Question re: Tourism statistics - April 25, 2016

Mr. Silver: Over the weekend, the Tourism ministry gathered to take a look at the upcoming season. They also took a look over their shoulders at last year’s season as well. For the longest time, the Government of Yukon monthly tourism stats were unavailable. Nothing past July was on the government’s website until last week. The new stats do reveal some interesting information, Mr. Speaker. For the second year in a row, border crossings are down across the board — Americans, Canadians and Yukoners.

Mr. Speaker, can the minister confirm that the annual border crossings were down four percent in 2015?

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In recognition of Lorenzo Grimard’s Birthday - April 23, 2016

Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of all of my colleagues in the Legislative Assembly to tribute Lorenzo Grimard on his 100th birthday.

April 23, 2106 in Dawson City not only marked the earliest day on record for the breakup of the Yukon River, but it was also cause for the celebration for the oldest-living francophone in the territory: Mr. Lorenzo Grimard.

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In recognition of Yukon Education Week 2016

Mr. Silver:   Mr. Speaker, I joyfully stand today to pay tribute to Yukon Education Week on behalf of the Yukon Liberal Party. This year’s theme, “A strong team builds bright futures”, reminds us all of the saying that it does take a village to raise a child. Education doesn’t just happen in the classroom, Mr. Speaker. I think we can all agree that we learn something new every day, which comes from a wide range of sources.

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In recognition of Earth Day 2016

Mr. Silver: I also rise today on behalf of the Liberal caucus to pay tribute to Earth Day. Canada is celebrating its 25th Earth Day by promoting a Rooting 4 Trees campaign with the goal of planting 25,000 trees in the month of April.

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Question re: Film industry - April 21, 2016

Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Minister of Economic Development about a letter that he received this week from the president of the Screen Production Yukon Association. It was regarding a review of the Yukon government’s film funding programs. According to the letter, these programs are in desperate need of revision and reflection of the recent evolution in the industry. Digital media, in particular, is in dire need of incorporation into the Yukon film funding programs. The government has identified the requirement to review and update the current funding programs to address digital media, as well as other funding gaps, but it has not delivered on providing any solid process, timelines, road maps or otherwise to have such a task completed on time soon.

The government began its review a year ago and said programming will be updated in January of 2016. Mr. Speaker, why has the government missed its own deadline?

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Question re: Whistle Bend continuing care facility - April 20, 2016

Mr. Silver: I also have a question for the Premier about the Whistle Bend seniors facility.

Yesterday in Question Period, the Premier said he put a great deal of stock in what the Auditor General of Canada has to say about budgeting and Yukon’s finances. In 2013, the Auditor General released a scathing report on the Yukon Party’s fiscal mismanagement on the construction of two rural hospitals. In it, he was sharply critical of the decision to begin construction before knowing the operation and maintenance costs of these facilities. As the election looms, the Yukon Party is once again starting construction on a very large project — the Whistle Bend seniors facility — with no idea of what the operation and maintenance costs will be.

Mr. Speaker, why is the Yukon Party ignoring the advice of the Auditor General when it comes to financial management of projects?

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In recognition of Biodiversity Awareness Month 2016

Mr. Silver: I would like to rise on behalf of the Liberal caucus to also pay tribute to Biodiversity Awareness Month.

April is a month of great change in the Yukon. The snow melts — or in this year’s case a bit earlier — buds begin to open and animals come out of hibernation. It is a grand display of our territory’s biodiversity. Biodiversity defines many stages of biological interaction within species, between species and between ecosystems. It is an ever-changing balance with time and is greatly affected by human activity. As individuals, we all have a part to play in ensuring that our actions do not have a negative effect on the flora and fauna, but instead promote healthy human interaction with them.

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Richard Mostyn wins contested nomination in Whitehorse West

WHITEHORSE – Richard Mostyn is the Yukon Liberal candidate in Whitehorse West after the party held its first contested nomination on Tuesday evening. 165 ballots were cast at the Mt. McIntyre Recreation Centre, seeing Mostyn win the majority after a four-month-long nomination contest with Ramesh Ferris. More than 200 people took out memberships in the Yukon Liberal Party, to participate in the vote.

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Question re: Energy projects - April 19, 2016

Mr. Silver: In the summer of 2013, the Premier announced the government was moving forward on building a new hydroelectric dam. After the Yukon Party government and the previous Energy, Mines and Resources minister spent several years trying to sell our hydro system to Alberta, this was a welcome change. The government told Yukoners that there would be a business case completed by 2015 to proceed with the planning of one or two future hydroelectric power projects. That deadline has come and gone, Mr. Speaker.

Recently, the minister admitted that in fact no project or site had been selected. After spending $2 million and two deputy ministers being let go, we still don’t have a potential project.

Why has the government not lived up to the commitment that it made for itself back in 2013?

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Question re: Capital project expenditures - April 18, 2016

Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Premier. One of the defining features of this Yukon Party government has been its inability to bring in projects on time and on budget. The new LNG facility was $6 million overbudget. The two rural hospitals were both millions of dollars more than originally advertised as well.

Buried in the back of the Premier’s budget documents was a financial update on the cost of the F.H. Collins school project. Can the Premier confirm that the cost of this construction job has now reached $55.3 million?

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