Question re: Tourism statistics - May 25, 2016

Mr. Silver: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Earlier this year, the government released its annual tourism visitor statistical report after spending $600,000 on a new visitor tracking program. The government released the report without these new numbers saying that they were simply unavailable; $600,000 and no new numbers is not a great return on this investment. Yukon tourism operators are forced once again to rely on border crossing numbers as they have for many years. The contractor from the 2012 study has asked repeatedly for access to the data that was collected at that cost of $600,000 and has repeatedly been denied that information from this government. They have even filed an access to information request to get that data so that it can be distributed to the industry.

Why is the government fighting the release of this information?

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Question re: Investment in infrastructure development - May 24, 2016

Mr. Silver: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I would like to follow up on the question of infrastructure spending that I raised last week. While the Premier has been busy asking Ottawa to send more money, the Minister of Community Services has stated that he is worried too much money is on its way and the Yukon would not be able to keep up with its share. The government has known since last fall that a large influx of cash would be on the table from Ottawa and seems ill-prepared to take advantage of it.

Now, one option for the Government of Yukon to pursue would be to approach Yukon First Nation development corporations as a potential source of capital in order to take maximum advantage of the federal infrastructure dollars.

Madam Speaker, has the government even looked at this option?

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Question re: Education reform - May 19, 2016

Mr. Silver: Thank you, Madam Speaker. The final section of the budget speech for the spring 2015 outlined yet another attempt by the Yukon Party government to redesign our education system: “A New Vision: A Made-in-Yukon K to 12 Education Curriculum”. This was the fourth try in the last 13 years of this government to redesign, make over or change the direction of the Department of Education. Fresh out of the gates, the new plan is now just called “A New Vision”. A common complaint after years of these reviews is a lack of follow-up to measure whether any of the changes are producing better results. Without any goalposts in place, these exercises really become change for change’s sake. A full year after work has begun on a new strategy where the questions of how to measure progress on a new vision’s website come up, the answer simply says, “to be determined”.

Madam Speaker, when does the government plan to fill in these very crucial blanks?

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In recognition of Dawson City International Gold Show 2016

Mr. Silver: I rise on behalf of the Liberal caucus to pay tribute to the 2016 Dawson City International Gold Show.

Before I begin I would like to thank Monica Nordling for writing this tribute. Monica is the granddaughter of a placer miner, she is the daughter of a placer miner, a sister of a placer miner and she is a geologist. Monica just got accepted into the Colorado School of Mines, one of the most prestigious schools in North America — and she works in our office.

Madam Speaker, this weekend will mark the 30th annual gold show hosted by the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the City of Dawson, the Klondike Placer Miners’ Association and the Klondike Visitors Association. It is a placer mining industry and consumer trade show that takes place this Friday and Saturday, May 20 and 21, in Dawson City.

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Question re: Low-water impact on hydroelectric power generation - May 18, 2016

Mr. Silver: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Each year, the Department of Environment publishes information on snowpack conditions. Surveys published this spring confirm what most Yukoners already observed in the wintertime, and that is that the snowpack conditions in the Whitehorse area and across the Yukon have been well below normal.

In the Southern Lakes basin, the average has been estimated to be only 48 percent of normal. This is something that I know the minister responsible for Yukon Energy Corporation is watching closely. A snowpack this low could mean that both Whitehorse and Aishihik hydro plants will not have the normal water in which to generate hydro. In normal conditions, the dam spills extra water. This year, we may not have that luxury.

Could the minister outline the impact of this year’s low snowpack on our hydro generation?

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