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Yukon Legislative Assembly=

Whitehorse, Yukon

Thursday, March 1,= 2018 — 1:00 p.m.

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Speaker: I w= ill now call the House to order.

We wil= l proceed at this time with prayers.

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Prayers

INTRODUCTION OF SERGEaNT-AT-ARMS AND= DEPUTY SeRGEaNT-AT-ARMS

Speaker: As members are aware, our Sergeant-at-Arms, Doris McLea= n, passed away in January of this year. As of today, Karina Watson, our former Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms, is now Sergeant-at-Arms.

Today = we have Harris Cox present, who is now our Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms. I would ask all members to welcome Mr. Cox to the House.

Applause

INTRODUCTION OF table officer=

Speaker: Als= o today, Sarah Edwards, the Assembly’s Acting Clerk of Committees, is at the t= able today for the first time. I would ask members to welcome Ms. Edwards to the House as well.

Applause

Introduction of Pages

Speaker: It = also gives me great pleasure to announce that the following students will be ser= ving the House as legislative pages for the 2018 Spring Sitting. They are Morgan Yuill, YoHanna= Falle, Ljubica Tokić, and Tessa Moore from F.H. Collins Secondary School; and Emily Robbins, Orin Gladwin, Arya Khodakarami and Gareth Morgan-Lester from Vanier Catholic Secondary School. Today, we have Tessa Moore, who is just beh= ind me here, and Ljubica Toki&= #263;, to my right.

I woul= d ask members to welcome them to the House at this time.

Applause

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Speaker: Finally, on a lighter note, I would like to wish everyo= ne — and specifically all Yukoners of Welsh descent, which includes me — a very happy St. David’s Day. Take a moment today to hug your favourite dragon and give your significant others a beautiful bunch of daffodils. Really, just go find a dragon and hug it.

Withdrawal of motions

Speaker: &n= bsp;     The Chair wishes to inform the House of changes made to the Or= der Paper. The following motions have been removed from the Order Paper as they= are now outdated: Motion No. 2 and Motion No. 12, standing in the nam= e of the Leader of the Third Party, and Motion No. 31, standing in the name= of the Member for Copperbelt North.

Furthe= r, the following motions have been removed from the Order Paper as they relate to = Bill No. 6, the Public Airports Act,= which has now passed this House. They are: Motion No. 151, standing in the n= ame of the Member for Copperbelt South; Motion No. 154, standing in the na= me of the Member for Lake Laberge; and Motion No. 175, standing in the na= me of the Leader of the Official Opposition.

As wel= l, Motion No. 180, standing in the name of the Member for Takhini-Kopper King, h= as been removed from the Order Paper as it relates to Bill No. 12, Act to Amend the Hospital Act (2017), which has now passed this House.

The fo= llowing motions have been removed from the Order Paper as the actions requested in = the motions have been taken in whole or in part: Motion No. 30 and Motion No. 198, standing in the name of the Member for Lake Laberge.

Finall= y, Motion No. 141, standing in the name of the Member for Lake Laberge, has been removed from the Order Paper at the request of that member.

Daily Routine

Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.

Tributes.

TrIBUTES

In recognition of the 45<= sup>th anniversary of Together Today for O= ur Children Tomorrow

Hon. Mr. Silver:=  I stand today to acknowledge the recent anniversary of = one of the most important documents in Yukon’s history. In 1973, a delegatio= n of Yukon chiefs travelled to Ottawa with a document in hand to present to Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. It was entitled Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow. It argued that Yukon First Nations were not being treated fairly or equitably and that their traditional way of life had been profoundly impacted by newcomers to Yukon.= It was a reminder to the federal government of the time that none of Yukon Fir= st Nations have ever signed a treaty.

The qu= estions that it posed to the Canadian leadership of the day were profound and, 45 years later, we are still being carried forward on the momentum that was set in motion on that winter day in 1973. In writing this docu= ment, the Yukon First Nations came together to express their distinct identity and vision.

Rememb= er, this was a time when there was no formal recognition of aboriginal rights; that = came almost 10 years later. The leaders demonstrated an incredible level of encouragement, engagement and trust, given that they had only recently been included in the federal system, when status Indians were given the right to vote 13 years earlier.

They a= lso showed courage in seeking the acknowledgement and recognition for the values and rights of First Nations. We can look back now with clear sight to see the p= ath from Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow to the Umbrella Final Agreement and the 11 final and self-governing agreements — four of which are celebrating 25-year anniversaries this year. That path was unchar= tered, but the first steps taken by those leaders were conducted with hope and with determination and remarkable foresight.

The do= cument says, “History is to be learned from, and not lived in.” In that spirit, I look to the future, Mr. Speaker, to the work that lies ahead= , to the closer relationships that we are striving to build and to the vision for Yukon’s future that we are crafting each and every day.

Yukone= rs are grateful to those elders who laid the foundation, and who laid the groundwo= rk with Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow. With each passing year and with each agreement and new cooperative effort, this is forging together with our government’s new cooperation. With this, the legacy of those elders becomes more visible and more powerful.

As lea= ders — and for all the leaders to come in the next generations, I hope tha= t we continue to be inspired by the dedication of those leaders who came before = us and that we are unceasing in our effort to work together for a better future for our youth and for all of our communities.

Thank = you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mahsicho.

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Ms. Van Bibber: I rise on behalf of the Yukon Party Official Opposition to pay tribute to the 45th anniversary of the delivery of a well-known Yukon document, Together Today for = Our Children Tomorrow.

Forty-= five years ago, on February 14, 1973, a brave group of Yukon Indians made their way to Ottawa to present this paper to the Prime Minister of the day, Pierre Ellio= tt Trudeau. The signature page reads: “A Statement of Grievances and an Approach to Settlement by the Yukon Indian People is respectfully submitted by”: Elijah Smith, Yukon Native Brotherhood; Percy Henry, Dawson Band; Roy Sam and Johnnie Smith, Whitehorse Band; Charlie Abel, Old Crow Band; Ji= mmy Enoch, Kluane Band; Danny Joe, Selkirk Band; Dan Johnson, Carcross Band; Di= xon Lutz, Liard River Band; Raymond Jackson, Champagne-Aishihik Band; Sam Johns= ton, Teslin Band; Peter Lucas, Mayo Band; Clifford McLeod, Ross River Band; Geor= ge Billy, Carmacks Band; and Willie Joe and Judy Gingell<= /span>, Yukon Native Brotherhood councillors.

Forty-= five years later, on February 14, 2018, many of these Yukon band leaders have left the= ir earthly home, and those who remain are now First Nation elders who share their memories and stories. The acceptance by the federal government to enter into negotiations with Yukon Indians was a mark= ed turning point for our small territory and for Canada.

I beli= eve it was because of a passionate presentation by Chief Elijah Smith, who showed that= it was a visionary piece. He spoke for the ancestors who witnessed the hardshi= ps that came with colonialism, and he spoke for the generations yet to come.

Expres= sing the frustrations that resided within our First Nation people, the paper spoke to the communication gap, the social gap, the economic gap between Indian and “Whiteman”, and how each of those gaps were widening. Together Today for Our Children Tomorr= ow was a way for Yukon First Nations to receive the right to plan their own futures rather than having them planned by the federal government.

During= these many years, much has transpired and much has been accomplished. Yukon is a frontrunner in Canadian land claims or modern treaties. We have much to be proud of as we move forward. A line in the document caught my eye: We must = have both the right to be different and the right to be accepted as fellow citiz= ens and as fellow humans.

For al= l levels of government, it is daunting at times, it is exhilarating at times, but, despite the challenges, it is rewarding as we are cutting edge in modern treaties. Let’s all continue to be part of the change as we celebrate each decade and each anniversary.

For th= eir immeasurable service to Yukon, a heartfelt thank= you to the original signatories and their vision. To the families and to those = who have contributed over the decades since the original document was signed, t= hank you. It would take hours to name everyone, but you know how you made a difference. Thank you. Mahsicho.

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Ms. Hanson: As Leader of the Yukon New Democratic Party, I am very happy to join honourable members today in paying tribute to the February 14, 45th anniver= sary of the presentation of the historic Together Today for our Children Tomorrow.

When t= his House paid tribute five years ago to the May 29, 1993, 20th anniversar= y of the signing of the Umbrella Final Agreement and the first four final and self-government agreements, I no= ted then the deeply rooted patience and persistence of Yukon First Nations and their leaders — a patience and a resilience stemming from first conta= ct through to the Klondike Gold Rush that brought thousands of gold seekers to= the Yukon, and then a Second World War and the Alaska Highway at a time when th= ere were no socio-economic benefits or impact assessments. History tells a grim tale of how Yukon Indian people were treated and ignored.

I have= a poster on the wall of my office called, “Sharing the land”. It depicts Chief Jim Boss from the Lake Laberge area, and it quotes from his 1902 lett= er, in which he said: “Tell the King very hard we want something for our Indians, because they take our land and our game”. Not only was that message ignored, the government of the day responded by saying that there i= s no Indian title to be extinguished in the Yukon. For many years afterwards, Fi= rst Nations, including Yukon First Nations, were forbidden by law to raise issu= es related to treaty or land claims. Despite this, in 1968, Elijah Smith, then= the Chief of the Whitehorse Indian Band, petitioned the then-Minister of Indian Affairs Jean Chrétien to enter into a treaty. This too was ignored. =

Howeve= r, as was to be repeated many times over the next 45 years, Ottawa did not realize the connections among northern First Nations. Frank Calder, the Nisga’a M= LA for the BC riding that includes Atlin, was a fr= equent visitor to the Yukon. As we all know, you can’t get to Atlin without going through Yukon, and so it should h= ave been no surprise that Elijah Smith would be quick to recognize the signific= ance of the opportunity presented by the Supreme Court of Canada’s Nisga’a decision, better known as the “Calder decision”, after Frank. Quick was Elijah Smith to gather First Nation leaders to get to Ottawa, hot on the heels of that Nisga’a decision.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, if we reflect back on the actual words in Together Today for our Children Tomorrow, we find in those plain-spoken words the true core of the spirit and intent of the hundreds of pages of legal docume= nts that, in the 45 years since that historic meeting in Ottawa, have become the basis for our shared future in Yukon. In setting out the blueprint for the future, they did not shy away from the truth. As the le= aders said: “The land has always been home to us and this is where we inten= d to stay. The “Whiteman” has always come to the Yukon for mo= ney and left without really ever having experienced her quiet brown people or t= he majestic reaches of her land. But the Indian people have always been there through all the major invasions caused by the fur trade, gold rush, highway construction and now, the people who want to build pipelines across our lan= d.

They w= ent on: “Many Indians look at what the Whiteman has done to destroy and pollu= te lakes and rivers and wonder what will happen to the birds, fish and game. We wonder how anyone will be able to know what effect… industrial projec= ts will have on the birds, fish and game before they are built… We wonder how the Whiteman can be so concerned about the future by putting money in t= he bank, and still he pays no attention to the future of the land if he can ma= ke a quick dollar from selling it to foreigners.”

Despit= e all this, the Ottawa delegation said to the Prime Minister: With a just settlem= ent of our claims, we feel we can participate as equals and then we will be abl= e to live together as neighbours.

So tod= ay, Mr. Speaker, we would do well to pay tribute to the visionary leaders who, 45 years ago,= set Yukon on a path built of patience and resilience — one that continues= to remind us all of our obligations to work together in good faith for our children tomorrow.

Introduction of Visitors

Hon. Mr. Silver: I would like to ask all of my colleagues here in the Legislati= ve Assembly to help me in welcoming to the gallery today a couple of visitors: Grand Chief Peter Johnston of the Council of Yukon First Nations; also= , we have His Worship Mayor Dan Curtis here, Councillor Roslyn Woodcock, and Dav= id Sloan, a former Member of the Legislative Assembly and former Cabinet minis= ter, Devin Bailey, president of the Yukon Liberal Association, and also, fr= om the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, we have Peter Turner.

Applause

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Ms. McLeod: I invite all members to help me to welcome Mr. John Devries to the Legislature today, a former member of this House and Speaker.

Applause

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Hon. Mr. Pillai: I would also like to ask my colleagues here in the Assembly to= day to welcome to the Assembly first of all Mr. Hector Campbell, who served w= ith the Yukon Chamber and also the chair of the energy committee, and also Mr.&= nbsp;Ranjit Sarin from the Vimy Heritage Housing Society. It’s good to see you.

Mr.&nb= sp;Jonas Smith, executive director from the Klondike Placer Miners’ Association and also Mr. Samson Hartland<= span lang=3DEN-CA style=3D'font-size:8.0pt'> fr= om the Yukon Chamber of Mines are here today.

Applause

 

Hon. Mr. Streicker: Mr. Speaker, in welcoming Mr. Hartland, I would also= like to acknowledge that he is a councillor with the City of Whitehorse. It̵= 7;s always great to have municipal folks here in the Legislature. Interim city manager Linda Rapp is here as well.

Yester= day, I had the opportunity to go out and participate in a field school led by a Yukone= r, Dr. Suzanne de la Barre, regarding tourism, experiential learning and entrepreneurial community development. She has her field school students wi= th her — and we got to do a “kickspedition” together — and they include Erin, Anna, Jan, Nob= ia, Lydia, and Amy who are from Victoria Island University and the Arctic University of Norway.

Applause

 

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: Today I would like to recognize a constituent, neighbour and f= riend, Tjitske van der Eide. She joins us in the house today. Please help me in welcoming her to this House.=

Applause

 

Mr. Gallina: I would like members to help me welcome two constituents, Elke and Gerard Tremblay, members of our deaf community, with interpretive services being provided by Amanda Smith. Welcome.

Applause

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Hon. Ms. McPhee:=  Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity = to ask  my colleagues to help me welcome Annette King, who is the Child and Youth Advocate for the Yukon Territory, and who is here with us today, and my mother, Myke McPhee.

Applause

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Ms. Hanson: I would ask members to join me in welcoming Bonnie Dalziel sitting way up in = the corner, a long-time Yukoner and friend of this House; Lillian Nakamura Maguire, from the Seniors Action Yukon association; and Frank Bachmeier, another dedicated senior in this territory= . It is really good to see Rudy Couture back, our former Sergeant-at-Arms, and sitting beside him is Val Royle and Mary Ann Le= wis, a long-time citizen participant from the gallery; and, of course, Dave Laxton= , a former member of the Legislative Assembly.

Applause

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Hon. Mr. Silver:=  Thank you for your indulgence, Mr. Speaker. I woul= d like to wish Rudy Couture a happy birthday.

Applause

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Speaker: Are= there any further introductions of visitors?

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Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Point of personal privilege

Speaker: The Minister of Community Services, on a point of personal privilege.

Hon. Mr. Streicker: I rise today on a point of personal privilege to correc= t the record. It has come to my attention that there is a discrepancy regarding a remark I made in the House this past fall. On November 23, I rose to speak = to a question from the Member for Kluane regarding a Housing First project at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Wood Street. In rising to respond to the questio= n, I stated that my mother-in-law and I had received a letter from the Yukon Hou= sing Corporation and I was mistaken. I was aware of the letter that was being prepared for outreach to neighbours of the project and had already had a conversation with my mother-in-law regarding that letter; however, the lett= er had not yet arrived.

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Speaker: Tab= ling returns and documents.

Tabling Returns and Documents

Hon. Ms. McPhee:=  I have for tabling a letter from Mr. David Loukide= lis dated February 5, 2018, requesting an extension of the inspection at Whiteh= orse Correctional Centre, as well as my response dated February 19, 2018 approvi= ng this extension.

I also= have for tabling a legislative return, which is a response to a question asked by the Member for Whitehorse Centre on November 23, 2017.

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Hon. Mr. Pillai:=  I have for tabling a legislative return in response to a question asked by the Member for Copperbelt South on October 26, 2017, regarding microgeneration program reimbursements.

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Speaker: As = Chair, I have for tabling the report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Yukon Legislative Assembly on climate change in Yukon, dated December 2017. The Auditor General’s report is submitted to the Legislative Assembly pursuant to section 35 of the Yukon= Act and was made public on December 5, 2017.

Furthe= r, the Chair also has for tabling the Repo= rt from the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly on the Absence of Members from Sittings of the Legislative Assembly and its Committees, dated March 1, 2018. This report is tabled pursuant to the direction of the Members’ Services Board.

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Are th= ere any further returns or documents for tabling?

Are th= ere any reports of committees?

Are th= ere any petitions?

Are th= ere any bills to be introduced?

Introduction of Bills

Bill No. 206: First Appropriation Act 2018‑19 — Introduction and First Reading

Hon. Mr. Silver: I move that Bill No. 206, entitled First Appropriation Act 2018‑19, be now introduced and read a first time.

Speaker: It = has been moved by the Hon. Premier that Bill No. 206, entitled First Appropriation Act 2018‑19, be now introduced and re= ad a first time.

Motion for introduction and first reading of Bil= l No. 206 agreed to

 

Speaker: Are= there any further bills to be introduced?

Bill No. 204: Third Appropriation Act 2017-18 — Introduction and First Reading

Hon. Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 204, entitled Third Appropriation Act 2017-18, be now introduced and read a first time.

Speaker: It = has been moved by the Hon. Premier that Bill No. 204, entitled Third Appropriation Act 2017-18, be now introduced and read a first time.

Motion for introduction and first reading of Bil= l No. 204 agreed to

 

Speaker: Are= there any further bills to be introduced?

Bill No. 205: Interim Supply Appropriation A= ct 2018‑19 — Introduction and First Reading

Hon. Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 205, entitled Interim Supply Appropriation Act 2018&= #8209;19, be now introduced and read a first time.

Speaker: It = has been moved by the Hon. Premier that Bill No. 205, entitled Interim Supply Appropriation Act 2018‑19, be now introduced and read a first time.

Motion for introduction and first reading of Bil= l No. 205 agreed to

 

Speaker: Are= there any further bills to be introduced?

Are th= ere any notices of motions?

Notices of Motions

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

THAT t= his House urges the Government of Yukon to use the parameters of the Multilateral Early Learning Child Care Framework announced by t= he federal government in June 2017 to develop a Yukon childcare system based on the principles of universality, high quality and comprehensiveness, and whi= ch includes the following elements:

(1) Pu= blic plans for developing integrated systems of early learning and childcare that meet= the care and early education needs of children and parents;

(2) Pu= blic funding delivered directly to early learning and childcare services and sys= tems rather than through individual parent payment measures to ensure that high-quality services employing a decently remunerated workforce are access= ible to all families through predictable, sustained and dedicated funding; and <= /span>

(3) Pu= blic management of the expansion of public and not-for-profit early learning and childcare under public authorities, including integration of existing commu= nity services into publicly managed systems.

 

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

THAT t= his House urges the Government of Yukon to reduce the number of individuals and famil= ies on the current Yukon Housing Corporation wait-list by expanding the private sector accommodation rent supplement program.

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Speaker: Are= there any further notices of motions?

Is the= re a statement by a minister?

This t= hen brings us to Question Period.

QUESTION PERIOD

Question re: Budget estimates and spending

Mr. Hassard: Mr. Speaker, the Premier campaigned under a slogan of “Be Heard” but unfortunately, he has been governing under the mantra of “be toldR= 21;. The list of consultations that this government has botched seems to grow ev= ery day, but today is the Premier’s budget. While in opposition, he talke= d a big game about the need to consult on the budget, but we have not heard of = any public consultations on this year’s budget, and I even looked on the Premier’s website, most reliable soccer prediction site, and I didn’t see any advertised consultations in the lead-up to the budget there either.

Can th= e Premier confirm whether or not he held any public consultations on this budget?

Hon. Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting that the Yukon Party h= as a newfound interest in the subject of engagement and consultation. It’s very interesting, specifically because we have just ended an eight-year cou= rt battle when it comes to the Peel watershed because of their refusal to cons= ult, not to mention Bill S-6 as well.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, we are committed to asking the public for input on issues and the decisions that affect them. We know that we don’t always get public engagement right, and we do want to do better. We believe strongly that through meanin= gful engagement we can avoid costly legal battles that were ever-so-common with = the last government.

Mr. Hassard: I didn’t hear anything there about who was consulted on the budget. Aga= in, I’ll ask: Can the Premier tell us about anyone he consulted with on t= his budget and why those particular people were chosen and why the public was n= ot?

Hon. Mr. Silver: With the budget process, of course, we were consulting all the= time with every department — that’s how a budget is made. Of course = the member opposite knows that to be true.

We bel= ieve strongly that, again, meaningful engagement helps us to avoid those costly legal battles, and we believe that we have done a good job on this side of = the House with our public engagement throughout the first year. Actually, we br= oke a record in our first year for the most public engagement in Yukon history.=

We rem= ain committed to making sure that every time we do consultation we do it better. When you take a look at our new ability to do surveys online, our new websi= te and our new public engagement for stakeholders, we believe this government = is doing better in consultation in our first year than the previous government, and we will continue to look forward to making sure we dial it in and make = sure our consultation processes work for Yukoners.

Mr. Hassard: Mr. Speaker, I think it’s important that the Premier remembers that the budget is = the most important thing that he brings to this Legislature. We know he campaig= ned on this slogan of “Be Heard”, so I’m curious: Why did he = not want to hear what Yukoners had to say about the budget before bringing it forward?

Hon. Mr. Silver: As the member opposite knows, we’re constantly speaking = with public servants; we’re publicly always talking with stakeholders and NGOs. That’s how a budget gets made — by all the dialogue that happens in this Legislative Assembly, and by the great questions that are brought forth by the opposition members as well. We know they’re stan= ding up for Yukoners when they bring these questions into the Legislative Assemb= ly.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, we know that some important groups and stakeholders have felt that they’ve been improperly engaged by this government over the years and= we are committed to continuously improving how we can get better to make sure = that their voices are heard.

Question re: Cannabis regulation in Yukon

Mr. Cathers: Mr. Speaker, we were happy to see, in the Whiteh= orse Star, the Premier announcing that a big theme of this year’s budg= et was going to be getting government “out of the business of doing business”. He went on to say, “We have a comprehensive network = of private sector businesses that can do more, as long as we just do less.R= 21; Unfortunately, as with a number of things the Premier says, the words don’t line up with his actions. The Premier’s plans to regulate= the new emerging industry of cannabis include expanding government, hiring more employees, and creating a new government retail store warehouse. Not only is this going to increase costs to taxpayers, it is locking the local private sector out of an emerging business opportunity.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, will the Premier abandon his plans to expand government and have the govern= ment focus on regulations and enforcement of cannabis rather than having the government expand into the areas of retail sales and distribution.

Hon. Mr. Silver: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank t= he member opposite for that scattershot of topics. He did mention getting out = of the business of doing business, so I guess in my first response, I’ll start there.

Yukon&= #8217;s private sector has grown very much in the last few decades, and a vibrant business sector is very important. There are opportunities to consider about how the government can get out of the work that is elsewhere done by private sectors in other parts of Canada. It is a very important piece of the Finan= cial Advisory Panel’s recommendations that we are working on this year. Th= is is an important issue. We believe that we need to do more when we are developing budgets to engage with the private sector and we have done that = this year and we are going to continue with that work moving forward.

Gettin= g out of the business of doing business is just one of three prongs that we are look= ing at this year in addressing the excellent work that the Yukon Financial Advi= sory Panel has done. The other two — we are going to do a comprehensive re= view of the Health and Social Services department, and we are also going to take= a look at efficiencies and effectiveness of delivering services to Yukoners.<= /span>

Mr. Cathers: It’s unfortunate that the Premier doesn’t understand the relevance of a po= int that he shouldn’t be expanding government when the private sector can= do the work. Through effective regulation, the local private sector can deliver this service just as safely as government and at a far cheaper cost to taxpayers. We know that government expansion into new areas such as cannabis sales and distribution is likely to be permanent. The responsible thing to = do for Yukon taxpayers is to implement legalization in a way that favours grow= ing the private sector instead of growing government. The Premier’s plans will grow government instead of allow the private sector to take advantage = of the new opportunities and also assume the costs and risks of retail and distribution. Can the Premier tell us how many employees he intends on hiri= ng to manage the new government-run cannabis corporation?

Hon. Ms. McPhee:=  I appreciate the question from the member opposite. The= new cannabis act and regulations will be introduced in this House, as the member well knows. The purpose of drafting Yukon legislation is to respond to Yuko= ners and their concerns about the legalization of cannabis here in Canada, and, = as a result, the draft legislation, which we will soon see in the form of a bill here before this House, has been drafted as broadly as possible to allow all future options for the distribution and sale of cannabis as responded to wh= en Yukoners told us what they needed.

Mr. Cathers: Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, the government’s approach is just going to grow the cost to taxpayers. The Premier likes to talk the talk when he says he wants= to get the government out of the business of doing business — those were= his words, Mr. Speaker — but when it comes to an emerging new sector that offers opportunities for local business and the Premier has the opportunity to set the rules from day one, what does he do? He comes up wit= h a plan that will grow government and expand its reach into more businesses and pass the cost of that on to taxpayers.

Since = the Premier seems focused on expanding government rather than on growing the private sector and regulating it, will he at least tell us today how much he plans on spending on infrastructure to house the new government-run retail store for cannabis, and how much the annual operations will cost for this n= ew enterprise?

Hon. Mr. Silver: I’ll avoid the fact that the member is heading into budg= etary considerations in the conversation here, and I will say that he should list= en to the responses, as opposed to just reading what he has on the paper from = his staff. The Minister of Justice clearly said that the regulations that we’re putting forward are going to allow us to have the flexibility t= o be a hybrid, public or private. That’s what we’re working on right now. We’re catching up with the legislation from the federal governme= nt.

The me= mber opposite is just not listening to the answers to the questions in the Legislative Assembly. We do believe that we need to get out of the business= of doing business, Mr. Speaker, and we are going to commit to Yukoners th= at we will make sure that the decisions we make are part and parcel with the private sector.

Question re: Financial Advisory Panel recommendations

Ms. Hanson: In response to this government’s dire predictions of revenue shortfalls, Yukoners contributed extensively to the independent Financial Advisory Panel consultation process. This government was given a comprehensive list of opt= ions for consideration last November. After having listened to this government campaign on and continue to praise their own listening abilities and how everything was on the table, it was surprising to hear the Premier immediat= ely take off that very same table some of the recommendations that the panel ma= de.

Althou= gh the Premier was quick to dismiss some of the options presented, we have heard little about what this government actually plans to do. Can the Premier tel= l Yukoners which revenue-generating recommendations made by the Financial Advisory Pan= el his government will implement?

Hon. Mr. Silver: I really appreciate the question from the member opposite. Aga= in, as far as engagement, we had amazing engagement with the Yukon Financial Advis= ory Panel. We had to expand the number of community visits we did because of the interest from Yukoners in making sure that we can get ourselves back on the sustainable financial path.

The th= ree-prong approach, as I mentioned in the answers to one of the Official Opposition’s questions, was that we are going to take a review of Hea= lth and Social Services. A key focus of the coming year will be that comprehens= ive review, and this makes sense as an early action. One dollar in three of our government spending is there. You’re talking about fiscal responsibilities. One dollar in three — sorry, Mr. Speaker ̵= 2; the member opposite is talking about financial commitments. One dollar in t= hree is spent in Health and Social Services. In the last five years, these costs have grown by more than five percent per year.

An agi= ng population will create more pressures to expand spending and meet those nee= ds of a growing population. A review of Health and Social Services is an opportunity to make sure that the services delivered have value for the investment made. That system of cost efficiency and effectiveness is very important to this government.

I don&= #8217;t have a lot of time in between these questions, so I will save the other two prongs of the Financial Advisory Panel recommendations that we’re mov= ing forward on for my second and third.

Ms. Hanson: Been there, done that — 10 years ago, 2008-09. We’re talking about listening and what we’re hearing is process. Yukoners contributed to = this report through written submissions and through public meetings. They rose to the challenge of identifying how to raise more revenue in Yukon — not what the Premier is talking about.

The go= vernment predicts an increase in mining activity, which is welcome news. With this, = an increase in the number of fly-in/fly-out workers who use Yukon’s roads and services is expected. The Financial Advisory Panel recommended that Yukon consider a payroll tax on out-of-territory workers to increase the local benefits to Yukon of industries that rely on fly-in/fly-out workers. The pa= nel also recommended a reduction in the number of fuel tax exemptions for commercial activities. The lead economist on the panel was quite clear in saying that there are no equity grounds for such exemptions that essentially incentivize fossil fuels.

Will t= he Premier be implementing these recommendations?

Hon. Mr. Silver: It is so good to hear two things. One, that the member opposit= e has been listening to the Yukon Financial Advisory Panel and is putting forth w= hat she believes are great ideas from that panel, and also that the NDP support mining in the Yukon. It’s good to hear that, Mr. Speaker.=

I will= continue with the other two parts of the Yukon Financial Advisory Panel that we are working on in this budget. The secondary system here is increasing the efficiencies and the effectiveness of delivering programs and services to Yukoners. In their commitment to the Yukon Financial Advisory Panel, Yukone= rs prefer to focus on ensuring that the government is spending money more effectively and more efficiently, as opposed to raising those taxes like the HST.

The Yu= kon government is responding by looking at ways to ensure that its services pro= vide greater value for money spent. I will say that on this one initiative, I ha= ve to thank the public service because, in the first year, to be able to take = the forecast deficits down to the deficits you see today is part and parcel of = the public service buying in to a third party’s — the Yukon Financi= al Advisory Panel — recommendations. More to come — this year we a= re focusing in on these.

Again,= the third one — we have already mentioned it — is getting out of the business of doing business. It’s very important as= we mature as a territory that we take into consideration the partners, and not only the private sector, but also taking a look at chapter 22, taking a loo= k at the economic development branches of First Nation governments and the municipalities to make sure that we have an efficient system of working with all stakeholders when we are spending the taxpayers’ money.

Ms. Hanson: This government was given some real options to consider that could increase reve= nues or offset spending. In the field of health care, the panel made suggestions that we could get behind. One suggestion was the reallocation of tax dollars from health care spending to social spending — spending that has a po= sitive effect on key indicators of health and wellness. Study after study has shown that dollars in programming spent on young children and families pay off in= the long term with better health and wellness outcomes. This could be accomplis= hed through ensuring quality universal daycare, appropriate rates for social assistance and increased spending on home care.

Will t= his budget see an increase in social spending in order to decrease long-term health ca= re costs and to improve Yukoners’ well-being?

Hon. Mr. Silver: Again, I will keep it to the Financial Advisory Panel recommendations that we’re working on. There will be plenty of opportunities for the Minister of Health and Social Services to get to her = feet to talk about all of the good work that she has done with her partners, with the federal government and the great work that she has done when it comes to the health and wellness of our most importance asset — our youth R= 12; but I still want to reiterate what we are doing from the Yukon Financial Advisory Panel today with this budget, from the Finance department and from= all the departments. We are conducting a comprehensive review of Health and Soc= ial Services programs and service delivery. We are increasing the efficiency and the effectiveness of delivering programs and services to Yukoners, and we a= re considering how the government can stop doing work that elsewhere in Canada= is done by the private sector.

Question re: Energy retrofits

Ms. White: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. During the last election, the Liberals promised to invest $30 million per year in new money for energy retrofits. Energy retro= fits create good local jobs, they help curb our energy consumption, help mitigate climate change and that all saves money in the long run. This promise was somehow left out of the government’s last budget with only $250,000 of new money invested. That’s less than one percent of the promised $30 million.

Yukone= rs are hoping that we won’t see a redo of this broken promise, so can the Premier tell us if the $30 million in new money that was promised for energy retrofits is in this afternoon’s budget or has he again broken the promise?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I appreciate the question on energy retrofits from the member opposite. This is an important issue to this government and we are going to increase the energy efficiency of our building portfolio to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases and to reduce the cost of operating buildings= in the long run.

Highwa= ys and Public Works has established a new energy unit to integrate energy efficiency planning into current and future building proje= cts. Highways and Public Works has also identified de= sign solutions that would reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Through these actions, we are going to get a much better result when it com= es to reducing our greenhouse gases.

Ms. White: I was looking for the $30-million answer. Energy retrofits create jobs and th= ey save money and they mitigate climate change — and that’s on top= of energy benefits. This is exactly the kind of program that a government with limited resources should prioritize. Public buildings could be upgraded, homeowners and landlords could see better incentives to renovate their homes and make them more energy efficient. This would create good local jobs, red= uce energy demand and reduce costs. It’s a win-win-win and there is no re= ason not to do it.

Last y= ear, the government tried to say that they were investing in retrofits by accounting= for already existing programs like the rebate program through the Energy Soluti= ons Centre, but this is not what they promised in the 2016 election. Mr. S= peaker, will the minister confirm that this afternoon’s budget contains the f= ull $30 million in new money promised for energy retrofits?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for the question, but I will say I= am not in the frame of mind to give any spoilers this afternoon.

We are= working together with Energy, Mines and Resources on a federal low carbon economy f= und application, and that fund will support projects that improve energy effici= ency and greenhouse gas reductions in government buildings. This proposal will include building envelope retrofits, heating equipment upgrades and renewab= le energy technology. Highways and Public Works is = also working with Energy, Mines and Resources to introduce more biomass heating sources into the government’s building portfolio.

All of= these things will help us improve our energy use and save this government some mo= ney as well.

Ms. White: Yukon has an energy problem. This past December, Yukon Energy’s LNG generat= ors were on every single day. Just last year, Yukon Energy would ask Yukoners to limit their power consumption when they had to turn on the generators, but we’re not talking about peak demand anymore. We’re burning foss= il fuels to keep the lights on, on a daily basis. You would think that this wo= uld be a wake-up call to the government.

Invest= ing in new money for energy retrofits is not a luxury at this point, it’s a necessity. So what is it going to take for this government to take action a= nd make significant investments in new money for energy retrofits?

Hon. Mr. Silver: We will be talking about the energy retrofit money in the scrum after Question Period — again, conversations about embargoed material just being tabled in the Legislative Assembly — so more to come on th= at and we’re excited about the initiatives that this government has, not only for the environment, but also for the economy.

Question re: Designated materials regulation

Ms. Van Bibber: I have some questions for the Minister of Community Services o= n his proposed tax on tires and e‑waste. Earlier, there were two public for= ums held in Whitehorse to talk about these increases. We know that tonight we w= ill have a follow-up meeting, but not everyone who attended the previous meetin= gs is invited, nor do these meetings appear to be open to the public. Further, they were not advertised on the government’s consultation website, En= gage Yukon.

Why is= the minister not making these meetings public, and will he agree to hold public= meetings where the same information from tonight will be presented?

Hon. Mr. Streicker: I thank the member opposite for the question. Indeed, recyclin= g is important to all of us as Yukoners. In the system where we move to a user-p= ay system, where tires and e‑waste are paid for up front when they’= ;re purchased, not using taxes after the fact, is supported by all.

When w= e had that engagement on January 9 and 10 — I thank the members opposite who attended as well — there was, over the two nights, between 100 and 150 people, and dozens were from industry and retail. That evening, in the follow-up, we said we would get back out to all those who were there about = what we heard. We also said that we would follow up with industry directly. So we will do that work in order to try to improve the system. It’s great. = The industry is bringing us great suggestions and I think there is room for improvement. That is what we’re going to do.

Then, = once we develop new designated material regulations, the Minister of Environment an= d I will go out — because there is an obligation to engage the public abo= ut those regulations before they ever come into force. So yes, I can say for s= ure that we will talk with the public about that as well.

I than= k the member for the question.

Ms. Van Bibber: On July 8, 2016, in a news release, the Premier said with resp= ect to these recycling fees — quote: “While we support the goal of the regulations and the concept of extended producer responsibility we want to = see a more equitable system, one that is line with other jurisdictions.” =

This is essentially what the industry members in attendance said. So my question is simple: Why didn’t the minister simply follow what the Premier said w= hile in opposition and adopt a system that is in line with other jurisdictions? =

Hon. Mr. Streicker: When we first had those draft regulations — which I thin= k have been on the books since 2013, and which haven’t been implemented to d= ate — and when we first took office and we went out to the public —= for example, we invited the tire industry to speak to us about it — we had one person attend a public meeting, so we didn’t get a lot of input. There was some input to some questions that we posed to the industry, altho= ugh it wasn’t uniform in nature. So we didn’t get some of the great feedback that we got on those evenings.

It was= when the regulations came close that we heard from the industry and the public. That= is the great news here. By going out and talking with the = public, and the industry in particular, we’re going to refine the system and = make it better.

WeR= 17;re going to refine the system and make it better. I’m looking forward to those refinements and I’m looking forward to bringing them back to the public as new regulations for their input.

Question re: Yukon Resource Gateway project

Mr. Kent: Last September, the Premier and the Prime Minister gathered here in Whitehorse to announce over $360 million for the resource roads gateway project. The construction industry and of course the Official Opposition were excited ab= out this announcement. We thought that by announcing this money last year they could expect to start seeing shovels in the ground as early as this spring. However, five months later, this excitement has turned to disappointment as= the government has announced it will not tender any contracts under this fundin= g in this upcoming year.

Can th= e Premier tell us when he expects construction will start on the Yukon Resource Gatew= ay project?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I would like to thank the Member for Copperbelt South for this= great question. Once again, I just touched upon the fact that we did have that opportunity last September to be here with the federal government and make = the announcement on a package of dollars that would equate to the largest capit= al project in Yukon history but, most importantly, we committed at that time t= hat we would have respectful dialogue with our First Nation partners and we wou= ld begin that in the fall.

What w= e have been doing over the last number of months is continuing to have that dialog= ue with a number of groups that represent the traditional territories in three sepa= rate project areas. We’ll continue to do that good work. We feel that prop= er dialogue will take most of this year. We’re hoping that I can be work= ing with my colleagues to ensure that we come to some conclusion on those agreements in the summer and the fall so we can enter into the environmental process and be ready for next year, as was planned all along.

Mr. Kent: Usually when the government announces something so significant and has the Prime Minister in attendance to participate in that announcement, many of us in t= he Official Opposition, as well as industry here in the territory, thought that project was ready to go or very close.

As mem= bers know, the previous Yukon Party government started the lobbying for this project a= nd submitted the initial proposal to the federal government, and we were pleas= ed when this government continued on with that work, but it doesn’t appe= ar that the ball has moved very much further down the field in the 25 percent = of this government’s current mandate that has elapsed. Apparently it loo= ks like the Premier just hosted the Prime Minister for a photo op to announce money that is nowhere near being ready to be spent.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, last fall, the supplementary budget provided $600,000 for the gateway proje= ct. Can the Premier tell us if all this has been spent and what it has been spe= nt on?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I would have to take the opportunity to remind my colleague ac= ross the way — first of all, I would like to thank the opposition. They did some great work on the application for this project. There was some great w= ork with industry; industry folks did a lot of work to come up with a plan, but= the key is that the previous government didn’t have an opportunity to get this to the finish line. The reason they didn’t was because First Nat= ion governments were not comfortable working with them on this project. The fed= eral government said that absolutely we can’t move forward on this project= .

We wer= e elected and we went out and did the good work with our First Nation partners. That’s why the announcement was made under our government — we = have those respectful relationships. Now what I’m hearing is that the Memb= er for Copperbelt South wants to go back to the old antics and try to ram a project through so we can get ground moving a year early. We are not going = to do that. We are going to go with what is successful, have respectful conversations, and that is what we will continue to do.

Mr. Kent: Of course the need for the support of affected First Nations is something that= was included in the initial submission and was something that we had worked on.= The pause button was pressed during the 2016 election and unfortunately we don’t really know how much work has been done with respect to getting those agreements with the affected First Nations. We will of course take the minister at his word with what he said here today with respect to those agreements hopefully being done and the environmental assessment and other = aspects being done, but I will go back to my question that I asked previously respecting the supplementary budget that was tabled last fall.

There = was $600,000 set aside for the gateway project, so can the Premier or the minis= ter please tell this House if all of that money has been spent and what it has = been spent on so far?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: There will be ample time to go through our breakdown of the $600,000. That money was earmarked — I think the initial work from my colleague was to have an office set up within Highways and Public Works. Of course we’re doing significant consultation with a series of First Nations, so those funds and those resources, of course, will be used for th= at process.

We are completely transparent in how we spend those dollars. We’ll have a dialogue about that. We will have a chance to debate it and if we have done something wrong, I’m sure it will be outlined. Once again, I just wan= t to note that I want to thank industry for all of the feedback that they have g= iven us. We have had multiple conversations with all of the Yukon contractors who will inevitably build these roads. We had a fantastic meeting at Roundup, w= here industry came into the room with all the First Nation development corporati= ons — really, the first of its kind. As we talk about other items on the agenda, such as class 1 and YESAA, what I’m excited about is the leadership from the Premier, bringing out First Nation chiefs and our CEOs = into the room for the first time in Yukon history.

So we = have lots to share as the questions come and we are really excited about this upcoming building season and mineral development season.

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Speaker: The= time for Question Period has now elapsed.

We wil= l now proceed to Orders of the Day.

Orders of the Day

Government Bills

Bill No. 206: First Appropriation Act 2018‑19 = — Second Reading

Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 206, standing in the name of t= he Hon. Mr. Silver.

Hon. Mr. Silver: I move that Bill No. 206, entitled First Appropriation Act 2018‑19, be now read a second tim= e.

Speaker: It = has been moved by the Hon. Premier that Bill No. 206, entitled First Appropriation Act 2018‑19, be now read a second tim= e.

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Hon. Mr. Silver: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am very pleased to ri= se and deliver the Government of Yukon’s 2018‑19 main estimates, our government’s second annual budget.

They a= ccount for spending and revenue that has yet to happen. Budgets may be delivered in th= is House when the Finance minister speaks, but the actual delivery, the true implementation, comes later when Yukoners put the plans into action. The re= al results take place in the communities and in people’s day-to-day lives — where it matters the most — and with many hands doing the wor= k. To our government, the budget is really a statement of our collective will = to do better as a territory — steadily, confidently, inclusively and measurably.

We see= k to deliver budgets and engage more people in building a strong Yukon and to en= sure everyone is working more effectively together inside our territorial government, in municipalities, First Nations and also the private sector. A budget should do more than account for the spending of the public dollars — it should be a plan for getting the most out of public dollars. A budget should support a more systematic, informed and open approach to maki= ng government decisions and government investments. This budget is a significa= nt step toward this. It also supports deeper engagement with the public.

We want everybody to be able to measure progress, to see results and to find ways of contributing to that positive change. For too long, the Government of Yukon budget was year to year. Investments were announced and capital projects we= re built without thought to long-term strategic approaches. The cost of operat= ing and maintaining capital assets was not fully considered, or even included, = as Yukon’s population grew and changed. This approach had reached its li= mits when our government came into office. The Government of Yukon’s finan= ces were on an unsustainable path. Significant deficits were projected for upco= ming years. People in Yukon did not see a clear or realistic plan for the territ= ory. The Government of Yukon’s fiscal process was out of sync with the majority of Yukon’s economy and the changing nature of people’s needs.

Our go= vernment is determined to deliver budgets that get the fundamentals right. That might s= eem like a modest goal, but it isn’t. It is truly aspirational, because it puts the faith in the ambitions and the abilities of Yukoners — a strategic approach that helps people of the territory to achieve their full= and significant potential. A strategic approach means that no challenge is too difficult as long as Yukoners begin making decisions together to overcome i= t. That strategic approach is taking clearer shape in our 2018‑19 budget= .

We hav= e made a deliberate decision to increase the certainty in Yukon’s public finan= ces, beginning with our first budget. As a result, when the supplementary estima= tes were tabled for 2017-18, they did not greatly differ from the main estimate= s that were presented last April. This represents genuine progress in developing m= ore accurate forecasts and fully accounting for the year’s true expenses = up front.

In add= ition, as we committed to doing, our government is releasing a fiscal and economic ou= tlook at the same time as the budget. The Government of Yukon’s 2018‑= 19 budget presents a fiscal outlook that has improved from the previous year’s projections. There is already greater strength than anticipate= d in 2017. Our labour market continues to be among the most resilient in the country. Increased activities in mining and tourism, coupled with continuous growth across every sector and an improved outlook for global growth, are a= ll contributing to a more prosperous outcome for our economy.

Revenu= e is forecasted to be $1.333 billion. Total costs are expected to be $1.338 billion. Of thi= s, $280 million is capital spending. Operation and maintenance spending is $1.2 billion. The government’s accumulated surplus as of 2018‑19 will be $1.4 billion. These 2018‑19 main estimates show a deficit for= the year of $4.5 million. The deficit is a result of increasing costs in operation and maintenance.

Now le= t me take a moment to put this in context by pointing out some of the areas where cos= ts have increased. Spending on operation and maintenance for Health and Social Services is up to $37.1 million, which is an increase of 10 percent. Of this, $24 million this year is for the new Whistle Bend continuing care facility, a cost that was not built into the long-term projections in the p= ast. Increased Health and Social Services costs also reflect a more realistic forecast of insured health costs. In the past, these were not included in t= he main estimates; rather, they were only accounted for in supplementary estimates. We have made this change as a part of our effort to be more transparent in the main estimates.

There = are also additional costs of $2.3 million to provide space for 10 more seniors = who will need continuing care at the Thomson Centre. This will free up acute ca= re beds at the Whitehorse General Hospital. This project also has a one-time capital cost of $1.2 million.

We als= o had to budget $4.6 million for the environmental cleanup of the Marwell tar p= its. In June of 2010, the governments of Canada and Yukon reached a financial agreement for the assessment and the remediation of this site. Federal fund= ing was received, but the previous government did not act upon that obligation. Again, in the interest of transparency in public financing, it is time to account for that cost and to get that work underway.

Higher= enrolment in schools has contributed to higher costs in education. We have therefore increased the Department of Education’s budget by $6.8 million o= ver the main estimates for 2017-18.

These = items explain some of the increased costs in this fiscal year. We can anticipate = that the 2019-20 budget will also be in deficit. These deficits are not as large as we anticipated a year ago in our first budget = in 2017. This is, in part, because of the fiscal approach our government is ta= king to fully account for costs.

We wil= l continue communicating with Yukoners about our plan to return government finances to surpluses, which we expect to do in 2020-21.

While = striving for clarity and transparency is important, we know that no one can get a forecast exactly right. There will be unforeseen circumstances. There will = be unexpected events. However, we can always meet the expectations of Yukoners that the government finances are to be transparent and credible.

In the= interest of transparency, our government is being open with Yukoners about the challenges in operation and maintenance spending. This spending is increase= d at a pace that must be addressed. We will be addressing operation and maintena= nce spending in the short term to get back to surplus by 2020-21, but there are long-term challenges as well.

These = costs are presently on a steady upward trend, and we must be able to bring them down = to align more closely with the government’s ability to pay. This upward trajectory is due to an aging population and an increased demand for public services. If we do not address it, then the Government of Yukon will face continuing risk of more substantial deficits in future years. As our capital base has grown, our finances have not kept pace.

Long a= fter the ribbon is cut on a new facility and the builders have been paid, there are continuing costs in all the years afterward to keep it running and to pay f= or any new programming. The previous government did not always fully account f= or operation and maintenance costs, even as the government’s capital ass= ets grew. We need to pay continued attention to sound fiscal management in orde= r to return our government’s finances to a path of fiscal responsibility a= nd fiscal sustainability. Our government will do that work in consultation with Yukoners, and already these conversations are on their way.

The fi= nal report of the Financial Advisory Panel last fall was an important first step. The = goal was to learn more about Yukon’s long-term financial trends to explore= all options and give Yukoners a chance to voice their opinions. The panel deliv= ered a comprehensive report that captures many different voices. As a result, th= ere are many options open to us and feedback to inform decisions. While we have= rejected some options such as a harmonized sales tax, we are considering other optio= ns that the panel raised. This year, our government will begin three early act= ions on some of the panel’s recommendations.

First,= we will complete a comprehensive review of Health and Social Services, as the panel suggested. Almost $1 in $3 is spent on these services. This will be an exer= cise in obtaining value for this investment. It will look at innovations in heal= th care delivery and build on the review done 10 years ago to improve the well-being of Yukoners.

Second= , we will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of delivering overall services to Yukoners. We will not look just at what government does but how it does it,= and we will find ways to do things better. Yukon must ensure that it is the rig= ht size for the responsibilities it has to the people it serves.

Third,= there are opportunities to consider about how our government can stop doing work that elsewhere in Canada is done by the private sector. The government in Yukon needs to get out of the business of business. Yukon’s vibrant business sector is a source of innovation and expertise. We can also help others suc= h as First Nation development corporations and municipalities to be innovators in offering services. We believe that this would make better sense for our communities.

We wil= l also explore strategic partnerships with others that benefit Yukoners. All these types of collaborations can help diversify our economy while meeting the ne= eds of Yukoners. We will provide more detail throughout 2018 and will outline s= ome of the new measures in next year’s budget and, throughout the year, we will keep up the conversation with Yukoners on doing government better.

Now, b= efore moving on, one new financial measure in 2018‑19 and beyond relates to= the legalization of cannabis. In December, Canadian finance ministers agreed in principle to a cannabis taxation approach. We believe it will best meet the objectives to restrict cannabis use by youth and, as much as possible, elim= inate the illegal market.

When we formalize this two-year agreement, Yukon will receive 75 percent of the fed= eral cannabis excise duty revenue generated in the territory. Yukon will also receive a proportional share of the federal cannabis excise duty revenue generated in Canada above the $100-million cap on federal revenues from the federal cannabis duty. Our government will continue to inform Yukoners on implementation as it evolves.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, we believe a Yukon budget should reflect the lives, challenges and ambition= s of Yukoners. We believe government must lead, but that leadership should be informed by listening. We consider it an important role for Cabinet to understand the issues from the community perspective, not just the governme= nt perspective.

The Go= vernment of Yukon Cabinet and all members of caucus have been facilitating those discussions at every opportunity. We are engaging in ways and on a scale th= at has never been seen before in the Yukon. From April to January of this year, ministers made 107 visits to Yukon communities outside of Whitehorse. To get more from public dollars, we need to understand the needs in the communities and the actions that these communities are already taking, and the role that the territorial government can play in meeting these goals.

You ca= nnot fully understand a community by reading about it in Whitehorse. You have to hear people’s life experiences to appreciate the context of a problem or a need. We are finding that, when we get more people at the table for these d= iscussions, we can see more clearly how we can work together.

When d= ifferent orders of government approach problems together, we can invest in ways that make the most sense and ensure that our collective efforts deliver the most benefit to the people we all serve. This two-way communication is vital in determining priorities because it’s not possible for the government to say yes to every community in every request. However, if we keep talking, we will always keep on making that progress.

Our go= vernment is also working to promote a more collaborative approach to problem-solving among public servants. As members know, I was a teacher in my previous care= er. Many of us in education want to contribute ideas that will improve the students’ outcomes. In my experience, there were limited opportunitie= s to give that advice. We did not feel that the experience on the ground was hav= ing enough influence over the direction of the government.

It is = part of the reason why I entered public service — to be a part of the governm= ent that does a better job of listening. When Yukoners see better ways of doing things, we want to hear about it. Good ideas come from every organization at every level. Just as we want to listen more to the Yukon public, we also wa= nt to listen more to the public service.

I know= that within Yukon government, the dedication and the ingenuity of public servants have been underutilized assets. Our Cabinet and caucus want to promote both formal and informal ways of exchanging ideas with the public service. Innov= ation is best supported by creating occasions for people to have conversations th= at would not normally happen. One person’s everyday experience is another person’s insight.

These interactions lead to a culture of problem-solving and innovation. Many peop= le in the public service have ideas for more efficient and more effective government, but no one has asked. Our government is asking.

The conversations between our government and the Yukon First Nations are also becoming more productive. Together we are taking significant action on reconciliation and on building a true government-to-government relationship= . At the Yukon Forum, we have crafted a joint priority action plan to guide us forward together to build new relationships. We cannot simply do things the= way they have always been done.

Gone a= re the days when First Nation leaders only meet federal indigenous affairs ministe= rs. That’s band government. That is not self-government. Now, self-govern= ing First Nations speak to the health minister about health, the infrastructure minister about infrastructure, and so on. Gone are the days where the Yukon Premier routinely takes meetings with federal ministers alone. Instead of bringing a message back to Yukon First Nations, we invite Yukon First Natio= ns to those meetings. That sends a clear message: We are here to get things do= ne together.

Those = we partner with can see that productive relationships exist, and that the trust is the= re to resolve issues through negotiation, not through litigation. The First Na= tion perspective is being built into prospective projects because their representatives are in the room from the very beginning. This is why our ministers and I place great value on the strong government-to-government relationships that have emerged from the Yukon Forum.

Our go= vernment was pleased in 2017 to sign a memorandum of understanding with 11 First Nat= ions on a one-government approach to Yukon’s mining sector. We are pleased= to be making progress on class 1 notifications as part of that process.

Resour= ce companies also appreciate the certainty that comes with having First Nation governments fully engaged during negotiations and development of a project. Tara Christie, CEO of Whitehorse-based Banyan Gold said this — a= nd I quote: “If there’s a strong relationship there, it makes it so = much easier for industry to develop relationships and continue the conversation.”

As I h= ave said, we need to get more from the public dollars and deliver the greatest possib= le benefits to Yukoners. A clear and understandable capital plan will help us = get more from these investments. So for the first time, the 2018‑19 budget includes a Government of Yukon long-term capital plan. Under the plan, spen= ding will be consistent over each of the five years at about $280 million p= er year, on average. Procurement opportunities will be rolled out in a more organized fashion. This avoids overheating the construction sector, only to have it slow down in other years. Anyone in Yukon can review the capital pl= an and see which projects will be funded and when.

While = this is our first iteration of such a plan, it helps ensure Yukon-based companies c= an bid on more work by spreading out the construction activity. Local business= es and First Nations will be better able to secure government contracts because they have a better understanding of what is coming down the pipe. The five-= year approach ensures maximum economic benefit and job creation. It gives resour= ce companies more certainty in knowing which infrastructure projects are being supported= and when they will be built.

While = we are very pleased with where we landed on this first plan, it is not written in stone. We will continue working with industry to ensure that it meets their needs as well as our needs. We will remain agile in order to meet the emerg= ing needs, and will continue to improve upon that document each year so that it better serves the public and local businesses. We are also committed to put= ting tenders out at the right time, not just in time. We have heard from our loc= al contractors that seasonally dependent large construction projects are tende= red too late to prepare. In particular, we are issuing tenders worth $49 m= illion for seasonally dependent projects well in advance of when that ground must = be broken.

At the= moment, the capital plan is balanced to meet Yukon’s most crucial needs for future growth and prosperity. It will include upgrades and maintenance of Yukon’s highway systems, which get people and goods to where they nee= d to be, including the increased number of tourists that we are seeing. Overall,= the budget contains $65 million to improve that transportation system.

There = will be $42 million this year for municipal and First Nation infrastructure. O= ur budget also commits to building and maintaining government social and affordable housing units, which support the most vulnerable Yukoners. Over = the coming year, we will be working with Challenge Disability Resource Group to conclude an agreement on government support for its affordable housing proj= ect in Whitehorse. Expanding Yukon’s health care options helps to meet the needs of elderly people in the Yukon. This includes continuing investment in the Whistle Bend continuing care facility and the creation of space for 10 = more people at the Thomson Centre.

Invest= ing in school facilities will help to meet the needs of a growing Yukon student population.

Cette année, trois millions de d= ollars seront injectés dans la construction d’une= école secondaire francophone à Whitehorse.

Better= IT infrastructure helps the Yukon government to provide better, more transpare= nt and more timely information to the public. The $= 14.3 million in IT spending this year can help drive innovation. In addition, we= will be investing $1.9 million this year to a Yukon innovation hub. This hub will serve as a catalyst for new opportunities that can grow our economy by connecting entrepreneurs, industry and governments, and the academic and non-profit communities. This project, focused on collaboration, is itself a collaborative project, involving Yukon College, CanNor= , (co)space, Yukonstruct and Yukon Development Corporation.

The fi= ve-year capital plan is also an opportunity to develop a true Yukon approach to infrastructure. It is also an opportunity to improve, and we will continue = to improve on our capital planning year after year.

There = is also significant funding available from federal infrastructure programs in this year’s budget, and there will be new programs in the future. We need = to make the most of these opportunities, while also making sure that the proje= cts work for Yukon. This means sitting down with our local communities and First Nations to plan together, determine the highest priority, look at affordabi= lity, consider land use and discuss shared responsibilities, including costs. Ins= tead of reacting to every federal program, we will proactively determine Yukon’s needs, taking into account that the capital assets that we bu= ild today will be an operation and maintenance cost for a long time after.

By get= ting everybody at the same table, with everyone informed by a five-year capital plan, we can build what we need in ways that are affordable and sensible.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, in closing, we are entering a new era in Yukon. The siz= e of our territorial budget, the assets that we own, the opportunities before us — all growing. There is volatility in the world in which we operate. There are changes, such as an aging population, on our horizon and= , at the same time, in all sectors of the economy, there have never been more opportunities than we see today in the Yukon.

There = are strong and special qualities that define Yukon and its people. Yukoners value what= we have built together, but there is a time for new approaches and increased efforts. We have done well, but we can do better. We must make investment, re-think approaches and do government differently. Budgeting from year to y= ear is not enough. Putting capital projects out the door with a year-to-year approach is inefficient. Our government is thinking more critically about w= here we invest, how we invest and why we invest. We will consider and account for the cost of maintaining and operating assets and delivering services. There needs to be a plan — one that Yukoners can= see and understand and engage in.

Over t= he past year, we began establishing that plan. With the 2018‑19 budget, we wi= ll take this approach even further. In the years ahead, there will be more new measures to secure Government of Yukon long-term fiscal sustainability. We = have absolute faith that none of the challenges are too big or too difficult to manage, especially if we begin taking action today and doing it together, b= ut we need to seize this moment in Yukon’s history. Our job, as a government, is to work with Yukoners to achieve all that is possible with a= ll that we have: hard-working people, strong communities, a beautiful environm= ent, resource wealth and a quality of life that is absolutely the envy of many o= ther places.

In doi= ng so, our government will listen. We will continue to learn, we will lead, and we will deliver results and be judged by our progress. This is the government that = we will deliver to Yukoners. The 2018 budget continues that work. There will be much more to come.

Thank = you, Mr. Speaker. Merci. Mahsicho.

Motion to adjourn debate<= /p>

Mr. Hassard: I move that debate be now adjourned.

Speaker: It = has been moved by the Leader of the Official Opposition that debate be now adjourned= .

Motion to adjourn debate on Bill No. 206 agreed = to

&= nbsp;

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I move that the House do now adjourn.

Speaker: It = has been moved by the Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.<= /p>

Motion agreed to

 

Speaker: The= House now stands adjourned until 1:00 p.m. Monday.

&= nbsp;

The House adjourned at 2:30 p.m.

 

 

 

The following sessional papers were tabled March= 1, 2018:

34-2-47

Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Y= ukon Legislative Assembly — 2017: Independent Auditor’s Report ̵= 2; Climate Change in Yukon (December 5, 2017) (Speaker C= larke)

&= nbsp;

34-2-4= 8

Report from the Clerk of the Yukon Legislative Assembly on the Absence of Members from Sittings of the Legislative Assembly and its Committees (March 1, 2018) (Speaker C= larke)

&= nbsp;

The following legislative returns were tabled Ma= rch 1, 2018:

34-2-103

Respon= se to oral question from Ms. Hanson re: Whitehorse Correctional Centre phone syst= em revenue (McPhee)

&= nbsp;

34-2-1= 04

Respon= se to oral question from Mr. Kent re: microgeneration program reimbursements (Pil= lai)

 

The following documents were filed March 1, 2018= :

34-2-32

Inspec= tion of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre (“WCC”) — request for extension, letter re (dated February 5, 2018) from David Loukidelis QC, to = the Hon. Tracy‑Anne McPhee, Minister of Justice (McPhee)

&= nbsp;

34-2-3= 3

Whiteh= orse Correctional Centre Inspection — request for extension, letter re (dated February = 19, 2018) from the Hon. Tracy-Anne McPhee, Minister of Justice, to David Lo= ukidelis, QC (McPhee)

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