A few weeks ago, I asked a question of the Yukon Government about the Ketza River mine property near Ross River. Earlier this summer, Veris Gold, the company that owns the project filed for bankruptcy protection. On October 3, the company issued a news release saying that it would be cooperating with the Yukon government to address maintenance work required at the Ketza River project. This news was only announced by the company and not by the Yukon government. The work consists of a number of maintenance projects, including work on access road bridges and will be funded from a $3-million security fund that the company had established for reclamation. The government’s decision to spend reclamation dollars on road and bridge maintenance begs the question: How will the actual reclamation work be funded?Read more
Mr. Silver: A few weeks ago, I asked a question of this government about the Ketza River mine property near Ross River. It concerned the government accessing a $3-million reclamation fund attached to the property to fund maintenance work on the access road and bridges. There is also work with respect to the tailing facilities on-site. I would argue that this money was supposed to be used to close the mine and not finance maintenance work.
The minister mentioned that the government had retained the services of a consulting firm to manage the project. What he didn’t say was that the contract to this firm was awarded without competition. Why did the government bypass the competitive bidding process and give out a $2.8-million contract without competition?Read more
Mr. Silver: For months, this government has been insisting that there has been adequate consultation on changes to Bill S-6 that are now before the House of Commons. For the longest time, our Member of Parliament said the same thing — that no input from the public was required and changes could simply just be approved. Last week, our MP changed his mind and said that hearing from the public might be a good idea after all.
I believe that Yukoners should have a say on the changes that are being proposed, including the four put forth by this Yukon Party government. I believe that the House of Commons committee examining these changes should hold a public hearing here in the territory.
Does the Premier support that, and has he made a request to the Government of Canada?Read more
What a week. Tuesday morning, the Yukon Supreme Court rejected this government’s unilateral approach to developing a land use plan in the Peel Watershed. This, in conjunction with a 2012 court decision the Government of Yukon lost to the Ross River Dena Council; make for two major legal strikes against this government in just three years.
Monday, we also learned it was the Yukon Party government that insisted on adding the four contentious changes to Bill S-6 that is being debated in the House of Commons. It is these last minute changes, slipped in with no consultation, that have Yukon First Nations preparing to go to court yet again.Read more
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 former Energy, Mines and Resources minister spent several years trying to sell our hydro system to Alberta, this was a welcome change in direction.
However, from the first announcement, it took the government almost a full year to release a workplan for this project. That workplan, released in May of 2014 said — and I quote: “A next generation hydro project would likely be eight to 10 times the cost of the Mayo B hydro enhancement and transmission project.”
Mayo B cost $120 million. Can the minister confirm the government is looking at spending as much as $950 million to $1.2 billion on this new project?Read more
Mr. Silver: In August 2013, a set of interim guides were issued by the Yukon Water Board for oil and gas. These new guidelines increase the jurisdiction the Water Board has over the oil and gas industry. These new guidelines treat all methods of oil and gas extraction the same — as being water intensive. Conventional oil drilling uses far less water than hydraulic fracturing but the water permits under the new guidelines do not differentiate.
According to the Water Board’s internal directive, signed on August 8, 2014, the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources and the Department of Environment signed a memorandum of agreement on these interim guides. My question is to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources: Why have these changes been made?Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Premier. This morning, the Yukon Supreme Court rejected the government’s unilateral approach to developing a land use plan in the Peel watershed. This follows on the heels of a 2012 court decision the Yukon government lost to the Ross River Dena Council. Now that is two major legal strikes against this government in just three years. The government is currently championing Bill S‑6, which makes major changes to YESAA. Yukon First Nations have said that they will go to court if this bill becomes law. At the same time, the president of Casino Mining Corporation says that S-6 is having a negative effect on the territorial mining industry because it has no support from the First Nations. This government is not doing well when it comes to the courts.
Will the Premier agree to ask the Government of Canada to pull Bill S‑6 so that Yukoners can avoid another lengthy and costly court battle?Read more
Whitehorse: The long-awaited decision from Justice Veale on the Peel Watershed was released today and, much to the relief of many Yukoners, the Yukon Government’s unilateral plan was rejected.
“It is a win for democracy that the Yukon Supreme Court rejected the unilateral plan created by the Cathers/Pasloski government,” said Yukon Liberal Leader Sandy Silver. “This is a landmark case in respecting consultation processes, democracy, and First Nation treaty rights.”Read more
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?Read more
Mr. Silver: Earlier this summer, a company named Veris Gold filed for bankruptcy protection. A subsidiary of Veris Gold owns the Ketza River mine project near Ross River. On October 3, the company issued a news release saying that it would be cooperating with the Yukon government to address certain maintenance and remedial work required at the Ketza River project. This news release was not announced by this government.
The work includes maintenance work on access road bridges and will be funded from a $3-million security fund that the company had established for reclamation. It appears that the government is using the reclamation fund to pay for maintenance at this mine site. Can the minister explain to us why?Read more