Mr. Silver: Yesterday the government selected a B.C. company to do the new expansion at the Whitehorse General Hospital. In 2010, the chair of the hospital board told the Legislature that the expansion project would cost — and I quote — “between $45 million and $50 million”. At that point it said it would include the laboratory, medical imaging, the emergency room and the ambulance station.
He then appeared in the Legislature in 2013, and the chair said at that time that it had risen to a $60-million range. According to the announcement yesterday, the cost of the project has now ballooned to $72 million.
Can the minister explain why the cost of this project has gone up almost 50 percent since it was first announced just four years ago?Read more
Mr. Silver: With almost no public consultation, the Government of Yukon has decided to proceed with a 300-bed continuing care facility in Whitehorse.
It will centralize continuing care in a one-size-fits-all type of way. The cost estimate for this new facility is $330 million, according to the government’s own reports. Clearly money is no object when it comes to continuing care in Whitehorse. At the same time, the government is proceeding with replacing McDonald Lodge in Dawson. While there were plans to make this a 20-bed facility, these have been scaled back to 15 beds.
People whom I spoke to in my community and other rural centres are interested in staying in their own communities, Mr. Speaker. They don’t want to move to a one-size-fits-all facility hundreds of miles away in Whitehorse.
Why is the government pursuing this centralized approach instead of focusing on keeping seniors in their home communities?Read more
I rise on behalf of the Liberal caucus to also pay tribute to International Day of the Midwife. Each year on May 5, we mark International Day of the Midwife, and this year’s midwife theme is “Midwives: for a better tomorrow.” The theme highlights the role that midwives can play in making the future better for mothers and for children.
Midwives have become an increasingly popular option for birth in Canada in the last 15 years and have also had a strong presence overseas. There’s much work to be done here in the Yukon to support midwives. We remain one of only two jurisdictions in Canada to not have midwife registration.Read more
I rise on behalf of the Liberal caucus and the Official Opposition to join my colleagues in the Legislature to recognize Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month.
There is still much we do not know about MS. Approximately 200 Yukoners live with the disease, and although the disease has been with us for years, there is no known cause and there is no known cure. The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada states that it is often thought to be an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. It attacks that protective covering of the nerves — the myelin — causing inflammation and often damaging the myelin.Read more
Mr. Silver: Yesterday I asked the Minister of Health and Social Services a question in Question Period about the cost of the 300-bed continuing care facility this government is planning in Whistle Bend. We also had a long debate in the afternoon as well about the facility. I believe three of the members opposite got up to speak.
During Question Period and in the debate that followed, the minister had plenty of opportunities to answer the simple question that I had asked and that is: What is the cost of this new facility? Now he refused to answer the question. We have heard and seen some estimates anywhere between $268 million and $330 million, and we are looking for a confirmation. Surely the minister knows what the number is or the government would not barge ahead with the construction.
The question is simply again: What is the cost estimate for the new seniors facility?Read more
WHITEHORSE – Liberal Leader Sandy Silver has called on the Yukon Party government to reveal the cost of its 300 bed senior’s facility.
“A business case analysis done by a private contractor on the Government of Yukon’s new 300 bed continuing care facility lists the price of it at $330 million,” said Silver. “Last fall the government did its own analysis of the potential cost of the new facility, which said the cost would be $268 million for a 300 bed facility, a full $60 million less than the independent consultant. I called on the minister to clarify for the record what the cost will be, and he refused to answer the question.”Read more
Mr. Silver: A business-case analysis was done by a private contractor on the Government of Yukon’s new 300-bed continuing care facility and listed the price of it at $330 million. Now, in this year’s budget there is $26 million set aside for the advancement of this project. Several months ago, the government referred to this as a 300-bed facility. This spring, the government changed its mind and now refers to it as a 150-bed facility. The new minister said yesterday that the second phase could be built 20 years down the road. The government has certainly changed its tune from just a few months ago.
While the government figures out how many beds it actually is going to build, can it at least tell Yukoners what the total cost for the project is going to be?Read more
As we began the spring sitting of the legislature this week I raised a topic I have been hearing a great deal about: mental health services.
Way back in 2011 the Premier made a commitment to spend some new federal money on designing “a mental health plan.” In 2012 a former Yukon Party Health minister told a local radio station the government was planning a mental health strategy. In 2014 the former Minister told Yukoners. “We’re working on a mental health strategy and when it’s available I will be only too happy to present it to this Legislature.” As the clock struck 2015 Yukoner’s got a new Minister of Health but still await a mental health strategy. We are one of only two jurisdictions in Canada without a strategy in place and it shows where mental health is on this government’s priority list.Read more
Mr. Silver: I’ve already noted in this sitting the fact that Yukon is one of only two jurisdictions in Canada without a mental health strategy. Just over a year ago, the Department of Health and Social Services released a report called A Clinical Services Plan for Yukon Territory. One of the key findings of the report was quite blunt, Mr. Speaker — and I quote: “Mental health services are in a significant deficit outside of Whitehorse …”
Mr. Speaker, what has the government done in the year since it received the $200,000 report to address this lack of mental health services in rural Yukon?Read more
Mr. Silver: Let’s go back a bit. In 2011, the Premier made a commitment to spend some new federal money on designing a mental health plan. In 2012, a year later, a former Yukon Party health minister told a radio station that the government was planning a mental health strategy. Two years later, 2014, a former minister told this House, and I quote: “We’re working on a mental health strategy and when it is available, I will be only too happy to present it in the Legislature.”
The clock hits 2015 and Yukon has a new Minister of Health, but still no mental health strategy. We are one of only two jurisdictions in Canada without a strategy in place and it shows Yukoners where mental health is on this government’s priority list. Why is this strategy not in place after four years of promises from this government?Read more