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        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;          YUKON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;          2017 Spring Sitting

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;         SPEAKER — Hon. Nils Clarke, MLA, Riverdale North

        &= nbsp;      DEPUTY SPEAKER and CHAIR OF COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE — Don Hutton, MLA, Mayo-Tatchun

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;         DEPUTY CHAIR OF COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE — Ted Adel, MLA, Copperbelt North

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p; CABINET MINISTERS

NAME&= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;         CONSTITUENCY        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;             = PORTFOLIO

Hon. Sandy Silver            =              Klondike        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;      Premier
      &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;           &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;         Minister of the Executive Council Office; Finance

Hon. Ranj Pillai            =             &nb= sp;    Porter Creek South     &n= bsp;            = ;            &n= bsp;   Deputy Premier
        = =         &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources; Economic
        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;       Development; Minister responsible for the Yukon Development

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;       Corporation and the Yukon Energy Corporation

Hon. Tracy-Anne McPhee        &= nbsp;  Riverdale South      &n= bsp;            = ;            &n= bsp;       Government House Leader

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;       Minister of Education; Justice

Hon. John Streicker            =           Mount Lorne-Southern Lakes         &= nbsp;     Minister of Community Services; Minister responsible for the

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;       French Language Services Directorate; Yukon Liquor

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;       Corporation and the Yukon Lottery Commission

Hon. Pauline Frost             =            Vun= tut Gwitchin      &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;      Minister of Health and Social Services; Environment;

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;       Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation

Hon. Richard Mostyn   = ;            &n= bsp;   Whitehorse West      &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;     Minister of Highways and Public Works;
       &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;        the Public Service Commission

Hon. Jeanie Dendys            =            Mou= ntainview = ;            &n= bsp;            = ;            &n= bsp;   Minister of Tourism and Culture; Minist= er responsible for the

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;       Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board; 

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;       Women’s Directorate

GOVERNMENT PRIVATE MEMBERS

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;    Yukon Liberal Party

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;   Ted Adel            =             &nb= sp;            =   Copperbelt North

 = ;            &n= bsp;            = ;            &n= bsp;            = ;            &n= bsp;          Paolo Gallina     &n= bsp;            = ;            = Porter Creek Centre

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;   Don Hutton            =             &nb= sp;         Mayo-Tatchun

OFFICIAL OPPOSITION

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            Yukon Party


Stacey Hassard     &n= bsp;           Lea= der of the Official Opposition
&= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;        Pelly-Nisutlin

Brad Cathers      =             &nb= sp;  Lake Laberge

Wade Istchenko     &nbs= p;          Kluane&= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp; 

Scott Kent<= span style=3D'mso-tab-count:2'>        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;       Official Opposition House Leader

 &nb= sp;            =   Copperbelt South            =             &nb= sp;    

Patti McLeod      &n= bsp;            = ;   Watson Lake

Geraldine Van Bibber      Porter Creek North


        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;         THIRD PARTY

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;  New Democratic Party

 = ;            &n= bsp;            = ;            &n= bsp;            = ;            &n= bsp;          Liz Hanson      &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;  Leader of the Third Party

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;         Whitehorse Centre

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;   Kate White      &n= bsp;            = ;            &n= bsp;  Third Party House Leader

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;         Takhini-Kopper King      &nb= sp;        

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p; LEGISLATIVE STAFF

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;   Clerk of the Assembly    &nbs= p;           Floyd McCormick

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;   Deputy Clerk      &n= bsp;            = ;             <= /span>Linda Kolody

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;   Clerk of Committees     =              Allison Lloyd

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;   Sergeant-at-Arms        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;   Doris McLean

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;   Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms    &nb= sp;     Karina Watson  

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;   Hansard Administrator     =           Deana Lemke

Published under the authority of the Speaker of the Yukon Legislative Assembly


 

Yukon Legislative Assembly

Whitehorse, Yukon

Monday, May 29, 2017 — 1:00 p.m.

 

Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will proc= eed at this time with prayers.

 

Prayers

Daily Routin= e

Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Pape= r.

Tributes.

TRIBUTES

In recognition of Tourism Week

Hon. Ms. Dendys: Mr. Speaker, it’s my hon= our to rise today on behalf of the Liberal government and the Third Party and p= ay tribute to Tourism Week, which will be celebrated throughout Canada from Ma= y 28 to June 3.

Spearheaded by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, Tourism Week provides an opportunity for us= to recognize the contribution that this vital sector makes to Yukon’s economy. Tourism contributes to four percent of Yukon’s GDP, which is= the second highest in Canada. It employs 3,000 people and generates approximate= ly $250 million in revenues to Yukon businesses annually. The sector enab= les economic diversity and provides opportunities for capacity development, education and employment in all communities.

There are many tourism su= ccesses to celebrate this Tourism Week. At the same time, there are many exciting initiatives that this government is pursuing with the aim of growing touris= m in Yukon. As the Minister of Tourism and Culture, my priority is to market and help grow Yukon tourism while protecting and promoting Yukon’s rich cultural heritage, its history and diverse forms of artistic expressions. Growing tourism will mean building on existing partnerships and engaging wi= th stakeholders like never before.

Working with Yukon First = Nations, communities and industry stakeholders, we will make innovative investments = in tourism. One area where we see great potential for growth is winter tourism. Later this year, we will be hosting a Yukon summit on winter tourism to help define opportunities and investments for sustained growth. The summit will = be part of an overall stakeholder engagement initiative we will be undertaking= on the development of a new strategy to grow tourism in the Yukon. This will involve industry operators, tourism-related non-governmental organizations, First Nations and their development corporations, other Yukon government departments, municipal governments and the public.

It is a fantastic time to= be doing this work. So many Yukon tourism organizations, such as Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association and the Wilderness Tourism Associat= ion of the Yukon and First Nations are embarking on strategic planning paths of their own. The federal, provincial and territorial governments have recently developed a national tourism strategy. The federal government recently rele= ased its new vision for tourism and the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada= has released its five-year plan as well.

I am very excited to be a= t the beginning of this government’s tourism and culture mandate as we look= forward to innovative ways of growing tourism in Yukon. We have a solid foundation = to build upon and a growing number of community partners contributing their id= eas, enthusiasm and creativity to the conversation.

One of the tourism areas = with potential for growth is cultural tourism. There are so many amazing opportunities for Yukon First Nations to share their cultures and traditions with visitors. I look forward to more development in this area. With leader= ship from the Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association, we anticipate that great strides will be taken in this area of indigenous tourism.

Of course the entire sect= or benefits from the strength of its industry leaders, including the Tourism Industry Association of Yukon, Klondike Visitors Association, the Wilderness Tourism Association of the Yukon, the Yukon Convention Bureau, our chambers= of commerce, and others. Thank you all for your dedication, energy and commitm= ent to Yukon tourism.

It is going to be a great= year working together to build an even stronger tourism sector. I have really enjoyed my time meeting with all of the associations and all of the various sectors to hear their plans and their dreams for tourism in Yukon.

I would like to remind all Yukoners to get out and explore their Yukon. There are great incentives to = be found at over 60 businesses, historic sites, museums and First Nation cultu= ral centres, and more. Explore Your Yukon is a campaign that is happening from = May 18 to June 18, so I encourage Yukoners to pick up their coupon books at Yuk= on visitor centres and also Canadian Tire in Whitehorse and just begin your adventure — become a tourist in Yukon and become an ambassador for Yu= kon. I think that’s the strength behind that particular campaign that̵= 7;s going on.

In closing, I would like = to invite everyone to attend an event at the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centr= e at 7:00 p.m. this evening to help celebrate this wonderful community facility = and its 20-year anniversary. The Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre was establi= shed in May 1997 to tell the story of the ice age in the Yukon and for many years has been a favourite destination for locals and for visitors. We are proud = to be working with researchers and Yukon First Nations to share this long-ago world with visitors at this centre. So I really encourage people to come out and participate this evening. Thank you. Mahsi’ cho. Günilschish. Shaw nithän.

 

Ms. Van Bibber: I rise on behalf of the Yukon Party Official Opposition to pay tribute to national Tourism Week, May 28 to June= 3. Tourism is very familiar to me and my family, as we operated a tourism busi= ness for many years. It was challenging hard work, but so very rewarding. As a front-line worker and business owner, tourism gives you knowledge of what is happening on the ground in real time. It is not about the stats or campaign= s at that point; it is dealing with real people from around the world and every = walk of life. It is exciting and interesting.

The idea behind the natio= nal Tourism Week is to bring focus and attention to the economic impact that tourism has on the region. National Tourism Week raises awareness of our tourism industry. It is the hope that policy-makers will ensure that touris= m is not taken lightly.

Travel and tourism is a h= uge component for Yukon as it has a significant economic impact and brings many social benefits. Visitor experience is of utmost importance, as no matter w= hat we spend on ad campaigns, word of mouth is powerful. If a bad experience is had, it will spread like wildfire. In our region, we have a robust summer tourism season as it is most comfortable for the majority of travellers and, over the years, we have seen larger motorhomes and bus tours arriving. Our shoulder and winter seasons are also continuing to grow as well. Canada is considered a fairly safe destination, and with our known friendliness and courtesy, we will continue to prosper with visitors.

I was a board member of m= any tourism organizations, such as TIA Yukon and the Yukon First Nations Tourism Association. Later on, I sat as the aboriginal national representative of t= he Canadian Tourism Commission board of directors and vice-chair of Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada. I was always pleased to represent the Yukon = and bring our northern perspective to these tables. I commend the Department of Tourism and Culture for the recent initiative of Explore Your Yukon. By get= ting locals to know their region or territory, it will help us become ready ambassadors who can be guides for our visitors. 2017 is a big year, as we celebrate Alaska Highway, 75 years — and Canada, 150 years. Today, May 29, marks the 20th anniversary of the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre. Our ice-age heritage is showcased and the centre has proved to be an integral part of the community, hosting receptions, films and notable speak= ers.

We always like numbers in tourism, as they focus on new and evolving trends and, if possible, these numbers tell us how to adjust our services and products. In 2016, we had 419,000 visitors to the territory, and of those, 72 percent were Americans,= 11 percent were overseas visitors with the remaining being Canadians. With our= low Canadian dollar, we can continue to encourage Canadians and other visitors = to make that dream-of-a-lifetime trip to Yukon.

Sitting on those many boa= rds, I have met many people across the country and around the world, and Yukon is = of much interest. There are people who have family living here, people who had lived here, relatives who came, relatives who came during the stampede, who worked on the Alaska Highway, friends who moved and never left, and, of cou= rse, those who still want to come to visit.

Let’s celebrate our wonderful territory as we share our bounty and beauty. Say “helloR= 21; or “welcome” to all of our visitors throughout the year.

Thank you, Mr. Speak= er.

In recognit= ion of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Telus Walk

Hon. Ms. = ;Frost: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on behalf of the Liberal government and the Official Opposition today to acknowledge those dedicated individuals who organized t= his past Sunday’s Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Telus Walk. W= hile this group may be small in numbers, they are large in heart, working with others across the country — indeed, across the world — to creat= e a world without type 1 diabetes.

Today, more than 300,000 Canadians live with type 1 diabetes or T1D. T1D is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that ena= bles people to get energy from their food. It’s an equal opportunity disea= se affecting both children and adults. Its sudden onset is unexpected and yet = it leaves a lifelong disease that may be treated through insulin injections or pumps. The thing about T1D is that its causes are not entirely understood. Scientists believe that genetic and environmental triggers are involved in = its onset and that it really has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. The rate= of T1D incidences among children under the age of 14 is estimated to increase = by three percent per year worldwide. There is nothing we can do to prevent it,= and at present, there is no cure. While insulin can keep people alive, it doesn’t cure the disease. It never goes away, but at the same time, people with T1D serve as an inspiration to all of us, especially the young ones, by facing the disease’s challenges with courage and perseveranc= e. They don’t let it stand in the way of achieving their goals.

Mr. Speaker, I thank= and congratulate the organizers for continuing to make us aware of their work and for lobbyi= ng for individuals with T1D. I also thank all of those individuals who participated and those who donated. I would like to acknowledge the hard wo= rk of Jill Nash, Christina Terpstra and Rachel Hrebien — and I may have = said that wrong — for making this happen. There were approximately 126 wal= kers on Sunday who together raised $11,825 with more money still coming in. It is these donations that will one day make a difference.

 

Mr. Kent: I rise today on behalf of the Yukon Party Official Opposition to pay tribute to the 2017 Telus Juvenile Diabetes Rese= arch Foundation’s walk to cure diabetes, which took place yesterday starti= ng at Shipyards Park here in Whitehorse. The annual walk brings over 40,000 Canadians together to support friends, loved ones and each other in the fig= ht against type 1 diabetes. The money raised is transformed into research with= the goal of — and I quote: “turning type one into type none.”= The JDRF walk has over the years become an incredible movement to create a world without type 1 diabetes — or T1D. I have learned a little bit about t= ype 1 diabetes lately. I have been fortunate to meet a number of Yukon families= who have children with the disease. They have opened up to me about the challen= ges they and their children face on a daily basis, and I thank them for informi= ng me and allowing me to better understand just how important this movement to= end T1D is.

Dealing with T1D is a tea= m effort and as your child grows, so does their team. Between parents, siblings, extended family, daycare workers, educators, health professionals and beyon= d, each child living with T1D builds an entire network of supporters. These pe= ople not only rally around them to provide support, but educate themselves to en= sure that child is surrounded with the help they need to help manage this disease and intervene if necessary.

This year’s walk, a= s the minister mentioned, raised almost $12,000 for juvenile diabetes research an= d it is expected that $3,000 more in donations will come in. Once again, Yukoners exceeded expectations, as the organizers had a goal of $7,000 for this even= t.

I would like to also thank organizers Christina Terpstra, Jill Nash and Ms. Hrebien for their wor= k in helping to bring over 125 people for this walk. Christina, originally from Dawson City, I believe, now making her home in Whitehorse, was diagnosed wi= th type 1 diabetes herself just shy of her 18th birthday.

I would also like to ackn= owledge a few of the young Yukoners who were at the event yesterday, who have been = both the driving force and the focus of fundraising efforts in the Yukon. This year’s ambassador — his name is Landon, along with Heidi, Emers= yn, Sawyer and their friends and families, all took to the trail to walk toward ending diabetes.

Again, Mr. Speaker, = a big thank you to everyone who came out for the walk and who supported, and cont= inue to support, donations to this important cause.

Christina Terpstra is her= e in the gallery with us today, as well as constituents of mine, Jill Nash and her y= oung son Lucas. Thank you for joining us.

Applause

 

Ms. White: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise on behalf of the N= DP caucus to pay tribute to yesterday’s walk to end diabetes. I think it’s a fascinating thing. I went to the bank on Friday for a bake sale and I said, “Isn’t this ironic that you have a bake sale for diabetes?” They said, “Let me tell you — it’s not a= bout diet. It’s not preventable.” I said, “Wow — that is really important to know.”

So the education part tha= t this group has brought to the territory has been really important. They have been supportive of newly diagnosed children and families and it is a very tight network, so I want to thank them for what they have done. I want to thank everyone who donated to the silent auction because it was massive. More important than that is that the conversation now is becoming much more publ= ic, so it’s not something that we don’t have to talk about.

I appreciate that I got c= ookies and a little bit of information and I liked yesterday when I saw that the t= own was painted purple. Thank you so much for what you do and I look forward to next year’s walk.

In recognit= ion of Lions Clubs International 100th Anniversary

Mr. Istchenko: I rise today on behalf of everyone in this House — the Yukon Party, the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party — to pay tribute to the Lions Club 100th anniversary. Melvin Jones was born on January 13, 1879 in Fort Thomas, Arizona. As a you= ng man, Melvin Jones made his home in Chicago, Illinois and became associated = with an insurance firm and, in 1913, formed his own agency. He soon joined a business circle and a businessmen’s luncheon group and was shortly elected the secretary. Melvin Jones, then 38 years old, a Chicago business leader, had other plans.

What if these men, Melvin= Jones asked, who are successful because of their drive, intelligence and ambition, were to put their talents to work improving their communities? Thus, at his invitation, delegates from men’s clubs met in Chicago to lay the groundwork for such an organization on June 7, 1917 — Lions Clubs International was born.

Melvin Jones’ perso= nal code, “You can’t get very far until you start doing something f= or somebody else”, became the guiding principle for public-spirited peop= le the world over. At a 1919 convention, there was a move to change the symbol, but a young attorney from Denver, Colorado rose and spoke: “The name ‘Lions’ stands not only for fraternity, good fellowship, streng= th of character and purpose, but above all, its combination of L-I-O-N-S heral= ds to the country the true meaning of citizenship: liberty, intelligence, our nation’s safety.”

From time immemorial, the= lion has been a symbol of all that was good, and because of the symbolism, the n= ame was chosen. Four outstanding qualities — courage, strength, activity = and fidelity — had largely to do with the adoption of the name.

This year, Mr. Speak= er, 2017, marks the 100th anniversary of Lions Clubs International. = It is the largest service, humanitarian organization in the world. Our 1.4&nbs= p;million members, with more than 47,000 clubs in many districts, perform community service in over 200 countries and geographic areas — all different in many ways, but they share a core belief: community is what we make it. Our members are a network of individual clubs, united in helping others and improving their communities. Becoming a Lions Club member gives you the opportunity to volunteer locally or internationally. You make a few new friends, professional connections, lead projects that make your community a better place to live, and have fun doing it.

Lions Clubs International= ’s purpose is to organize, to coordinate, to create, to promote, to unite, to provide and to encourage service-minded people to serve their community wit= hout personal financial reward and to encourage efficiency and promote high ethi= cal standards in commerce, industry, professions, public works and private endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I will = always remember one thing that the Lions code of ethics taught me: always to bear = in mind my obligation as a citizen to my nation, my state, my community, and to give them my unswerving loyalty in word, act and deed — to give them freely of my time, labour and means.

The first Lions Club in t= he Yukon was the Whitehorse Lions Club. It was chartered in 1950 but, over the years= , we have seen many more. The St. Elias Lions Club in Haines Junction was charte= red in 1964, the Lake Laberge Lions Club was chartered in 1969, the Grey Mounta= in Lions was chartered in 1979, the Fireweed Lions Club was chartered in 1993,= and the Dease Lake Lions Club was chartered in 1994. These are the active clubs= in the Yukon today, but in the past, we have clubs in other communities, such = as Watson Lake, Beaver Creek, Northway, Destruction Bay — which was Mount Logan — Mayo, Elsa-Keno — which was Mount Haldane — Faro = and the Nisutlin Bay Lions in Teslin.

In the early years of the= Lions Club in the north, Alaska separated from district 19 to become district 49 provisional, which was north of the 49th parallel. In 1944, the Seattle Lions came back and sponsored the Anchorage Lions Club, followed in rapid order by Seward, Fairbanks, Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka in 1948, and Mount McKinley. In 1950-51, the Yukon Territories, Canada, became part of district 49. District 49 officially became an international district in 1951 when the Whitehorse club was chartered in Canada.

As I spoke to earlier, the Whitehorse club came to sponsor my club, the St. Elias Lions, and many othe= rs throughout the Yukon. The Lions Club grew to such a great membership in district 49 that we had to split into two separate districts, district 49A = and 49B. I am very proud to say that my club has the largest membership in both districts — the St. Elias Lions Club.

You might wonder what we = do in our communities and how we give back. Well, some of you who have lived here= for awhile may remember swimming in the original swimming pool. That was the Li= ons pool. It was because of the Whitehorse Lions Club. It was always a highlight for me as a young fellow coming to town if we got to go swimming. There is = the Whitehorse Lions Internet/TV Auction, the Fireweed Lions annual bosses̵= 7; bash Christmas party for small businesses, the Grey Mountain Lions Club veh= icle raffle and — something that happened just a few weekends ago — = the Lake Laberge Lions Trade Show.

The Dease Lake Lions Club= runs a campground. The St. Elias Lions Club has the Jorg Schneider Memorial Poker = Run.

Other things that the Lio= ns do — the skateboard park in Riverdale. That was local Lions members seei= ng the need to get youth off the streets so they partnered and worked with the City of Whitehorse to address this community issue. You’ll see numero= us warmup shacks around outdoor rinks and playgrounds, just to name a few more= . We also sponsor many non-profit organizations, groups, youths and individuals through funding bursaries, volunteering our time and many more things.

Some of the things we do = — it’s kind of ironic that when the St. Elias Lions chartered in 1964, = the first thing that they took on was building a fence at the cemetery. Ironica= lly, at our last meeting on Saturday, we were talking about upgrading the fence = at the cemetery.

That’s pretty much = the end of my tribute. I would like to mention a few Lions members in the gallery h= ere today. From the Grey Mountain Lions Club — I have to say “Lion” or I’ll probably get fined at the next meeting = 212; so Lion Gary Doering; Lion Gerry Gerein, who helped me with this tribute — and I want to thank him very much; Lion Jim Miller; Lion Judy Mille= r; Lion Ed Sumner; Lion Danny Ansems; Lion Fergie Laforge; Lion Pierre Lacasse; and Lion Gord Sutton.

The backbone and the hard= est worker in our Lions Club — the number one Lion from St. Elias Lions Club, Debbie Hotte, is here. From the Whitehorse Fireweed Lions Club —= and I hope I get these names right — Tania Beaudoin is here — Lion Tania Beaudoin. There’s a fine right there. Lion Tracy Brickner, Lion Lydia Oblak, Lion Helen Blattner, and Lion Maryse Syvania are here.

Now, from the Whitehorse = Lions Club, we have two members here today. We have Lion Steve Harris, but also we have Lion Bill Richardson. Lion Bill, if you could stand for a second pleas= e. Lion Bill Richardson is a member of the Whitehorse Lions Club. Bill joined = the Lions on February 11, 1955 and remains a Lion member today — some 62 years later. Bill is the longest serving Lion in multiple district 49, which currently has a membership of 2,500 members. Bill served in pretty well eve= ry club position, including his term as a district governor for 49B. A district governor is the highest position attainable in the district hierarchy and B= ill is commended for taking on leadership roles as needed. Bill continues to be active in the Whitehorse Lions Club and provides mentoring and archival comments to the newer members. Bill’s service to his community has be= en unwavering and is looked up to by all who know him, especially by our Lions= . I want to thank you, Bill, and I want to thank all the Lions members who came= to the House today. Thank you.

Applause

 

 Ms. White: I thank my colleagues in the House. I’m lucky that there are three peop= le in the audience who collectively, I think I’ve known for about 90 yea= rs. I think at times growing up I’m not sure that Gerry Gerein or Gary&nb= sp;Doering would have maybe expected me in this role, but they taught me that voluntee= ring was really important with community playgrounds and the work that they̵= 7;ve done in their communities, so I thank them. Of course, we have Angela Salé also in the gallery. It’s always really fantastic to run = into you.

I thank the three of you = for coming. I thank you guys for supporting me in the weird things that I take = on. Who would have guessed? Thank you for being here.

Applause

 

Speaker: Are there any returns or documents for tabling? =

Are there any reports of committees?

Are there any petitions? =

Are there any bills to be introduced?

Are there any notices of = motions?

Notices of M= otions

Ms. Hanson: I rise to give notice of the following motion:

THAT this House urges the Government of Yukon to provide hemodialysis services in Yukon for all Yukon residents requiring this health care service.

 

Speaker: Are there any further notices of motion?

Is there a statement by a minister?

This brings us to a Speaker’s Ruling.

SpeakerR= 17;s ruling

Speaker: Prior to Question Period, the Chair will provide rulings on points of order raised during Question Period last Thursday.

During Question Period, t= he Premier twice used the phrase “not true” and once used the word “misleading” when referring to statements made by and informati= on provided by members of the Official Opposition caucus.

The Official Opposition H= ouse Leader and the Member for Lake Laberge each raised points of order in respo= nse to the Premier’s use of these terms. In doing so, the Member for Lake Laberge cited Standing Order 19(h), which says, “A member shall be ca= lled to order by the Speaker if that member… charges another member with uttering a deliberate falsehood.” The question for the Chair, then, is whether the Premier’s words constituted a breach of Standing Order 19= (h).

In their submissions on t= he points of order, the Official Opposition House Leader and the Member for La= ke Laberge cited rulings by the Chair or previous Chair occupants with regard = to the use of the same or similar words and phrases. The members are correct t= hat characterizing another member’s statement as untrue has in the past l= ed to interventions by the Chair or points of order that were sustained by the Chair.

However, it is also the c= ase that the phrase “not true” is not always ruled out of order. Here — trip down memory lane — for example, are five instances of the use of the phrase from the 33rd Legislative Assembly. On April 1= 6, 2012, a member said, “On Thursday — and I’ll quote — the minister said, ‘Providing these draft regulations — in the spirit and intent of good comradeship here in the House — itself is debate and public consultation.’ That’s not true.” Then further, on April 24, 2013, a member said — quote: “The minister’s statement — it does a disservice to Yukoners and it = just doesn’t hold water. It’s just simply not true.” Then, on = May 14, 2013, a member said, “The members opposite seem to think we’= ;re going to cut funding for a huge number of groups in the upcoming budget = 212; that’s simply not true.”

Then we move on to Novemb= er 12, 2013 when a member said — and I quote: “For the member opposite= to characterize this as that we are ‘plowing ahead’ with the Atlin campground is simply not true.” Also, on November 12, 2013, a member said, “But for the member opposite to characterize the governmentR= 17;s actions to date as not respecting the final agreements is simply not true a= nd I have to take issue with that.” None of these statements gave rise to a point of order or drew the intervention of the Chair.

The situation is similar = to the word “mislead” and its variations. Again referring to the 33rd Legislative Assembly, here are three examples where the use of the word was ruled out of order. On April 2, 2012, a member said, “Mr. Speake= r, I ask the minister this: Why did she mislead this House?” On April 18, 2012, a member said, “… the member opposite has made a number of incorrect statements, or statements I take to be incorrect, that might be misleading the Legislature…” On November 4, 2013, a member said, “The government has been trying to mislead Yukoners…”

However, at other times, = the use of the word has passed without notice. In responding to the point of order raised by the Official Opposition House Leader, the Chair spoke of the importance of context in determining whether a particular use of a word or phrase is unparliamentary.

The second edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practic= e says the following at page 619 — and I quote: “In dealing with unparliamentary language, the Speaker takes into account the tone, manner a= nd intention of the Member speaking; the person to whom the words at issue were directed; the degree of provocation; and, most importantly, whether or not = the remarks created disorder in the Chamber. Thus, language deemed unparliamentary one day may not necessarily be deemed unparliamentary the following day. The codification of unparliamentary lang= uage has proven impractical as it is the context in which words or phrases are u= sed that the Chair must consider when deciding whether or not they should be withdrawn. Although an expression may be found to be acceptable, the Speaker has cautioned that any language which leads to disorder in the House should not be used. Expressio= ns which are considered unparliamentary when applied to an individual Member h= ave not always been considered so when applied ‘in a generic sense’= or to a party.”

The challenge for the Cha= ir is to determine whether the phrases “not true” and “misleading facts”, in the context in which they were used last Thursday, constit= ute “charging another member with uttering a deliberate falsehood” or whether they = constitute an expression of disagreement about the accuracy of statements made and information provided.

After reviewing Thursday&= #8217;s Blues, the Chair concludes that the Premier did not, in either case, charge= the Member for Lake Laberge with uttering a deliberate falsehood. Had the Premi= er said that the Member for Lake Laberge had knowingly made an untrue statemen= t or had provided information he knew to be misleading, or with the intent to mislead, the Chair would have likely ruled differently. However, the Chair = will reiterate the point made by the Chair of Committee of the Whole on May 11 of this year that members should avoid the use of words like “true” and “untrue”, as they are likely to give rise to points of orde= r, regardless of the intent of the member who utters them.

On another matter —= later in Thursday’s Question Period, the Government House Leader rose on a point or order regarding a question from the Leader of the Official Opposit= ion who asked whether the Minister of Highways and Public Works might be thrown “under the bus” by a Cabinet colleague.

The Government House Lead= er in her submission on the point of order alluded to Standing Orders 19(g) and 19(i). Standing Order 19(i) says: “A member shall be called to order = by the Speaker if that member… uses abusive or insulting language, inclu= ding sexist or violent language, in a context likely to create disorder.” = As the Chair ruled last Thursday, Standing Order 19(i) does not apply in this = case as the words of the Leader of the Official Opposition constitute a well-used turn of phrase and were not meant as an actual threat of bodily harm.

The Chair committed to re= turn to the House regarding the Government House Leader’s reference to Standi= ng Order 19(g), which states, “A member shall be called to order by the Speaker if that member… imputes false or unavowed motives to another member.”

Having reviewed the Blues= , the Chair concludes that there is no point of order pursuant to Standing Order 19(g). The Chair does not believe the words of the Leader of the Official Opposition included the attribution of an unworthy motive to either the Minister of Economic Development or the Minister of Highways and Public Wor= ks.

The Chair thanks all memb= ers for their attention to these rulings.

We will now proceed with = Question Period.

QUESTION PERIOD

Question re: Education assistants

Mr. Hassard: Mr. Speaker, today we have heard f= rom the Yukon Teachers’ Association that the government is looking to red= uce the amount of education assistants by around 40. This follows the recent intervention by the minister to shut down the development of a Montessori education program at Hidden Valley School. It also follows her decision to throw school councils under the bus for her inability to get school calenda= rs out on time.

These are all concerning = moves by the minister, and now this report about a reduction in the amount of educat= ion assistants is also concerning. Education assistants are an important part of our education system as they directly support some of the most vulnerable s= tudents.

Can the minister please t= ell us which schools will be seeing a reduction in the amount of education assista= nts?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: It is unfortunate that there has be= en some misinformation, and I am happy to have the opportunity to clear it up = this afternoon.

Each spring, the Departme= nt of Education allocates a number of education assistants to a variety of schools across the territory — to each and every one. The first step in that process is for each school to assess its needs and to submit a request to t= he Department of Education, which has been done. The second step in that proce= ss is for the Department of Education to review all requests and determine the allocations to each school based on the needs that are put forward by the school. The third step in that process is for principals to assign EAs base= d on the needs of the students who are in the school.

This year, 210 education assistants have currently been allocated and they will be distributed betwe= en all of the schools in the territory. The number of EAs will be adjusted over the summer and in the coming school year based on enrolment and need. So fa= r, 210 have been allocated.

I have reached out to the= Yukon Teachers’ Association about this issue directly. I have been unable to speak with the president, but I have met with her previously and asked her = to contact me with any issues. I look forward to speaking to her very soon abo= ut this.

Mr. Hassard: Clearly, the Yukon Teachers’ Association is under the impression that the amount of education assistants= is about to be reduced. They even said that the department told school administrators as much. This government’s general approach to answeri= ng tough questions is to point fingers at someone else.

Last week, they blamed th= e media. This week, it sounds like they are blaming the Yukon Teachers’ Association.

Can the minister tell us = — is she saying that the Teachers’ Association is wrong on this?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Actually, there has been a misunderstanding, and the Yukon Teachers’ Association is under the misapprehension that education assistants have been cut. I think the number mentioned was 40. That is not the case — 210 education assistants have been allocated to all the schools across the territory. They are always allocated based on the number of resources needed for each student and the individual needs of the schools.

I can indicate that there= are different kinds of EAs, which is an important factor in this determination. There are EAs who provide continuous assistance to each student or who are = assigned to a particular student to be with them all the time. There are EAs who pro= vide frequent assistance — they may be assigned to one or more students to help them — and then there are occasional assistants and classroom-ba= sed assistants. There are a variety of things that are available to students in schools. They are assessed by the principals and by the department, and then education assistants are assigned.

As I’ve said, I do = have every intention of speaking with the YTA president about this so that I can clear up the misunderstanding. The fact that education assistants are not b= eing reduced will be clear at that point.

Mr. Hassard: Thank you for that answer. Just to clar= ify what I believe I heard the minister say — will she confirm to this Ho= use that there will be no reductions in the amount of education assistants for = this upcoming school year?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: What I can confirm is that 210 EAs = have now been allocated and that assessments continue over the summer period and then get reassessed at the beginning of the school year. They are also asse= ssed throughout the year, because students sometimes come to school and they som= etimes need an education assistant for a particular period of time and then don’t need one. They may come to school not needing one but then have some issues and need them. So it’s a continual assessment process, and it’s required to be done by the department throughout the year. Stude= nts who require educational assistance — which sometimes comes from EAs, sometimes comes from counsellors, sometimes comes from learning assistant teachers and from administration — will all have the opportunity to h= ave the help they need to do their very best in school.

Thank you for the questio= n.

Question re= : School supplies funding

Ms. Van Bibber: Last year, the previous government introduced a program that allocated $100 per student to school councils acr= oss the territory that were able to use that money to purchase school supplies = for students. This was not only to assist families financially, but also to help relieve the stress on parents trying to organize their children for the com= ing school year. This was a very popular and successful program, particularly in rural Yukon. Can the minister tell us why they chose not to include this in their budget?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I thank the honourable member for h= er question. The amount noted by the honourable member with respect to last ye= ar’s budget was a one-time allocation only. It was noted at that time to be one-= time only. There was, at the time, no consultation with school councils, with sc= hool communities or with the administration of schools. The announcement was mad= e.

While it was beneficial t= o some families, it was certainly a complicated process for school councils, as we= ll as for school administrators, and, frankly, the Department of Education. The member opposite may recall that last week, in answer to one of her question= s, I noted that the department actually had ADMs doing some shopping.

I can reiterate that no s= tudent will ever come to a Yukon school and not be provided with the supplies they need. I’m told this is a common practice in rural schools as well as = here in Whitehorse — that if a student needs certain materials that they don’t have access to, they are provided by the school.

While this one-time amoun= t has not been put in this year’s budget, it certainly won’t affect a= ny Yukon students to their detriment.

Ms. Van Bibber: It’s disappointing to hear that this government planned to cut the program, but they didn’t feel incl= ined to ask or tell parents and students first. In fact, I think many parents wo= uld be surprised to find out that this program has been cut. Not everyone is affected the same way.

If the minister is saying= now that there are too many school supplies, then maybe, before cutting it, the minister should have conducted a review. Maybe the funding level could be adjusted or maybe some schools needed more than others. The only way to gau= ge how successful a program was is to do a thorough review of it and speak to school councils, parents and students.

Will the minister commit = to doing a review of the program for its effectiveness before she cuts it?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Thank you for the question. That’s not possible at this time.

I guess I want to clarify= . This government hasn’t cut anything. They didn’t reinstate a one-time cost item that was in last year’s budget placed there by the Yukon Pa= rty during an election year at the last minute. It caused quite a bit of havoc. Certainly there are families and students who benefited from having those supplies. I have noted that those supplies will still be available to them. Many schools ended up spending some of the money on items other than school supplies and, as a result, it simply wasn’t reinstated this year R= 12; or continued the expending. It was announced as a one-time cost. Parents kn= ew that, and teachers and educators knew that.

I should also note, howev= er, that on my desk upstairs is a notification to parents because the school year is ongoing still, of course, and there was notification that, when the budget = came out, this item would not be in there and we will be specifically talking to parents, school councils and administrators to make sure everyone is under = the same understanding that it doesn’t exist in this year’s budget = and won’t in fact be put there.

Ms. Van Bibber: Cutting a program that provides scho= ol supplies for children makes us wonder what the priorities for this governme= nt are. The school supply program was a good program, and removing it will certainly have an effect on families trying to buy all the things needed pr= ior to the school year. Will the minister complete a review of the program and,= if proven to be effective for students as told by the parents and school counc= ils, will she consider reintroducing it in future years?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Mr. Speaker, it would be impor= tant to reiterate that the Department of Education is keenly aware of the requir= ements to teach students and to provide a broad-based education for every Yukon learner from infancy — if I can say that — right until old age. That’s the priority for the department.

This was a one-time item = put in last year’s budget. It was somewhat effective on occasion for providi= ng some school supplies to some children. I have no question whatsoever that, = if evidence comes forward that this was a widely spread benefit to schools = 212; although that has not been the information I’ve received. I’ve = met with school councils. I’ve asked every school council I’ve met = with or been in touch with about this particular program and made this very same explanation to them. It was not well-planned, it was not well-thought-out, = it was not a good use of taxpayers’ money, and we didn’t put it in this year’s budget for that reason.

Question re= : Yukon Energy Corporation general rate application

Ms. Hanson: Last December, the current president of = the Yukon Energy Corporation met with the former president of the Yukon Energy Corporation — that individual is now the Premier’s chief of sta= ff. One of the issues discussed at the meeting was the Energy Corporation’= ;s general rate application for this year.

The general rate applicat= ion to the Yukon Utilities Board is a process required for the Energy Corporation = to increase electricity rates for Yukoners. At that December meeting, the Ener= gy Corporation brought forward a proposal for a 14.7-percent electricity rate increase. Can the Premier confirm whether or not the government has reviewed this proposal?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Under the current circumstances, we= at the Yukon Development Corporation and with oversight of Yukon Energy Corporation — and this item was actually talked about here when the Y= ukon Development Corporation and Yukon Energy Corporation attended. There was a question — I believe it was from the Official Opposition — that just asked where the process is when it comes to looking at rates.

Under the current circums= tances, the Yukon Energy Corporation continues to analyze. The change that has happ= ened is that now we’ve seen an extension in the mine life of the Minto min= e. We actually see that we have to take that impact into consideration as the Yukon Energy Corporation finalizes its process and application.

Of course, the Energy Cor= poration hasn’t been to rate in over four years. It continues to spend money b= ut doesn’t right-side that, so that’s the good work that’s b= eing done at Yukon Energy Corporation.

Ms. Hanson: Indeed, the Yukon Energy Corporation did= say two weeks ago that they will be presenting a general rate application in the next month or two. As noted by the minister, the president of the Yukon Ene= rgy Corporation has stated that, since their original projections, the extensio= n of production at Minto mine and a particularly cold winter improved the corporation’s finances. Hopefully this is good news for ratepayers.

We also know that at the = December meeting between the Energy Corporation president and the Premier’s ch= ief of staff, the Energy Corporation committed to develop an analysis of option= s to reduce the rate increase below the suggested 15 percent. Will the minister table the analysis developed by the Energy Corporation, at the request of government, regarding the proposed 15-percent electricity rate increase?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I think there has been a tremendous amount of analysis done on expenditures and taking into consideration the effects of outside industrial use and things such as that. At this point — in the documents that I have read through, I’m not aware of things that happened previous to us being in government and in the fall. So I’m not aware of anything. I think there has been a lot of conversati= on that has happened between Yukon Energy Corporation and industrial users and Yukon Development Corporation. Certainly I am not privy to all of those conversations. Other than that, I don’t have an analysis to table.

Ms. Hanson: That is kind of disappointing because, in fact, this government promised to do things differently and they promised t= ransparency to Yukoners. That meeting occurred in December 2016, well after the electio= n of this new government. The question is: Why would the minister refuse to make this analysis public when it can have a direct impact on individual Yukoners’ bottom line? We understand that the situation has changed s= ince the December meeting where the Energy Corporation suggested a nearly 15-per= cent increase. We are not asking the minister to defend the number that may no longer be on the table. We simply want the minister to be open and transpar= ent about what kind of rate increases Yukoners should expect. Will the Premier commit to making public the options considered by his government to reduce = the electricity rate increases in the Energy Corporation’s upcoming rate = application?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: What I will commit to is reaching o= ut to Yukon Development Corporation and, in turn, Yukon Energy Corporation. If there is any analysis that has been tabled that we can bring forward, then certainly I will do that. All I am saying is that I am not aware of some so= rt of formal analysis that was executed.

I think there was a great opportunity when Yukon Development Corporation and Yukon Energy Corporation came here to the Legislative Assembly to ask a lot of great and pointed questions. If there is a formal analysis, certainly I will make that commit= ment to the Leader of the Third Party. There is nothing to hide here in going through a process and trying to get the right numbers in place as we go to a rate hearing.

Question re= : Hemodialysis care

Ms. White: Today in the news, we heard about another Yukoner who cannot return home because he would be unable to receive the medical care that he requires. This individual requires hemodialysis three times a week — a service not provided in Yukon. The government respon= se is that Yukon doesn’t have the critical mass of 10 people to justify = this service. Apparently only seven people have needed it since 2000. That is se= ven Yukoners and their families who had to quit jobs, sell their homes and permanently move away from family and community, unable to even return for a visit to Yukon. Can the minister confirm whether these seven individuals who have been forced to move away include First Nation citizens covered by the federal non-insured health benefits program?

Hon. Ms. Frost: The question from the member opposit= e is very specific in nature, and I am not able to respond specifically about whether those potential clients or citizens are receiving services from the non-insured health benefits program or from the Yukon care program. I can’t answer that question. I will get the information that the member requires, but at this moment I am not able to respond directly to that very specific question.

Ms. White: The problem is that those statistics about dialysis use in Yukon aren’t collected. Previous health ministers have indicated that Yukon didn’t have access to the statistics regarding patients covered by the federal non-insured health benefits program. We do = hope that the minister can confirm whether these people were included as it may = very well bring the tally of the department’s magic number up to 10 people= .

The Auditor General in 20= 11 found that Yukon doesn’t collect enough community-based diabetes data. We k= now that individuals with diabetes have a 50-percent chance of developing kidney disease. We also know that diabetes rates are on the rise across Canada and= in the Yukon. Cases of end-stage renal disease have doubled between 2002 and 2= 011, and all the evidence points to a need for dialysis services in Yukon.

When will Yukoners who ne= ed hemodialysis be able to stay in Yukon and not have to leave their home permanently to receive what is a pretty normal standard of care in other jurisdictions?

Hon. Ms. Frost: I completely appreciate and I recogn= ize that there is a need for that specific care. Clearly, I have received the information with respect to dialysis. We spoke about the challenges this morning in our tribute. What we have committed to is we want to ensure that= all Yukoners have access to primary health care services in the Yukon. We are looking at a collaborative care model. We’re ensuring that all Yukone= rs are being given fair, equal supports they require for the medical pressures that they have encountered. There are significant challenges and costs for = medical travel and medical care, recognizing that we are taking that under adviseme= nt and looking at options available to us.

Ms. White: Collaborative care in Yukon would include hemodialysis. This isn’t a new issue. Yukoners should not have to literally pack up their lives and move away from Yukon to receive the medic= al care that they need, especially when this type of care is available to most Canadians in their home province or territory. Our neighbours in the NWT ha= ve access to hemodialysis not only in the capital of Yellowknife, but also in community health centres. We have three hospitals in Yukon, but zero access= to hemodialysis.

Mr. Speaker, what is= this government doing to plan for the increasing number of individuals requiring hemodialysis, or are they waiting until we reach the magic number of 10 peo= ple to begin planning?

Hon. Ms. Frost: With ongoing consultation and engage= ment with the service providers in the communities, working with the health cent= res, working with the Hospital Corporation as well as the physicians and the Yuk= on Medical Association, we are looking at trying to solve some of the major challenges that we have currently in our medical system — trying as b= est we can in a timely fashion to address the needs of Yukoners and ensure that= we don’t send our patients outside of the Yukon. I think what we really = want to do is keep people at home — keep our Yukoners where they are happy= .

I have had to deal with t= his personally, having my dad spend nine months in a Vancouver hospital for car= e. Is that appropriate in uprooting families? It is not appropriate and we wil= l do everything that we possibly can to ensure that Yukoners stay at home and get the services they require in the Yukon. Working with the Hospital Corporati= on, working with the physicians and working with our service providers, we hope= to address and eliminate some of these barriers that we are confronted with.

Question re= : Diabetes programs

Mr. Kent: There are a number of Yukon families with small children suffering from type 1 diabetes and they all share a common g= oal — that is to ease the stress and burden the disease has placed on the= ir family through the use of constant glucose monitoring, or CGM, which reads = and transmits glucose levels from a wearable device to a smartphone or other el= ectronic device.

As children can often not verbalize when something does not feel right in their bodies, especially wi= th diabetes, this equipment has been invaluable to parents and guardians. Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, it is also very expensive. The families ha= ve asked the minister and I also have asked the minister to consider funding options for CGM, to which we have received negative responses.

So I’ll ask again: = Will the minister of Health and Social Services provide some form of financial assistance to these families when this equipment has been successful in managing type 1 diabetes in their children?

Hon. Ms. Frost: What I will commit to is to look at = all options. We will look at the options presented to us in the previous questi= on and with the Official Opposition House Leader speaking currently about pressures. I think it has not gone unnoticed and we are looking as I indica= ted earlier to provide the necessary supports to Yukoners.

If there are new innovati= ons to eliminate some of the medical pressures and concerns — and certainly = if it’s something that we’ve not considered historically — t= hen most definitely we will take that under consideration and implement the new innovative approaches to managing diabetes in children that the member oppo= site describes. The department will certainly take that under advisement and loo= k at those options.

Mr. Kent: I thank the minister because this is definitely a departure from what she had sent me in a letter which was essentially a “no” to any sort of funding for CGM.

When I did write to her in February, I presented the idea of initiating a pilot program for children to use CGM. The benefits would be twofold. The pilot program would alleviate t= he financial stress on these parents funding CGM out of their own pockets and = it would also allow the generation of local first-hand data supporting the benefits of CGM to inform the decision of the working group of whether to f= und CGM equipment under the chronic disease program.

Since this government is = partial to evidence-based decision-making, will the minister reconsider the idea of initiating a pilot program to provide data showing this equipment is benefi= cial to the children and to their families?

Hon. Ms. Frost: The response really, I think, as we = were going through our budget exercise in trying to define the priorities for th= is government in working with the agencies and working with the Department of Health and Social Services — our approach is really to take the best practices that are out there, look at all the evidence as described by the Official Opposition House Leader. We want to make sure that we’re not reacting to the pressures that come at us, but that we make good faith decisions and good decisions that will result in long-term care and elimina= tion of some of these illnesses that we’re confronted with and some of the challenges. We will make the best decision possible, take all of the information we get under advisement and provide the best strategic plan possible with the resources that we have available to us.

Mr. Kent: I believe the pilot program that I suggest= ed to the minister in my February letter would help in acquiring some of that information and data that she is looking for to help make the decision.

Mr. Speaker, yesterd= ay one of the parents at the JDRF walk mentioned to me that they were in discussio= ns with the previous Minister of Health and Social Services and felt that they were making good progress toward having this equipment covered. The Yukon Liberal’s ran their election with the tagline “Be heard” = but many of these parents don’t believe they are being heard on this requ= est.

Can the minister commit i= n this House today to scheduling a meeting with these families to discuss their concerns?

Hon. Ms. Frost: Granted that the Yukon Liberals have= been in power now for eight months, we’ve gone through our first budget cy= cle. Nowhere did I see this in the previous budget and the commitments in the previous budget. What I’m committing to today is that we will look at= the options. We will look at perhaps a pilot project. Who knows? We want to loo= k at eliminating and providing the necessary supports and we will do it with good evidence and good decisions, but we will not react. The members of the Offi= cial Opposition have had 14 years to implement — we aim to implement. We a= im to provide the supports necessary for all Yukoners and for children, in particular.

Question re= : Fish and wildlife population management

Mr. Istchenko: For the past few decades, we have see= n a decrease in population numbers for animals traditionally harvested for food= in the territory. Hunting and gathering are part of our territory’s hist= ory and remain the cornerstone of the traditional way of life in the Yukon. The first option by the department is to put hunters on permit in areas limiting hunting opportunities and putting pressure on other areas of the Yukon. For example, the Premier said he has seen an increase in moose hunting pressure= in his riding.

Does the minister believe= that the permit-hunt system is the only option for managing populations of anima= ls?

Hon. Ms. Frost: Well, my preference really doesnR= 17;t matter. In response, I think the preference, the opportunities and the consultation and engagement process that we go through when we implement regulations really has to be done in a transparent and open way, and in a process that has open dialogue with the Yukon Outfitters Association and un= der the self-government agreement. The member opposite well knows that chapter = 16 defines how we manage our resources in Yukon. We have a legally binding obligation to go through a consultative process to define regulations around wildlife management in areas that are threatened or on species that are thr= eatened.

Mr. Istchenko: Mr. Speaker, more and more, we a= re hearing that the department needs to not only manage hunters but to also fo= cus on managing fish and wildlife populations. We are hearing this from First Nations, the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, renewable resources councils, local hunting and trapping organizations, trappers and outfitters= , as well as resident hunters and fishermen.

We see issues in the medi= a and in the Legislative Assembly around access to areas because hunters are looking= for new areas to access animals.

Will the minister commit = to asking her department to work with all those parties that I referred to and= to look at options other than permit hunting to increase our animal population= s?

Hon. Ms. Frost: I’m happy to say that I’= ve consulted with and I’ve met with the Fish and Wildlife Management Boa= rd. I’ve met with First Nations. I’ve met with the Outfitters Association. I will continue to do that in a way that’s open, transpa= rent and so they feel well heard and their opinions and views are validated and = are taken into consideration.

Mr. Istchenko: There are many success stories in oth= er jurisdictions with regard to their recovery of low populations in wildlife traditionally hunted for food. Organizations exist to provide funds to those with creative solutions or projects to address these issues — whether through habitat enhancement, trapping or hunting incentives, or pilot proje= cts such as the three-year Alsek moose management plan. The previous government looked to find a balance in managing harvest as well as animal populations.=

The Yukon Fish and Wildli= fe Management Board has a trust that allocates money toward specific conservat= ion and management projects. Each year, we gather around $350,000 in hunting and fishing licences, outfitters’ fees and fines, among other things. Ins= tead of these funds going into general revenue for the government, could the minister or would the minister commit to creating a fund for these revenues that could be managed much like the trust that can be applied toward projec= ts to help rebuild our animal populations?

Hon. Ms. Frost: I’m going to just state that, = at this point in time, we are currently not seeing a lot of pressures. We have= elk management plans in place. We are now in consultation on grizzly bears. We = are looking at domestic and wild sheep management in consultation with the Yukon Fish and Game Association, the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, renewable resources councils and the respective First Nations. We will take= all their input into consideration, so that’s what I’m committing t= o.

 

Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed.

We will now proceed to Or= ders of the Day.

Orders of th= e Day

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.

Speaker: It has been moved by the Government House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.

Motion agreed to

 

Speaker leaves the Chair

Committee of= the Whole

Deputy Chair (Mr. Adel): Order. Committee of the Who= le will now come to order.

The matter before the Com= mittee is general debate on Vote 55, Department of Highways and Public Works, in B= ill No. 201, entitled First Appropriati= on Act, 2017‑18.

Do members wish to take a= brief recess?

All Hon. Members: Agreed.

Deputy Chair: Committee of the Whole will recess for 15 minutes.

 

Recess

Bill No. 20= 1: First Appropriation Act, 2017‑18= — continued

Deputy Chair:  Committee of the Whole will now come to or= der.

The matter before the Com= mittee is general debate on Vote 55, Department of Highways and Public Works, in Bill No. 201, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2017‑18.

 

Department of Highways and Public Works

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: Good afternoon, Mr. Deputy Cha= ir. I have a couple of officials coming in, and I will just wait for them to ta= ke their seats.

I have with me this after= noon Paul McConnell, who is the Deputy Minister of Highways and Public Works, and Allan Nixon who is an assistant deputy minister of the Transportation divis= ion.

This afternoon, I am plea= sed to present to you the Department of Highways and Public Works 2017‑18 budget. Before I start, I will provide a quick overview of my department and what it does.

Highways and Public Works= is a big, diverse machine with lots of moving parts. Many are public facing, and many operate 24/7, 365 days a year, often behind the scenes. We provide oth= er departments with procurement support, risk management, insurance services, = and asset management services such as fleet vehicles. We also maintain the crit= ical information technology infrastructure that so many of us rely on in governm= ent and outside.

The department builds, op= erates and maintains the roads, bridges and airports that link our communities and bring people food, medicine and other supplies from down south. In a harsh climate, the people of Highways and Public Works keep all these things work= ing and buildings open year-round.

The department staff numb= ers more than 800 people. They are spread across four divisions. In the few months I have been minister of this department, I have met many of them. I have been= out to Haines Junction and to the highway weigh scales. I’ve been to the department divisions here in town. I have seen a commitment and the pride m= any of these people take in their work. It’s truly something to behold. <= /p>

They’re doing this important work as best they can, often with aged equipment. On the transportation front, there are people in the department’s maintenance garages and camps whose job it is to fabricate new parts because some of the equipment is so old we simply can’t buy those parts anymore. I’= ve met them and they pride themselves in this hugely important work.

This government is going = to invest in such things as the equipment we depend on to keep our transportat= ion routes safe and operational. Much of it, as you know, is very old, fragile = and increasingly expensive to maintain. I’ll talk more about this later.<= /p>

This is not just a transp= ortation issue however. Aging or outdated infrastructure in our building portfolio a= nd in our Information and Communications Technology Division is a growing impediment to this government’s ability to effectively serve Yukon citizens.

My department operates and maintains more than 540 government buildings worth more than $1.6 bill= ion. Each year, we also design and build new facilities to help meet the growing program needs of departments. We understand that maintaining these building= s is an important piece of providing critical services to Yukon citizens. Managi= ng this large and diverse portfolio is always going to bring with it a wide ra= nge of pressures and challenges and we do our best to stay ahead of the curve.<= /p>

We are also focused on re= ducing energy use in our buildings through energy retrofits and energy-efficient n= ew construction. These investments pay back quickly through cost savings while also helping to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

On the procurement front, Highways and Public Works, through the Procurement Support Centre, is tasked with supporting departments procuring fairly and openly while getting good value for money. Government purchasing should derive benefits for Yukoners = and we are working to ensure that. We are focused on improving quality and consistency in procurement across government, developing standardized train= ing and implementing a post-project evaluation program. We are also making chan= ges like adding standard clauses in our construction document templates for fair-wage schedule reporting, developing standard clauses for value-based procurement to support First Nation recruitment, training and subcontracting opportunities and to secure Yukon benefits. Collectively, we issue a massive number of contracts and services each year valued at about $340 millio= n, just to give you an idea of the size and scope of this operation.

We recognize government procurement’s importance to Yukon and First Nation businesses. We wan= t a diverse and vibrant economy where businesses have the investment they need = to grow, both in Yukon and Outside. We recognize that large capital projects a= re an important part of Yukon’s economy in creating jobs for Yukoners. Whistle Bend continuing care is one such project, where approximately 70&nb= sp;percent of the project to date has been staffed by local workers.

On the information manage= ment front, this department provides leadership across government for how we collectively manage all information and how we safely make it available to = the public, while protecting the most sensitive bids from prying eyes.

Highways and Public Works= also operates and maintains all of the information and technology equipment that connects government departments with each other and with the public. I cann= ot emphasize how important this is, Mr. Deputy Chair. Without my teamR= 17;s information highways, many of us wouldn’t be able to communicate with each other or with our citizens.

Many of our IT systems are antiquated and at risk of failing. Systems that handle our social services files, our justice records, our land titles — I could go on — t= hey are no longer sufficient to handle the job they are supposed to do. They don’t track information well enough for us to adequately serve the pu= blic or our public policy goals.

Under this government, th= is will change. Modernizing and repairing these systems will cost money and yet fix= ing them will save us money. An emerging area for our government is in the onli= ne services. We are beginning to work with other departments to identify opportunities and create new paths going forward.

Highways and Public Works= is committed to supporting departments and filling their program needs through= e‑services. Making these services accessible online helps us create sustainable communities, lessening the gap between Whitehorse and other communities. Th= is is a vast territory and we have to make it more convenient for our citizens= to access the information services this government provides. Dollars spent on = this department and by this department consistently yield a very strong return on investment in ways that generate positive impacts for both Yukoners and the public service.

Recently, the Public Serv= ice Commission automated leave forms, in concert with the crew in Highways and Public Works. This $1.2-million system is rolling out successfully. So far, more than 90,000 leave forms have been submitted electronically. Eventually, 50,000 paper time sheets will also be eliminated. Processing all those paper forms took an estimated four full-time positions across government. That is horsepower this government can now use for other more important tasks ̵= 2; maybe hiring some EAs.

Highways and Public Works= has completed core business assessments within all branches of the department to evaluate current business processes and identify priorities for review and improvement. The Transportation Maintenance branch and the Property Managem= ent Division are at the forefront of these changed management and process improvement initiatives. Last year, the Property Management team met with a= ll departments in a series of focus-group sessions where feedback was provided= on a broad range of service and management issues. Based on the feedback, Prop= erty Management has developed a service improvement action plan that is closely = tied to the department’s broader goals of innovation and continuous improvement. They will also be producing an annual report of these efforts = in the coming months.

In the transportation rea= lm, Transportation Maintenance’s business modernization initiative — now in its third year — also supports this critically important continuous improvement mandate. Efficiency improvements are desperately nee= ded to give Yukon government the flexibility it needs to deal with budget shortfalls and the changing labour market.

That is a brief overview = of this department. As you have just heard, Mr. Deputy Chair, the challenges my team faces are extreme. This budget reflects the need to meet these challen= ges. The Highways and Public Works budget provides $7 million for capital building and maintenance projects, $72 million for transportation and = $4.5 million for information and communications technology. Now let’s get into the details. Mr. Deputy Chair, I have never been more hydrated.

Property Management Divis= ion of Highways and Public Works builds and maintains government buildings to prov= ide safe workplaces for Yukon government employees and public access to governm= ent services. We support the building portfolio by delivering planning, design, project management, maintenance, custodial and groundskeeping services acro= ss the government. We employ tradespeople, architects, engineers, labourers, administrators and other technical specialists to help us complete this important work. What does this mean? It means that last year, the Property Management Division managed 23 major capital projects worth more than $115&= nbsp;million. Projections for this year are for 19 projects worth almost $90 million. Almost all of these projects are delivered on behalf of other departments, = so they do not appear in the Highways and Public Works budget. Even though this department doesn’t hold the budget, we are responsible for successful= ly delivering these projects from early planning right through to design and construction.

We work closely and collaboratively with each government department through every phase of the process. As we have said on this side many times, we are working collaboratively to try to break down some of the barriers that have arisen = in this civil service over the years. Some recent examples of this collaborati= ve approach include the new Sarah Steele treatment facility for Health and Soc= ial Services and the new Carcross fire hall for Community Services. We have allocated $1.1 million in capital overhead to support the planning, de= sign and implementation of the Property Management capital development program — that is a mouthful. This will be done through support, project desi= gn and equipment purchases.

Much needed new equipment= will be purchased at $225,000 for Property Management staff in our communities, inc= luding Dawson City, Mayo, Haines Junction, Watson Lake, Teslin, Faro and Whitehors= e. Many of their tools are antiquated and past their life expectancy — t= hey need fixing. For building maintenance, the department will see $2.8 mi= llion go toward Highways and Public Works building maintenance. This includes buildings and facilities that meet common needs shared by program departmen= ts and general office and warehouse space. In this budget, each department is responsible for a portion of the building maintenance envelope, while Highw= ays and Public Works delivers on all of the projects.

Building maintenance is d= one to ensure that our buildings meet current safety standards, are energy efficie= nt and are operating effectively. Yukon government recognizes that we need to = do a better job of coordinating and sharing information when it comes to radon management. We heard this loud and clear from the Auditor General of Canada. Radon testing is already underway in many government buildings, including a= ll buildings under the control of Highways and Public Works. Highways and Publ= ic Works will remediate any government building that shows radon levels that exceed Health Canada’s standards.

Building development R= 12; $1.2 million is allocated to replace the chiller at the main admin building. I’ll = be cooler for it, Mr. Deputy Chair.

This year’s space p= lanning budget of $680,000 will be used to address tenant improvements to the Public Service Commission and Department of Finance spaces on the second and third floors of the main admin building, as well as renovations to the Motor Vehi= cles space to improve service delivery.

Energy improvements ̵= 2; we have hired two energy managers to staff a new energy unit within Property Management Division. We are investing $200,000 in energy retrofit projects. This will help plan, design and implement energy retrofit projects in Yukon government buildings. In doing so, we reduce operating costs, increase local economic benefits and reduce greenhouse gas emissions — three things = we can all get behind.

Climate change brings wit= h it many challenges in the north, including permafrost degradation. The Yukon government needs to do a better job managing permafrost risk within our building portfolio. This was another key recommendation from the Auditor Ge= neral of Canada. Buildings that are already known to have issues, such as the Ross River School, continue to be monitored and any problems will be addressed. = We continue to assess the condition of our buildings. We also will be incorporating additional data related to permafrost concerns in these assessments. This will ensure that we have a complete picture of where it m= ight be a concern and a plan in place to manage those concerns where necessary. = We are working to be more proactive about managing permafrost. The energy unit= is assessing 60 buildings at risk of permafrost degradation and is developing a long-term monitoring and remediation plan for permafrost.

Transportation — we= plan to develop and manage transportation infrastructure systems and programs for Yukoners and visitors alike. We also regulate and use the transportation systems and infrastructure as well as maintain transportation-related equipment. Chances are that no matter how you arrived here today, you used = the transportation network that this team built or that they maintain and opera= te.

In the living quarters of= several of our highway maintenance camps, they have been in desperate need of improvement for some time. This year, we will commence replacement of the Stewart Crossing living quarters and we will finish work on the Drury Creek= and Swift River quarters for a total of $2.7 million. We have allocated $260,000 for environmental mitigation at highway maintenance camps to ensure that the best management practices and mitigations are in place to reduce environmental liabilities. We have also allocated $175,000 for power source generators at various maintenance camps.

When it comes to airports= , the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport will see several critical improvements this year — some of which are already underway. The department has allocated $1.2 million to the airport improvement proje= ct, which includes reconfiguration of the boarding lounge, additional seating areas, and new washrooms. The washrooms in the public area across from the check-in counters will also be renovated to provide barrier-free accessibil= ity. A new comfortable seating area will be located on the second floor mezzanin= e.

The passenger screening s= ecurity area will be expanded to allow space for a second walk-through metal detect= or. The improvements also include a chiller replacement, which will provide air conditioning in the boarding lounge area as well as in the public areas. $4= .5 million will be spent on the full-length milling and paving of the centre 100 feet = of the runway 14R-32L. Keep that in mind — 14R-32L. These repairs to the runway keep the airport operational and safe.

The Whitehorse airport development plan will seek $250,000 to provide a long-term guide for our aviation team into the year 2040. Whitehorse airport sand storage building = is at the end of its useful life and must be replaced. We have allocated $600,= 000 to have this building replaced.

Major projects planned for community aerodromes this year include resurfacing at Carmacks and Dawson a= nd the application of dust suppressants and miscellaneous lighting and navigat= ion aid upgrades at various other aerodromes. The department is assigned $1.2&n= bsp;million for these projects.

Currently there is no air= field maintenance facility at the Dawson City Airport. This means that critical equipment is subject to our northern elements and there is no place to adequately service or repair equipment. We have dedicated $250,000 to desig= n a maintenance facility and to continue planning for the future development of that airport.

George Black ferry, due to federal regulations governing ferry operations and the need to ensure continued passenger safety and operations — replacement of equipment is required. We are allocating $108,000 to replace the marine gear and the life jackets on the ferry.

This government has also committed $150,000 for electronic equipment such as electronic message boar= ds, portable traffic lighting. This equipment will improve efficiency and safet= y of both our Transportation Maintenance branch team and the travelling public.<= /p>

We’re going to get = through a few more of these, Mr. Deputy Chair.

Support equipment —= the Transport Services branch will see $385,000. Of that funding, the weigh stations will receive $240,000 to go toward the replacement and installatio= n of new equipment such as weigh-station scales, vehicle height detectors and scoreboards. Motor Vehicles will also see $145,000 for support equipment.

Finally, just before I wr= ap up this section of this presentation, an additional $430,000 is also allocated= for Transportation Maintenance branch equipment such as glacier control generat= ors, plate packers, sanders and water pumps. How cool is that?

Thank you very much. I aw= ait questions from the honourable members.

Mr. Hassard: I would also like to thank the officials for being here today. I know they love being here.

I don’t believe tha= t the minister was done with his opening remarks so I could just wait and let him finish his opening remarks in case he answers any of the questions. There i= s no point in asking if he’s not done.

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I appreciate the member opposite for that grace. I will continue for a few minutes. I will try to speed it up a = bit so I make the best use of this time.

I think I left off with g= lacier control generators, plate packers, sanders and water pumps.

In transportation plannin= g and engineering, integrated asset management — we have committed $900,000= for the continued development of an integrated asset management program that wi= ll develop the tools and procedures required to monitor the condition and performance of transportation infrastructure. This information will support efficient investment decisions across all transportation asset classes, roa= ds, bridges and aviation.

Business modernization &#= 8212; we have allocated $800,000 to modernize the business processes and systems I s= poke about earlier. Modernization includes the review and update of branch polic= ies and procedures and the creation of a branch performance management plan. Th= is is a multi-year continuous improvement initiative aimed at delivering servi= ces more efficiently and effectively within the department.

$1 million is being = assigned to engineering support and highway inventory management. This project invol= ves several activities that support the delivery of a transportation capital program, including engineering surveys, geotechnical investigations, traffic studies and safety evaluations, technical equipment — such as computer-aided drafting hardware and software — traffic count system = components, geotechnical and survey equipment, and training.

Planning and engineering = support for aviation is allocated $625,000. Work includes surveying and zoning, mapping, industry analysis, geotechnical investigations, planning, future projects and technical support.

We have dedicated $450,00= 0 for land and granular resources. This project encompasses all activities relate= d to the land interests of the Transportation division, including acquiring new lands, disposal of lands no longer required for transportation purposes, and allowing access and use of lands. This budget also accounts for the granular resource planning and development required to maintain and manage the Yukon highways network.

We have committed $150,00= 0 toward intelligent transportation systems. This project involves the development of computer systems and services to support transportation system operations.<= /p>

We are allocating $100,00= 0 toward research and development in the Transportation division. This item provides= a funding source for employee-generated research and development initiatives. These initiatives must address the safety needs, service delivery and impro= ve efficiencies or infrastructure.

Highways and roads — pavement rehabilitation and highway safety improvements will take place acr= oss the territory for a total of $4.7 million. Shakwak — we spoke ab= out this last week. Initial expenditures under the Shakwak agreement were focus= ed on reconstruction of substandard highway grades throughout the project area. With the grade improvement work nearing completion, the project can now beg= in to address paving the road that has been rebuilt in previous years.

There is a Shakwak agreem= ent between Canada and the United States, which funds the reconstruction of the Haines Road and the Alaska Highway. This year’s repair costs of $6.7&= nbsp;million will be 100-percent recoverable from the United States of America, but this= is the last year of available Shakwak funding. It is now done. Major Shakwak projects in 2017 and 2018 are highway restoration in Beaver Creek for $6&nb= sp;million, and administration and design costs at $650,000.

The Alaska Highway will s= ee a total of $10 million in repairs and improvements this year. Of that to= tal, $5.8 million is allocated for Alaska Highway upgrades at the south Klondike Highway intersection. Essential items included are upgrading the roadway to ensure properly laid out intersections, major road crossing poin= ts, consolidated access, establishing proper traffic control, et cetera. All th= is work is being done to bring this stretch of road to a uniform adequate stan= dard but, more importantly, it is being done to keep Yukoners and those using our highway systems safe.

Several locations on the = Alaska Highway continue to suffer from permafrost degradation at a restoration cos= t of $3.8 million. Alaska Highway rehabilitation work will see $400,000. Th= is project involves reshaping long sections of reconstructed highway that have moved and been distorted due to changes in deep permafrost.

The Klondike Highway R= 12; some of us drove it last week during the gold show — will see $1.3 mi= llion in repairs and improvements. Erosion and drainage repairs on the Klondike Highway are allocated $1.1 million, while repairs and improvements that will also be made to Pelly hill are valued at $400,000.

The Haines Road — D= atlaska Creek was diverted from its original course when the road was first built in the 1940s. We have allocated $285,000 to protect the Haines Road from conti= nued erosion from this historic creek.

Campbell Highway — = $9.2 million will be dedicated to the Campbell Highway this year. Of that budget, $7.4&n= bsp;million is allocated to finalizing this key segment of the long-standing road reconstruction program. Completion of this work will see the Campbell Highw= ay fully reconstructed to a BST surface between kilometre 10 and kilometre 114= . I am sure my colleague, the Member for Watson Lake, will be very happy to hear that. The remaining $1.8 million will be dedicated to other areas of t= he Campbell Highway and will be used for highway rehabilitation, subgrade impr= ovements, safety improvements, drainage, structure replacement and aggregate producti= on — so much work.

The Dempster Highway will= see improvements of $2.1 million. Work here will include the placement of protective rock blankets — not very comfortable, but necessary on that roadbed. This is also known as rip-rap. It is used on the side slopes of the Dempster Highway along the shoreline of the Blackstone and Ogilvie rivers a= nd Engineer Creek. Other work includes quarry site investigation development, = production of suitable armour and filter materials by drilling and blasting as well as placement of these materials. This is part of ongoing preventive maintenanc= e. Work also includes the replacement of undersized and severely damaged culve= rts. The Dempster Highway rehabilitation budget of $400,000 includes restoring a= nd rehabilitating the highway’s infrastructure, including the driving surface, the road’s subgrade safety barriers and adjacent drainage structures. Aging and failing road infrastructure is creating unsafe condit= ions and increasing operation and maintenance costs. These infrastructure deficiencies are located throughout the Dempster.

Roadway restoration and rehabilitation — we have committed $300,000 toward the improved management of vegetation control along Yukon highways. There is $500,000 allocated to the resource access road program. Work in these areas includes upgrading industrial and secondary roads across Yukon.

There is $200,000 allocat= ed for the rural road upgrading program. Rural road upgrading is an ongoing project that allows the department to react to small-scale projects and minor road upgrading requests as they arise. Transportation Engineering staff coordina= te the planning and construction of these projects with local contractors and First Nations to carry out the work. All projects are proponent-based and therefore reflect local needs in the rural communities.

My department has allocat= ed $15 million for the bridge portfolio this year. Of that funding, my team is set to work= on four large bridge projects this year. One is the Yukon River bridge at Carm= acks at $3.8 million.

The work is well underway= . I think some of us crossed it on the way to the gold show last weekend recent= ly. There is the Klondike River bridge at $3.5 million, the Clear Creek br= idge at $2.5 million and the Nares River bridge at $3.5 million. Many Yukon bridges were built in the 1950s and 1960s and are at an age where maj= or rehabilitation efforts are required to keep them in service.

There is a need to improv= e the Nares River bridge in Carcross from a timber bridge deck to a concrete deck. This project will recover some costs from Canada through the Building Canada fun= d. Engineering analysis shows that the existing structure cannot support heavy loads on an ongoing basis. It needs work.

The southern part of the = Klondike Highway is an important link in the Yukon highways system because it serves= the mining, logging and tourism industries and Yukoners alike. There is also a secondary road bridge rehabilitation going on. These needs can vary from si= mple replacement of wear strips on timber decks to relatively complex substructu= re repairs. The more complex projects require significant environmental assess= ment and engineering design input. We have allocated $450,000 for bridge work on= the Aishihik Road and the Rowlinson Creek bridge on the Mount Nansen road at $360,000.

We are also funding $1&nb= sp;million for the inspection of bridges and other drainage structures across the transportation network. On average, each structure is inspected every second year so that the structural condition assessment is always available. Inspections are carried out by Transportation Engineering branch staff and = the information they collect is used to update the annual report for the bridge= and culvert management system.

Mr. Deputy Chair, th= en there are computers. Our Information and Communications Technology Division provi= des services related to computer accounts and workstations, telephones, mobile radio systems, ATIPP — that’s access to information and protect= ion of privacy for those who don’t like acronyms, like myself — information management, software development, network and security just to = name a few.

Mr. Speaker, $2.5&nb= sp;million of the Information and Communications Technology branch budget is allocated= for network infrastructure. It primarily consists of: providing capacity growth= of our application servers and data storage in our data centre to accommodate = the needs of government services; improvements within our data network to ensure government services have the connectivity they need at Yukon government locations throughout the Yukon; provision of enterprise-wide productivity t= ools to enable Yukon government employees the means to do their jobs and to collaborate effectively; and upgrades to our network security infrastructur= e to keep our citizens’ information safe from bad actors. We have all heard the news out of Washington. We don’t want those bad actors creeping i= nto our servers here in the territory.

Cyber security is an area= of growing concern for governments, businesses and citizens everywhere. We are collaborating with other governments and working to understand the resourci= ng and investments needed to keep up with this evolving threat. We know that continuing to invest to ensure that infrastructure and applications are up = to date is part of this picture to keep our citizens’ information safe a= nd secure.

As well, $1.4 millio= n will be used for systems development. Our team works with other department servi= ce teams to understand their business processes and needs to help them find solutions that improve their business. This allocation consists of $735,000= for project management that enables ICT staff to work with and on behalf of department clients to deliver services to Yukoners.

We also have allocated $1= 70,000 to Geomatics Yukon for the enhancement of Yukon’s land information, w= hich is used by both the private and public sectors.

Corporate financial manag= ement systems will receive $150,000 to ensure our users have the system they need= to support their work.

Yukon government’s = human resource management system will see $60,000 toward ongoing support of user needs. E-service is an area of great interest and opportunity for Yukon government. I mentioned this earlier. We know that it promises citizens and businesses increased access to government services at greater convenience, especially for those in our communities outside of Whitehorse — the ability to improve transparency and offer new ways of engaging with the pub= lic, all while offering a more efficient channel for service delivery.

We have allocated $100,00= 0 for the creation of a publicly available online open data repository. This will create a place for Yukon government to begin its journey to provide the information it holds on behalf of all Yukoners in a safe and secure way. Th= ese services’ licensing and permitting platform will see $85,000 to suppo= rt its users throughout the Yukon government. Our future website platform, Dru= pal, needs $75,000 to ensure it is secure and up to date as we start our website modernization initiative. We have allocated $73,000 for the purchase of new workstations for department staff.

In order to continue to i= mprove public safety through meeting the needs of emergency responders and the RCM= P, we have also committed $320,000 toward the support of the mobile radio syst= em. Public safety communication systems are essential to the well-being of all Yukoners and vital for effective program delivery.

Telecommunications infras= tructure is allocated $355,000. This funding provides the underlying physical infrastructure necessary to support government program operations as well as critical radio and broadcasting services throughout the Yukon. It includes broadcasting and tower equipment as well as capital projects to replace, upgrade, or enhance existing systems.

Mr. Deputy Chair, th= ose are the highlights of the Department of Highways and Public Works. I’m pr= oud of the people who make up this department and the work that they do. They k= eep the roads clear, buildings safe, airports operating and personal information secure. Thank you all for your patience and thank you to the member opposite for allowing me to finish that presentation.

Mr. Hassard: I think the minister missed the two most important pieces and those were to fill potholes and clean outhouses — not to be forgotten.

In his opening remarks, t= he minister talked about replacement of sand storage at the Whitehorse airport — a building for sand storage. I don’t see that on the tender management system or in the forecast, so I’m just wondering if maybe I misunderstood or if Highways and Public Works does in fact plan on building= a sand storage facility this year?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: That project was actually started u= nder the previous government and is just going to be finished this year.

Mr. Hassard: Thank you for that, Mr. Deputy Cha= ir.

The minister talked about replacement of equipment in regard to the George Black ferry. Can he elaborate what equipment the government will be loo= king at purchasing or are they in fact looking at a new ferry?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for the question. I am happy to report that the George Black ferry is still in good shape. It is not slated for replacement any time soon. It is doing its job as well as can be expected; however, the same can’t be said for the heritage-like life jackets and lifeboats on the ferry. Those are slated for replacement to meet the regulatory requirements that we must meet federally.

Mr. Hassard: In terms of ferries, are there any plan= ned upgrades or any work this year for the ferry in Ross River? I know that they had the doghouse torn off last year and were doing some work. I’m just curious is there is an update on that work.

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: The ferry in Ross River has been upgraded. The upgrades to the drive system were completed and the ferry is ready to go in the water. As soon as it is able, it will be deployed with a brand new drive system.

Mr. Hassard: Since we’re talking about Ross Ri= ver, I know that the functional plan was done by the previous government. During= the briefing, when I talked to Mr. Nixon, we talked about this functional plan. The minister spoke of engineering that is underway with regard to the section of highway between Faro and Ross River. I am just wondering if we c= an get some clarification on what the engineering is and what it is regarding.=

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I have been informed that we are currently prioritizing projects in the functional plan. Once we have done t= hat triage, we will begin doing the planning, proper permitting and engineering work needed to do the work on that stretch of road.

Mr. Hassard: You said in the Legislature during Ques= tion Period that there was engineering underway. Does this mean that there is no engineering underway?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: The functional plan is a starting p= oint of the engineering process. It is an engineering process in and of itself, = so yes, we are doing engineering on that section of road. Those of my colleagu= es who have travelled that road know that the state of the stretch from Faro to Ross River is not the best. It has great need of some attention. There is a community along that road, so this government is now looking at that stretc= h of road. We are doing the preliminary engineering work to prioritize the functional plan so that the community’s access gets a little bit of l= ove.

Mr. Hassard: I actually think that the piece of road between Faro and Ross River — other than the three sections that the government has tried to fix in years past — is actually in quite good shape. I think the maintenance crew up there does an incredible job with wh= at they have, and they have done a very good job. With the exception of days w= ith tremendous amounts of rain, the road is in quite good shape. I am curious if there is any — apparently somebody disagrees — plans — an= d I know I have spoken with the ADM in regard to this before. There was talk a = few years ago about using a product that one of the previous ministers of Highw= ays and Public Works really enjoyed talking about. That product was, of course, rhino snot — true story. I know that the ADM has told me that this product didn’t turn out to be all that it was hoped to be. Are there = any other options that Highways and Public Works is looking at using since BST doesn’t seem to be a highly recommended option by some? I still disag= ree, but we won’t argue that point today. Is there anything in the works in terms of a dust-control product or a surface hardener that Highways and Pub= lic Works is currently looking at for that stretch of road?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for the question. Really, what the member opposite is driving at is innovation and = the need to think outside the box — to be open to new ideas, to be willin= g to try new things, to lift your head up a little bit and look around and say, “My, how the world has changed. Maybe there is some new material beyo= nd the tried-and-true methods to get the job done.”

Anybody who knows me know= s that I am more than willing to try new approaches to old problems. I think that is important. I think it is important to keep our eyes and our minds open and actually look for new ways to do things, be it in the technology field, in airports or highway maintenance. That entrepreneurial, innovative thinking = is what led to the widespread BST projects across the territory now.

I know that in talking to= the departmental staff, they are constantly coming up with new ways of doing th= ings — new ways of clearing snow from between highway barriers, new ways of applying products to the roads, new ways of actually marking the roads so t= hat people are safe when they are driving, and new ways of presenting budgets. There are all sorts of things being tried within the department and I think= it is tremendous that they feel empowered to try to come forward with these new ideas.

As for the member opposite talking about something to replace BST, I was at a recent meeting of —= ; I think it was probably an owners and pilots association. I’ve been at several of those lately and it’s hard to keep them all straight. At o= ne of those meetings, I had an individual come up and pitch a new product that he swore up and down was marvellous and would help keep the dust down and help reduce our maintenance costs on runways. The material costs a little bit mo= re up-front, but down the line, it did these marvellous things to keep dust do= wn — would harden and we would have a lot less maintenance in the future. People are pitching these new ideas all the time. I’m more than happy= to listen to these things.

What this government will= do is pass the information off to our officials, who know what works and what doesn’t. If the item seems like it does have some merit in use, we wi= ll probably try a small pilot project to see how it works. Does it increase co= sts at the front end, but does it decrease them at the end? We will gather the evidence we need to make these decisions and then go forward with them.

We haven’t got anyt= hing to the member’s question. At this point, we have nothing yet identified = that works better than BST on this stretch, but with permafrost and climate chan= ge manifesting itself throughout the territory, we’re going to have to k= eep our minds open to new ideas so we actually start to address some of these problems we face with permafrost across the territory — flooding and = all sorts of other things.

Mr. Hassard: In terms of the Ross River School, my understanding in the past has been that when the school was built, there we= re levelling devices built in so that the building could be levelled as needed= , or on a regular schedule. I’m curious — is that correct informatio= n?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I have been informed that, yes, in 2015, with that $2-million project — $1.9-million project — levelling equipment was part of that construction project and that those gadgets, those gizmos — those mechanisms to actually level the school — some sort of levelling device is in place for the Ross River School= .

Mr. Hassard: So if they are in fact there from the previous contract, why would we be looking — maybe this $1.2 mil= lion number that we’ve heard recently isn’t correct, but if the levelling devices are there, why would that number be so high if it needed = to be readjusted or relevelled?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for the question. His questions mirror some of the ones that I have, actually. It i= s an expensive proposition to perform the required relevelling of the school. I = have seen and I think the media has now seen the reports on the problems there — the cracking, the doors that don’t close. The facility is saf= e. It’s safe for the students and staff, which is the most important thi= ng, but the member opposite is correct — it is shifting on its foundation= and it needs some remediation.

The cost for that project= , I have been told, is estimated at $1.2 million at the moment. I am looking at that and saying that, personally, I have misgivings about spending another = more than a million on a facility, but the staff and students at that facil= ity require a safe place to learn. That’s a very important part of this equation. We want to make sure that the education of our children — it’s a motherhood statement, but you have to say it — is an important part of our communities and we are looking to make sure that we g= et the best facility in place for the staff and students of Ross River.

We’re working with = the First Nation. We’re working with the community. The department is wor= king with me to try to come up with a good option for the people. At this stage,= the engineers have said that the levelling will buy us some time. As the member opposite I’m sure knows, the site location of that school is not grea= t. These problems seem to be cropping up far too often. So we’re dealing with it. We will find a solution to this vexing problem and we will move forward from there.

Mr. Hassard: I agree — the schools are very important, especially in rural Yukon, where they’re kind of the heart= of the community in many cases. They’re not just a school; they’re= so much more.

Is the minister consideri= ng at all the possibility of building a new school then — in regard to misgivings about spending this money on an existing building?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: We come to the rub, don’t we?= I thank the member opposite for the question and for getting to the point. I = have a responsibility to the community of Ross River and to the staff and studen= ts of that school. I also have a responsibility to my colleagues on this side = of the House, to the Minister of Education and to others to have a facility in place in Ross River that meets the needs of the community. To date — before this most recent levelling that has been identified — the Yukon government has spent about $3 million on that school, so this adds to = that cost. The replacement cost of the school is — whatever it is. You can back-of-a-napkin it. But when you start to get up to $5 million for maintaining the school, it tends to be quite a bit of money. The department= has tools to assess the ongoing costs of these facilities, and what we’re currently doing is looking at what can be done with the existing structure.= The bottom line is that students of Ross River and the staff need a place to le= arn and to have these things. Even if we did decided — and that’s a totally hypothetical situation — to build a school, it would be years before there was a school in this community.

We are going to have to p= lan around that and make some hard choices. We’re looking at our options = and trying to make sure that the staff and students of Ross River have a place where they can learn safely in the immediate future.

Mr. Hassard: Just one last comment — not a question on that. I would just encourage the government to definitely have = lots and lots of open dialogue with the community if they ever did decide to go = the route of building a new school.

Energy retrofits — = in his opening remarks, the minister mentioned that this budget will spend $200,00= 0 on energy retrofits this year. I’m curious — can the minister tell= us how much, if any, greenhouse gas emissions this expenditure will reduce?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for the question. It seems like such a simple question, but of course these things = are never quite so simple. The money identified in the budget this year is identified for planning for individuals who will work within the department identifying the buildings that are necessary for retrofits. On the surface,= you could say that not much in the way of greenhouse gases are going to be save= d. These two individuals, if they ride their bikes, will be saving greenhouse = gas emissions every day going into work. If they drive cars, there could be a c= ost. Those two individuals will identify areas where this government can possibly save quite substantial amounts of energy, which would then help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. I have every confidence that these civil servants will do a tremendous job identifying areas where energy retrofits would be = most useful and could, through that important work, substantially reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. As I said, it’s not so black and white.

Mr. Hassard: I wasn’t expecting that for an answer. It led me to another line of questioning. Is this new staff? Will t= hey be under HPW? Are these permanent positions or are they temporary — j= ust long enough to determine what you need to know for the energy retrofits?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: You are throwing curves at me this afternoon, but I will try to keep this all straight. What we are talking ab= out — yes, we are talking about two new positions. Again, these things are never as clear-cut as all that. There were positions within the civil servi= ce that were doing this work, but they were not really accounted for.

We have been doing this w= ork. The secondary sales program with Yukon Energy — permafrost review —= these were to review all capital maintenance projects to identify design solution= s. There’s tracking of YG’s performance on energy saving and reduc= ing greenhouse gas emissions and reporting to the Energy branch and the Climate Change Secretariat, providing verified information of government’s utility consumption and energy-saving projects, and working with departments to pil= ot innovative solutions to reducing energy.

These public commitments = have been made in the past, but not actually financed or resourced. When looking= at this, we realize the importance of this work. It can’t be done off the sides of somebody’s desk, and so this government has put the resources into these two positions to actually do this work.

Mr. Hassard: Last week, we talked about the project upgrades out near the Carcross Cut-off. The project is currently being asse= ssed by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board, and the ten= der, as we see, is on the tender management system, so it is out there. I am assuming that we’ll have a go/no-go decision come forward well into J= uly, but the project is still tendered and closes on June 13. Can the minister t= ell us if he feels that the environmental assessment will interfere with this tender or not?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for the question. I heard and understand his concerns, but no, we do not think this project will have any effect. The decision document from YESAB is expected = on June 23, right in line with our tendering process, so there shouldn’t= be any problem at all.

Mr. Hassard: The minister is saying that YESAB will = have their decision in by June 23, but then the government has to do their decis= ion document, so obviously it would be after June 23 and the project closes Jun= e 13 — so does he foresee any possible conflict there?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for the question.

Just to be totally clear,= Mr. Deputy Chair, the decision document that will be ready on June 23 is our decision document. So it is the decision and it will be the decision. There should n= ot be any problem or any hold up to the tendering process.

Mr. Hassard: That’s very interesting. I wonder= if the minister can give those kinds of assurances to any of the private sector people out there who have things going through YESAA. It sounds to me a lit= tle bit predetermined. In any case, if the minister happens to be wrong and if things don’t go as he seems to have predetermined that they will, wou= ld contractors be compensated if the tender is not awarded?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for his question, right off the hop. What he is talking about here is hypothetical. Really and truly, the department staff have an awful lot of experience with putting through YESAA projects, including last year with the Pioneer RV Par= k, which the members opposite navigated. If, in fact, YESAA did come forward w= ith some sort of issue after the fact, we would have to address that through a change order, but there is no indication or suggestion that such would be t= he case with this project, which is a fairly low-risk project.

We have been in touch wit= h YESAB throughout the process and will be going forward. We are fairly confident t= hat this project is not going to cause us any concerns.

Mr. Hassard: So has Highways and Public Works receiv= ed any recommendation from YESAB at this point or just ongoing regular talking= as the process goes through?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: The period of public consultation closed last week for this project. There were no surprises or substantial concerns that can’t be mitigated or answered, so again we have every confidence that this project is able to proceed relatively smoothly.

Mr. Hassard: The minister compared this project to t= hat of the project last year at the Pioneer RV Park, so I’m curious. The minister has talked about the previous government’s contracting being “fast and loose” — so I’m curious: was the Pioneer = RV Park job not one that was “fast and loose”? Was that a well-pla= nned out one?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: It’s my understanding that it= was a late tender, but I don’t know if that would fall into the category = of “fast and loose.” If the member opposite would like, I could st= art talking about “fast and loose” — I was trying to keep it cordial and on point this afternoon. I will endeavour to do that.

Mr. Hassard: On F.H. Collins, the demolition was awa= rded to the KDFN as part of a YACA agreement. We have seen the scope and the cos= ts increase fairly significantly on that project, so I’m curious, will t= he difference be applied against future YACA projects with KDFN?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for the question. I’m not going to make policy on the fly here on the floor of this budget discussion. To the best of my knowledge, that has never been do= ne in the past. It’s really a question for Aboriginal Relations. That’s outside this department’s purview.

Mr. Hassard: Okay, we’ll move on then. Can the minister tell me: Is Highways and Public Works still the lead department on= the Yukon Resource Gateway project?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I can tell the member opposite that, yes, Highways and Public Works is the lead on the gateway project. We are working very closely, however, with Energy, Mines and Resources and the Executive Council Office Aboriginal Relations on this project.

Mr. Hassard: Would BMC and their Kudz Ze Kayah proje= ct near Ross River — as they are working their way through the EA proces= s, their intent is to truck ore to Stewart. Would the government continue the upgrades for the Campbell Highway between Ross River and Watson Lake? I know there is money in the budget this year — the minister has talked abou= t it — but will that be something they will continue throughout the mandat= e or is this the end of that project?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: This is a matter that is going to require some investigation on the part of this new government. I know the members opposite have spent tens of millions of dollars on the stretch from Watson Lake up the highway, I think, to kilometre 114. I mentioned it today. But we really need to see evidence of the need to upgrade the road further — that whole stretch. I’m sure the members opposite wer= e up at the gold show in Dawson City. They heard, I’m sure, from constitue= nts of the Klondike about the state of the Klondike Highway in certain stretche= s. We have a lot of mining activity happening in the north Yukon up in the Klondike Valley. There are concerns about the weight restrictions on those roads. We have Shakwak, which, as I said earlier today, is no longer funded= . We have no more money coming from Washington to upgrade the north Alaska Highw= ay to the border. That is going to require some new funding on our part to try= to manage that road and keep it serviceable.

The needs of our highways= are great and broad, and we are going to have to make some hard choices about w= hat roads need attention. The crew at Highways and Public Works has tools at th= eir disposal to measure the state of the roadbeds and what condition they are i= n. We have tools — traffic counts and that type of thing — that will = help inform our decisions and see which roads we keep open and which roads we pu= t on a maintenance schedule, which ones we improve to a higher standard to accommodate new mining trucks and that type of thing. This is a very fluid field. There are mines saying that they are going to open all the time. We = have to make decisions based on real information and we will do that.

Mr. Hassard: I mean, BMC Minerals is in the YESAA process — so to me that is pretty real. We have the functional plan d= one for that section of road, so I don’t think that you can say that we n= eed to study it too much more. Has the government been in contact or had any discussions with BMC Minerals in regard to what they feel they would need t= he government to do in terms of upgrades to the Campbell Highway to haul their= ore to Stewart?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for the question. During Roundup, I know that my colleague, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources and others — the Hon. Premier — met with BMC Minerals. We had fulsome talks about a number of different things. Highways= have not come up. Department officials have confirmed that BMC has not spoken to= us at all about highways. They have spoken to us about the Finlayson airstrip = and access to that but, as of yet, they have not approached us with any discuss= ions about highways.

Mr. Hassard: In regard to the Finlayson airstrip, are there any upgrades planned for it?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: That is a good question. I am sure = the member opposite has read and probably rereads my mandate letter on a regular basis. The Premier’s mandate letter to me stated that airports and our civil aviation infrastructure is very important to the territory’s economic foundations, and we are paying attention to that.

The Finlayson airstrip is= a fairly big airstrip. The company, in its talks with us, has asked how it can help upgrade that runway, and so we are working with them to see how we can actually work with the company to improve that airstrip and then come to so= me sort of long-term plan. As the members opposite know, it is important that = we actually talk about maintaining the infrastructure we build as well as buil= ding it. We’re working with the company, both in trying to find ways to upgrade and improve that airstrip in partnership with the company as well as finding a long-term method of maintaining that infrastructure in the future= .

Mr. Hassard: I’m curious. Has the minister loo= ked at or read the Canada Transportatio= n Act review that was conducted by David Emerson? How does he feel it is relevant= to the Yukon?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I think the member opposite’s question, if I may restate it, is: Have I read the Emerson report? Yes, Mr.=  Deputy Chair, I have read a lot in this role in the last few months. I have read a= lot on the transportation file. Sadly, Mr. Emerson’s report is not something I have read yet.

That said, I am very happ= y to report that the department has studied the Emerson report in my stead. They have analyzed it in detail and they tell me that it is a very good report. = It is very good for the north. It highlights northern concerns. We are now wor= king with Transport Canada to move forward with the next steps of implementing t= he report. While I have not yet had the pleasure of reading that particular re= port — and now that I know of its existence, I will probably delve into it= in the near future. I’ll just add it to my summer reading list and I tha= nk the member opposite for bringing that to my attention. The department, fortunately, is well aware of this report and we are moving forward.

Mr. Hassard: I’m sure you will find it a very = good read, so I look forward to hearing what you have to say about it in the fal= l.

In regard to highway sign= age around Mount Sima, I’m curious if the government would commit to putt= ing up signage at the entrance of the Mount Sima subdivision, similar to the si= gns at McCrae, Kulan and MacDonald Road?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: Highway signage — we’ve come a long way in this territory from the days of the YLF and the miasma of signs that covered the highway from the kilometre outside of Carcross all t= he way to Whitehorse. You might remember those. Everybody had a sign. They all erected them on that highway stretch. It was a divisive issue in this terri= tory as I arrived here in 1989 and to this day — that’s 30 years = 212; we’re still dealing with highway signs.

As we know, highway signa= ge — we’re trying to make sure that our highways are clean and neat and that the tourists coming up to the territory by our roads can get the information they need in an easy fashion. We’re trying to make sure t= hat people driving our highways can find the businesses that are along our highways. I have dealt with the member opposite for Copperbelt North. He se= nt me a letter. I have also spoken to some of the business people in the Sima area. They too have raised this issue with me. Winterlong Brewing is a phenomenal operation and it’s drawing a lot of people to that neck of= the woods.

We have been working with= the chambers of commerce and with businesses in this area to improve the highway signage in that area. I have every hope we will be able to come up with a solution that meets the needs of our highway safety requirements and actual= ly helps improve the fledgling business interests of the people who live out in that area.

Mr. Hassard: I think that what we’re really looking for is just some kind of consistency in terms of the other industri= al parks on the highway. You mentioned McCrae, Kulan and MacDonald Road.

Will the government be pa= ving the multi-use trail that’s along the side of the highway by the Pioneer RV Park?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: As far as the trail is concerned, i= t is a long-term goal. The trail is proving quite popular from anecdotal accounts that I have received from constituents out there from representatives. They like it. They like the physical activity. It is another piece of infrastruc= ture that brings smiles to their faces and helps promote an active lifestyle. That’s the goal — to have a robust trail system along that high= way corridor. We are working with our partners in the City of Whitehorse and ot= hers to make sure that these trails are built in a fashion that is consistent wi= th a community plan and to work together. It is important that we work with our partners in an integrated fashion so that these things meet the needs of everybody and that’s what we are doing.

 

Deputy Chair: Do members wish to take a brief recess?

All Hon. Members: Agreed.

Deputy Chair: We will recess for 15 minutes.

 

Recess

 

Deputy Chair: Order, please. Committee of the Whole will = now come to order. The matter before the Committee is general debate on Vote 55, Department of Highways and Public Works, in Bill No. 201, entitled First Appropriation Act, 2017‑18= .

 

Mr. Hassard: I have more of a comment than a questio= n, but in terms of the multi-use trail, I think that paving it would be very beneficial also because it would get the bicycles off the highway. I think = that would definitely be an advantage too.

I have one question regar= ding the passing lane at the Pioneer RV Park. I tried to find out from the previous government, so I am going to ask the minister. Do you know why or what the reasoning was for stopping the passing lane about 100 yards before it turns into the next turning lane at the Miles Canyon road? Was there a reason for= not just continuing on through that last 100 yards?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for the comment about paving the trail to get the bikes off the highway. Bike safet= y is something that I also hold near and dear.

The member opposite has s= tumped us. I do not know why the last 100 yards were not paved, but we will endeav= our to get the member opposite an answer.

Mr. Hassard: There have been a number of requests fr= om constituents for turning lanes and slip lanes on the Alaska Highway at Takh= ini and Mendenhall subdivisions, Alaska Highway by the Porter Creek Super A, the north Klondike Highway at Boreal Road, north Klondike Highway at the new Grizzly Valley and the north Klondike Highway at Two Mile Road. I am just curious. Is the department looking at any of these turning lanes or intersections? Do we see them in the future?

        Hon. Mr. Mostyn: To the member opposite’s question: The intersections within Whitehorse on the Alaska Highway requires a lot more consultation and work with the city R= 12; a lot more collaborative care. We have upgraded the plan for the Alaska Hig= hway from south Klondike right through to the north Klondike to assess all of the intersections in that section of highway for their safety. When assessing t= he safety concerns against a standard, we have now a ranking of the worst intersections in that stretch and are doing triage to address the worst offenders — the most dangerous intersections in that stretch of road.= We also want to make sure that we have consistent speed limits across that hig= hway stretch as well.

I have spoken at length w= ith you, Mr. Deputy Chair, about the canyon intersection. There are others that come up all of the time that need addressing. We have a list that lays out = the safety concerns. The one at the south Klondike where it is quite high on the safety scale — there was a fatality there. There have been several accidents so it needed to be addressed, and we have done that. There are ot= hers inside the Whitehorse city limits that also require attention and we will be addressing them according to their safety rating to make sure that we get t= he worst intersections fixed as soon as we can and in a methodical manner.

The other intersections, = of course — there will be people who have concerns about the other intersections. We will assess them as those concerns are brought to us and = have another look to make sure that those are also looked at. We are using the Transportation Association of Canada’s standard for the assessments, = so that’s the standard we’re using. It’s a national standard, and, over the coming years, because these are not easy projects to get thro= ugh YESAB, we will make sure that we do the planning, execution and engineering necessary to make sure that these are addressed.

Mr. Hassard: So only one of those that I listed was = in that Whitehorse corridor, so I’m curious if the minister can commit to get back to the house regarding those other ones — and I’ll men= tion them again just so he doesn’t have to write too furiously — Tak= hini and Mendenhall, Boreal Road on the north Klondike, new Grizzly Valley on the north Klondike, and Two Mile Road on the north Klondike as well.

On the north Klondike Tak= hini River bridge, there were plans this year for a walkway to be added to the Takhini River bridge for pedestrians, cyclists, et cetera. I’m curiou= s if the minister is moving forward with this? I haven’t seen or heard anything about it in the budget, so I’m just curious. Obviously it’s very important for people in that neighbourhood for the safety of cyclists and equestrians as well. There are many horse riders out there who would like to have the option of having that walkway along the bridge, so if the minister could update us on that too please?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I have spoken to the Member for Lake Laberge on this issue. He raised it at an event we were at recently —= it might have been the Northwestel phone book launch or something. Anyway, I h= ad a good chat with the Member for Lake Laberge on this subject. It is in his constituents’ riding and he brought it to my attention.

It seems so simple. These= things all seem so simple. We’ll put a sidewalk on the bridge and we’ll fix it. Unfortunately, in execution these things are never quite so simple. This is on our radar. We are looking at an options study to figure out exac= tly how we can proceed with this — what the costs are, whether we widen i= t, or whether we realign it. We’re going to have to look at a number of different things before any decision is made. Of course as members of this House know, everything we do comes at a cost. We’ll have to do an assessment of the cost-benefit analysis, as well as an options study to find out how to move forward on this thing, but it is an issue in the community.= It is something that I have heard about. The department is working on an optio= ns study to figure out how exactly we can best execute it — how it might= be done.

Mr. Hassard: On brush and weed control, I believe the minister used the number $300,000 this year for brush and weed control. I am just curious if that is correct and how that is in relation to what the bru= sh and weed control budget has been for the past couple of years.

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: The member has asked me about brush= and weed control on the highways. The budget for this year is $300,000. That is down from previous years — it’s less money. We have had to reprioritize. We have a lot of bridge work this year and we have pulled some money from the department to do some of these capital projects. As part of = the budgeting process this side of the House did, we looked very long and hard trying to keep our budgets as lean as possible. Of course when you do that, some things get reduced. In this case, it’s brush and weed control. We did pull that back a little bit.

I know the members opposi= te have raised several times the concerns they have about our ongoing deficit, so we are actually working to keep those numbers down. One of the sacrifices we h= ad to make this year was on brush and weed control, which is still getting don= e. There is still a substantial amount in the budget, but it is down probably about $500,000 from what it was last year.

If there are savings on s= ome of our capital projects, we may be able to make amends and actually increase a= nd do some of that work that’s necessary but, at this moment, that’= ;s where we’re at.

Mr. Hassard: I think it might be the same for the ru= ral road upgrades. I believe the minister said $500,000, and I think last year = it was $1 million. I’m just wondering if he could also confirm that please.

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: So many road programs, so little ti= me. The member opposite was asking about the rural road program. That actually = is stable. It hasn’t changed; it is still at $200,000. The resource acce= ss road program is the one that has changed. It was at $500,000 and was bumped= up to $1 million last year, just prior to the last territorial election. = We have returned it to its historic level of $500,000 and have listened to the Klondike Placer Miners’ Association. They were doing a lot of the wor= k, and we have committed to dedicating about $300,000 of that $500,000 to the Klondike Placer Miners’ Association so placer miners can upgrade the roads, as they have done in the past.

I’m pleased to say = they were quite happy with that commitment we made on the resource access road m= oney over the next three years for them to do the work, but that fund has dropped down to its historic level of $500,000 per year.

Mr. Hassard: I apologize for the error but thanks for the clarification.

I’m curious —= was there not enough uptake on the resource access road to use the whole $1&nbs= p;million, or was it just decided by the government, in cost-savings, to reduce that f= rom $1 million back to $500,000? I’m also curious — if $300,00= 0 of it is allocated strictly to the Klondike gold roads, does the minister feel that $200,000 is an appropriate number to look after the rest of the resour= ce access roads throughout Yukon?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: In previous years, the fund often wasn’t fully subscribed. Last year, we actually had lots of applicati= ons for the $1 million and it was fully accessed. This year, with the burgeoning economy, we’re seeing it oversubscribed, but it is at hist= oric levels and, in truth, when we sat down in this budgeting cycle to actually = crunch the numbers and try to rein in the budget, this was one of the ways that we decided to do it. The compromise we made was to reduce it to its historic levels but actually reach out to the Klondike Placer Miners’ Associat= ion.

Again, as with the brushi= ng, if we see cost-savings in some of our other capital projects, we may be able to come up with some extra funding for those projects that have applied for th= is funding — these worthy projects that have applied for this funding th= at won’t make the cut this year. At the moment, that’s where we’re at.

Mr. Hassard: Of course it is certainly not just the placer miners in the Klondike who access this money, and by essentially only allowing $200,000 for the rest of the Yukon, it just seems like they are be= ing penalized to a certain degree.

Just a thought or a comme= nt — would the government consider — I don’t want to say this with any slight to the bridge-building contractors in the Yukon, but there aren’t a lot of bridge-building contractors in Yukon. We see a lot of these larger bridges go to Outside companies.

Would the government cons= ider doing one less bridge and doing more brush and weed control or resource acc= ess road funding? I would bet good money that just about every dollar of it sta= ys in the Yukon, whereas the bridge-building industry — maybe not so muc= h. I am curious if the government would reconsider that at all.

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: The member opposite has hit upon so= me of the pressures that this government is feeling. We have departmental officials who are assessing on an ongoing, fluid basis the work that needs = to be done. In this budget, we have hit upon several bridge contracts that nee= d to be done. We are actually proceeding with that important work to get some of these bridges repaired and up to standards. We have 133 bridges and 248 culverts throughout the Yukon. When the bridges or the culverts aren’t maintained — we see it down at Nares — you start to have weight restrictions on them and we are impeding the flow of goods and services into the territory. It is not an ideal situation.

The member opposite has r= aised procurement and getting jobs out the door and doing these things. These bri= dge works are large capital projects, and I am not going to pull the rug out fr= om underneath any of these capital projects that have gone through a fairly rigorous budgeting process this winter with my colleagues to come to the decisions that we have made.

That said, I totally unde= rstand and hear what he is saying about keeping money in the territory and making = sure that local companies — local people — have an opportunity to bi= d on and do the work. This government has been nothing but clear on our stated objective to make sure that we keep that money — that government money — in the territory working for the people of the territory. We on this side of the House take that very seriously. We have had these discussions in the House — the member opposite and I. Modernizing that whole procure= ment piece is part of my mandate — making sure that the money stays in the territory and locals have an opportunity to do that work. That money then multiplies. The multiplier where that money stays in the territory is enorm= ous. We are very serious about trying to make that happen.

I understand the member&#= 8217;s point very well. I thank him for the question and assure him that this government takes local employment and this local work very seriously.

Mr. Hassard: One of the other things we have seen in= the past — and I’m not going to say it’s happening this year. Sometimes with the limited number of bridge contractors in the Yukon, if we= get too many bridges out in one year, the local capacity isn’t there to actually do all of those bridges, and that just encourages more Outside companies to come into the Yukon to get those jobs.

I’m curious —= I believe you mentioned $3.5 million for the Klondike River bridge. Is t= hat bridge in an imminent state of disrepair or would it not be fine for another year or two, according to the bridge engineers and the assessments they have done on the bridges throughout the Yukon?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for the question. The assessments that we have done on the Klondike River bridge the member opposite was talking about are pressing. They need to be done. They = are not something we can push down the road another mile. That work needs to be done so we’re not putting weight restrictions on the Dempster Highway. We’re making sure that we have those things. To avoid those weight restrictions that I was talking about earlier, the work has to be done.

Mr. Hassard: I was just curious if there was some way that things could have been reconfigured, but I appreciate that.

Some municipalities ̵= 2; Haines Junction and Teslin, in particular — have a contribution agree= ment with HPW in terms of brush and weed through the municipality. I know there = are some unincorporated communities, such as Destruction Bay, Burwash and Beaver Creek, that also have indicated interest in this type of thing.

Can the minister update m= e on what communities — I believe Watson Lake as well — will continu= e to get funding for beautification and brush and weed control within the municipality boundaries?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for the question. We are actually working with communities on their beautification efforts.

We are more than willing = to work with other communities if they come forward and want to assume some of the work. We will engage in those conversations. I’m sure my colleague at Community Services will help facilitate that conversation.

It gets trickier in the unincorporated communities, as I’m sure the member opposite is well a= ware — who do you deal with in those communities? But we talked about innovative solutions to vexing problems that we face. If members of the community have solutions that work to help further the goal of some of these community improvement projects — beautification, weed control and brushing — we are more than happy to hear them out and try to come up with a way to work with that unincorporated community.

Mr. Hassard: Does Highways and Public Works work with Yukon Energy or ATCO Electric when they are planning out their brush and we= ed control so that maybe they could work together and utilize monies from ATCO Electric as well as Yukon Energy to maybe get more bang for their buck when= it comes to brush mowing?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I have been informed that, yes, we = have explored opportunities with the utilities to improve our brush clearing and= get better bang for our buck. It makes sense from our perspective, and we have endeavoured to work closer together and to try to work as one government. We’re one government, but Crown corporations are another beast in and= of themselves. It adds another layer of complexity, of course, but we are more than willing to do that. I have been told that, in the past, synchronizing = our schedules has been a trial but, from a philosophical point of view, we see = it as a good idea and we would certainly explore it.

I thank the member opposi= te for bringing it to my attention.

Mr. Hassard: Kind of along those same lines, Yukon Energy currently does not use the tender management system that is used by Highways and Public Works. Would the minister commit to working with the Mi= nister responsible for YDC/YEC on moving forward with getting Yukon Energy tenders listed on the tender management system?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: The Highways and Public Works and Public Works’ tender management system is something that I have spent some time mulling over. This is a piece of infrastructure we have within government that, on the surface, seems tremendous — one tender manage= ment system to rule them all. The issue, of course, with procurement across the government is consistency and how you get departments to use the tools that= are available to them. You have mentioned Yukon Energy as not using this tool — that’s true. There are other departments not using it to the = full potential. It comes down to ease of use, even thoughtfulness — how do= you get process, how do you get them in there, how do you get them using it? It’s something that I have thought quite a bit about in the last few months. As part of the modernization of our procurement process, that tender management system is something that we have to improve the use of it and we have to increase the consistency of its use across this government so that = it actually becomes the tool it should be, which is an easy place for everybod= y to see what’s being tendered and how it’s being tendered — a= nd actually managing the tenders.

There is a subcommittee t= hat has been struck. The Yukon Energy’s deputy is part of that subcommittee. = The subcommittee is meeting to try to foster and pull these units together and start getting them to work as one government toward one goal on the procure= ment file.

I think it’s reassu= ring and it’s good that Yukon Energy is part of that process, and one of the things that I am pushing for is having that system used consistently across= all government departments and Crown corporations. I think this subcommittee and the renewed interest in that subcommittee and getting it going will help fo= ster that adoption of a tender management system.

Mr. Hassard: It’s encouraging to hear that bec= ause I think it has been too long that Yukon Energy has been left out of the picture. I realize that not everything from every department goes through t= he tender management system, but I think it’s utilized by most departmen= ts — but absolutely not at all by Yukon Energy, so it would be nice to s= ee them beginning to use it and hopefully carry on and have all of their proje= cts on the tender management system.

We’ve heard from ma= ny local residents and highway crews at local grader stations that they feel that the department makes decisions on the maintenance in their sections without involving them as much as they would like. Will the minister commit to havi= ng the planning people work more closely with the local foremen or the local c= rews when looking at doing work in their particular areas?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: This is a big, big department. It’s a big territory, and over the last several months, as I mentione= d in my opening remarks, I have had some opportunity to get to the rural communi= ties — not all of them and not enough of them, but I do plan to get out mo= re and to talk to the people who are living and working in rural Yukon.

The reason I’m doin= g that — it’s nice to get out in the territory and meet, but it’s also nice to touch base with people on the ground in these grader stations — the workers and the foremen who know the regions around which they’ve been working, and some of them for a long time.

When I was out in Haines Junction, some of the corporate knowledge in that area is enormous and I’m sure that it is the same throughout the territory. Talking with t= hose people and hearing their stories and hearing their trials and tribulations = or successes informs me as a minister of this government about how things work= .

It’s the same for t= he department itself. Listening to that local knowledge is important for the success of this department, for this government and for our communities. All communities matter — we have said it, but it’s true. That knowl= edge is essential to feed in to help make successes happen. It’s part of t= he innovation that we spoke of earlier. It’s people — line staff in these departments who are doing the innovative things and coming forward wi= th some of these ideas that are changing the way we manage our highways, our r= oads and our infrastructure across the territory.

This is a longer answer, I suppose, but I wanted you to understand where we’re coming from as a government and where I come from as a minister about these things. That information — I spent my working career listening to the stories of people, listening to what they do and trying to work that into a narrative = that helps things run smoother.

The department has opened= up that communication. It has been happening for awhile now with the engineering br= anch and Transportation Maintenance working together and trying to get that info= rmation up. It’s a large department. There are a lot of silos. There are a lo= t of people who perhaps haven’t started to embrace this new way of doing things. There’s probably a lot of legacy, a lot of history, a lot of = old employees, all of whom know the — change takes time, I guess is what I’m trying to say. The department is willing to, understands and acknowledges the value in that information that is held by our legacy emplo= yees throughout the territory — legacy, not old. Old isn’t a good wo= rd. I fall into that category myself.

I am sure that the instin= ct that I have is also something the department is embracing in trying to bring that information into the engineering — cross-pollinating and trying to br= eak down some of those barriers so we can do some of those innovative things and think differently about the vexing problems that face us all and make things better.

Mr. Hassard: The previous government had plans in pl= ace to have a generic design done for grader stations that needed replacement throughout the Yukon. I think there are definitely a few of them that are pretty much timed-out, let’s say. I’m curious if this new government has any plans on following through with that commitment.

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I have good news for the member opposite — my colleague. There is a no-name, generic, President’= ;s Choice design for grader stations that has been created. It does exist. Tha= t is the good news. The bad news is that in this budget there is no money for the implementation or building of said generic grader stations in the territory= . We are in the process, as we always are, of assessing needs and putting dollars where they have to go. Once we do have a grader station identified as a pro= ject that we are going to proceed with, we have a generic design we can use to b= uild said building.

Mr. Hassard: Would the government consider lease opt= ions when looking at grader stations that are at end-of-life rather than building new? Would there be any consideration given to leasing in any of the communities that might have someone who was willing to build and lease to Highways and Public Works?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: That is a good question. I am new to this game, but I do know that in this government we have been discussing the merits of whether we build capital projects or whether we lease capital projects. I don’t think we have come to a decision yet, and I am not about to announce one on the floor of this House at 5:00 p.m. on Monday afternoon. But I thank the member opposite for the thought. I am sure that = when we are developing our budgets, if there is a good case to be made for a cer= tain approach to financing, we would be more than happy to consider it and its effects on our long-term finances.

Mr. Hassard: In terms of the Shakwak funding, the minister spoke about the Shakwak funding coming to an end in his opening remarks. I am curious if the minister would commit to an all-party briefing= on the government’s position to Shakwak prior to the Premier’s tri= p to Ottawa?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I will consult with my colleagues a= bout whether or not such a briefing prior to the Premier’s trip to Washing= ton commences. Time, of course, is of the essence and I think all parties in th= is House have endorsed our stance as far as Shakwak goes. I know the Member for Kluane has been vocal in his support for the project. I know that the membe= rs opposite — like us — have advocated for restoration of the fund= ing that has now run out.

I know that the Member of Parliament for Yukon has been very active on this file, promoting the Yukon’s interests in Washington on this and also on the Arctic Nation= al Wildlife Refuge. I will explore whether or not an all-party briefing is something we can execute before the Premier’s trip to Washington.

Mr. Hassard: I appreciate that. If I can jump back, I have a couple more questions regarding the grader stations that I overlooke= d.

Carmacks — I know t= he grader station in Carmacks is definitely one of the ones that would be considered at end of life. Carmacks, I know, has asked to have their grader station moved. It’s right in the middle of what could be a very beaut= iful part of town. I’m curious if there are any plans for the government, = in their five-year-plan, in terms of moving the grader station in Carmacks?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I know that the previous government= had raised this issue. They were active on this file on the grader station. It = is not an issue that I know about, admittedly, at this stage. This is not one = of the issues that have crossed my desk in recent months, but it is now on my radar and I will do my utmost to bring myself up to speed on this issue of = the grader station in Carmacks.

Thank you for bringing it= to my attention.

Mr. Hassard: Speaking of Carmacks, the Carmacks bypa= ss has been talked about over the past few years, and it was given an alternat= e route for industrial traffic off the Freegold and Mount Nansen roads to avoid the residential areas.

Does the current governme= nt have any plans — or would that fall in their five-year plan as well —= ; to move forward with the Carmacks bypass road?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: The bypass was included as part of = the Gateway submission. It was part of that, and this government is preparing to proceed with an environmental assessment for the bypass. That process is expected to be submitted in mid to late summer for the bypass.

Mr. Hassard: I have about four more hours of questio= ns, but I’m confident that we’re going to go back into Highways and Public Works, so I will just ask one final question so that the Member for Whitehorse Centre has an opportunity to get into some of her stuff too.

Stations of choice — I’m curious. I know that, in the community of Teslin, there are two g= as stations and they have always in the past worked with Highways and Public Works, and they offered a discount and did six months each, which was decid= ed on by the station owners and it worked very well. I can attest to that.

I know that this year, th= e gas station owners were told that, no, it didn’t line up with AIT, et cet= era, and it has to be done in an open and fair process. There are problems with = it, and I have discussed it with gas station owners over the years when I was, = in fact, a gas station owner. The problem is that it is based on a price-per-l= itre discount. If Mr. Deputy Chair owns a gas station and offers a 10-cent-= a-litre discount, whereas gas station owner B only offers five cents, the government may in fact be paying more for their fuel but, according to their rules, th= ey have to go with Mr. Deputy Chair because his discount is larger.

When I was in the busines= s, I argued at great length, and so we had an agreement for Teslin where it work= ed that everyone was on an equal playing field. I’m curious if the minis= ter could shed some light on his thoughts or, if he doesn’t have any thou= ghts — which I understand because this is probably not one of the things t= hat has come rushing across his desk — but if he could commit to looking = at options for smaller communities where there are two or three gas stations — maybe they could do something collectively among themselves. ItR= 17;s just an option that I’m putting out there for the minister, and I look forward to continuing debate at a future date and again I thank the officia= ls for being here today and enjoying our company.

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: Again, there have been a number of issues — things that I never would have thought a year ago that I wou= ld be learning about. This is another one. At this point, I don’t have a good answer but I will look into and I will try to get an answer for the me= mber opposite. I thank him for bringing it to my attention, but I don’t ha= ve a good answer for him on that but I will look into it and strive to get an acceptable answer your way.

Ms. Hanson: I would just like to go back. The minist= er made reference a couple times to his mandate letter. One of those — a= nd it sort of touches on what the Member for Pelly-Nisutlin just raised a mome= nt ago. I quote: “As Minister of Highways and Public Works, your overarc= hing priority is to make the most of government investments to support economic activity and… better access to government services across the territory… not just in supporting others’ efforts, but also in&= #8230; how it does business.”

One of the questions I ha= ve with respect to the whole issue of tendering and contracts is that, when we look= at the Yukon public contract registry and just do a quick search, we see that,= as of today on a Highways and Public Works contract registry search, there are about 412 contracts listed worth about $10.7 million. More than half of these are direct awards. My question is: What percentage on average annuall= y of Highways and Public Works contracts are invitational tenders? How many of t= hem are direct awards? How many are public tendered, and what’s the ratio= nale for that if we’re looking at having fair, transparent and accountable management of contracts and procurement that is going to help the local communities?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for the question. It’s nice to talk with her this afternoon on the Highways a= nd Public Works budget.

She has asked about perce= ntages. I thank her for the research of 412 tenders at $10.7 million. I will answer her question this way: Since December 1, 2016, Highways and Public W= orks has put out 120 tenders. There are currently 46 public tenders out and five more waiting, so that’s 51. Yukon Housing Corporation isn’t included in these numbers. Apparently they have another five themselves. The total contract value for all Yukon government since December 1, including c= hange orders and Yukon Housing Corporation contracts, is $93 million. That’s a big number. The total contract value for Highways and Public Works since December 1 is $31 million.

We can talk percentages a= nd numbers and these things here, but the stated goal — as the member opposite has stated — from my mandate letter, is to make sure that we have a fair and open process and that contracts are procured in an efficient way. I have had many, many conversations with business people since taking = on this role. I have heard their complaints about procurement; I have heard th= eir complaints about many different issues on how we actually buy goods and services within the government. We do have thresholds for purchasing — sole-source thresholds and procurement thresholds. If we’re buying Kleenex for the department, we may not go to tender for that if it’s = 15 boxes for a single office. We may send somebody out to do it.

I will assure the member = that the goal of this government is to have an open and transparent procurement proc= ess so that people have fair access to bid on the work, goods and services that we’re putting out.

Ms. Hanson: We are actually talking about numbers and percentages because this is a budget debate. When I asked the question abou= t if more than half of the contracts — I was just referring to the contract search for Highways and Public Works, because that is the budget area we’re debating today. I was curious as to why more than half of them = were direct awards, as opposed to — I understand they have put out 126 pub= lic tenders since December and that’s great. The question is — if we’re looking at the various ways that government will spend its money and the various ways that it can provide access to that public source of fu= nds for territorial expenditures, I was curious as to why more than half of the= m to date are direct awards.

The other area that is of particular interest in terms of following up, because there is a carry over= and a continuity of legislative requirements — the minister made brief re= ference to the mandate letter that speaks to his requirement to increase the amount= of information available to Yukoners by preparing amendments to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. I have a couple of questions. Last year, we were told that there was $120,000 spent on this. The Yukon Ombudsman and Information and Privacy Commissioner submitted a brief to government in October 2015 where = she outlined her comments with respect to the ATIPP act, which were quite comprehensive.

There are 35 recommendati= ons made by the Yukon Ombudsman and Information and Privacy Commissioner. Those of us who were around — and certainly the general public and, I would imagi= ne, the minister and the current Minister of Justice — will recall that t= here were some serious concerns with the amendments that were made to the way ac= cess to information legislation was crafted. If I recall correctly, the Ombudsma= n of the day said that it made us the most secretive jurisdiction in the world in terms of government. I am sure that is not the objective of this government= to maintain that.

Can the minister outline = what the process will be? What is his target date for completion of that legislative review?

Are the 35 recommendation= s that were made in October-December of — actually, she did identify in April 2014 some serious concerns about the issue of public interest override, but then in her 2015 review, the details that she set out are broad in scope and take into consideration the changes that were made to the health privacy information act and other digital issues. The amount of money that’s going to be committed, the timeline for introducing these amendments and whether or not — has the minister reviewed the 2015 recommendations, = and does he find himself in agreement with the recommendations made therein?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: This Yukon government is committed = to amending the ATIPP act. I have used this act myself, professionally, and I = have spoken with my able colleague, the Minister of Justice, about access to information and also protection of privacy. I also share the frustration of many in the community with the shortcomings of the existing legislation.

We are currently in the p= rocess of amending the legislation. We’re working with the Department of Jus= tice to come up with recommendations that we can then take forward to the public= for comment. Currently those recommendations are a twinkle in a mind’s ey= e. They are being developed in concert with the officials in Justice, but ther= e is lots of input into what the final recommendations we do take public will lo= ok like.

We welcome the feedback o= f the Information and Privacy Commissioner and appreciate her input into the proc= ess. We agree that access to government information and protection of personal privacies are the cornerstone of a functioning democracy — if there is something that you don’t — I’m well aware of, myself, personally.

We fully expect the Infor= mation and Privacy Commissioner will assist us in preparing the ATIPP act to be compatible with existing technology and our future needs — as a government and as a society. I am one who believes in open data. We are pus= hing the open data repository as well so that citizens have access to the information that they help collect.

I said in my opening rema= rks that the current infrastructure for this government is based on — the tech infrastructure — is sorely lacking. We have made very few investments= in that information technology as a government — far less per capita than other government agencies, and you can see it in the way we — when I = was working in the civil service, it was constantly frustrating trying to get seemingly simple information from our servers that would be usable.

Since taking office, we h= ave started to try to make more information available to the media and to the public. Just today, I was meeting with reporters up in my office about a re= port — a structural engineering report on the Ross River School that I recently released without an ATIPP request. We are doing our best to get information into the hands of the reporters and the public as easily as possible, as quickly as possible, and we are making strides to be more open= and accountable and to provide the information that we are requested.

When are we going to have= this information? When are the ATIPP act recommendations? We’re working on that now as one government. We’re working on this project together wi= th Justice, and I expect that sometime in the near future, I’m hoping — it’s hypothetical; we don’t have it pinned down —= but I would expect that, if we’re lucky, we will have something before the public sometime this winter or spring. We’re looking at trying to get amendments to this act before this Legislative Assembly sometime in the fal= l of 2018, I believe, is our timeline.

Ms. Hanson: That will probably put us three years af= ter, I think, it was due, but that’s fine if we’re going to get it d= one. I raised the interest of the public interest override, Mr. Deputy Chai= r, because it was subject to a lot of debate in this Legislative Assembly duri= ng the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s attempts to get information. The Yukon Information and Privacy Commissioner had written to the former Minist= er of Highways and Public Works in April 2014, after listening to the debate in our Legislative Assembly around that.

She talked about these me= asures that are used elsewhere to facilitate a public interest override. They oper= ate — I’m quoting here — “to facilitate access to information where it is found to be in the public interest to disclose the information despite the application of a valid exemption to or prohibition = of disclosure.” At that time, there was resistance on the government sid= e to releasing information.

In addition to the import= ance of that public interest override, the Ombudsman and Information and Privacy Commissioner makes the recommendation authorizing the Commissioner in Execu= tive Council to make a regulation authorizing the waiving of fees to process a request for access to information if disclosure of the record is in the pub= lic interest. I would be curious if the minister would agree to that waiving of fees. I think we have seen, over the course of the last six or so years, documents hundreds of pages long that are redacted black and/or being asked= to spend hundreds of dollars to receive documents that are really public documents. I am curious about that.

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for the question. This is what I will say about fees — hundreds of dollars doesn’t seem like a lot. I was charged thousands of dollars for docum= ents that I asked for from the Yukon government when I was editor of the paper. =

I don’t think that = we are receiving a lot. We can talk about fees, but the fees are there because peo= ple have to make the requests. I actually come at it from a different perspecti= ve. I would like most information to be available so the fees become moot. If y= ou can get the information, then you shouldn’t have to pay the fee. The = fees are only an issue if you are having trouble getting the information, so you= are having to pay fees to get it and the fees become a barrier — a way of hiding information. We have all seen that — some of us more often than not. My approach is to try to make the information that the public governme= nt collects on behalf of its citizens available to the citizens of the territo= ry who paid for that work.

In that model, the fees b= ecome less important, so I will agree with the member opposite in that spirit. As= far as public interest override — the privacy rules — privacy is exceedingly important to the people of the territory. Their private informa= tion should be private, but sometimes that can be taken to extremes that can be troubling to people.

For example, on Friday, I= asked for my test results that I provided to the hospital through the nurses and = they won’t give it to me because it compromises HIPMA. My own test results that the front-line staff at the hospital have access to and have been given freely to me for the last seven or eight years are no longer available to m= e, as the client, because of some issue.

This is how privacy rules= can sometimes impede health care and impede us in our daily lives. I think comm= on sense has to reign and we have to look at this. That is not to say that I a= m in any way advocating for some sort of compromising of personal information, b= ut I think as an institution — our institutions are in a brand new world w= ith a lot of new privacy rules, a lot of new pressures on us and we have to sta= rt — it’s new — and we have to start to adapt. We have to lo= ok at these things. What are we trying to achieve? What are we trying to prote= ct and how best do we do that?

I think we have to take t= hat lens and apply it to our privacy and access rules. That’s why this legisla= tive review and eventual amendments are in the works.

Ms. Hanson: In last year’s budget, a system re= view was scheduled for 2016 for the Pelly airstrip and I’m hearing from the minister today that there isn’t any significant amount of money going there. Our question is: When will this airport — or is it currently upgraded to allow medevac out of the Pelly airstrip?

In a meeting with the cou= ncil last spring, they referred to the pile of the gravel at the end as “M= ount Pasloski” — “Mount Paz”. It’s a serious issue= , Mr. Deputy Chair, because if somebody gets into really serious difficulty in Pelly Crossing, they have to get transported to Stewart Crossing, transferred to another ambulance and transferred to Mayo and then flown to Whitehorse. The issue is — and persists to be for the residents of Pelly Crossing = 212; can and when will that airport be upgraded to allow for medevacs safely out= of there?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I will be very quick because I am cognizant of the time. In Pelly, medevacs can land. It isn’t perfect = if there is a snow event or something. It may impede that, but Pelly is capabl= e of handling medevac flights at the current time. The mountain of gravel that t= he member opposite referred to is actually being used to resurface the runway. That work has now been done, and I guess that the mountain no longer — maybe it’s a nub or something — it is not a mountain any more.<= /p>

Deputy Chair: Order. The time being 5:30 p.m., the Deputy Chair shall now rise and report progress.

Motion agreed to

 

Speaker resumes the Chair

 

Speaker: I will now call the House to order.

May the House have a repo= rt from the Deputy Chair of Committee of the Whole?

Chair’= ;s report

Mr. Adel: Mr. Speaker, Committee of the Whole h= as considered Bill No. 201, entitled F= irst Appropriation Act, 2017‑1= 8, and directed me to report progress.

Speaker: Thank you. You have heard the report from the De= puty Chair of the Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?

Some Hon. Members: Agreed.

Speaker: I declare the report carried.

The time being 5:30 p.m.,= this House now stands adjourned until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.

 

The House adjourned at 5:32 p.m.

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