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Yukon Legislative Assembly=

Whitehorse, Yukon

Monday, October 1, 2018 — 1:00 p.m<= /b>.

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

I woul= d like to begin the 2018 Fall Sitting of the Legislative Assembly by respectfully acknowledging all Yukon First Nations and also that we are meeting on the traditional territories of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council.

We wil= l proceed at this time with the prayer given to us by former Speaker Sam Johnston. Mr= . Johnston was the Speaker from 1985 to 1992 and was the first Fi= rst Nation Speaker of a Legislative Assembly in Canada.

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Prayers

Speaker’s statement

Speaker: Pri= or to proceeding with the introduction of our pages, the Chair will make a statem= ent regarding the artwork that is now featured in the Legislative Assembly Cham= ber. Members and others will by now have noticed the four showcases on either si= de of the Chamber. I will now briefly describe how they got here — how t= his came to be.

At its= first meeting on February 23, 2017, the Members’ Services Board of the 34th Yukon Legislative Assembly agreed to form an all-party subcommittee to cons= ider changes to the decor of the Legislative Assembly Chamber. The subcommittee = was authorized to make recommendations to the board regarding any such changes.= One change that was agreed to was to include more art by Yukon artists in the Chamber.

When t= he Legislative Assembly first sat in this Chamber on November 2, 1976, the only artwork on display was the tapestry behind me. It is impressive artwork and when we do tours of the Legislative Assembly, we certainly get a lot of questions about it; however, the artist who created it was not from the Yuk= on.

The Le= gislative Assembly office worked with the arts unit of the Cultural Services branch of the Department of Tourism and Culture to identify works of art for display = in the Chamber and for arranging the proper manner of display of these works. =

The ar= twork was to be chosen from the Yukon permanent art collection. The collection was created in 1981 by a group that is now known as “Friends of the Yukon Permanent Art Collection”. The Government of Yukon funds the purchase= of new acquisitions every year. Since its creation, the collection has grown to more than 450 original works of art created by more than 225 artists. These works are collected for the people of Yukon and pieces from the collection = are on display in more than 30 locations in Yukon, including now the Yukon Legislative Assembly.

After = careful consideration, eight pieces were chosen from the permanent art collection f= or display in the Chamber. The pieces are as follows: Traditional Doll — Girl by Annie Smith; Tlingit Eagle Frontlet by Keith Wo= lfe Smarch; Arriv= al of the Dog Team by Deb Enoch; Cari= bou Flagan by David Ashley; Fire Bag by Gertie Tom; Raven’s Flight by Eugene Alfred; Forget= -Me‑Not Mukluks by Mary Deguerre and Wood-Ash Glazed Vessel With Lid by Monika Kate Steputh.

The di= splay will be officially unveiled at a reception later this month. The current collect= ion of pieces will be on display until the fall of 2019 and then a new collecti= on will be put on display.

The Ch= air thanks all members for their attention and looks forward to hosting them and membe= rs of the general public at the official unveiling. Thank you.

Introduction of pages

Speaker: Now= it gives me great pleasure to announce the following students who will be serv= ing the House as Legislative pages for the 2018 Fall Sitting. They are: Trisha Schamber and Tenesha Christiansen f= rom Porter Creek Secondary School; Sya Berkman, Sas= ha Emery and Martina Vos from F.H. Collins Secondary School; and Heather Mislang and Phoeb= e Qiu, as well as Gavin Spence, from Vanier Catholic Secondary School. Today, we have with us Trisha Schamber and Tenesha Christiansen.

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

Applause

Withdrawal of motions

Speaker: The= Chair wishes to inform the House of changes which have been made to the Order Pap= er. The following motions have been removed from the Order Paper as they are now outdated: Motion No. 56, standing in the name of the Member for Porter Creek Centre; Motion No. 125 and Motion No. 194, standing in the name of the Memb= er for Copperbelt South; Motion No. 138 and Motion for the Production of Papers No. 10, standing in the name of the Member for Lake Laberge; and Motion No. 264, standing in the name of the Member for Watson Lake.

The fo= llowing motions have been removed from the Order Paper as the actions requested in = the motions have been taken in whole or in part: Motion No. 133, standing in the name of the honourable Premier; Motion No. 150, standing in the name of the Member for Mayo-Tatchun; Motion No. 160, standing in the name of the Member= for Kluane; Motion No. 211, standing in the name of the Member for Copperb= elt North; Motion No. 270, standing in the name of the Leader of the Third Part= y; and Motion No. 299, standing the name of the Member for Takhini-Kopper King= .

Motion= No. 263 standing in the name of the Member for Porter Creek Centre has been removed from the Order Paper at the request of the member.

Finall= y, Motion No. 309, notice of which was given by the Leader of the Third Party, was not placed on today’s Notice Paper as it is similar to Motion No. 19, ado= pted by this House as amended on November 22, 2017.

We wil= l proceed at this time with the Order Paper.

Daily Routine

Introduction of Visitors

Hon. Mr. Silver: I would like to acknowledge in the gallery today that, sitting= with my Executive Assistant Emily Farrell, is the Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations Peter Johnston.

Applause

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Hon. Mr. Silver: I would also like to acknowledge a Klondiker in t= he gallery as well. Coming down from Dawson City, we have Serge Lamarche — not to be confused with a lawyer in = town — who is one of my constituents in the gallery, with his son Yves as well. Thank you for coming.

Applause

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Hon. Ms. Dendys: I would like to take the opportunity to welcome members of our cultural community who are here for the tribute that will follow: Mr. = Casey Prescott, Ms. Michelle Emslie, Ms. Mary Bradshaw, Ms. Heathe= r McIntyre, and Ms. Heather Steinhagen. We have here t= oday our Deputy Minister of Tourism and Culture Valerie Roy= le and my executive assistant Jessie Stephen.

I woul= d like to welcome you all here today and thank you for coming.

Applause

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Hon. Mr. Pillai: Mr. Speaker, I would also like to take the opportunity to= say hello to some of our staff and volunteers who were part of the United Way breakfast. This will tie into our tribute in a few minutes. I would like to recognize Mr. David Whiteside who is here, the president of United Way= . As well, from the departments of Economic Development and Community Services, = Mr. Jason Rayner, Mr. Jason Seaton, Vanessa Innes, Kathryn Ives and Lauren Muir.=

Applause

 

Ms. White: I would ask my colleagues to join me in welcoming Sue Gr= eetham and thank her for her continued work with Fair Vote Yukon. It’s impor= tant and we’re happy to have her here. Thank you for coming.

Applause

 

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I would like to take th= is moment to recognize Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay, who has joined us this afternoon. Please join me in welcoming her to this House.

Applause

 

Mr. Hassard:&= #8195;I ask the House’s indulgence to help me in recognizing a few people tod= ay in the gallery: Mr. Connor Whitehouse, as well as Ms. Amanda Lesl= ie and Mr. Jonas Smith, who was recently acclaimed as the Conservative candidate for the upcoming federal election.

Applause

 

Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>Just a couple of colleagues who are here who are working on an information system — Mr. Luke DeCoste and Wes George.

Applause

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Speaker: I n= ote that one of my constituents and a friend, Fred Smith, is in the gallery today. Welcome to the Legislature.

Applause

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Hon. Ms. McPhee: I would like to recognize in attendance today Annette King, the Child and Youth Advocate.

Applause

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Speaker: Are= there any further introductions of visitors?

Tribut= es.

TRIBUTES

In recognition of Culture= Days

Hon. Ms. Dendys: I rise today on behalf of the Liberal government to pay tribut= e to Culture Days, an annual three‑day celebration of Canadian culture. I = am so pleased that this is the first topic to be discussed in a Fall Sitting of the Yukon Legislative Assembly.

From S= eptember 28 to 30, this past weekend, people across the country celebrated, apprecia= ted and participated in free cultural events and activities in their community. Culture Days is a collaborative, pan-Canadian initiative to raise awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement with all forms of art and cultu= re. Activities and events featured a multitude of creative professions including artists of all types, heritage experts, curators, architects, designers and many, many others. As stated in their mission, Culture Days aims to foster appreciation and support, promote interaction and affirm that every citizen= is a guardian of their cultural community.

I am p= leased to share that this year, 35 events took place in Whitehorse and Carcross as pa= rt of Culture Days. In Yukon, Culture Days was combined with another event cal= led “Doors Open” which provided free access to the public to cultur= ally and historically important buildings. Dozens of Yukoners, artists and organizations coordinated and presented a fantastic range of events for all interests and ages. From art tours to performances, workshops, open houses = and much, much more, Yukoners spent the weekend exploring our diverse historic heritage, indigenous and arts communities.

I was = lucky enough to participate in the opening ceremony at the cultural hub at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre on Saturday, which was followed by a very enthusiastic cultural display in the parade. I took the time to explore our cultural community throughout the weekend and it was fantastic. I am proud = to say that several programs for the Department of Tourism and Culture were pa= rt of Culture Days, including Yukon Archives, the arts unit, historic sites, t= he Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre and the heritage unit at 133 Industrial Road. This is where our archaeology and palaeontology collections are held.=

The Yu= kon government is proud to support Culture Days events through the Culture Quest fund and I would like to thank the Yukon Arts Centre, the Yukon Culture Days steering committee, for coordinating Culture Days this year and the Doors O= pen, as well as the community partners that participated in the event.

Thank = you again to everyone who attended here today. You are doing very important work on behalf of all of us and thank you so much. Taking time to enjoy and appreci= ate our local arts, heritage and culture is essential to our well-being. Making= it accessible, inclusive and fun is just as important, and I’m honoured = to pay tribute to this annual event. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Applause

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Ms. Van Bibber: It is an honour to rise on behalf of the Yukon Party Official Opposition to pay tribute to the arts and culture sector of Yukon’s Culture Days held this past weekend, September 28 to 30.

Each y= ear across Canada, Culture Days is celebrated during the last weekend of September. Th= is year, Yukon has joined the celebrations, and although we differ on the them= e, it is still a welcome addition to our calendar.

The na= tional theme was “OnBeat”, encouraging an = array of drumming and rhythm-inspired events. Yukon’s theme is “Doors Open”, which is self-explanatory — visiting various sites where doors were open for free and hands-on, interactive activities. We are bless= ed with such a wide range of talented and gifted artists, musicians and ideas = that are shared freely. From events such as the Scottish dancing give‑it-a= -try sessions to the heritage highlights scavenger hunt hosted by the Yukon Historical and Museums Association to the National Film Board shorts for the whole family, there was something for a wide range of interests. Art matter= s, and culture is meant to be shared. These two sections can and do contribute= to a healthy, stable society. Concepts, notions and facts are shared during Culture Days and I am so pleased that Yukon has joined this fantastic endeavour.

Events= such as Culture Days will allow a glimpse into a wide range of backgrounds and drea= ms for those willingly giving of their expertise and talents. We encourage all Yukoners to get out and enjoy, learn and engage in the arts and cultural li= fe of the communities and regions during the coming years. Kudos to all who participated and assisted in making 2018 a success.

Applause

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Ms. White:= 195;I rise on behalf of the Yukon NDP caucus to celebrate the wonders of Culture Days. I would like to think that culture had an early start on Friday morni= ng with the musical performances at the United Way breakfast and then with the opening of Yukon’s first mosque. Congratulations to the Yukon Muslim Society on this glorious accomplishment.

Friday= morning was just the beginning. The festivities and activities were spread througho= ut the community for three solid days. With so many interesting and engaging activities, it was hard to keep up. From printing presses to roving ravens,= the creation of glass percussion instruments, exciting museum scavenger hunts, inflatable planetariums and hands-on workshops, the fun never ended. Thank you to all of the artists, facilitators and volunteers = who made Culture Days 2018 such a colourful success.

Applause

In recognition of United Way Month

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I rise today on behalf of the Liberal government to pay tribut= e to the United Way Month, which is the start of the annual fundraising campaign= in support of Canadian charities. This year’s theme is “Better Together”. This year, United Way Yukon is supporting 12 local chariti= es, which include: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Yukon, the Child Development Cen= tre, the Freedom Trails Therapeutic Riding Association, Skookum Jim Friendship Centre and the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre — to mention a = few.

These = are all amazing organizations with programs that support Yukon families, respond to= the needs of those with disabilities, work to address alcohol and drug abuse and aim to reduce the impacts of poverty. These programs make real differences = for some of Yukon’s most vulnerable members of society. This year’s fundraising campaign began on September 22 with seven teams participating in the second United Way plane pull event.

Severa= l members of the Yukon Legislative Assembly participated on Team All Stripes with oth= er political leaders from our community. I will quote Whitehorse City Councill= or Jocelyn Curteanu in saying that we didn’t= come in first, second or third. Actually, I think we came in last, but our politicians definitely went the extra mile, pulling that plane further than= we had to. I will thank the Member for Takhini-Kopper King for leading us the extra 75 metres. At the end of the day, the big winner was the United Way Y= ukon and all the charities they support. Close to $13,000 was raised during this year’s plane pull. I would also like to thank Roslyn Woodcock, w= ho was the 2018 United Way campaign champion, for pulling our team together.

The mo= st recent fundraising activity took place just a few days ago, Mr. Speaker, with= the departments of Economic Development and Community Services taking the lead = on the annual United Way pancake breakfast. Yukoners came together and helped raise more than $20,000 at this year’s breakfast and silent auction. = Many members of this Legislative Assembly were celebrity chefs and I would like = to thank you for your support.

I wish= to recognize the contributions from local businesses, media and all the sponso= rs who came on board to make this event a success.

I woul= d also like to recognize the Yukon Energy Corporation for their efforts during the= ir annual United Way fundraising week, which will take place from October 9 to= 12. I understand that they will have their own kickoff pancake breakfast, silent auction and sign-up drive for payroll deductions.

I enco= urage everyone to support the United Way Month in whichever way you choose, wheth= er it be through personal involvement or corporate campaigns and sponsorship.<= /span>

We are= joined this afternoon by David Whiteside from the United Way and I would also like= to thank and recognize the members of the organizing committee from the departments of Economic Development and Community Services, some of whom we welcomed earlier today. Those would be Amelie Quirke‑Tomlins, An= drew Seymore, Ann Bowen, Caroly= ne Derkatch, Charmaine Cheung, Jason Rayner, Jason = Seaton, Melissa Ordish, Nancy Lewis-de Graff, Rosemary Fordyce, Shelly Jeffrey, Vanessa Innes, Aisha Montgomery, Brian Ng, Damien Burns, Ellen Andison, Jon Trefry, Kathryn Ives, Kayla Jurovich, Lauren Muir, Marie Cairns and Sara Russo.

I also= wish to acknowledge the Yukon Wildfire Fire Management branch, including David John= son, for the support provided during the breakfast set-up and tear-down.<= /p>

Finall= y, a big thank you to the celebrity servers, the RCMP M Division, the live entertain= ment and numerous other volunteers who generously donated their time in making t= his event such a success.

Applause

 

Mr. Cathers: I am pleased to rise today on behalf of the Yukon Party Official Opposition to tribute United Way Yukon and the efforts of Yukoners who rally together to raise money through a number of events for the 2018 United Way fundraising campaign.

United= Way Yukon has been an integral help to countless organizations since 1995. Yukoners volunteer in force to support United Way, especially at this time of year.<= /span>

This y= ear, money was raised to help fund 12 Yukon organizations with projects and programs t= hat directly help families and individuals in a range of areas. It has been wonderful to see how event turnout increases as word spreads about just how much one person or a family can help their community. It is as easy as gett= ing together for breakfast. I was pleased to participate once again in the Unit= ed Way breakfast this year as a celebrity server.

This y= ear, the departments of Community Services and Economic Development put on an excell= ent, fun and very successful breakfast. Thank you to every one of them and the o= ther volunteers who contributed to that event.

ItR= 17;s not an easy feat serving an entire community, so thank you to the staff of both departments as well as the other volunteers and performers who came out to = make the event a success.

The ot= her major component of fundraising for United Way Yukon is the plane pull, for which teams of 15 sign up to have a chance of competing for the fastest time in pulling out an Air North 737.

Thank = you to everyone who took part in a United Way event this year and to those who volunteered to make United Way Month a success, as well as those who contri= bute to the United Way on an ongoing basis throughout the year.

Applause

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Ms. Hanson:&#= 8195;Today I rise on behalf of the Yukon New Democratic Party to congratulate the hard-working staff and volunteers who put in the hours and energy making not only this year’s but every year’s United Way fundraising drive = such a success.

United= Way fundraising ensures that many non-government organizations receive funding = for projects and services that they might not otherwise be able to provide. We = know that these services are often those that fill in gaps in service and help to build stronger community. We as a community owe a huge debt of gratitude to those who volunteer to serve on the board of the United Way. As my colleague here mentioned, it has been since 1995 — and I can tell you that I don’t think it has changed too much over the last 23 years in terms of the difficulty of both attracting and maintaining that dedicated core of people, because it’s no small challenge to find new and ongoing dynam= ic ways to work together with a goal of helping those who are really the unsung heroes who help in our community across Yukon.

The Un= ited Way is encouraging all Yukoners and large and small businesses to consider new = ways to donate, including corporate donations or payroll deduction programs. I am often thinking, Mr. Speaker — as a territorial government of 5,0= 00 employees, imagine, if 50 percent or 75 percent of those employees enrolled= in a payroll deduction program, how the United Way would flourish.

So aga= in, thanks to those volunteers who work so hard for the United Way Yukon — and, = through their efforts, the many Yukoners whose lives are enhanced in ways both small and large.

Applause

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Speaker: Tab= ling returns and documents.

Tabling Returns and Documents

Speaker: The= Chair has for tabling the annual report of the Conflict of Interest Commission for the year ending March 31, 2018. This report is tabled pursuant to section 1= 9 of the Conflict of Interest (Members a= nd Ministers) Act and was distributed to members and made public on June 2= 8, 2018.

The Ch= air also has for tabling a report from the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly on the absence of members from Sittings of the Legislative Assembly and its committees, dated October 1, 2018. This report is tabled pursuant to the direction of the Members’ Services Board.

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

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Hon. Mr. Silver: I have for tabling the 2018‑19 Interim Fiscal and Economic Update.

 

Hon. Ms. Dendys: Pursuant to section 103(1) of the Workers’ Compensation Act, I have for tabling the 2017 an= nual report of the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board.

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Hon. Mr. Pillai: I have for tabling two legislative returns. The first is a let= ter sent to the Member for Kluane in response to Written Question No. 27, and t= he second is a letter sent to the Member for Lake Laberge in response to Writt= en Question No. 25.

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Hon. Ms. Frost: I would like to table three responses to questions raised by t= he Member for Porter Creek North on April 16 and 18, 2018.

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Mr. Cathers: I have for tabling today a memorandum to all deputy ministers re: 2018‑= 19 period four detailed variance report and 2018‑19 period eight detailed variance report, which CBC made public earlier today.

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Speaker: Are= there any reports of committees?

Reports of Committees

Mr. Adel: I have for tabling the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Appointment= s to Major Government Boards and Committees, dated September 14, 2018, and the committee’s ninth report, dated September 20, 2018.

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Speaker: Are= there any further committee reports to be presented?

Are th= ere any petitions?

Are th= ere any bills to be introduced?

Introduction of Bills

Bill No. 207: Second Appropriation Act, 2018‑1= 9 — Introduction and First Reading

Hon. Mr. Silver: I move that Bill No. 207, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2018‑19, be now introduced and = read a first time.

Speaker: It = has been moved by the Hon. Premier that Bill No. 207, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2018‑19, be now introduced and = read a first time.

Motion for introduction and first reading of Bil= l No. 207 agreed to

Bill No. 22: Act to Amend the Forest Resourc= es Act and the Territorial Lands (Yukon ) Act (2018) — Introduction and First Reading

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I move that Bill No. 22, entitled Act to Amend the Forest Resources Act and the Territorial Lands (Yukon) Act (2018), be now introduced= and read a first time.

Speaker: It = has been moved by the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources that Bill No. 22, enti= tled Act to Amend the Forest Resources A= ct and the Territorial Lands (Yukon) A= ct (2018), be now introduced and read a first time.

Motion for introduction and first reading of Bil= l No. 22 agreed to

Bill No. 20: Societies Act — Introduction and First Reading

Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>I move that Bill No. 20, entitled Societies Act, be n= ow introduced and read a first time.

Speaker: It = has been moved by the Minister of Community Services that Bill No. 20, entitled Societies Act, be now introduced a= nd read a first time.

Motion for introduction and first reading of Bil= l No. 20 agreed to

 

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

Are th= ere any notices of motions?

Notices of Motions

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

THAT t= he Yukon Legislative Assembly, pursuant to subsection 12(1) of the Elections Act, recommends that the Commissioner in Executive Council appoint Maxwell Harvey as the Chief Electoral Officer of Yukon, effective October 1, 2018, for a term as stipulated in subsection 12(2) of = the Elections Act.

 

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

THAT t= his House urges the Government of Yukon to:

(1) fo= llow through on the review of the medical travel program that it committed to on March 14, 2018, which is intended to ensure that it is meeting the needs of= all Yukoners;

(2) co= nfirm if work has begun on this review and provide an update on work completed to da= te;

(3) co= mmit to public consultations as part of this review; and

(4) pr= ovide a deadline for completion of the review.

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

THAT t= his House recognizes and congratulates the Government of Canada on reaching an agreem= ent in principle on a modernized trade agreement for North America, including Canada, the United States and Mexico.

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

THAT t= his House urges the Government of Canada to ensure Yukon has flexibility to work with First Nation and municipal governments to spend federal infrastructure doll= ars in the best way to meet our communities’ and territory’s needs.=

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

THAT t= his House urges the Government of Yukon to table a plan detailing how many affordable= and social housing units they will build by the end of their mandate.

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

THAT t= his House urges the Government of Yukon to table in this Assembly the implementation = plan for actions to be taken by the Yukon government in response to the May 2018= Whitehorse Correctional Centre Inspect= ion Report, including clear action items and timelines.

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I also= give notice of the following motion:

THAT t= his House urges the Government of Yukon to tell Yukoners what services will be affect= ed by this government’s across-the‑board, ongoing, two-percent cut= to all departments.

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Speaker: Are= there any further notices of motions?

Is the= re a statement by a minister?

Ministerial Statement

Interim fiscal and econom= ic outlook

Hon. Mr. Silver: I rise today to provide Yukoners with an update on the state of Yukon’s public finances and our economy.

The mi= d-year fiscal and economic outlook tabled today presents a snapshot of current expectations for Yukon’s finances and Yukon’s economy. It highl= ights key changes from the forecast in the spring. The fiscal picture has not cha= nged significantly since the release of the 2018 budget in April.

As a r= esult of better forecasting, this government’s spending, outlined in the main estimates, remains on track and accurately represents spending that will oc= cur this year. On the economic side, Yukon remains one of the best places in Ca= nada to be, with the lowest unemployment rate in Canada and some of the highest weekly earnings. Strong retail sales as well as high levels of construction activity are reflective of a positive economic climate. The mid-term econom= ic outlook remains positive. Future gains are expected in population, along wi= th continued strength in the labour market and growth in real gross domestic product, or GDP. Yukon’s unemployment rate is on track for a record l= ow in 2018, after averaging 2.6 percent over the first eight months. The unemployment rate is forecasted to average 2.8 percent this year, which is = well below the budget forecast of 4.3 percent.

Yukon = continues to have a robust mining sector. Current estimates put exploration spending = at $172.3 million for this year, the highest since 2012 and the fourth in= the country in terms of spending. Development of the Victoria Gold Corporation’s Eagle Gold project is in full swing, with major earthwo= rks well underway on the site as we speak. Goldcorp’s Coffee Gold project= is now in the environmental assessment process. The proponent indicates that t= he company is on track for construction to begin in 2020.

The re= al GDP forecast for 2018 is now forecasted to be 2.5 percent for 2018. Beyond 2018, real GDP gains are expected every year out to 2022, spurred by high levels = of mine development and production from new mines.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, the development of new mining projects will also boost local private sector investment, positively impacting Yukon’s construction industry. Local construction activity will continue to be supported by public spending, particularly on key infrastructure, such as highways, water services and schools.

The to= urism industry continues to gain momentum for a record year in 2017. Growth has continued into 2018, with gains in the first six months in key tourism metr= ics, supported by positive feedback from tourism operators.

A stro= ng economy is reflective in retail sale performance. Following a record $800 mill= ion in 2017, further gains have been registered in the first half of this year, with retail sales up 6.6 percent from the same period in 2017.

With a= strong labour market and positive economic conditions, Yukon’s population is projected to grow as well, increasing 1.7 percent this year. Our population= is now forecasted at over 42,400 for 2022. At the same time, our low unemploym= ent rate is expected to continue, averaging about four percent over 2019 to 202= 2.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, the economic indicators in today’s outlook are mostly positive. They match what we’re hearing on the ground.

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Mr. Cathers: I’m pleased to rise today as the Official Opposition Finance critic to respond = to the Premier’s ministerial statement about the 2018‑19 interim fiscal and economic update. The most notable part of his statement is what = he conveniently glossed over — notably, the fact that he and his Liberal Party repeatedly told Yukoners during the 2016 election campaign that the Y= ukon had the worst economy in Canada.

One of= the Leader of the Liberal Party’s favourite claims used to be that we wer= e in a made‑in-Yukon recession under the Yukon Party. In the 2016 election, the now-Premier said this to media — and I quote: “We have the worst economy in Canada.”

As rec= ently as April of this year, his Minister of Economic Development publicly stated th= at Yukon had the worst economy in 2016. These two statements are in stark cont= rast to the Premier’s own economic update that he released today. <= /p>

In fac= t, according to that report, the Yukon’s GDP grew by 8.3 percent in 2016. Let me repeat that point: the economy grew by 8.3 percent during the last y= ear the Yukon Party was in office. On page five, this report refers to that as robust growth. In fact, according to Statistics Canada, the Yukon had the highest growth rate in Canada in 2016.

The Premier’s report also states this: Yukon’s real GDP contracted = 1.4 percent in 2017. Mr. Speaker, that means that during the first full ye= ar the Liberals were in power, the Yukon’s economy actually went downhill and saw a reduction of 1.4 percent — again, according to their own report. I think we know why the Premier glossed over that important detail about the 2017 economic downturn under the Liberals.

The re= port also states this inconvenient detail that the Premier glossed over in his opening remarks — that the 2018 growth rate for real GDP has been revised dow= n. That’s a quote from the report, and it is contrary to the claim that = the Premier made in his opening statement because, in fact, the picture has worsened since this spring. While the revised forecast for growth in 2018 d= oes suggest that the economy will make up what it lost during the 2017 economic downturn under the Liberals, it is only forecasted to do slightly better th= an that.

In con= clusion, like we saw in the Financial Advisory Panel report, when you dig into the details of the Yukon’s fiscal and economic picture, the Liberal talki= ng points fall apart. Will the Premier now show the courage to apologize to Yukoners for misleading them during the 2016 election campaign?

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Ms. Hanson: In responding to the ministerial statement made by the Minister of Finance this afternoon, the clearest reaction that the New Democratic Party has is that, again, what we’re experiencing is really radio silence by this govern= ment on the options and provocative questions that were raised by what was an os= tensibly independent expert financial panel. Two years into this new government, I w= ould have expected a government that had claimed to be serious about diversifying its economy for the long-term would have started to create the building blo= cks for that diversification, for exploring — as the panel very vigorously suggested — the obligations and benefits to modernizing the revenue options from our non-renewable resources sector to create wealth now, not j= ust for the current period of time, but for years into the future.

I woul= d have expected that this government would have looked at the options that the pan= el talked about in terms of creating — by engaging in that robust and provocative conversation — measures whereby we can begin to build now= a sovereign wealth fund for the future, for generations to come. Instead, we = see that the Minister of Finance’s statement offers much of the same as we have heard for the past 15 years. It has been 15 years, Mr. Speaker, s= ince the Yukon government assumed the authority, the responsibility and the opportunities afforded to this government when Canada transferred the provincial-like responsibilities for land and resource management in the Yu= kon, to work in partnership with First Nation governments.

Quite = frankly, as a citizen and as a member of this Assembly, I am disappointed in the continuation through this statement and the unimaginative — some might say “timid” — response of this government to exploring, through robust dialogue among, for starters, members of this Assembly as elected representatives of all citizens, some or all of the ideas generated= by the independent Financial Advisory Panel — ideas that would move Yukon from its current transactional status — that is that it spends all it= can get from Ottawa without real or serious consideration of options or opportunities lost by refusing to take the leap toward self-government as w= as contemplated by both the implementation of First Nation final and self-government agreements and the Yukon devolution.

Today,= we are hearing again that the Liberal government, like its Yukon Party predecessor, can spend whatever money it receives from our federal government, but lacks= the creativity and courage to take steps toward a government focused on creating wealth, for not just the current, but future generations of Yukoners, by beginning to take those hard steps on making and using critical thinking to analyze that government is not just about spending money. It is about think= ing about how we do it in a more effective and efficient way.

It is = nice to have some statistics thrown at us, but it is a repeat of what I have heard = for the last 15 years.

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Hon. Mr. Silver: I would respectfully disagree with the member from the Third Party, the Leade= r of the NDP. I think we are boldly doing different things, starting with the signing of the chapter 23 implementation agreement increasing the First Nat= ion portion of shared resources. That would be one example.

Our to= urism strategy — the first time in 17 years — would be another exampl= e. The Yukon Forum has 16 working groups right now with indigenous governments right across Canada, not to mention a plethora of subcommittees from those working groups. There is a five‑year capital plan as well.

Negoti= ating a cap on cannabis-related taxes going to the federal government and the 75-percent share of the federal excise tax, carbon levy exemptions for avia= tion and dollar-for-dollar rebates for the placer industry — I would say t= hat this government is doing an awful lot different compared to the narrative b= eing perpetuated by the member from the Third Party. Our government has, for the first time in Yukon history, laid out a five‑year capital plan that w= ill be updated with each budget and will bring even more clarity for Yukon government expenditures, which the member opposite is clearly interested in= .

I want= to thank the opposition for their comments today. Under our government, the economic outlook in the spring and an update in the fall have become a norm. This wasn’t always the case in recent years. The outlook is an opportunity= for members of this House and the public to understand and see the hard numbers= . We are not throwing statistics at the opposition; we are showing hard numbers = that underpin our economy and our budget. It is also available to potential investors in Yukon’s economy so that they can make informed decisions about the future.

I will= note that forecasts are simply that, Mr. Speaker. Some of what is included in the document may not come to pass. That information may not come to pass. Howev= er, it is our best estimate at this time as we see what is coming down the pike= .

On the= economic side, Yukon remains one of the best places in Canada to be, and we have the lowest unemployment rate in the country and some of the highest weekly earnings. Strong retail sales as well as a high level of construction activ= ity are reflective of a positive economic climate. The mid-term economic outlook remains positive, with expectations of further gains in population, continu= ed strength in the labour markets and growth in the gross domestic product. The economic indicators in today’s economic outlook are mostly positive, = and I am happy to report them to the Legislative Assembly.

I than= k my colleagues for their comments today.

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

QUESTION PERIOD

Question re: Water = quality

Mr. Hassard: Mr. Speaker, this summer, the government started testing the lead levels in drinking wat= er at Yukon schools. During the course of the testing, they found elevated lead levels of this water at a number of schools. However, the government did not notify parents, teachers or students of the elevated levels until three wee= ks into the school year. So we’re curious, can the minister tell us why = this government did not notify parents before the beginning of the school year?<= /span>

Hon. Ms. McPhee: The health and safety of Yukon students and the staff in schoo= ls are of course always our first priority. Government is taking proactive measure= s to ensure that the water in Yukon schools remains safe to use and to drink and that it meets the requirements set out in the Canadian drinking water guidelines.

In Aug= ust 2018, we completed water tests for lead levels at all schools that were built bef= ore 1990. We have shared the results with the school communities at the earliest possible time. Mitigation work is taking place at any schools that have had results above the national guidelines to ensure the water in the schools re= mains safe for students and staff over the long term.

The ch= ief medical officer of health advises that there is no short-term risk to health associated with water fixtures, the levels above the national standards tha= t were found in our tests and in a general way. The national standards are based on exposure to lead over a lifetime, and children drink water from multiple sources. Therefore the occasional consumption — if that has taken pla= ce — and we hope, of course, that it has not — from those fixtures= is enough to proceed without any ill effects on behalf of the children.

Mr. Hassard: It’s interesting to note that the minister certainly didn’t answer the question about why it took so long to notify parents.

On Sep= tember 14, the Yukon News reported that the government was refusing to release the detailed figures of what the lead le= vels in the drinking water at our schools are. I believe that parents, families, children and teachers have the right to know what those lead levels are in = the schools’ drinking water. Why is this Liberal government refusing to s= hare this important information with Yukon parents?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: In fact, I did answer the last question, but apparently the me= mber opposite didn’t hear what I said about the testing and when that took place.

With r= espect to the figures of those test results, they are relatively complicated in determining what the readings mean, but they are available to the public electronically now on the Department of Education website and have been for= a bit of time. I couldn’t give you the exact date, but I can certainly = look it up and provide it to the House in the near future if that was something = that is of concern. They are available.

Mr. Hassard: Just for clarification, is the minister saying that those levels are available to the public at this time?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: That’s the information I have been provided. I spoke wit= h the department as late as last week to determine that those figures would be go= ing up on the website for anyone to review.

Question re: Fiscal management

Mr. Kent: This morning, the CBC obtained and made public a document written by the Deputy Minister of Finance to all departments, telling them that the Liberal Cabin= et had directed them to all come up with a plan to cut two percent from their operation and maintenance budgets. Mr. Speaker, a two-percent cut to t= he Department of Education’s O&M budget would be $3.6 million. =

Can th= e minister tell us where the Liberals are intending to cut the $3.6 million from Education’s budget?

Hon. Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, I’m not going to comment on the document that the member opposite is referring to. Suffice it to say we’ve seen this style happen before a= nd the results of those leaked documents didn’t come to fruition. There = is a reason why we have ATIPP — access to information to get current docum= ents — but I’ll stop on that. I will say that it’s not news to anybody in the Yukon that the government is looking for new ways of being efficient. That was one of the central recommendations of the Yukon Financi= al Advisory Panel. We are looking now at how services are organized. We’= re looking at management and delivery of services and we’re looking for efficiencies to better deliver services to Yukoners.

We are= also getting ready to launch a comprehensive review of programs and services delivered by the Department of Health and Social Services and that will be coming later on this year.

I am v= ery comfortable with the financial direction that we are heading in as I outlin= ed today in the ministerial statement. I’ll keep the speculation that the opposition will continue on hard facts, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Kent:Q= 95;Over the course of the summer — actually, over the course of the last two years — we know that the Liberals have a tendency to take no responsibility and blame others when things go wrong. The letter was pretty clear. I mean, it even has the new logo and the fancy wave. It says that Ma= nagement Board, which is made up of Liberal Cabinet ministers, has given direction t= hat departments need to come up with a plan for two-percent cuts to operation a= nd maintenance. The letter is from the Deputy Minister of Finance.

Is the= Premier suggesting or denying that Management Board has told departments to find th= ese cuts?

Hon. Mr. Silver: I’m saying that we’re going to govern based upon official documentation on this side of the House and they can keep on speculating on omnibus bills or some kind of cuts.

You kn= ow, honestly, when it comes down to it, Mr. Speaker, we do need to curtail= the spending here as a government. You know, the trend from the previous govern= ment was to spend $1.50 for every dollar earned and that has to be taken into consideration. Now what we’re going to do is make sure that we do the best we can to find efficiencies without cutting programs and services. That’s the goal. That’s what we’re going to keep to.

Again,= I am completely happy with the changes we’ve done to my department —= the Finance department. In previous years, it was more of a budgetary consideration. It’s now a comprehensive financial department and it’s working in a whole‑of-government approach to make sure tha= t we right-size this government and make sure that our programs and services are= not affected because Yukoners have come to appreciate those programs and servic= es.

Mr. Kent:Q= 95;As we’ve said, the document that was obtained by the CBC and tabled earl= ier today by my colleague for Lake Laberge clearly states the Liberals have giv= en direction for departments to come up with plans to achieve two-percent cuts= in their O&M budgets.

As I s= tated earlier, a two-percent cut to the Department of Education’s O&M w= ould be $3.6 million. So at Education, O&M is services and programs for students as well as salaries and benefits for teachers and those who work in the department.

Will t= he Premier today then rule out any budget cuts to any of those areas in the Department= of Education?

Hon. Mr. Silver: I appreciate the question from the member opposite. He may spe= culate on things to come — I will not. He may speculate on leaked documents = and their government may table supposed Management Board documents, which is interesting for a former minister to do, but I am not going to comment on t= hat document or on the accusations from the members opposite, but I will say ag= ain that we are looking at being more efficient. We spent good money with the Y= ukon Financial Advisory Panel to do so. The previous government spent more than = they earned to the tune of $1.50 for every dollar earned. We need to right-size = this government and we need to curtail that spending and we need to make sure th= at we don’t affect the programs and services that Yukoners have come to appreciate.

Question re: Financial Advisory Panel

Ms. Hanson: Since the Minister of Finance is on it, it has been a year since the release of t= he Yukon Financial Advisory Panel final report. A year later, Yukoners are naturally curious as to the outcome of this $300,000 exercise. Nowhere in t= he report was it suggested to blindly cut every department’s O&M bud= get by two percent, yet this is what the government seems intent on doing.

Various ministers have repeated many times, however, that at least one of the recommendations or observations made by the panel would be followed. For example, the Premier said — and I quote — that we are — n= ot future — we are conducting a “comprehensive review” of He= alth and Social Services’ programs and service delivery.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, will the Premier tell Yukoners when this review started, what the key terms= of reference are, who is conducting it, will the public have a say and when ca= n we — Yukoners — and members of this Assembly expect it to be finis= hed?

Hon. Mr. Silver: I’m glad the Leader of the Third Party came off of the l= ead, which is to speculate. I don’t expect that from her party. I do expec= t it from the members of the Official Opposition. However, she does bring a good point to bear, which is talking about the Financial Advisory Panel. I will = talk in specifics and I will let my colleague, the Minister of Health and Social Services, talk about the specifics of the Health and Social Services’ review.

We were presented a number of options for the Yukon government to return to a healt= hy fiscal position and we will do so. This includes raising revenues through t= axes or fees or cutting government spending. Those were some of the suggestions = from the Yukon Financial Advisory Panel. The panel noted that fees and fines in Yukon were considerably lower than other jurisdictions in Canada and that t= he cost of providing services to Yukon was considerably higher than fees charg= ed by the government. The Yukon government has conducted a preliminary review = of those fees and fines and the sale of government goods and services.<= /p>

So to = talk specifically about what we’re doing with the Yukon Financial Advisory Panel, there is another advance right there.

Public engagement with the Financial Advisory Panel — we heard that Yukoners were not supportive of raising additional revenues or new taxes. Fifty perc= ent of the survey respondents identified a reduction of government spending as a preferred option to return ourselves to a healthy financial position. I can guess from the chagrin next door that this is not what the NDP would do.

Ms. Hanson:&#= 8195;Rather selective hearing of what Yukon citizens said. However, the Yukon Financial Advisory Panel did make numerous observations about how the Yukon government currently manages the non-renewable resource sector.

The pa= nel pointed out that Yukoners own the natural resources and that it is up to the Yukon government and First Nation governments to manage Yukon resources on behalf of all. However, as they pointed out, the current fees and royalties don’t come close to covering the cost of the services provided to the industry. That is why the panel recommended that the Yukon government review resource sector policies — and I quote: “… with a particu= lar emphasis on ensuring fair and efficient royalty rates, fee structures, perm= it and licensing costs, tax exemptions...”

When w= ill the Premier engage with First Nation governments, industry and the public to en= sure that Yukoners receive fair value for the non-renewable resources owned by a= ll citizens of Yukon?

Hon. Mr. Silver: It is always a great opportunity to talk about success stories in First Nation relationships and mining with this territorial government. The minister sig= ned an MOU with the First Nation governments and made sure that their priorities were identified through that memorandum of understanding, and that is where= we are going to focus our attention. One of the things that I am extremely pro= ud of from this whole‑of-government approach in the Yukon Liberal Party government is the signing of that C= hapter 23 Implementation Agreement increasing the First Nation portion of shar= ed resource royalties. That is an extremely important position when you take a look at Victoria Gold coming on line — hopefully within a year — which will be producing to the tune of 200,000 ounces of gold a year. That = is where the money is. That is where the First Nations have definitely been ha= ppy to see the increased share of royalties.

I will= let the minister speak in specifics about relationships with First Nations and mini= ng, but we are very pleased with the mining MOU that was signed with the First Nation chiefs. We are very pleased with shared priorities being identified therein, and we are going to stick our attention to those shared priorities= .

Ms. Hanson:&#= 8195;The Financial Advisory Panel listened to Yukoners, other governments, businesses and financial experts. Some of the suggestions are already at work elsewhere — for instance, creating a payroll tax for fly-in-/fly-out employees = of large mining companies who earn income here but do not pay income tax to Yu= kon. This is but one example put forward by this independent expert panel. The m= ost significant response to date by this government is silence, and now it appe= ars that this government is ignoring the panel’s recommendations to raise additional revenue and is simply applying a two-percent cut to all departme= nts. Why did the Premier order a $300,000 report by an independent panel if his = plan all along was to simply blindly cut across all departments?

Hon. Mr. Silver: Again, we keep on giving answers and the members opposite are still saying that th= ere are no answers. It is hard to respond to that, other than to say that we are taking a look at all of the options from the Financial Advisory Panel. We h= eard from Yukoners about some very specific major suggestions like the harmonized sales tax in Yukon, and Yukoners gave us a resounding “no”. We = are focusing in on reviews. We are focusing in on a Health and Social Services review. That department has been growing to the tune of 14 percent per year= and we need to curtail that.

But ag= ain, as we are doing this — in opposition to what we are hearing from the NDP — our focus is to make sure that the programs and services don’t suffer when we do this. There are so many efficiencies that we can work on.= I am very proud of our progressive agenda in this legislative session, for example, with the Societies Act= to make sure that there is clear guidance and understanding of the rules and regulations within the Societies Ac= t, so that individuals have a more efficient approach when they are dealing wi= th their individual societies and that the paperwork that we’re asking f= or as a government is less onerous.

These = are the things we can do to increase efficiencies. We’re working on a whole b= unch of different initiatives, and we will see as we move forward how well this happens as far as turning the ship around and getting us back onto financial footing that is necessary for Yukon businesses to succeed.

Question re: Affordable housing

Ms. White: Yukon’s housing crisis is not new and it continues to be a problem for workers, you= ng families, employers and for everyone in between. This summer the government= got a taste of what other employers are facing when they had trouble recruiting staff for the Whistle Bend continuing care facility because of the lack of housing in Whitehorse. In an unprecedented move, the department literally a= sked its current employees to open their homes to new employees. It would be fun= ny if it weren’t for the thousands of people struggling to get by becaus= e of this ongoing housing issue. The government has known for years that it would need to hire hundreds of new staff for the Whistle Bend continuing care facility but somehow forgot that these people would need places to live.

If this government can’t plan housing for their own employees, how can Yukone= rs trust that they can solve the ongoing housing crisis?

Hon. Ms. Frost: Thanks for the question. I would like to start by saying that = we do acknowledge the pressures. The pressures have been there for many, many yea= rs with the planning of the Whistle Bend facility — recognizing the grow= th of the Yukon population and the pressures with respect to the growth in our government. Obviously it’s evident that we would have compounding pressures, and we recognize that.

We are= working with our stakeholder groups and we’re working with our partners. As w= ell, we are working with Canada as we look at one of our major partners on impro= ving the delivery of affordable housing to Yukoners. We look at trying to balance the pressures by better aligning our funding initiatives with that of our stakeholder groups by creating the Housing First initiative project this pa= st year, the partnership build initiative. We’ve contributed a significa= nt amount of resources in this year’s budget to better align with the pressures that we’re seeing and we will continue to do that into the future.

Ms. White: If government employees are struggling to find a place to live in Whitehorse, imagine how people in the private sector are feeling. Around the same time = this summer, the government put out a tender looking for a consultant to help it solve its staff housing problem. The tender documents asked to: “R= 30; gather information on potential solutions to overcoming the lack of availab= le rental accommodation.” It is good news that the lack of available ren= tal housing is now on the government’s radar, but you would think that wi= th the 200 or so people on the wait-list at Yukon Housing, it would have given them a clue that this isn’t a new problem. I’m not sure how that tender went, but here’s a revolutionary idea: let’s build affordable housing.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, when will this government actually do something about the housing crisis and build more affordable housing?

Hon. Ms. Frost: Let me start by saying that we are addressing the need for hou= sing in a number of ways. We have released a number of lots recently in Whistle Bend. We’re working with the construction of a 16-unit Housing First residence in downtown Whitehorse. We have worked at expanding funding progr= ams through the Yukon Housing Corporation, and we will continue to work with our partners.

As a n= ote with respect to affordable housing over the past two years we’ve invested = and we’re seeing an increase in new affordable housing units. We work with the Da Daghay Development Corporation and the Klondike Development Organization. We’ve worked with the victim of violence funding for Blood Ties Four Directions. We will look at affordable micro-units. In Whitehorse, we’re looking at working and expanding our municipal matching grant. We’ve also looked at our funding programs f= or this last year, Mr. Speaker, which will result in an increase in housi= ng, so we’re seeing now an increase in total units of 363 for the last ye= ar.

Ms. White:= 195;With 195 people self-identifying as being homeless in the last point-in-time cou= nt, I’m not sure that one Housing First project is really going to solve = the problem. Mr. Speaker, this project won’t help employers retain s= taff who can’t find an affordable place to stay — or any place to st= ay, let’s be honest. It won’t help minimum-wage workers who canR= 17;t afford Yukon’s housing market.

Afford= able housing isn’t a money-making business, Mr. Speaker. Most private developers will go for more lucrative options, like building condos —= and why wouldn’t they? We can’t blame them. That’s why the government needs to step in. Affordable housing won’t build itself — or we wouldn’t still be in the middle of this never-ending housing crisis.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, how many new affordable rental units will this government build in the remainder of their mandate?

Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>I thank the member opposite for the question. She talked about= the need for our businesses that are growing here in the territory and where th= ey can find homes. We look at housing as a spectrum here, and on that spectrum we’re working at all ends.

I than= k the minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation for talking about ho= w to work at the affordable housing end and we’re working today. The supplementary budget was just given its first reading today, and within that budget we’re increasing the investment in land development so that we= see more lots coming online by $4 million.

I̵= 7;ll stand up later and we can talk further about what that will create in terms of new homes and houses — not just single‑family homes, but duplexes, townhouses and multi-family homes that will be there for the spectrum of ne= eds for Yukoners.

Question re: School bus service

Mr. Kent: Mr. Speaker, with the start of the school year, we’ve heard a number of complaints= from parents about school buses — everything from overcrowding to no assig= ned seats for younger students and bad behaviour of some of the students on the= se buses. The parents I’ve spoken with are working through these issues = with departmental staff.

Howeve= r, one issue that I asked about in the spring was about who actually knows which students are on which buses, particularly at the end of the day. The minist= er said at the time — and I quote: “The drivers are aware, the sch= ool is aware, and I know that there is close monitoring, particularly of younger children, to make sure that they are on the right bus at their school ̵= 2; because they are getting on a bus that they did not arrive on — or at= a transfer that is required.” Mr. Speaker, if for some reason a pa= rent isn’t sure which bus their child got on at the end of the day, who are they supposed to call? Would they call the department, do they call the sch= ool or do they call the busing contractor?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Thank you for the question. I would hope that they could call = any of those locations if an error had been made. I certainly am aware that the individual staff involved with busing at the Department of Education are extremely responsive to a parent’s concerns.

Whethe= r that concern comes through the school or through the busing company and contract= or, clearly the most important thing in all of those situations is ensuring that students have safe and effective transportation to and from school and that they arrive where their parents need them to be in a safe and efficient fashion.

Mr. Kent:Q= 95;At a recent school council meeting that I attended, this very issue came up and = it was determined that neither the school nor the contractor would know on a day-to-day basis which students got on which bus at the end of the day. Unfortunately, it appears the minister was incorrect in the spring when I a= sked her about this particular issue.

Given = this information that I heard about, what actions will the minister take to make sure parents know who they can call if they’re not sure which bus the= ir child is on?

Hon. Ms. McPhee: This is unfortunately the very first time that I have heard of= this particular situation. The member opposite did not contact my office. I thin= k he will have to admit that when he does contact my office about anything, that= we respond as immediately as possible and often within hours, if not a day or = so, to give him the answer he needs.

Certai= nly, if it’s about a busing situation and a young person here in the territor= y, we would want to take that as seriously as it should be, deal with it immediately and do so. I don’t disagree, Mr. Speaker, that ̵= 2;

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I’m sorry. I’m not sure who’s talking, but I think I have the floor= .

I̵= 7;m not sure about the details of this particular situation. I would urge the member opposite to please advise my office or me personally of those so that we can determine that. I certainly agree that everyone should know where the child= ren are on the bus — their families, their school and the bus company.

Question re: School structural safety

Mr. Ha= ssard: Mr. Speaker, = in a 2013 report, there were seismic deficiencies identified in eight Yukon scho= ols. Those schools were Kluane Lake School, the Nelnah Bessie John School, St. Elias Community School, Wood Street Centre, Christ = the King Elementary School, Selkirk Elementary School, Takhini Elementary School and Whitehorse Elementary School.

The total cost estimates at the time to address these issues were just short of $20 million. According to a re= port on the HPW website, short-term mitigations have been completed as well as planning for long-term mitigations.

Mr. Speaker, can the Minister of Education update this House on where we’re at in regard to seismic mitigations in these identified schools? Are there updated cost estimates, = and when will the work be completed?

Hon. M= r. Mostyn: Thank you very much, Mr.&= nbsp;Speaker. We do take the responsibility for our buildings and making sure they’= re safe for our students and our staff who use these buildings — the pub= lic.

As the member opposite has noted, we a= re in the process of evaluating and taking care of all of the work that needs to = be done on our schools and public buildings in terms of seismic mitigation. We will roll out those — we want to ensure the safety of= our students in our schools. We have been very clear about that up in the Ross River area with the Ross River School and we will continue to do that with = all of our schools — making sure that they are safe for our students and doing the work that needs to be done in a timely manner.

Mr. Hassard: So it appears we’re not going to get any updates today.

When t= he Liberals tabled their five‑year capital concept this spring, only two= of the eight schools identified in the seismic report were included — Ch= rist the King Elementary and Kluane. We noted at the time that one of the Yukon&= #8217;s newer schools — Holy Family elementary — also made the cut as p= art of the government’s school revitalization plan.

Can th= e minister tell Yukon parents if the remaining six schools that have seismic deficienc= ies will enter the queue for either renovation or replacement?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I have just answered the question for the member opposite. We = have said that we are monitoring our buildings very closely in terms of the work that needs to be done — the seismic work. We do robust and comprehens= ive building analyses on the buildings and their condition. We will make sure t= hat our buildings are safe and we will take care of the appropriate work to make sure those buildings remain safe in a responsible and methodical fashion.

Mr. Hassard: Another school that was left off of the five‑year capital concept was the Ross River School. We know that the government received an engineering report th= at said the school needed to be relevelled last summer. However, they didnR= 17;t take that recommendation, so they went and got a second opinion so that they wouldn’t have to fix that school.

Can th= e minister tell us what the government’s plans are for the Ross River School and= can this government assure parents and teachers that this facility is safe?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I can assure parents, teachers and staff in that Ross River Sc= hool facility that it remains safe. That school has been settling due to freezing and thawing of permafrost under the school for many years. Over the years, a number of structural repairs and interventions have been made to that schoo= l. A recent building condition report was completed by engineers in February 201= 8 on the structure and confirms the school remains structurally stable and safe = for occupancy. We are continuing to monitor, as recommended in the report.

&= nbsp;

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

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

Orders of the DaY

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Pursuant to Standing Order 14.3, I request the unanimous conse= nt of the House to call at this time the motion for which I gave notice earlier today regarding the appointment of a Chief Electoral Officer of Yukon.

Unanimous consent re calling Motion No. 312 for debate

Speaker: The= Government House Leader, pursuant to Standing Order 14.3, has requested the unanimous consent of the House to call at this time the motion for which she gave not= ice earlier today regarding the appointment of a Chief Electoral Officer of Yuk= on.

Is the= re unanimous consent?

All Hon. Members: Agreed.

Speaker: The= re is unanimous consent.

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

Motion No. 312

Clerk: Motio= n No. 312, standing in the name of the Hon. Ms. McPhee.

Speaker: It is moved by the Government House Leader:

THAT t= he Yukon Legislative Assembly, pursuant to subsection 12(1) of the Elections Act, reco= mmends that the Commissioner in Executive Council appoint Maxwell Harvey as the Ch= ief Electoral Officer of Yukon, effective October 1, 2018, for a term as stipul= ated in subsection 12(2) of the Election= s Act.

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Hon. Ms. McPhee: I have very little actually to add with respect to this. I thi= nk the motion says it all. The proper process, selection and evaluation assessment= of candidates was followed. This matter comes to the House with respect to this motion recommending that Maxwell Harvey be appointed as the Chief Electoral Officer for the Yukon Territory.

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Mr. Kent: I’ll be brief in my remarks as well. I was fortunate enough to be selected as a member of the interview committee, as well as the Member for Porter Creek Centre and the Member for Takhini-Kopper King. I would also like to thank H= elen Fitzsimmons for all of her work in helping us through that process. I would like to congratulate all of the candidates that put their name forward and,= of course, congratulations to Mr. Harvey as well. We wish him every succe= ss in his new role as Yukon’s Chief Electoral Officer.

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Ms. White: I would just like to echo my colleague in saying that it was almost pleasurab= le to go through the interview process, mostly due, in fact, to the work done = by the director of the Legislative Assembly. So a big thank you to Helen Fitzsimmons for walking us through that process and again just for the good candid conversations we were able to have — the three of us who were = on that committee. We’re excited that Mr. Harvey has taken up the o= ffer of the position. We thank the other candidates for their application, and I think that Elections Yukon is in good hands.

So wit= h that, Mr. Speaker, we look forward to the vote.

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Speaker: Is = there any further debate on this motion?

Before= putting the question, the Chair must draw members’ attention to subsection 12= (1) of the Elections Act. That subs= ection requires that the recommendation of the Legislative Assembly to the Commissioner in Executive Council respecting the appointment of a Chief Electoral Officer be supported by at least two-thirds of the members of the Assembly. The effect of subsection 12(1) is that, for the motion to be carr= ied, at least 13 members must vote in favour.

Division

Speaker: In = order to ensure that the requirements of subsection 12(1) of the Elections Act are met, the Chair will now call for a recorded division.

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Bells

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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 by the required support of two-thirds= of the Members of the Legislative Assembly and that the Legislative Assembly recommends to the Commissioner in Executive Council that Maxwell Harvey be appointed Chief Electoral Officer of Yukon.

Motion No. 312 agreed to

Hon. Mr. Silver: Pursuant to Standing Order 14.3, I request the unanimous conse= nt of the House to move at this time the motion for second reading of Bill No. 207, entitled Second Appropriation Act, = 2018‑19, which received first reading earlier today.

Unanimous consent re second read= ing of Bill No. 207, Second Appropria= tion Act, 2018‑19

Speaker: The= Hon. Premier has requested the unanimous consent of the House to move at this time the motion for second reading of Bill No. 207, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2018‑19, which received first reading earlier today.

Is the= re unanimous consent?

All Hon. Members: Agreed.

Speaker: The= re is unanimous consent.

Government Bills

Bill No. 207: Second Appropriation Act, 2018‑1= 9 — Second Reading

Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 207, standing in the name of t= he Hon. Mr. Silver.

Hon. Mr. Silver: I move that Bill No. 207, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2018‑19, be now read a second t= ime.

Speaker: It = has been moved by the Hon. Premier that Bill No. 207, entitled Second Appropriation Act, 2018‑19, be now read a second t= ime.

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Hon. Mr. Silver: Thank you to my colleagues in this House for unanimous consent. I am pleased to r= ise this afternoon to outline the spending requests as part of the first supplementary estimates for 2018‑19. In the spring, this government stressed the importance of supplementary estimates as an exercise in accountability. At that time, we said that these appropriations are an opportunity to further clarify Yukon’s financial situation. They are = also providing insight into the government’s approach to fiscal planning. Outside of exceptional circumstances, supplementary estimates should not be very far off a government’s intended annual spending plans. When they vary significantly, as they have in the past, it is clear that the territory has only a rough fiscal plan.

Our go= vernment is committed to ensuring that the government’s finances and the government’s actions are clear and understandable to Yukoners. This w= ork begins with tabling a main estimate that accurately represents the spending that will occur during the year. As we know, unexpected events have happened and the timing of some of the projects can have an impact on the government’s financial situation. This is the purpose of supplementary estimates. They are not, however, an opportunity to propose new spending on major projects. This has been our commitment in the past and we remain committed to this into the future.

This y= ear, things are no different. The story that we are telling with the first supplementary estimate is the same as in the spring. The purpose of this spending is to capture largely unexpected expenses. With this approach, we = will be improving Yukon’s long-term financial position by avoiding unneces= sary burden.

In 201= 7, we set out to establish a more strategic and sustainable approach to fiscal planni= ng. We examined the true state of government finances and confirmed that the government has been spending beyond its means. While I am very pleased with= the first steps that we have taken as a territory and as a government, there is more work to be done. The Yukon Financial Advisory Panel was the first step= in this process and it led to several clear commitments from this government. = The input the panel received and the insights that they provided to the governm= ent are informing our budget process and will for years to come. We announced several explicit undertakings in the spring, but I will restate them for the members.

One ke= y focus for this coming year will remain a comprehensive review of Health and Social Services, as the panel suggested. We will also strive to increase both the efficiency and effectiveness of delivering services to Yukoners. We will lo= ok not just at what government does, but also how it does it. This government = is also committed to getting out of the business of doing business by getting = out of work that elsewhere is done by the private sector. This government heard loud and clear that the people of Yukon are not in favour of a sales tax. T= his government was clear and deliberate: There will be no sales tax in Yukon. W= hile a sales tax is off the table, a key finding of the Financial Advisory Panel= was that the own-source revenue in the territory is drastically lower than every other jurisdiction in the country. This may be an area where Yukon needs to catch up as we move forward.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, I would like to now spend a few minutes detailing changes to spending betwe= en the main estimate and the supplementary estimates. In its entirety, the 201= 8‑19 first supplementary estimate contains $13.4 million in additional spending. This is less than a one‑percent increase over the main estimates. It is made up of $4.8 million in operation and maintenance = and $8.6 million in capital. Revenues, which include recoveries of operati= on and maintenance and capital costs, have increased by $2.5 million. The transfers from Canada remain unchanged. Forecast net financial assets have decreased by $7.4 million since the main estimates were presented this spring. This change can be attributed to timing of special projects and an increase in capital expenditures related to tangible capital assets.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, I will remind members that Yukon must continue to invest in its infrastruct= ure. In evaluating how best to return to a path of fiscal sustainability and returning to surplus by 2020-21, this government is looking further than the next budget cycle. Aging infrastructure presents a very real financial risk= to provinces and to territories if left too long and can severely compromise o= ur ability to offer those services that Yukoners require.

We wei= ghed the options carefully and decided that the most pertinent course in 2018‑= 19 was to take advantage of money that Ottawa has put on the table through its generous infrastructure funding programs. Mr. Speaker, we will not all= ow Yukon communities to fall into disrepair or pass the burden of maintenance = on to future Yukoners and Yukon governments. We are reducing the infrastructure deficit that we inherited. This government will continue to invest in roads, bridges, hospitals and schools used by Yukoners and we will make use of fed= eral funding, whenever available, to do so.

Diving= into O&M spending, the single largest contributor to additional spending in = this area can be attributed to fire suppression. In North America, we know clima= te change is not just a theory. It is the cracks in our highways; it is the sh= ifts in the foundations of our buildings and a significant increase in fire suppression activity due to the lengthening and variability of the fire sea= son. I think we are all aware of the challenges of this past fire season in west= ern Canada. Not only are we empathetic to the damage caused by wildland fires in British Columbia, but Yukon faced its own challenges related to those fires= . In 2018, these changing circumstances translated to $4.4 million in additional wildfire costs, not only in southeast Yukon, but to our support = of our neighbours as Yukon fulfilled its commitment to assist other jurisdicti= ons under mutual aid agreements.

The ot= her major increase is in the area of funding for the Yukon Hospital Corporation in the form of $1.3 million for higher chemotherapy treatment costs, as well = as $1.6 million for union staff collective agreement funding, medical ima= ging and lab services.

Another important addition this year is the work being completed in cooperation with the Child and Youth Advocate. In March, this government made a commitment to complete an independent and impartial systematic review of the transitional support services program.

This $= 100,000 commitment to the Yukon Child and Youth Advocate will support her work in undertaking an independent and impartial review of this program. This review was requested as part of our work to ensure that children and youth in our = care are receiving the best care and support possible that meets their needs.

In ter= ms of additional funding that contributes to Yukon’s thriving economy, this government saw increased uptake of the Yukon film development fund. This additional $956,000 is a key factor in a company’s decision to shoot = in the Yukon and to hire and to train Yukoners for field production. These pro= jects significantly impact the growth of the Yukon film and media sector and the local economy.

This g= overnment has also made its commitments to reconciliation a priority. We remain commi= tted to work together with our First Nation and Inuvialuit partners to foster reconciliation. Our work with the Inuvialuit to implement their final agree= ment in Yukon includes management of Herschel Island Territorial Park, as well as collaborative management of fish, wildlife and habitat on the North Slope. A $408,000 increase in this agreement is made up of $242,000 in funding recei= ved late in 2017-18, for which projects could not be completed prior to year-end and a further $166,000 which forms the annual increases to this agreement.<= /span>

Also i= n the area of sustainability, I am pleased to say that Energy, Mines and Resources has seen a considerable uptake in its energy rebate program. 2018 marks a significant year of investment for the Government of Yukon in energy-effici= ency rebates in our territory. Our energy rebate programs are very popular and assist businesses and homeowners to make investments in buildings and heati= ng systems to reduce energy consumption in Yukon and to convert to renewable f= orms of energy. This additional interest has led to an $800,000 increase over th= e main estimates.

In add= ition, the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources has identified some non-complianc= e at the Wolverine mine site. To ensure that conditions do not deteriorate, the department has begun remediation work in the amount of $6.5 million and will use the security posted to fund the work.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, this government also has two noteworthy decreases in operation and maintena= nce spending. The first involves a $17.8-million decrease for Assessment and Abandoned Mines as the federal government takes over the Faro mine work pla= n. As the regulator and members of the oversight committee, the Yukon governme= nt will continue to ensure that the Faro mine site meets existing standards necessary to protect the environment and ensure human safety.

Discus= sions are ongoing between the Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon and affected First Nations on the management of the Faro mine remediation proje= ct. We are looking forward to seeing businesses and employment opportunities for Yukon First Nations and local residents related to implementing these proje= cts.

The ot= her decrease of note is $950,000 for the Kluane First Nation windmill project. = This project progressed more slowly than anticipated, but definitely will contin= ue.

There = are also a few notable changes to capital spending. Of the $8.6 million in additi= onal capital spending, the most significant piece of the pie is related to land development at $4 million.

We all= know that housing stock is becoming increasingly tight in the Yukon. These funds are largely being dispersed to address demands through the completion of phase = 3 of the Whistle Bend project, continuation of phase 4 and initial work of phase= s 5 and 6. For context, phases 3 and 4 are expected to release over 200 lots in 2019 and phase 5 generating over 160 lots in 2020.

The ot= her major expense is a real allocation of $3.8 million in funding not spent from 2017-18 for the completion of the Whistle Bend continuing care facility, wh= ich recently opened on budget.

All ot= her changes to capital spending are related to the purchase of two new fire tru= cks by Community Services or to address lapses in funds from the previous year being spent this year.

We als= o have some changes to recoveries included in the first supplementary estimates. Of additional note is a $6.2-million reduction in operation and maintenance recoveries. Included in these changes is a $14.4-million reduction as part = of the changes in governance related to the Faro mine, once again. This is off= set by a recovery for the Wolverine remediation work that I mentioned earlier. =

I woul= d like to continue my summary by speaking to some increases in revenue. As many prospective homeowners know, we are in an increasing interest rate environm= ent. The Government of Yukon has benefitted positively by the latest interest ra= te increases to the form of $118,000 in additional revenue on government investments.

The la= rgest area of growth, however, is in land sales. As a result of higher than anticipated demand for lots, we have seen an $8.6-million increase in revenue. This is largely as a result of the successful lottery held earlier this year and go= es hand in hand with the additional capital spending I mentioned earlier in or= der to continue to meet this demand.

I woul= d like to conclude my remarks by restating the purpose of supplementary estimates. Wh= ile we may be used to conveying any new and unexpected changes to the main estimates, it will be always in our aim to make realistic assessments of our annual spending as the year starts. We will always work to account for any expenses we know will occur based upon the best possible information at the time.

Today,= our government presents a first supplementary estimate that does not stray far = from the 2018‑19 main estimates. This is an important step toward long-term fiscal sustainability, but there is still a lot of work to do — work = that I am excited to see progress in the next coming months and years ahead. We = look forward to working with all members and Yukoners to take the necessary step= s to create a sustainable and prosperous path for the territory.

I invi= te members to treat Committee of the Whole as an opportunity to request further detail= on any areas included in the supplementary estimates, and I look forward to comments from my colleagues.

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Mr. Cathers: I’m pleased to rise here this afternoon as the Official Opposition Finance crit= ic. I will be making most of my remarks in that context, though I would also li= ke, at this point, to thank my constituents in my riding of Lake Laberge for the continued opportunity to work with them and to serve as their MLA. <= /p>

I woul= d like to thank as well the Leader of the Official Opposition for the continued opportunity to serve as the Finance critic, as well as all of my caucus colleagues and our staff for their continued support and the work that each= of them do each and every day.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, in talking to Yukoners over the past several months, it’s clear that Yukoners are becoming increasingly upset with this Liberal government’= ;s lack of action on important issues. This is the Liberal government that is = full of platitudes but weak on substance. There have been plenty of photo opportunities and platitudes but we see a complete lack of vision. In fact,= the single‑most comment I hear from ordinary Yukoners about this Premier = and the Liberal government is this: What have they actually done?

The Pr= emier is two years into his mandate. The sand is slipping out of the Liberal hourgla= ss fast. They have largely squandered 40 percent of their mandate or as much as half if the election is called before year mark. What have they actually do= ne? That is what Yukoners are asking.

Yukone= rs want their government to take issues that matter to them seriously. Photo opportunities and platitudes are very nice, but they don’t actually f= ix any problems. A few of the issues ordinary Yukoners care about and that they have brought to my attention include: the hospital bed pressure crisis; the delay in opening the Whistle Bend continuing care beds; growing wait times = for procedures, including cataract surgery; issues around support for our EMS volunteers in rural Yukon; highway safety; a desire to see expanded cell service; a desire to see the government move forward with the review of med= ical travel and to see increases in that area; concerns about our education syst= em; land availability; housing; availability of land; the cost of living; and, = of course, the economy — all issues that are top of mind for Yukon citiz= ens.

I woul= d like to note in remarking about Whistle Bend Place that I want to thank and congratulate all the staff of contractors who have worked on it for doing a great job on construction of this facility. We’re certainly very plea= sed to see this facility constructed as well as seeing the Premier and governme= nt have a change of heart on this facility and, in fact, recognizing now the n= eed for it.

What I= am concerned about is we have yet to see a timeline from the government on the speed with which that facility will be filled and we continue to hear from Yukoners who are concerned about the number of citizens who are in Whitehor= se General Hospital awaiting a bed in the continuing care facility as well as those who are on the wait-list.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, unfortunately, the Liberal government appears to be out of touch with ordin= ary Yukoners and their priorities. The issues that seem important to them are n= ot the ones we hear about from ordinary Yukoners. The Premier indeed talks tod= ay about raising fees and fines and potential cuts to departments, but Mr.&nbs= p;Speaker, there are decisions which have been made by this government which they had a choice not to make. It reflects their spending priorities, but the examples that I am about to list do not reflect the priorities that we hear from ordinary Yukoners.

A few = of these examples — one minister was able to find $144,000 to renovate office space for a new judge, but the same minister in a different portfolio of he= rs did not see fit to ensure that Golden Horn Elementary School received a portable they need or that Hidden Valley School received a portable they had asked for.

As one= of my colleagues brought forward in Question Period today, there are a number of other schools within the Whitehorse area that are facing significant pressu= res.

Despit= e the Premier’s repeated claims that the government is committed to getting= out of the business of doing business, they proceeded with cannabis legalization using a model that actually grows the size of government and insisted on spending $3 million on purchasing cannabis inventory for the first four months of operation alone, as well as setting up a public retail store. We proposed an alternative similar to what the Province of Saskatchewan is doi= ng, which leaves the private sector taking the risks and spending private sector dollars instead of public dollars on retail, but the government refused to listen and insisted on growing the size of government.

In the= first year of the Liberal mandate, by the Premier’s admission, the Liberal government added to the size of the government by some 240 new full-time equivalent employee positions, virtually none of which were related to continuing care. I would point out, the reason for the reference to continu= ing care is that tends to be the Finance minister’s favourite area to poi= nt to as an excuse for the growth of government.

Despit= e the attempts to blame red ink and spending down the surplus on the O&M cost= s of Whistle Bend Place, it’s now almost halfway through the mandate that Whistle Bend Place is only about to get its first residents. During the fir= st year and the second year of the Liberal mandate, over 480 new full-time equivalent positions were added to the Yukon government, by the PremierR= 17;s own admission, during debates in this House as reflected in Hansard. That i= s an increase of approximately 10.4 percent to the size of government in just two years since the Liberals took office. So again, as we see with the Premier’s ministerial statement earlier today in referring to what’s in the interim fiscal and economic outdate and the rhetoric wh= ich has been used around the state of the government’s finances when they took office, upon examination of the details and the facts, the Liberal tal= king points fall apart.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, I’m going to refer to another few areas that just show or demonstrate some of the areas where government’s spending choices — the Lib= eral government’s spending choices — were not in line with what we h= ear from Yukoners and are areas where, had they chosen to do so, they could have saved a significant amount of money. We’ve seen the government embark= on the development of a new logo and new website at the cost of around half a&= nbsp;million dollars. We’ve also heard that some of the costs that have been seen since that time do not appear to have been reflected in the government̵= 7;s initial statements about what the bill would be. Those include seeing a new letterhead, new signage, new nametags for employees, new signage on vehicles and so on. So we look forward to hearing what the total bill is, but we use= the number they have of half a million dollars for the moment.

We see= as well the $300,000 that they spent on the Financial Advisory Panel report. I would agree with the Leader of the Third Party that the government seems to be ignoring it and set on taking their own approach. We’ve seen $120,000 spent spraying water in the air, hoping for ice at Dawson City. We’ve seen $105,000 spent by Cabinet upon taking office on personal electronic devices that were not due for replacement, and we’ve seen $40,000 on Cabinet office renovations, including the new glass wall that fortified, one might say, the Cabinet office.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, if you add up those areas, those few examples alone add up to an excess of = $1.2 million. We could go through — and will go through — other examples in t= he future. The point I am making is this: There have been choices made by this Liberal government that we believe are wasteful or, at the very least, non-priority items. Added up, they add up to a substantial amount of money.= The government could choose to sharpen the pencil in those areas rather than looking at blanket cuts across departments.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, as you know, CBC today reported another revelation from a whistle‑blo= wer with an internal memo from the Department of Finance sent by the Deputy Minister of Finance to all deputy ministers, asking departments to find two-percent cuts. The Premier has also repeatedly touted his plan to have a health care review to make cuts in the area of health. The current O&M budget for Health and Social Services is $403.796 million. A two-perce= nt cut is over $8 million. We are left with the question: Are the Premier= and this Liberal government planning to cut funding for Health and Social Servi= ces by over $8 million? If so, what area do they plan to make those cuts i= n? If not, why did a letter from the top official in the Premier’s own department direct all departments, including Health and Social Services, to look for ways to cut their budget by two percent?

There = have been times in the past when Health and Social Services has been given a different target than other departments in recognition of the fact of the growth of health care needs of our aging population and the importance of investing in our health care needs. Those were in years when we were actually increasing= the funding across the board in all departments.

Again,= if the Premier is not looking at cutting health care by two percent, why did this = memo direct all departments, including Health and Social Services, to look for w= ays to cut their budget by two percent? Meanwhile, I have to point out that the= y do have the brand new logo on this memo that was sent to departments, demonstrating — at the top of the page — one area where the Lib= eral Cabinet themselves could have chosen to save money.

How ar= e medical wait times going to improve if $8 million is cut from health funding? = How will people on the wait-list for continuing care beds get the care that they need if the budget for health is cut by two percent? How, when health care costs right across the country are the number one cost pressure in provinci= al and territorial budgets, does the Premier labour under the illusion that th= is government can cut health care by two percent without seeing dire consequen= ces for Yukoners? What does the Premier or the Minister of Health and Social Se= rvices have to say to people who are currently waiting two years for cataract surg= ery, or to my constituent who needs a spot in continuing care and still cannot e= ven get an estimate of when he will be off the wait-list and receive the care t= hat he needs? It is time for this Liberal government to start treating the issu= es that matter to Yukoners seriously. Ordinary Yukoners do, and they expect th= eir government to do that as well.

The Premier’s lack of leadership is causing serious problems, and sending= in the plumbers to silence government employees is not a solution. Whistle‑b= lowers appear to be coming forward in unprecedented numbers and the reason they ar= e is because there are serious problems. Silencing them does not fix the problem= s. The Premier’s reaction to a leak might be to call in the plumbers but that will not fix the problem.

A few = areas I would like to touch on before wrapping up my comments, in the interest of expediting debate — again, as my colleague, the Member for Watson Lak= e, pointed out earlier today, Yukoners are very interested in seeing progress = on medical travel. They want to see increased coverage that addresses the curr= ent needs of Yukon citizens, because of course, as members know, the last significant changes and increases to this program were made about a decade = ago when I was Health and Social Services minister at the time, and there is a = need for an update in this area.

Our mo= tion, as proposed by my colleague, the Member for Watson Lake, was supported in this House in the spring, which we appreciate, but we have not seen any signs of action on it.

The Fi= nancial Advisory Panel, in their report, twice recommended that government do budge= ts on a consolidated basis to show a more accurate picture of government’= ;s finances and their report — again, the government’s own panel — noted that the consolidated financial picture shows a healthier pic= ture than the government’s budget would lead one to believe, and they said, and I agree, that it represents a more accurate picture of the government&#= 8217;s finances. Their report, and the numbers shown in it, in fact, directly contradict the Liberal government’s repeated claims about a dollar of revenue and a dollar and a half worth of spending and show it to be absolute poppycock.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, I would note as well that the government has their much-touted five year capital plan. We’ve seen a lack of detail; we’ve referred to it= and characterized it as better being referred to as a five‑year capital concept and, in fact, Yukon contractors are becoming increasingly frustrate= d by the lack of action in the government fulfilling the commitments that they m= ade.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, in the interest of expediting debate and dealing with our priority, which is getting to asking detailed questions on the finances, I will leave my remar= ks there for the moment but, as I have noted in the past — and I will not reiterate all of them this Sitting, but they stand in Hansard for the record — there are a number of areas we have identified where government cou= ld have chosen money but where this Liberal government has chosen not to save money. There are a number of areas where their spending has been wasteful a= nd appears to respect their personal priorities or their personal pet projects rather than the priorities of Yukon citizens, and we will continue to call = the government out on those areas and hold them accountable on behalf of Yukon citizens.

 

Mr. Gallina: I’m pleased to rise to speak to the first supplementary estimates of this year.= I would like to take this opportunity to thank the constituents of Porter Cre= ek Centre for their time this summer in helping me further understand whatR= 17;s important to them and to their families. The conversations we have are invaluable and help shape the priorities our caucus brings forward through legislation, main estimates and, in this case, supplementary estimates. Tha= nk you to everyone who attended our all-caucus barbecue at Shipyard’s Pa= rk on July 10, to everyone who joined my family and me at my constituent barbe= cue in Whistle Bend on July 14 and to the many people who met my colleagues throughout the summer months as they hosted constituent and community event= s. It’s encouraging to connect with so many Yukoners and constituents who truly want the best for the people of this territory.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, as I prepared and researched for this Fall Sitting and reflected on the interactions I was fortunate enough to have with people, I was reminded how= the key priorities of this government align with the priorities of Yukoners. Th= ey want us to continue to prioritize a people‑centred approached to well= ness that helps Yukoners thrive. They have come to see the value that’s created through strong government-to-government relationships with First Nations as reconciliation is fostered. They know that a diverse, growing economy is providing good jobs for Yukoners in an environmentally responsib= le way, and they know that strategic investments are building healthy, vibrant= and sustainable communities.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, Whistle Bend Place and the programming and services being provided to Yukon= ers aligns directly with our people‑centred approach to wellness that hel= ps Yukoners thrive. This facility is the largest capital project in Yukon̵= 7;s history. It is an honour to have this facility in the riding of Porter Cree= k Centre and I am happy to report that it was completed on time and on budget.

It is encouraging to know that all eligible Yukoners on the wait-list for long-te= rm care will be accommodated once Whistle Bend is ready to received residents later this month. Whistle Bend Place requires approximately 250 staff for a full staff complement. Seventy percent of the staff needed have been hired, with approximately 140 staff being hired locally, including transfers from other facilities.

On Sep= tember 12, 2018, I joined more than 1,000 Yukoners who attended a very successful grand opening of Whistle Bend Place. Inside the facility, we saw many spaces for a variety of activities and specialty programming. This includes a large multi-purpose room for special events and larger gatherings, a nicely appoi= nted woodworking shop, arts and crafts studios, indoor and outdoor gardening are= as and a quiet room for devotion and personal reflection.

There = are also a number of small and large activity rooms that can be used for many special interests. Family rooms with kitchen appliances can be used for personal so= cial gatherings or family dinners, as well as for a variety of programs, such as resident dining and breakfast clubs. There is also a central therapeutic gy= m, as well as smaller therapy rooms and neighbourhoods on each storey.<= /p>

Of par= ticular interest to people I spoke with at the open house was the kitchen set up to receive and prepare wild game and the First Nation healing lodge with its central fire pit and its connection to the water with a running fountain.

More t= han 1,200 people contributed to the design and construction of this facility and, as = the MLA for the riding of Porter Creek Centre, I want to thank them and have th= em know their contributions have created a tremendous Yukon asset that will se= rve Yukoners for generations to come.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, this government has taken great strides in addressing strong government-to-government relations with First Nations to foster reconciliat= ion.

Again,= as I meet with constituents and discuss ways in which people of this territory can th= rive and be prosperous, it is evident — and I am reminded daily — th= at collaboration, partnerships and positive working relationships between the Government of Yukon and Yukon First Nations are vital to fostering reconciliation and the overall success of the territory on many, many level= s.

Our ac= tion, as a government, to this priority is evident in the revitalization of the Yukon Forums. The Yukon Forums are now regular meetings of the political leaders = of the Government of Yukon, Yukon First Nations and the Council of Yukon First Nations. The Yukon Forum was created in the spirit of reconciliation to dev= elop strong government-to-government relations and collaborate on priorities sha= red by the Government of Yukon and Yukon First Nations.

The Yu= kon Forum approved the joint action plan last September and, since then, we have made significant progress on a number of initiatives. We overcame a long-standing issue by signing an agreement that clarifies how resource royalties will be shared under chapter 23 of final agreements.

Signif= icant federal child welfare funding is now flowing directly to Yukon First Nations rather than through the Yukon government, and a trilateral table has been established to discuss child welfare issues with the federal government.

Interg= overnmental workshops have been held on child welfare, land-based healing, justice and = land use planning. These workshops will help inform the improvements we can make together as governments.

Again, it’s about understanding the priorities of Yukoners and being able to translate those priorities into action. This is evident in the progress of = this government, which I have outlined above. These priorities are reflected in = the legislation we’ll be bringing forward for debate this fall, as well a= s in the supplementary estimates on the floor for debate today.

As we = can see in these supplementary estimates, there has been little change since the 2018 budget was released in April. The forecast is still for small deficits in 2= 018‑19 and in 2019-20 before a return to projected surplus in 2020-21. This govern= ment is very serious about being diligent in our forecasts and tabling main estimates that are an accurate reflection of the projected revenues and expenses that will occur during that year.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, I am proud of the upfront work this caucus has done and the work of the administration because, for the second year in a row, we have tabled fewer = and smaller supplementary estimates. Consistent with 2017-18, the budget tabled= in April 2018 took a more comprehensive view of Yukon’s finances and information on government’s planned capital investments over the next five years. The long-term capital plan allows Yukon government to address planning, forecasting and timing of procurement for development and mainten= ance contractors.

This a= pproach attempts to limit funding requests made through supplementary budget exerci= ses. Consequently, the 2018‑19 Sup= plementary Estimates No. 1 represents an increase of less than over one percent of= the main estimates. When we look at this change of $319,000, or one percent in = the accumulated surplus end of year and compare that to previous years in the s= ame category, we see a trend in how the previous government forecasted its spending.

For th= e 2014-15 main estimates, there was an increase of $3,024,000 — or 23 percent — added to the accumulated surplus end of year in the first supplemen= tary estimates of that year. For the 2013-14 main estimates, there was an increa= se of $3,944,000 — or 31 percent — added to the accumulated surplus end of year in the first supplementary estimates of that year.

I make= this point to help Yukoners understand how this government is committed to the necessary work to accurately forecast the main estimates and making allowan= ces in the supplementary estimates only for those unexpected and unforeseen circumstances. This is concrete evidence that this government takes the job= of managing the territory’s finances very seriously.

In clo= sing, I would like to once again thank the constituents of Porter Creek Centre for allowing me to represent them here in the Legislative Assembly and for their time to help me understand what is important to them and to their families.= I will continue to work hard for Yukoners and keep them apprised of the progr= ess we’re making as a government.

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Ms. Hanson: My comments this afternoon with respect to the Supplementary Estimates No. 1 will be brief. Just on reflecting on comments made by my colleague from across the way on the government side, I am reminded yet aga= in of the importance of having the opportunity to move the discussion of ̵= 2; as I think the Minister of Finance talked about — the importance of ensuring the efficiency and the effectiveness of financial resources that a= re voted in this Legislative Assembly.

I̵= 7;m reminded again of the importance of moving that conversation to a conversat= ion that is the non-partisan venue of public accounts or a finance committee, a process that we in this Legislative Assembly are moving toward — at glacial speed, I would suggest, but we’re moving toward it.

ItR= 17;s easy enough for politicians to get into great rhetoric about whether we did or d= id not campaign on this or whether this politically is something that is important, but the fact of the matter is that last spring we voted on main estimates. We voted on and agreed to, with the majority of this Legislative Assembly, a budget that was to be disbursed among departments and agencies = and then spent. What happens when we come into this Legislative Assembly and we= try to debate that — then we get into — as opposed to — was t= hat money spent? Equally important is that, if it was not spent, why not? It has nothing to do with us in this room or the politics in this room. It has everything to do with how effectively our departments and agencies are mana= ged.

ItR= 17;s about the accountability, then, of the 5,000 public servants who work on behalf of Yukoners to deliver, not on the political commitments, but to deliver on the commitments made in this Legislative Assembly to take and steward the resou= rces that are given to them.

ItR= 17;s equally important — when we talk about this fact that this supplement= ary budget is relatively minor in the scheme of things — to focus on those areas where we’re not spending. That kind of debate and discussion is= not going to happen very effectively or efficiently — or, quite frankly, = very intelligently — in this Legislative Assembly because we don’t, = as politicians — and I will say, with great respect, that even the minis= ters don’t have that level of detail. It’s the officials we charge to carry out that responsibility on our behalf who do.

I will= just use one example. In the area of Energy, Mines and Resources, for example, there= is a story to the fact that, with respect to assessment of abandoned mines, th= ere are changes that reflect a revised work plan approved by Canada. There is a story to the change in the type 2 funding agreements with Canada that sees $17,815,000 less being spent under the direction of the Department of Energ= y, Mines and Resources — the deputy minister responsible for that depart= ment and the officials there. It is a story that would be most effectively told = and understood — and perhaps lessons learned carried forward by all membe= rs of this Legislative Assembly — if that story, in my opinion, was being told and shared in the context of the finance committee of Public Accounts. Because there are lessons to be learned when, since 2002-03, Canadian citiz= ens have transferred to this territory over $400 million for a project that was initially set up to be managed by Yukon government, an oversight commit= tee of Yukon First Nations and territory by an independent entity — the activities managed by an independent entity — and, 15 years and $400&= nbsp;million later, the federal government is now resuming responsibility.

That m= ay be a story that the Auditor General in the future may look at, but I would think that, from an operational point of view, all of us have a keen interest in knowing what we can learn as we look at the other six type 2 sites. What ca= n we learn as we go forward with respect to the kinds of issues that arise, for example, with Wolverine — with Ketza, which is a split federal and territorial responsibility?

I know= that goes beyond the scope of a normal comment or discussion around supplementary estimates, but my two colleagues from across the way will be aware that som= e of us had the opportunity — I look and I’m saying this with sincer= ity to my colleagues from the Official Opposition. I do encourage us all, as Members of the Legislative Assembly, to begin to think about making that transition to a fully accountable Legislature where we actually do understa= nd our roles with respect to the finances of government. It’s not about politics; it’s about getting the best value for the money that Yukon citizens and Canadian citizens, quite frankly, are investing in this territ= ory. That means sometimes taking it out of here and getting into the nitty-gritt= y of each department and each agency in a non-political but non-partisan way. That’s what Public Accounts is about, and we’re not quite there yet.

WeR= 17;ll have to continue to have hope on that and we will be coming back. We will be, as= the New Democratic Party caucus, asking a number of questions on specific aspec= ts of departments because, as I said in my comment, it’s not just more m= oney but sometimes it’s the story behind “why not the expenditures” that is equally revealing about management and manageme= nt decisions.

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Hon. Mr. Streicker: <= span lang=3DEN-CA>First of all, I would just like to begin by thanking all MLAs = for allowing us to proceed with the debate on second reading today on the supplementary budget. I think it’s terrific that we can make better u= se of this time.

 Just sort of following on the heels= of the comments made by the Leader of the Third Party with a notion about how = we work to try to get information more available for all Yukoners and members = of the Legislature to try to remove the partisan nature or the politics out of= the notion of a debate around our budgets in order to create better effectivene= ss of our spending and accountability. I think those are excellent words.

I also= note the comments regarding the lack of spending. It is tougher to follow that stuff always. I think it is important that all of us as legislators seek to find = that information.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, just as it’s my first moment to stand to debate here in this session — as we were coming back to the Legislature, I started to put on my d= ress shoes again and I tripped going up the stairs because I’m just not us= ed to wearing them, so it’s always a moment to transition as we come back into this House.

I am s= tanding to speak on this budget for a couple of reasons, predominantly because the Dep= artment of Community Services is seeking some supplementary funds on both the O&= ;M budget and the capital budget. I will speak about each of those individuall= y. Let me also mention, though, that notion of where we are not spending money. Just as we try to track things, I can say to this Legislature that, as we approach legalization of cannabis in a couple of weeks’ time, that spending is on track. We are ready to introduce legalized cannabis here and will transition very quickly to support the private sector in retail, and we are looking forward to that.

Also, = today we had the Designated Materials Regula= tion come into effect. I know that everyone in this House has followed this with interest over the past five years, I think — but over some time. Those programs are doing well and the funding for them is on track.

Let me= turn to those areas where we are seeking some supplementary funds. First, let me st= art with the O&M budget, and that is with respect to wildland fire. We are seeking an additional $4.5 million. This wildland fire season, the Yuk= on experienced 66 wildfires that burned approximately 85,000 hectares of fores= t. This has been a typical summer in recent years. I say “in recent years” because, as we have been warming in the Yukon and in neighbour= ing NWT and Alaska, what has been happening is that our fire regime is increasi= ng. Even though it is typical for recent years, it is not typical over the long term and it is an increase. Therefore, we did spend more money, although I = want to say that you always hope that it will be a small fire season and that th= ere won’t be any damage or risk to our communities — however, it is getting more challenging. The risk continues to increase. We just met last = week with the ministers of infrastructure from across the country to talk about = such things as the disaster mitigation and adaptation fund. We discussed where, across all jurisdictions of the country, there are risks that we really nee= d to address, and wildland fire is one of the ones that we have to deal with her= e.

When t= he fires hit in British Columbia, especially in the northern half of the province, a= nd as our nights were starting to cool and the risk was starting to diminish somewhat here in the territory and resources began to free up — on the day that the fire hit in Telegraph Creek, I got on the phone with my collea= gue from British Columbia — the parliamentary secretary, Ms. Jennifer Rice — and we talked about how, as Yukoners, we would try to support = our neighbours. We had already helped with launching some water bombers from Wa= tson Lake, and that community got up to speed and support right away. I thank the Member for Watson Lake — or I thank the citizens of Watson Lake, and I pass that through her. When we talked to our counterparts in British Columb= ia, they listed four key things that they needed. We responded right away that = we would be able to supply all of those.

That h= as nothing to do, ultimately, with the supplementary budget because we have an agreeme= nt of all jurisdictions across Canada. I apologize — I know the acronym — it is CIFFC. I think it is the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Cen= tre. I will get it for Hansard. That agreement will allow us to send that support where the host jurisdiction will cover the costs, but you know when you nee= d to get capacity and address those fires in a timely manner, it is important th= at we get those resources right away, and we were able to do so.

I̵= 7;m thankful that we didn’t have the same kind of disasters here in the Yukon, but the risks are always there.

What I= really want to say is thank you to our wildland firefighters, whether they be memb= ers of our own Yukon government protective services team or one of the many Fir= st Nation crews who contract to do the work over the summer. They did a stand-= up job, as always. It is very hard for those crews. I know when the fire hit a= long Windy Arm, there was a lot of smoke and concern and citizens needed to be informed about the level of risk. It is hard when you see those fires. We n= eed them to burn in our wilderness zones so that the risk doesn’t continu= e to increase, but it’s difficult to watch. I know in that instance there = was a lot of concern raised and each year, as we go forward, we recognize that we’ll need to take some more proactive measures in order to address t= he risk — more to come on that in time, Mr. Speaker.

In this supplementary budget, what we are looking for is to cover the additional co= sts that were incurred through a new normal of a higher level fire season than = we have had over past decades.

The se= cond aspect where I am coming forward to speak today is on the capital side of the budg= et and it is with respect to lot development and capital investment that we are putting into that lot development. There are two pieces within it. Predominantly, it is investment in Whistle Bend as a subdivision. I said to= day during Question Period — I mentioned it in one response — that there is an additional $4 million that we are seeking in the supplemen= tary budget to continue to ramp up the development of Whistle Bend. That will le= ad us to releasing 132 single family lots, 54 duplex and townhouse lots and 19 multi-family lots, as well as 35 commercial lots next year. We’re on track for additional increases in 2020 and the whole notion there is to make sure that we have a two-year supply of lots available in Whitehorse.=

At the= same time, there is money that is being moved and it is not an increase to the budget overall, but what we are doing is shifting rural land development fr= om Energy, Mines and Resources, where it had gone several years ago, to bring = it in line with Community Services’ lot development and bring those two teams together.

We do = hope to get efficiencies out of that, Mr. Speaker. I believe it’s around $1.7 million. Again, that’s money in and out, but for transparen= cy purposes, we discuss it here. The idea is that when we get those two units working together we hope to get some efficiencies and that those efficienci= es can result in productivity gains around lot development or in reduced costs= , or both, and so we see it as a good move.

Finall= y, Mr. Speaker, let me address some of the comments that I heard from the Finance critic, t= he member for Lake Laberge, and just a few things that I wanted to discuss. I think that, first of all, he criticized that we were discussing the $1.50 s= pent for every new dollar in revenue and was talking about that as not being cor= rect information; however, my recollection is that it was the Financial Advisory Panel that actually laid that out for us and was borne out by the departmen= t as well, and so the very panel that he’s suggesting we should listen to = more is the group that is bringing that information forward.

I do a= gree that the Whistle Bend continuing care facility is an important facility; I think= we all agree on that here in the Legislature; however, our concern was that th= ere had been no consultation with Yukoners about where it should be located. Our concern was that if we’re going to develop a plan, we would need to t= alk about it in the broader sense of aging in place, so it’s good that we’re getting the Whistle Bend continuing care facility. I heard him criticize that it was overbudget and not on time and I actually thought tha= t it is on budget and on time, and I look forward to hearing from the Minister of Health and Social Services with that information.

There = was some discussion around growing the public service. Well, that is one of the plac= es where we naturally need to grow the public service — of course we nee= d to staff it. So that is a growth — I’ll acknowledge that — a= nd yes, it is under our watch and yes, it is the right thing to do. The thing = that seemed like the wrong thing to do, for me, was, Mr. Speaker, was when = we first landed and saw that there were, I think, under the Department of Heal= th and Social Services, but also under the Department of Education, new hires which hadn’t been brought through this Legislature. Those are concern= s to me. How do we create transparency and accountability if there is spending t= hat doesn’t pass through this Legislature? So I do think it’s good = to sharpen our pencils and I do think it’s good to watch for where can create efficiencies. I do think, as I heard the Premier during Question Per= iod say today, that we do need to look for ways to make sure that each of our departments is working to try to control the increase in spending while maintaining the level of service that we have for Yukoners. That is exactly what he has said to me and said to all of us as ministers and that is what = we will do, working with our departments. We will continue to look for some of those ways.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, overall I’m happy that we’re able to bring forward this budget close to where we had originally projected it, and a couple of the larger ticket items are within my department, so I will speak more about this, I’m sure, during Committee of the Whole where we can respond to quest= ions regarding those changes to the Community Services budget, both in terms of operation and maintenance and the capital budget.

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Mr. Kent: I’m going to be brief in my remarks at second reading. First of all, I would li= ke to thank Finance officials, not only in the Department of Finance but throughout all departments in government, for their work in preparing the supplementary estimates that are before us here today. They do a tremendous= job and we certainly appreciate that work that they put in on a day-to-day basi= s on behalf of Yukoners.

I gues= s my remarks will follow up along the same themes from what the Leader of the Th= ird Party, the Member for Whitehorse Centre, spoke about and that’s about= the process for us to ask and get questions answered on the record with respect= to departments that either aren’t seeking an increase or have a decrease. It’s my understanding that those departments will not be called for debate with ministers during Committee of the Whole, so at this morningR= 17;s briefing with officials from Energy, Mines and Resources — and, again= , I thank all those officials who participated in that as well as provided briefings last Thursday and Friday on the supplementary estimates in the departments that will be called — but my remarks to those officials t= his morning is that we will have to take up questions that we have about budget= ary line items or other aspects for those departments that we don’t antic= ipate being called during general debate with the Premier.

For in= stance, my critic responsibilities are Education and a portion of Energy, Mines and Resources. Education isn’t seeking any funds in this supplementary and Energy, Mines and Resources is looking at a reduction. I anticipate that neither of those will be called for debate during Committee, so any questio= ns that I have with respect to those departments I will take up with the Premi= er, I guess, during general debate, unless other arrangements are made at House Leaders’ meetings, but it has always been — my understanding is that those departments that aren’t seeking additional funds or that h= ave a reduction aren’t called for debate.

I did = mention again to officials this morning to pass that on to the minister and the Pre= mier, that many of the questions that we have — I’m just going through them and I apologize, I don’t have the actual documents, I’m working off of my phone. In some of the bigger departments, such as Educati= on and Energy, Mines and Resources as I mentioned, we see Finance and French Language Services — Highways and Public Works is obviously a departme= nt that we have a number of questions about with respect to how projects were procured this summer and any dollars that may have been moved around within those budget line items to accomplish some of that work. Tourism and Culture — obviously with the tourism strategy, we would certainly like to question the minister with officials present on that, but again, given the process that we’ll have to undertake, we don’t anticipate that department being called with officials present. Yukon Housing Corporation a= nd the others — I won’t mention all of them — are the big on= es where we will certainly have some questions, again recognizing that unless there is some other way to do it, we’ll take those questions up with = the Premier during general debate on this particular bill.

With t= hat, that’s the only thing that I wanted to say on behalf of myself and colleagues who are critics for those departments that may or may not be cal= led. I just wanted to again thank officials for their work, and we look forward = to debating this bill through Committee and into third reading during this fall session. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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Mr. Hutton:&#= 8195;Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to acknowledge that today we’re b= ack together on the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation = and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council.

As we = discuss the first supplementary estimates this year, I wanted to take some time to discuss the great work that our wildland fire team has been doing this year. Climate change is happening and we’re witnessing it first-hand here in Yukon. You can see it all around us. One of the effects of the changing cli= mate is more forest fires as well as more intense forest fires. This summer was = no exception.

Fires = are still burning across the territory from Mayo Lake to Isaac Creek to the Robert Campbell Highway, and climate change knows no borders. Our neighbours to the south in British Columbia were ravaged again this year by wildfires. As we = all know, many communities were affected. Several communities were evacuated and many individuals and families were displaced. We’re fortunate to have many dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to manage wildfires, protect= property and help keep people safe when wildfires get out of control.

As a g= overnment, it’s our responsibility to ensure that Yukoners are protected from the risks of wildfire. That’s why we see an increase of over $4 mill= ion in the first supplementary estimates going toward Wildland Fire Management suppression. That’s important work and the efforts extended beyond our borders. We helped our friends in British Columbia, like those in Telegraph Creek who have strong connections with many of us in the territory. Yukoners are compassionate and generous people, Mr. Speaker, and I believe this= is money well spent.

There = are also increases in the operation and maintenance budget for the Climate Change Secretariat. This is partly to help in predicting forest fire risk across Y= ukon under a changing climate and to help track changes in Yukon forests during long-term monitoring. These projects fall under the climate change prepared= ness in the north program and will help us to better inform our understanding and response to forest fires. In addition to dealing with the most tangible eff= ects of climate change, it’s important that we do our part to work toward reducing our energy consumption and transitioning away from the use of foss= il fuels to meet our energy needs.

That&#= 8217;s why I’m very excited about our government’s new innovative renewable energy initiative, which supports the development of public and private sec= tor renewable energy projects. Earlier this summer, my colleague, the Minister responsible for Yukon Development Corporation, was in Old Crow to announce a $500,000 investment for the installation of a 940-kilowatt solar ray for the community. This community-driven project is a partnership between the Government of Yukon, the Vuntut Gwitchin government and the Yukon Developme= nt Corporation that will help reduce the community’s dependence on diesel fuel and help to create a sustainable energy future for the people of Old C= row. This project is expected to save up to 189,000 litres of diesel each year. =

That w= ill create substantial cost savings both in terms of the fuel itself, but also the cos= t of transporting it to Old Crow by air. In addition, the Vuntut Gwitchin govern= ment has entered into a multi-year purchase agreement with ATCO Electric for renewable energy generated by the solar project. This means that the project will offer long-term revenue potential for the community, and it has already created local employment opportunities. This is a great example of how we c= an work together with partners to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and strengthen our communities while creating economic opportunities. We commit= ted to Yukoners that we would increase the availability of renewable energy by promoting and developing energy policies, initiative and programs that sour= ce future needs from renewable technologies.

The Ol= d Crow solar project is just one example of how we are delivering on this commitme= nt. There are other examples too. In partnership with Yukon First Nations, we h= ave installed three new solar energy generating systems on buildings owned by Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, White River First Nation and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in capable of generating a total of ov= er 76 kilowatts of electricity.

Additi= onally, with the help of the Government of Canada small communities fund, we are investing in a 12 kilowatt solar energy storage project at Moosehide, which will reduce the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in reliance on diesel at this important community site. These renewable energy projects wi= ll help to reduce Yukon’s reliance on non-renewable sources such as dies= el, lessen energy consumption and help to transition the territory toward a sustainable and self-reliant energy supply. Our efforts to address climate change go hand in hand with our efforts to protect the environment.<= /p>

The Yu= kon is filled with some of the most pristine wilderness in the world, and many of these areas have great cultural significance to Yukon First Nation people, = who have lived here for millennia.

This s= ummer, our government signed a historic management plan with the = Dhaw Ghro Habitat Protection Area with the Selkirk F= irst Nation and the First Nation of Na Cho Nyäk Dun. The Dhaw Ghro Habitat Protection Area is approximately 1= ,600 square kilometres in size, located between the Pelly and Stewart rivers. The area = was identified by the First Nation of Na Cho Nyäk Dun, Selkirk First Nation and the Government of Yukon under chapter 10 of their final agreements as an environmentally and culturally rich area of great significance to the North= ern Tutchone people. The work to establish this plan began in 2000 — 18 y= ears ago, Mr. Speaker. By working together with First Nations, we were able= to develop and agree upon a management plan that will preserve this area as a legacy for our future generations.

I had = the opportunity to be involved in part of the Dhaw&= nbsp;Ghro management plan, and I would like to take this opportunity to recognize one of the individuals who was absolutely key in the development of that plan. I am really sad t= hat he didn’t stay around long enough to see it signed off. Pat Van Bibber, = when he was a young man, trapped in that area. His traplines were in there, and = when the government decided to shut that area down, they just moved the Van Bibb= er family out of there. When it came time to develop the management plan for <= span class=3DSpellE>Dhaw Ghro and they asked = Pat what he would like to have done with area, he said to leave it as it is. He want= ed it kept the same. I think we owe a debt of gratitude, not just to the minis= ter and all of the other people involved, but to Pat Van Bibber and the ex= cellent work he did to protect Dhaw Ghro.

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Hon. Ms. Frost: I am pleased to be here today with my colleagues to speak to t= he Second Appropriation Act, 2018‑1= 9. Two of my departments are seeking additional funds for this year — He= alth and Social Services and Environment.

Our go= vernment wants Yukoners to live longer, healthier lives. We are working hard to adva= nce this significant portion of the supplementary budget for Health and Social Services to support the important work that the Yukon Hospital Corporation = does in improving quality acute care for people of this territory. Medical scien= ce continues to make advances in the treatment of cancer. Improvements to chemotherapy drugs are leading to better outcomes. Advances and treatment h= ave also led to escalating costs for drugs associated with these treatments. Additional funds are included in the supplementary to cover the rising cost= s of these drugs.

The supplementary estimates also contain funding for a project we are undertaki= ng as part of a new agreement with the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. Th= is funding will be used to train health care professionals here in the Yukon in best practices in palliative care approaches. This funding is fully recover= able and will be available for the next four years.

On the= capital side of expenditures, the department’s supplementary includes a budget adjustment for the new Whistle Bend continuing care facility. These are fun= ds not used last year that are being allocated to this year’s budget for= the completion of this new facility. We are extremely pleased to officially open the Whistle Bend facility in a few weeks. We look forward to welcoming residents who will begin moving into their new home after this month. This = new facility, with rooms for 150 residents, is an important part of our commitm= ent to helping Yukoners age in place.

Our co= mmitment does not stop there. We have launched a broad conversation with Yukoners to help us to identify ways to support aging well in Yukon and, in particular,= in rural Yukon.

The fi= rst aging-in-place summit was held this past summer in Whitehorse. More than 200 people attended and we are planning similar events in communities across the territory.

We are= also continuing to apply a home‑first philosophy to support Yukoners who n= eed support. By providing enhanced home care services, these Yukoners have the opportunity to remain in their own homes longer. Yukoners are continuing to live in their own homes because of this initiative. In the last year this h= as resulted in approximately 2,800 days in which clients have stayed out of the hospital.

These = are some of the programs that this government is taking action on to help Yukoners l= ive longer, healthier lives.

In the= coming weeks, I look forward to sharing with members of the House other initiative= s to ensure Yukoners have access to services they need.

As I i= ndicated, the supplementary estimates also contain funding to support the ongoing and important work of the Department of Environment. Our government is working = with First Nations and our partners in Yukon to develop and manage our natural resources responsibly. The supplementary for the Department of Environment includes funding to support specific projects as part of our commitment to = responsible management of our many natural gifts. More specifically, there is increased funding to support implementation of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement and project funds related to this agreement. As well, there’s funding for our ongoing effort around climate change preparedness, for vegetation assessments and the Nisutlin River Delta Natio= nal Wildlife Area and for the Yukon healthy air program. These costs are all fu= lly recoverable from the federal government.

In add= ition, Mr. Speaker, the department is carrying out many initiatives that advance our government’s commitment to a healthy environment and sustainable wild= life populations. This year, our government took the final steps in establishing= and protecting the Dhaw Ghro Habitat Protection Area with our partners, the Selkirk First Nation and the= Na Cho Nyäk Dun. This historic agreement protects the current and future generations in an environmentally and culturally rich area located between Stewart Crossing and Pelly, an area that is of the utmost importance and of value to the Northern Tutchone people.

 In August, our government and the Y= ukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board released for public review a draft conservation plan for grizzly bears. It is the first comprehensive plan for this species in Yukon and reflects work with First Nations, communities, stakeholders, organizations and the public.

Our go= vernment is also working closely with our partners in the Porcupine Caribou Management Agreement to address the proposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and continuing our efforts = to support our partners in northern Yukon — in particular, the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation. We are collaborating on environmental impact process= es that the environmental impact process has in place for leasing lands in the refu= ge for petroleum exploration. Our next step is to review and respond to the environmental impact assessment once it is released. As well, our government continues to work and provide financial and professional supports to the Vu= ntut Gwitchin Government as they advance the advocating work for the protection = of the Porcupine caribou calving grounds in the Arctic National Wildlife Refug= e.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, the Yukon Housing Corporation does not request additional funds from the supplementary estimates; however, I do want to take a couple of minutes to = talk briefly about some of our government’s initiatives on housing. We all know how important affordable housing is to the well-being of our citizens = in our communities. Mr. Speaker, our partners are key to making sure that quality affordable housing is available for all Yukon people, and our government is actively working with many levels of government, First Nation development corporations, non-profit organizations and the private sector o= n housing.

In May= , we launched the housing initiative fund, a $3.6‑million fund for innovat= ive housing projects to meet local needs. Our partners have responded with proj= ects that will create 144 affordable housing units within the next year. As well, our developer build loan program is providing developers with financing to build modest, sustainable housing in Yukon communities.

We are= taking steps to ensure that our most vulnerable populations have a safe place to l= ive. Construction is underway on a 16-unit Housing First residence that will off= er affordable, low-barrier permanent housing to Yukoners who require ongoing support. Those in our NGO community are important partners in meeting housi= ng needs. Funding assistance from government is helping them realize new housi= ng initiatives. Two of the key initiatives are the Challenge Disability Resour= ce Group plans for the new mixed-use cornerstone housing project and the Blood Ties Four Directions tiny homes project, which is now well underway.=

Before= closing, I would like to take a few moments to speak about my own riding of Vuntut Gwitchin. This summer has provided me an opportunity to spend some time wit= h my constituents, my family and my friends in Old Crow and to spend time on the land. I always welcome this opportunity as it is something that is very near and dear to me. Earlier this summer I returned home with some of my colleag= ues and representatives from the Assembly of First Nations to celebrate Vadzaih Choo Drin, which is Caribou Days. It is an opportunity for us to acknowledge the traditional ways of the Gwitchin peop= le and celebrate and honour the return of the Porcupine caribou. This occasion gave us the opportunity for community discussion on climate change, food security and some of the other important issues that have been raised with respect to the Old Crow solar project, which is very innovative and progres= sive thinking on behalf of the Vuntut Gwitchin looking at reducing their relianc= e on diesel and taking some advance innovation initiatives with respect to build= ing and super insulating homes and looking at climate change and adaptation measures.

On the= National Indigenous Peoples Day, we hosted a community barbecue in conjunction with = the Old Crow cooperative, which is an organization that is owned by the Vuntut Gwitchin people as an indication of innovation and progressive thinking.

Being = in my community provides me with the opportunity to meet also with the Vuntut Gwitchin government and the constituents to hear about concerns. I’m extremely humbled to serve my community and all Yukoners as we work to buil= d a stronger and more resilient territory.

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Hon. Ms. McPhee: I won’t be too long but I will take the opportunity to p= rovide some brief information and to respond to some of the comments that have been made already.

First = of all, I take the opportunity today to thank the people of Riverdale South. We had an amazing summer here in the Yukon and a lot of opportunities to meet with constituents in the various ways.

One of= the highlights of our opportunity this summer was on August 24 when the Speaker, who represents Riverdale North, and I joined forces to welcome over 250 gue= sts and provide local entertainment at a local neighbourhood business. We welco= med families and created an opportunity to talk with our constituents to learn about what interests and concerns them and how we can make their lives bett= er. We also provided local entertainment at that time — Mr. Jeff&nbs= p;Wolosewich, who is an amazing singer/songwriter who h= appens to live in my riding and is newly exploring his musical talents. We look forward to more from him as well.

It is = an honour to be back here in this House, as has been mentioned, on the traditional territory of the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council and the Kwanl= in Dün First Nation. We are discussing today the first supplementary estimates for the 2018‑19 budget, and I will keep my remarks rather brief.

Neithe= r the Department of Justice nor the Department of Education figure in this supplementary budget. I think I heard criticism about that earlier in some = of the comments, but I am very proud of that and this is, in fact, a good thin= g. The purpose of a supplementary budget is to account for unforeseen expenses that come up between budget cycles. Our government has made it a priority to reduce those unforeseen expenses by integrating fiscal and economic forecas= ting in order to make our budget more accurate and efficient and by — may I say — exploring what those expenses will be very thoroughly in the budgeting process.

It is = not simply a matter of it being “x” last year so it is going to be “x” this year. We clearly and carefully question each and every= one of those entries to determine its significance and its importance in going forward. It has, in my view, resulted — as you can see here in this supplementary budget — in more accurate information. Our improved app= roach has led to this year’s supplementary estimates, which see an increase= in spending of less than one percent over the 2018‑19 main estimates. Th= is variance is historically low and shows that our hard work is paying off.

As I s= aid this year, there are no increases for the departments of Justice or Education compared, for instance, to the 2016-17 supplementary budget, which was presented not long after we were elected, when the Department of Education produced an increase of over $12 million in the first supplementary es= timate. That was shocking to me as a newly elected and appointed minister. It was nearly as much as this year’s entire supplementary budget just for one department. Certainly, that caused me concern as a person trying to learn t= he budgeting process and learn the department expenditures. It harkens back to= a time when the former government would use a supplementary budget to account= for expenses that were, in my submission, Mr. Deputy Speaker, foreseen. Th= ey could have been but were not dealt with — in my view — properly= or properly portrayed in the budgeting process.

Our go= vernment was elected on the commitment of increasing transparency and openness. Our improved budgeting process is just one example of how we are delivering on = that commitment as a whole‑of-government approach. We are working very har= d to show Yukoners the true cost of government and ensuring that our territory m= oves forward with strong fiscal management.

With r= espect to some of the comments made a bit earlier today, I don’t disagree with = the Leader of the Third Party. I too hope — perhaps eternally — tha= t we could together discuss, debate and decide on the responsibilities of spendi= ng the Yukon taxpayers’ money. It is a responsibility I can assure you t= hat our team — my colleagues and I — take very, very seriously. Such frank discussions, however, require pulling together in making the best possible decisions and being accountable. In order to do that, they require honest, forthright debate.

Unfort= unately, in some of the debate here today, I didn’t hear that frank exchange a= nd it is, of course, frustrating.

I don&= #8217;t believe that Yukoners think that the opposition’s job in holding us to account means just saying “white” if we say “black” — in other words, just taking the opposing view or stance. I believe = that Yukoners want us to make the best possible decisions on their behalf. The Minister of Community Services earlier in his comments pointed out several = of those inaccuracies where information just isn’t truthfully being presented.

Our on= e‑government approach has led us to ask each and every department to look at where they = can find deficiencies, to consider what we spend money on and if we are achievi= ng what we hope to in the spending of that money — serving Yukoners as b= est we can. Are we spending wisely without reducing services? It is quite surprising to me that there seems to be serious concern, as evidenced by so= me of the questions that were in Question Period today, that just one of the possible options being explored is to ask government departments to see how they might be able to save some money, save some on the expenditures, witho= ut reducing programming. We are doing as has been suggested by the Leader of t= he Third Party: We are seeking the expertise of those who know best how depart= ments are making their spending decisions. To do otherwise would, in my view, be irresponsible.

Mr.&nb= sp;Deputy Speaker, I thank all those departments doing this very important work on be= half of Yukoners. I urge the Official Opposition and the Third Party to hold our government to account with honest, accurate questions and debate that promo= te the interest of Yukoners, not politics, and require us to be held accountab= le in the best possible way on behalf of each and every Yukoner. We came here = to represent them, to work for them. We continue to do so every possible day a= nd we certainly hope that we can do so with great vigorous debate with the opposition so that we come up with the best possible ideas going forward. <= /span>

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Hon. Mr. Pillai: Mr. Deputy Speaker, if you’ll give me a little bit of flexibility just before I speak to the supplementary budget, I would also like to take a quick opportunity to thank my constituents in Porter Creek South for giving me the opportunity to be part of this Legislative Assembly. Time does not go by wh= ere I don’t take into consideration the privilege that affords me and I a= bsolutely respect the opportunity I have to work on their behalf, on specific constituents’ issues or on broader policy issues here in the Legislat= ive Assembly.

I also= would just quickly — as we get into the response — I want to truly th= ank the departments that I get to work with. This was an extremely busy summer.= The Department of Economic Development and the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, as well as those at the Yukon Development Corporation and Yukon Energy — all of those entities have taken on immense portfolios and projects. When the economy is in the state that our economy is in, it also leads to challenges as well as opportunities. Specifically, when I think ab= out the Mineral Resources and Agriculture branches, just to name a few — = an immense amount of work and people — you know, it’s unfair to ev= en just name a few branches. Really, all these departments and also those individuals who have taught me that — as public servants — how important that work is and how vested they are in that work as they serve Yukoners.

I am a= bsolutely happy to rise to speak to the first supplementary estimates of 2018‑1= 9. This supplementary budget speaks to the work our government has done to ens= ure our budgets are well-planned and executed. It is important to us, as a gove= rnment, to be transparent and accountable in dealings with the people of Yukon. This was a promise we made to Yukoners during the 2016 campaign.

The hi= ghlights of the increases requested for the Department of Economic Development and t= he Yukon Development Corporation are a result of increasing population and an economy that is thriving. This year, we have seen increased interest in the Yukon film location incentive fund. This rebate‑based fund encourages production companies to film in the Yukon, spend money locally and hire and train Yukoners. For the 2018‑19 fiscal year, this fund has been over-subscribed. There have been three eligible applications, receiving a t= otal of $1,065,000.

The to= tal increase being requested by the Department of Economic Development is $956,= 000. The combined budgeted spend for the three projects is $5.65 million and there are 128 Yukoners who have been employed or will be employed through t= his spending. We are truly happy to see the film industry growing here in the Y= ukon, and our government will continue to support this sector as we make progress= in the diversification of our economy.

This m= orning we did hear from opposition benches some concern about what we are doing to diversify and what we are looking to do in the long run. Understanding that= a portion of our economy, which tends to be a large portion of our economy, c= omes from the resource sector, I think that just the support that we are putting behind the film industry — and I will touch on a number of other area= s of our economy — truly shows that we understand that you have to walk and chew gum at the same time. There are many things that we have to keep an eye on, and we have to ensure that all areas of our economy are supported and we have strategies for them.

Our 20= 18‑19 budget also included a number of other projects and investments aimed at growing and diversifying our economy. As announced this spring, we have done our due diligence on the selection of the route for the diverse fibre proje= ct and are moving ahead with the Dempster route. This project will improve telecommunications reliability to Yukon businesses and residences. This is a necessary step to growing our tech sector here in the Yukon, and I am proud= of the work that has been undertaken by the departments of Economic Development and Highways and Public Works on this to date.

Our go= vernment also included funds in this budget to support the innovation hub, now known= as the NorthLight Innovation hub. NorthLight Innovation brings business, industry, Yukon College, the Yukon Development Corporation and public programs together under one roof to create a support= ive environment for entrepreneurs and to promote the development and growth of innovative businesses in the Yukon.

The of= ficial opening will be taking place on October 11. I know there will be invitations granted to all members of the Legislative Assembly for that exciting and important event. Part of the goal with this particular type of infrastructu= re is to ensure that you build the appropriate ecosystem and culture for investment in the tech sector. We have not even seen the announcement for t= he official opening. We have seen a well-known entrepreneur in Canada, Mr.&nbs= p;Brett Wilson, on his first visit making a commitment to invest financially in a Yukon-based tech company. What an exciting thing that is. We are seeing the companies that are in this particular space now quickly looking to scale and looking for expansion.

We hav= e lots to discuss, share — debate policy — hopefully in the Legislative Assembly — about the strategy we are looking at integrating into our economic strategy and how we focus on these particular areas within the hub. There is a real opportunity for cross-pollination to capitalize and to enha= nce the knowledge‑based economy here in the Yukon. It is truly a positive example of public, private and non-profit educational sectors coming togeth= er for a common purpose. The Yukon is a desirable place to work and live, and = we are seeing that in our population growth.

It was= touched upon early this afternoon that the July 2018 preliminary numbers for popula= tion are 40,476, which is a 2.1-percent increase over July 2017. Our economy is = one of the strongest in the country, and this government is proud of that. The projected GDP growth for 2018 is 2.5 percent.

We hav= e a truly strong labour market. We’re seeing record low unemployment rates R= 12; in fact, the lowest unemployment in the country at 2.6 over the last eight months. Although our economy, compared to Ontario and British Columbia, is relatively small when it comes to total capacity, the economy is still the = envy of Economic Development ministers and Energy, Mines and Resources ministers sitting at the national table with us.

Yukon&= #8217;s average weekly earnings have averaged $1,099 over the past six months, which also is the fourth highest in the country. Retail sales are following a rec= ord $799 million in 2017, but they continue to rise up. They’re up a= bout 6.6 percent in the first half of 2018. Mineral exploration estimates f= rom Natural Resources Canada are expected to increase at about 4.4 percent to $= 173 million over the last year. We do understand — my colleagues in opposition who have worked on these files and I know that there is still sensitivity. Capi= tal can travel quickly and capital will go where it’s wanted. That’s why it’s important to continue to look at all the variables that investment takes into consideration, whether it is regulation or certainty.=

We wer= e quite happy our teams that work on these subjects — Energy, Mines and Resou= rces and Economic Development — I’m happy to see that Yukon was rank= ed second in North America this spring by the Fraser Institute when it comes to short term acceptance of permitting. I think that is a first — I coul= d be wrong — to be rated that high.

WeR= 17;re seeing that the respect and collaboration with our First Nation governments contin= ue to build a platform of certainty and that, of course, is a key driver for investment. But we will see.

Capita= l is seeking other opportunities in this country. We think a lot of it has moved into the cannabis space — about $40 billion of capital moving in= to that space. So we will have to see what happens this fall but that, of cour= se, was a lot of available capital that used to fuel the junior sector, and we’ll have to see what plays out with these companies and if they are overvalued or if they can actually maintain the value and deliver what they have committed to as the markets open this fall.

Touris= m numbers are up 16.1 percent this year from the same period of 2017. Again, I commen= d my colleague. We’re excited about the strategy. We’re excited about where this strategy — what opportunities this strategy will provide u= s. We know that it is even tough — they used to say the shoulder season = was something that the — whether it be the local airline or the hoteliers — they would ask us to work in concert with them to make sure that th= ose shoulder seasons were filled but now I think even this fall when you think about what we’re hosting — world-class speakers and significant= events. But certainly the industry and the private sector have given us an opportun= ity to look at the ability to grow even more in that sector.

So this population growth that I referenced, along with the increased electrificati= on of homes, is the reason why the Yukon Development Corporation has requested= an increase of $170,000 for the 2018‑19 budget. The rebate is meant to offset the cost of electricity for residential customers in the Yukon. As it currently stands, 95 percent of the Yukon’s energy portfolio comes fr= om renewables. Our government is committed to increasing the availability of renewable energy in reducing community reliance on diesel.

Last y= ear, we launched the innovative renewable energy initiative, which provides support= for small-scale renewable energy projects. The $1.5-million fund is now fully subscribed for the 2018‑19 fiscal year. Over the past two-year period= , we have provided financial support to 10 projects across the territory. This initiative also supports economic reconciliation for First Nations by provi= ding funding for First Nations to achieve their priorities in renewable energy. = My colleague can touch on it. The Member for Mayo-Tatchun had mentioned one example. He spoke about the Old Crow solar and LED streetlight conversion p= roject in partnership with Vuntut Gwitchin. It was quite a pleasure to be there and meet and speak with the individuals who have driven that project on the gro= und. We’re looking at displacing just under 200,000 litres of diesel with = that project on an annual basis and about, I believe, just around 5,000 litres of diesel with the conversion to LED streetlights. That really outlines — I’ll have an opportunity to speak to these specifically when we prese= nt the departments.

In the= budget, what you’re really seeing from this government is strong reins when it comes to the budgeting process, ensuring that the dollars are spent as they were meant to be spent and that we’re forecasting appropriately. I’m proud of the work that the deputy ministers are doing, where we&#= 8217;re bringing in the private sector to actually have conversations with public servants and decision-makers so they can understand capacity and so they can understand where there is the potential for growth — not just from a capital spending perspective where you’re looking at that sweet spot = of capital spending. You know, in the past, we’ve seen lapses of $70&nbs= p;million, $80 million. We’re really trying to focus on areas of — I could be wrong; my colleagues will probably speak to this — that $280=  million, but also then disseminating the lines of business that exist in the private sector so that we can understand whether it’s dirt-moving or subcontractors or how we maximize opportunities for Yukon business. =

Once a= gain, I thank my colleagues. We have areas that we also will focus on or that need attention. We touched on a few things today and we have to take into consideration part of our — we talk about our housing portfolio. I commend my colleague on her work when it comes to continuing to deal with d= eficits that have been in place for quite a while when it comes to housing for thos= e in need, but also taking into consideration that part of the pressure when it comes to housing comes from really the dramatic turnaround in the economy, which also puts pressure on.

When i= t comes to ensuring, it is just nice to know that there are people who are coming to t= he Yukon who want to buy homes; it is nice to know that Yukoners’ childr= en can come home and find a job, whether it is working in the environment or working in the resource sector or working in the technical sector. <= /p>

I thin= k that we must take into consideration those perspectives. Certainly, we see that with the growth in the population and those coming back from post-secondary.

Thank = you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me an opportunity to speak to this. I look forward to debating policy and discussing budgets over the fall, which we, of course, are put h= ere to do.

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Mr. Adel: It is an honour to be back in this Chamber on the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council. I would like to take this opportunity right now to thank my constituents in Copperbelt North for their input over the summer. I was enjoying the wonderful weather as I was walking through the neighbourhood, talking to people and meeting with them on the street and coffee shops. It = was certainly enlightening.

We are= looking at the supplementary estimates for 2018‑19 — the money that is required for the government to deliver programs and services that enhance t= he lives of Yukoners across the territory. All of our budget decisions are mad= e in order to support Yukon’s priorities. A people‑centred approach = to wellness helps Yukoners thrive. Strategic investments build healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities. Strong government-to-government relationships = with First Nations foster reconciliation, and a diverse, growing economy provides good jobs for Yukoners in an environmentally responsible way.

My col= leagues and I have been working hard to advance these priorities and improve the li= ves of Yukoners. Talking about the supplementary budget is always a good opportunity to reflect on the good work of this government. Yukoners have j= ust wrapped up a fabulous summer with some of that good, old-fashioned hot weat= her we used to have, and many spent their time enjoying the over 60 campgrounds= and day-use recreation sites across this territory.

The Yu= kon government is investing $1 million to improve camping opportunities for Yukoners and visitors this year alone. This is part of a multi-year plan to expand and enhance campground and parks infrastructure. We are also adjusti= ng policies to improve services in Yukon parks and campgrounds, with a focus on user experience and accessibility. Having had guests in from out of the ter= ritory camping this year, I certainly heard a lot of compliments on our campgrounds and their facilities.

We hea= rd from Yukoners that they wanted increased campsite availability and opportunities= for all Yukoners to enjoy the outdoors. This season saw a new rule around occup= ied campsites that are left unattended. Leaving campsites occupied but unattend= ed for longer than 24 hours could result in a $200 fine.

We hav= e also improved wheelchair access to campsites, such as popular Pine Lake, Aishihik Lake, Twin Lakes, Nahanni Range and two sites each at Conrad, Marsh Lake and Wolf Creek. There are now wheelchair-accessible trails at Tombstone Territo= rial Park, Pine Lake and Wolf Creek campgrounds. These improvements, along with = the new 24-hour rule, have helped improve the availability of campsites and provided more fair access to Yukon parks and campgrounds for residents and visitors.

We als= o engaged Yukoners to help us create a Yukon parks strategy that will improve strateg= ic guidance on how to sustainably deliver the environmental, economic, social = and health benefits of parks and campgrounds. We know Yukoners and visitors hav= e a strong connection to parks and that people’s demands and expectations= of our parks are evolving. The strategy will set long-term direction for Yukon’s territorial parks, which include wilderness parks, campground= s, recreation sites and others. Engagement with users and Yukoners will ensure that their needs and interests are reflected in the strategy. I look forwar= d to seeing the results of this summer’s engagement as the development of = the strategy moves forward.

Summer= is also the prime season for tourism here in the territory and the tourism departme= nt with their new strategy has been working very hard to enhance that.<= /p>

Last y= ear saw record-breaking tourism numbers, in part thanks to the success of the Yukon= Now tourism marketing program. Our government has increased the annual investme= nt in the Yukon Now program from $900,000 to $1.8 million. We are proud to support this critical marketing program to help the industry grow sustainability at a time when our visitor statistics continue to increase. =

One ar= ea of particular interest is the growth of air arrivals. Our government is working hard to improve air travel infrastructure and support the airline industry.= The summer construction began on a new maintenance facility at the Dawson airpo= rt. Construction costs are estimated at $7.7 million and the facility is slated for completion in the summer of 2019. This new facility will allow airport staff to work in a dry, heated facility year-round and will ensure airport equipment is safely stored during cold and inclement weather.

Having= a heated maintenance facility at the Dawson airport is also required to fulfill the heightened maintenance standards and needs of a paved runway. Our government has committed to paving the Dawson runway and, earlier this summer, we rele= ased the tender for this project. The contract includes the paving of a second a= pron to ease congestion and to ensure airport operations continue to be safe and efficient. Improving the Dawson airport will support tourism in the Klondike and beyond. The Dawson airport is the second busiest airport in the territo= ry — the busiest, of course, is the Erik Nielsen International Airport. =

This s= ummer, our government invested $5 million to resurface the main runway with aspha= lt. Upgrading this essential piece of infrastructure will ensure the airport continues to meet the needs of Yukoners and visitors alike. More than just tourism, enhancing our aviation industry is important to growing Yukon̵= 7;s economy as a whole. Improving Yukon’s air travel infrastructure is ju= st one of the ways we’re working to grow our economy.

The supplementary estimates in this going forward, number one, are the second l= owest in 10 years. The good news is they are a reflection of how well we are doing with our main estimates and how we look at the economic realities of the Yu= kon and how we project to meet them.

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Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I am very pleased this afternoon to rise and speak about the supplementary estimates for 2018‑19. It is becoming clear to the public that this government is running a tight ship when it comes to fiscal matters. This supplementary budget tabled by my good colleague for Klondike, the Finance minister, is the second lowest supplementary budget tabled in the last 10 y= ears — the second lowest. It bears noting that last year’s supplemen= tary budget was the lowest, just $29,000. How significant is this? It is very significant.

Today = we are talking about supplementary spending of about $4.7 million compared wi= th $34 million in 2015-16, $21 million in 2014-15 and a whopping $93=  million in supplementary spending logged in 2013-14. Today we are talking about accuracy and transparency in financial management, because we are working v= ery hard to have our main estimates reflect our spending priorities. Being in government demands tough decisions. Those tough decisions are being made wi= th an eye on the public purse. We have heard from the Financial Advisory Panel= that previous governments were spending $1.50 for every dollar they generated or received from Ottawa. That was never sustainable, Mr. Speaker. You can= not continue to operate when you collect 50 percent less than you are spending.= It is a recipe for disaster.

That i= s the reality we inherited. It wasn’t a pleasant discovery — that day early in the year 2017 — but it was the hand we were dealt. We took a deep breath, calmed ourselves and started to address the problems we faced. Today, two years later, we are seeing the results — one of which is accuracy in financial reporting.

We are= looking at rigour, at process and at efficiency. We determine the most pressing nee= ds through an evidence‑based process, checking to see what data tells us about an issue. You can pick any issue, Mr. Speaker, any one — a= nd there are many — and then ask the relevant questions: How many people= are affected? Are there health and safety risks involved? Is there a precedent = for what we are being asked to do? How much will this cost the Government of Yu= kon? How much will it cost in the future? Could a private sector solution be more efficient and/or cost-effective? Evidence‑based decision-making, Mr.&= nbsp;Speaker, is something that we campaigned on and I am very proud to say that it is so= mething that we apply on a daily basis.

We are= bringing diligence to financial planning and execution, and our budgets, including t= he current supplementary discussed today, is clear evidence of that. They are accurate and they are small. My good colleague from Lake Laberge has refere= nced the Whistle Bend continuing care facility. As my bench mate from beautiful Mount Lorne‑Southern Lakes noted, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that the construction was delivered on time and on budget. Now we a= re talking about the largest and possibly the most complex project in the territory’s history on time and on budget. That comes through the hard work and diligence of the Department of Highways and Public Works and its partners in Health and Social Services.

The de= partments tackled this project methodically with diligence and the results speak for themselves, Mr. Speaker. It didn’t begin that way; the project w= as launched with little consultation or long-term planning or consideration of operation and maintenance costs, but I’m happy to have played a part = in landing this project responsibly, on time and on budget. The member for Lake Laberge has questioned what we are doing for the territory. I’m sorry= to learn he is not aware of the profound changes we’ve made and are maki= ng to benefit the people of the territory. I’m sort of befuddled by that, but let me help him out. For example, instead of sitting on tens of mi= llions of dollars of affordable housing money, we’re building affordable hou= sing for those who need it. This afternoon, my colleague, the minister responsib= le for the Yukon Housing Corporation, laid bare all the work her crew is doing= on this front and it was an impressive list. We are working with First Nations= on housing and on a host of other issues. We’ve held a record number of Yukon forums with First Nations across the territory, involving them in decision-making in the territory to an extent never seen before. The work is ongoing, but the results are being seen in the certainty and confidence acr= oss the territory. We’re seeing that in the resource markets; they’= re expected to spend more than $150 million in exploration this year larg= ely because the territory is a good place to invest. Why, Mr. Speaker? It’s about growing certainty and confidence in the future of the territory.

My col= league, the Minister of Tourism and Culture, has guided one of the first tourism strategies the territory has seen in 17 years. We’re tackling aged legislation, one of the most comprehensive and progressive legislative agen= das seen in this territory in the last 30 years. We’re rewriting the Societies Act, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, on forestry and the Coroners Act. This is w= ork that is long overdue — work that extremely hard-working and dedicated civil servants are tackling on our behalf — and we’re grateful.=

WeR= 17;re doing foundation work at the Whitehorse International Airport to fix the baggage handling equipment, the bridges that link the aircraft to the build= ing, patching the tarmac, replacing aged snowplows, even fixing the long-broken elevator. It’s not sexy work, it’s not the stuff of ribbon cutt= ing, but it serves the needs of the Yukon public in very profound ways. <= /p>

Highwa= y safety? Well, I heard as late as Friday that the Klondike Highway has not been in better shape for years and years, and that’s thanks to the diligent w= ork of the highways department and its crews. Our bridges are being strengthene= d in Carcross and in Carmacks, allowing us to bring in larger loads to the terri= tory safely and more efficiently. We bolstered our mental health care in the communities through the hubs my colleague, the Member for Vuntut Gwitchin, = has launched. We’re building roads to resources in concert with our First Nation partner governments. We are building a redundant fiber optic cable l= ine to provide long-needed protection to our business sector and tech industry.= We tendered the medevac contract this year and awarded it to a local company through a competitive bid, ensuring good use of the public purse. We’= ve also done much to improve procurement. We have a five‑year capital pl= an — the first time in history we’ve done that. Whitehorse has a l= ocal knowledge clause added to value‑driven contracts to ensure that local companies have a more level playing field when it comes to bidding. We are using the 10 $1-million exceptions — we did so last year and we’= ;re going to do it again this year. We’re the first jurisdiction in the country to use that tool.    = ;    

We have contracts out earlier in the spring, helping contractors plan their construction season. We have worked hard to get more money into local contractors’ hands and we’re working closer with the private sector, communities and First Nations to plan our capital spending. The res= ult is the lowest unemployment rate in the country and one of the busiest summer work seasons in recent memory.

Again,= this is part of our rigour in budgeting. We have set a stable capital spend of $280=  million. People know what we are going to spend and where. As a result, our supplementary is lower than nine of the last 10 supplementary budgets ̵= 2; all of which is to say we are working hard on behalf of the people of the territory on a myriad of fronts.

I know= my colleagues take this work seriously and it is my honour to work with such a dedicated, caring and compassionate crew.

In clo= sing, I want to personally thank the Department of Finance, the finance crew from Highways and Public Works and those in the Public Service Commission for th= eir superb job in preparing the 2018‑19 supplementary estimates.

Thank = you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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Hon. Ms. Dendys: While none of my departments are currently seeking incr= eases under the Second Appropriation Act,= 2018‑19, I would like to take the next few minutes to provide this House with a few highlights about the work being completed by the Department of Tourism and Culture, the Women’s Directorate and the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board, which stem from the main estimates.

I woul= d like to start though by thanking, of course, my constituents in my riding of Mountainview for choosing me to be their representative in this Legislative Assembly. It truly is, as I have heard expressed by everyone else in the Ho= use, an honour to be chosen to be a spokesperson for even one person — tha= t is an honour — let alone a whole riding of people who look to us each and every day to represent them in the best possible way.

I woul= d like to highlight a few areas within Tourism and Culture first. My colleagues will = have heard, of course, and we have heard lots of folks talk about it today, that= the Department of Tourism and Culture has released a draft tourism strategy for public comment. I certainly took note of the Member for Copperbelt South’s comments about wanting to ask questions about this draft stra= tegy and I certainly welcome any discussion about the draft Yukon tourism development strategy.

The de= velopment of this strategy has been led by a steering committee made up of First Nati= on representatives, the Association of Yukon Communities, the tourism industry= and many cultural, arts and heritage organizations. We have a 15-member committ= ee that has overseen this process. The steering committee engaged extensively = on this plan over the past year, receiving 12,000 comments from Yukoners. The draft plan that is now out for public comment contains a number of proposal= s. Once final feedback is received on this draft, my colleagues and I will consider all the proposals that have been put forward. We all share an inte= rest in growing and strengthening tourism in our territory and the proposals in = the strategy will be viewed through this lens.

The ex= tensive engagement on the strategy shows that Yukoners understand the huge potentia= l that exists in the tourism sector here in Yukon and want to take advantage of th= at. The future is bright when it comes to tourism in our territory and I look forward to working with our partners to seize the opportunities ahead of us= and grow tourism in the Yukon in a responsible and sustainable way.

On oth= er exciting topics, the Yukon made national and international news this summer with the discovery of several important archaeological finds. The Yukon archaeology program works each year on the ice patch project with partners = from six Yukon First Nations, being Kwanlin Dün, Champagne and Aishihik Fir= st Nations, Teslin Tlingit Council, Ta’an Kwäch’än Counc= il, Carcross/Tagish First Nation and the Kluane First Nation.

On Aug= ust 25, 2018, an ancient hunting tool was discovered near Alligator Lake in an archaeological ice patch within the traditional territory of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation and the Kwanlin Dün First Nation. The int= act and exceptionally preserved state of this find makes it very unique and unp= aralleled in the world. Just a few short weeks ago, after this remarkable discovery, I was lucky enough to be in Dawson City to help unveil two additional signifi= cant discoveries in partnership with the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation. Both of these discoveries were made in the Klondike placer fi= elds and are exceptional — a mummified wolf pup and a caribou calf. It was really a special day to be there and listen to Percy Henry talk about the balance between the wolf and the caribou and how they balance each other. So having these two significant finds found within two weeks of each other = 212; everyone believes that it was not an accident and that it happened in that = way. Both are extremely rare and provide invaluable contributions to scientific knowledge about the ice age. To our knowledge, it is the only mummified ice= age wolf ever found in the world. The wolf pup is carbon dated at over 50,000 y= ears and the caribou is carbon dated at 80,000 years. That is quite astonishing.=

While = I was in Dawson, people talked about these ancient beings and how this knowledge is coming back. So it was really a great event to be part of. All of these discoveries, once again, highlight just how special this land is that we all call home.

Finall= y, on the Tourism and Culture front, the department continues to work hand in hand wi= th its First Nation partners on land management. In partnership with Carcross/Tagish First Nation, we managed the Conrad historic site as tenant= s in common. We are working with our partners to develop the Conrad historic site heritage management plan, which will ensure the protection, conservation and interpretation of the heritage values of the site and will also recognize a= nd protect the traditional and current use of the area by the Carcross/Tagish First Nation citizens.

This p= lan is expected to be completed this fall and will be presented to the public for feedback. We also continue to conserve the Fort Selkirk historic site in partnership with the Selkirk First Nation.

An upd= ated land management plan is currently being developed as the current management plan= has not been updated since 2000. This updated plan will reflect current conditi= ons of the site, set new priorities and ensure that the requirements of the Sel= kirk First Nation final agreement and Hi= storic Resources Act are being met. Land management in partnership with First Nations is essential to creating a sustainable future for Yukon. I am also pleased that we are making such positive progress on this important front. =

At the Women’s Directorate, we’re gearing up for a very busy fall. From October 16 to 19, Yukon will be co-hosting the federal, provincial and territorial meetings of ministers responsible for the Status of Women. These meetings will cover important topics such as the gender wage gap, womenR= 17;s economic empowerment and gender-based violence.

Repres= enting the Yukon at these meetings, I plan to emphasize the importance of addressing practical issues facing women in the north, particularly gender-based viole= nce and the meaningful engagement with our indigenous partners, both locally and nationally.

During= this week, the Women’s Directorate is also organizing a meeting between the Status of Women ministers and the national indigenous leaders in advance of= the FPT meetings. Ministers and indigenous leaders will have a full day of engagement, which is not something that is typically done at FPT meetings. Also, notably, a sacred fire will be lit and will burn throughout the FPT meeting. That’s something that is very unique and something that the federal minister and I feel strongly about doing together.

As par= t of these meetings, we will be including an afternoon community visit to Carcross/Tag= ish First Nation, which will include a panel presentation by female indigenous Yukon leaders to highlight the impact of self-government on the well-being = of women in the Yukon.

I̵= 7;m very excited, of course, to host federal Minister Mons= ef and delegates from across the country. We are very proud of the planning th= at has gone on and the true partnership that we’ve created with our colleagues across the country.

I woul= d also like to briefly update the House about the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. As the lead department responding to t= he national inquiry, the Women’s Directorate is carrying out this government’s mandate commitment to ensure that Yukon plays an effecti= ve and active role in supporting the inquiry. As such, I’m pleased to te= ll the House that Yukon will be hosting the final closing ceremony for the Mis= sing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry in the spring of 2019. This= is considered a full-circle event. It is special because Yukon also hosted the opening of this inquiry in May 2017. It really and truly feels like a full circle and so it will be a great opportunity for us to honour our families = and pay respect to those who have been lost.

As Min= ister responsible for the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Boa= rd, I would like to update this House about the progress being made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which was passed last fall. Regulations are now being crafted that focus on= the prevention of psychological injuries in the workplace.

You wi= ll hear more about that in the new year. As we are all aware, this is a spectrum of risk that could affect the mental health of Yukon workers from exposure to traumatic incidents to the threat of violence. These new regulations are necessary to provide guidance to workplaces on how to establish measures to prevent psychological injury from occurring in the first place and, of cour= se, how to respond if they happen during a person’s regular work time.

On a p= ersonal note, of course it was an extremely busy summer — lots of highs and l= ows. I represented government at many amazing events over the summer that took me across the Yukon Territory. Highlights are always the festivals that our department supports and that our government and Yukoners look forward to. H= ere in Whitehorse, we had the Adäka festival, = and many of us attended Moosehide near Dawson City.= I had the great honour of going to the Tlingit gathering in Juneau, where we prom= oted our festival that is coming next year — the Haa<= /span> Ḵusteeyí Tlingit gathering. It is a= great feeling to be close to our community and to connect with people during those times. I find that is one of the most valuable interactions that I have in = my position as minister and as an MLA.

I did = host a really successful constituency event for my Mountainview constituents on September 8. It was well-attended. We had over 200 people stop by to have conversation and share food with us, as well as some really great family fu= n. A lot of great discussions happened there. I am happy to keep reaching out to= my constituents in that way and to provide opportunities for them to come toge= ther to share concerns. It was really interesting that, when I met with the constituents that day, a lot of them felt fairly content about what was happening in the territory. That felt really great to me as an MLA, that our government is making the right moves. People talked about having good work. They talked about being in training programs, in school and the excitement about the fall and the opportunity to come together.

Finall= y, when I left the Legislative Assembly after the last Sitting — life changes v= ery fast. I know that tomorrow we are paying tribute to what happened in Telegr= aph Creek, but it is very personal to me. I feel like a different person standi= ng here today. You never know what events are going to be life‑changing,= and this one was life‑changing for me. I really wanted to share that with= all of my colleagues in the House today. I look forward to honouring Yukoners tomorrow for what they have done for my nation and for people who are in ne= ed. It shows the generosity and huge hearts of Yukoners, and it truly makes me = want to work even harder for the people we represent — every single citize= n in this Yukon Territory.

I woul= d like to thank you so much for the opportunity to give a few updates. I don’t always get to give the updates on the good work that our departments are do= ing, so thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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Ms. White: Initially, I hadn’t planned on speaking, because this morning at our House Leaders’ meeting, I was under the impression that this was going to b= e a short start to the day and then we were going to get into actually asking q= uestions in the Committee of the Whole.

I appr= eciate people’s heartfelt comments — I do. When anyone is talking about their riding and the people they get to talk to, those are super important.= I can’t believe, you know, on the cusp of two years since the last election, that we have ministers from the Liberal government talking about = what the Yukon Party did. I can’t even believe it. I had to live through f= ive years of that and I had enough — I did — I had enough.

To bri= ng back how large the supplementary budgets were that were tabled — it just s= eems kind of crazy to me, actually, because we should be moving on — and comparing yourselves to before, when I would say that that wasn’t rea= lly like that — the bar wasn’t set super high. That is my opinion. I would say that I told you initially that I wanted you all to do better. I wanted the Liberal government to do better than what had happened before. I didn’t think we would still be talking about prior to the 2016 electi= on, because really what I wanted to hear was what each government minister was going to do differently and where we would be going. I didn’t think t= hat we would be revisiting what had happened.

I real= ly thank the minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate and I can only imagine what it felt like when your community, when the Tahltan Nation, went through that trauma. I thank you for sharing that, and I thank= the Member for Mayo-Tatchun for talking about his community, but some of what w= as said almost sounded like election speeches. I mean, unless one is going to = be called right away, what I wanted to know was what was happening within the departments, because I am not going to get an opportunity to talk to the Minister responsible for housing about housing, so I am going to talk to the Premier about it when we get into it, because I have questions.

I have= questions about the Department of Education that I won’t be able to ask. That is fantastic that both of those departments didn’t need supplementary budgets. I appreciate that, but what I wanted to hear was what was happening within those departments and what was going on, as opposed to talking about what hadn’t happened before. I just want to — I mean right now, Education — there’s a crisis. They don’t have enough EAs = and they don’t have enough substitute teachers. Then you talk to communit= ies and you find out that teachers don’t have places to live. How is that being addressed within both of those departments — Housing and Educat= ion?

I thou= ght that, as we came into the 2018 Fall Sitting — you know, with almost two yea= rs under our belts in this 34th Legislative Assembly — that it wouldn’t be kind of similar to the comments that were made the first = time we were here — and some of them were. Not all of them, Mr. Speak= er, because I would hate to use the same brush against everybody, but there wer= e a lot of similarities.

I thou= ght we were going to rise up — I did. Everybody in the 2016 election talked about how things were going to be done differently and sometimes it feels a= lot the same. I had no intention of speaking today, except for the fact that, w= hen we were revisiting the supplementary budgets of the past government, I felt that we had closed that and we were moving on.

I am i= mpressed that this is the second smallest one. I am. But if we’re just going to talk about our accomplishments and how well we’re doing in comparison= to something that I would suggest wasn’t so great — congratulation= s. You formed a government two years ago. That’s an indication that thin= gs should be different and that they shouldn’t be the same. This was the same conversation that happened last year. We’re 12 months on and it = felt really similar.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, I look forward to Committee of the Whole where I’m going to ask my questions about the departments that aren’t going to come up. I look forward to having conversations with the ministers whose departments do com= e up because, although it sounded pretty great in the Mountainview riding, I can tell you that in Takhini-Kopper King things aren’t so rosy. We had the wood smoke report come out. It targeted two of my areas — both the Ko= pper King and Range Road north. You know what the report can’t cover becau= se it’s not part of the mandate? It doesn’t talk about poverty. You want to know why wood smoke is so bad in the Kopper King area? It’s poverty. When you see that people have wood screwed to the side of their trailers with plastic on it, it’s not the appliance that’s burn= ing the wood that’s the problem; it’s poverty. When I hear that thi= ngs are going well for other people, I’m relieved, but I can tell you that things aren’t so rosy for everyone, and that’s an issue. So whe= n we revisit the past, we can go all the way back. I mean, why stop in the 33rd? We could go to the 32nd or the 31st. But what I want = to know is what’s different in the 34th? I want to know what actions are being taken. I want to know how things are being addressed, including lead in drinking fountains. It might not be a concern for a stude= nt who has only been there for two years, but what about an educator who has b= een there for 25 years? That is a longer time to be around that.

What I= was hopeful for was to hear some innovation within the departments. What I got — and I’m going to reread it, to be clear. I will congratulate = each of the ministers and each of the speakers for the innovation when I get to = hear it. I’ll give one right now to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources. We had a farm tour. We had a multi-partisan farm tour and it was fantastic. We had the ability then to hear from farmers about some of the hindrances. That was really great. I thank the minister for that. That was a fantastic opportunity.

I look= forward to when my colleague and I are able to schedule our tour of the Whistle Bend facility because we missed out on that one. We will see it before it opens.=

What I= wanted to hear about was innovation and accomplishments. I wanted to hear about things that were different and not things that were the same. Talking about previo= us supplementary budgets as the difference — well, that’s a bit disappointing. That’s a pretty low bar at that point.

I look= forward to being able to ask questions about departments that won’t be up. I = look forward to engaging with the ministers who will be up because I know that t= here has been hard work done over the summer. I look forward to hearing about it= .

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, in 2019, if there are similar speeches by the time we get to the Fall Sitti= ng, I tell you — I’m not even sure which words or how many hand act= ions I am going to have at that point. For those who only get to read this in Hansard, my hands are moving because they have a very hard time staying sti= ll right now.

I look= forward to Committee of the Whole debate.

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

Does a= ny other member wish to be heard on this debate?

&= nbsp;

Hon. Mr. Silver: I guess I will start with a response to the Member for Takhini-Kopper King’s statements. I am a little perplexed. In her add= ress, she talks about how the minister has been engaging with the opposition with= a farm tour, but nothing has changed. I would say that’s an example of something that has changed. I believe that this government is trying its be= st to reach out and embrace the opposition. When I go to events and I see memb= ers of the opposition in these events, I always acknowledge that they’re there. I ask them if they want to come up and speak. I think there have bee= n a lot of subtle differences and a lot of major differences. Performance plans= , I say, would be a huge difference, and every year we’re getting better = and better at that. A five‑year capital plan — huge differences.

If the= member opposite doesn’t want to see these differences, that’s one thin= g. But it’s rich to say that she’s disappointed with the dialogue = here in the second reading, but it gave her an opportunity to get up and talk ab= out her community and about how important it is to her to discuss the socio-economic situation of those who are burning wood. I don’t know = how that is any more important or less important than anybody else on this side= of the Legislative Assembly having their say and able to talk about what they = say.

I will= agree that I think we as a team — and I mean a collective team with the opposition and the government — need to do a better job of how we use= our time inside this Legislative Assembly. For example, supplementary budgets should be debated — the numbers in the budget. We have used — a= nd I have done it too when in opposition.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

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Hon. Mr. Silver: With all due respect to the Leader of the Third Party, it̵= 7;s my turn to speak. So if she could listen as opposed to talk over me, she might actually learn something.

Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)

Point of order

Speaker: The= Member for Takhini-Kopper King, on a point of order.

Ms. White: I’m going to struggle to find the right one, but when the minister is able to h= ave that dialogue without us being able to defend ourselves, it seems unfair.

Speaker’s ruling

Speaker: I d= on’t quite understand your concern.

If the= member wishes to be heard, she will stand up. Do you wish to be heard?

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Hon. Mr. Silver: It’s interesting because it did seem like we were gettin= g a bit of a lecture from the opposition. Now they don’t want to hear a lecture back. That’s interesting.

This i= sn’t a lecture. It’s a conversation about how we can do better with our ti= me in the Legislative Assembly. When I was in the opposition, I too spent a lo= t of time in general debate and in departmental conversations talking about everything under the sun, and I believe we need to do a better job of our t= ime in the Legislative Assembly by talking about the budgetary items as we go through line by line as we go through these committees. Because in the end,= if we can actually succinct our time in the Legislative Assembly better and address the budget numbers as opposed to having just general debate about everything in those departments, I believe we can get at more time legislat= ing — more bills. I think we’ve done a good job this session of hav= ing a very progressive number of bills on the docket for the Legislative Assemb= ly. I want to debate those bills. I want to spend time on the supplementary bud= gets where there are increases, because that’s what we’re supposed t= o be debating here in the Legislative Assembly — is when there is new cost pressures and new expenses in the departments. That’s the job of the supplementary. That’s the job of the members in this House.

We will entertain general debate on a flurry of conversations if you want — n= ot a problem — but, at the same time, it’s a conversation about how = we can use our time effectively to legislate as well as debate the bill and the supplementary budget.

As the= Member for Watson Lake mocks me across the way, I will continue to try my best to = make sure we have an effective way of using our time in the Legislative Assembly — and maybe a maturity brought to this Legislative Assembly as well. =

I̵= 7;m going to answer some of the questions that were asked throughout the process. I appreciate some of the questions from the members opposite, so I’m go= ing to get an opportunity to correct the record or to comment on some of the comments from the opposition.

I̵= 7;ll start with the Member for Lake Laberge talking about a change of heart — somehow a change of heart when it comes to the Whistle Bend continuing care facility. There is no change of heart. From the minute that I started my conversation about the process, about a 300-bed facility, I was completely against a 300-bed facility. I have always said that a 150-bed facility facilitates the needs of Whitehorse and the region around Whitehorse, so I’m extremely happy to see that particular facility come online.

The me= mbers opposite, with documents that they get — a piece of paper that they g= et — now are saying that we are somehow talking about cuts. I need the member opposite to realize that there’s more than one way to get back onto a financially stable path — not just with cuts. We are not talki= ng about cuts. We are talking about efficiencies, and when we talk about efficiencies, it brings up the concept of the new identity, for example, and our new website.

The me= mbers opposite would have you believe that this is a huge cost to the government when, really, in the end, it’s a cost-savings, Mr. Speaker. The = new website is going to increase access to government information and services = for Yukoners throughout the territory. The new mobile‑enabled website is going to focus in on the needs of the public and the means in which we can continue to expand services online — expansion of services, and not c= uts of services, as the opposition would have you believe. By creating a single website, we’re providing a better experience for the public to engage with. Since we launched yukon.ca in February with 180 pages, we’ve ad= ded another 1,700 pages, including emergency and safety information, campground, recreation facilities, government events, listings and a directory of government buildings. Since we launched yukon.ca, we’ve gathered more than 450 feedback forms and are continuing to adjust content to meet the public’s needs. When we meet the public’s needs, we’re reducing their costs as well, Mr. Speaker. You had a website that was organized for government; now we have a website that’s organized for = the people.

When w= e take a look at the visual identity, this is where the real cost-savings come in. T= he visual identity for a whole‑of-government approach helps people find = and recognize the government services more readily. Our new identity is consist= ent with the look and feel, and it is about more than just logo or branding; it’s about improving delivery of services and communications more effectively to the public. The visual identity helps us to make better use = of financial and staff resources; therefore, we are anticipating a return on t= hat investment.

Mr.&nb= sp;Speaker, when you have every single department working on identity, when you have ev= ery single department on logos and when you have every single department working individually on these things, those are a huge expense to the taxpayer. What we’ve done is a one‑government approach with a brand label that= is tried, tested and true, working in partnership with Tourism and Culture, an= d we believe that there will be a cost-savings in the end.

When w= e are asked about what kind of efficiencies we are working on, there is another example of efficiency that we are working on. The Yukon Party keeps on talk= ing about cuts. We keep on talking about efficiencies. We do not want to affect= the programs and services that Yukoners have come to enjoy, so we are looking at how best to spend the Yukon taxpayers’ money, and I believe that we a= re finding significant advances in that, and that is just merely one example. =

We als= o had the member opposite talking about the growing of government and the FTEs. The Government of Yukon is here to provide necessary services to Yukoners. The = fact is that the demand for many of these services is increasing, especially as = our population continues to grow. There were 243 FTEs added in the 2018‑19 main estimates; 186 of these were in Health and Social Services specificall= y to support our continuing care facilities and increases in home care. Imagine = if it was a 300-bed facility, Mr. Speaker.

There = were 29 in Education to provide teachers and educational assistants and support staff = in response to enrolment-based growth — to address the questions from the Member for Takhini-Kopper King. Here is an investment in the increase of educational assistants. Of the 242 additional FTEs, 27 were distributed acr= oss other departments to support programs, like the new sexualized assault resp= onse team, the family liaison information units, the Yukon family mediation prog= rams and also the cannabis legalization and sales.

While = this government is making the necessary and significant progress on cost savings= and efficiency measures elsewhere, we have been clear that we will not make cut= s to services that Yukoners depend on. The member opposite talks about us growing the government — well, I will ask him back: Is it the home care that = he would want us to cut? It is the continuing care facility that he would want= us to cut? Or is it the teachers and educational staff? That is the majority of the numbers that we are talking about with the FTEs.

We kee= p hearing about cuts from the Yukon Party. It seems like that is what they are heading toward, especially when they keep asking about the increases to the FTEs, a= nd we keep telling them what the information is and why it is necessary to make sure that the programs and services that Yukoners have come to rely on in t= he collaborative care model that we are moving forward in — which again,= in my opinion, when you are talking about mental health and upfront health car= e, as opposed to acute services once you are ill, we will see cost savings in = the end because of this government’s approach when it comes to health care and when it comes to the services that Yukoners are happy to see continue.<= /span>

The mi= nister talked about a tourism strategy — the first one in 18 years. We have talked about the Yukon Forum — 16 working groups and countless subcommittees there. These working groups are so important to the supplemen= tary budget. These working groups are making sure that we have a pathway forward, looking at the MOU that was established by the minister when it comes to mining. These working groups are helping us to draw down on chapters of the final agreements. These working groups are making sure that we have more legislation and less litigation, and we are very proud of that. We are very proud of our relationship with the mining sector — from new agreements for road maintenance to carbon pricing rebates for placer miners to tax reductions across the board for small businesses in Yukon where we are supporting the industries.

I have= to be honest: I don’t have a lot of requests — I don’t hear a l= ot of requests from the industry — for returning to the old days of laws= uits and declining investments. We are bridging gaps. We’re having more conversation and engagement. We’re trying to be more effective with h= ow we spend taxpayers’ money and we are seeing the results of these endeavours.

Again, negotiating a signing of the chapter 23 implementation agreement, increasing First Nations’ share of the resource royalties — again, this is good for the economy and it’s good for the First Nations whose traditional territories are being affected, and that’s where the real money is.

I̵= 7;m most proud of our whole‑of-government approach, our increased accessibility the government has — more consultation, progressive legislation for t= he LGBTQ2S+ community, the lowest unemployment rate in Canada and a red-hot economy as well.

As we = are entering into the supplementary budget and leaving the general debate, I’m very appreciative of the team and all the work that they have don= e. It’s always great to have an opportunity to get up and to tell our si= de of the story when we hear certain concerns from the opposition. There is st= ill a lot more work to do, that’s for sure, Mr. Speaker, but I think= in the last two years this government has done an effective job of new fiscal considerations, new fiscal scrutiny, evidence‑based decision-making, relations with all levels of government and I think the proof is there. If = the members opposite choose not to see it, that’s on them, not on us.

Thank = you, Mr. Speaker, for my chance to speak to the second reading, and I look forward to more de= bate in Committee of the Whole.

&= nbsp;

Speaker: Are= you prepared for the question?

Some Hon. Members: Division.

Division

Speaker: Div= ision has been called.

&= nbsp;

Bells

&= nbsp;

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: Disagree.

Mr. Kent: Disagree.

Ms. Van Bibber: Disagree.

Mr. Cathers: Disagree.

Ms. McLeod: Disagree.

Mr. Istchenko: Disagree.

Ms. Hanson: Disagree.

Ms. White: Disagree.

Clerk: Mr.&n= bsp;Speaker, the results are 10 yea, eight nay.

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

Motion for second reading of Bill No. 207 agreed= to

 

Hon. Ms. McPhee: Seeing the time, I move that the House do now adjourn.<= /p>

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

Motion agreed to

 

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

&= nbsp;

The House adjourned 5:20 p.m.<= /i>

&= nbsp;

&= nbsp;

 

The following sessional papers were tabled October 1, 2018:

 

34-2-63

Yukon Conflict of Interest Commission Annual Report to the Legislative Assembly for the Pe= riod from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 (Speaker Clark= e)

 

34-2-64

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

 

34-2-65

Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board 2017 Annual Report (= Dendys)

 

34-2-66

Standing Committee on Appointments to Major Government Boards and Committees Eighth Report (September 14, 2018) (Adel)

 

34-2-67

Standing Committee on Appointments to Major Government Boards and Committees Ninth Report (September 20, 2018) (Adel)

<= o:p> 

The following legislative returns were tabled October 1, 2018:<= /span>

 

3= 4-2-138

R= esponse to Written Question No. 27 re: Alaska Highway West local area planning process (Pillai)

<= o:p> 

3= 4-2-139

R= esponse to Written Question No. 25 re: Fox Lake local area planning process (Pillai) <= o:p>

<= o:p> 

3= 4-2-140

R= esponse to oral question from Ms. Van Bibber re: Yukon Housing Corporation wait-lists = and vacancies (Frost)

<= o:p> 

3= 4-2-141

R= esponse to Written Question No. 26 re: residential housing in Whitehorse (Frost) =

<= o:p> 

3= 4-2-142

R= esponse to oral question from Ms. Van Bibber re: Yukon Housing Corporation loans and grants (Frost)

<= o:p> 

The following document was filed October 1, 2018:

 

3= 4-2-57

Yukon 2018-19 Interim Fiscal and Economic Update (Silver)

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