing t= hat it is an increasing cost for us here in the Yukon. It is certainly something that we would take under advisement and proceed with as we review our polic= ies and procedures to better align with federal initiatives.

Ms. White: In the past, the government has participated in bulk-buying with other territo= ries and provinces to help reduce the costs of prescription drugs. Unfortunately, the negotiations were only for a few drugs.

The Pa= rliamentary Budget Officer, in a review of a national pharmacare program, noted that un= less the country changed its approach and began to take a harder line with pharmaceutical companies, costs would only continue to climb.

So is = this government partnering with other provinces and territories to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to reduce the high costs of drugs in Yukon?=

Hon. Ms. Frost: Yes, we are. We are working with our northern colleagues, specifically looking at the work that we’re doing with Nunavut and Northwest Territories. We sit at the federal table — the P/T table — and part of the review is to look at efficiencies across the countr= y. Right now, the federal government is going out and looking at the high cost= of drugs and trying to streamline through a federal process and through their federal policies. We are engaging in that process and we will continue to d= o so to ensure that we align ourselves nicely with the rising costs of pharmaceuticals.

As wel= l, there are specialized drugs that are required and the cost is astronomical, as the members opposite know. That is something that is clearly problematic for us= . We do want to ensure that, as we look at our relationship with physicians and = our relationship with the caregivers, that we provide the best services possible and ensure that collaborative care and the wraparound care that is required — that those who come into acute care requirements or services within= the Yukon are given the supports.

Ms. White: That question was about our relationship with pharmaceutical companies, not about our relationship with physicians.

Not ev= ery Yukoner has a private health insurance program they can rely on to cover the cost of their medications. Even with the coverage through chronic disease programs, there are still gaps. For the person who is not covered by the chronic disease program, either their prescription goes unfilled, or someth= ing else goes missing in a person’s life — food, bills and other necessities. Research has shown that one in 10 Canadians cannot afford to f= ill the prescriptions their doctors write.

Does t= his government support federal universal pharmacare and are they pushing for it with the federal government?

Hon. Ms. Frost: We are working with the federal government on a universal appr= oach. We are going to work with our federal and provincial colleagues with respect to the response around universal pharmacare and our partnerships. Most definit= ely we do need to work with the physicians in the Yukon. We need to work with o= ur partners here in the Yukon as well as our national partners to ensure that = we best align services and efficiencies — and, of course, cross-manageme= nt.

Question re: F.H. Collins Secondary School sports field

Ms. Van Bibber: During Question Period earlier in this Sitting, we asked the Minister of Community Services why the budget document showed $6.8 mil= lion for the F.H. track and field, while the joint Canada-Yukon news release, is= sued two weeks later, said the project would cost $8.1 million. The minister was unable to answer the question at the time, but followed up with a legislative return. In the return, he stated that the federal government approved the extra $1.3 million as a contingency fund in case the proj= ect went overbudget. The return goes on to say that this funding is for factors that were not known when the project was designed and the budget set.

Why wo= uld this project be brought forward and included in the budget with a cost estimate = that could be 20 percent lower?

Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>I will try to respond that whenever we have infrastructure pro= jects, up until completion, there is always some uncertainty and some risk around = the costs with those projects. There is always some cost-overrun contingency th= at is put in, and all we do — and this is true of all projects — i= s, we just manage that over time. As you get closer to the project and to more refined designs, that contingency comes down.

The gr= eat news is that we’re investing a lot in infrastructure across the territory.= We have the ongoing gas tax funds. We have the clean water and waste-water fun= d, which is getting water and waste-water to our communities. We now have the small communities fund and we will be working with our partners — municipal governments and First Nation governments — to plan the six years by this coming fall. We now have coming forward the Investing in Cana= da infrastructure plan. I’m worried that they are going to change the na= me on these things again.

There = is just a lot of money that has come to the territory and it is good news for all of = our communities.

Ms. Van Bibber: Are all the projects in this budget in Yukon jointly funded wi= th Canada artificially inflated by 20 percent?

Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>There is nothing artificial about it. This is the appropriate = design practice and engineers — the professional groups that we work with — will always design to have contingencies in there. It is good to ha= ve those contingencies.

What is unfortunate is when we get large cost overruns — for example, with the F.H. Collins Secondary School. There are times when it doesn’t work a= nd that is because we don’t plan well in advance. It is really important that we plan far out and well in advance.

I thin= k on the track, we have been doing that work. I hope that we don’t have cost overruns, but it is always wise to have the contingencies in there. That is best practice.

Question re: Mining sector development

Mr. Hassard:&= #8195;Earlier this year, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources announced that before any work could commence on the ATAC tote road north of Keno, a road managem= ent plan and a subregional land use plan would have= to be completed. He set a deadline of March 31, 2020, to have this work finished.= The land use plan will require a committee to be set up.

With t= he clock now ticking, can the minister tell us if the committee has been appointed? = Have the terms of reference been set? If so, who is on the committee and will he make those terms of reference public?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Just for those who are not as aware of this particular convers= ation, which has to do with the ATAC tote road just north of Mayo, the Government = of Yukon and the First Nation of Na Cho Nyäk Dun have reached an agreement and issued a joint Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board decision document that may lead to the construction of an all-season tote r= oad by ATAC Resources to access their mineral exploration site north of Mayo. <= /span>

The pr= oposed tote road would cross settlement and non-settlement land, making both the F= irst Nation of Na Cho Nyäk Dun and the Government of Yukon decision bodies.= The agreement between the government and the First Nation was signed on February 21. It came into force and a joint decision document was issued for the tote road. The planning committee will endeavour to continue to look to submit f= or 2020. I will reach out to our department to find out the status on this.

I thin= k what is really concerning is the fact that there has been a spin, specifically by t= he Yukon Party, on this topic that it is a bad-news story. We have one of the largest — if not the largest — mining companies in the world — Barrick Gold — and their CEO commending this. We have our Fir= st Nation partners and First Nations across Canada looking at this and saying = that this is best practices. We have the local company cheering this on as well.= I am not sure why —

Speaker: Ord= er.

Mr. Hassard:&= #8195;I think what is more disturbing is the fact that we can’t get answers to very simple questions.

Obviou= sly, in a planning region of this size, there will be other proponents affected by th= ese actions. In reviewing a recent YESAB submission for a project located in the planning region, I have noticed that the Stewart River watershed plan was referenced by some of the organizations providing comments to the designated office. Can the minister assure other proponents that their projects will n= ot be delayed by two years or longer as a result of this planning exercise?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I appreciate that. I tried to give a little bit of context about what this project is. I would say specifically that I commend the staff at Energy, Mi= nes and Resources because we are talking about a specific case here where an NGO — I believe — identified the watershed within their statement, = and nobody else. Within a very short period of time I have had an opportunity to talk to industry, specifically the organizations that are moving forward, in this area. Certainly, I have clarified that our perspective, at this partic= ular point, is that we’re in a planning process.

We don= ’t see any negative impacts. We do have an obligation to speak to all of the stakeholders. I have outfitting operators who are coming to us as well, and they have concerns because they are being impacted by other stakeholders in= the region. They’re losing some of their concession areas to development.= We have people who are trapping in the area and we have to have conversations = with them. We have, of course, the First Nation itself.

Absolu= tely, this is a complex question. We have to ensure that —

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Hon. Mr. Pillai: As the Leader of the Third Party shouts across the way — this is part of land use planning, just to answer your question as well — so I will do both here at the same time and she can maybe wait and save one for later.

Anyway= , we think this is a fantastic project and a great relationship that we have built, an= d we think they are best practices and that’s why people are commending us= .

Mr. Hassard: I don’t think that the questions are actually that complex. I have asked about the committee, who has been appointed and what the terms of reference are. I have asked whether other proponents and their projects will possibly= be delayed.

Again = I will ask a fairly simple question, I think. We have well over 50 percent of the land mass of Yukon now off-limits for staking, so will the minister be able to t= ell us this: Will there be a staking ban instituted in this planning region at = any time during the next two years?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I believe I did answer the question — that there would n= ot be a delay in the other projects. I will just clarify that again.

The ma= jority of the staking bans, to clarify, have to do with the previous government’= ;s legal cases — one after another that they had within many regions = 212; and now we’re in a position where we’re trying to work, going forward, with specific First Nations to come up with agreements and a path forward on a series of areas so that we can get access for our amazing prospectors.

What I= can do is — when it comes to the specific details, I’m going to confer wi= th our partners, Na Cho Nyäk Dun. I can bring forward an update as well, = but at this point there are no concerns.

Once a= gain, we see it. It’s very clear — the same old story of fear, fear, fear — wherever we can lay it, whether it’s on carbon pricing or whe= ther it’s on mining. It certainly didn’t work before and Yukoners see right through it.

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Speaker: The= time for Question Period has now elapsed.

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

Orders of the Day

Speaker: Gov= ernment designated business, motions respecting committee reports.

Motions RESPECTING COMMITTEE REPORTS

Motion respecting Committ= ee Reports No. 2

Clerk: Motion respecting Committee Reports No. 2, standing in the name of Mr. Gallin= a.

Speaker: It = is moved by the Chair of Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges:

THAT t= he Second Report of the Standing Committe= e on Rules, Elections and Privileges, presented to the House on April 18, 20= 18, be concurred in; and

THAT t= he amendments to Standing Order 11 recommended by the committee be adopted.

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Mr. Gallina: I am pleased to speak to the second report from the Standing Committee on Rul= es, Elections and Privileges. This all-party committee remains active with input from members on all sides of the House, and for this engagement, I want to thank those members who sit on the committee and bring their ideas forward = and keep me to task as chair.

Our pr= imary focus as a committee is to continue to find efficiencies and modern ways of conducting our business with respect to the parliamentary procedures of this House. I feel as though, as a committee, we are finding these efficiencies,= and this is evident in the report we are speaking to today.

The co= mmittee is proposing two changes to the Standing Orders that govern this Assembly. The first would see the Introduction of Visitors come before Tributes in the Or= ders of the Day. The committee felt this adjustment would help visitors to this = Assembly by recognizing them individually up front. Visitors could then stay and lis= ten to tributes and any other business of the day and leave when they are ready= and not have to wonder if members will be recognizing them, as is the case with= our current order.

The se= cond proposed change speaks to modernizing our procedures and would see the Spea= ker of this House, at the beginning of a Spring, Fall or Special Sitting, recog= nize the First Nation’s traditional territory upon which we are conducting= our business. This is a significant step forward for this Assembly. It speaks to the importance that members of this House place on recognizing traditional territories within Yukon and the importance of relationships with all First Nation community members through the territory.

In clo= sing, I again want to thank the committee members for their contributions and willingness to participate in making our Standing Orders more efficient and modern, and I look forward to hearing from other members on this topic.

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Mr. Kent:Q= 95;I am one of the Official Opposition members on the SCREP committee, joined by my colleague, the Member for Lake Laberge as the other Official Opposition mem= ber. I would like to echo what the Member for Porter Creek Centre mentioned and thank all the members for their work in bringing forward these changes to t= he Standing Orders.

Member= s will remember that, in the previous SCREP committee report, we set the Sitting d= ates so that the Fall Sitting would start the first week of October and the Spri= ng Sitting would start the first week of March. That gives certainty, obviousl= y, for everyone involved with this Legislative Assembly — not just elect= ed members, but all those officials and others who provide support services to= the Assembly — so we are very happy with that.

We bro= ught in time limits on Tributes as well, which I think have done a good job in keep= ing us to task and help us as House Leaders work out the routine of Tributes. I thank the Government House Leader for her work on this as well, specificall= y in identifying Tributes as soon as possible, as well the House Leader for the Third Party. I think that this work is important to ensuring that our House= is as efficient as possible.

Of cou= rse, we will be supporting the changes that we are voting on today. I think that the changes to the Daily Routine by moving Introduction of Visitors to the top = of the routine, prior to Tributes, will make it a little less awkward for us in the House when we are introducing visitors who are here as part of a specif= ic tribute. I think we have all seen some of our visitors, after the tribute is complete, get up to go. I think that members on both sides of the House have asked them to remain until after Tributes so that they could be introduced,= so this will take care of that issue. This is something that came out of House Leaders’ meetings.

Again,= I thank the Member for Riverdale South and the Member for Takhini-Kopper King, work= ing as House Leaders with me to identify this as an issue and, of course, the acknowledgement of the traditional territory of the First Nation where the sitting is. I think it is a good start for us. It is something that we can = do as part of the Standing Orders. I know at SCREP, we have referenced Members’ Services Board and what their role would be in perhaps alter= ing the Legislative Chamber to reflect the First Nation contributions to the territory as well.

Again,= thank you to all the SCREP members for their work. We have an aggressive work plan to complete and I look forward to continuing that work with members from all parties in this House.

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Ms. Hanson: As the NDP member on the SCREP, I am pleased to stand in support of these prop= osed amendments to the Standing Orders and I echo much of what the House Leader = for the Official Opposition has indicated today.

These = two amendments to the Standing Orders represent, as he mentioned, part of the w= ork plan of the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges, and I th= ink it is good to be having regular reports from this Committee to the Legislat= ive Assembly because we set an expectation that the committee will continue to = meet and will in future be coming back to this House with further motions that m= ay be more challenging in some ways with respect to how we change some of the conventions that have guided the conduct of the Legislative Assembly.

I thin= k, just in reflecting on the conversation that the Committee had with respect to the motion that would amend the Standing Orders in terms of introductions of visitors and the conversation really centred around the fact that we are welcoming people to this House — their House. When you invite somebody into your home, you usually introduce them at the beginning of an evening o= r a gathering as opposed to after you have sat down to dinner. So we are inviti= ng people into the House — their House — and we are introducing th= em at the outset.

Of cou= rse, the notion that at each of the Sittings, the Fall Sitting and the Spring Sitting — maybe it’s from the days when there has been a past precedent where the Legislative Assembly has sat outside of Whitehorse, outside of the traditional territory of Ta’an Kwäch’än or Kwanlin Dün — so that the amendment would speak to the ability to also be recognizing the traditional territory of wherever this House sits.

Motion respecting Committee Report No. 2 agreed = to

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Speaker: Gov= ernment bills.

Government Bills

Bill No. 15: Cannabis Control and Regulation Act — Third Reading

Clerk:̳= 5;Third reading, Bill No.&n= bsp;15, standing in the name of the Hon. Ms. McPhee.

Hon. M= s. McPhee: I move that Bill No. = ;15, entitled Cannabis Control and Regul= ation Act, be now read a third time and do pass.

Speaker: It = has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 15, entitled Cannabis Control and Regulation Act, be now read a third time and do pass.

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Hon. Ms. McPhee: I would like to take this opportunity to thank Yukoners who engaged with our government to tell us their views on this very important topic. I would also like to thank the staff and the government officials who worked tirelessly — and I am happy to say, not endlessly — on this project and the bill that is now before the House. There is, of course, much more work to d= o as the legislation and the regulations evolve. The House has covered a signifi= cant amount of material during the debate on this bill and I would like to just = take a few moments to discuss the bill and its context before the vote. <= /p>

The Go= vernment of Canada is set to legalize cannabis in the summer of 2018. Legalization requires provinces and territories to prepare legislation that will regulate the possession, consumption, retail distribution and personal cultivation f= or their respective jurisdictions. Over the past nine months, our government h= as undertaken three rounds of engagement during which it has worked with First Nation governments, municipalities, stakeholders and the Yukon public. The proposed act works to meet the needs of Yukoners and seeks to balance the elimination of the illicit market, while providing for the health and safet= y of all Yukoners. In order to achieve these principles, the Yukon government’s proposed Cannabis Control and Regulation Act provides Yukoners with access to cannabis in= a controlled and coordinated manner.

The pr= oposed act explicitly sets a minimum age of 19 for the possession, consumption and cultivation of cannabis. It allows for the possession of 30 grams of cannab= is by adults who are 19 years of age or older. The act prohibits the possessio= n of any amount of cannabis by a person under the age of 19. Under the act, adul= ts will be allowed to grow up to four plants per household. Consumption of any form of cannabis in a vehicle or in public, including medical cannabis, will not be permitted. Those who wish to consume cannabis will be permitted to d= o so at a “dwelling-house”, including the property associated with t= he dwelling house. There is an extensive definition of “dwelling-house” in the legislation.

The ac= t has been developed to organize the sale of cannabis around the distributor corporati= on, controlling importation and wholesale of cannabis, while also working to support the private sector. The proposed act enables the private sector to provide retail and remote sale of cannabis and privately run consumption ve= nues in future.

As the= Member for Lake Laberge will no doubt take the opportunity to remind us, the Yukon= Party is not in favour of the governance model supported by Yukoners and presented in this bill — that of a distributor corporation. As previo= usly mentioned, it is the intent of the government to advance the development of licence-specific regulations, with the goal that there could be private retailers licensed as soon as possible, likely in the late spring or early summer of 2019.

Over t= he past months, we have heard support for a government distributor corporation, the need to take a cautious and well-thought-out process to legalization and the need to support the private sector. We believe that the proposed act provid= es for these priorities in a balanced and careful way.

Having= the distributor corporation control the importation and enforcement aspects is intended to ensure that the cannabis that is sold to retailers is licit and obtained in accordance with federal law. Further, this approach allows for = the monitoring of health and safety impacts of the legalization of cannabis