Late last week the 2014 Yukon Minerals Advisory Board annual report was released and it opens with the board confirming the worst-kept secret in the Yukon — that there is no investor confidence right now. The report goes downhill from there.
In recent months the Yukon Party government pinned the recession on low mineral prices, but there is no mention of low mineral prices in this report. The board lays the blame squarely on this government and laments the fact that the Yukon is now “predominantly an exploration jurisdiction” and not a mining jurisdiction. The report voices many of the same concerns that I have been raising this session — about this government’s inability to work with First Nations, regulatory uncertainty and our poor performance in the latest Fraser Institute report on mining.Read more
Dear Mr. Thompson:
In his May 6th Pointed View your columnist got it half right regarding the recession the Yukon currently finds itself in. Mineral prices may be bigger than Yukon, but government does have a role to play when creating a climate for investment.
As the Yukon Party has only recently learned; the Yukon government cannot control mineral prices. However, for the duration of the good times the Yukon Party continued to take credit for the Yukon’s strong economy, one former Minister went so far as to say “Yukon’s climb to the top of the rankings has absolutely nothing to do with world mineral prices; it has everything to do with us — this government — making the changes necessary to restore investor confidence in the Yukon.” It only stands to reason that if the government wants to congratulate itself, than it should also share the responsibility of the decline in our economic growth, especially when their actions are what are causing the loss of investor confidence.Read more
Mr. Silver: The 2014 annual report from the Yukon Minerals Advisory Board made for interesting reading over the weekend. It opens with the board confirming the worst-kept secret in the Yukon — that there is no investor confidence right now. It goes downhill from there.
We know the Government of Yukon likes to pin this on low mineral prices, but there is no mention of low mineral prices in this report. The board lays the blame squarely on this government and laments the fact that the Yukon is now — and I quote: “predominantly an exploration jurisdiction” and not a mining jurisdiction. The report voices many of the same concerns that I have been raising this session — about this government’s inability to work with First Nations, regulatory uncertainty and our poor performance in the latest Fraser reporting on mining.
Does the minister accept the criticism from the board that the Yukon has become predominantly just an exploration jurisdiction?Read more
Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, for many years, the Yukon Liberal Party has been advocating for the government to adapt an independent power producing policy or an IPP policy. This initiative was first promised by this government in 2009. Similar to the government’s promise to create a mental health strategy for example, the commitment to an IPP policy has been an empty promise for many years. This policy, if it came forward, would enable independent producers to generate power to help the territory to meet present and future power demands. It has been six years since this promise has been made. Last fall, the minister said that it would be — and I quote: “…in place sometime within the first six months of 2015”.
Mr. Speaker, that’s only two months away. So far, this is yet another item that falls under the “unfinished business” column for this current government. Will this latest deadline be met or are we looking for another delay?Read more
Mr. Silver: I want to talk about this government’s vision on energy. It has been well known that, for many years, the Yukon Party government spent its time and resources planning to sell our energy futures to a private company from Alberta. Many fruitless years and a resignation later, Yukon Party 2.0 has decided to take a closer-to-home look to energy solutions.
For example, last year, the government funded a study to look at the viability of an electrical interconnection between Yukon and southeast Alaska. It was called the West Creek project. Last fall, the minister said that the report would be ready in February of 2015. When will that $250,000 report be released to the public?Read more
Mr. Silver: Last December, Yukoners learned that yet another capital project was mismanaged by this Yukon Party government and went over budget. Yukoners were informed, not by the minister, but by the president of the Yukon Energy Corporation, about the new LNG facility being $6.4 million — or 18 percent — overbudget.
We could add this to a long list of projects that have cost more than they were supposed to under this government’s not-so-watchful eye.
The new estimate cost, according to the president of the Energy Corporation, is $42.9 million. Can the minister tell Yukoners whether this is, in fact, the final cost, or whether he, as minister, accepts responsibility for this major cost overrun?Read more
For many years the Yukon Party insisted that the upturn in mining in the territory was the direct result of actions taken by their government. Now that the mining industry is in decline the government is trying to shift the blame to world mineral prices.
They are trying to have it both ways; taking credit during good times and assigning blame during bad. Indeed, the chickens are coming home to roost. The Yukon Party spent years crowing about how it was responsible for the mining boom in the Yukon and that is had nothing to do with world mineral prices. Now investors fear it’s impossible to open a mine in the territory because of the uncertainly created by this government. The industry is uneasy because of the Yukon government’s efforts to streamline the permitting process have been met with so much opposition.Read more
Mr. Silver: For many years, the Yukon Party insisted that the upturn in mining in the territory was a direct result of their actions taken. Now that the mining industry is in decline, the government is trying to shift the blame to world mineral prices. The government is trying to have it both ways: take credit during the good times and assign the blame during the bad.
Here’s what the owner of the Eagle Gold property near Mayo said this winter — and I quote: “Everybody is a bit uneasy about the Yukon these days.” He said that the mining industry is uneasy because the Yukon government’s efforts to streamline the permitting process had been met with so much opposition. He also said that investors fear it is impossible to open a mine in the territory right now.
Mr. Speaker, this is happening under the Yukon Party’s watch. Does the government accept responsibility for the fact that investors are now saying it is impossible to open a mine in the Yukon?Read more
Mr. Silver: This year, Yukon continues its slide down the Fraser Institute’s ranking for a good place to do mining business. Yukon has dropped from eighth in 2012-13 to 19th in 2013 to 26th in 2014 on the institute’s policy perception index. This indicates a decline in the relative attractiveness of a place to do business.
The lower scores reflect a decrease in the percentage of respondents that perceive that the following policy factors encourage investment: our legal system, down 12 points; regulatory duplication, down eight points; and administration of regulations, down eight points.
Unlike the Premier, who now blames low mineral prices, the Fraser Institute doesn’t even mention this and, instead, points its finger squarely at this government and its regulatory and legal problems. Yukoners know the government holds the Fraser Institute in a very high regard; now that we’re on the decline, does the government accept responsibility for the much lower rankings?Read more
Sandy Silver today issued the following statement on the draft hydraulic fracturing documents:
“The content that was found in the draft documents confirms the Yukon Party is planning to completely disregard the work done by the select committee over the last year and a half. Committee members heard overwhelmingly from Yukoners that the social licence for hydraulic fracturing is not there. The government is taking great creative licence with its reading of the report suggesting the committee is implying support because the recommendations do not ban fracking.Read more