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The 2008 Spring Sitting of the First Session of the 32nd Legislative Assembly adjourned on May 15. The 32-day sitting had begun on March 20. The Sitting concluded with Assent being given in the Chamber by the Commissioner of Yukon, Geraldine Van Bibber. The nine government bills to which assent was granted on May 15 were:

* Bill No. 53, Act to Amend the Tobacco Tax Act

* Bill No. 47, Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 2008

* Bill No. 48, Act to Amend the Summary Convictions Act

* Bill No. 49, Act to Amend the Financial Administration Act

* Bill No. 9, Third Appropriation Act, 2007-08

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

* Bill No. 46, Act to Amend the Liquor Act

* Bill No. 52, Workers' Compensation Act

* Bill No. 51, International Child Abduction (Hague Convention) Act

Earlier in the Spring Sitting, three other bills had passed and been given Assent:

* Bill No. 10, Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 2008-09 (on March 27th)

* Bill No. 50, Child and Family Services Act (on April 22nd)

* Bill No. 104, Smoke-free Places Act (on April 22nd)

First Appropriation Act, 2008-09

As usual, the item of business that consumed the most time during the Spring Sitting was the government's main estimates for the coming fiscal year. In Bill No. 11 the government sought the Assembly's approval to spend $900 million during 2008-09. The bill was debated for approximately 46 hours and was still under debate in Committee of the Whole on the final sitting day at 5 p.m. At that time, pursuant to Standing Order 76, the Chair of Committee of the Whole, Steve Nordick (Klondike, Yukon Party) interrupted debate and this bill (as well as all other outstanding Government bills) was advanced through its remaining stages without further debate or amendment.

Smoke-free Places Act

The passage of Bill No. 104, Smoke-free Places Act, on April 22nd marked the first time in 10 years that a private member's bill passed the House. As detailed in the preceding issue of CPR, the bill was introduced by the Leader of the Third Party, Todd Hardy (Whitehorse Centre, NDP) during the 2007 Spring Sitting. The bill received Second Reading and some discussion in Committee of the Whole on May 9, 2007. It was referred to the Select Committee on Anti-smoking Legislation on June 13, 2007. The committee held hearings across Yukon in September and October 2007 and tabled its report on November 21.

Committee of the Whole resumed its consideration of Bill No. 104 on November 28, 2007 and again on March 26, 2008. On the latter date the committee proceeded to clause-by-clause consideration of the bill and adopted 24 amendments to it. Given the extensive number of amendments the bill was ordered reprinted before Third Reading. The amended version of Bill No. 104 was scheduled for Third Reading on April 22. However, as this was not a day when private members' business would have precedence, unanimous consent was required to have the bill debated. Unanimous consent was granted and Bill No. 104 received Third Reading and Assent on that day.

Select Committee on Human Rights

On April 9, 2008 the Legislative Assembly established the Select Committee on Human Rights. The select committee's mandate includes receiving the views and opinions of Yukoners and interested groups on legislative options for amending Yukon's 20-year old Human Rights Act. The select committee members are Marian Home (Pelly-Nisutlin, Yukon Party), Don Inverarity (Porter Creek South, Liberal), and Steve Cardiff (Mount Lorne, NDP).

Pursuant to the motion that established the select committee, Bill No. 102, An Act to Amend the Human Rights Act--a private Member's bill introduced by Mr. Inverarity on April 23, 2007, and which received some second reading debate on May 23, 2007--was referred to it. The bill seeks to extend from six months to two years the time period during which a complaint must be made to the Yukon Human Rights Commission with regard to an alleged contravention of the Human Rights Act.

The select committee has met several times over the summer and will be holding territory-wide public hearings in late September and early October. It is already accepting written submissions. The select committee is to report its findings and recommendations, if any, to the House by the 15th sitting day of the 2008 Fall Sitting. While the Assembly does not have a fixed calendar, it is anticipated that this sitting day will fall in late November.

Conflict of Interest Commissioner re-appointed

On May 13th the Assembly re-appointed David Phillip Jones, Q.C., as Yukon's Conflict of Interest Commissioner for a three-year period. The motion to re-appoint Mr. Jones was proposed by the Premier, Dennis Fentie (Watson Lake, Yukon Party). The Conflict of Interest (Members and Ministers) Act requires that the appointment be approved by two-thirds of the Members of the Legislative Assembly. In fact, the motion carried unanimously.

Cabinet Shuffle

On July 3rd Premier Fentie announced a Cabinet shuffle. While the composition of Cabinet remains the same, there were some changes to Ministers' portfolios. Current portfolios are:

Dennis Fentie (Premier): Finance; Executive Council Office

Elaine Taylor (Deputy Premier): Environment; Tourism and Culture

Marian Horne: Justice, Women's Directorate

Archie Lang: Highways and Public Works; Community Services

Glenn Hart: Health and Social Services; Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board; French Language Services Directorate

Jim Kenyon: Economic Development, Yukon Development Corporation, Yukon Energy Corporation, Yukon Housing Corporation

Brad Cathers: Energy, Mines and Resources, Yukon Liquor Corporation, Yukon Lottery Commission

Patrick Rouble: Education, Public Service Commission

CPA Conference Participation

Speaker Ted Staffen and Darius Elias (Vuntut Gwitchin, Liberal) attended the Canadian Regional conference in Halifax in July. Speaker Staffen, Ms. Horne and Gary McRobb (Kluane, Liberal) attended the international conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from August 1-10.

Electoral District Boundaries

Speaker Staffen tabled the Final Report of the Electoral District Boundaries Commission in the House on March 25, 2008. The Commission recommended increasing the number of electoral districts from 18 to 19. It is expected that legislation to implement this recommendation will be introduced in the 2008 Fall Sitting.

Floyd McCormick


Linda Kolody

Deputy Clerk
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Title Annotation:Legislative Reports
Author:McCormick, Floyd
Publication:Canadian Parliamentary Review
Geographic Code:1CYUK
Date:Sep 22, 2008
Previous Article:Senate.
Next Article:House of Commons.

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