2001 Legislative Session: 5th Session, 36th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes
The printed version remains the official version.
THURSDAY, MARCH 29, 2001
Volume 22, Number 15
[ Page 17577 ]
The House met at 2:08 p.m.
Hon. U. Dosanjh: Hon. Speaker, I would like to introduce to the House some guests that I don't usually get the opportunity to introduce. I have my wife Raminder in the gallery with my three sons Pavel, Aseem and Umber, and their two very special guests, Bobby and Shauna. Would the House please make them welcome.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I have two sets of introductions to make today. First, from my riding, New Westminster, there are 30 adult students in the social services program at Douglas College who are here with their teacher Ms. Newman. I ask the House to join me in making them welcome.
Secondly, joining us in the gallery today are Chris Tollefson, who is the executive director of the University of Victoria's environmental law centre; Catherine Parker of the law firm Arvay Finlay; and Vicky Husband, conservation chair of the Sierra Club of B.C. All of these guests are strong advocates of the right of British Columbians to speak out on issues of public concern without intimidation, particularly when it comes to environmental and land use issues. Would all members join me in making them welcome.
G. Hogg: Joining us in the gallery is an alumnus of White Rock Elementary School and Earl Marriott Senior Secondary, who is now a student at the University of Victoria. Would you please welcome Ms. Kambi Wilson.
Hon. E. Conroy: Today in the gallery is my wife Katrine, who's been down here this week ensuring that I can navigate the halls in a manner that doesn't allow me to bounce off the walls. Would the House please make her welcome.
T. Nebbeling: We have with us two guests in the gallery. One is the former mayor of Chilliwack, Mr. John Les, who's also the candidate in the very-soon-to-be provincial election. And with him is Mr. Paul Danes, who has been an adviser to the city of Chilliwack for many, many years. Can we make them welcome.
J. Cashore: In the gallery today is a constituent and a member of the board of directors of the Douglas College student union. Her name is Carly Turner. This message was handed to me by a secret admirer.
B. Penner: It's my privilege today to make a number of introductions to the House. First of all, I'd like to welcome the mayor of Chilliwack, Clint Hames, along with the mayor of the district of Kent, Sylvia Pranger, and a councillor of the district of Kent, Ted Westlin. We had lunch today, and I know that earlier today they met with the Minister of Environment to talk about our community's frustration with the difficulty in removing gravel from the Fraser River.
It's also my privilege, along with the member for West Vancouver-Garibaldi, to welcome the former mayor of Chilliwack, John Les, who's currently in political purgatory awaiting the dropping of the writ, and his and my friend, Paul Danes. Would the House please make these people welcome.
D. Streifel: We have touring the precincts -- and I think some may be in the gallery right now -- a school group from Marysville Middle School in Marysville, Washington. Ms. S. Gonce is the teacher, and they have up to 60 students and 20 adults, and there are grade 6 students in the party. If they have the opportunity to be in here for part of question period, I just want to leave this thought with them. You have your college of electors, and we have question period here. Who knows which is more productive? Would the House please make them welcome.
R. Neufeld: I'd like to introduce to the House the mayor of Dawson Creek, Blair Lekstrom. He's watching us today. He's the candidate for Peace River South in the upcoming election.
Hon. E. Gillespie: It is my great pleasure today to welcome three constituents to this House: Liam Walton Roy Simmonds, aged about three months, born January 2, son of Laurel Walton and Keith Simmonds. I'd ask you all to please make them welcome.
G. Abbott: It is my pleasure to have two friends and constituents in the gallery today: Mayor Gordon Dale of the city of Enderby and Councillor Greg McCune from the same community. I'd like the House to make them welcome.
C. Hansen: There are two school groups in the Legislature today from Vancouver-Quilchena. There is a grade 4 class from Crofton House girls school and their teacher, Ms. Magrath. There is also a grade 10 class here from Prince of Wales Mini School and their teacher, Ms. Moon. I hope the House will make them welcome.
R. Thorpe: I'm pleased to have two guests today visiting from the Okanagan. The first one, Rowan Shaw, is a student at the University of Victoria, and he'll be graduating this year. The other is Aaron Dinwoodie, a director from the Central Okanagan regional district. Would the House please make them welcome.
Hon. G. Robertson: With us today is Keith Simmonds. Keith is my executive assistant, and although my colleague from Comox pointed out that his son Liam is from Courtenay, I want the members in this House to know that he was born in the Campbell River Hospital.
Hon. D. Zirnhelt: From 100 Mile House today is the Cariboo Christian School accompanied by their teacher, Ms. D. Raatz. There are about 20 of them here. Would you please make them welcome.
G. Farrell-Collins: I notice someone in the gallery who's no stranger to this House but hasn't been here much lately. I'd ask the House to make Jim Bennett welcome, please.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I've received word that also joining us in the gallery today is Sheila Gallagher, who is a legal adviser in the Premier's Office on secondment from my ministry. With her is James Sunter, who is a lawyer and negotiator with the native title services in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet in Queensland, Australia. He's on a nine-month exchange with a lawyer from the aboriginal litigation branch of my ministry. Would all members join me in making them welcome.
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M. Coell: I wonder if the House would join me in welcoming Patrick Rogers, who's no stranger to this chamber. Please make him welcome.
Introduction of Bills
Hon. C. Evans presented a message from His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor: a bill intituled Emergency Contraceptive Access Act.
Hon. C. Evans: I move that the bill be introduced and read a first time now.
Hon. C. Evans: On October 26 of the year 2000, cabinet approved regulations under the Pharmacists, Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act. These regulations allow pharmacists to dispense emergency contraceptive pills, also simply known as ECPs, for women without a doctor's prescription. This was done to give the women of B.C. immediate access to emergency contraceptive pills by making them available at their local pharmacy. This legislation validates those regulations and then confirms the right of British Columbia women to have convenient access to emergency contraception.
Emergency contraception pills have been available from agencies like Planned Parenthood, emergency rooms, public health nurses and doctors for nearly 30 years. The experience to date with the direct distribution by pharmacists indicates that this is a key addition to the convenient access of emergency contraception, and ready access is the key to emergency contraception.
The availability of ECPs through local pharmacies and pharmacists makes emergency contraception accessible for many women who might otherwise be denied this choice. There is nationwide support for the eventual delisting of ECPs, but for the time being B.C. is leading the country on this issue. All women have the right to choose when or if they want to get pregnant. ECPs are a backup form of contraception to prevent a pregnancy from occurring when a regular form of birth control fails. This government has always maintained that women have the right to choose. This legislation is the right thing to do for the right reasons. I am pleased to be able to table this legislation today.
I move that the Emergency Contraceptive Access Act be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House following today.
Bill 8 introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
ABORTION SERVICES STATUTES
AMENDMENT ACT, 2001
Hon. J. MacPhail presented a message from His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor: a bill intituled Abortion Services Statutes Amendment Act, 2001.
Hon. J. MacPhail: I move that the bill be introduced and read a first time now.
Hon. J. MacPhail: The Legislative Assembly voted yesterday in favour of a package of initiatives needed to help protect the right of women in British Columbia to reproductive choice. To help protect a woman's right to choose, this bill enshrines new protection in the statutes of British Columbia.
Right now, regulations to the Hospital Insurance Act contain a list of 33 B.C. hospitals required to provide abortion services, to give women access to these services throughout our province. Amendments to the Hospital Insurance Act contained in this bill will add one more hospital to that list and will place the list within the statute. The new provisions will allow more hospitals to be added to that list at any time, but none may be removed without further legislative amendment and debate. This bill also ensures that with very few exceptions, information about these services will not be released. This will enhance the privacy of women and service providers and will help protect them from harassment or harm.
By designating hospitals in statutes and by protecting information about these services and service providers, we continue to side with the women of British Columbia and their doctors and to act on our commitment to their right to choose. It is a right that should never be denied. I'm pleased to introduce this legislation today.
I move that the Abortion Services Statutes Amendment Act be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting after today.
Bill 21 introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
PROTECTION OF PUBLIC
Hon. G. Bowbrick presented a message from His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor: a bill intituled Protection of Public Participation Act.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: Hon. Speaker, I move that the bill be introduced and read a first time now.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: Hon. Speaker, I'm very pleased to introduce Bill 10, the Protection of Public Participation Act. The purposes of this bill are to encourage public participation and to dissuade persons from bringing or maintaining SLAPP suits -- also known as strategic lawsuits against public participation -- which are launched against persons for openly participating in public issues.
The bill will provide an opportunity at or before trial for a defendant to allege that a lawsuit is brought for an improper purpose and is therefore a SLAPP. A court may dismiss the lawsuit and reimburse the defendant for all the reasonable costs and expenses that they have incurred or may require the plaintiff to post security for all of the costs and damages that may be awarded to the defendant should the plaintiff lose at trial.
The bill further provides protection from liability for defamation if the defamatory communication or conduct con-
[ Page 17579 ]
stitutes public participation. Finally, the bill preserves the right of access to the courts for all proceedings and claims that are not brought or maintained for an improper purpose.
Hon. Speaker, I move that the bill be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
Bill 10 introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY
STATUTES AMENDMENT ACT, 2001
Hon. I Waddell presented a message from His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor: a bill intituled Environment and Sustainability Statutes Amendment Act, 2001.
Hon. I. Waddell: I move that the bill be introduced and read a first time now.
Hon. I. Waddell: It gives me great pleasure to introduce this bill today, which will establish a commissioner for environment and sustainability. The Premier committed to create this position, and today we are introducing legislation to meet that commitment.
This commissioner, independent of government, will report to the Members of the Legislative Assembly through a select standing committee. To save taxpayers money and reduce overhead, the commissioner will be based in the office of the auditor general. I'm pleased to report that the auditor general is fully supportive of the approach we have taken to establish this important position.
We will amend the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act to make environment and sustainability a measure of government's performance. The commissioner will report on our performance every year. Every two years the commissioner will issue a general report on the state of B.C.'s ecological health. In addition, British Columbians will be able to submit complaints to the commissioner for referral to appropriate ministries or Crown corporations.
In short, the legislation I'm introducing today will ensure that British Columbians get full, accurate, impartial information about the state of B.C.'s environment and what the government is doing to protect it.
A broad-based selection committee including members from both sides of the House will be struck by the auditor general to choose the first commissioner. We hope to have the position filled within the next few months.
Hon. Speaker, I move that the bill be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
Bill 7 introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
REPORT ON SNOWPACK LEVELS
R. Neufeld: The Environment ministry's reports on B.C.'s snowpack levels normally come out four times a month -- on time, like clockwork. The last report is now one week late. Since there are serious concerns at B.C. Hydro over water levels and snowpack levels, will the Minister of Environment tell us whether he has stopped collecting the data, or is he trying to hide more bad news -- that Hydro will not have the water to meet the Finance minister's fudge-it budget document?
The Speaker: Order, members.
Hon. I. Waddell: Hon. Speaker, I'd be pleased to answer the member's question. The answer is no, no, no, no. There is no problem with the report; the report will come out. We're not trying to stop any report. We are interested in the snowpack levels. As a matter of fact, I anticipated the member might ask me that a week or so ago, and I had a look at some of the snow reports around the province. What I'm told is that the snowpack really varies. It varies in the sense that if you're in the East Kootenays, there are some problems. If you're in Whistler or other parts of the province, it's doing quite well. But we have to wait and see.
I also asked questions of my officials about what has happened in the past with low levels. And there are some low levels this year, as previous reports have shown and people have said. They tell me that it can vary, that we can have late-season precipitation, that it's quite unpredictable. But the report will be released, and it will be there for the member to see we're not hiding anything.
The Speaker: The hon. member for Peace River North has a supplemental question.
R. Neufeld: If the Minister of Environment knew one week ago that the report was late and anticipated that we would ask the question, he should know that the snowpack is low in the north. He indicated that the snowpack was high in the north. I would like to ask the minister if he could tell me the name of the report we're referring to that he knows is one week late.
Hon. I. Waddell: I can tell the hon. member
Hon. I. Waddell: Well, you know, I just introduced a bill in the House today to make things transparent and make things open and have this report. It's exactly what I do as Environment minister, unlike the members opposite.
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COMPARISON OF B.C. AND
MANITOBA TAX LEVELS
G. Farrell-Collins: For the last week or so, the opposition has been raising questions about the budget, and many people in British Columbia have had many questions about the budget. But it has now gone beyond the borders of British Columbia.
I have a copy of the Winnipeg Free Press, and it turns out that the NDP government in Manitoba has questions about the NDP's budget numbers.
An Hon. Member: No.
G. Farrell-Collins: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I'll just quote from the article. It says:
I know there's a growing chorus of opposition to this budget. Can the minister tell us who we should believe: the new, pristine, clean NDP government in Manitoba or this NDP government that has brought in two fudge-it budgets and counting?
"Finance officials in Manitoba have complained to the British Columbia government after figures in the back of that province's budget painted a grim picture of Manitoba's tax load. B.C.'s calculations suggested that four out of six typical families would pay higher 2001 taxes in Manitoba than in any other province except Quebec
. . . .
"But Manitoba's number-crunchers" -- the NDP government in Manitoba -- "discovered that
. . .British Columbia . . .had made several miscalculations, including underestimating Manitoba's property tax credits."
Hon. P. Ramsey: I've asked ministry officials to look at the Manitoba figures and compare them to the ones that we released with the budget. Those are produced by ministry officials. Until I hear otherwise, I stand by them.
The Speaker: The Opposition House Leader has a supplemental question.
G. Farrell-Collins: It doesn't sound like your caucus stands by them -- or at least they'll wait to see the results.
The NDP in Manitoba went on to say that this government's budget figures say that British Columbia has the second-lowest tax rates in Canada. But the NDP in Manitoba, in their calculations, say that British Columbians pay the highest taxes in Canada west of Quebec. So I know that some people in British Columbia may have trouble deciding who they want to believe: the NDP government in Manitoba, who have just been re-elected with a fairly significant popular vote, or this government, who on the eve of an election produced yet another fudge-it budget.
Hon. P. Ramsey: Actually, there have been a number of comments on the budget. I want to read one:
Produced by that shill for the NDP government, the Bank of Montreal.
"With British Columbia about to call an election, it is a good time to take stock of the state of the province's fiscal situation. British Columbia has a lot going for it
. . .B.C. now has the most transparent and comprehensive financial reporting of any province. B.C. has the lowest corporate income tax rate for small business in the country. It has the second-lowest marginal tax rate for low-income earners among the provinces and the third lowest for middle-income earners. It has the second-lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the country . . .its debt-to-GDP ratio has remained remarkably steady . . . .It offers a comprehensive, well-funded set of health, education and social services."
The Speaker: Order, members.
C. Clark: You know, the real reason for optimism in the B.C. economy today, the only reason for it, is that there's going to be an election in the next couple of weeks. First, this Finance minister was caught inflating the Hydro revenues. Then he got caught inflating the ICBC revenues. Now he's been caught inflating the NDP budget numbers in Manitoba by 36 percent. Apparently he's not happy sticking to just fudging his own budget. But doesn't he think it's getting a bit ludicrous when he has to go outside B.C.'s borders to find new budgets to fudge?
Hon. P. Ramsey: Well, budgets are always an interesting topic of debate. The one thing we don't have, because the opposition has refused to present it, is what they intend to do. And the people of British Columbia know very well that the real choice is going to be between a government that has said that health and education must take priority over huge tax cuts if we're to preserve our fiscal stability. And we're going to do that on this side. But that side won't come clean. Their own advisers say: "Come clean. Are you going to run a deficit? Are you going to cut health and education?" Or which great Crown corporations are you going to sell, hon. members?
The Speaker: The member for Port Moody-Burnaby Mountain has a supplemental question.
C. Clark: Well, you'd better book the infomercial now, because the Finance minister has finally come up with a new miracle cure for B.C.'s big, heavy tax burden. You know what it is? Just make everybody else's taxes look higher. That's like trying to pretend you're losing weight by putting everybody else on a steady diet of high-calorie fudge.
Will the hon. minister tell us today whether Manitoba's is the only other provincial budget he has fudged, or has he gone out and fudged all the other province's numbers as well?
Hon. P. Ramsey: What a wonderful lot of interest in the budget. They refused to debate it in the House. They passed interim supply for $8 billion in 12 minutes.
Some Hon. Members: Twelve minutes?
Hon. P. Ramsey: Twelve minutes. And now they're full of questions. The people of the province are going to be full of questions as well. They're going to be full of questions about how on earth you reduce government revenues, increase funding for health and education, and maintain a balanced budget. It doesn't work, hon. members. You know it; your own advisers know it. You refuse to admit it. When are you going to come clean with the people of British Columbia and tell us your real plans?
M. de Jong: Last month ICBC purchased 30 minutes of air time from BCTV for a March 18 production that we're told
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was the ICBC story, in living colour. But they postponed that air date, and according to the briefing document we've got, it's because there was a concern about the broadcast falling too close to the election. My first question to the minister is: what was the total production cost of the cancelled propaganda piece?
Hon. J. MacPhail: Well, if the briefing document is the radio newscast in which I announced that I had advised the board of ICBC to think carefully about doing such a thing so close to the election and to not advise them, then that's fair, because I made that comment publicly at the time. So unfortunately, even the source of information to the Liberal opposition is about a month late. They could actually just turn on their radios and find out all of that information.
The record of ICBC since it was brought in, in 1973, by a New Democrat government is excellent. There are lots of reasons to celebrate that; there are lots of reasons why people should be concerned about that wonderful corporation still existing. I think the corporation has spent about $5,000 to date, to use it as an internal tool with their employees.
The Speaker: The hon. member for Matsqui has a supplemental question.
M. de Jong: If $5,000 is what was paid to BCTV for not using the 30 minutes, how much did it cost to produce the video?
Hon. J. MacPhail: I'd be happy to get that information for you, hon. Speaker. But I'll tell you something: ICBC talks amongst its employees all the time about what a wonderful corporation it is. I have to tell you something: the employees of ICBC do a wonderful job in keeping insurance rates frozen, implementing safety initiatives in this province that save lives and prevent crashes, and do a wonderful job on behalf of all of the policyholders. I fear for that future under a Liberal government.
The Speaker: The hon. member for Matsqui has a further supplemental question.
M. de Jong: The minister's first answer was particularly curious in light of the other positioning note that we have from her ministry -- that is, the one that says there is a new series of pre-election ads in the works. Those ads are apparently going to start in just a few days, actually on Monday. The note talks about the fact that questions may arise regarding the proximity of that ad campaign to an election.
To the minister: if you decided to pull the March 18 propaganda piece because of proximity to the election, on what possible basis are you now purporting to justify running a whole series of new ads within days of what we hope will finally be the election call?
Hon. J. MacPhail: The ads that are being put forward by ICBC have been approved by me. That's because they're all about road safety initiatives -- all of them. Every single one of them is about road safety initiatives by ICBC encouraging the public to drive more carefully, to take precautions, to save lives. That's what they're about.
I would also note that earlier in the week, this opposition raised the whole spectre that ICBC couldn't possibly manage its affairs and questioned the fact that road safety initiatives may not be going forward. Now we have ads with public information about how people need to drive more safely, and this opposition disagrees with that.
G. Plant: Well, the minister's answer, I think, gives rise to another question. We did learn earlier this week that the Insurance Corporation was ordered by the government to suspend its road safety fund. It seems to me a bit odd that on the one hand the minister is about to spend $366,000 to produce and air a bunch of ads about road safety, when on the other hand the Minister of Finance has said: "Stop spending that money." Perhaps the minister responsible for ICBC could explain why on earth the public of British Columbia needs to see one more ICBC pre-election ad.
Hon. J. MacPhail: You know, hon. Speaker, it is interesting, when you leak a whole bunch of documents to inexperienced, ill-informed and ignorant people, how ineffective those briefing documents actually are. You need the experience. Leaked documents only work so far. You need the experience of a thoughtful government committed to public insurance to work with those documents.
Since 1996 -- I think it was 1996 -- we introduced a six-point road safety plan, Road Sense. It has been singularly successful and well funded. These road safety ads actually are initiatives that have been in place since 1996. What the Minister of Finance has said to ICBC is that the new funding of initiatives that we're putting tens of millions of dollars into has to come before Treasury Board to make sure that they're going to be done in time -- and could even be expedited.
The Speaker: The bell ends question period.
The Speaker: Order, members.
TERMINATION OF THE
SOFTWOOD LUMBER AGREEMENT
Hon. U. Dosanjh: Hon. Speaker, I rise to make a statement on a matter of great importance to the working people, forest companies and forest-dependent communities of British Columbia.
On April 1, Canada's softwood lumber agreement with the United States expires. The expiration of this agreement brings with it serious economic concerns to this province and its economy -- an economy in which the forest industry is of critical importance. Make no mistake: while British Columbia's economy has diversified considerably since our first softwood lumber dispute with the United States in 1982, the forest industry is still a key player in the broader provincial economy and is the very lifeblood of many of our rural communities.
At the same time, our economic, environmental and social ties with the United States of America seem to grow closer and stronger every year. The U.S. is a vital trading partner, and we must ensure that we continue to enjoy a productive and mutually beneficial trading relationship with them.
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Much has been said in the press and by industry observers as to what Canada's and British Columbia's strategy in dealing with the expiration of the agreement ought to be. Some have suggested that B.C. should cut a deal with the U.S. to fend off countervailing duty and anti-dumping actions by the U.S. Others have said that we must increase stumpage rates in order to appease U.S. concerns. Still others have gone so far as to claim that we must change our environmental practices because they are becoming a factor in this trade dispute. The province has taken a leadership position on this very important issue to British Columbia and Canada. The Minister of Forests has made representations to officials in Ottawa and Washington, D.C., and met with purchasers of B.C. wood products on the west coast of the United States of America.
I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the province's position on the matter.
1. B.C. does not subsidize its forest industry. The repetitive claims of the U.S. industry and others cannot disguise the simple fact that our stumpage system has been challenged and reviewed by international trade panels on three separate occasions, and we have won each and every time. This should not be surprising. On any reckoning, our direct forestry revenues exceed our costs by hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
The province supports the establishment of free trade in lumber with the U.S. We need and deserve unrestricted access to this very important market. And as many Americans will admit, they need our lumber too. Given our increasing economic ties with our U.S. trading partner, it only makes sense to have a truly North American lumber market.
2. We will not be forced into an unfair trade relationship. We must not allow our interests to be compromised, and most importantly, we must retain our resolve and composure in the face of pressure tactics from our U.S. trading partner. Quotas can no longer be part of any arrangement between our two countries. Inequities in quota distribution across our country and within our province have led to unnecessary mill closures and to families struggling to make ends meet. This can and must be avoided in any future agreement.
3. British Columbia has made many changes to forest policy over the past decade. These changes include the introduction of some of the world's most progressive forest practices and toughest environmental standards. These measures have been undertaken so that our forest industry remains modern and able to compete effectively in world lumber markets.
4. I want to state my support of the work the federal government has undertaken on this issue of critical importance to our B.C. economy. We will stand united with our fellow lumber-producing provinces and our country and present a common front on this issue critical to our U.S. trading partners and ourselves. To this end, I will be contacting the Prime Minister, reiterating our position and urging him to stand firm. It is only through cooperation with the federal government that we can present to the U.S. a strong national position and help reaffirm our case through NAFTA and WTO mechanisms.
5. I have directed the Minister of Forests to convene a meeting of the province's forest industry, including representatives from the IWA and the contracting sector, to confirm the province's position on this very important issue. In recent days, as the current softwood lumber agreement has been set to expire, stakeholders on both sides of the border have been doing a lot of talking to the papers instead of each other. I want to emphasize that some of this discussion in the papers must end. We must work with the federal government to provide a unified national position and, most importantly, focus our efforts on meaningful discussions with our trading partner instead of engaging in trade rhetoric.
This is an important issue for the economy of British Columbia, and I respect both the passion and the vigour in this debate. I expect it to be there. However, it's important that we lower the rhetoric and focus on ensuring that B.C.'s interests are well represented to both the Canadian and the U.S. federal governments.
Finding a resolution to this critical trade issue will not be easy. To the contrary, it will be very difficult and require considerable determination and effort. I call on my colleagues across the aisle and on all British Columbians to support us in establishing a fair, equitable and mutually beneficial trading relationship with the United States.
G. Campbell: I want to start by saying that there are no issues that face British Columbia that have the level of magnitude of import to people's lives as the expiration of the softwood lumber agreement on March 31. There is no issue that will have more impact on the 270 communities across this province, large and small, that depend on forestry. There is no issue that will have more impact on the tens of thousands of families in this province that depend on forestry for their jobs, to pay their mortgages, to take care of their children. There is no issue that is more critical to the future of British Columbia than how we manage this.
So let me start by saying that the opposition unites with the government in taking the interests of British Columbia first. British Columbia will speak with one voice firmly, unequivocally, on behalf of our forest industry and the thousands of people who work in it.
Let me say, also, that this has been an issue that has been coming for some time. We should have no illusions about what we are up against in British Columbia. There is no question in my mind at all that the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports in the United States is ready to go at 12 o'clock on Monday afternoon, this coming Monday, and launch a complaint against Canadian producers of lumber that suggests, incorrectly, that our lumber exports are subsidized to the tune of 40 percent. Hon. Speaker, they are wrong. They are wrong today; they were wrong last year; they were wrong years ago. It is time for British Columbians and Canadians to stand up and husband every resource we need to protect the interests of the people of this province and this country.
I suggest it is equally important that we take our message not just across
our province and across our country, so that we are speaking with one voice
unequivocally on behalf of the people that live here
[ Page 17583 ]
our products. And I concur with the Premier 100 percent that we should never take a back seat, because B.C. delivers the best value possible to the customer. We will do that with the United States, and we will do it elsewhere.
As the Premier said, and I concur with his comment, it is equally important that we speak with one voice when we speak as Canada. There are ten provinces in this country. We will speak with a united voice, and I would call on the Prime Minister and the minister responsible to make sure that that voice is a unified, united, firm voice demanding free, open, honest access to the American markets so that we make sure that their customers get the value of our products.
There is no question in my mind that this will be a major initiative and a major undertaking, and we should not ever underestimate the extent of the challenge in front of us. But I also believe that we should not underestimate the resolve of the people of this province to demand fair, open access, to work in cooperation with our customers to the south, to work in cooperation with our colleagues across our country.
I will join with the Premier, if he would like, or I will write a separate letter to the Prime Minister, if he would prefer that, in calling for the immediate appointment of a Canadian envoy to go and get the talks started so that Americans understand what we're talking about, understand what our industry offers and understand how it will benefit every American family to have B.C. products available to them regardless of where they live or what they do in the United States.
There is no order of business that is more important. There is no order of business that is more critical to our future as a province. So on behalf of the opposition, I am glad to reach out, with the Premier, to our national representatives in Ottawa to speak calmly and firmly on behalf of British Columbians and to reach out, if necessary, south of the border to make sure that those in the United States understand the position that we take forward. I think there should be no question that we all understand -- on this side of the House and on the government side of the House -- that British Columbians take pride in our industry, take pride in our workers and take pride in our product, and we will not be forced to take an agreement into a trading arrangement that is unfair to the people that live here.
We will stand with the government, we will stand with the national government, and we will be sure that together we will win this very important competitive battle that we are about to face. We can do this, hon. Speaker. I look forward to working with the Premier in accomplishing our goal.
The Speaker: Members, I have the honour to present the following document: the office of the information and privacy commissioner annual report, 2000.
Orders of the Day
Hon. G. Janssen: I call Bill 6, committee stage.
ADULT GUARDIANSHIP STATUTES
AMENDMENT ACT, 2001
The House in committee on Bill 6; D. Streifel in the chair.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I seek leave to make an introduction.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I note that joining us in the gallery is Fred Sparkes, who is a constituent of mine and is the spouse of the mayor of New Westminster, Mayor Helen Sparkes. I'd ask all my colleagues to join me in making him welcome today.
On section 1.
G. Plant: The bill here is the Adult Guardianship Statutes Amendment Act. It contains a variety of sections that amend, in quite a detailed way, a variety of other statutes including the Adult Guardianship Act and the Representation Agreement Act. This is part of the continuing rollout, I guess, of this legislation. I want to ask a couple of general questions that apply across this bill as a way of beginning this debate.
The first is this: we were here last year and were asked to enact some amendments to the adult guardianship legislation with the aim in mind of bringing some of that legislation into force -- not all of it, but some of it. I think that, with respect to the balance, the situation was that some parts of those four or five statutes, as enacted in 1993, were put into perhaps a permanent deep freeze, and other parts were put into a wait-and-see mode.
My sense is that what we're asked to do in Bill 6 is to make changes that are directed primarily, or perhaps entirely, to those parts of the adult guardianship legislation that were given effect last year -- that is, we're not moving beyond the core of the legislation that was enacted and proclaimed last year. Perhaps I could ask if the minister could clarify that.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: That's true. And just for the information of the House, joining me today is Jay Chalke, the public guardian and trustee for British Columbia.
G. Plant: The bill, as I said, has a variety of different provisions. What I want to find out is: what is the timetable for implementation of Bill 6?
Hon. G. Bowbrick: There are some sections of the act that will come into force on royal assent. Most of the act deals with the Representation Agreement Act, and that will be done by regulation. We're looking at the possibility of putting an order through cabinet in the next week, if cabinet meets, which would set a date for later this year. Otherwise, it will have to go through cabinet after an election.
G. Plant: Some of the Representation Agreement Act changes, then -- are they some of the changes that will in fact come into force immediately upon royal assent?
Hon. G. Bowbrick: No, all amendments to that act will be by regulation.
G. Plant: I notice that the first few sections of the bill are Adult
Guardianship Act amendments. Some of those, I gather, will come into force upon
royal assent. That would be an example of some provisions that are going to come
into force in
[ Page 17584 ]
description of the triggering criteria. In some cases, time lines are being changed. It's that sort of detailed work that is really the focus of many of these changes in the whole bill. Would that be a fair comment?
Hon. G. Bowbrick: Yeah, the two major themes of this legislation are to increase the workability of the statutes as well as to ease access and affordability. Those are the two major themes here.
G. Plant: Does the bill have fiscal implications for government, and if so, what are they? And have they been provided for in the current budget?
Hon. G. Bowbrick: There are no fiscal implications.
G. Plant: Just for the sake of clarity, that would include and extend to the office of the public guardian and trustee -- that is, there are not going to be any additional demands on that office that would require additional resources or funding. Or in the event that there are, there are, in any event, no further funds being made available to that office this year.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I'm receiving advice which may be a bit conflicted, but there is nothing arising out of this bill that should create increased financial pressure on that office.
G. Plant: One of the things that this bill is intended to do is ultimately permit notaries public to have a more expanded role in relation to representation agreements. I believe it was in the minister's second reading speech that he talked about training. Could the minister please elaborate on what he means by that reference?
Hon. G. Bowbrick: Under the amendment, cabinet can approve a training course. Cabinet is authorized to do that. That was recommended in Dulcie McCallum's report. We're proposing to begin work with the Society of Notaries Public on exactly what that will look like. The cost of that would be borne by the notaries, not the taxpayer. In my second reading remarks I mentioned the Justice Institute, but we'll also be looking at other possibilities -- primarily the Justice Institute or maybe UBC -- to deliver that course.
G. Plant: It sounds like it would be difficult to put in place and make operative that apparatus, if you will, immediately. Is there a specific timetable associated with the rollout of the provisions that affect notaries? How long will it take?
Hon. G. Bowbrick: Our intention would be to have the course in place at the same time as the coming into force of these amendments. As I indicated earlier, the Representation Agreement Act amendments will come into force by regulation, which would specify a date. It would make sense to have that coincide with the date on which this course would come into force as well.
G. Plant: Just to put more flesh on those bones
Hon. G. Bowbrick: Yes, it's not a matter of days or even a matter of weeks; it's a matter of months. We'll probably be looking at early fall as a realistic time.
G. Plant: Two more general issues before turning to the specific provisions. In the years during which the government was wrestling to find a way to bring the Representation Agreement Act into force, questions were raised from time to time by financial institutions. They asked me -- I know they asked the government -- how it is that they would have the necessary degree of assurance to know that they could rely upon a representation agreement as evidence of what it purported to be.
I haven't had any contact with that sector of the economy in relation to this issue for awhile. Is there anything in this bill that speaks to that concern?
Hon. G. Bowbrick: Yes. There are a couple of elements of these amendments which speak to that. If financial institutions are looking for absolute guarantees, I think the answer is no. But some of the changes that are being made should give them more comfort. The first is that, because we're reducing the number of certificates required to demonstrate that these are properly executed documents, it will be easier for them to verify that they are properly executed documents. I believe it's two certificates. The other change that's being made here is that the introduction of a prescribed form should offer some comfort, as well, if it's broadly used.
G. Plant: The prescribed form in this context referring to a
prescribed form of representation agreement, a sort of standard general powers
Hon. G. Bowbrick: Yes, that's right. And I should add that the Canadian Bankers Association were consulted on these changes and have offered their support.
G. Plant: One last set of general questions. The relationship between representation agreements and powers of attorney has been an ongoing question. One of the things that this bill does, in the context of trying to express some of the detailed powers that can be conferred in a representation agreement, is make a change to the previous act that goes like this, as I understand it. The previous act attempted to enumerate in a couple of subsections, in some detail, the kinds of financially related things that representation agreements could achieve. The bill will amend that. To some extent the amendment simply says that a representation agreement can do anything a power of attorney could do.
If I've got that right, then what I haven't figured out yet is what is expected to happen, I guess, when the right to make an enduring power of attorney comes to an end, as I believe it is scheduled to do according to the current state of things in September of this year. If I haven't explained my confusion I'll have another go at it, but if the minister gets it, I'm just trying to figure out how those two things will work together.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: The repeal of the clause would make it clear that there will be no new enduring powers of attorney after these amendments take effect. But section 32 of this bill does preserve a representation agreement in the same way that an enduring power of attorney was previously preserved. I think section 2, the purpose clause, also offers some assistance in terms of the intent of the legislation.
G. Plant: I'm prepared to let sections 1 to 29 pass.
[ Page 17585 ]
Sections 1 to 29 inclusive approved.
On section 30.
G. Plant: Let me, if I may, revisit the question that I attempted to ask a moment ago. The Attorney General's answer was helpful in one respect. It dealt with the question of how long a representation agreement can last and made the point, as I understood him, that the intent here is that representation agreements should endure in much the same way that enduring powers of attorney could endure, with whatever specific rules apply.
But I'm interested also in the question of the scope-of-powers issue. The section in front of us is going to amend section 9 of the Representation Agreement Act by repealing three existing subparagraphs and replacing them with one there in the bill, which says that a representation agreement will allow to be done anything that can be done by an attorney acting under a power of attorney and that is not mentioned in the other paragraphs.
So I'll come back to the question I asked a moment ago. Enduring powers of attorney are going to come to an end. Does that have any impact on the way in which this section will operate, in terms of the scope of subjects that can be encompassed within a representation agreement?
Hon. G. Bowbrick: No. The scope of power should not be affected, is not affected, because whatever you can do by power of attorney -- I'm not referring to an enduring power of attorney -- you can do by representation agreements. So powers of attorney will continue; only enduring powers of attorney will no longer continue. That will have no impact on the scope of powers contained or available to a power of attorney.
G. Plant: This is obviously a work in progress. We'll see how much progress has been made over time. I suspect that the only way we're going to see it is by watching it actually work. I think it would be highly unlikely that any amount of work I could do reading this bill word by word would be persuasive, given the amount of work the public guardian and trustee has done and the number of groups that have been involved in this.
I think in this particular case, rather than deal with the bill one section at a time, we'll just see what happens in the fullness of time and hope that it works. If it doesn't, I'm sure some of us will be back here in some form or another to try and make it better, sooner or later. So I have no further questions.
Sections 30 to 45 inclusive approved.
On section 46.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I move an amendment to section 46(c), which is standing in my name on the orders of the day.
[SECTION 46 (c), in the proposed subsection (2) (a) by deleting "may continue to act;" and substituting "may continue to act, or"]
Section 46 as amended approved.
Sections 47 to 52 inclusive approved.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: Hon. Speaker, I move that the committee rise and report the bill complete with amendment.
The House resumed; the Speaker in the chair.
Bill 6, Adult Guardianship Statutes Amendment Act, 2001, reported complete with amendment.
The Speaker: When shall the bill be read as reported?
D. Streifel: By leave, now, hon. Speaker.
Bill 6, Adult Guardianship Statutes Amendment Act, 2001, read a third time and passed.
Hon. P. Ramsey: I call committee stage on Bill 11.
SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY ACT
The House in committee on Bill 11; D. Streifel in the chair.
On section 1.
G. Plant: This is the Sex Offender Registry Act, which has a two-part scheme in it. I believe that when the minister spoke to the bill in second reading, he talked about how the two parts would interact, one with the other. As I recall, he said that the second part of it would only come into force if needed, implying that if the first part of the registry were to work satisfactorily, then it would not be necessary to bring into force the second part of the registry. I guess what we're talking about is the relationship between part 2 of the bill and part 3 of the bill.
Could the minister, as part of an introduction to the consideration of the details of this bill, explain what he means by the idea that the second half of this scheme would only come into force if needed? As part of that, I guess I have to say that as someone who looks at the idea of what we do in this place and thinks about it from time to time, it had occurred to me to ask the question: why would we legislate something if it were not needed? If it were to become needed, maybe we would come back and legislate it then.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I think it's a fair question. I mean, of course there is the option of simply bringing in a bill which only sets up the first part of this structure; it's possible that the second part may never be required. I think it's in the interests of efficiency. I think there's a fair amount of public support for making sure that if we put in place a registry and start with the first phase of this and we find that for some reason it
[ Page 17586 ]
doesn't work, then we're able to respond quickly and set up the second phase without having to go through the legislative process again.
I take it as a fair point that the bill could have been split, I suppose, and we could have come back and gone through the legislative process again. But I don't see the harm. I don't think there would be a great deal of public concern about bringing in a bill in this form and ensuring that we can shift gears rapidly if we find, after the initial assessment, that the first phase, the monitoring phase, doesn't work.
G. Plant: One of the things that the bill leaves out is any expression of what might constitute a legitimate basis for moving from the first phase to the second. Even if I were for a moment to accept the minister's answer completely, it would seem to me that answer would invite the question: why would we then not legislate specific criteria that would apply to allow either cabinet or the Attorney General -- whoever the responsible official is -- to determine whether the second part is needed? When I look at it, it seems to me there is a legitimate public policy question there, which I invite the minister to comment on. And perhaps to add sort of a second question, what is it that would constitute, in the mind of this minister, a reason or the basis for expanding beyond the first part to the second part?
Hon. G. Bowbrick: We know right now
Some might say: "Well, that's good enough, and you don't have to move on to the second phase." The specific question of the member was: what would be, in my mind, the basis for moving to the second phase? It is discretionary, and I would have to say that I think it would be prudent to say that it would be based upon law enforcement advice. If law enforcement agencies are saying, "We are having difficulty tracking certain offenders," then we can respond quickly.
A case may arise. We know how these things can be. There is public concern over these issues. If it should arise when the Legislature is not sitting, for example, and law enforcement officials are saying, "This isn't working well enough," then we should be able to move quickly.
Now, what we have indicated is that our initial assessment of our success
rate with the first phase
G. Plant: I thank the Attorney General for that answer, which leads to the next question: what is the ministry's timetable for bringing this into force? What is this likely to cost? What is the mechanism that he is going to use? That is, is he planning on contracting this out to a special agency or using the resources of existing officials in one branch of his ministry or another?
Hon. G. Bowbrick: The timetable, as I indicated at the time I announced that we were doing this legislation, is that we expect it to be in force by January 2002. The annual cost will be $1.8 million. The mechanism for delivering the program is that it will be housed in the security programs division of the Ministry of Attorney General, which is the same division that handles the high-risk offender or community advisories. It handles the protection order registry and the criminal records review program.
G. Plant: I want to look at a couple of aspects of the definition section of the bill, and that is section 1.
Before we do that, let me just ask one more general question. This bill, in the full rigour of its application -- even the first part of it, certainly the second part -- will add to the burdens of life, if you will, experienced by people who have been convicted of the offences that will trigger the operation of the procedures and requirements of this act.
I can imagine that some zealous Charter students could argue that through this legislation the government is, in effect, circumventing or adding to or in some way affecting the basic rules and processes around sentencing. That is, it could be argued that some of the reporting obligations here are akin to terms of conditional release or probation, and perhaps it's not within the authority of the province to do those things. Has the minister sought advice about the Charter implications of this legislation, and is he satisfied that it will pass scrutiny?
Hon. G. Bowbrick: The answer is yes. Throughout the drafting of this bill, opinions on the Charter implications of this legislation were sought and considered. I would liken the consequences or the impositions upon individuals inherent in this bill as being more akin to administrative consequences -- for example, individuals losing their drivers' licences.
Clearly there are aspects of the bill that are more intrusive or less intrusive. The first part of the bill dealing with electronic tracing is clearly not very intrusive at all, and certainly mandatory registration in the second part is more intrusive. But we have considered the Charter implications throughout the drafting of this bill and are satisfied that it can withstand Charter challenge.
G. Plant: The definition of offender in section 1 has a number of subsections. One of them includes people who are, strictly speaking, not yet offenders, because they have only been charged with an offence. Those people are included in the scheme only in some circumstances and not in others. Perhaps the minister could outline, in lay terms as opposed to going through it in the detailed mechanics, how the scheme will operate in relation to people who have been charged but not yet convicted of one of the sex offences identified in it.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: Well, the way the process would work in the offences that the member refers to is that if an individual has been charged -- and, of course, the Crown has deemed it in the public interest to lay the charge and feels there is a substantial likelihood of conviction -- then they go
[ Page 17587 ]
onto the registry. When they're on the registry, they're subject to electronic tracing. Mandatory registration would apply only to individuals who have been convicted. It does not apply to individuals who are simply charged. If you're charged, you're on the registry automatically; you're electronically traced. If you're acquitted, then you're taken off the registry.
G. Plant: The definition of personal information has many subsections. When I look at the list of all of the types of information that this act would include under that rubric and compare it to, say, the legislation introduced in Ontario, the list in B.C. is a lot longer. It goes beyond legal name, aliases, date of birth, gender, addresses and phone numbers -- well beyond all that. It even includes things like the names of professional or recreational associations of which the offender is a member. It includes the name, address and phone numbers of "known associates," and it includes a category described as prescribed information that could assist in confirming the identity or the location of the offender.
Those three particular subcategories excited my attention as being a pretty broad reach of information. And I am thinking, in this context, less about the first stage of this, the electronic tracing, and more about the second part, where the registrar may have the power to go and ask other people to provide this information. I'm contemplating what might happen if someone purporting to be an official of the government of British Columbia came and said: "I'm asking you, under compulsion of law, and you are required, under compulsion of law, to disclose to me the name, address and phone numbers of the known associates of Mr. or Ms. X." I'm not sure that I'm altogether comfortable that I would even know what the extent of my obligations is.
In general terms, the question is: why is this list so much longer than the Ontario model? And perhaps using these particular cases as an example, can the minister satisfy me that truly, in order to achieve the objectives of this legislation, it's necessary to go as far as all of the many items that are included in the definition of personal information?
Hon. G. Bowbrick: Yes, I think it's worth noting at the outset that Ontario has provided that it can add much more by regulation. What we've done is simply spelled more out in the statute itself in the interests of, I think, some greater transparency and certainty. The list is very much the result of consultations with law enforcement officials -- them saying that this is the kind of information we would need to find the whereabouts of these individuals.
So we said it had to be very strictly related to access to information that could help them locate or identify these people. We did reject some of what they asked for. As an example, they wanted one of the items here to be the make and model of the car of the next of kin of the individual. We thought that was over the line, so we didn't put it in. But it is as the result of discussions with law enforcement officials, and the difference with Ontario is explained by the fact that they will be doing more by regulation, no doubt.
G. Plant: We'll see how that operates over time.
I want to move to the definition of sex offence. It's a fairly comprehensive list of types of offences. I want to use that list, though, as the opportunity to ask this question. We are talking about a tool that is supposed to help law enforcement officials reduce the risk to public safety presented by sex offenders, particularly sex offenders who have a proclivity to repeat their offences. We're trying to find a way to help women and children feel safer in their homes and in their communities.
The triggering mechanism for this statutory scheme is the commission of an offence. The triggering mechanism is not the identification of a risk to public safety by any other means, other than having committed the offence. There is nothing I see here in this act that looks like, for example, a risk assessment tool -- the kind of tool that corrections officers and probation officers use when they make their decisions.
If someone wanted to be perhaps more critical or to engage in more scrutiny
of this, they might want to ask the question whether there is in fact a certain
element of arbitrariness around the use of the commission of an offence -- one
of these enumerated offences -- as the triggering mechanism for a scheme that in
its operation will be as onerous for someone who has committed one offence
Could the minister explain some of the thinking around why the government has chosen to use the commission of the offence as the triggering mechanism, rather than some other risk assessment tool?
Hon. G. Bowbrick: There was a question of cost and value involved
here. We already know that convicted sex offenders have
On balance, there is a cost issue in doing ongoing assessments or in doing assessments in the first place. We're saying that it's reasonable to err on the side of keeping the cost of the registry low. We already know from our experience that people convicted of sexual offences have a high likelihood of reoffence. As I say, 70 percent are at high risk to reoffend.
It's also important to note that we look at some of what might be termed more minor offences on this list. I raised concerns, as well, in my discussions with staff about this, because I looked at some of them and went: "That might seem quite onerous, like someone convicted of vagrancy." But I am informed that this particular section on vagrancy relates to individuals who are convicted of vagrancy, and they've already got a prior history of sexual offences -- right? Based upon our consultations, these more minor ones are all offences that are seen as indicators of risk in and of themselves for greater sexual offences later. I accept that there's some arbitrariness to it. But we believe that they are, on balance, indicators of risk for the future. It justifies having those individuals put on the registry.
[ Page 17588 ]
Of course, the length of time spent on the registry will depend upon the seriousness of the offence, as the member has noted. The more serious offenders could be on for life; less serious offenders could be on for ten years.
G. Plant: I don't want to pursue this at great length. But I want the minister to recall, as I'm sure he will, that the context in which that issue I've talked about -- and he's responded to -- may operate includes, of course, that day when someone from government decides to pay a visit to everybody in the neighbourhood, knock on doors, ask the people who live in that neighbourhood about Mr. X who lives down the street and ask questions like: "Who does he hang out with? Who are his known associates? What clubs does he belong to? What business associations is he a member of? Have you got a photograph of him? Do you have any information that could assist us in locating him right now?"
Now, 70 percent of the people who commit these offences, the minister says, are at high risk to reoffend. I guess one of the challenges we always have is trying to figure out how to legislate not just for the people we know we want to legislate for but for the other people who are going to get caught by this. It's a pretty broad net. I guess I want to repeat my concerns that the legislation reaches pretty broadly in that respect. It may be that that is a point on which we'll just, at least for the time being, have a difference of opinion. I'm not going to suggest that the issue is so serious as to paralyze the whole scheme, but that may be because I've only had a chance to think about it for the last few days. But I did want to give the minister one more chance to sort of think about that problem in the particular context in which I've presented it.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I want to reiterate something I said when I made the announcement of this legislation and, I believe, in first reading as well as second reading. That is, I've been very clear that we have no intention of creating a public registry. Now, the reason I want to reiterate that is that it has some bearing on this question in terms of the intent of what we're trying to do here.
We don't want to create a situation that encourages vigilantism in any way. We want this to be a tool to be used responsibly by those who are authorized to, under this act. It's worth noting that section 12 details those persons to whom personal information that's in this registry can be disclosed by the registrar. There is no intention whatsoever of having people going out and knocking on doors around neighbourhoods. I would suggest that to even ask the question and ask for this information about someone could potentially involve a breach of this statute, in terms of the authority to share personal information.
That certainly isn't the intent. We've tried to be careful and ensured that ISTA was consulted on this. The freedom-of-information people within the ministry were involved in this. It's not our intention to create a situation that inflames these matters in a public way. The example that the member cites of having representatives of government going around and knocking on doors in the neighbourhood of someone who is on the registry certainly would tend to have that inflammatory effect.
G. Plant: If I may, in the context of continuing one more time to
explore the question that arises in relation to the definition that we have in
mind, could I ask the minister to direct his attention to section 7(4):
"For the purposes of the registry, the registrar may demand from any person
Hon. G. Robertson: I rise to ask leave to make an introduction.
Hon. G. Robertson: With us this afternoon we have a class of grade 4-5 students from Zeballos Elementary School to tour the legislative precincts with their teacher, Mrs. Auld. I'd like the House to please make them welcome.
J. Sawicki: I too would like to ask leave to make an introduction.
J. Sawicki: In the gallery today is a member from Burnaby, Patrick Thomas. Most importantly, he is a spokesperson for the Council of Senior Citizens Organizations of B.C. They have done tremendous work on a policy paper, and they are here in Victoria to share their thoughts with us. I want to ask the House not only to welcome Patrick Thomas but also to congratulate all the seniors who continue to contribute to public policy.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I think it's important. The member raises section 7(4), and I think we have to look at the interplay between that and section 12. Let's just take the member's scenario. Someone knocks on the door in the neighbourhood and says: "Hi, I'm from the government. I work for the B.C. sex offender registry, and I want to know if you can tell me the whereabouts of John Doe." I would suggest that that would amount to a violation of section 12 -- right? I mean, you've just disclosed some pretty vital personal information. It's important that the authority is there to demand that information, but that has to be balanced off against the operation of section 12 and the responsible conduct and management of personal information.
I should emphasize again
The situation the member raises
[ Page 17589 ]
Section 1 approved.
On section 2.
G. Plant: Section 2 deals with the application of the act to a young person. The general proposition is that the act doesn't apply to somebody charged with or convicted of a sex offence committed while the person was a young person. But cabinet "may, by regulation, provide for that application, including by modifying or adding to any provision of this Act." I have to say that I just don't like that kind of legislation. If you're going to legislate it, legislate it; if you're going to regulate it, regulate it. But don't enact a provision that says that cabinet can change the statute.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I completely appreciate the member's point. In fact,
it was my position, as I worked on this with staff, that we should just outright
include young offenders in this statute. I was convinced, however, that because
of impending changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act federally, which we're
expecting this session
I thought that it would be prudent in order to ensure
G. Plant: I've heard the minister. I'm not persuaded, but we'll move on.
Sections 2 to 4 inclusive approved.
G. Plant: That's fine; we'll move along. I can move to section 12.
The Chair: The Chair will ask for clarification. Do you want to question on section 12?
G. Plant: We can let pass up to section 12.
Sections 5 to 11 inclusive approved.
On section 12.
G. Plant: I want to ask a question. Actually, I guess I should have asked it in the context of section 10, but it applies to both sections 10 and 12.
We can talk in theory about the ability to correct a registry. I understand what the act says about that. The question, of course, is: how well will it work in practice? I am concerned about all entries generally, but I am in particular concerned about entries made in respect of people who have been charged with offences but not convicted, and of course I am more concerned about those people when and if they are acquitted.
The ability of the minister to enter into information-sharing agreements or arrangements is pretty open-ended, in my view. When you look at the interrelationship between section 10 and section 12 and, frankly, also section 11, I guess I have to say I am a little bit concerned. One of the things that might happen here is that information might find its way out of this B.C. system into some other system where, as a practical matter, somebody here in British Columbia is not going to be able to do anything about it once it's out there.
As I say, it is more of a concern in respect of people who may have been charged wrongly with an offence for which they're acquitted. And then someday years on, they're driving somewhere -- Montana or Iowa -- and they get pulled over. And somebody says, "Well, according to our records, you're a known sex offender," while in fact they're not. Perhaps the minister could explain his approach to that problem.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I think, first of all, that it's important to note that the intention is that the information on this registry would indicate the status of this person. So the person's name isn't on there just as a sex offender. It would indicate that this person has been charged with an offence, or this person has been convicted of an offence. So that's an important first point, I think.
Secondly, to the extent that we're going to have information-sharing agreements with other jurisdictions that may be running their own registries, it will obviously be important to ensure that there are protocols as to the use of that information. We would require a consistent use.
[E. Walsh in the chair.]
For example, one of the principles of our system is that it's not for public access. So we won't share with another jurisdiction if they're going to make that information publicly accessible. It has to be consistent with the use that we're doing here. And that should also include -- in those information-sharing agreements or access agreements or protocols or however you want to term them -- that if an individual is charged and they appear on the registry and then they're acquitted and taken off our registry, the other jurisdiction we're sharing with would also have to take that person's name off.
G. Plant: If we were doing this in another context, I think I'd probably suggest that if the minister meant what he just said, we should legislate that restriction. But we're not doing this in that context, so I'll just leave that suggestion on the record. I think that it would be, in principle, a good way of protecting the integrity of the information. That is, it's a good answer to the question I asked. But of course, as the minister will appreciate, his assurance is of less enduring relevance than legislation or regulation.
But I can move along. The next questions I have are in respect of section 14.
Sections 12 and 13 approved.
On section 14.
G. Plant: The offender reporting requirements in part 3 of this bill, which will only come into force if needed, require an offender to report in person to a registry officer at the location specified in a notice by a certain date. That's a little different from asking an offender to send a letter saying: "Here I am."
[ Page 17590 ]
And if we have an offender moving from one small town in British Columbia to another, I think there's a public interest in knowing where these registry officers are going to be. I am mindful of the fact that the obligation to report arises every time the offender moves.
So the question is a question, I suppose, about the more remote or rural parts of the province and how the minister sees this working out. If we have somebody moving, say, from Burns Lake to Vanderhoof, are there going to be registry officers in each of those towns? Or is it more likely that the offender's going to have to drive down to Prince George in order to report this change in his location?
Hon. G. Bowbrick: The intention is to have individuals report
Sections 14 to 23 inclusive approved.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I move the committee rise and report the bill complete without amendment.
The House resumed; the Speaker in the chair.
Bill 11, Sex Offender Registry Act, reported complete without amendment.
The Speaker: When shall the bill be read a third time?
Hon. G. Bowbrick: At the next sitting of the House, hon. Speaker.
Hon. I. Waddell: Hon. Speaker, I call second reading of Bill 14.
MUSKWA-KECHIKA MANAGEMENT AREA
AMENDMENT ACT, 2001
Hon. I. Waddell: I move that the bill be now read a second time. It's my pleasure to address the purpose of this bill on second reading. Second reading, in our system, deals with approval in principle of a bill.
The bill deals with Muskwa-Kechika area of northeastern British Columbia, an area that we call the Northern Rockies, an area that has garnered international attention and recognition because of its outstanding environmental and resource values. Bill 14 builds upon the successes of the previous Muskwa-Kechika Management Area Act, which was passed by this government in 1998. The act was designed to ensure that the extraordinary values of the Muskwa-Kechika would be protected and sustained for current and future generations.
You notice I can say the name very well. I had to learn to pronounce the name; it's a very interesting name. It's sometimes, as I've said, called the Northern Rockies.
The Muskwa-Kechika is one of the most impressive wilderness areas in North America -- indeed, in the world. It is one of the last intact large predator-prey ecosystems south of the 60th parallel. It is home to an amazing abundance and diversity of wildlife, including wolf, grizzly bear, elk, moose, mountain caribou, bison, mountain sheep and many other species that have become scarce or vanished altogether from other parts of the world. It is the very essence of wild British Columbia. I've heard people call it the Serengeti of the North -- the Serengeti being the great plains in Africa where there are still wild animals. This is the Serengeti of the North, and it's in British Columbia, and we're preserving it.
The area also boasts mature and old-growth forests, spectacular geological formations, lakes, rivers and streams, waterfalls and hot springs, rolling subalpine and alpine areas that stretch as far as the eye can see. The Muskwa-Kechika is also rich in natural resources, with outstanding subsurface resource values, including extensive oil and gas potential. These reserves are critically important to the northern economy and also to the health of the provincial economy.
I want to point out that when we develop these areas and there's land use planning, there are preservation values, but there are also values of development, as well, in the land use plans. We're not freezing British Columbia in a museum. What we are doing is taking the ecologically sensitive areas and putting them into parks and then having the other areas open for development.
It brings a certainty to this province. It encourages business investment. It doesn't discourage it, because it brings certainty. If the hon. members opposite would cooperate with us on land claims, we could bring even more certainty to investment in this province. The Muskwa-Kechika area also has tremendous cultural and heritage significance to first nations people, who have traditionally used the land for hunting, gathering and fishing. Its abundant wildlife resources undoubtedly attracted aboriginal people for centuries. And it contains evidence of past use such as native trails, abandoned villages and aboriginal campsites.
This bill, the one before the House, contains three amendments to the original Muskwa-Kechika Management Area Act that I spoke about. That was the act that we passed in 1998. The first amendment adds 1.9 million hectares identified in the Mackenzie land and resource management plan. That's the local planning process from the bottom up, done by the people of various sectors that meet and plan and work, and then we put it into law. It adds 1.9 million hectares, bringing the total management area -- the Muskwa-Kechika -- to 6.3 million hectares. I believe that might be bigger than Ireland. That is a huge area.
The 1.9 million hectare addition is virtually roadless. It's a virtually roadless expanse of land that provides unfragmented habitat. Listen to that word: unfragmented habitat. I can translate it into a little bit clearer English, plain English. I come from the riding of Vancouver-Fraserview, which is in southeast
[ Page 17591 ]
Vancouver. It's a small area in southeast Vancouver, compared to this vast
area. And I say to my constituents, especially to the school kids, that we're
creating an area here that is big enough
Almost 600,000 acres of the addition to the Muskwa-Kechika management area will be preserved as protected areas. The remaining land is designed as either special or wild land management zones, where mining -- yes, mining -- oil and gas and forest development activities may be carried out, but in a manner that is sensitive to the area's very high ecological and wilderness values. This careful exploration and development will have major social and economic benefits for the residents of the Mackenzie area.
I think this is epitomized by our new Premier when he says that he's a person of balance. What we're balancing here is the environment and development. It's the classic struggle of the late twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first: the environment on the one hand, development on the other. You can have both if you do it right, and it's done right here. That's what I believe our party stands for.
The second and third amendments seek to ensure that the Muskwa-Kechika trust fund has sufficient resources to fund its valuable planning, research and conservation efforts. You can't just create parks and then not have funds for the parks. That's why I'm pleased that my budget in Environment has been increased this year for next year. It was increased this year, and it's going to be increased next year. There's money available so that we can look after a big park like this. Accordingly, the annual funding provided to the trust fund for this park is increased by $1 million, resulting in an annual appropriation of $3 million. The current maximum annual contribution to the trust fund is $2 million.
Additionally, the period during which the government will contribute funds to the trust fund is extended to 2005. Current government funding would have expired in 2002. If, by a fluke, there were to be a different government after the next election, we want to make sure that these parks stay and the money is not given away in tax breaks to a few rich individuals. We want the money to stay in the government coffers so that they can fund a beautiful park like this. Anyway, I'm straying into the next election. I just hope that no future government would do that.
These provisions reflect the dedication and enthusiasm of residents of the Mackenzie area. I'm a bit of a Johnny-come-lately to this. I can stand up and make this great announcement on this bill, but there were a lot of people before me, to be honest, who put a lot of work into this -- local people, as well as my colleagues on the benches and on committees of this House and critics in this House.
First nations, environmental groups, resource industries, unions,
guide-outfitters, trappers and local government
I want to pay special tribute to the member for Coquitlam-Maillardville, a former minister, who has been active in chairing the Muskwa-Kechika trust up there, and I hope he'll speak in the debate and add a few words. He's got a lot of experience here. I'd like to thank my colleagues from Burnaby-Willingdon and Kamloops, who are here on the government benches, former Environment ministers who worked hard. And I would like to especially thank the member for Vancouver-Kingsway, the Premier whose last name starts with "C" -- since I can't name the name in parliamentary procedure -- who, as Premier, worked very, very hard between 1996 and 1998 to do this. He should get thanks for it, and I give him that thanks.
In summary, then, let me say how pleased I am to put forward these amendments to the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area Act today. It demonstrates this government's continued commitment to the values in northern British Columbia, because it comes from northern residents. It's an excellent example of what can result when British Columbians are committed to the task of good land use planning. Eighty percent of this province is now in land use plans; 12 percent of the land is in parks and protected areas. It's the first jurisdiction in North America to meet the United Nations goal, which we can be proud of as British Columbians. Now our task is to keep it that way and to make sure those parks stay.
Hon. Speaker, I move second reading of the bill now.
M. Coell: It's a pleasure to stand and offer some comments on Bill 14. The opposition will be supporting this bill, as we supported the Muskwa-Kechika act last year. What the government is recommending here for the payment for the trust fund seems reasonable. There will be a lot of work that the trust fund has to do in the planning process in the years to come, and I think it's reasonable to spread that time over the five-year period. I think it also makes a lot of sense to have the 1.9 million hectares of land added in to the management area from the Mackenzie plan.
I know that both of these plans were difficult to achieve, but they were achieved through a consensus process, and I think that says a lot for British Columbians. I think they need to be congratulated -- the people who have stuck it out at those tables over the past years. I will have some questions during committee stage on how the planning will take place and also, if there are any mining claims in that area, how government will deal with those to settle up, and also a couple of questions with regard to first nations. I'm pleased to support the act at this point.
J. Cashore: It's an honour to stand and speak in support of this act. I do so both in the capacity as sitting MLA and as a former Minister of Environment who was involved when the planning tables were set up that have culminated in the recommendation that we're acknowledging here today. Also, I've had the honour, as the minister said, to chair the Muskwa-Kechika board, which has now just been expanded.
When you think of the amount of land, we have gone from an area of land, under the results of the Fort St. John and Fort Nelson tables, which was 4.3 million hectares -- the size of Switzerland. I think Switzerland is very descriptive,
[ Page 17592 ]
because we think of mountains when we think of Switzerland, and when you're
in the Northern Rockies
With this act, we have gone from an area the size of Switzerland to adding
1.9 million hectares, an area now the size of Ireland in its totality. This is
truly a remarkable outcome of a decade of land planning that has taken place in
this province. It is a credit to the people in all the regions of the province
who have come together to sit around planning tables, often with people with
whom they are in fundamental disagreement, and to be told, as I told the Fort
Nelson table in 1992, that the one thing they all have in common
The word was: "Build the consensus here yourself, or we'll have to do it for you." And they did. I commend the people of Mackenzie, who for seven years worked at that table and have come up with the addition that's involved here. It's very important to point out that this is not a park. It contains protected area; it contains parkland. But one of the really big challenges, as the opposition Environment critic has pointed out, in the work that's being done under the now $3 million annual trust fund is to find out what the special management is for the non-protected area that ensures that any activity there -- whether it's guide-outfitting activity or mining activity, logging activity or tourism activity or whatever it may be -- does not take away the long-term values of the predator-prey relationships that exist there.
One of the very real advantages of this plan is that it involves large tracts of land, which virtually ensures the continuation and the preservation, for thousands of years, of grizzly bears, large ungulates, sheep, goats, moose and all of those parts of that ecosystem that are very precious.
Sometimes people say: "Why would you protect an area that is so remote that not many people can ever get into it?" If our view were that the only reason for a protected area is so people can get there, that would be a point that makes a point. We certainly have, within the parks system, a great many parks that are people-oriented and people-friendly -- indeed, friendly to people who are in wheelchairs and needing special assistance to enjoy those areas. At the same time, it's important that there be areas that are there for the preservation of species. Our planet is losing species at an enormous rate. Every day, two or three species are lost from the face of the planet, and this legislation today symbolizes reversing that trend.
In conclusion, I want to say that I congratulate the people of British Columbia and this government for what has been accomplished in the area of protecting land where, as the minister pointed out, we have exceeded the United Nations recommendation of 12 percent. We've done that in ten years. That's a remarkable accomplishment, and it is a legacy that perhaps isn't noticed that much today. There hasn't been much coverage of the announcement yesterday, but I believe that 50 years from now people will look back and say that this decade of land planning has been the most important decade in the history of the province. We are the last generation in all the eons of time that has the opportunity to make these kinds of decisions before it's too late.
Hon. C. McGregor: It is a pleasure for me to rise today and speak in favour of this bill, in large part because of the role that I played in the first Muskwa-Kechika act, which was introduced in 1998, and the significant ecological contribution that the creation of that park and protected area has made to the province and the impression it made on me when I had the opportunity to in fact visit the Muskwa-Kechika region prior to the announcement of that great and wonderful park.
I think it's important to highlight some of the points that my colleague from Coquitlam-Maillardville made. He has a very unique perspective on this region of the province because of the work he's done as chair of the Muskwa-Kechika Advisory Board. I think he's done a remarkable job of bringing together the many interests in the region and the province and has in fact coped with the international attention that this new protected area has brought as a result of its remarkable content, its remarkable ecosystem and the remarkable level of wildlife that really remains largely undisturbed as a result of it being an area of the province that is quite remote and not easily accessed.
As a province, we've worked very hard at engaging the public in discussions around how best to manage protected areas in the province. I think it's important to talk about those principles and values and the bringing together of people from every walk of life in decision-making around parks and protected areas.
In the case of the Muskwa, there was a great involvement, particularly from the oil and gas sector. And their interest in that region of the province was because they saw the enormous wealth not only in the wildlife and natural beauty but in the economic opportunity it could also bring to people in the region. They wanted to apply the same level of innovation and concern for the natural environment as the approach we took in managing -- as the member previously made reference to -- the special management zones that are a part of the Muskwa-Kechika now and its father, if you will, the first version of the Muskwa-Kechika, as it was looked at in 1998.
The board members, as well, represent that broad perspective, and they have discussed together ways in which we can access those remarkable resources in that part of the province without harming the natural environment. The Minister of Environment spoke to the question of balance, and I think that those principles have been achieved by those board members as they've worked with the representatives of the community to make sure that balance is achieved. It is, in fact, a significant legacy for this government to have worked with representatives and communities around the province to set aside representative samples of park and protected areas in order to preserve them forever.
The climate in today's world
The world does look to us. I know the Minister of Environment talked about the Muskwa as the Serengeti of the
[ Page 17593 ]
North. In fact, it has been described that way on an international level because of the significance of the wildlife values and the significance of the natural environment in that part of the world.
I'll never forget the opportunity I had to visit the Muskwa and to meet with representatives from the oil and gas industry to talk to them about their excitement in working with us in achieving this special area, and with the Kaska Dena. They're the aboriginal people in the region who had so much interest in not only preserving their own natural culture but working with us in order to preserve those values for their own cultural purposes and for the enjoyment of all British Columbians -- in fact, for everyone from around the world to have this opportunity to study an area that is so remarkably large that it provides unique opportunities to do research on ungulates and other types of wildlife that exist in that area.
This bill adds a new part to this protected area. As well, it defines new special management zones. Appropriately, it increases the trust fund through which the board members can now continue to work together to achieve the goals that the community set as a part of the LRMP process that set aside the Muskwa for future generations.
Hon. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I've had the opportunity to speak to this bill, and I'd urge all members of the House to support its passing.
The Speaker: Seeing no further speakers, the minister will close debate.
An Hon. Member: Real fast.
Hon. I. Waddell: Yes. I won't be real fast, but I won't be very long. I just want to say that I'm really pleased to hear the former minister and the Liberal critic speak in favour of the bill.
Just to pass along this idea once more, I represent a riding, Vancouver-Fraserview, which is in the south, but you know, we are a northern people, Canadians. And that northern area belongs to the people in the north who live there and to all of us. Even though many of our people will never go there, we will know that we have preserved an area that will last for people's children and their children's children to have and to know that that habitat will be protected. That is a real achievement.
With that I'd like to close the debate on this bill.
The Speaker: I'll put the motion on second reading.
Bill 14, Muskwa-Kechika Management Area Amendment Act, 2001, read a second time and referred to a Committee of the Whole House for consideration at the next sitting of the House after today.
Hon. I. Waddell: I'm wearing a few hats here, hon. Speaker. I'm rising as Government House Leader to call second reading of Bill 15.
PROTECTED AREAS OF BRITISH
COLUMBIA AMENDMENT ACT, 2001
Hon. I. Waddell: I move that the bill be now read a second time.
This bill is an important step in building our world-renowned park system -- an ecological reserve system that British Columbians have established. We've been creating parks since 1911 in British Columbia, but the last decade has seen an unprecedented commitment by people across the province and from all walks of life to preserve and sustain this natural legacy for future generations.
Since the inception of our protected-areas strategy, the protected areas system has expanded significantly. In 1992 protected areas comprised 6.3 percent of the provincial land-base, with the addition of the areas described in this bill, because we're redescribing the areas and all the parks in this bill. The government's goal of protecting 12 percent of British Columbia's land-base as parks, ecological reserves and other protected areas will be met and surpassed.
This increase in less than a decade will represent the addition of nearly six million hectares of land to our protected areas system. With this bill, B.C.'s protected areas system will now include 561 class A parks and 149 ecological reserves, and the total protected area in British Columbia now exceeds more than 11 million hectares. I think that's fantastic.
This bill itself creates 15 new class A parks and one new ecological reserve. It makes additions to six existing schedule class A parks. This will comprise more than one million acres. The new parks and ecological reserves contained in this bill have been identified for protection through this innovative land use process that some of the members have described in the previous speeches on the previous bill, and I needn't go into that.
I want to highlight a couple of the names of the parks. I won't go into all the details, but one should note parks like Dune Za Keyih Park, also known as Frog-Gataga Park, which is 330,000 acres; Omineca Park, which is a new class A park more than 130,000 hectares in size; and the Stikine River Park, which I've had the advantage of flying over in a small plane a couple of summers ago with the member for Bulkley Valley-Stikine. It's 257,000 hectares in size, and it comes out of the Cassiar-Iskut-Stikine LRMP. The canyon there is to be called the Grand Canyon of British Columbia. It's also contiguous to Mount Edziza Park and Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Park, and they're both being expanded, as well, and connected.
The bill also continues the process of replacing the written metes and bounds descriptions for new parks with legally mapped boundaries that are more accurate, more understandable and practical to use. The members of the House will get these maps. They're referred to in the schedules of the act, and they will be made available.
It gives me great pleasure and pride to move second reading of this great park act.
M. Coell: The opposition will also be supporting this act, as it has the acts brought forward doing the same things with the parks that the previous minister brought to the House. I think that providing the added protection of this act is a good
[ Page 17594 ]
thing for parks. I think that parks and ecological reserves are a foundation of British Columbia and a foundation that I think people respect. I think that bringing them to the Legislature in this form gives a sense of confidence for the future. So I'm pleased to speak in favour of this.
I'd also mention that looking at the number of parks that they were able to deal with, I would congratulate your staff for being able to put that many parks in this act with the existing descriptions for reserves and parks. It's with pleasure that I support this act.
J. Sawicki: As members in this House know, I could actually take my whole allotted 30 minutes to talk about this topic. But I will not do that; I will keep it very, very brief.
You know, in this last decade and the times that we have brought acts like this into this House, we have perhaps come to take for granted the incredibly significant achievement that British Columbia has experienced this past decade in creating these parks. The member for Coquitlam-Maillardville mentioned all of the reasons why parks are so important, but the significant one, I believe, is that we are the last generation to have the option to put aside these areas, to legislate them forever to ensure that they can be protected for the species, the ecological diversity and future generations.
I would like to go on and talk a little bit about the land use planning process, but I will not do that. I will only end by saying that when people ask me what I'm going to do when I leave this place and my career as an active politician, I answer: I now have 780 parks to explore in British Columbia, and I intend to do as many of them as I can.
The Speaker: Seeing no further speakers, I'll call the question on the motion.
The Speaker: Members, I'm made aware that the Lieutenant
Oh, we have a motion by the Environment minister?
Hon. I. Waddell: Yes, and I thank the members for passing that.
I move that this bill be referred to a Committee of the Whole to be considered at the next sitting of the House after today, so we can do it clause by clause.
Bill 15, Protected Areas of British Columbia Amendment Act, read a second time and referred to a Committee of the Whole House for consideration at the next sitting of the House after today.
The Speaker: Members, the Lieutenant-Governor is in the precinct. I would ask the members to please keep their seats for a few moments. Thank you.
The House recessed from 4:55 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
[The Speaker in the chair.]
His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor entered the chamber and took his place in the chair.
Child Care BC Act
Income Tax Amendment Act, 2001
Budget Measures Implementation Act, 2001
Adult Guardianship Statutes Amendment Act, 2001
Access to Education Act
In Her Majesty's name, His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor doth assent to these acts.
Supply Act (No. 1), 2001
Supply Act, 2000-2001 (Supplementary No. 3)
In Her Majesty's name, His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor doth thank Her Majesty's loyal subjects, accept their benevolence and assent to these acts.
His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor retired from the chamber.
[The Speaker in the chair.]
Hon. G. Janssen: Noting the hour, I move the House do now adjourn.
Hon. G. Janssen moved adjournment of the House.
The House adjourned at 5:20 p.m.
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