Question re: Ministerial travel to 2014 mineral Roundup - December 16, 2014

Mr. Silver:  For a number of years, Yukon night at the mineral Roundup in Vancouver has been the centrepiece of activities for investors who want to do business here in the Yukon. It is a formal part of the conference and has traditionally been held on Monday night.

This year, the program for Roundup lists Yukon night on Sunday before the conference actually even begins, and it says — and I’ll quote here: “The following events are organized independently of AMEBC…” The event is on Sunday, is much smaller and it only runs for two hours instead of the traditional three to four hours.

My question is for the Premier: Why is Yukon night not an official part of Roundup anymore?

Hon. Mr. Kent:  Yukon night — I’m not sure if the member opposite knows — is organized by the Yukon Chamber of Mines. AMEBC made some changes to their program.

The Yukon Chamber of Mines continues to use Yukon Night as a fundraiser; unfortunately the member opposite is incorrect in assuming that this is government event. It’s something that is run by the Yukon Chamber of Mines. Of course, the Premier’s reception is the event that the Government of Yukon organizes. That will be held on Monday evening this year, but I would suggest that perhaps the member opposite could attend the Yukon Chamber of Mines open house this evening and ask them why the changes have been made to Yukon Night.

Mr. Silver:  I’m sure the minister knows who funds these events.

Mr. Speaker, Yukon night has always been the main focus of Roundup for Yukon investors. We know that the main focus of Roundup for this government is to raise money for the Yukon Party. We know that this night — Yukon night — is not part of the official program for Roundup. We know an abbreviated version of Yukon night will be held on Sunday before the conference actually begins. We know that it will scheduled to end just as the Yukon Party fundraiser for the party boat, the Magic Charm, begins down the street — all very convenient.

Mr. Speaker, B.C. night continues to be held and actually, it has now taken over Yukon’s spot on Monday night. Why does this government think that raising money for the Yukon Party is more important than supporting the traditional Yukon night?

Hon. Mr. Kent:  Mr. Speaker, again the member opposite seems to be quite confused with who organizes this event. This event is organized by AMEBC. They are the key sponsors of the Roundup — the annual Mineral Exploration Roundup held in Vancouver. Yukon night is something that the Yukon Chamber of Mines has traditionally organized. Absolutely, it used to be — it has traditionally been held on a Monday evening. Organizers of the conference changed that this year and the Yukon Chamber of Mines has decided to hold their event on Sunday evening.

Again, Mr. Speaker, this has nothing to do with the Government of Yukon. The member opposite, I think, in heckling, previously talked about where the funding comes from. This is an important sponsorship opportunity for the Yukon Chamber of Mines and they continue to use that as a sponsorship opportunity, not unlike Geoscience.

I would encourage the member opposite to attend the Yukon Chamber of Mines open house this evening and take that question up with them. The Premier’s reception, which is the Yukon government’s reception that is held annually at Roundup, will again take place this year on Monday evening. It will be a stand-alone event from B.C. night, obviously. We look forward to getting invites out to all those interested in seeing a strong and prosperous mining industry here in the territory in the next couple of weeks.

Mr. Silver:  I stand opposed. I figured that the minister had some pull with the chamber.

Yukon night has always been a formal part of the Roundup. Now it isn’t even part of the conference and according to the organizing committee website, it is now organized independently.

Now it is ironic that under this government, the largest showcase for Yukon mining is being cut back. The timing of the abbreviated event is also questionable. Its main purpose seems to be to direct people to the Yukon Party fundraiser being held down the street on the Magic Charm boat. The mining industry has taken several hits in recent years. There are permitting problems. There is the mess this government has created with the YESAA amendments. The electrical rates are rising. There is a shortage of capital and there is this government’s antagonist approach to First Nation governments in the Yukon. Yukon night should be an opportunity to put our best foot forward. Instead, the priority is raising money for the upcoming election for the Yukon Party.

Why did the government give away Yukon Night to British Columbia?

Hon. Mr. Kent:  Mr. Speaker, the member opposite did not pay any attention to my previous answers. This is not a government-organized event. The government-organized event at Roundup is the Premier’s reception. We’ll continue to have that on Monday night.

He continues to heckle off-mic here. I know — he should be embarrassed. He should be embarrassed by that question that he asked. He doesn’t understand what Roundup is, who organizes it, who organizes Yukon night. It is really unfortunate that we see a real lack of understanding by the Liberal leader with respect to the resource extraction industry here in the territory.

When I am down at Roundup, I’ll be attending with the Premier and a number of other ministers on this side of the House. Regular meetings are scheduled for Monday, Tuesday and into Wednesday. I will be down in Vancouver through Thursday this year, meeting with companies that are active in the Yukon and companies that want to be active in the Yukon — talking to industry, both from the territory and from other parts of Canada and indeed the world about the great opportunities that exist here in the territory with our extraction industry.

Again, Mr. Speaker, I would ask the member opposite to go to the Yukon Chamber of Mines open house this evening and ask them why they moved Yukon night, or why AMEBC decided that Monday was the best night for B.C. It is not a government decision.