In recognition of Leckie Award and Yukon Chamber of Mines award winners 2014

Mr. Silver:   I also want to voice my congratulations to the companies and individuals that have won awards over the week, especially prospectors of the year, Ed Gallant and Mike Hamilton — and again for those great stories that they had last night at the banquet — and also the Leckie Award for excellence in environmental stewardship for the Sa Dena Hes Corporation — absolutely. But I just want to have a personal moment here for some of the Dawson winners of these awards. First off, the Fellers family name — not just Will and Mel, but the whole family has been a cornerstone in the placer mining community of Dawson for decades.

Will and Mel specifically are not only excellent and conscientious miners, but they are also extremely involved in the community. They are excellent neighbours and they are good people. I do want to warn you, though, Mr. Speaker, that if you are in Dawson on one of those rare nights when Mel makes an appearance at the poker table at Gertie’s, do not sit down because she will take your money.

I have watched the GroundTruth crew continue ever since they began, at their inception, and their evolution since their inception. There have been many of Isaac’s dirt-baggers camped out on my lawn over many summer months and into the winters, using my shower on the odd days that they were actually in town. I have seen many of his workers also fall in love with our community and with the town, and grow roots in different occupations after their employment with Isaac. I have also seen a lot of my ex-students and other locals benefit from his leadership and from his employment. From the beginning, Isaac’s goal was always more than just personal gain. To Isaac, it is about family, it is about community and it is about the environment.

Tao Henderson — the minute that Tao moved to town, everybody loved him. I don’t know how he did it but he managed to get the respect of everybody in the community from a really early, early time. That’s a hard thing to do in Dawson. I believe that it is his positive attitude and it is also his amazing work ethic. I remember the night that Tao came to my house for a beer, because he was asking all of his friends what they thought of this new partnership idea that Shawn Ryan and Cathy Wood were offering him in exploration — and this speaks to his character because one of the biggest hurdles was, even though he stood to gain very much for his family through this opportunity, he had started working for the City of Dawson just a short time before and he was very, very worried about letting his co-workers down.

So after much soul-searching, Tao took on the offer and Talus Exploration was born — and we’re extremely grateful that he did. Working in tandem with Isaac Fage and with his team at GroundTruth, this partnership was a key economic driver in Dawson’s exploration boom of a few short years ago. After the boom, the companies merged and continued to revolutionize the industry.

Now I won’t bother going into detail with that, because I believe the minister did a great job of summing up the reasons why they won their award. But I just want to personally say a big thank you to both Tao Henderson and to Isaac Fage for their work in the industry. You are the future of the industry and that’s something that your community is extremely proud of.

Thank you.