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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In recognition of National Police Week

Mr. Silver: I also rise on behalf of the Liberal caucus to pay tribute to National Police Week, which runs from May 15 to 21. Police Week began in Canada in 1970 as a way to connect citizens with their local police force. We also use the week to honour members of our local force and to thank them for the hard work that they do in the line of duty.

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Question re: Dog Act application to unincorporated communities - May 17, 2016

Mr. Silver: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I think all of Yukon was taken aback last week when the chief coroner confirmed what had been rumoured for some time. Last year, a young Ross River man was killed by dogs. Yesterday, the government said three separate times that they were committed to reaching out and working together with the Ross River Dena Council. The minister also said that senior government staff attended a recent public meeting in Ross River.

Madam Speaker, has anyone from this government — and I mean an elected official — spoken with the Ross River Dena Council since this public meeting was held?

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In recognition of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

Mr. Silver: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I also rise today on behalf of the Liberal caucus to pay tribute to the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

Today we speak out against discrimination and celebrate our differences. The federal Liberals have introduced Bill C‑16, legislation that will allow for human rights protection under the grounds of “gender identity and gender expression”. The introduction of this type of legislation has been a difficult road — something that has been swept under the rug by many — and it is the first time that a sitting government has introduced this type of bill.

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In recognition of Hemochromatosis Awareness Month 2016

Mr. Silver: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I rise on behalf of all of my colleagues in the Legislative Assembly to acknowledge Hemochromatosis Awareness Month.

Each year in May, the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society holds an awareness month. Hemochromatosis is a disorder that affects individuals having dangerously high levels of iron in their blood. People affected with this ailment are saturated with iron. It gathers in their heart, liver, kidneys, brain and joints. The subsequent swollen kidneys, liver, heart and brain can be debilitating and sometimes fatal, and iron in the joints causes the early onset of arthritis.

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Question re: Rural infrastructure projects - May 16, 2016

Mr. Silver: Thank you, Madam Speaker. It was great to spend the weekend in the community of Watson Lake attending the annual meeting of the Association of Yukon Communities. It was interesting to hear the Minister of Community Services’ comments about Yukon infrastructure needs and federal funding, mainly because they were completely at odds with what the Premier had been saying.

The minister’s main concern was that the new Liberal government in Ottawa was planning to spend too much money here over the next 10 years and he couldn’t spend that money fast enough. He was also concerned that the Yukon had to come up with 25 percent of the project money — this is, however, exactly what the government asked for and was the subject of a unanimous motion that passed this House just last fall.

Madam Speaker, if there is so much money available, why hasn’t the government actually applied for any of it to build the Dawson runway, the fibre optic line and the new power line to Keno?

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Ernie Jamieson announced as Yukon Liberal candidate for Watson Lake

WATSON LAKE – Ernie Jamieson, a former Watson Lake Municipal Councilor and Deputy Mayor, and the current owner of Takhini Transport, has been acclaimed as the Yukon Liberal candidate in the uncontested riding of Watson Lake. Jamieson was born in Whitehorse where he and his family lived for nine years before moving to Watson Lake in 1959. During his many years in Watson Lake, he has contributed significantly to the local economy and has also served two terms as a Municipal Councilor.

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Question re: Economic outlook - May 12, 2016

Mr. Silver: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Earlier today, Statistics Canada confirmed what many Yukoners already know: our economy has stopped growing under this Yukon Party government. Statistics Canada announced that Yukon’s economy shrank for the third consecutive year in 2015. Alberta led the way and Yukon was second as the two worst performing economies in Canada. This is the third year in a row for Yukon’s economy to shrink. The Department of Economic Development produces its own report on our GDP, and the minister has that data.

Can the minister confirm that Yukon’s own GDP estimates for 2015 show our economy shrank for a third year in a row?

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