Question re: Act to Amend the Placer Mining Act and the Quartz Mining Act consultation - December 3, 2013

Hansard December 3, 2013

Mr. Silver:   I have a question for the Premier on Bill No. 66. The Premier has received an earful from both the mining industry and the First Nations of the Yukon over this legislation. One of the common concerns from both sides is a lack of consultation. The Teslin Tlingit Council has described the consultation process as vague, confusing and contradictory. The mining industry said back in June simply that the consultation period for amendments is too short.

For example, the government sent draft plain-language regulations to stakeholders on November 13 and gave them 14 business days to respond.

Why does the Premier think that 14 days is adequate to review these important regulations?


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Question re: Emergency medical services building - December 2, 2013

Hansard, December 2, 2013

Mr. Silver:   All this sitting, I have been asking questions about the government’s overspending on capital projects. We know $6 million has been squandered on F.H. Collins. The rural hospitals were both millions of dollars overbudget and the $30-million Dawson waste-water treatment plant that isn’t even running properly yet are just a few examples of that.

Let’s add to that project list the recently opened ambulance station on Two Mile Hill. That project, Mr. Speaker, was budgeted at $7.3 million and it came in at around $8.1 million. At only 10 percent over the budget, it hardly ranks at the top of the Yukon Party’s list of capital project mismanagement; however, it is $800,000 over what the government promised just 18 months ago.

Can the government explain why this project was 10-percent, or $800,000, overbudget?

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Question re: Economic growth - November 28, 2013

Hansard November 28, 2013

Mr. Silver:   The Yukon Party government has a little bit of a problem. Our economy is heading in the wrong direction and it has done very little to prepare for it. This year, we are 11th out of 13 places in Canada in terms of economic growth. A spokesperson for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business recently said there is a drop in optimism that they have found in their membership in the Whitehorse area over the past year.

In this year’s budget speech, the Premier said, “Our objective has been and continues to be to develop an economy that is less dependent upon government spending and more reliant on the private sector.” Can the Minister of Economic Development confirm that, in the last 12 months, private sector employment was down by 700 jobs, or 5.7 percent, from October of 2012?

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Question re: Dawson City sewage project - November 27, 2013

Hansard November 27, 2013

Mr. Silver:   The August deadline for handing over the new waste-water treatment facility to Dawson came and went and the residents still don’t have a functioning plant. Over $30 million has been spent during testing done this summer and the plant failed three out of the four required tests. This has cost more than it should. It has taken longer than promised and still isn’t working properly. The list of concerns on this project remains very long.

Does the minister still have confidence in the facility and when does he anticipate that it will be working properly?

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Question: Beaver Creek Fire Hall - November 26, 2013

Hansard November 26, 2013

Mr. Silver:   So far this sitting, I’ve been asking several questions about the government wasting taxpayers’ money on capital projects. The community hospitals in Dawson and Watson Lake and F.H. Collins school are examples of this. We have seen millions of dollars mismanaged by the Yukon Party. The extent of this mismanagement is not reserved for just larger projects. There are examples of smaller ones as well.

Back in March 2012 the government announced it was going ahead with replacing the Beaver Creek fire hall. Twenty months later, residents are no closer to seeing this facility built. A tender was put out and then cancelled because all of the bids were higher than the budget the government had set aside. When will this project be retendered?

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Question re: Capital project expenditures - November 25, 2013

Hansard November 25, 2013

Mr. Silver:  In February of this year, the Auditor General of Canada had some very strong criticisms for the Yukon Party and its mismanagement of capital projects. He was referring, of course, to the overbudget and behind-schedule hospitals in Watson Lake and in Dawson City. Fast-forwarding to today the Hospital Corporation is once again embarking on a major capital project — the expansion of the Whitehorse Hospital.

The corporation recently said that the new project will cost $60 million to $65 million to complete. It was only three short years ago that Yukoners were assured that the project would cost $50 million. Why has the cost of the project gone up $10 million to $15 million before a shovel has hit the ground?

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Question re: Hydroelectric dam project - November 21, 2013

Hansard November 21, 2013

Mr. Silver:   I have a question for the Premier. After many years of dragging its heels and attempting to sell our publicly owned energy corporation to the private sector, the Yukon Party finally announced this summer that it was planning to expand our hydro generation. The Premier told local media in July that he wants to build a new hydro dam.

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Question re: Mineral staking on settlement land - November 20, 2013

Hansard November 20, 2013

Mr. Silver:   I have more questions regarding this government’s answer to the Ross River Court decision. This government is responding to one aspect of the ruling by making changes to our mining legislation. The second part of the ruling is being met through government-to-government discussions with the Ross River Dena Council and Yukon government, as far as identifying lands in the Ross River area that will no longer be available for staking.

The minister said that he was working toward a December 27 deadline in those discussions with Ross River. He mentioned earlier today that he has been in discussion with the chief from RRDC. When did the discussions that the minister is referring to between Ross River and government begin? Could the minister tell us when that last meeting was?

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Question re: Mining Legislation consultation

Hansard November 19, 2013

Mr. Silver:  I am going to return to questions I asked yesterday about this government’s approach to addressing the Ross River court decision. First off, the minister said that he was surprised to hear that I’m opposing the amendments that have been drafted and urged me to go to a briefing to make up my mind.

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Question re: Mining legislation

Hansard, November 18, 2013

Mr. Silver: As we begin Geoscience week, I’d like to raise some questions that I’m hearing from the mining industry. While some problems on the mining horizon are beyond Yukon’s control, there are many things that we can manage right here at home, and that includes regulatory certainty. The government has brought forth changes to our mining legislation this fall that raise many questions about security of tender and regulatory uncertainty.

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