Question re: Energy supply and demand - December 1, 2014

Mr. Silver:   As far back as 2007, the Yukon Liberal Party has been advocating for the government to adapt an independent power policy or an IPP policy.

In that time, we have seen a lot of activity, including ministers being shuffled out of Energy, Mines and Resources, but we have yet to see an IPP policy. The holdup is the Yukon Party government, which has been talking about putting a policy in place for this for years now, but still has not completed the job. This is something industry and the Liberal caucus have been promoting for a number of years.

When will we see an IPP policy in place?

Hon. Mr. Kent:    Of course, an IPP policy was part of the 2009 Energy Strategy that was adopted by the Yukon government. This policy will enable small producers to generate power to help the territory to meet present and future power demands.

There was a three-month public consultation period on the draft policy that ended in late August of this year. Energy, Mines and Resources’ staff are now considering the comments received. It’s my understanding that we can anticipate a policy and a program being in place sometime within the first six months of 2015.

Mr. Silver:   Yukoners have known that a great deal of time was wasted on energy planning when the previous Yukon Party minister and Premier tried to sell our power assets to Alberta. Two years were lost there when they should have been working and finishing an IPP policy.

We as a territory need to be planning better for the future. I believe that the Yukon Party has simply failed to deliver here. We are in an energy crisis and an energy crunch. It’s because of a lack of planning and also a lack of an IPP. A clearly laid out independent power production policy is an important part of planning for our future, but it is still not in place after many, many years of talking about it.

I guess the question is: What exactly is the holdup?

Hon. Mr. Kent:    As I mentioned, we did close a public consultation period in August of this year. We received over 40 responses to the draft policy. Energy, Mines and Resources’ staff are now considering the comments that we have received. But beyond this, Mr. Speaker, I think that there are a number of items that I would like to point to with respect to long-term energy planning that this government is engaged in and has completed, such as the microgenerating program that was launched earlier this year. In January of this year, I believe, the program came into place. There is also the work being done right now by the Yukon Development Corporation with respect to long-term hydro. I committed to the member opposite that the IPP policy would be in place within the first six months of 2015. Of course, we need to consider comments that we received as part of the public consultation period. I think it’s important that we take the time to get it right, rather than rushing into things as the member opposite would have us do.

Mr. Silver:   I think over five years is not necessarily “rushing”.

The Yukon is absolutely a leading jurisdiction in Canada for renewable energy at approximately 85 percent. That is very true. Yukoners are very proud of that fact as is the Liberal Party. We do hope to continue with this trend and we believe that an independent power policy will continue to provide renewable energy in the Yukon. We in the Liberal Party are very anxious to see this policy going forth in a smooth and responsible manner, as it could provide a much-needed increase to our territory’s power supply. Unfortunately, we have been waiting for many years on this.

As the minister mentioned, there was much consultation held this summer. Usually after consultation of that sort, we get a summary document, or a “what-we-heard” document. Can the government tell us about the policy itself, or if there’s some kind of documentation about the “what-we-heard” part of this consultation process, and will that be available for the public?

Hon. Mr. Pasloski:     The document the member opposite is inquiring about is coming in due course, but what I would like to say is that, initially, I was a bit surprised to see the leader of the Liberals here today, but upon a —

Speaker’s statement

Speaker:       Order. You’re not to refer to the presence or absence of any member in this House, I would remind you.

Hon. Premier, please continue.

Hon. Mr. Pasloski:     Mr. Speaker, what I’m referring to, really, is broken promises, in terms of a trip to Ottawa — another example of a flip-flop of the Liberal leader. We know that the Liberal leader’s position changes, depending upon what audience it is that he’s talking to. So, Mr. Speaker, I’m really not surprised with the attendance today.