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?Read more
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?Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Minister of Health and Social Services. Last year, the Premier said the government had accomplished all it was going to do in its mandate. I think Yukoners recognize that there’s a host of projects and issues that this government has plenty of work left to do on. One is midwifery.
After nearly 14 years in office, the Yukon Party has failed to move forward on regulating this practice. This highlights the lack of planning and leadership shown on this topic by the Yukon Party. Over a year ago, the Minister of Health and Social Services told this House — and I quote: that the “… government is currently considering regulating the practice of midwifery in the territory.” A year later, it’s obvious that this work will be left to the next government.
Mr. Speaker, why has the Yukon Party failed to regulate midwifery after 14 years in office?Read more
Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. In early March, the Yukon Party had taxpayers pay for a flyer that was mailed across the territory. It was a report to Yukoners that tried to make the case that this government is growing our economy. Our economy has in fact shrunk over the last three years. Taxpayers are also paying to promote the Premier’s budget in ads on Facebook. In bold letters, there’s a quote from the Premier: “Government needs to support the economy, not become the economy.” I couldn’t agree more, Mr. Speaker. Unfortunately, just the opposite is happening in today’s Yukon. Under the failed economic policies of this government, private sector jobs have dropped by 600 in the last year and private sector jobs have increased by 500. Under the Yukon Party government, the private sector is shrinking and the public sector is growing. The government’s own statistics prove that. Mr. Speaker, why are taxpayers covering the costs for these misleading ads?Read more
Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, in early March, the Yukon government had taxpayers foot the bill for a flyer that was mailed across the territory. It was a Report to Yukoners that boldly stated this government is — and I quote: “growing our economy”.
The Conference Board of Canada recently confirmed our economy shrank last year and has in fact shrunk three years in a row. In a few months’ time, the territory’s last operating hardrock mine will be shutting its doors. The government’s own forecast says — and I quote: “Real GDP is expected to contract for the third consecutive year” for 2015 — so much for the claim that the government has successfully been growing our economy.
When is this government going to admit that its economic record is actually one of failure?Read more
Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, we know that one of the defining accomplishments of this government has been to ratchet up uncertainty for investors, particularly in the resource sector. The uncertainty was reflected in the rankings of the latest Fraser Institute mining report.
It was also reflected in mining exploration in the territory, which is down again this year by 18 percent. It has actually dropped almost every year that the Yukon Party 2.0 has been in office.
Now ongoing court battles with First Nations and regulatory uncertainty have tarnished our reputation as a good place to do business. A perfect example of this is the Yukon Party’s botched attempt to amend Bill S-6, or YESAA.
Mr. Speaker, will the Premier now take responsibility for the regulatory uncertainty raised by this government’s failed YESAA review?Read more
Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, this year the annual transfer payment from the Government of Canada to the Yukon is on the rise again. It’s at a record level, in fact. We received $21 million more than last year and we continue to rely on Ottawa for more than 80 percent of our budget.
Despite years of promises from the Yukon Party, we remain as dependent as ever on Ottawa. The Yukon Party promises to make Yukon a net contributor to Canada and we are failing in that regard. Despite yet another increase, the government is still unhappy and wanted more from Ottawa. The changes should come as no surprise to the Premier because he and a former federal Conservative Finance minister signed the agreement that we have in place now. Changes that were implemented last fall are part of that agreement, and the government has known about these changes since 2012, and certainly since 2014.
Mr. Speaker, will the Premier confirm for the record that the transfer payment from Ottawa is up some $21 million over last year?Read more
Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health and Social Services. About a year ago, I asked a previous Minister of Health and Social Services about the status of the Little Blue Daycare in Dawson City. It currently is housed in an older building and the daycare desperately needs a new home. They submitted a proposal to the minister’s department over a year ago to replace the building. At that time, the minister called it an exciting report. Mr. Speaker, a year later — and we’re still waiting for a response.Read more
Mr. Silver: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education. Last week, Yukoners learned that after 10 years of successfully delivering the enhanced language training, or ELT, Yukon College has been forced to discontinue the program. Now this is due in large part to the fact that the Yukon government discontinued its status as a funding partner this year.Read more
Mr. Silver: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday, the government released its progress report on its climate change action plan. In the report, the minister acknowledges that the government — and I quote: “… recognizes the magnitude of changes to our northern climate and our willingness to respond in a coordinated, informed and timely manner.Read more