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Yukon Legislative Assembly=

Whitehorse, Yukon

Wednesday, March 7, 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

Daily Routine

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

Tribut= es.

TRIBUTES

In recognition of Pacific Northwest Group peewee hockey team

Mr. Gallina: I rise today to pay tribute to the Pacific Northwest Group peewee hockey team, coaches Mike Nemeth, Pat Tobler and Kirk Price, and the many volunteers and parents who supported this team as they strive toward the Chevrolet Good De= eds Cup.

I see = a number of visitors in the gallery here today and I will take time after tributes duri= ng Introduction of Visitors to introduce these folks to members.

The Go= od Deeds Cup is a national contest in which peewee hockey teams compete from across = the country for the best season both on and off the ice. To enter the contest, teams performed various good deeds around their communities, documented the= se good deeds on film, and then shared those videos online. In Whitehorse, the= PNW Group peewee team volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, the Whitehorse Food Bank, and Share the Spirit, they sang at a local nursing home, they shovell= ed driveways, walked dogs, and played a hockey game in honour of Movember.

These = hockey players were documented by local videographers Stephen Anderson-Lindsay and Aaron Alton and featured Gurdeep Pandher, who combined hockey and Bhangra dancing in a short video. This video has been seen over 150,000 times.

This Y= ukon-made video was submitted to Chevrolet Canada and Hockey Canada for consideration= in the contest. The PNW Group peewee hockey team worked very hard serving the community in their quest to reach the cup. As a result of their hard work, = the team became semi-finalists and were awarded a cash prize of $2,000, which w= as matched by the PNW Group and donated to the Whitehorse Food Bank for a tota= l of $4,000.

This s= upport toward the Whitehorse Food Bank is substantial as the food bank is a community-based organization that provides emergency food to people in need, distributing food hampers to 1,300 people each month. The volunteer coaching staff of this team, parents and supporters, give tirelessly to these childr= en, helping to raise Yukon athletes and our future community leaders.

In the= gallery today, I see coaches Mike Nemeth, Pat Tobler and Kirk Price. Thank you, gentlemen, for your continued contribution to Yukon’s children and to= our community.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, I would also like to highlight the importance of the support from local community sponsors and, in this case, the PNW Group, which sponsors this pe= ewee hockey team. The PNW Group is a locally owned and operated Yukon business w= ith a history of over 50 years in the territory. It is this support from Yukon businesses that provides ongoing opportunities to community organizations a= nd our youth in sport, arts and cultural activities. It is this continued commitment from the business community that sets the Yukon apart and provid= es healthy environments for Yukon children to thrive.

In clo= sing, Mr. Speaker, as I was preparing this tribute, it was evident to me that this competition required the type of cooperation, volunteer spirit and drive that Yukoners = are known for. I am honoured to stand here today to congratulate all of those involved for a job well done.

Applause

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Ms. Van Bibber: I am pleased to rise today on behalf of the Yukon Party Offici= al Opposition to congratulate our very own Whitehorse PNW Group peewee house league team. The congratulations are for making it to the semi-finals of the Chevrolet and Hockey Canada’s Good Deeds Cup. Out of 134 teams, they = made it to the top 10.

This i= s the second season for the program, and teams are encouraged to perform one good deed in their community that would have a huge impact. Our players went abo= ve and beyond in their service to our community. They did not just do one deed — and I am going to repeat here, but it bears repeating: They volunte= ered for Habitat for Humanity, the Whitehorse Food Bank, Share the Spirit, shove= lled driveways and walked dogs in the community, sang for seniors and played a special game during the Movember campaign.

For th= eir dedication to our community and making it to the semi-finals, our players w= ere awarded $2,000, to be donated to the Whitehorse Food Bank. We are so proud = of this peewee group. Not only did their hard work and volunteering benefit our community but the recognition of that effort also translated to a financial donation for those in need.

This i= s a true teaching exercise for these young people to not only learn about volunteeri= ng, but to learn about the greater community in which we all reside. You showed= our community a true sense of spirit and set the bar pretty high for other grou= ps, so thank you for all you do. I am sure your goals will be even bigger for t= his season’s competition. Hats off to you for the good work — coach Mike Nemeth and all of the team. Thank you very much.

Applause

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Ms. White: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to add the voices of the Yukon NDP in congratulations to the PNW group peewee hockey team and the Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup. We’ve heard a bunch already, so I thought I would go strai= ght to the source. Mike Nemeth has been involved with minor hockey for seven seasons where he initially started out by helping other coaches, and he and= Pat have been coaching together for the past three seasons.

It may= have been Mike who made the initial suggestion to go for the Good Deeds Cup, but it w= as with the help and the passion of his team and their hockey community and the community at large that got them into the top 10. He wrote this beautiful t= hank you letter when he learned that they didn’t quite make the top three,= so I’m just going to read this letter:

“= ;Hello everyone,

“= ;PNW Group Peewee Hockey Team did not make the final round for the Good Deeds Cup. A l= ot of hard work went into our run but we also had a lot of help.

“= ;Thanks to Pat Hougen, Robert Mooney and the Canadian Rangers for having us help at the Habitat for Humanity site. Thanks to Tristan and the Food Bank Society of Whitehorse for finding things for a whole hockey team to do and then puttin= g us to work. Thanks to Jill Murdoch and the Residents of Copper Ridge Place for putting up with my singing. We wouldn’t be here without the expertise= and the many, many hours contributed to this project by photographer Stephen An= derson-Lindsay. Thanks to Gurdeep Singh Pandher for reaching out, making Bhangra stars out = of the team and bringing our community closer together. Thanks to all the team parents who brought their kids to these additional events and who helped wi= th the Good Deeds. Also, thanks for being so open minded and enthusiastic about this contest!

“= ;Thank you to the most amazing sponsor of minor hockey: PNW Group. You have been 100% behind us the whole way! Ensuring the kids were dressed right for Ottawa, donating commercial space on the radio and doubling our donation to the Food Bank. The kids and I are very proud to wear your logo on our chests!

“= ;I personally would like to thank Pat Tobler, one of the best hockey coaches Whitehorse has. Our team undoubtedly would not have been as competitive on = the ice this year without Pat. He is also the reason why Whitehorse has a girls only ice time. If it weren’t for him, my daughter might not be playing hockey. Pat is a coach that I strive to be more like.

“= ;Lastly, thank you Yukon and beyond for your enthusiasm and support for PNW and the = Good Deeds Cup. What an amazing contest! Myself and the kids learned so much. It= has also connected me to so many more people in our amazing community. We’= ;ll be back next year with an even better video!

 “To this date, PNW Peewee tea= m has performed 115 individual Good Deeds in our community. This is anything from walking a neighbour’s dog to joining us at the Food Bank or dancing Bhangra. These kids have worked hard. I am very proud of them as I’m = sure you are as well!

“= ;Keep doing good!”

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, if there’s anything to learn in this, it’s that we should keep doing good deeds every day, all year around. Congratulations on your accomplishments.

Applause

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Speaker: Int= roduction of visitors.

Introduction of Visitors

Mr. Gallina: I would first like to welcome His Worship Mayor Dan Curtis, and Linda Rapp fr= om the city. From the PNW Group hockey team, Carter Price, Brooke Tobler, Bryn Studney-Amos, Beau Yurchak-Lovelace, Benjamin Crill, Rex Nat= tress, Rogan Parry, James Nemeth, William Oestreich, William Kerr, Cassandra Cebuliak, Kaleb Parry, Keelan Robins, Zoralena Martin and Kieran = Mooney, and the parents who have joined today. I would also like to recognize: Mike Nemeth, Kirk Price and Pat Tobler, coaches; with the PNW group, Sheldon Kin= g; Tristan Newsome and Mike Thomas from the Whitehorse Food Bank are here today; and Gurdeep Pandher, with the Bhangra dance and video that he helped= to create — welcome.

Applause

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Ms. White: I would like to ask my colleagues to join me in welcoming and congratulating Yukoners Concerned. They have just released a brochure today that talks abo= ut renewable energy in the Yukon, so JP Pinard, Sally Wright, Don Roberts, Marguerite Roberts — thank you so much for being here.

On a s= ide note, many of those people sat through my entire first five years in the Legislat= ive Assembly. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Applause

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Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I would like to recognize three constituents this afternoon. T= hey have already been introduced — some of them have — but I’= ll add my voice to that recognition: Kaleb and Rogan Parry and Nikki Parry are here today from my riding. I would like you to welcome them and I would also like to welcome my former colleague — a talented photographer and the publisher of the Yukon News, Mi= ke Thomas, whom I have known for damn near 30 years.

Applause

 

Hon. Ms. Dendys: I rise today in the House to recognize Gina Nagano. I recogniz= e her today specifically as the most committed auntie in the Yukon, maybe. She is here supporting her wonderful and amazing nephew, William, and she is such a supporter of all of her nieces and nephews, and I really want to recognize = that today. Thank you so much for coming, Gina.

Applause

 

Ms. Hanson: I also would like to welcome to the House today Francis Van Kessel, a member = of the Teslin Tlingit Council — I think executive, whatever, one of the clans, and I can never say which one it is — and an active member of = the community involved in the Yukon Association for Community Living. We have m= ade reference in various tributes to Tristan Newsome from the Whitehorse Food B= ank and we should also welcome him here.

Applause

 

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I would also like the Assembly today to give a warm welcome to= some of my constituents whom I have the honour to represent here: first, Mr.&nbs= p;Mike Thomas, who was recognized earlier; Mr. Kirk Price, who is a coach with the team as well as Jordie and Trudy Amos. So please — a warm welcome= for them today.

Applause

 

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I will ask all of my colleagues to help me welcome Annette King, the Child and Youth Advocate, here in the gallery today.

Applause

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Mr. Kent: Annette is joined by her husband Shayne — the King family, of course, are long-time owners of the PNW Group. I would also like to recognize a friend = of mine, Mark Kelly, who plays a very important role in young William KerrR= 17;s life. Thank you for all that you do as well, Mark. Thanks very much.=

Applause

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Speaker: Are= there any further introductions of visitors?

Are th= ere any 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. 16: Technical Amendments Act, 2018 = — Introduction and First Reading

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I move that Bill No. 16, entitled Technical Amendments Act, 2018, be now introduced and read a fi= rst time.

Speaker: It = has been moved by the Minister of Justice that Bill No. 16, entitled Technical Amendments Act, 2018, be now introduced and read a first time.

Motion for introduction and first reading of Bil= l No. 16 agreed to

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Speaker: Are= there any further bills for introduction?

Notice= s of motions.

Notices of Motions

Mr. Cathers: I rise to give notice of the following motion:

THAT t= his House urges the Yukon Liberal government to live up to its campaign commitments by being open and transparent with the public about the details of the planned Liberal carbon tax scheme.

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Ms. Hanson:&#= 8195;I rise to give notice of the following motion:

THAT t= his House urges the Premier to:

(1) ex= plain his statement made during the March 6, 2018 Question Period asserting knowledge= of the author of an access-to-information request, contrary to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act which protects the identity of individuals filing ATIPP requests;

(2) co= nfirm whether or not his government respects privacy provisions of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act; and

(3) ap= ologize to the staff of the ATIPP office for implying that they have breached the priv= acy of individuals filing ATIPP requests.

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Mr. Hutton: I rise to give notice of the following motion:

THAT t= his House supports the recently completed agreement with the First Nation of Na Cho Nyäk Dun regarding the ATAC road.

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Speaker: Are= there any further notices of motions?

Is the= re a statement by a minister?

Ministerial Statement

ATAC road

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to s= peak to how our positive working relationship with First Nation governments is setting a strong course for the development of Yukon’s economy and for the benefit of our communities throughout the territory.

As ann= ounced earlier this week, the Government of Yukon and the First Nation of Na Cho Nyäk Dun have reached an agreement and issued a joint Yukon Environmen= tal and Socio-economic Assessment Board decision document that may lead to the construction of an all-season tote road by ATAC Resources to access their mineral exploration site north of Mayo.

When t= he tote road was proposed, the First Nation of Na Cho Nyäk Dun voiced concerns with this type of project moving forward without a land use plan in place to guide future development. We also heard concerns about opening up access to valued hunting, fishing and trapping areas and about the permanent legacy that such a road would leave in this important area. With this proje= ct proposed to occur on settlement and non-settlement land, we engaged in collaborative discussions with the First Nation of Na Cho Nyä= ;k Dun to develop solutions to these concerns. We have listened to those conce= rns and acted on them.

The ag= reement came into effect when our two governments issued a joint YESAA decision document for the proposed project last Friday afternoon. It outlines how our governments will continue to work together in overseeing the project during= the regulatory and implementation phases. Over a two-year period, this committee will create a land use plan for a portion of the Stewart River watershed and work is already underway to get this process started. This plan will aim to provide for responsible development in the planning area while protecting t= he lands, waters and wildlife.

ATAC R= esources supports this agreement and understands the importance of strong relationsh= ips with First Nation governments. ATAC will also work with our government and = the First Nation of Na Cho Nyäk Dun to develop a road access management pl= an for the proposed road.

The ag= reement also ensures that the land will be fully reclaimed after the road has served its purpose. To ensure the land use planning process is efficient and compl= eted in a timely way, we also agreed to provide the First Nation the necessary resources to participate in this process.

I am v= ery pleased that our governments are able to work together to provide economic = and social benefits to the First Nation and to the community of Mayo while minimizing the effects on the environment that the First Nation will rely on for generations to come.

I woul= d like to thank my colleague, Minister Frost, for her assistance and guidance through= out this process, as well as Chief Mervyn and council members of the First Nati= on of Na Cho Nyäk Dun and to the staff of the Yukon government who h= ave worked diligently throughout this process.

As I m= entioned yesterday during Question Period, I am eager to hear and to have the opposi= tion — both opposition parties — on the record with how they feel ab= out this agreement and this new way forward.

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Mr. Kent: I’m pleased to respond to this ministerial statement as the Yukon Party Official Opposition critic for Energy, Mines and Resources.

Let me= start by saying that the Yukon Party, of course, remains committed to responsible economic and resource development opportunities in the Yukon. When the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board, or YESAB, first put forw= ard their recommendation that this project proceed last May, the minister and I= had conversations about it in the House as I knew it would be a difficult file = for him and his officials to navigate. The fact that it’s taken almost a = year to get to this agreement certainly proves that point.

Yester= day, during Question Period, I asked a series of questions about the agreement. Some we= re answered by the minister and unfortunately some were not. These are questio= ns that are coming into our offices from interested third parties and it is our responsibility to ask them so that we can provide them with answers.=

We loo= k forward to getting more details from the minister on some of these issues, such as: When will the committee be established and what is the makeup of that committee? What portion of the Stewart River watershed is being considered = for this plan? What other third party interests are potentially affected, such = as outfitters, wilderness tourism operators, placer miners and quartz claim holders? Will there be a staking ban implemented in this area at any time during the next two years? What will be the level of public and stakeholder engagement in developing this plan? When will the terms of reference and a = work plan be available that maps out how the committee will endeavour to meet the March 2020 deadline as established by the minister?

Some q= uestions remain about the process as well. The proponents, when they initially put forward this proposal, put in two separate routes for the tote road. One we= nt through Na Cho Nyäk Dun settlement land which, under the legislat= ion, made the First Nation of Na Cho Nyäk Dun a decision body and one did n= ot. I did ask the minister in the fall if the Na Cho Nyäk Dun was a decisi= on body regardless of which route was chosen and I look forward to an answer to that question that will provide certainty to other proponents who perhaps f= ind themselves in similar situations.

In con= clusion, I look forward to Energy, Mines and Resources’ Committee of the Whole appearance later this spring where we can dig deeper into what this plan entails and what effects it may have on other parties that are active on the land in that area of the Yukon.

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Ms. Hanson: I rise as the Leader of the Yukon New Democratic Party to respond to this statement.

In res= ponse to this new way forward, I must express some reservations. The minister has not provided any clarity with respect to the real issue at play here, which he = made a passing nod to — and that is the constitutionally mandated obligati= on to complete regional land use plans.

The mi= nister and this government owe it to all Yukoners to explain how this exercise will contribute to or facilitate fulfillment of that obligation. We fully unders= tand the concerns of the First Nation of Na Cho Nyäk Dun regarding this typ= e of project moving forward without a land use plan in place to guide future dev= elopment. We hope the minister, in his reply, will set out a firm timeline and commit= ment for the commencement of the regional land use plan required under chapter 1= 1 of the First Nation of Na Cho Nyä= k Dun Final Agreement and the degree to which the plan announced today will be incorporated.

There = are many questions — more questions than the brief time allotted for responses= to these types of statements allowed. For example, the minister says that the agreement also ensures that the land will be fully reclaimed after the road= has served its purpose, so it is important to know the criteria to be used to assess the fulfillment of this assurance. That will be key. We are keen to learn where they are set out and what form of assurance — that is, how much money is to be set aside is especially important, given the fact that = the plan contemplates quarries, the 46 creek and river crossings, and eight bridges.

The minister’s statement was silent on this; however, the media reports indicate there will also be compensation provided to trappers whose traplin= es are negatively impacted by activities in the area contemplated in the local land use plan for a portion of the Stewart River watershed. We look to the minister for confirmation of the compensation process to be followed for trappers whose livelihood may be affected. Can the minister confirm whether= the provisions of chapter 16 of the Fir= st Nation of Na Cho Nyäk Dun Final Agreement will be followed?=

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, we are becoming inured to the use by this government of ministerial stateme= nts to use this Assembly to re-announce press releases for matters that deserve= the full attention of and debate by all members of this Legislative Assembly. We look to a productive discussion on this important issue, the issues of regi= onal land use planning and development in the regions of this territory.<= /p>

 

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I would like to thank both of my colleagues for their questions. Those are appropriate and very important questions that have been tabled, and there i= s an obligation on behalf of my colleagues and myself to speak to those question= s, of course. Today, we are not all — probably 10 or 15 that I want to h= ave a chance to speak to, but I’m going to do my best to touch on some key ones from the Member for Copperbelt South as well as the Leader of the Third Party.

First = — just quickly — I would like to add that I think that Committee of the Whole, as the member opposite said, is going to be a great time to actually= get into a series of elements about the process and being able to touch upon so= me elements such as the committee makeup. Certainly we are more than happy to = go through this agreement with a fine-tooth comb. I think we owe that to both opposition parties, and we owe that to the Yukon people.

Some o= f the other items that were touched upon — the route, of course, as the mem= ber opposite had asked, is going through traditional territory, and that is the reason that Na Cho Nyäk Dun, as well as the Yukon government, are part of that decision process. Just for clarity, I know that was a ques= tion that the member opposite had asked.

As for= the questions from the Leader of the Third Party, we’re going to have many conversations about this. We’re committed to getting into conversatio= ns about where we go with regional land use planning. We’re undertaking = the Peel land use planning. We were waiting for the conclusion of the Supreme C= ourt case. We have met with the affected First Nations; we’re starting to = talk to industry as well, just making sure that we let them know where we are and what the process is for them to feed into the conversation.

Primar= ily, our work has to be done with the three affected nations. We have also taken an opportunity to meet in our Cabinet offices with the Yukon Land Use Planning= Council, something that had not happened in a very long time, as they told us.

WeR= 17;ll continue to work on that, and then the next stage, of course, is to look at= the Dawson region. That work is going to commence, but when you have an area su= ch as what we’re talking about today, understanding how long some of the regional land use planning has taken, it’s important to do some of the smaller planning work. It’s the same type of work that we’re go= ing to be undertaking in different regions of the Member for Lake Laberge’= ;s riding, where we have some planning to be done. This planning has been undertaken in a number of different areas, whether it’s local area planning or even what we see in municipalities.

This i= s key to that work, and I will stand behind it. I want to commend our staff at Energ= y, Mines and Resources for balancing these many things they’re doing. I think we’ll have an opportunity to speak to all of those items. Hopef= ully, I’ve shed a little bit of clarity today. We’ll talk about chapt= er 16 and what’s happening with the work concerning trappers as well.

What&#= 8217;s important today is that this is something to be celebrated. I truly hope th= at the opposition can put politics aside and take into consideration today that we’re using agreements that are in place. We’re doing this in a respectful manner.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Mr. Speaker, it’s really disheartening when the mem= ber of the Third Party continues to heckle like this.

I think we’ll have lots of time to talk about this, and hopefully we’ll have both parties get on the record, which we didn’t hear today, about how they really feel about this.

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Speaker: Thi= s then brings us to Question Period.

QUESTION PERIOD

Question re: Franco= phone high school

Mr. Kent: On November 23 last year, the Minister of Education told this House that the n= ew francophone school would be designed to accommodate 150 students. We asked = her if a school designed for 150 students would be large enough, and her respon= se was — and I quote: “… the projections that have been done= , or tried to be done, by the department and others involved in this project indicate that the 150 students will be adequate for a very long time to come.”

Howeve= r, according to the functional plan for the francophone school, they are expec= ting to have 172 students between the grades 7 to 12 by the year 2024. Can the minister explain why the projections done for the government’s functi= onal plan appear to contradict her comments in this House three short months ago= ?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: The projections with respect to the functional plan are just t= hat — they are projections. We have numbers based on the current enrollme= nt. Those numbers have been worked up with the Department of Education and with= the Commission scolaire francophone du Yukon. Our discussions have taken place = over many months.

With r= espect to the decision that has been made, the plan for 150 students is adequate. Some changes have been made to the conceptual design through conversations with = the CSFY. In fact, all parties have agreed that this is the right size of schoo= l, not only for the educational campus in Riverdale, but for the years to come= to serve the French first language students.

Mr. Kent: So again, the minister has stated that the school is being designed to house 1= 50 students. The functional plan estimates that student enrollment at this sch= ool will increase to 172 students only four years after construction is schedul= ed to be complete. For this reason, the functional plan recommended that the school be large enough for 200 students. In fact, in a CBC article in June 2017, it was again restated that the school would be designed for 200 stude= nts.

So aga= in, the exact wording of the functional plan is — and I quote: “A capac= ity of 200 students is a minimum and the design must incorporate elements that = will allow for future expansion.” So could the minister explain why the decision was made to reject this recommendation from the functional plan? <= /span>

Hon. Ms. McPhee: These decisions are not made — if I can say it this way — carved in stone. These are fluid decisions. They are conversations between the parties involved. They are based on the partnerships going forw= ard. The French first language secondary high school will be, at 150 students, adequate for the current population and the population going forward.

I note= that, with respect to the functional plan, those are primarily wishes at the time — best-case scenario — those kinds of figures. But by the same token — and I note, Mr. Speaker that it includes grade 7 student= s, who are not included in all of the other three high schools. So certainly t= here is some movement going forward, should we reach an exorbitant amount of students. Certainly a school built for 150 students could easily accommodate 172, were that to be the figure sometime in the future.

Mr. Kent: I guess one of the questions for the minister is: Wouldn’t that functio= nal plan provide the government with the evidence that they needed to base their decision on? That functional plan did set out and recommend that the school= be large enough for 200 students.

When t= he minister and the government were making a decision on the design and on the size of the school, did they receive options for a school that would house = 200 students and, if so, can the minister provide us with the cost for that opt= ion?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I can indicate that budget was a strong factor in the conversa= tions that we have had going forward with respect to finishing the conceptual des= ign in relation to this project. I can also confirm that currently, with respec= t to students between grades 7 and 12 in the French first language secondary program, there are 58. Eighteen of those students are in grade 7. As a resu= lt, should that be restricted going forward, we’re talking about currentl= y 40 students going from the current French first language school to the French = high school.

We, of= course, recognize that there are some students who are currently enrolled who would= be French first language students and rights holders at F.H. Collins, and they= may transfer over to the French high school, but those numbers continue to be fluid.

Question re: YESAA process

Mr. Kent:Q= 95;Later today, we will be given the opportunity to debate Motion No. 233, which was brought forward by the Member for Porter Creek Centre. This motion is asking the House to support the construction of the new francophone high school in Riverdale. However, the project in this particular location is currently be= ing assessed by the YESA board. Does the Minister of Education believe that it = is appropriate to ask members of this Legislature to interfere in an ongoing Y= ESAB assessment?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: When the first version of F.H Collins was presented to this community by the then-Minister of Education, who currently sits in this House, it is my understanding that the YESAB application had not even been presented — not even been made. As a result of that, the photo opportunities were taken, the announcements were made that F.H. Collins was going forward at that location and the design with respect to how that would happen without even = an application being made to YESAB. YESAA is an important process with respect= to this matter. The departments have put forward an appropriate submission to = them and we await their answer.

Mr. Kent:Q= 95;The minister is incorrect in her assertion that the Minister of Education at the time of that announcement is in this House, but I will move on.

I did = not get an answer to anything with respect to interfering in the ongoing YESAA assessm= ent, so I will take us back to last fall. The Member for Takhini-Kopper King bro= ught forward Motion No. 169 on a private members’ Wednesday asking the government to make a decision on the Division and Corduroy coal exploration project. The Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources said at the time that injecting himself into the assessment process before the work was completed= was — and I quote: “really disrespecting the government process.= 221; So why is it now okay for the government to ask the House to vote and inter= fere with an ongoing assessment process when it was not okay in the fall? Perhaps the minister can tell us what has changed?

Hon. Mr. Silver: Yes, the specific minister at that time may not be in the building right now, but they did switch around a lot, so it was hard to keep track of which one was which.

I will= talk specifically about the design office — the YESAA review — as th= is comes out of my office. The YESAB designated office issued an information request= on February 22 regarding alternatives to the project. As the proponent, YG is developing a response. We support strongly an environmental and socio-econo= mic assessment process that upholds the principles of independence, fairness and transparency as laid out in the YESAA legislation.

Mr. Kent:Q= 95;Contrary to what the Premier just said about respecting independence, fairness and transparency, he has to understand that this project is still under assessm= ent. It has not been completed. There has not been a recommendation sent to the decision body which, of course, will be the government. In the fall, the government said that it would disrespect the YESAA process to vote on a mot= ion regarding a project currently before the assessor. The Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources stood in this House and said just that. Today’s situation seems somewhat similar. Will the minister, or the Premier, ask her colleague from Porter Creek Centre to either adjourn debate or seek unanimo= us consent of the House to stand down on this motion until after the YESAA pro= cess has finished?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I’m pretty sure that the member opposite is not suggesti= ng that a YESAB application could go in without indicating a location for the building. So indicating a chosen location for that building or for any other project is a required portion of the YESAB application. As a result, of cou= rse, the application has to go forward indicating where that building is planned. I’m pretty sure he’s not indicating that this is prejudging the situation.

Question re: Affordable housing

Ms. White: Yukoners from all walks of life are struggling in Yukon’s housing market. Young families can’t afford a down payment with rising real estate values, minimum wage workers can’t afford rent with most one bedroom apartmen= ts going for over $1,000 a month and seniors are spending months or years on Y= ukon housing wait-lists. Regardless of these hardships, this government doesn’t seem to be in any rush to take action. In fact, the vast majo= rity of the money announced for affordable or social housing projects in this re= cent budget is entirely recoverable from Ottawa. This means that Yukon is actual= ly allocating a mere $3.6 million of its own money to address the afforda= ble housing crisis that our territory faces again.

Can th= e minister tell Yukoners how many affordable housing units will be created with the 20= 18 budget?

Hon. Ms. Frost: I would be happy to respond to the question with respect to our government’s commitment to address affordable housing. The objective = of the budget that you see before you really reflects that. It provides an opportunity to create and promote partnerships within Yukon to form the partnerships to build affordable housing.

I think we’ve realized quite early on that we’re in a major crisis. We recognize that and we’re working with our partners to address that. T= he resources in the budget will allow for that to happen.

Ms. White: What I was really looking for was a number of units. Budget documents show that = the entire cost of the Housing First project and the seniors housing project in Carmacks are coming straight from Ottawa. This government can announce and re-announce those projects as many times as they want. Ultimately, when bui= lt, it should be a Government of Canada logo on the front of the building becau= se that’s who is footing the bill.

As of = last September, there are over 200 people on the government’s seniors or social housing wait-list. We meet many of these people at our offices every week. Some are families, some are homeless and some have full-time jobs. Th= is affects everyone. This government talks about measuring its performance. We= ll, if the number of people on Yukon Housing wait-lists is a performance indica= tor, this government would be getting a failing grade on this file.

How wi= ll the minister reduce the number of people on the current Yukon Housing wait-list= and by how many?

Hon. Ms. Frost: I wish I could give the very specific numbers on how many people. At this poi= nt, what I can say is that we are committed to improving affordable housing opt= ions in the Yukon and the 2018 budget takes that into consideration. We have invested $6 million to address affordable housing. We have implemented= and we are proceeding with the housing action plan, which Yukoners and NGO grou= ps and our partners finalized — signatures and proceeding with implementation now.

The implementation of that is defined in this budget. We are working with membe= rs of our community and our business partners to address the challenges. We mo= st definitely recognize them. I think I made mention last year that we spent o= ver $700,000 to accommodate members of our community in hotel rooms. That has b= een historic. Our objective is to address that and eliminate that.

Ms. White: Wouldn’t it be delightful if people didn’t have to live in hotel rooms? If the government won’t build affordable housing itself, it could still help reduce housing wait-lists through other programs. The Vimy Heritage Housing Society has been seeking, for years, government support to build independent supported housing for seniors who can afford it. A project like this would = see some seniors able to move out of Yukon Housing units or off wait-lists, creating openings for others.

Yukon = Housing Corporation’s rent supplement program could also help. It allows those approved for social housing to find private accommodation. Yukon Housing Corporation then pays the difference between what the tenant can afford and= the market cost of the unit, but this program is tapped out and most people on = the wait-list can’t access it.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, will this government take immediate action to assist the more than 200 peop= le on the Yukon Housing Corporation wait-list by supporting the Vimy project a= nd by increasing the rent supplement program?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I’m just glad that we have an opportunity to talk about = Vimy today. I appreciate the question on the Vimy project. First of all, the Vimy general meeting is about to take place this month. I believe it’s on March 20. I could be wrong, but I’ll make sure I bring that back to t= he Legislative Assembly. It has absolutely been a pleasure to work with Vimy on coming up with a strategy.

What w= e have seen, really, is that our predecessors really had done absolutely no work on the Vimy file. There were a lot of false words made, but really no work. It’s interesting to see how they rally behind Vimy now, but really, it was all false words. What we’re doing right now with Vimy is, we̵= 7;re putting some funds in place so we can take the plan that was previously done and update that plan. We have a series of other options that we’re working on with them. I’m working with my colleague as well to come up with solutions for them. Certainly, it is a pleasure to actually be speakin= g at their general meeting this year.

So we&= #8217;re happy to be working with them. They need a little more support to update th= eir plan and make sure it’s a feasible plan and that they have the right government structures in place. But I really appreciate the work of all of those volunteers and look forward to bringing a plan forward after a lot of false words.

Question re: Mental health services

Ms. McLeod: I have heard concerns from parents and others in Watson Lake about the lack of mental health supports in the classroom — specifically, I have heard = that there are not enough resources being provided to school staff to support the students. Can the Minister of Education tell this House what mental health supports are available to rural Yukon schools and specifically to Watson La= ke?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I had an opportunity to speak about this a little bit yesterda= y in my conversation with the Member for Copperbelt South regarding the suppleme= ntary budget with respect to Education.

The Go= vernment of Yukon provides a range of supports and resources to access the learning needs of students. These include mental health services and educational assistance, and these are just one way, in several resources, that a school= can access supports for students. In addition to that, we have psychologists on staff at the Department of Education. There are speech pathologists. There = are other professionals with respect to providing services in schools, and those are accessed through the school group that makes recommendations to the Stu= dent Support Services in the Department of Education.

 Clearly, it is critical that no stu= dent who requires these kinds of services is ever left without to access to those resources.

Ms. McLeod: Not really the answer to the question that I asked. Mr. Speaker, last fall= , my colleague from Porter Creek North asked the minister about the wait times f= or students to receive mental health supports, and the minister responded and stated that it varied from school to school and community to community.

So are= there Student Support Services staff located in the communities outside of Whitehorse? Can the Minister of Education tell us what the wait time is for= a student in Watson Lake to receive mental health support, and is it higher or lower than the wait time for a school in Whitehorse?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Unfortunately, the Member from Watson Lake regularly says her questions aren’t being answered, and I guess I would like to point out that just because she doesn’t like the answer I give, it doesn’t mean I’m not giving one.

There = are supports for students, which include counsellors, teachers, learning and teacher assistants, school administrators, and the Department of Education branch staff, including education support workers and community education liaisons. They are accessed by school teams making recommendations to those professionals to provide service in the schools.

In ans= wer to the questions from her colleague yesterday with respect to the assessments R= 12; first of all, I should say that assessments are not required for access to every one of those services, so obviously case-by-case is absolutely critic= al.

In ans= wer to the question from her colleague yesterday, we are attempting to get the service standard for those assessments to be completed within four weeks of them be= ing referred.

Ms. McLeod: Parents and others have made it very clear to me that Watson Lake needs dedicated mental health support services at the school. I am going to assume that the minister hears similar messages from other rural schools.

Will t= he Minister of Education commit to reviewing mental health supports for rural Yukon schools to ensure that they are receiving the same service as Whiteho= rse schools, and, in the meantime, will the minister commit to providing a dedicated mental health support worker at the Watson Lake school?

Hon. Ms. Frost: I am very happy to respond to the question from the Member from Watson Lake.

The su= pports that are in Watson Lake right now — I’m happy to report that, in the next week, the community of Watson Lake is opening up its mental wellne= ss hub. In that hub, the objective is to provide specialized services and supp= orts to the community of Watson Lake. So we will be in Watson Lake, meeting with= the mayor and council, meeting with the Liard First Nation and community member= s at large.

We hav= e the hub fully staffed and the community will hopefully welcome that opportunity and easy access to the supported specialized services that are required. As the member opposite mentioned, obviously the youth are really important. They a= re important to us. They are important to all of our communities, and the hubs will provide that very specific, timely supports that the communities deem = are essential and necessary, and we absolutely agree. In all of the four hubs that are created in the Yukon, you will find a youth support that is identified.

Question re: Traffic safety at schools

Ms. Van Bibber: Mr. Speaker, on November 23, I asked the minister about s= ome big safety concerns that I had heard from parents and school councils at bo= th Jack Hulland and Elijah Smith schools. There is a huge issue with the school drop-off areas and how traffic is managed, especially around the traffic ci= rcle on Hamilton Boulevard, and there not being controlled crosswalks. This is unfortunately creating a dangerous situation for our students. In fact, one parent even told me that it’s not a matter of “if” a chil= d is going to get hit; it is “when”.

When I= asked the minister about this, her response was — and I quote: “I canR= 17;t say too much about it, Mr. Chair, but conversations are happening with= the City of Whitehorse, again with the idea of bringing a number of resolutions= to this issue or to this problem.”

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, can the minister please tell me what her government is doing to specifically address the traffic safety issues at both Jack Hulland and Elijah Smith Elementary?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I very much appreciate the question. I can tell the member opposite what the government is doing with respect to these issues. We have recently written = to each and every school council in the territory — not just in the City= of Whitehorse — and asked them to express to the department their specif= ic concerns with respect to traffic issues, traffic safety issues in and around their school. The purpose of that will be for us to determine how to resolve those issues through partnerships across the territory.

Ms. Van Bibber: That is great to hear — now if the minister could provid= e me with a timeline as to when these issues at Jack Hulland and Elijah Smith wi= ll be addressed.

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I would thank the Minister of Education for this undertaking. I think it is key to identify not just some of the safety concerns within the= City of Whitehorse, but certainly in all of our communities. I want to thank the Member for Porter Creek North for bringing this forward. We have had dialog= ue on this topic. It is of great concern. Both of us in our attendance at Jack Hulland School council meetings — as well as I want to thank the pare= nts who have met me on early mornings to actually watch and observe what is happening.

Part o= f the challenge, of course, is that there is crosswalk infrastructure in place. T= he City of Whitehorse has done analyses with their traffic committees but there are still concerns from the parents.

In our= roles, whether it be the Member for Porter Creek North or me, or the Member for Po= rter Creek Centre, or even the Member for Mountainview when it comes to Elijah S= mith, we still have a role to play to continue to inform and bring forward to the City of Whitehorse our concerns.

We res= pect the fact that there are traffic studies that have been completed, yet the paren= ts still have concerns. In some cases, we don’t have flashing-light syst= ems and in the wintertime, those crosswalks are covered over. It’s someth= ing with the school councils as well. I commend them on continuing to inform the parents.

This is something we continue to work on, and there will be more to come on that, a= s we put strategies forward in partnership with municipalities.

Question re: School bus service

Mr. Cathers: In October, I wrote to the Minister of Education on behalf of constituents in = the new Grizzly Valley subdivision to request school bus service for their chil= dren this school year. Four months later, I received a reply from her indicating that school bus service will not be provided. The subdivision and its roads were designed, engineered and built by government. After construction, it w= as inspected and approved by government officials. The roads were intended to accommodate school buses.

The mi= nister now cites safety concerns based on an assessment by the bus contractor, Standar= d. The question is what the minister plans to do to fix this problem. The seco= nd access road into new Grizzly Valley is closed, waiting for repairs. Has the minister looked into whether fixing the second access will allow school bus service to be provided to residents of new Grizzly Valley?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I appreciate the question. The member opposite is correct — it took some time to sort out what the concern is with respect to this situation —= but I can assure this House and all Yukoners that the safety of children and the safety of children on school buses is absolutely paramount. The information that we currently have is that it is not a safe grade for school buses to travel up that road.

What h= e has neglected to mention is that the last part of my letter indicated that we a= re more than prepared to work with parents to resolve the issue, if possible — whether that requires some sort of additional transportation or some funding with respect to addressing the issues they may have in getting their children to the bottom of that hill so they can get on a school bus.=

Mr. Cathers: If the minister is talking about other transportation options, it’s actu= ally something she did not mention in her letter.

The Mi= nister of Education doesn’t seem to appreciate how important this issue is to families who are affected by it, or that four months is a big part of the school year. The subdivision was designed and engineered with the intention= of having school bus service. People who bought land did so with the expectati= on that school bus service would be provided once there was a need for it.

The la= ck of school bus service is already negatively impacting people who have to reduce their hours at work to drive their kids.

My que= stion for the minister is quite simple: What steps does the government plan to take to fix the problem? Will repairing the second access into Grizzly Valley allow school bus service to be provided? If not, does the government plan to refu= nd a portion of the cost that people have paid for the lots to compensate them f= or any negative effect on property values because of not being able to get sch= ool bus service?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Very rich — what we’re hearing across the way. The= importance of ensuring that there’s school bus access to the students of Yukon is paramount. I owe it to my colleague, who has really pressed me to ensure th= at we come up with some good information, and I’m still working to ensur= e we have a path forward.

Part o= f the problem is — and I watched one of the individuals from across the way say, “It’s a mess.” It sure has been a mess. Let us go ba= ck in history a little bit. This is a process where the original subdivision w= here my friend across the way was a huge champion — who is asking questions — a huge champion of this. In the last year and a half, we have this legacy project where at one point in our department, we did not know if we needed to subdivide so we could sell more lots just to come up with revenue= to fix the problems that we inherited so that we could move this project forwa= rd. Certainly, whether it is the cost overruns on the original project, the sco= pe change, change orders, the national news on the moose highway or many other things that came out of this project, we are still working to clean this up — not to also mention that the member opposite presses us from time to time on what communication infrastructure we also should have in place, whi= ch also was not taken into consideration at the time.

We wil= l continue to work to clean this up. I will continue to work with my colleague. I am s= orry that we do not have everything in place yet, but we are trying to address m= any things that have been left to us.

Mr. Cathers:&= #8195;Well, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources is indebted to his imagination = for his facts. The minister can try to point the finger and play the blame game= . The simple fact is this: the new Grizzly Valley subdivision was designed and engineered by government staff with the intention of having school bus serv= ice. If there was an unanticipated problem with the design, it is up to governme= nt to take appropriate steps to find the solution. For a government that likes= to use a talking point about a people-centred approach, it is time for the Min= ister of Education and the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources to understand = the importance of this issue to families and take steps to find a solution.

Again,= two simple questions: Will repairing the second access into Grizzly Valley allo= w a school bus to be provided? If so, when will the government take steps to fix the road? If not, does the government have a plan to refund a portion of the cost people have paid for these lots to compensate them for any negative af= fect on the property values of not being able to get school bus service?<= /p>

Hon. Mr. Silver: When it goes into the mode of having to redo things that were designed by the government, yes, these are extra costs. Again, we hear questions from the members opposite about the grade of a road that they bui= lt, and they are asking us now to solve those problems.

The go= od news is that with the whole-of-government approach on this side of the House, we are working in a coordinated fashion with Highways and Public Works, with Educa= tion and with the Minister responsible for Energy, Mines and Resources. They are coming up with solutions based upon engagement with stakeholders, and we wi= ll fix this mess.

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

Speaker’s statement

Speaker: Jus= t a gentle reminder to all members — and we are all capable of misspeaking ourselves, including the Chair today — but there is a developing consensus right now that the members are from somewhere. I do not think Yuk= on democracy is in danger by virtue of that, but a gentle reminder to everyone that you are members for your ridings.

It is = perhaps more intuitive or more logical to say that you are a member from somewhere — I understand why that is occurring. This is just a gentle reminder = that we are all members for our ridings.

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

Orders of the Day

Government Private Members’ Bu= siness

Motions other than Government Motion= s

Motion No. 229

Clerk: Motio= n No. 229, standing in the name of Mr. Adel.

Speaker: It = is moved by the Member for Copperbelt North:

THAT t= his House supports a five-year capital plan as a means of promoting transparency and predictability about the Yukon government's capital planning.

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Mr. Adel: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’m very happy to rise today to speak to this = motion because it addresses an important need in our territory. I look forward to hearing the thoughts of my colleagues here in the Legislative Assembly.

Just t= o set the context, I would like to return to the campaign of 2006 that saw our Liberal party elected to a majority government. Our campaign had a focus on good jo= bs in a sustainable environment, recognizing the need to balance economic diversification with environmental stewardship. We believe that a thriving = and prosperous economy should support innovators, visionaries and those capable= of expanding Yukon’s economic competitiveness and creating good jobs.

This r= esonated with Yukoners, especially Yukon businesses. Yukon businesses create jobs. W= ith a fair procurement process, Yukon businesses can compete and grow, creating more jobs. With more Yukon government spending staying in the territory, lo= cal businesses benefit. When local businesses benefit, all Yukoners benefit.

In sup= port of these ideas, we, Yukon Liberals, pledge to support Yukon business with a nu= mber of commitments. We committed to reducing the corporate tax from 15 to 12&nb= sp;percent. We delivered on that commitment. We committed to fast track the implementat= ion of the recommendations of the Procurement Advisory Panel report. We are delivering on that commitment. My colleague, the Minister of Highways and Public Works, is diligently working to improve the government’s procurement process for the benefit of all Yukoners and we are seeing great progress on this file after years of being set aside under former governmen= ts.

We hav= e also committed to increasing the transparency around the Yukon government capital planning by creating a detailed five-year capital plan — the subject = of this motion. I am proud to say that with the release of the 2018 -19 b= udget last week, we have delivered on that commitment. Beyond delivering on our commitment to Yukoners, the five-year capital plan supports one of our endu= ring priorities.

A dive= rse, growing economy provides good jobs for Yukoners in an environmentally respo= nsible way. It also supports our overarching commitment to providing Yukoners with open, transparent and accountable government. More importantly, the five-ye= ar capital plan responds to the needs of Yukoners, especially Yukon businesses= .

Consti= tuents have asked for a plan — a road map as it were — to help them see what the government has planned for the future in terms of their capital investments. The need for such a plan is clear — it helps Yukoners, including municipalities, First Nation governments and private sectors. It allows them to understand what to expect in the years to come and schedule existing work around upcoming projects so they dovetail together, align sta= ff and resources to plan to bid on upcoming projects, prepare those bids for u= pcoming government contracts and complete projects more efficiently and effectively= .

Yukone= rs have asked for this plan and our Liberal government has listened. Mr. Speak= er, this is the first-ever five-year capital plan released by a Yukon governmen= t. Beginning with this year’s budget, the Government of Yukon will relea= se a five-year capital plan as part of the annual budget process.

As I s= aid, this is part of our effort to provide Yukoners with open, transparent and accountable government after years to the contrary.

To com= plement our decision to incorporate the fiscal and economic outlook into the budget, which we started with last year’s budget, we continue to refine our budgeting process to make it more accurate and dependable for Yukoners, and= the five-year capital plan is an important part of that, focusing on — as= the title indicates — capital spending.

We hav= e heard the Official Opposition note that current numbers indicate that we will lap= se almost $30 million in capital expenditures. We will have to wait for t= he 2017 -18 actuals to know for sure, but assuming that it is true, we will have lapsed fewer capital dollars than each of the last five years under the Yukon Party government. The closest fiscal year was 2012-13, when the Yukon Party government lapsed nearly $40 million in capital, and that was the low mark. The following year, they lapsed over $84 million in capital, bef= ore hitting their high mark in 2014-15, when the Yukon Party government lapsed = over $100 million in capital — over $100 million. The next year, they lapsed $74 million, and then they lapsed nearly $60 million = the following year.

So I w= ould like to thank the Official Opposition for noticing that we lapsed fewer capital dollars than each of the last five years under the Yukon Party government, = and the addition of a five-year capital plan will improve our performance even further.

This f= ive-year plan is a tangible planning tool for Yukon First Nations, municipalities and the private sector that will reduce barriers to securing government contrac= ts. By signalling our long-term plans for capital investment in the territory, = the five-year plan helps to build trust, foster good working relationships and encourage partnerships at all levels of government to meet the highest prio= rity needs of Yukoners in all communities.

This p= lan is based on our best information about what capital projects we will need with= in the coming five years, but it is flexible and it will evolve over time. The five-year capital plan, as it has been stated before in this House, Mr.&nbs= p;Speaker, is a living document. We can revisit it again as we gain information and new ideas from all Yukoners, as we engage and continue dialogue with our partne= rs about their plans and priorities, and as new needs emerge over time and long-term priorities are identified.

The fi= ve-year plan allows us to be predictable, which helps First Nations, municipalities= and private sectors, as I’ve said before. But it is also flexible, so tha= t we can respond to the changes as they occur, and ensure that we meet the needs= of Yukoners.

When i= t comes down to it, our government is committed to providing key infrastructure, wh= ich is the foundation of a modern economy. Mr. Speaker, investing in infrastructure ensures the health and well-being of Yukon residents, while providing tools for growth in private sector investment.

We are= committed to investing in infrastructure to build capacity in our territory and grow = the Yukon’s economy. The five-year plan reflects our transparent decision-making and, like I said, it delivers on campaign commitments that = we made to Yukoners.

We are= proud to deliver on this commitment, and we’re excited to see the projects that are profiled in the plan get underway. As I said, the five-year capital pla= n is a living document. It is a first for the Yukon government. We will revisit = it as we hear back from Yukon First Nations, municipalities and local business= es about how it can be improved going forward.

Today,= I look forward to hearing from my colleagues and what they have to say about it.

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Mr. Cathers: In speaking to the motion here today, I would note that my colleagues and I do support the idea of releasing a five-year capital plan, but it’s worth noting that the so-called five-year capital plan released by the current government in the budget is missing a lot of details. Much as the budget itself, there are a lot of high-minded platitudes in the document and very little in terms of actual detail.

As we = heard yesterday, both we, the Official Opposition, and media noted the fact that = a road project that the Minister of Highways and Public Works claims is proceeding= and claims there is money in the budget to do is not mentioned in the five-year capital plan, nor in this year’s budget. This so-called living docume= nt is — again, the words sound great, but the devil is in the details — and in these details, there is not a lot of detail.

Our qu= estion again with this is if the government is actually committed to delivering in= a meaningful way on a platform commitment to release a five-year capital plan. Again, what was released in the current budget lists a mere handful of projects, does not provide great detail on them and leaves many projects and priorities of Yukoners unmentioned.

The go= vernment is patting itself on the back and declaring that they have accomplished the= ir mission, but for Yukon contractors, this is certainly not what they expected when they heard the government commit to a five-year capital plan. <= /p>

The me= mbers need to recognize the fact that contractors and employees of contractors who welcomed the government’s campaign commitment are disappointed with w= hat they saw on budget day. They heard there was going to be a five-year capital plan; they were expecting it to provide greater certainty for them and their families — clarity about what they or their employers would be biddin= g on in future years. In fact, they see large projects mentioned, and many of th= ose large projects were often, under the previous government, the types of proj= ects that would have been announced and in the public forum already. So people a= re asking what new information they have actually been given.

We hav= e also heard complaints from others, as well as us, who complain about the fact th= at government has actually stripped details from its budget that used to be released on budget day. The previous government typically released around 1= 1 or more pages of budget highlights specifically listing by department the major projects for each year. Yet in going through the budget, when we are lookin= g at road projects, such as in the Member for Pelly-Nisutlin’s riding R= 12; or in mine — we still do not know, because the government has not sha= red with us, whether projects that are important to our constituents are proceeding.

Again,= where in the current budget can my constituents find out whether the government is listening to them and adding a walkway on to the Takhini River bridge on the Mayo Road for pedestrians, cyclists, equestrians and others? Not only is it= a priority for my constituents, but it is one that I raised with the Premier early on in this mandate — I believe it was in January of 2017 — taking the Premier at his indication that the government would work in a collaborative manner with members of the Official Opposition and the Third Party when we bring forward priorities of our constituents. I identified on= e of the top priorities of my constituents and now, over a year later, we are st= ill waiting for an indication of whether government will proceed with this proj= ect or not. The budget itself and the five-year capital plan do not provide an answer for my constituents.

I coul= d go through a long list of priorities by community that are not identified in t= he capital plan. They include recreation projects such as in the Village of Carmacks. People there are waiting for clarity on what government is procee= ding with there. There are projects across the territory, including in municipalities, where municipalities are waiting for an indication from government on whether they are going to support and work with the municipal= ities in building new facilities for fire and EMS. Again, the budget does not ans= wer the questions and the five-year capital plan provides even less information= .

We sup= port the concept of a five-year capital plan, but considering that the current gover= nment plan included with the budget does not contain real or quantifiable details= and does not provide, as the Leader of the Third Party had referred to it, any measurable and quantifiable — I am forgetting her exact words, but the Leader of the Third Party has drawn attention to the fact that in government’s own performance plan, they have not laid out any real meaningful criteria by which it can measure and assess performance. The same applies to the five-year capital plan.

With t= hat in mind and in the interests of helping the government fulfill its campaign commitment to Yukoners, I would propose what hopefully will be a friendly amendment.

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Amendment proposed

Mr. Cathers: I move:

THAT M= otion No. 229 be amended by:

(1) af= ter the words “capital plan”, inserting the words “that contains = real and quantifiable details”; and

(2) af= ter the word “promoting”, inserting the words “certainty, accountability,”.

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Speaker: I h= ave had an opportunity to review the proposed amendment with Mr. Clerk and can advise that the amendment is in order as far as the proposed wording.

It has= been moved by the Member for Lake Laberge:

THAT M= otion No. 229 be amended by:

(1) af= ter the words “capital plan”, inserting the words “that contains = real and quantifiable details”; and

(2) af= ter the word “promoting”, inserting the words “certainty, accountability,”.

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The pr= oposed amended motion will read:

It is = moved by the Member for Copperbelt North:

THAT t= his House supports a five-year capital plan that contains real and quantifiable detai= ls as a means of promoting certainty, accountability, transparency and predictability about the Yukon government’s capital planning.<= /p>

Speaker: The= re is appetite for some members to speak to the amendment — yes?

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Speaker: Who= would like to speak to the amendment?

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Hon. Mr. Silver: I would like the opportunity, and the democratic process here,= to speak to the amendment put forth by the member opposite. I think we’re going to have to get into the urban dictionary and change the definition of “friendly”, but that’s a conversation for another time.

We do = appreciate the words crafted by the Yukon Party in this, but we believe the original motion, as it stands, is very succinct. We believe that there is more information now. When you’re talking about certainty and accountabili= ty — certainty is an interesting word. I think our plan is offering flexibility, which is really important. If we want to sit here and list all= of the adjectives that this five-year capital plan brings to the industry, we would be here all day.

To pin= point two specific words — much appreciated is the wordsmithing from the Member= for Lake Laberge. However, we’re hearing from industry that they are very happy with this five-year capital plan. I just had the privilege of doing a luncheon speech for the Chamber of Commerce, and I was approached by member= s of Northwestel — just for an example, Mr. Speaker — praising = the work of this plan. They gave me some anecdotal information as to why this i= s an important plan for Northwestel. Without knowing what Highways and Public Wo= rks is doing, other than on a year-to-year basis —

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Hon. Mr. Silver: The members opposite can have their opportunity to speak. Now they are trying to talk when I’m talking, which is funny, because they didn’t want= to have debate on this and now they’re talking when I’m talking.

What N= orthwestel told me — and I guess the members opposite don’t agree — = that by knowing what projects — not necessarily the dollar values, but whi= ch projects we are going to be moving forward on, they are going to save = millions of dollars. They have to move whenever projects are not coming down the pip= e at the right time, if they don’t know. I have been told this costs them&= nbsp;millions of dollars every time they have to make those moves.

What w= e had in the past from the Yukon Party were a lot of $1 marks for projects identifie= d, so I guess that a $1 mark in their sometimes-forecasted and sometimes-not-f= orecasted capital plans is somehow more information, according to the Yukon Party, th= an our plan for the five-year capital plan. I will respectfully disagree. I believe the industry asked for this. I believe the private sector is happy = with the progress that we have made.

Again,= this is a living, breathing document, Mr. Speaker. It will have the flexibility = to change as we move forward. It’s a first step, and we believe, from wh= at we have been hearing from the private sector on this pursuit, that it’= ;s a great first step and they are looking forward to engaging with us with this added information.

Now, w= e have heard from the Leader of the Third Party. She is not happy with enough information from the performance plans. We’re now hearing from the Yu= kon Party that they’re not happy with enough information from the five-ye= ar capital plan. We will continue to engage with the private sector, which see= ms happy with both and want to see more of this type of pursuit. We would encourage both members of the opposition parties to work with us in these pursuits. If they want to see more information on these, then work with us = on the five-year capital plan and work with us on the performance plans and ma= ke sure that, every time we get more information out to the general public, the information is more concise and works on a good plan, moving forward.

With a= ll due respect to the member opposite, we will not be supporting this amendment.

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Hon. Mr. Pillai: Once again I would like to thank the Member from Porter Creek = Centre for bringing this forward today. I think that — or from Copperbelt So= uth for bringing this —

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Sorry, from — three times lucky — for Copperbelt N= orth. Thank you, and I thank my friends from across the way today in assisting me= . I hope that with that same sort of approach to helping in the Legislative Assembly today, we are going to see their support to continue to work on th= is five-year capital plan, instead of challenging the good work that we have b= een able to do already and the good work of the officials.

Certai= nly what has really happened is that the leadership from the minsters involved has l= ed to a conversation where Highways and Public Works and other departments have come together to put together a five-year forecast, and we truly appreciate= the real work that has been done. The real work has been done by the officials.= The Official Opposition stood by the same officials who worked with them over t= he last number of years. The same officials came into this Legislative Assembly during budget debate and assisted them in speaking to the Yukon public and = to the opposition.

What w= e are trying to craft here is a better way forward — some of the work that I’ve done alongside the Leader of the Official Opposition in trying to ensure that Yukon businesses have appropriate opportunities — we have done that. We have put our perspective and our political views aside. I have had the opportunity for him to help me and to advise on different paths forward, and it has been appreciated. The result has been that Yukon busine= sses, in turn, get good opportunities, and that is really what this five-year bud= get is about.

The ga= mesmanship that I see here from the Member for Lake Laberge really comes down to putti= ng some words in play —

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Point of order

Speaker: The= Member for Lake Laberge, on a point of order.

Mr. Cathers: I believe the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources is actually in contravention of two points of order — Standing Order 19(b) and Stand= ing Order 19(g). Standing Order 19(g) is imputing unavowed motives to another member — specifically by using the word “gamesmanship” in reference to the amendment that I proposed, attempting to be constructive — and Standing Order 19(b) — he is speaking to matters other th= an the matter under discussion. He is talking about everything except the amendment.

Speaker’s ruling

Speaker: The Standing Order that refers to being on point with respect to speaking to am= endments is 35(b), I believe, and I am tending to agree with the Member for Lake Lab= erge that the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources could come around to the subject matter of the amendment.

I will= review the Blues further. I do not believe that Standing Order 19(g) has been contravened but, if necessary, I will return to the House for further clarification.

So Min= ister of Energy, Mines and Resources, please continue, but perhaps confine your comm= ents to the proposed amendment.

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Hon. Mr. Pillai: Once again, to my colleague, sorry. Thank you for that. For the Member for Copperbelt North and to the people of Copperbelt North, I apolog= ize in my challenging start to this conversation today.

Focusi= ng in on this amendment, the words that have been tabled — and I think I am go= ing to key in on two pieces: the insertion of the words “certainty”= and “accountability”. Taking into consideration that, under the previous processes, what we had in the planning process for the Yukon government was essentially a year-by-year capital planning process. =

I thin= k that for anyone who has worked, whether it be in the private sector or within public governments, taking a one-year process and extending it to a five-year proc= ess gives you both more certainty and more accountability. I think that the act= ual action of my colleagues and the work they’ve done provides us with bo= th of those things. I think it’s a bit of a stretch to then have to take= out “promoting” and move to put “certainty” and “= accountability” in place when I truly believe that we have the actual action of the five-ye= ar capital budget is hitting the mark on that.

The wo= rd “promoting” also is to ensure that — not only do we have a chance to strive for something new, but also that, from my interpretation, = it takes into consideration that this is a new process. It’s both —= ; I think “promoting” is an appropriate word. I think that the actu= al action itself takes into consideration certainty and accountability. I beli= eve that we’re hitting the mark there.

In the= first suggestion — which was after the words “capital plan”, inserting the words “that contains real and quantifiable details̶= 1; — the great part about the Legislative Assembly is that, through a disciplined and stringent process of discussing the capital plan, we do get= the opportunity to get those real details discussed, and quantifiable details. = So, actually, the actions of the Legislative Assembly trigger the ability to undertake that process. I think that the processes that we see within the Legislative Assembly and the actions of the capital budget both meet the ma= rk. It would be redundant for us to then in turn add the first or second suggestion, so therefore I think that this side of the House probably won’t be supporting this amendment because this is actually through t= he protocol and the processes of the Legislative Assembly. We already attain w= hat these words were meant to do though action versus just the added words from= the Member for Lake Laberge.

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Mr. Hassard:&= #8195;Mr. Speaker, it’s interesting that we hear from the Minister of Economic Developme= nt. He is saying that the opposition is challenging this motion and I tend to disagree. I think that the opposition is actually trying to help with the motion, not challenge it. I don’t think there is anyone who can argue= that people are opposed to accountability and certainty. It’s also rather interesting — this coming from a government that on numerous occasions have said how they support listening to good ideas, or they support listeni= ng to ideas from the opposition.

So her= e we have an example of adding accountability to a plan and the government feels that= it is not a good idea. It’s kind of an odd concept, I guess. Personally,= I think those are great things to have included in the motion. It’s certainly things such as these that I believe were sorely missed from the document that the government tabled last week. Even though we have said we agree with the concept of a five-year capital plan, I think that without ad= ding the words that the Member for Lake Laberge added in his amendment, it really makes this a five-year capital concept, which I think would be better wordi= ng than a five-year capital plan. We see nice graphs and nice tables and nice colours, but without any actual numbers or without any details, I think it&= #8217;s a little lacklustre.

People= look at a plan — they want to know what the project entails. They want to know = what the budget is for the plan and, probably just as important, they want to lo= ok at the document and know that they can count on it. The Premier talked about the flexibility of it. I think that it’s more important that people c= an look at it and have faith in it and know that what they’re reading is something that is actually concrete and not “fluid”, as the Minister of Highways and Public Works called it. I think that certainly lea= ves a lot of uncertainty in people’s minds.

I thin= k an example of that was the roadwork that we didn’t see between Faro and = Ross River. I mean the government said: “Here’s our five-year capital plan; this is our budget,” so Yukoners — myself included — just assumed that we can take the government’s word for it — you know, this is it. Yet when I asked the Minister of Highways and Public Works yesterday why there was no roadwork in this plan for the road between Faro = and Ross River, after refusing to answer the question, he then went ahead and talked to the local media and claims that there is a half‑million dol= lars hidden somewhere in this for design work for the road between Faro and Ross River.

It lea= ds back to my original discussion of having that accountability in that document ̵= 2; having the certainty, rather, in that document; having a fluid document. Th= ere might be a half‑million dollars there for Faro and Ross River, there might not be; it just depends on who asks the question of the day.

With t= he amendment the Member for Lake Laberge has proposed, it takes that uncertain= ty away. When people look at the document, they know what they’re really looking at, and when they ask a minister a question and he says yes, itR= 17;s there or no, it’s not, it’s not a question of whether he or she decides they may try to insert it somewhere else, if they get too much pres= sure from a certain group or individual — it appears and disappears.

Like I= said, I believe the amendment put forward by the Member for Lake Laberge takes that discretion away and adds some certainty to the motion.

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Ms. Hanson: I just want to indicate that, for quite different reasons, I disagree with the comments made by the members on the government side — the Finance minister and the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources — with respe= ct to their defence of the capital plan. Unfortunately, the only thing that sa= ves the motion, as originally put forward, and the reason why I can’t sup= port the amendment is that the motion speaks to the notion that this House suppo= rts “a” five-year capital plan. We have not been asked to support “the” five-year capital plan.

Simila= r to my comments yesterday regarding the difference between what a Finance minister tabled as a performance plan — we think that both a five-year capital plan and a performance plan are means of ensuring accountability, transpare= ncy and predictability if and when done with those measures in them.

Unfort= unately, in both of these, we don’t have that, so I’m looking forward to actually speaking to the notion of supporting “a” five-year cap= ital plan as a means of promoting transparency and predictability, because I certainly am not suggesting or endorsing either the performance plan piece = nor necessarily all elements of “the” capital plan.

So “a” is different from “the” — the important little difference of a word.

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Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>Just rising to speak a little bit to the amendment, I have been looking through and noting the member of the Third Party’s words on t= he article, whether it is “a” or “the”.

I appr= eciate the difference, but I am looking at what is listed in our budget as five-year capital plan — I will drop the article — and comparing it to the 2016-17 budget, which lists under, a tab called “Long Term Plan”= ;, the multi-year capital plan. I am looking underneath the plan as it exists right now that we have proposed. There are some definite numbers in here, a= nd they are in the first table. They talk about these envelopes of spending. T= hen we get to examples. The Leader of the Official Opposition — the Member for Pelly-Nisutlin — said he wanted to know specifically about a piec= e of road. This table says that these are select transportation projects. They a= re not exclusive of every project.

Yester= day in this Legislature, when there was a question by the Leader of the Official Opposition asking about the section of the Campbell Highway between Ross Ri= ver and Faro, I heard the Minister of Highways and Public Works give a direct response. That response said — and I quote: “I do want to retur= n to that” — referring to Ross River — “because it is an area of high interest, and I know that the members opposite ignored the pro= blem for five years. I mean, the members opposite didn’t do any work on th= e road from Faro to Ross River, and I’m happy to say that clearing and design work has started between kilometre 114 and kilometre 232 to the BMC access road, and also we are starting design work for the space between ‘Ross River and Faro. The people of Ross River are elated that we have actually started work on something that they have been asking for…” R= 12; I will end the quote there.

My poi= nt that I am trying to make here is that when — I guess the first point I am tr= ying to make is that actually there was a question asked and a question answered and, yes, the minister did go and speak to the media afterward; however, th= at is not how the answer came out. It was here in this Legislature.

The po= int I am trying to make is that in the plan as proposed by us and in the previous government’s plan, not every project is listed — not every proj= ect is listed. I counted up in their plan, and I counted 29 projects. There were lots of other pieces, and I will speak to that when I get to the main motio= n. In our plan, we listed over 60 projects that would be going this year ̵= 2; so not every project is listed. This is the point I want to get to. When I = go around and talk to municipalities in particular — but all communities — one of the things that they talk to me about is the ability to adju= st where they want to go in time if they reset priorities. What I am worried a= bout is if there is a sense that once it is written down once, we will never be going back to talk with our partners to understand whether their priorities= are refreshing or adjusting to deal with emerging situations.

As an = example: What if we wrote the five-year capital plan and we hadn’t had the dro= p of the Slims River, and then the drop of the Slims River happened and suddenly= we are trying to deal with a marina that has become high and dry? Would we say that we cannot adjust because we have certainty? We are not allowed to have flexibility. What I want to say here is that the plan is to give a clear direction of where things are going, while at the same time balancing that there will be emerging priorities, and we will continue to be in dialogue w= ith our partner municipalities and communities to discuss those.

So it&= #8217;s that worry — and it’s not just because of the debate that we ha= ve here today. It’s how we work out there around these things. I feel li= ke there is sort of “gotcha” politics. As soon as it’s said — okay, well, you didn’t say this. What I believe is that we sh= ould be striving to improve the situation for Yukoners. I appreciate that the Me= mber for Lake Laberge is proposing an amendment to do what he believes improves = this motion; however, my concern is that — in talking directly with municipalities — they want us to have an evergreen process around the infrastructure.

 

Speaker: Is = there further debate on the amendment?

Some Hon. Members: Division.

Division

Speaker: Div= ision has been called.

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Bells

 

Speaker: Mr.=  Clerk, please poll the House.

Hon. Mr. Silver: Disagree.

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Disagree.

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Disagree.

Hon. Ms. Dendys: Disagree.

Hon. Ms. Frost: Disagree.

Mr. Gallina: Disagree.

Mr. Adel: Disagree.

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: Disagree.

Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>Disagree.

Mr. Hutton: Disagree.

Mr. Kent: Agree.

Ms. Van Bibber: Agree.

Mr. Cathers: Agree.

Ms. McLeod: Agree.

Mr. Istchenko: Agree.

Ms. Hanson: Disagree.

Ms. White: Disagree.

Clerk: Mr.&n= bsp;Speaker, the results are five yea, 12 nay.

Speaker: The= nays have it. I declare the amendment negatived.

Amendment to Motion No. 229 negatived=

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Speaker: Is = there any further debate on the main motion?

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Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>I will try to adjust my comments based on the debate that we’ve just had.

To beg= in with, though, this was a commitment that we made to develop a five-year capital p= lan, and I think it is an important commitment and I am happy that we are moving forward on it, and I think it is important at all times to work with the be= st information available regarding the capital project projected needs, and I = am going to talk a little bit about that and why I want this to be a living pl= an and to see it adjust over time.

This p= lan signals our government’s priorities to allow Yukon businesses to prep= are for upcoming opportunities and projects and trends, and I am going to give = some examples. I am also going to talk, as I did a moment ago, about the flexibi= lity to respond to new information and priorities as they emerge in our municipalities, especially — but our communities and our territory.

I want= to thank both the Member for Lake Laberge and the Leader of the Official Opposition = for talking about being supportive in principle of a five-year plan, and the concept of a plan.

To rei= terate that when the plan was created, we had a real discussion about this — whether we should try to list every project — and the thing you came = up against right away is two challenges. The first one was that there are some really projects, and they get diminishingly small — and do you list t= hem all or do you list them over a certain size? The other one we had was ̵= 2; knowing that there are areas where things are dynamic, and so what we tried= to do was to give a strong sense of what was going on.

We loo= ked back at the multi-year capital plan that was listed in the 2016-17 budget by the members opposite, and we looked to try to see how we could add to that. I t= hink it was the Member for Kluane who made a comment the other day — the importance of not just trying to rebrand or get rid of the past work but ra= ther to build on it, and I think that was an excellent suggestion.

I also= heard from the members opposite about the need to speak with contractors. I think that too is an excellent suggestion. I know that the Minister of Highways a= nd Public Works spoke at the annual industry conference and I believe that the Premier and the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources also spoke at that. Those are great ways in which we work with the business sector to engage th= em in what we see coming up, what they would like to see coming up, and their suggestions about direction ahead.

I want= to talk for a minute about real and quantifiable details. One of the reasons that y= ou don’t give exact dollar figures against any single project is because= you want to not — those projects will obviously be bid upon by the private sector. At best what we do is give a range when they go to the forecasting tender; however, on the out years, these projects haven’t gone through their analysis as of yet. They would have only the coarsest of estimates against them about what they are going to cost. So you can’t give a s= olid dollar value until you do the diligent work.

What w= e can do is give solid dollar values about where we want the budget to go and that w= as given in table 1. So if you want real and quantifiable details, there they = are.

Here i= s one of the things that I will note: in this budget, we have put down $280 mil= lion on capital projects. When I looked back at the 2016-17 budget — and I spoke about this last year — that the members opposite put forward, t= hey had in this 2018 -19 budget projected when they put forward this 2016-= 17 budget, $175 million. That’s a $100 million difference. So = is the problem just that when you get into those out-years you’re not su= re where you’re going to go? Well, it’s not now, so let me point o= ut that in the out-years from 2018 -19, year 2, year 3, year 4, year 5 of= the five-year plan, actually there are real numbers against all of those. What we’re using is an envelope approach and I’m going to talk about that envelope approach.

I agre= e that certainty and accountability are important principles and I just want to be careful that we balance it with this notion of flexibility.

How do= we get predictable investments and financing? I’m going to talk about envelo= pes. We have put in envelopes for buildings, transportation, community infrastructure, land development, information technology, equipment, loans,= et cetera. We’re putting in envelopes that give a real dollar value and we’re going to work within those envelopes. There are several key thi= ngs that we’re going to get out of that. The first one is predictability — a sense of scope. The second one is tighter forecasting and the thi= rd one is flexibility.

First = of all, let me talk about that predictability. Again, we’re building on the previous government’s multi-year projection. I appreciated the questi= ons that again came from the Member for Kluane asking about a community-by-community breakout and also the Member for Lake Laberge who ta= lked about wanting to see it on a community-by-community level. However, I noted when I look at their multi-year capital plan, you can’t list everythi= ng. I am sure this is not everything. I counted up 29 specific identifiable projects on their list and I am sure that more work that than was done.

When w= e get to the mains on the budget I am happy to try to provide as much information as possible on a community-by-community basis and happy to try to give that because we believe that money should be well-distributed across the territo= ry. We believe all communities matter and we care to make sure that all those communities are receiving support. By the way, that has nothing to do with which riding we’re talking about. We’re talking about the importance of all of our communities.

Over t= he last few days, the members opposite have highlighted their concerns about lapses= in capital spending. The Member for Copperbelt North mentioned this as well an= d I want to say that I agree with them. I agree with the members opposite. This= is a concern. They lapsed $100 million — $101 million in 2014-= 15, $74 million in 2015-16 — and then lapsed $58 million in the= ir final year of 2016-17. We should do better. We are lapsing this year $28 million in capital and we should strive to do better. This is why I’m excited about the capital plan envelope system. It is a solid step toward smart planning and we will continue to work on this. I think the Pre= mier spoke about the need for continuous improvement and I think this is the opportunity.

When w= e have an envelope system, what we’re going to do to try to reduce our lapsing = and the ability to tighten our forecasts and get better predictability is that = with a multi-year plan is we will look at it and if money is starting to lapse i= n a particular project because of weather delays or because of YESAB — or maybe there were environmental concerns that hadn’t been discovered in time and maybe the money couldn’t flow as quickly as it was originally thought — with this multi-year plan, the goal is to have the next rou= nd of projects ready to go. By using an envelope process, our intention is to backfill and to continue to spend out to reach the envelope. We are hopeful that will tighten the spending and allow for that flexibility to accommodate the private sector. If, for some reason, we issue a multi-year contract and they want to back-load or front-load their work and we are able to flex aro= und it — terrific. So this is how I hope that the envelope system that we= are proposing in the capital plan will allow us to get more predictability.

Let me= now talk a moment about flexibility. First of all, I would like to thank the municipalities, the First Nations and the unincorporated communities. We ha= ve been going around for — every meeting that I have been at in a community, = we have talked about infrastructure. Overall, I would call it the number one issue. Maybe cannabis is close, but from my seat — from the work that= I do — infrastructure is probably the most common thing that we engage = with communities on. I would like to put a particular shout-out to the Infrastructure Development branch in Community Services. They have been doi= ng terrific work at connecting with our municipalities, our First Nations and = our unincorporated communities to ask them about their priorities around infrastructure dollars.

It is effectively continuous and ongoing engagement to get those priorities as in= put into this budget. I was surprised to hear the Leader of the Official Opposi= tion talk about a lack of engagement around this budget because it was what I had been doing all along and I know my team has been doing it continuously. So = the point is that we are out there asking communities what their priorities are= .

We hav= e new funding streams that are coming onboard and I’ll talk in a moment about that,= but what that means is that there will be changing needs and priorities and we = have to allow the system that we propose a way to refine — especially in t= he out-years of the capital plan — while maintaining that overall spend.= So that is the flexibility.

Getting information our early allows our municipalities and our First Nation development corporations and the private sector and everyone time to plan a= nd prepare. I want to use as an example something that the Premier has talked about when I have been in communities with him. He has talked about bridges. For example, last fall, the Minister of Highways and Public Works announced= the award of a contract on the Nares bridge in the community of Carcross in my riding, alongside Khà Shâde Héni Carvill. It was a great project. The RFP used a value-based system, which allowed us to measure loc= al importance or local values and improvements that give a way to help add val= ue locally.

One of= the things the Premier said was — because we don’t have a lot of br= idge engineering firms here in the territory — what if those engineering f= irms that have colleagues Outside, or the ability to build expertise, or the abi= lity to develop local capacity so we could get at other future projects, what wo= uld they need in order to try to get there? The answer was that there was some confidence that there would be bridge projects coming up and the ability to= see them on the horizon. That is what we’re trying to achieve here. There= it is under one of the envelopes — I am certain I saw it. There it is un= der the select transportation projects — again, not all transportation projects, but select.

I am s= ure that as the Minister of Highways and Public Works does this assessment work on t= he road between Faro and Ross River, he will then be adding that as another example under the select projects and show it in the five-year list —= and always, I hope, happy to respond to questions here in the Legislature.

This p= ast summer, we announced federal infrastructure dollars that will flow nearly a half-billion new dollars into the Yukon over the coming decade, so even more reason to start planning in advance now. That’s new dollars; those dollars aren’t yet in here. Sorry, they’re here on the table of where the spending will come, but we haven’t yet had the conversation with our municipalities and our communities to ask them what their prioriti= es are on those projects.

This n= ew funding will leverage more investment, resulting in nearly $600 million in gre= en funding, more retrofits, climate change adaptation, renewables and energy independence, culture and recreation, public transit and other infrastructu= re, as prioritized by our northern communities. Those are the streams under the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, which I believe is slated to be $594 million over the next 10 or 11 years.

We see= those projects fitting into these envelopes, but we have to sit down with our partners to identify what their priorities are and to bring them on board. =

Let me= talk for a minute as well about sustainability, and I’ll talk about two topics under sustainability, and the first is housing. Today, at the business luncheon, the Premier discussed the importance of and ways in which we are supporting affordable housing through the 2018 -19 budget. Using the envelope approach I have been discussing here — and maybe flogging — we will be investing $15 million in Whistle Bend and a little = over $2 million in our communities for lot development. I recall the Leader= of the Third Party noted — maybe it was yesterday, but recently in the Legislature — that ensuring there is an adequate supply of lots is a critical piece of the housing spectrum. I agree with her.

I am h= oping that the Member for Porter Creek Centre and/or the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources will give more information. I will also mention that we just put = up for lottery 79 lots in Whistle Bend — I think in the past several days — and, by the way, there is an April 3 deadline. This year, our investment in lot development here in Whistle Bend should add three times t= his number by this time next year.

With l= and development, it is vital that we are planning well ahead. We have known this for many, many years. This is all the more reason to support long-range planning. Any form of long-rang planning, in my mind, speaks to sustainabil= ity.

Let me= talk as well about retrofits. We have identified in this budget $11.7 million.= I said in this Legislature two days ago, I believe, that we set as our platfo= rm commitment to build to $30 million a year on retrofits. I just want to talk about the importance of retrofits for a moment. When we look at the en= ergy mix of this territory and we talk about climate change mitigation, most oft= en — or when I hear conversation out in the community — the conversation is around electricity. When I look at where we have emissions = in the territory, very few of them come from electricity. Yes, we need to work= on renewables for electricity, but more important, in my mind, is the fact that roughly one-third of our emissions come from heat. We need to get that into= a more sustainable fashion, and the way to do that is retrofits. That is from individuals’ homes up to commercial buildings and institutional buildings. All of our building portfolio could use some —

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Point = of order

Speaker: Mem= ber for Lake Laberge, on a point of order.

Mr. Cathers: I believe that the minister appears to be in contravention of Standing Orders 19(b) in speaking to matters other than the matter under discussion. He has strayed very far from the motion itself.

Speaker: I r= equire some greater clarification from the Member for Lake Laberge. We are talking about capital projects. I will hear from the Minister of Community Services= .

Hon. Mr. Streicker: I am speaking about $11.7 million in investment of capital projects and the planning and forecasting of those projects over the five years, which speaks about retrofits. It is about capital planning and = our five-year plan.

Speaker’s ruling

Speaker: I w= ill allow the Minister of Community Services some additional latitude. I would imagine that, during the course of this Spring Sitting, we will have additi= onal opportunities to speak in a more fulsome manner specifically on retrofits a= nd on the government’s environmental or specific energy policies. I have some sympathy for the position taken by the Member for Lake Laberge but, as indicated, I will allow the Minister of Community Services some latitude.

You ca= n proceed, although you are fairly close — you have, I believe, two minutes left= .

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Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>I am nearly done.

This t= ype of capital investment is a great investment in our territory because it will n= ot only allow us to become more sustainable, it will bring down the costs of individuals’ O&M, and whenever we do capital planning, one of the important things to do is to make sure that we are looking at asset managem= ent, O&M costs — these are critical. The farther out we can plan well, then the better we will do to make the long-term future of Yukon important.=

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, I just want to conclude by saying that any time we can have long-term think= ing in this House — we tend to work on short-term thinking, typically bec= ause of the notion of oppositional politics or adversarial politics or, if you l= ike, partisan politics. But any time we have the ability to think longer term, I think we rise above that and we start to think about what is best for Yukon= ers. That is why I think this is a great notion. I appreciate the words of the P= remier that, as we move forward, we will continue to refine it with partnerships in our communities and, I think, based on suggestions that come from other mem= bers of this Legislature.

&= nbsp;

Mr. Hassard:&= #8195;I’ll be very brief, Mr. Speaker.

Obviou= sly I wish that the government would have supported our amendment because I believe th= at it certainly would have improved it. However, we have been clear: the Offic= ial Opposition does support a five-year capital plan. I think that the document that has been tabled by the Premier is missing key details and certainly do= es not provide certainty to industry, as the Premier seems to believe. I certa= inly have spoken to contractors who would like to see this type of information in the plan, and I have heard from a number of them who have stated that they = wish that this information was included.

We hav= e also already had an example of a minister going out to media and directly contradicting what was in the plan, and that is concerning to Yukoners, Mr. Speaker. People count on the information that the government provi= des to be accurate information, and it should be accurate information. <= /p>

As I&#= 8217;ve said before — and I will continue to say it — the Official Opposition supports a five-year capital plan. We just hope that, as the government moves forward, they make improvements to the five-year capital p= lan.

That b= eing said, we will be supporting the motion.

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Mr. Gallina: I’m pleased to rise in the House today in support of this motion. I’m pro= ud to be part of this government and I’m proud of the five-year capital = plan that was presented in this House last week.

I̵= 7;m going to focus a little bit on what I’m hearing from Porter Creek Centre constituents and comments that I have also heard from industry.

The fi= ve-year capital plan summarizes the Government of Yukon’s priority infrastruc= ture projects and is the first of its kind undertaken by the Government of Yukon= . It provides more certainty — not complete certainty. It provides more certainty than has been in the past. The five-year capital plan was a commitment we made to Yukoners and we’re happy to deliver on it.

Throug= hout the process of creating this plan, the needs of Yukoners were considered and th= ese needs were reflected in the end product. A major goal of making the capital planning process more transparent was to reduce the barriers to First Natio= ns and local businesses in their efforts to secure government contracts. Caref= ul, thoughtful planning matters to Yukoners.

Throug= hout the 2016 election campaign I listened to Porter Creek Centre constituents, and I heard stories from residents about how a lack of capital planning on the pa= rt of the previous government affected their work, their families and their ability to make plans for the future. It affected residents who were full-t= ime home builders waiting for lots to be released by the Government of Yukon. It affected residents interested in supplementary income with part-time contracting work. It affected residents living in rental homes waiting to g= et into the housing market but unable to do so because of factors such as limi= ted inventory and the high cost of home ownership due to supply and demand.

As the= MLA for Porter Creek Centre — which includes Whistle Bend, the fastest growing area in Yukon — I would like to outline how this year’s budget — and in particular the five-year capital plan — will directly impact this community. The 2018 -19 budget includes a total investment= by the Government of Yukon of $17.7 million for land development in the n= ext five years. I will add to the comments made by the Minister of Community Services. Out of this total, $15 million is allocated to the developme= nt of new lots in the Whistle Bend subdivision. Therefore, the amount of money allocated to release the lots in Whistle Bend is 85 percent of the Gov= ernment of Yukon’s total investment in land development. This budgeted amount= is significant to constituents in Whistle Bend because it directly impacts the= ir community.

Just t= his past week, the government has released for lottery 55 single-family lots, 20 townhome lots and four multi-family lots. Over the next building season we = will add 132 single-family lots, 14 duplex lots, 40 townhouse lots, 19 multi-fam= ily lots and 35 commercial lots. The total number of lots that will be released within two years will be 319. Once completed, the community of Whistle Bend will have a town square, retail shops, schools, plentiful greenspace, and m= any kilometres of paved and unpaved trails.

ItR= 17;s important to note that along with development and progress comes uncertainty for members of the community. They will see their neighbourhood grow and ch= ange over the next several years. This is why it is critical that there be a carefully thought out plan for land development.

Reside= nts can be reassured that one of their most significant investments, their home, provi= des the sanctuary they need so that the community around them is one where they want to raise their children, access services, greenspace, activities and amenities, and all of the elements that contribute to a healthy lifestyle a= nd healthy Yukoners.

The fi= ve-year capital plan also sends a signal to industry that there’s an increased capacity to accommodate residents in Yukon and provide certainty for the business community and for individuals. Another aspect of the five-year cap= ital plan that positively impacts residents of Porter Creek Centre is the Yukon government’s commitment to tender seasonally dependent construction projects earlier in the year. The streamlined process will benefit contract= ors, businesses and industry, which will have the advantage of a longer planning period for major projects. This five-year capital plan signals our government’s priorities and will allow Yukon businesses to prepare for upcoming projects.

Improv= ed procurement practices directly impact progression of building in Whistle Be= nd. We heard that Yukoners want certainty in planning. We listened and we are delivering.

Anothe= r area that I would like to focus on in this motion is on the Government of Yukon’s five-year capital plan with respect to the upcoming opening of Whistle Bend place, which affects Yukoners, along with the residents of Whi= stle Bend. This year’s budget includes $20 million in O&M for this continuing care facility, which is scheduled to open this fall. I refer aga= in to the election campaign in 2016 and the conversations I had with constitue= nts from Porter Creek Centre and Whistle Bend. I heard concerns from the adult children of aging parents, and I heard from seniors themselves about the ne= ed to plan for continuing care housing into the future.

I list= ened as people spoke about continuing care waiting lists and how they were unable to get information concerning care for their loved ones. The five-year capital plan provides assurances to residents that their loved ones will receive the care that they need.

I woul= d like to conclude by saying that the five-year capital plan is flexible and allows u= s to respond to new information and priorities as they emerge. Members from the Official Opposition have criticism of the government’s budget and five-year capital plan, with arguments like: there isn’t enough information, there isn’t enough certainty, no accountability, and the infographics in the budget document are lacklustre. Well, Mr. Speaker,= I would like to remind members opposite that the president of the Yukon Chamb= er of Commerce gave the recently tabled budget a B-plus. To me, this is valida= tion from key industry stakeholders of the hard work undertaken by the Governmen= t of Yukon, work that included feedback and involvement by businesses, individua= ls and industry. Feedback from constituents allows this government to plan and make thoughtful, evidence-based decisions on matters that are important to Yukoners. We are delivering on our commitments to Yukoners.

The re= sidents of Whistle Bend and Porter Creek Centre consistently bring issues to my attent= ion, and I encourage them to continue to do so. I would like to thank the constituents of Porter Creek Centre for electing me to be their MLA, and I = look forward to more discussions on this topic with my constituents in the coming months.

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Ms. Hanson: I think I have been clear at the outset that the New Democratic Party supports the notion of a five-year capital plan. There are a couple of comments that= I would like to make, though, with respect to comments that I have heard from= the members opposite.

Certai= nly I think it is important that, in developing a five-year capital plan, it is responsive and reflects all members of the community, so I appreciate the comments from the last speaker with respect to his constituents and how sensitive and how responsive the government is to the interests of those constituents. I believe I was quite clear that I’m seeking the same k= ind of sensitivity and responsiveness to the citizens of Whitehorse Centre as elements of the five-year capital plan — “the” five-year capital plan, not “a” — because we are not talking about = the construct of the motion as it is placed before us.

What w= e are being subjected to this afternoon is, yet again, more of the laying out of = the speaking points of the Liberal Party. I don’t mind that as much as I = mind the repetition of it and ignoring — in the guise of saying, “We’re listening” — what words have actually been spoken on behalf of citizens of this territory.

I have= outlined in some detail — not just in this Spring Sitting — legitimate concerns about the tendency of the Yukon government — including this government — to make decisions independent of other government bodies’ planning processes, independent of consultation with community groups. In my riding, I have described those to you and, if you were to look back at the transcripts of this week — and I offered and I encouraged= the whole-of-government approach in these capital investments in my riding to h= ave those conversations in the context of the official community plan, which included= the 2010 south Whitehorse plan, what was going on between 2010 and 2018, and wh= at is forecasted as a result of the 2018 downtown Whitehorse and Marwell plan.=

The no= tion of a five-year capital plan is incredibly important. One of the difficulties and one of the reasons why I haven’t risen to speak specifically to this one, which I anticipate doing — but I will point out, just as I point to set the context for our future conversations, that when we talk about elements of t= his plan, we will be looking to see how what is included in this five-year capi= tal plan reflects both the findings of the report of the Auditor General in Mar= ch 2017 where he reported on the capital asset management of the Government of Yukon and how it reflects the recommendations of the non-partisan Public Accounts Committee to this Legislative Assembly in our report to the Legislative Assembly in September 2017.

The re= ason why I raise this, Mr. Speaker, is because the non-partisan Public Accounts Committee reported to this Legislative Assembly that we had sustained conce= rns about capital asset management and planning within the Government of Yukon.= I will just point out what the Auditor General did say — that the Government of Yukon had systems and practices in place for managing the maintenance and repair of government-owned buildings, but it didn’t u= se the information gathered and didn’t follow its practices. Also, it didn’t follow its own processes to prioritize building maintenance projects against such criteria as health, safety and costs. When I talked a= bout criteria yesterday or the day before with respect to the performance plan, I was looking for exactly those kinds of criteria in terms of establishing pr= iorities for capital planning.

That A= uditor General’s report made six recommendations. You will find that when you look back at the Public Accounts Committee report that we made to this Legislative Assembly, we summarized those into five recommendations. But th= ey were of sufficient concern that when I look at some of the projects being proposed here with respect to capital infrastructure, with respect to schoo= ls and others, I need to know, on behalf of the citizens of this territory, wh= at the criteria were that were made to assess that those are the priorities. W= hat the committee heard, and what the committee was told, was that by April 1, 2018, the GAM 2.8 and other policies that were wending their way throu= gh the territorial Cabinet approval process would be finalized.

I will= be looking for assurances that those policies and procedures had been finalized prior to these various capital initiatives being placed on the capital and = how, then, among the many — we will come back to this when we get into the= actual debate, but the members of the committee will remember that there were hund= reds of items that were identified in the Auditor General’s report.

I am n= ot questioning the need at all for a five-year capital plan, but I think there= is a legitimate issue to be raised with respect to prioritization and assessme= nt criteria. What we were told is that one department — the minister opposite who has making comments yesterday with respect to having informati= on but not really sharing it about Highways and Public Works. That particular department has information, but they don’t necessarily share it in the report — I am not making this up. This is what was said in the Auditor General’s report, which was reaffirmed by witnesses in this Legislati= ve Assembly.

The ke= y thing is that, because they had not had a chance to verify it — we will be loo= king to see that in fact the data that the department had actually gathered has = in fact been verified and has in fact been shared so that it does truly reflect what we have been told, which is a whole-of-government approach to managing these projects. Until that occurs, I am not doing my job as an elected representative of the constituents of my riding of this Yukon Territory and= as an opposition member, which is to hold government to account for the due diligence and the probity with respect to our fiscal resources. That is my = job. It is not a personal thing; it is my job. You don’t have to like me f= or it. It is my job.

So Mr. Speaker, we do support the notion of a five-year capital plan and = we do look forward to actually getting to a debate about the plan as opposed to speaking points about how great our platform was. Well, the platform is gone — done — on to get to the job of serving Yukoners and demonstra= ting through accountability provisions, measures and criteria. We will look forw= ard to the specific discussion on how those criteria are established. We will l= ook forward to how best practices have been incorporated in developing the crit= eria for determining what fits into the capital planning exercise of the territo= rial government.

 

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to our government̵= 7;s support for the five-year capital plan as a means of promoting transparency= and predictability for the government’s capital planning. I thank my colleague, the Member for Copperbelt North for bringing it forward today for debate. As he noted, the five-year capital plan was a campaign commitment t= hat we made to Yukoners and we are happy to deliver on. We heard constituents, = the private sector, municipalities and First Nations that more transparency was needed when it came to government capital investments.

With t= he five-year capital plan we are providing that transparency by profiling the government’s priority infrastructure projects and signalling our long-term plans for capital investment in the territory. The five-year capi= tal plan will reduce barriers to First Nations and local businesses in securing government contracts and facilitate planning for upcoming capital projects.=

This w= ill be included in the budget going forward with the overall aim of giving local businesses a better opportunity to plan effectively, while ensuring that all levels of government can work together to meet the needs of Yukoners in all communities. With proper planning, there will be certainty for government a= nd the private sector — a first for government. We will use the plan to build and diversify our economy.

We are encouraging growth in Yukon’s knowledge-based economy, a key area we = will focus on for the diversification of the economy in the territory. The work = we are doing is supporting an active and diverse innovation in knowledge econo= my that facilitates collaboration and the creation of export-ready products and services. This is an area of focus that is laid out in my mandate letter. <= /span>

The fi= ve-year capital plan includes plans for Yukon’s first-ever innovation hub. In this year’s budget, we are committing $1.9 million toward construction of a location with business assistance, collaboration, mentors= hip and networking opportunities to support the development of innovation in entrepreneurship. The innovation hub will bring business and industry, post-secondary institutions and public supports together under one roof to create an environment that supports entrepreneurs and promotes the developm= ent of growth of innovative business in Yukon.

This s= pace will provide a centralized access to the tools, expertise, capital and talent required to create, develop and commercialize products. It will help us fos= ter a culture of entrepreneurship that will result in incubation, commercializa= tion and export of Yukon-made innovation products.

The in= novation hub supports our government’s vision of an innovative and collaborati= ve economy where the exchange of ideas and expertise foster individual success= and collective strength. This is a major investment in the development of Yukon’s innovation and knowledge economy, and we are tremendously exc= ited to see this sector flourish in the coming years.

Of cou= rse, a major issue hampering the growth of Yukon’s knowledge economy has bee= n a lack of redundant fibre optic connection, leaving our territory vulnerable = to Internet disruptions. Every business in the territory has experienced the frustration and stress of losing the use of their IT systems and being unab= le to process transactions and provide clients and customers with the products= and services they need when they need them. If we want our knowledge economy to grow — and we believe it has tremendous potential to grow — we = need to address this long-standing issue.

The pr= evious Yukon Party government talked for years about a redundant fibre optic proje= ct but, by the time they left office, the Yukon was no further ahead on this i= ssue than when they took office 14 years prior. A redundant fibre optic line is = just one project in a long list of items that were previously pledged to Yukoners but were not completed.

I̵= 7;m delighted to share with Yukoners and reassure them that we are delivering on our commitment to advance the fibre optic project. The five-year capital pl= an includes construction of a diverse fibre line to provide sustainable, uninterrupted fibre optic service throughout the territory. We are investing over $11 million this year alone to accelerate this project and to del= iver on our commitment to Yukoners. I look forward to sharing more information in the coming days and weeks on this exciting project. Reliable and stable Internet access is crucial to our emerging innovation and knowledge economy= . It will help place Yukon in an advantageous position to attract individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses to grow and strengthen our knowledge economy. Reliable and stable Internet access to online services is also key to supporting healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities, which is one of our priorities.

The fi= ve-year capital plan advances the priority by increasing the amount of information shared between different levels of government, Yukon First Nations and municipalities and the private sector, allowing us to plan more efficiently= and coordinate our efforts to address the capital infrastructure needs in all Y= ukon communities.

Workin= g together with our partners in an open and transparent manner, we are supporting the development of a thriving, prosperous and diversified economy that provides benefits for communities across the territory. In keeping with the theme of working together with partners in the private sector, I would like to speak= to meetings with private sector representatives to discuss future projects and forecasts in the years ahead.

These conversations are ongoing and involve open dialogue regarding private and public spends, upcoming government and private sector procurement opportuni= ties and how we balance the two in out-years. We believe in a one-government approach to these conversations. That’s why we’re involving officials from several departments, including Economic Development, Finance= and Highways and Public Works.

The go= al is to ensure our local contractors and suppliers are well-equipped to take full advantage and the dollars being spent in our territory ensuring that they s= tay in our territory. I spoke to this recently during the fourth annual industry conference. I have also had discussions with Yukon Chamber of Mines and ask= ed for their willingness to work in partnership with the Department of Economic Development to forecast future expenditures in all sectors. I have asked the department to work with the industry associations, such as the Yukon Contractors Association, to share these forecasts and plan for future opportunities. Working together to ensure our local industry is prepared wi= ll help build a strong, diverse and sustainable economy for future generations= to come. That’s the goal.

In thi= s plan, we are also committing funds to the Yukon Development Corporation innovation f= und — our investment in establishing our fund to target government invest= ment to further diversify our economy. The energy sector is another area of focus for our government in diversifying our sector. This fund will be a conduit = for that as will the innovative renewable energy initiative, which will see $1.5 million invested annually for the next four years with a goal of reducing community reliance on diesel.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, these are just some of the initiatives our Liberal government is working on= to increase transparency when it comes to capital spending, aligning partners = and plans in strengthening our local economy. I look forward to discussing these initiatives further during the session and I look forward to working with my colleagues and our fantastic team of public servants to get to work on this five-year capital plan.

As the= Premier has already noted, the private sector was happy to see this plan and we’re excited to work with them on implementing as we move forward. <= /span>

I woul= d like to just once again touch on two or three key points. One thing I think I have = to commend our officials for is the work that they’ve done with reaching= out to the private sector, specifically the road builders and those who also undertake other construction, whether it be the crushing or the earthmoving= , as well as the builders and the engineering firms that are key. I think that it’s a good move in the right direction to bring those players togeth= er. That’s partially what the Minister of Highways and Public Works as we= ll as the Minister of Community Services brought to the table — it was t= hose discussions we’ve had an opportunity to have — those ongoing discussions.

We have committed to a series of groups where we’re having roundtables that w= ill help improve — so when we talk about some flexibility in the five-year capital budget it is because we believe that we’re going to have an opportunity to continue to improve on it. It’s a first time for this undertaking. We all should strive to make it a better document that provides more information and provides more certainty, but that’s going to hap= pen by bringing those private sector elements to the table — representati= ves to the table — so we can talk about what their capacity is. It truly = is a one-government approach on how we look at this.

The Le= ader of the Third Party touched on it and outlined how that is paramount and that’s part of what we have an opportunity to do; it is to have a discussion with these companies to understand where the training needs are, understand what their workloads look like in one season or multiple seasons= so that we can really focus on the key to maximizing the potential for Yukon companies. I want to thank the Yukon companies to date that we’ve had= an opportunity to sit with — there are managers, general managers, owner= s, CEOs — sharing information with us.

I appr= eciate the fact that they have committed to come here to the government offices to meet with the officials so the officials can get a better understanding. I think it’s easy to say that sometimes, in the busy world of public service, there can sometimes be a disconnection to the realities that we see on the ground for the private sector. Having a chance to share and gain some commo= n ground on these topics is key for us to build the appropriate environment for Yukon businesses to thrive in and ensure that they have time to either skill up o= r to expand when need be. So I look forward to those meetings, and I assume that they will lead to some changes in our plans as we move forward so that we c= an ensure that they have an opportunity to grow.

Also, = we made a commitment at the Yukon Forum and here to ensure, using the levers and the tools of chapter 22 and others, that local companies can prepare for opportunities, and that is really the key on the five-year plan. It is taki= ng a look at what is not just coming up in the upcoming year, but at what year t= wo and year three look like. How do you ensure that you have the equipment?

I know= that on some of the projects that I have sat with the private sector on — tod= ay, if you wanted to take on a major project and you called Caterpillar or Finn= ing and you needed new equipment, you are probably looking at seven to eight mo= nths of lead time because of some of the positive economic activity here in Cana= da. When you take that into consideration, you’re certainly going to need= to think on a multi-year scale.

Also, = in western Canada, part of the challenge right now is that with Suncor work starting t= o increase, as well as some of the work that has been undertaken on Site C, we’re seeing some growth in those areas and that is starting to drain some of our great Yukon capacity. That has been something as well that our local compan= ies have signalled as a challenge, and that is something that we have to take i= nto consideration. These are all key things that we have to do.

Certai= nly, coming from the private business sector, I am excited about this type of undertaking. Can we do better as we move forward? Absolutely. Have there be= en some good points from members of the opposition? Absolutely. That is part of what we have to do here — to take that advice and to move it in an appropriate way so that we work together because, at the end of the day, we= ’re all here to represent our constituents, our communities and Yukoners.

We thi= nk that this undertaking is a first step in the right direction and is certainly something that we are proud of delivering after committing to it over a year and a half ago.

 

Speaker: Tha= nk you for the debate on the motion.

If the= member now speaks, he will close debate.

Does a= ny other member wish to be heard?

&= nbsp;

Mr. Adel: Thank you to my colleagues for offering their remarks on this motion. Thank you to the Leader of the Third Party for her comments on the views and concerns th= at need to heard from all ridings.

Certai= nly I know, after going with the Minister of Community Services to meet with the = City of Whitehorse, that the concerns and priorities that are brought forward to= the City of Whitehorse are certainly driven by community groups and association= s. When we are out in the rural ridings, they bring them to us as well. We are trying to have them all be heard — well, not “trying”, we= are hearing.

As I m= entioned in my opening remarks, during the 2016 election we committed to increasing = the transparency around Yukon government capital planning by creating a five-ye= ar capital plan. We heard from Yukoners that they were tired of the lack of planning and the lack of transparency under former governments when it came= to capital investments. Constituents asked for a plan for capital investments — once again, a road map — that they could use to help them plan more effectively, so they could see where we were going and how we were get= ting there.

Our Li= beral government has listened and we have delivered on the commitment to create a five-year capital plan. We look forward to the increase and certainty of opportunities for partnerships that will result from this plan. We also look forward to getting feedback from Yukon First Nations, municipalities and lo= cal businesses. As I said, the five-year capital plan is a living document allo= wing us to be flexible but it helps with some predictability.

We are= the first ones to do this. The first ones through the wall are the ones that get scratched up a little bit. They take the most criticism, but we are trying = to lead. We were elected to be leaders, and that is what we are doing with this Liberal government. We are leading with this five-year capital plan to bring some assurances to Yukon businesses, First Nations and constituents as to w= here this government is heading and what we are doing with our capital projects.=

Our Li= beral government will continue to invest in infrastructure to build capacity in o= ur territory and to grow the Yukon’s economy. We will continue to engage= in transparent decision-making providing Yukoners with the open and accountable government that they asked for, and that is what they deserve. They are the ones who elected us, Mr. Speaker. We listened to them at the door, we heard them, and now we are going to put that into action with this five-year capital plan.

&= nbsp;

Speaker: Are= you prepared for the question?

Some Hon. Members: Division.

Division

Speaker: Div= ision has been called.

&= nbsp;

Bells

 

Speaker: Mr.=  Clerk, please poll the House.

Hon. Mr. Silver: Agree.

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Agree.

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Agree.

Hon. Ms. Dendys: Agree.

Hon. Ms. Frost: Agree.

Mr. Gallina: Agree.

Mr. Adel: Agree.

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: Agree.

Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>Agree.

Mr. Hutton: Agree.

Mr. Hassard: Agree.

Mr. Kent: Agree.

Ms. Van Bibber: Agree.

Mr. Cathers: Agree.

Ms. McLeod: Agree.

Ms. Hanson: Agree.

Ms. White: Agree.

Clerk: Mr.&n= bsp;Speaker, the results are 17 yea, nil nay.

Speaker: The= yeas have it. I declare the motion carried.

Motion No. 229 agreed to

Motion No. 230

Clerk: Motio= n No. 230, standing in the name of Mr. Adel.

Speaker: It = is moved by the Member for Copperbelt North:

 THAT this House supports the Yukon government tendering major construction projects that are seasonally depend= ent no later than March of each year.

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Mr. Adel: I am pleased to rise in the House for the second time today to introduce this mo= tion because the tendering of major construction projects matters to Yukon businesses, contractors, industry and chambers of commerce. These stakehold= ers asked the Government of Yukon to improve opportunities for local business. Yukoners told us that they needed more support in planning for capital projects.

Mr.&nb= sp;Deputy Speaker, this Liberal government committed to developing an annual list of seasonally dependent contracts and getting them out the door by March 31, a= nd with the hard work of my colleague and his departments and the other departments here in our government we have accomplished that — for th= at they are to be commended.

When w= e took over government, we got straight to work to fulfill this commitment, relyin= g on the hard-working people in the procurement branch of the Department of High= ways and Public Works. Improvements to the procurement process have been complet= ed by the assistant deputy ministers working group, which was tasked with accepting capital budget submissions. A multi-department working group collaborates to identify projects scheduled for early tendering, pairing tenders that are similar, bundling or unbundling of projects with the thoughtful consideration of project location, market availability and the availability of industry to meet the government demand.

This w= orking group is comprised of the staff from the departments of Highways and Public= Works, Community Services, Energy, Mines and Resources, and Yukon Housing Corporat= ion. The streamlined process put in place by the procurement division provide greater consistency across government, as well as increased predictability = for local vendors to plan for seasonal work. This is some of the stuff that I h= eard when I was campaigning in 2016 for my constituents — that they really would like some predictability so they can plan to run their businesses to = the best of their advantage to give Yukoners jobs and make a living for themsel= ves and their families.

During= the 2016 campaign, residents told us that when contracts are tendered prior to the e= nd of March the Yukon contracting community benefits. The tender management sy= stem is a tool that provides interested parties with access to government tender= s so they can decide if the available contracts fall within their scope of servi= ce. The tender management system lets the community know about opportunities as they arise. The early development contracts will allow businesses to genera= te efficiencies in their seasonal staffing and procurement.

The ea= rly release of seasonally dependent contracts is of benefit to Yukoners, includ= ing First Nations, businesses and development corporations, because this process gives an opportunity for all to bid on projects that suit their capacity or plan for future projects to build their capacity. No matter how we look at = it, it’s good for Yukoners, it’s good for jobs.

The te= nder management system also helps government to identify the industry’s capacity to fulfill capital budget projects. At the industry conference put= on by the Department of Highways and Public Works in February of 2018, participants from industry, business and government heard Premier Sandy Sil= ver and Minister Richard Mostyn —

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Point = of order

Deputy Speaker (Mr. Hutton): Mr. Cathers, on a point of order.

Mr. Cathers: The Member for Copperbelt North just used the names of two of his colleagues, which, of course, is contrary to our Standing Orders — to mention a member by name.

Deputy Speaker’s ruling

Deputy Speaker: I have to agree with Mr. Cathers on that point — if you could refr= ain from naming colleagues by name. Carry on, Mr. Adel.

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Mr. Adel: I apologize, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

The go= vernment heard the Member for Klondike and the Member for Whitehorse West speak about procurement and planning. Our team continues to listen to Yukoners. A significant aspect of procurement for Yukoners is the Canada fair trade agreement, which came into effect on July 1, 2017. We are committed to exercising this trade agreement for Yukoners’ greatest advantage.

Local competition and applying local preference will help the economy. We look for economic opportunities that will maximize economic benefits for Yukoners. We are the first jurisdiction in Canada to apply this section of the agreement= and its exceptions. Under the provisions in this trade agreement, allowances are included that give the Government of Yukon the ability to provide preferent= ial treatment to Yukon First Nations, businesses and private contractors.

We are developing a standard practice for procurement. We are offering training for anti-competitive activities for people involved in the industry. We are producing procurement templates that are in line with case law, also with f= air wage schedules for public works contracts.

Good p= lanning leads to a stronger economy and local prosperity. It matters to Copperbelt North constituents and to Yukoners. They asked for clear indications for do= ing business with the Government of Yukon. I would like to say that this government has committed to developing an annual list of seasonally dependent contracts and getting them out the door by the end of March every year. We have delivered= . We delivered $46 million in seasonally dependent contracts to be tendered= by March 31, 2018.

There&= #8217;s an additional $15.8 million in 16 contracts that should be coming forth by April 1. Yukoners spoke and we listened.

 

Mr. Cathers: We appreciate the content of this motion, and we will be supporting the intent= ion of this motion. We do have to point out that this is something again where = the current government’s words don’t match their actions. We have s= een the government — or heard the government I should say — again a= nd again refer to the commitment to tender seasonally dependent contracts by M= arch 31. But the way they frame that commitment is slowly morphing and is not reflecting what they actually said in the election. It is another commitment where the government has not done what they promised they would to get peop= le to vote for them and is trying to convince people into thinking that they a= re actually doing exactly what they said, even though they failed to deliver. =

Again,= we support improving the number of seasonably dependent contacts that are tendered by March 31. I should note and remind members, though, that this in fact was o= ne of the recommendations that came out of the Procurement Advisory Panel that= had been commissioned by ourselves when we were in government. The reason that = we had commissioned that panel and sought advice was recognizing that there wa= s a need for improvements to the contracting and procurement process, so we sou= ght the advice of experts in the field and affected Yukoners to help identify w= here improvements could be made. In this case, I would point out that as the government is appearing to try to amend election commitments after the fact, and hoping people won’t notice, that the Liberal Party committed to Yukoners during the 2016 election campaign — they made a very specific commitment in this area.

The Li= beral Party, including members who are currently in this House, in an election ne= ws release on October 11, 2016, made very specific commitments to Yukon busine= sses and people who are employed in the contracting community. In the section entitled: “Commit to Transparent Capital Planning”, they commit= ted to Yukoners — and I quote: “Tender projects for seasonally dependent Yukon Government-funded construction projects no later than March each year.”

We saw= last year the minister and the Premier attempting to spin their wheels and argue that= in fact the commitment was somehow only a commitment to work toward that during their mandate. That is not what they actually said. They did not say, ̶= 0;We didn’t mean the first year.” They didn’t say, “We w= ill work toward it during our mandate.” They said, “Every year.R= 21; Of course, that did not occur last year — a failing grade for the Pre= mier and his Minister of Highways and Public Works on that in terms of their commitment last year. This year, we have heard the commitment being amended= by the Minister of Highways and Public Works and the Premier to suggest that it was only a commitment to do more by March 31, 2018.

We do = recognize that they have improved their performance over last year, but it is our job= as the Official Opposition to hold the government accountable to the promises = they made in the 2016 election. The government, despite being more than one-quar= ter of the way through its mandate, seems to try to blame every unpopular decis= ion and every imperfect situation on the previous government, but the sand is f= ast running out of the Liberal hourglass and they have been in office long enou= gh to start delivering on commitments made to Yukoners.

I woul= d just again note that I know the government doesn’t like being held to acco= unt on the commitments they made, but the commitment was very specific. For the second year in a row, this Liberal government is not keeping a commitment t= hey made to Yukoners. They are only partially keeping the commitment compared to their failing score for last year.

I woul= d note that the Premier when he was the Leader of the Third Party would have been = the first to criticize the former government for not doing what they said and trying to change commitments after the fact. The Minister of Highways and Public Works, during his time as editor of the Yukon News, would also be on= e of the first to criticize any party who made a promise to Yukoners and then didn’t do it. The members — we are holding them to account base= d on their own commitments and as well reminding them of the expectations that t= hey had of others when they were in opposition.

In the= area of contracting, we have noted, as have the media, that the government, under t= he Canadian Free Trade Agreement, app= ears to have effectively wasted a number of their exemptions that would have all= owed for protecting local contracts by identifying areas that have not been at r= isk of Outside contractors bidding on them in the past. The government, if they provide themselves with very nebulous, subjective criteria, such as we see = in their new performance plan, it’s easy to give yourself an A-plus if y= ou have written the criteria yourself and you have left it very, very open to interpretation so you can simply provide a list of all the ways that you ha= ve delivered on your commitments allegedly, but in fact you haven’t meas= ured that.

I̵= 7;m going to just briefly, in referring to measuring performance here, talk about the measurements of government’s performance that they’ve included = in the 28 performance plan. Those measurements of performance don’t have= any reference to delivering on their platform commitments; they don’t have any reference to delivering on this specific commitment; and they’ve changed the indicators to a very nebulous list that are easy in future years for government to give itself an A-plus on.

There = are such nebulous indicators on page 19 of their performance plan, such as asking whether Yukoners feel emotionally well and whether Yukoners feel healthy. N= ow, I would note that I agree that health outcomes and measuring the health of Yukoners is an important matter, but in their list of indicators there is no mention of actually measuring the health outcomes of Yukoners through patie= nt care at the hospital, through continuing care, through programs such as the chronic disease collaborative or through the pharmacare program. There isn’t even a reference or commitment to measure whether Yukoners are healthy. It’s simply a very nebulous question: Do Yukoners feel healt= hy? Again, while I would note that if the intention of this poorly worded and nebulous commitment was to make some reference to people’s mental hea= lth situation, there are better ways to measure that than with a very, very nebulous commitment that allows government to give itself a successful grad= e.

Anothe= r example of the rather nebulous indicators includes this one: Are Yukoners participa= ting in physical activity? So government is scoring itself — its outcomes = or planning to — on whether Yukoners are participating in physical activ= ity. There is no reference to even whether or not government programs aimed at getting people more physically active are working. There is no reference to= the utilization of community recreation facilities. There is simply a question about whether Yukoners are participating in physical activity. This means t= hat someone who is an avid runner and uses no government facilities — or a skier who doesn’t use the Whitehorse cross-country ski trails but ski= s on their own — would, by presumably filling out a survey saying they are physically active, help the government give itself a successful grade in th= is area.

I am n= ot going to spend too much time talking about the performance plan, but I am just pointing out that the government seems to have learned that they have been embarrassed by not following through on their commitments. The solution to = that is to be thoughtful in making commitments, not to develop a nebulous set of criteria that allows you to give yourself an A-plus because you can simply decide what it means.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Point = of order

Deputy Speaker: Ms. McPhee, on a point of ord= er.

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Earlier today, we heard the Member for Lake Laberge bring a point of order with res= pect to one of the members on this side of the House not speaking directly to the motion, and I suggest to you, Mr. Deputy Chair, that this is what we’re hearing from the Member for Lake Laberge now.

Deputy Speaker:= 195;Mr. Cathers, on the point of order.

Mr. Cathers:&= #8195;Mr. Deputy Speaker, I was comparing the government’s record in following through= on commitments in the platform to a new set of commitments that have been made= . I believe it was very relevant to the motion, and I think the Minister of Justice may just not have been paying attention to what I was saying.

Deputy Speaker:= 195;Government House Leader, on the point of order.

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Mr. Deputy Speaker, I think I can raise a point of order in this well-respected Legislative Assembly without having to suffer personal insults.

Deputy Speaker:= 195;Mr. Cathers, on the point of order.

Mr. Cathers: I didn’t personally insult the Government House Leader. I was suggesting that perhaps she didn’t understand what I was attempting to convey in= my remarks because she may not have heard it. That is not disrespectful to the minister to suggest that she may not have heard what I was saying. I would encourage you to — I don’t believe there is a point of order and this is a ridiculous accusation on the minister’s part.

Deputy Speaker’s ruling

Deputy Speaker:= 195;On the point of order, it came very close to being insulting, and insulting is much more in the eye of the beholder than the person flinging the insult. I would caution you, Mr. Cathers, about using language that would imply = that people in this House are not paying attention. That is insulting, in my opinion.

The pr= evious point of order, I will take under advisement and get back. I want to discuss with the Speaker.

Carry = on, please, Mr. Cathers.

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Mr. Cathers: Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

I̵= 7;m going to go back to the commitments the government made in the 2016 election campaign. I do have to point out that, to table a motion — and I beli= eve this is the second motion that government has brought forward in what appea= rs to us to be an attempt to sing their own praises and to stand up and talk a= bout how bad they think the previous government was.

Mr.&nb= sp;Deputy Speaker, the issue in this situation is the commitments the Liberal governm= ent made to get elected and the fact that, when they choose to not follow those commitments or are unable to deliver on the commitments they made, it is our job to hold them accountable on behalf of Yukoners. Yukoners who voted for = the Liberals on the basis of commitments they made, which may include — a= nd probably did, in some cases — their commitment to — each and ev= ery year of the Liberal mandate — get out seasonally dependent contracts = by March 31. Those contractors, those businesses, those families and all the employees of those companies do deserve some accountability from this curre= nt government for their failure to deliver on a very specific commitment and t= heir attempts to pass off their half-hearted partial delivery of that commitment= as a complete success.

As one= of my colleagues, the Leader of the Official Opposition, has noted in the past in this House, there are contractors who depend on income from seasonally dependent contractors to feed their families, to put food on the table, and there are people out in the Yukon right now who took the Liberal government= at its word, when it promised to have seasonally dependent contracts out by Ma= rch 31 each and every year during the mandate.

I woul= d be interested to hear the Premier’s thoughts on whether or not their fai= lure to deliver on that commitment last year had any effect on the 50‑perc= ent increase in social assistance cases that we saw during the last fiscal year. The Premier, during debate yesterday, attempted to ascribe that increase ju= st to a lag time a year and a half or two years after a year with the gross domestic product shrinking in the territory, but it would seem that a more likely contributing factor to that would be the government’s failure = last year to get seasonally dependent contracts out by March 31.

With t= hose delays occurring, with that 50‑percent increase in social assistance cases that led to a $2.9‑million unanticipated cost by the Yukon government in the 2017 -18 fiscal year, an increase — by their o= wn numbers — from 800 social assistance cases to 400, the question that Yukoners deserve an answer to is: How many of those 400 cases were due to t= he government’s failure to deliver on their platform commitment to get s= easonally dependent contracts out the door by March 31 last year?

The me= mbers should not lose sight of the fact that they didn’t keep their word to Yukoners. There were people last year who were affected.

I hear= the Premier off-mic dismissing any connection between the two. Again, just as I= did with social assistance yesterday — we are asking the question, and the onus is on the government to provide the information. If they can demonstra= te that there wasn’t a significant effect on the 50‑percent increa= se in social assistance related to the delay in seasonably dependent contracts= , we will review that information. But, in the absence of information and if we = are simply provided with rhetoric claiming that there is no connection, we do h= ave to question those statements and point out that the government has access to far more information than we do in the Official Opposition. If they have ac= cess to information that can demonstrate that there isn’t a connection bet= ween that rather large increase in social assistance cases and their failure on seasonally dependent contracts, then, of course, we will evaluate the information and assess it with critical but fair eyes.

For th= e Premier to be off-mic, dismissing that connection — I think it sounds to me l= ike the Premier has lost sight of the fact that if there is a delay in a contra= ct and someone is in a business — is an employee of a business where they are very dependent —

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Point = of order

Deputy Speaker: Premier Silver, on a point of order.

Hon. Mr. Silver: Mr. Deputy Speaker, a couple of things — right now, by making the comments that = I am somehow dismissing the member opposite off-mic, he is making reference to people being in the Assembly or not being in the Assembly.

Also, = he is wrong. I am having a conversation over here that has nothing to do with his narrative.

Again,= he is making reference to people being in or not in the Legislative Assembly and = also pointing out facts that are simply not true.

Deputy Speaker:= 195;Mr. Cathers, on the point of order.

Mr. Cathers: I think the Premier has his Standing Orders wrong. It is not out of order to refer to the presence of a member in the Assembly. It is out of order to say they are absent from the Assembly. I don’t believe there is a point of order in this case.

Deputy Speaker’s ruling

Deputy Speaker:= 195;I concur with Mr. Cathers on this matter. It is out of order to refer to= a member’s absence from this House.

Carry = on, Mr. Cathers.

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Mr. Cathers: Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I just want to note as well for the record th= at, in pointing to this question, we are asking a question. I am not in fact go= ing so far as to say that the increase in social assistance was all due to the delay on seasonally dependent contracts or to start guessing how many of th= ose 400 increased cases might have a connection. I am simply asking a question = and asking the Premier to provide the information. If he can demonstrate that t= here was no effect on the increase in social assistance cases caused by the government’s delay on getting seasonally dependent contracts out the door, then we will assess that information on its merits and on the facts presented.

These = are the kinds of questions we hear from Yukoners who are concerned about their fami= lies and paying their mortgages. When there is a gap in work and they are forced= to either resort to employment insurance or social assistance, it does have a significant impact on their families and they deserve to have those concerns treated seriously and deserve access to information from government that answers their questions.

Mr.&nb= sp;Deputy Speaker, just trying to find my next part in my comments here — the n= ext point I wanted to make is that I wanted to again point out, as I’ve h= ad to take the government to task a number of times since taking office, that = the government stills seems to have a problem understanding that if you donR= 17;t make a decision, if you delay a decision because you want additional information, if you delay a contract going out the door, if you delay the approval of a project in YESAB by a year beyond what would normally occur, those decisions do have real-world consequences. Ultimately, at the end of = the day, Yukoners elect us to take care of their interests. They don’t el= ect a government to dodge the tough decisions. That means sometimes that govern= ment needs to proceed and move forward with action in certain areas, and canR= 17;t always — whether for budgetary reasons or others — simply push = off the contract to the next year or delay action on a certain file and think t= hat there aren’t going to be any real negative impacts to the public. Or I suppose I should say they can think that, but it is not accurate to think t= hat those decisions made within the Cabinet room don’t have real world consequences.

As we = pointed out last year, there were clearly choices made under the government’s watch that affected the timing of a number of projects, and again, giving t= he government the benefit of the doubt, even if those delays are well-intentio= ned, ultimately the fact that there are fewer contracts out the door than in previous years by a certain point in time does have a negative impact on Yu= kon families.

I do w= ant to note that those mistakes made by government — those delays — ca= nnot be simply be washed away with a nicely written budget speech or a press rel= ease that extolls the virtues of the government or a performance plan that government issues that allows themselves the ability in future, because the= ir measurements were rather nebulous, to simply come up with a list of all the ways that they have delivered on those commitments.

Again,= in that area, I would just note that when government is talking about indicators of success, when they have examples such as “Help residential customers = with the cost of electricity in Yukon,” what does that mean? “Stabil= izing the prices to increase availability of energy solutions” — agai= n, a bit nebulous. There is a lack of detail. Even the ones that approach specif= ic commitments in their performance plans are pretty nebulous.

Again,= the motion itself, the commitment to a five-year capital plan — this is n= ot the first time the House has debated it since this government has taken off= ice, but in this particular motion, the reference to seasonally dependent contra= cts — again, not the first time we’ve debated this particular motio= n. There are a lot of other issues that are important to Yukoners that, unfortunately, the government has neglected today in choosing to have its f= irst two motions called for debate be ones that are largely self-congratulatory,= or intended to be so, and not having real debates on substantive policy matter= s.

Pointi= ng to a few other examples where the government has been slow to act — the fa= ct that we still see senior officials in acting positions at a deputy head lev= el, 25 percent through the government’s mandate, and they’re failing to make a decision. Again, all of these decisions have a consequent= ial impact that the Premier doesn’t seem to be recognizing.

Six mo= nths is a long time in the role of government; 16 months is even longer. What I would= say is that it’s easy to have someone write you a speech that is rather self-congratulatory, but what Yukoners are gauging this government on is wh= at they actually do, not what they say they’re going to do, or not what = they said that they think they did. People are judging government based on what = they actually deliver and what they don’t deliver.

When i= t comes to the area of contracts, we’re seeing, only over 25 percent through this government’s mandate, government being quite late in fulfilling a commitment they originally said they were going to do each and every year.<= /span>

I beli= eve the motion we talked about last year related to this very same matter — urging the Government of Yukon to live up to its election promise to tender seasonally dependent contracts by no later than March 31 of the year and to immediately get contracts for the summer in the tender management system. We heard a number of complaints last year. We saw cuts in areas from tradition= al budget levels, such as the government’s decision to cut the brushing = for vegetation control beside highways. We saw situations where people had close calls with animals, and even accidents, that they believe were due to either clover growing at the roadside or the high level of trees and bushes in dit= ches alongside major Yukon highways.

During= the election, this government made a bold — and, in our opinion, good = 212; promise to tender all seasonally dependent contracts before the end of March each and every year. The contractor community, generally speaking — I think it’s fair to say — thought that was a good promise, but w= hat this Liberal government doesn’t seem to be realizing is that when they made the commitment people expected them to follow through — not to k= ind of, sort of follow through, but to actually keep specific commitments that = they had made.

Anyone= who has ever worked in business knows that certainty and clarity is key, especially businesses that are dealing with government. They deal with looking at opportunities, but also grappling with real risks and concerns around wheth= er they will be successful — when contracts will be out, whether they wi= ll be able to keep their employees on the payroll if they have employees, even= for small, single proprietor, family-run companies. They are left in a situatio= n of having their own bills to pay, their own mortgages to pay and their own car payments to pay. In many cases, they may be supporting others, such as kids away at school or older family members and when they’re dealing with a situation of uncertainty, it has a negative effect on them.

Part o= f our job here as the Official Opposition is to ask the questions we hear from Yukone= rs, to raise the concerns we hear from Yukoners and to bring forward those questions here at the Legislative Assembly. We’ve seen the government typically in any area where they’ve been slow to act or have done thi= ngs that are unpopular, such as increase the size of government by hiring over = 200 government employees in their first year in office, this Liberal government always seems to point the finger and to try to blame the previous governmen= t or try to blame Ottawa or try to blame someone else for their failure to do wh= at they said they would.

It see= ms we have heard the Premier state in this House that, in his words, the view is a lit= tle different from this side of the floor. I think that, unfortunately, the Lib= eral government may be finding out that they made some rash promises that sounded good to get elected, but they have found themselves unable to deliver. The responsible thing is to take ownership of those promises that they made to = get elected, and where they’ve been unable to deliver on them, to humbly acknowledge to Yukoners that they haven’t done what they said they wo= uld and to explain why and to explain what they’re going to do to get bac= k on track — or to get on track I should say — to fulfill their commitments, including their commitment to tender seasonally dependent contracts no later than March every year — not every year except 2017, not every year except 2018, but every single year.

Instea= d of spending effort coming up with excuses or talking points to attack the opposition or the previous government or the Third Party or Ottawa, governm= ent should simply focus their time on doing what they said they would and if th= ey’re not able to, acknowledging that to Yukoners instead of trying to pass off t= heir failure to deliver on a specific commitment as a so-called glowing success.=

Accord= ing to the Yukon Bureau of Statistics, the construction industry made up 8.5 perc= ent of Yukon’s GDP in the past, with accommodation and food services maki= ng up 3 percent, administrative, waste management and remediation services making up 1.4 percent, transportation and warehousing making up 3.3 percent, information and cultural resources making up 3.1 per= cent and professional, scientific and technical services making 3.5 percent= .

Certai= nly those industries are not entirely dependent on contracting, but along with other industries, they do receive a lot of work thanks to government contracting.= The thing that should be noted with this is that combined, these industries acc= ount for over $400 million of Yukon’s gross domestic product. Their contributions to the economy are undeniable, the sectors of the economy want certainty, and it is important for government to understand the impact that delays or failure to deliver on the part of government have on them.=

Again,= we just felt that these are points we need to make when the government is bringing forward a private member’s motion largely to pat themselves on the ba= ck — that perhaps the self-congratulation is premature — and when I say “perhaps”, I mean that it is premature. Government has not = been able to deliver on the specific commitments it made, and we have seen them = be very defensive/combative on this issue instead of acknowledging where they failed to deliver on the very specific commitments they made.

In wra= pping up my remarks, I do have to remind the government of the unfortunate fact that people will remember the election commitments they made and they will not g= auge them based on the mudslinging they can direct toward other political partie= s. They will hold the government to account on their own commitments, their own specific promises to Yukoners, and they expect them to deliver.

In the= areas of their commitments to improve consultation, we have seen a series of failures including the Designated Materials Regulation, the failure to consult on a group home in Porter Creek North, the failure to consult on the Housing First project downtown, and the failure to consult with ordinary Yukoners on the budget. So the central campaign slogan of the Liberal government, “Be heard”, is yet another on their growing list of commitments where they have failed to live up to their specific promises to Yukoners.

With t= hat I will conclude my remarks, but I would urge the government to raise the bar and, instead of pointing fingers, to take a look in the mirror and figure out wh= at they need to do to deliver on the commitments they made to Yukon citizens.<= /span>

 

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I have enjoyed this afternoon, listening to all the good words= heard in the House this afternoon. In fact I am gladdened to hear all the praise = and see all the solidarity in the House this afternoon around our government’s motions.

Specif= ically, I am happy to hear that the Member for Lake Laberge supports our efforts to improve procurement tendering in the territory. I am happy to hear the Memb= er for Lake Laberge recognize the very real action we have taken to improve procurement in the territory. I am happy to hear the Member for Lake Laberge recognize that we have dramatically improved the tendering of seasonal contracts, and his observations and comments on our good work on procurement are incisive and appreciated, so I offer my thanks.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Point of order

Speaker: The= Member for Lake Laberge, on a point of order.

Mr. Cathers: The Minister of Highways and Public Works, in claiming I just said things that I clearly didn’t say, seems to be in contravention of Standing Order 19= (g), imputing false or unavowed motives to another member, and I would urge you = to have him refrain from making such grossly inaccurate remarks.

Speaker’s ruling

Speaker: In = my discussions with the Clerk with respect specifically to Standing Order 19(g= ), it seems to me — and I’ll come back with a more fulsome response — that there’s a fundamental misapprehension by MLAs as to the application of that section, because it appears to me that it’s more = with respect to the motive and it’s generally reserved — across the country, I think — for when you’re alleging that another MLA is= in a conflict-of-interest position where they have perhaps, in theory, benefit= ed from a government contract or something of that nature. That is the general application of section 19(g), but it appears to be used here fairly freely = as support for the proposition of criticizing each other, which, in my respect= ful submission, it is not. I don’t understand that to be the application = of section 19(g).

In any= event, I will speak to the Clerk and the Deputy Clerk, and I’ll come back with= a more fulsome response but, in my discussions over the last year or so, that’s my interpretation of that section.

Yes, o= nce again, when the temperature rises and there’s a perception that language, in context, is insulting so as to potentially cause disorder, then you are rea= lly almost always referring to section 19(i) of the Standing Orders.

I don&= #8217;t think I have heard — we’re on day 64 — any allegations in those 64 days alleging any MLAs finding themselves in an overt conflict-of-interest situation.

That&#= 8217;s where we’re at for now, and I’ll get back to the House, as indicated.

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Hon. Mr. Mostyn: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Member for Lake Laberge’= ;s observations and comments on our good work on procurement is appreciated, a= s I said earlier, and I thank him. I offer my thanks.

The me= mber has hinted at economic malaise this afternoon, but that’s not borne out by the facts either. The facts show that, in the past year, Yukoners have seen= a dramatic improvement in the economy and in employment in the territory R= 12; dramatic and welcome. The fact, as we will soon show, is that — he al= so talked about our procurement last year — in our first four months in office, we have approved and tendered $20 million in contracts, which compares exceedingly well to the $27 million they managed to get out i= n a year.

The me= mber opposite also spoke about the effects of delays, and we will see reference = to governments making decisions without taking time to consult or consider the= information before it. Yukoners have spoken on that recently. We have seen in vivid col= our their thoughts on consultation and delays on the Peel watershed and on supportive housing and the lack of housing and a host of other matters. We = did see our government make some tough budget decisions. The member opposite referred to these things — actions forced by decisions to spend $1.50= for every dollar the government used to collect.

That h= as real-world effects and those real-world effects are still resolving. Howeve= r, my colleagues and I are working together to deal with those problems we have inherited. We are confident we will deal with them in a thoughtful and methodical manner that will keep service delivery and make sure the people = of the territory have a good economy. The one that we have seen in the last ye= ar is excellent, and that is through a lot of partnerships, consultations and discussions with the good people of the territory and making sure, in our relations, that First Nations, our municipal communities and rural Yukoners across the territory are involved in our decisions.

I am p= leased to speak again on the fulfillment of another election promise. A little more t= han a year ago, we promised to get seasonal contracts out earlier, to promote planning and to help our contracting community. This year we have done that. Yukon Housing Corporation, Energy, Mines and Resources, Community Services — tremendous job — and Highways and Public Works — we have all worked together as a team, closely, to coordinate and get these tenders= out before the public and before our contracting community as early as possible. The result is that this year, we will get more than $46 million before= the contracting community by the end of March. That is a remarkable achievement= on behalf of the civil service and our department staff working diligently to = get this in motion. I really do appreciate those efforts because I know it has = not been easy.

We mad= e this promise to get the seasonally dependent contracts that the Yukon government funds before people earlier because we heard a lot of complaints prior to t= he last election. We spoke with a lot Yukoners, a lot of citizens and business= es — especially contractors, the contractors association — and they were adamant that we do something — anything — to fix territori= al government procurement. We have taken action. We acted right out of the gate and we worked very hard. Working together, we have managed to get the 10 $1= ‑million exceptions out — $4.4 million out before the contracting communi= ty. We did that out to local companies, putting money — the $4.4 mil= lion — into the hands of local companies without any fear of getting poach= ed or snatched up by Outside companies. We did that very quickly. We are the f= irst jurisdiction in the country to do that, and that is remarkable. It is throu= gh the diligence and hard work of our civil service and my colleagues to get t= his done. I am really happy we were able to fulfill that promise.

We als= o got a five-year capital plan before the Yukon public. That was another promise — another promise made and another promise delivered. The nice thing about this is that we are talking about more — we are not talking abo= ut less — in the House this afternoon. We are talking about something th= at Yukoners didn’t have and now they do, and we are quibbling about how = we execute it or what is in or what is not. We are talking about an action tak= en — an action promised and an action delivered that actually puts somet= hing before the people of the territory that they did not have before. It’s another tool that will benefit people going forward. I think that is a great thing.

So the= reason why we’ve taken this action — and there will be more to come in= the Procurement Advisory Panel recommendations. We are working very hard to get those recommendations in force, like we said, and we did that because we he= ard a lot of complaints. We heard these contractors use a lot of colourful lang= uage to describe the system as it existed before. They were frustrated by a lack= of consistency, they were frustrated by a lack of oversight, they were frustra= ted by a lack of clarity, and they were frustrated by a lack of planning.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, I am proud to say that we listened. We heard those complaints and we have e= very intention of making good on our word to improve the system, and we have tak= en real action in this past 15 months now. We have made real progress and we a= re going to continue that progress going forward.

Let us= examine the larger procurement puzzle we are tackling. Let us look at early tenderi= ng of major seasonally dependent contracts. In Yukon — indeed, across the north — the outdoor construction season is shorter than it is in the = rest of the country — much shorter. Mr. Speaker, I have heard it described as fast and furious. That just highlights the importance of forewarning and planning. Private industry needs time to plan their season’s work ahead of time and properly allocate their resources. Unfortunately, opportunities were lost as a result of many contracts coming= out — I won’t say last minute; let us just say “with less than desirable lead time.” These tight timelines often left our private se= ctor scrambling to ensure they had the machinery, staff, cash flow and other resources to carry out the work, should they win the contract.

In man= y cases, companies were already committed to other work and could not reallocate the= ir resources quickly enough to take on new and more lucrative contracts. Opportunities passed them by.

Of cou= rse, having too much work sounds like a good problem, Mr. Speaker. The prob= lem is that often they were committed to smaller jobs, hindering their ability = to get on the larger projects being put out by the territorial government R= 12; so they had to take a pass on some larger opportunities, because they were unaware it was even coming down the pipeline. We heard they may have passed= on these smaller jobs for a crack at a bigger piece of the pie, had they had t= he opportunity. Perhaps they would have made arrangements to ensure they could gather the trained workers they would need.

The la= ck of lead time had impacts beyond businesses. It affected the workers too. Workers go where the work is. This is a straightforward concept. People have bills to = pay and families to feed. Workers — especially construction workers ̵= 2; often decide before each construction season whether there is enough work in Yukon to keep them busy. If there isn’t, they often head for greener pastures elsewhere — Fort McMurray, other places down south — it doesn’t really matter. To make a decision, workers need to know what local work will be like and what work will be available.

In the= past this included a lot of guesswork, listening to rumours and coffee shop talk. “What projects will the private sector be moving ahead with this year? What projects will government be doing — do you know? What are the timelines? How many workers will be needed?” I could go on.

If they can’t confidently say there will be local work, many people decide to leave the territory. That is talent we lose for the construction season. You know, it was funny — a couple of years ago I was talking to a company= in town that was working on a local construction project that was actually suspended without any forewarning, and he was committed to the project and = then had to find work for his teams of people, and he was worried he was going to lose his entire firm to Alberta. All his skilled workers would then leave — this was because a rapid about-turn, an erratic decision made by somebody to suspend a project that was already in the works.

Well, = that has real-world effects. What happened was, this contractor actually had to go around and started to look for jobs to keep his people busy and he started = work bidding on a lot smaller jobs, and that took work away from the smaller contractors who were expecting that work this summer. The spiral was devastating. He was complaining about that. He said, “You have to do better.” I heard that — I heard that story — a very real-world effect. This guy was really upset about having to take work away from other contractors, but he had to keep his people fed.

This i= s what happens when you don’t plan and execute smoothly. You lose talent, you lose firms, and you bleed economic benefits to other jurisdictions. When you lose that talent, you can lose it for far longer than you might want to, because that talent is working elsewhere. Sometimes they don’t come b= ack and that’s understandable, because workers go where the work is.

When t= he economy is booming, as it is now — we spoke about it earlier; things are just humming — we end up with local businesses that can’t rustle up = the workers they need to tackle projects. We actually lose economic potential, = and when we lose that, we all lose — government, private business, the workers, their families, communities, First Nations. It is a lose-lose-lose situation. On this side of the House, we don’t want to see that happe= n. We’re doing the hard work. What does that mean? Well, we’re get= ting a lot of work out the door — a lot of work. How much? Let’s loo= k at the numbers for a minute.

At the= volume of the great work the departments I’ve mentioned earlier are doing, we’ve managed to get an awful lot of work before the contracting community already, and there’s more to come before March 31. In the t= hree years between 2013 and 2016, for comparison, the Yukon government got an average of 18 tenders out the door worth about $27 million. This year = we expect to get 48 tenders worth $46 million out the door by March 31. T= his is all work that the Government of Yukon solely is funding. That’s roughly 75 percent of the contracts out the door — seasonal contracts — by March 31, compared to 35 percent in the past. It’s incredible and it came through a lot of hard work for civil serv= ants assembling contracts, pulling the documents, getting them on the system and before the contracting community.

By doi= ng this, we’re taking an important step toward delivering on a number of our campaign promises. We vowed to support local procurement and maximize government spending in the territory. Through these efforts, we’re do= ing these things. We’re giving businesses and workers an important tool to help them plan for their upcoming construction seasons. It gives them time = to get their ducks in a row before deciding what tenders to bid on.

In the= case of workers, it will provide time to assess how much work they can reasonably expect in their field, be it carpentry, plumbing, electrical, welding or an= y of the other trades or fields that will benefit from this government investmen= t.

Early = seasonal tendering allows decisions on hard facts, not rumours. I think, at this poi= nt, it’s really important to note that what will be left are about 16 ten= ders worth about $15 million, once we get this big chunk out the door, and a lot of those are dependent on federal funding approvals and other things — at least some of them are.

That&#= 8217;s one of the caveats we had when we made our pledge more than a year ago — = that some things are out of our control. We will do what we can control and will= get the other ones as sufficiently as we can before the contracting community a= nd people of the territory.

Early = seasonal tendering allows decisions on hard facts and not rumours around the coffee shop. It allows the private sector to make evidence-based decisions, which dovetails with another commitment of this government. All this work may seem easy — just get the tenders out early, sign the order and make it hap= pen. People might say that if you’re going to get them out, just bump the schedule. I want to make sure everyone understands how much work government departments and civil servants actually put into making this happen. In particular, I would like to highlight the Department of Highways and Public Works, Community Services — especially the Procurement Support Centre here in Highways and Public Works, which spearheaded this initiative — and also, as I had mentioned, Community Services, which generally has the m= ost seasonal tenders to award each year.

My col= league, the member for beautiful Mount Lorne-Southern Lakes, has asked the departme= nts to make this happen. They work like made to do so and it was not easy. I th= ank them for all that hard work.

ItR= 17;s an important initiative and, through their efforts, we were able to accomplish= a lot. $46 million is an impressive number by all accounts. There will be many other tenders coming out after March 31. They said that another estima= ted $15 million is on the way, after April 1, but these are dependent on federal funding and, unfortunately, we don’t have the ability to determine which projects the federal government will approve.

That&#= 8217;s a tiny problem, compared with the federal generosity to provide 25-cent dolla= rs to this territory in support of our infrastructure improvement.

In clo= sing, Mr. Speaker, I fully support this motion and thank my colleague for bringing it forward. I’m confident the efforts made this year are a tremendous step toward= our goal of more clarity, certainty and efficiency to Yukon government procurem= ent.

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Mr. Hutton: I’m pleased to rise in support of this motion, which supports the tendering of seasonally dependent major construction projects no later than March of each year. During the 2016 election campaign, we committed to developing an annu= al list of seasonally dependent contracts by March 31 of every year. I’m pleased to report to this House that we have successfully delivered on this commitment with $46 million in seasonally dependent contracts to be tendered by March 31, 2018.

Organi= zation around procurement services allows the opportunity for local businesses and First Nations to bid on government projects to help local companies with planning for tenders. To improve response rates to tenders, we have increas= ed forecasts of upcoming tenders over $75,000 on the tender forecast management system, added access to closed tender documents and created a three-week minimum tender period for all public procurements.

The ac= tions taken on behalf of this government will ensure job creation and create maxi= mum economic benefits for all Yukoners. Open, transparent and fair procurement = processes is what Yukon businesses and industry asked for.

The ha= rdworking people at the procurement branch of the Yukon government continue to meet regularly with these stakeholders to hear their feedback and to provide them with inside knowledge on best practices for procurement. This framework all= ows time to ensure that equipment is maintained and ready to go as soon as weat= her permits. If extra staff is needed, once again, the early notice allows employers to prepare in advance. By bringing these projects to tender in a timely manner, contractors and businesses have the assurance that they can = be completed during the most favourable part of the construction season.

The Go= vernment of Yukon is signatory to a number of trade agreements that benefit Yukon by= reducing barriers to internal trade, promoting economic growth and diversification, = and impacting government procurement. The tools made available in the trade agreements will have many positive effects — increased government transparency, reduction of red tape and improvements to procurement process= es. I am encouraged that this government is actively using the exceptions in the trade agreement to promote regional economic development and support the us= e of local labour and manufactured goods on government projects. These processes provide the opportunity for guaranteed work for local Yukon companies.

Our Li= beral government is also working diligently with Yukon’s First Nations to discuss ongoing procurement improvements and look for opportunities to bett= er maximize economic benefits. We’re using chapter 2 of the Yukon First Nation final agreements as a primary tool to try to accomplish these object= ives within the Yukon Forum working group.

The us= e of the tender forecast management system is a key planning tool. It provides businesses and contractors notice of our project needs, as well as notice of upcoming projects, which allows businesses to plan well in advance of proje= cts going out to tender. I’m optimistic that these new processes will ben= efit all businesses and contractors in Yukon by allowing time to prepare, ensuri= ng that projects get started as early as possible and hopefully ensuring that = more projects get completed on time and on budget during the most favourable construction period of April to October each year.

I woul= d like to take this opportunity to talk about the five-year capital plan, introduced = in the House on March 1, 2018, and its relevance to the residents of Mayo-Tatc= hun. The five-year capital plan summarizes the Government of Yukon’s prior= ity infrastructure projects and was created in consultation with Yukon business= es, contractors and industry representatives. It is a plan that is reflective of the needs of Yukoners. Projects that affect the Mayo-Tatchun riding and the contractors therein include a grader station for Carmacks, work on seniors housing in Carmacks, work for the Stewart Crossing living quarters, work on= the Mayo River bridge in Mayo, the buried infrastructure upgrades phase 3 for M= ayo water and sewer, as well as a recreation centre for Carmacks. These are just some of the projects — it doesn’t include all of them.

The co= ntractors who work in Mayo-Tatchun will be pleased at the certainty provided through = this five-year capital plan as well as the issuing of contracts as early in the construction season as possible. These processes matter to my constituents, Mr. Speaker. It affects their livelihoods, their families and our communities and I am proud to stand in the House today to support this moti= on on behalf of my constituents.

Thank = you, Mr. Speaker. Mahsi’ cho.

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Ms. White: I am just going to take the opportunity to revisit some things today in the Hous= e. It is interesting, because it really is different, I think, for the current Official Opposition, compared to the position before. We used to debate mot= ions in this House that said that this government will use this amount of money = to do this action, as it was budgeted in the budget. I can tell you from my perspective, those were frustrating days, because you were debating a motio= n on the floor that was already in the budget, and it was going to happen.

I feel= kind of like we are revisiting history a little bit with this motion. I appreciate = that government is going to make an effort to have seasonally dependent contracts out by March. I think that is the very least that government could do. I th= ink that is fantastic — that’s great — but it has already been announced. It is already in the works and, again, we are discussing and debating something that government has said they are going to do. It feels = very much like the time before.

What w= ould be great is if we heard how the government is going to ensure that this happens — how we are going to make sure that brushing contacts are out by Mar= ch and make sure that people can buy equipment, where we are going to make sure that anything that involves ground breaking is out so those can go forward.=

What I= challenge government to do with their Wednesday debates is to rise up and bring up the ideas that aren’t included in the budget that maybe, in future years, they would like to have included — to raise the bar and say that we weren’t able to do it this year, but what we would really like to try= to do in future years are these action items. This is happening. The Minister = of Highways and Public Works has said this is happening in the Budget Address.= We know that this is happening.

I beli= eve that this current government can do better than previous governments in Wednesday debates by bringing forward ideas that haven’t already been put out i= n budget items or in press releases. I believe that the members opposite have that ability to debate ideas that are new and maybe not included in the budget, = but that they would like to see happen — because I think that on Wednesda= ys other than government motion days, there is an opportunity to have a really exciting conversation about things where eyes don’t glaze over and no= tes aren’t read off and we can actually have a dialogue.

It wou= ld be really fantastic to get fired up about these days, as opposed to — I mean, I am sure that other people have heard this, but when I first got elected, I had no idea about Wednesdays. I literally had no idea. When I fi= rst got elected I did not have an idea about a lot of things in my job. I was j= ust always in election mode, thinking, “Okay, we have to have different representation.” The first time I heard it referred to as “wast= ed Wednesday” I was like, “No way. How could we possibly call a day when we do work in the Legislative Assembly as wasted?

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, I have sat through Wednesdays for both opposition Wednesdays and other than government business Wednesdays, and I am really sad to say it feels that wa= y. It does feel that way. We have fallen into this rut that this is how this is going to work. The reason why it feels wasted on opposition Wednesdays is because it is really hard to get agreement, if it is a majority government.= It is really hard to get agreement.

More o= ften than not, I can go through all my notes and it is stuff that government said that they’re going to do and we’re going to talk about it again. It seems like there’s opportunity to do that during budget debate; there’s opportunity to read about it in press releases, and I feel li= ke coming into the Legislative Assembly and having these conversations is not = the best use of our time, because there’s opportunity. I mean, there are = 11 people across the way with really great ideas that maybe can’t get included in the budget, and there would be a great opportunity to talk about those right now and what we would like to see in the future — what the opportunity is.

There = are all sorts of things. I was just reading an article that talked about the bannin= g of one-time plastics, so the concept that if it’s not an item that will = be used more than one time, goodbye plastic straws. We could have a conversati= on and debate about the banning of plastic straws in the territory. How amazing would that be? Straws — that would be great — get rid of straws= .

We cou= ld have a debate about so many different things right now. We could be talking about = the importance of biomass and heating future in the territory. We could talk ab= out how we saw the increase of firewood collection, or we could talk about how biomass has an opportunity to heat houses and produce electricity in the te= rritory. That would be fantastic. There are a million different things that we could talk about on Wednesdays, and it would feel like an engaging day, as opposed to Wednesdays where, to be perfectly frank, they don’t really feel like we’re doing our best work.

So I a= ppreciate the sentiment of the motion — I do — because it’s really important. It’s really important that this gets done, but I caution t= he government side right now to not relive the mistakes of the previous government. The only difference here is they didn’t say that this amo= unt of budget money was going to do this line item. That’s the big differ= ence here.

Those = were frustrating days to have the debate on. I want to give full credit to the government members who had to take my colleague’s comments — no= t my immediate colleague, not the Member for Whitehorse Centre, but the Member f= or Lake Laberge — because that was maybe not the best use of the day, either. There was a lot of anger and a lot of different things coming out, = and that’s hard to sit through — it is. Imagine if we were going to= use our time to debate things that weren’t line items, if we were going to take the time to talk about ideas that weren’t on the floor already a= nd how great those Wednesdays could be.

So Mr. Speaker, I would be a crazy person to say I didn’t think that contracts should be out by March. I mean, who would disagree with that statement? But my point here is that we could use this opportunity to talk about things that weren’t already in the Budget Address, that weren’t in line items, that weren’t already put out in governme= nt press releases, because it feels a bit redundant, to be perfectly honest.

So I e= ncourage my colleagues to up their game, and I look forward to having a debate where= I want to read things to come in, and I want to look at new ideas, and I want= to be inspired on Wednesdays.

So lik= e I said, it would be crazy to vote against the idea of contracts that are seasonally dependent being released by March. I will look forward to future Wednesdays= .

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Speaker: If = the member now speaks, he will close debate.

Does a= ny other member wish to be heard at this time?

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Mr. Adel: Thank you to my colleagues for providing input on this motion. The member opposit= e, Third Party, for Takhini-Kopper King is very impassioned — not a lot = of things I would disagree with there.

Listen= ing to the Member for Lake Laberge’s comments on the motion and the relevance to= the motions have left me lost in my own nebula. But, moving on, this is a motion that is important to the residents of Copperbelt North, some of whom own businesses and some who are dependent on government contracts in the indust= ries they work in. The livelihoods of many Yukoners depend on timely tendering of contracts. The assurances provided through the work of this government cann= ot be understated. I am proud to stand in this House as part of the Liberal government, which is working diligently to deliver on its comments and commitments.

The de= velopment of an annual list of seasonally dependent contracts out the door by the end= of March each year and $46 million in seasonally dependent contacts to be tendered by March 31, 2018 — my colleagues have all commented on this= and that is quite a step forward. That is putting money into the hands of Yukon= ers, and that is keeping jobs, as the Minister of Highways and Public Works said — keeping skilled labour in Yukon. It is making us move forward in a strong economic way.

In Apr= il, we will finish off with some of the other tenders that are coming out the door — seasonally dependent — depending on — again, as the Minister of Highways and Public Works has mentioned — how the federal government sends the money out for these contracts.

Yukone= rs spoke, and we listened and we delivered, and the commitments of this Yukon Liberal government on tendering seasonal contracts are to be commended.

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Speaker: Are= you prepared for the question?

Some Hon. Members: Division.

Division

Speaker: Div= ision has been called.

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Bells

 

Speaker: Mr.=  Clerk, please poll the House.

Hon. Mr. Silver: Agree.

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Agree.

Hon. Mr. Pillai: Agree.

Hon. Ms. Dendys: Agree.

Hon. Ms. Frost: Agree.

Mr. Gallina: Agree.

Mr. Adel: Agree.

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: Agree.

Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>Agree.

Mr. Hutton: Agree.

Mr. Hassard: Agree.

Mr. Kent: Agree.

Ms. Van Bibber: Agree.

Mr. Cathers: Agree.

Ms. McLeod: Agree.

Mr. Istchenko: Agree.

Ms. Hanson: Agree.

Ms. White: Agree.

Clerk: Mr.&n= bsp;Speaker, the results are 18 yea, nil nay.

Speaker: The= yeas have it. I declare the motion carried.

Motion No. 230 agreed to

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Hon. Ms. McPhee: I have spoken briefly with the other House Leaders, and 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

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Speaker: Thi= s House now stands adjourned until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.

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The House adjourned at 5:29 p.m.

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