Question re: Dawson City and Watson Lake hospitals – March 28, 2013

Mr. Silver: The issue of new hospitals has been in the news lately and for all the wrong reasons. The government has been roundly criticized for poor planning and poor financial management of the two new hospital projects in rural Yukon. The Auditor General of Canada’s report on the mistakes the government made is quite a read.

The centrepiece of this year’s budget is a $27-million bailout of the Yukon Hospital Corporation to clean up the financial mess that has been created. Once the hospitals are finished they will need to be staffed. When the government decided to build these facilities there was no plan in place to staff either one of them.

Will the Minister of Health and Social Services confirm that nurses from Whitehorse General Hospital have been asked to work in the new hospital in Dawson because there are not enough nurses to staff the facility?

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Question re: First Nations/government relations – March 27, 2013

Mr. Silver: Last fall the Premier cancelled a scheduled meeting of the Yukon Forum on very short notice. Chiefs from around the territory had already travelled to Whitehorse for a meeting, only to be informed that the Premier would not be able to meet with them. It is an example of this government’s frayed relationships with Yukon First Nation governments. One of the items on the agenda was a new resource royalty agreement. On October 29, 2012, the Premier announced that a new deal with the Yukon First Nations was in place, but he said he wouldn’t be making it public until it was signed at the Yukon Forum. It turns out that announcement was premature as the deal isn’t done after all.

The forum has now been postponed indefinitely. It has been almost five months since the proposed deal was announced, but it remains under wraps. As of this week, it sounds like it might not get signed at all.

Will the Premier release the terms of the new resource royalty agreement that was referred to in the October 29 news release?

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Question re: Oil and gas development in Kaska traditional territory – March 27, 2013

Mr. Silver: Last fall, the Government of Yukon passed legislation to try to strip the Kaska of its veto over oil and gas development in its traditional territory. The Government of Yukon also signed an MOU with the Kaska in 1997 that spoke to the issue of consent and vetoes. The minister has thus far been completely silent on the ongoing enforceability of section 5.1 of the MOA, even with section 13 of the Oil and Gas Act having been repealed. I’m looking for a clear answer as to the government’s position at this point.

Will the minister confirm that the consent requirement for the issuance of new oil and gas dispositions in Kaska traditional territory, which the parties agreed to in good faith and confirmed in paragraph 5.1 of the January 1997 MOA, will continue to be honoured by the Government of Yukon? It’s a simple yes-or-no question.

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Statement by Klondike MLA Sandy Silver on the resignation of the Yukon Medical Council

Sandy Silver today issued the following statement on the resignation of the Yukon Medical Council:

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Question re: Energy supply and demand – March 26, 2013

Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources. There has been a great deal of discussion about the situation we find ourselves in with respect to a looming power supply shortage in the Yukon. We are fast approaching a power-supply cliff. Even the minister will acknowledge that. A decision by a major mine to go into production would likely push Yukon Energy beyond its current generating capacity, leaving us no choice but to burn diesel to meet the increased demand. Currently the Public Utilities Act obligates the government to allow these large industrial customers to be hooked up to the grid. It doesn’t have to be that way. To get around this obligation to serve, the government could simply amend the Public Utilities Act.

Has the government considered this idea and, if not, why not?

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