Mr. Silver: I also want to voice my congratulations to the companies and individuals that have won awards over the week, especially prospectors of the year, Ed Gallant and Mike Hamilton — and again for those great stories that they had last night at the banquet — and also the Leckie Award for excellence in environmental stewardship for the Sa Dena Hes Corporation — absolutely. But I just want to have a personal moment here for some of the Dawson winners of these awards. First off, the Fellers family name — not just Will and Mel, but the whole family has been a cornerstone in the placer mining community of Dawson for decades.Read more
As we work into the week of the Geoscience Forum, I would like to pay tribute to all the geoscientists for their contributions to the Yukon. Geoscientists include professional geologists, geophysicists, palaeontologists, seismologists and many more who have combined efforts and have literally put Yukon on the map — a little geologist joke for you there.
Back in 1887, before Yukon was a separate territory, George Dawson made his way north as the assistant director of the Geological Survey of Canada. He created numerous maps of the area. Some were the first of their kind, which were later republished to provide a much-needed reference for the thousands of stampeders who headed to the Klondike. Both Dawson City and Dawson Creek have been named in his honour.Read more
Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, in 2013, as a result of another legal battle with Yukon First Nation governments, the Yukon government was under a court order to find a way to work with the Ross River Dena Council on what land would be available for staking in their traditional territory. I asked the minister in November 2013 if he would be forced into placing a staking moratorium in Ross River traditional territory due to this court order. We didn’t hear an answer in the House; however, we did find out days after the legislative session concluded that this government was unable to reach an agreement with Ross River on what area would be withdrawn.
In lieu of said agreement, the entire 63,000-square kilometer area was taken off the table. The government has extended the staking ban more than once since then and it continues to be in place today. Is the government any closer to reaching an agreement after a year of negotiations?Read more
Whitehorse: Liberal Leader Sandy Silver used question period to ask about a mineral staking ban that covers 13% of the Yukon and is close to reaching its one year anniversary under the Cathers/Pasloski government. The ban came in effect in December, 2013, after the Government of Yukon’s failure to negotiate an agreement with the Ross River Dena Council (RRDC) over what lands would be open to staking in RRDC territory.
Mr. Silver: I rise on behalf of the Liberal caucus and the Official Opposition to pay tribute to the 2014 Dawson City gold show. This week marks the 28th annual Dawson City gold show hosted by the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce on May 16 and 17. The gold show is North America’s largest industry and consumer trade show focused on the placer mining industry. The gold show encompasses the diverse and interconnected sectors of our regional economy with mining at its hub. Celebrating the gold show has become a springtime tradition. It is a great place to chat, to network and to share ideas with fellow miners and prospectors, and it is also a great opportunity for you to get your summer perennials from the Vogt farm. I have also had the privilege to attend the gold show many times, and it is a fantastic event.Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question about the Brewery Creek project near Dawson City. The project is owned by Golden Predator Mining Corporation. The company has owned the property for several years now and recently restarted their environmental screening to restart the mine.
As the minister knows, the company has spent a great deal of money on this project. The Government of Yukon has issued three placer mining leases on top of the Brewery Creek quartz mining project. Golden Predator has described these three leases as potentially fatal to the successful restart of the Brewery Creek mine.
What actions has the minister taken to resolve this issue?Read more
Mr. Silver: Last week, the Yukon Utilities Board rejected parts of an application from Yukon Electrical Company Limited for new power generation in Watson Lake. The Utilities Board is currently looking at an application from Yukon Energy Corporation for a new LNG facility here in Whitehorse. In other words, it has not yet been approved. At the same time, YESAB is reviewing that project and has not issued an approval either. While these approvals remain up in the air, the government has gone ahead already and spent $17 million on the project, including more than $8 million to purchase the new LNG generators themselves.
Mr. Speaker, as we saw in Watson Lake last week, sometimes projects don’t get approved. Why has the government made such a huge financial commitment to a project that has yet to be approved? Are there any penalties involved if the government has to cancel some of the commitments that it has already made?Read more
Mr. Silver: I also rise today on behalf of the Liberal caucus to pay tribute to Yukon Mining and Geology Week. This tribute was written by a constituent of mine, who is from a family who has been mining in Dawson City for four generations.
Yukon is a vastly diverse territory with many defining aspects, such as tourism, outdoor recreation and culture, but this week we are celebrating mining. Mining plays an integral role in how the world views Yukon and continues to be our economic mainstay. Over 100 years ago, when gold was discovered in Rabbit Creek — now known as Bonanza Creek — by Skookum Jim, George and Kate Carmack and Tagish Charlie, news of the Yukon and its mineral wealth spread around the world. Many people within Yukon have worked very hard to maintain this reputation.Read more
Mr. Silver: On Friday morning, the Premier held a private meeting with the Yukon First Nation chiefs to discuss changes to the class 1 mining thresholds. At the meeting, the Premier announced that new class 1 restrictions imposed in the Ross River traditional territory last year are going to be put in place in the traditional territories of both the White River and the Liard First Nations starting July 1 of this year. He also said that notification for class 1 activities would be introduced Yukon-wide sooner rather than later. These new class 1 thresholds are results of the Ross River Court of Appeal decision handed down last year. The Yukon Party has insisted, since the decision was released, that it only applied to Ross River and not to other First Nations. Now, on the eve of another exploration season, the government has now changed its mind. Why?Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Premier. During the 2011 election campaign, the Yukon Party committed to, and I quote, “…work with industry, the federal government, and First Nation governments to establish greater certainty for access to resources, water licenses and permits by creating a clear permitting regime …” During the first two and a half years of its mandate, the government has in fact gone in the opposite direction and, according to a recent Fraser report, actually increased the level of uncertainty by its actions and inactions.
During the Geoscience Forum held last fall in Whitehorse, the Premier told delegates, “Our government has also submitted proposed amendments to the Yukon Environmental Socio-economic Assessment Act or YESAA to the federal government.”
Can the Premier tell Yukoners who developed these amendments and explain why they have not been made public yet?Read more