In recognition of Yukon Mining and Geology Week 2015

I also rise on behalf of the Liberal caucus to pay tribute to Yukon Mining and Geology Week. I would like to start by welcoming, obviously, all the members of the mining community who are in the gallery here today.

Mr. Speaker, when people think of the Yukon, they often have two distinct images that they think about. One, of course, is our open, vast wilderness, of our mountains and our rivers. More often, the image turns to the century miners heading over the Chilkoot to find their riches in the Klondike.

Mining plays an integral role in how the world views the Yukon, and it continues to be one of our economic staples. Yukon’s mining sector is not just an industry; it’s an icon — look at our licence plate. Mining and exploration connects us to our heritage as Yukoners. Yukon has developed a successful and profitable sector, which the Yukon Liberal Party believes can be balanced — creating jobs and protecting the environment.

We, as legislators, have a role to play. We have to ensure that we do our part to make the policies that encourage investment and also make the policies that create market certainty. Yukoners cannot control world mineral prices, but we certainly can control the climate for investment and opportunity.

I had the opportunity as well to listen to Stuart Muir the other day.I also found his comments very interesting, especially comments about image. I know that a lot of his statistics and studies were from the mainland of British Columbia and also the inland, but I have to tell you, from a Dawsonite’s perspective, that doesn’t ring true in the Klondike and I don’t think it rings true in the Yukon. It is one of the many things that make my community so special. We have worked very, very hard to achieve a balance, and our thriving arts community works side-by-side by the placer miners and they get it. Our tourism sector is heavily devoted to mining relics — historical relics — and the great stories that come along with it. They get it.

It is not lost upon me — a high school teacher in Dawson. I wouldn’t have a job — there wouldn’t be a high school in Dawson if there wasn’t such a vibrant mining community.

In my first year in the Yukon, I had the unique opportunity, after completing the first year, of going into a placer mine with David McBurney. He gave somebody with absolutely no experience a chance to go in. The reason I even put this in the tribute — as important as teaching me about lay-flat hoses or piggybacking trommels with excavators is — is because of the attention to detail to the environmental pursuits — the settling ponds and the tailings — is very, very important to these family gentlemen miners.

Mr. Speaker, with modern technology, sound regulations and public education, the mining sector can continue to thrive and survive in the Yukon, contributing to the world’s economy and creating a prosperous Yukon community.

As we pay tribute to Yukon Mining and Geology Week, I would like to express my appreciation for the many prospectors, geologists, construction workers, operators and miners who have expertise, who have profiled Yukon’s successful mining sector and continue to build our economy.

Many organizations, both private and public, have provided the much-needed education and support for these workers, including but not limited to: the Chamber of Mines, Yukon Women in Mining, Yukon Mine Training Association, Yukon Geological Survey, prospectors’ associations and, of course, the Klondike Placer Miners’ Association.

I want to thank the organizations that make Mining Week happen every year and the men and women who work in the industry and continue to provide prosperity to the territory. The Yukon Liberal Party looks forward to a productive and healthy relationship with the mining industry for years to come, especially when their leader comes from the Klondike.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.