Mr. Silver: This spring, our Legislature passed a unanimous motion supporting a private member’s bill put forth by the Yukon’s own Member of Parliament. Bill C-583 seeks to amend the Criminal Codeto add a definition of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, FASD, and to establish a procedure for addressing individuals who are involved in the criminal justice system and who, it is suspected, suffer from FASD. It requires the court to consider, as a mitigating factor in sentencing, a determination that the accused suffers from FASD. Last week, the federal Conservatives decided that they didn’t support the bill and asked the member to pull it and, for some reason, he agreed.
Does the Government of Yukon support the decision by our Member of Parliament to kill his own piece of legislation?Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the minister responsible for workers’ compensation. There has been a lot of attention paid to the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, as it pertains to military personnel. Another group of workers who are overrepresented with this illness are our first responders, including firefighters, paramedics and police officers. First responders who suffer from PTSD are not automatically eligible for workers’ compensation in the Yukon.
In 2012, the Government of Alberta changed its Workers’ Compensation Act to allow firefighters, police officers, sheriffs and paramedics to receive compensation for PTSD without having to prove that their condition is work-related. Alberta became the first province in Canada to provide such coverage.
Has the government or WCB considered making similar changes here?Read more
Mr. Silver: I rise on behalf of the Yukon Liberal Party to also acknowledge A Safe Place.
Since last December, A Safe Place, a program run in conjunction with the Yukon Status of Women Council, Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre and the Second Opinion Society, has been helping women and children with a warm meal and a roof over their heads. What had started as a pilot project had quickly grown into a necessity for the communities. A Safe Place provides a drop-in program, after-hours and on weekends where other services are not available, and it is targeted toward women who lack stable housing, have mental health issues, or are just having a hard time providing enough food for their children and for themselves.Read more
Today I rise on behalf of the Liberal caucus to also pay tribute to Mental Illness Awareness Week, which is an annual national public education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the realities of mental illness. The week was established in 1992 by the Canadian Psychiatric Association and is now coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health in cooperation with all of its members, organizations and other supporters across Canada.Read more
I rise on behalf of the Yukon Liberal Party to pay tribute to Poverty and Homelessness Action Week, which ran from October 16 to 22. Since 2005, this week has raised awareness for the plight of hunger and homelessness throughout community engagement activities.
As mentioned, this year’s theme was food security as a pertinent issue for us in the north. We all know our lifeline to the south may be very fragile. Food insecurity in the Yukon is a concern that affects us all. The need for programs to help fight food insecurity has steadily been rising in Whitehorse. According to the Whitehorse Food Bank’s monthly statistics, 585 households in our communities needed to use the food bank in September, and this is an increase of 11 percent from September of last year. Much of this need is attributed to the rising cost of living here in the Yukon.Read more
Mr. Silver: Yesterday, I tabled a motion calling on the Government of Yukon to help find a permanent home for the Child Development Centre and the Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program in Dawson. These programs have move four times in the last two years as office spaces or homes they have rented have literally sold out from underneath them.
They are, once again, on the move as the house that they were renting has been sold and, as of the end of May, they will be homeless. The minister and I have exchanged letters over this matter several times over the past two and a half years.
I have also raised this matter in the House, including during Question Period in the spring of 2012, where the groups were in the same position that they are now. The minister said at that time — and I quote: “My answer to the member opposite is quite simple: Sorry, but we are working on it.”
Mr. Speaker, what assistance has the government provided to this group in their search for a more permanent home?Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Minister of Health and Social Services.
Last spring, officials of the Yukon Hospital Corporation appeared as witnesses in this Chamber to address questions about a variety of topics including the proposed emergency expansion at Whitehorse General Hospital.
Before that, it had been two full years since representatives of the corporation appeared in the Legislative Assembly. The government has been very reluctant again this spring to allow these witnesses to appear, despite my request to have this happen.
When officials were here last May, we discussed the hospital expansion and they estimated that the new emergency department would be in service in 2017. This week the minister said, “The plans for the expansion of the emergency department are evolving.”
Will the 2017 deadline be met for the new emergency department to be in service?Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Minister of Health and Social Services about the government’s new continuing care facility. Last week, the government confirmed it was barging ahead with the largest construction project in the territory’s history, despite the fact that no business case analysis was done. A decision has already been made to build a 300-bed facility. It seems a bit futile to spend $7 million on a design and then ask the public what they think when the design is already completed. By the time the government is ready to go to the public, the only decision left to be made will be: What colour will the curtains be?
When is the minister planning to consult with Yukoners, exactly?Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the minister responsible for the Yukon Hospital Corporation. Last year the CEO of the corporation told the public that an upcoming expansion to the Whitehorse General Hospital would cost approximately $60- to $65 million. This is $10- to $15 million more than what Yukoners were told the project would cost just three years previously, in 2010. The minister contradicted the CEO and said that in fact no budget had actually been set. He later conceded that the CEO was probably referring to a preliminary estimate but that no final budget had been set. The minister went on to say that he would have a firmer estimate in the spring. Spring is here. What is the cost of the upcoming hospital expansion?Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the minister responsible for the Yukon Hospital Corporation.
A few days before this sitting began the minister announced that $2.8 million would be spent to build a temporary home for Whitehorse General Hospital’s new MRI machine. While the project has been on the radar for some time, this is the first time the public words “temporary facility” were being used.Read more