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Yukon Legislative Assembly=

Whitehorse, Yukon

Thursday, April 19= , 2018 — 1:00 p.m.

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

We wil= l proceed at this time with prayers.

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Prayers

Daily Routine

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

Tributes.

TRIBUTES

In recognition of Earth D= ay and Yukon Conservation Society

Hon. Ms. Frost: I rise today on behalf of Yukon Liberal government to pay tribute to Earth Da= y, which takes place this weekend on April 22. Earth Day is an opportunity for= all of us to take pause as stewards of this shared land and reflect on the intricate ecosystems that we enjoy and depend on. It’s time to renew = our own actions as individuals and communities and take stock of how we impact these ecosystems and how we work to conserve them. What better way to recog= nize such an important day than by recognizing a partner and a leader of environmental stewardship in Yukon? Mr. Speaker, 50 years ago today, a grou= p of concerned Yukoners joined together. Their focus was= on the Alaska Highway pipeline but, very quickly, they started to think bigger. This group developed into a society to promote conservation in Yukon and ac= ross the north. The Yukon Conservation Society has established itself as a well-regarded, well-respected, non-government organization serving Yukon through education, research and advocacy on diverse environmental issues. <= /span>

Today,= their main focus is on energy, mining, land use planning and wildlife conservatio= n. They work hard to get people outside, connecting with nature. They offer fr= ee interpretative programming for all ages throughout the summer, from guided hikes to “Kids’ Ed-Ventures”. They also bring people toge= ther to discuss, share and learn about important issues on our shared environmen= t.

For ex= ample, after barren-ground caribou were listed as a threatened species, they hoste= d an educational event on the Porcupine caribou herd in April 2017. In June, they will be celebrating Yukon Conservation Society Week with a number of events= .

Yukone= rs have made it clear that the environment matters to them, so let’s take this time to recognize this organization. At this time, I would like to recognize those hundreds of individuals who have been directly involved, impacted by = or participated with the Yukon Conservation Society over the last 50 years = 212; some of whom have joined us in the gallery today.

Out of= respect for all of the past leaders, we have been requested not to recognize individuals and I respect that, but I would like to honour today Yukon Conservation Society members, past members, board of directors, staff, volunteers and supporters. Thank you for all your help in raising your voic= es for Yukon’s environment for the last 50 years.

Now, l= et’s look forward to the next 50 years as we continue to work together and look = at highlighting the intrinsic value of the environment and our interconnectedn= ess to it. Our well-being, as humans and as Yukoners, is dependent on fully functional, healthy ecosystems. It is with the recognition of the Yukon Conservation Society and groups like it, and all members who participate, t= hat we continue to promote awareness and enhance the great places that we have = in the wild spaces of Yukon.

Thank = you so much — for all members.

Applause

 

Mr. Istchenko:=  I rise today on behalf of the Yukon Party Official Oppo= sition to recognize today as Earth Day. This important movement started small. Many events were organized by local community groups and university students. As= the grassroots response grew and there was more recognition from communities and organizations around the world, Earth Day became a globally recognized day = of awareness.

It is = believed that more than one billion people in a 190 countries now take part in what = is called the largest civic-focused day of action in the world. It focuses on promoting important environmentally friendly concepts that have become part= of our daily activities. This year, the focus is on ending plastic pollution, which poisons our land and oceans, injuring marine life and affecting our health.

Earth = Day this year is dedicated to providing information and inspiration to fundamentally change human attitudes and behaviour about plastics. Terms such as “c= lean energy” and “clean water” have become a focal point in individual households over the years as well as on a larger scale. Building codes and contracting guidelines have been updated to promote efficiency and green energy. Young people today are engaged and concerned about the type of world that they live in today and what it will look like for future generations. There is no doubt that increasing awareness of the importance = of our environment will help to make our children the best stewards to protect= it in the future.

This E= arth Day, do the small things that go a long way: reduce idling, turn off the lights = and water, use a refillable water bottle and change out those incandescent light bulbs. There are so many small acts that together can make a difference: ta= ke part in Earth Day activities, make sure your children recognize the importa= nce of all those small acts, and make this Earth Day about creating new and bet= ter habits in your daily activity. There are so many things that can be done. We must work together to adapt to the changing climate and lessen the impact on our communities and our territory.

Applause

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Ms. Hanson: On behalf of the Yukon New Democratic Party, I am happy= to pay tribute today to the 50th anniversary of the Yukon Conservat= ion Society. It is worth pointing out that the Yukon Conservation Society was a pioneer in the environmental movement. Formed in 1968, the Yukon Conservati= on Society can take rightful pride in pointing out that they pre-date Greenpea= ce by three years.

The or= iginal board reflected the diversity of Yukon interests and backgrounds that conti= nues today. Today, the Yukon Conservation Society has over 250 members, along wi= th many dedicated volunteers. Starting with a small cadre of active volunteers focused on the Alaska Highway pipeline, Yukon Conservation Society focused = on three key areas: advocacy, education and research. An early Yukon Conservat= ion Society newsletter banner carried this quote: “Behold the turtle. He = only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.” And so they have.

Since = those early days of the Alaska Highway pipeline debate, YCS’s informed and reasoned approach to advocacy has influenced many public policy decisions. = Over the course of the past 50 years, the YCS has led civil society discussion a= nd spurred government action premised on their mission to pursue ecosystem well-being throughout the Yukon. It is for this reason that YCS has long advocated that land use planning is critical for managing cumulative impacts and sustainability in the Yukon.

In rec= ent years, YCS stimulated public conversation on fracking in Yukon. The Select Committ= ee Regarding the Risks and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing was created, in large part, in response to concerns raised by YCS and, through them, many citizens of the territory.

YCS, s= tanding with Yukon First Nations and CPAWS, was instrumental in bringing about a broader understanding that Yukon land claims agreements are about all Yukon= ers. The Supreme Court victory on the Peel land use plan was a victory for the principles set out in the final agreements on land use planning and sustain= able development. Yukon Conservation Society’s work on mining is well-known and respected. They continue to advocate for modern mining practices and for the replacement of the free-entry system.

On ene= rgy, YCS promotes low-impact and appropriately located renewable energy projects distributed around the grid with a focus on a coordinated approach among governments, utilities and the public to help facilitate the transition away from oil and gas. Yukon Conservation Society also has a northern climate ch= ange curriculum that is used throughout Canada for learning about the effects of climate change. This evening’s public talk on energy storage in Yukon= is another example among many public education initiatives led by YCS.<= /p>

Mr. Sp= eaker, when one begins to list all that YCS contributes to this territory, one mig= ht conclude that this must be one massive organization. In fact, at the best of times, there are only five dedicated folks on staff. Clearly, they are back= ed by a remarkable board and a wealth of informed volunteers.

YCS re= cognizes individuals committed to environmental stewardship through the awarding of = the Ted Parnell Scholarship. Ted’s name also lives through the legacy donation of the Parnell House, the blue house at the corner of Hawkins and Third Avenue, which was donated to YCS. Ted was a friend, Mr. Speaker, and I can imagine him chuckling over the idea that the close proximity of Parnell House to the Legislative Assembly allows YCS to keep an eye on the environmental consequences of decisions made in this Legislature.

Finall= y, Mr. Speaker, the strength of will and commitment of YCS as a change agent is reflected in the Gerry Couture Stewardship Award. Created by an anonymous d= onor in 2009, the Gerry Couture Stewardship Award fosters public awareness of, a= nd appreciation for, the personal dedication required to conserve and manage Yukon’s natural resources. The award is inspired — and if anyone knows Gerry Couture, they will know that this is true — by Gerry Couture’s fearlessness and persistence in the face of adversity and h= is creativity, innovation and — the key criteria — curmudgeonliness. From the inaugural recipient to the most recent, all recipients of this awa= rd have aptly reflected not only these criteria, but they have also demonstrat= ed as citizens, that we, like the turtle, only make progress when we stick our necks out.

Applause

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Ms. White: M= r. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the Yukon NDP caucus to recognize the importan= ce of Earth Day.

Every = April 22, those passionate about restoring and preserving the planet’s health commemorate Earth Day, just like we have been doing for the last 48 years w= ith a billion of our brothers and sisters worldwide.

Earth = Day 2018 is dedicated to providing the information and inspiration needed to fundamentally change our human attitude and behaviour about plastic. The ma= in problem with plastics is that it never goes away; it just continues to break down into smaller and smaller particles, but it never disappears. It is abo= ut time that we, as humans, take a long, hard look at our relationship with plastic because our current relationship is killing the planet.

A rece= nt study published on March 22 in Scientific Reports found that the great Pacific garbage patch contains as much as = 16 times more plastic than previous estimated. The region located halfway betw= een California and Hawaii has grown to more than 1.5-million square kilometres. This is roughly 3.2 times the size of the entire Yukon land mass. You can f= ind 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic in the area, weighing 80,000 metric tonnes or about the equivalent of 1,000 Air North 737s. <= /span>

Why sh= ould what’s happening in the Pacific Ocean bother us way up here in the Yu= kon? Because plastics are affecting the earth’s food chain from the bottom= to the top. Fish, turtles, birds and other animals are constantly mistaking plastic and other waste items for food and this doesn’t just happen in oceans. It happens in lakes, streams and anywhere that wildlife venture.

I coul= d go on and on about the evils of single-use plastics, but I think that the anti-plastic movements we see worldwide do a fine job of illustrating my po= int. It’s not too late to change our course, so I will end with an excerpt from Hawaiian poet Lyz Soto’s poem “Pacific Garbage Patch”:

Can yo= u hear her whisper

Someti= mes you cannot see below my surface

but I am not bottomless

she says and I listen while I= stand

holding a throwaway Starbucks= cup in my hand.

I swee= p my crumbs beneath the table.

I eat = more than my share.

And to= morrow I will buy another coffee

in a disposable cup with a polystyrene cap

showing nothing biodegradable= about me

while the earth speaks.

I am p= lastic down to my digestive tract she says.

I am mercury/lead/monoxide/I am poison.

Petrol= eum lined at the cellular level

confine me in molecular chain= s.

Gift w= rap me in lead.

Embalm= my flesh with the dead.

Spit me disposable and I will give you treats

plastic sand beaches and food= you cannot feast.

Rememb= er she laughs

You sh= ould not have [pooped] where you eat.

Now sh= e watches us bickering over fate.

Wonder= s if too late we will see our expiration date

filled with too many too much= and not enough.

Come s= he will say let’s come together and listen

to our heart beats

stutter.

Applause

Introduction of Visitors

Hon. Mr. Silver: I’m not sure that poem actually said “pooped”.

I woul= d ask all of the representatives here in the Legislative Assembly to help me in welco= ming a legislator, a strategic planner in health care and workforce development,= an affordable housing advocate and a community leader as well, fighting for improved services and representative government for people throughout the P= uget Sound region, a representative from the 33rd legislative distric= t, State Representative Tina Orwall.

Applause

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Hon. Ms. McPhee: I ask my colleagues with me here today in the House to join me in welcoming M= r. Deuling’s grade 11 social studies class from Va= nier Catholic Secondary School. We have with us today: Austin, Caitlan, Guine, Via, Alexande= r, Donnell, Esha, Floyd, Thomas, Tony, Kia, Heaven, Andrew, Miguel, Kellaine, Brayden, Madison, Riz= za, Josh, Nichollis, Andrew, Samantha, Zach and Cha= d.

Thank = you very much for being here today and for your interest in the Legislative Assembly= .

Applause

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Ms. Hanson: = I would ask members to join me in recognizing some of the many people who have been involved as volunteers and in other roles with Yukon Conservation Society. =

Today = we have among others — and I will miss some — but for sure Luc Garceau, Bob Van Dijken, Mary Ann and Rob Lewis, Mary= and Gerry Whitley, Sally Wright, JP Pinard, Ginny <= span class=3DSpellE>Prins, Eleanor Millard — and Julie Frisch I see= up there, too.

Applause

 

Hon. Mr. Silver: I also want to recognize — I believe also with the class — Tyler Hunter. I believe he is working as an EA right now in M= r. Deuling’s class, and just for the students R= 12; so that you know — he was one of my students back in Dawson City. So wel= come to Mr. Hunter for being here.

Applause

 

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I would like to welcome Mr. Stu Clark to the Legislature today. He is a constituent and also sometimes a dog-walking companion. Please join me in welcoming him.

Applause

 

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I would also like to welcome to the Legislative Assembly today — first = of all, the executive director of the Klondike Placer Miners Association, Mr. Jonas Smith. I would also like to welcome Mr. Dave Laxton, one of my constituents and former Speaker of the House as well as new leadership at t= he Yukon Conservation Society, Mr. Mike Walton.

Applause

 

Speaker: Are= there any further introductions of visitors?

Tabling Returns and Documents

Speaker: Under tabling of returns and documents, the Chair has f= or tabling the Yukon Electoral District Boundaries Commission Final Report, dated April 2018. This report is ta= bled pursuant to Section 4(17) of the El= ections Act.

Furthe= r, the Chair also has for tabling the Repo= rt on Subsistence, Travel & Accommodations of Members of the Yukon Legislative Assembly 2017-18, dated April, 2018. This report is compiled pursuant t= o an order of the Member Services Board.

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

Are th= ere any reports of committees?

Are th= ere any petitions?

Are th= ere any bills to be introduced?

Are th= ere any notices of motions?

Notices of Motions

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

THAT t= his House urges the Government of Canada to work in partnership with the provinces and territories to replace Canada’s current private and public patchwork coverage for prescription drugs with a single payer, universal pharmacare program under the Canada Health Act= .

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Speaker: Are= there any further notices of motions?

Is the= re a statement by a minister?

This t= hen brings us to Question Period.

QUESTION PERIOD

Question re: Ministerial workload

Ms. McLeod: Anyone who has been paying attention can see that the Minister of Health and Social Services is overwhelmed — and it’s not her fault. The Premier has put too much on her plate, which means that = she can’t focus on the important files she needs to. Whether it’s m= ajor issues like her mishandling of the allegations of abuse within government-r= un group homes, or the smaller issues like taking over a year and a half to respond to correspondence and not meeting with stakeholder groups, it’= ;s clear the minister is struggling to keep up with the workload. Unfortunatel= y, this is not new. For the last year and a half, the minister has struggled to answer simple questions and tends to contradict herself.

Will t= he Premier show some leadership, help the minister out and lighten her load by bringin= g in a different member of his caucus to take over one or more of her department= s?

Hon. Mr. Silver: What an amazing opportunity to hold up my minister and how amazing a job she has done turning this department around and working with her counterparts, with= a whole-of-government approach, with all the other ministers in this Legislat= ive Assembly, in the Yukon Liberal government, when it comes to the pressing is= sues of the day — pressing issues that go back in time to Auditor General reports of 2014, pressing issues when it comes to mental health when we, at= one point, had only two rural mental health nurses for all of rural Yukon ̵= 2; two, Mr. Speaker. Now we have four — not nurses, but four mental health hubs.

We hav= e reduced — I shouldn’t say “we”. Under her leadership, the reduction of indigenous individuals in care is remarkable. The amount of wo= rk that this minister has done by balancing not only the work in Health and So= cial Services, but also her work in Environment — to meet with the Ministe= r of Energy, Mines and Resources, with individual First Nations, with concerns a= bout mining and concerns about the environment — impeccable.

To ans= wer the member opposite’s question next door: No, I think we’re doing f= ine with this minister.

Ms. McLeod: When we ask the Minister of Health and Social Services = if her department is doing an internal review into allegations of abuse within gro= up homes, we get a different answer, depending on which day we ask. When we ask the Minister of Health and Social Services about her responsibilities under= the housing portfolio and what she is doing to address the growing wait-list for social and seniors housing, she can’t give straight answers.

The mi= nister has told us that there are continuing care facilities being built in Carmacks. = The minister has claimed that the new Whistle Bend continuing care centre is so= cial housing. We have asked the minister simple questions about press releases s= he signed off on, and she has been unable to explain what she is announcing.

One ti= me her response was — and I quote: That’s above my pay grade. <= /p>

She has announced Housing First projects, but has been unable to explain what Housi= ng First means. The minister is overwhelmed, Mr. Speaker, and, unfortunately, = the portfolios that she is in charge of are very important to Yukoners.<= /p>

Will t= he Premier do the right thing and lighten her load?

Hon. Mr. Silver: I think the only ones confused here are the members of the opposition. I beli= eve that our minister — again, with a whole-of-government approach — has been very clear and has done more work in a year and a half in the fiel= d of not only health and social services, but also in the field of the environme= nt — and also, like I said, implementing the chapters of the Umbrella Final Agreement and worki= ng outside of the breadth of what this government is supposed to do with First Nations that are dealing with housing issues on a federal level.

Mr. Sp= eaker, the one thing that I would really like to see this minister do is try to balance out her life a little bit, because she = just works too much. We want to make sure that she balances that between her connection with the land, her connection with the Vuntut people, and I know= she has been doing that. But, again, that is my only concern at this point R= 12; that she works too hard for the people of the Yukon.

Question re: Carbon tax

Mr. Kent: Be= fore Bluesky Strategy got $140,000 in sole-source contracts from this Liberal government, they met with and lobbied the federal environment minister on Yukon’s behalf. The Premier tells us that they did this lobbying for free, but he has refused to tell us what the purpose = of that meeting was. However, based on the Premier’s answers in this Hou= se yesterday, where he dismissed concerns that Yukoners will get taxed on top = of the carbon tax, we know that Bluesky wasn’t lobbying for Yukon to keep all the revenues from the carbon tax.

Unfort= unately this means that Yukoners are going to be taxed even more than the Premier’s flawed carbon tax analysis suggests.

The Of= ficial Opposition has obtained documents from the Library of Parliament, which con= firm that Canada will not only be charging the GST on top of the carbon tax, but they will not be giving any of this revenue back. This means that Yukoners could be paying an extra $1.3 million in taxes because of the GST on top of= the $26 million that the Premier already told us about.

Why is= the Premier not living up to his promise to ensure all of the revenue from the carbon tax comes back to Yukon?

Hon. Mr. Silver: I almost needed a map to follow the preamble there between Bluesky to carbon pricing to the sky and the moon. Again today, Mr. Speaker, we’re seei= ng the Yukon Party create needless confusion about carbon pricing.

Let= 217;s review the facts once again. The federal government is implementing carbon pricing across the country — fact. We are not implementing our own mechanism, so the federal government’s backstop will apply.

The Yu= kon Party seems hung up on the fantasy that the Yukon somehow can avoid carbon pricing altogether. We negotiated an agreement with the federal government to have = all of the carbon pricing revenues returned to Yukon government and we will distribute 100 percent of those revenues back to Yukoners, like we committe= d, in a rebate.

Withou= t our negotiations with the federal government, this money wasn’t coming ba= ck to the Yukon. The Yukon Party has no plans for this and they have never been honest to Yukoners about the cost of doing nothing when it comes to climate change.

Again,= Mr. Speaker, the last time I checked, GST is a federal tax.

Mr. Kent: Ob= viously, not all revenue from this carbon tax is coming back to Yukoners. First, the Premier promised Yukoners that every single cent of the carbon tax would co= me back to each individual’s pocket. Then he broke that promise. Then the Premier promised Yukoners that all of the revenue generated as a result of = the carbon tax would come back to Yukon. Now he has broken that promise.=

The do= cuments that we have obtained confirm that Yukoners will be paying a tax on a tax, = and none of that revenue is going to come back to the territory. Instead of just being a cheerleader for Ottawa, the Premier should have been standing up for Yukon to get all of this money returned. Unfortunately, Yukoners will now suffer as a result of the now $27.3-million carbon tax GST that the Premier happily signed on to.

Mr. Sp= eaker, did the Premier even raise concerns with the federal government about this tax = on a tax?

Hon. Mr. Silver: Our commitment to Yukoners is to return all of the revenue received from the federal government back to Yukoners. The Yukon Party commitment was to put their heads in the sand and to hope that this issue was going to go away. N= ow they seem committed to confusion.

We kno= w that our reliance on fossil fuels causes drastic changes to our climate. We know that the north sees the impacts of this on a daily basis. Not too long ago, Yukon Party members publicly questioned the reality of man-made climate change in this House. Yukoners are smarter than that. They want us to take action, and that is what we are doing. How much money will Yukoners get back? We commit= ted to returning 100 percent of the revenues collected back to Yukoners, and we will return 100 percent of those revenues collected in the Yukon back to Yukoners.

Question re: Bear management

Ms. White: I= t’s that time of year again when bears are waking up across the Yukon. We are a= ll hopeful that summer will come along sometime soon, but summer brings challe= nges for bear populations. Last year, the number of human-bear conflicts increas= ed significantly, particularly in the Whitehorse area. This led to at least 63 bears being killed, even though this measure is a solution of last resort. =

Mr. Sp= eaker, what steps has the government taken over the winter months to decrease the number of human-bear conflicts after last year’s record-high numbers?=

Hon. Ms. Frost: I would like to speak to the education campaign and the efforts that the Department of Environment has taken, and is taking, coming into the season — clearly recognizing that there was a lot of bear-hu= man conflict last year. We have also had some conflicts over the winter months = with wolves. The effort by the Department of Environment is really to look at the insights and the feedback that we get from the public, to work in collabora= tion with the public and to notify individuals as we encounter bears. We are loo= king at high-pressure areas, and sometimes we see encounters in our municipaliti= es and our urban centres. We are really working hard to promote education and working with our communities and our communications staff as well. Thank you for the great question. We will most certainly look at bumping up and enhan= cing our education campaign around the bear-human conflict.

Ms. White: B= ear populations are also affected by hunting pressures. This past winter, the British Columbia government banned the hunting of grizzly bears all togethe= r. This could significantly increase hunting pressure for grizzly bears here in Yukon. What is the government doing to monitor the impact of the grizzly be= ar hunting ban in British Columbia on Yukon’s grizzly bear population?

Hon. Ms. Frost: The Yukon’s grizzly bear population last estimated count ranged from 6,000 to 7,000. Certainly, the concerns from other jurisdictions — we always do jurisdictional scans and look at creating awareness and decisions that are made around management of our bear populat= ions in the Yukon. We are aware of the bear ban in British Columbia, and obvious= ly we have an obligation to work through the Fish and Wildlife Management Boar= d, as well as through the RRCs. If there are current pressures, issues and concerns that come about, we will work through that process. The Yukon government is working through the Wildlife Management Board to develop a grizzly bear conservation and management plan for all Yukon.

Ms. White:=  I wonder, if that last count dates back to 2007, the la= st time those bears were counted? An essential part of good wildlife management practices is having access to specialized skills and good data. You cannot overstate the importance of species biologists and, when talking about bear= s, that would mean bear biologists. A bear biologist would have specific knowl= edge that enables them to make the right decision when it comes to population management. These professionals need up-to-date data around current populat= ions to observe trends and react appropriately. We understand that the Southern Lakes grizzly bear management program was stopped and that collared bears currently get little to no monitoring at all.

Does t= he government currently have a bear biologist on staff? When was the last time= the grizzly bear population was fully measured?

Hon. Ms. Frost: What I can say is that we do have the grizzly bear assessment, which was done in= May 2012. I can verify and get back to the member opposite with respect to the = most recent count. I know that, as the management measures had taken effect R= 12; the bear conservation plan and co-management plan for grizzly bears —= the assessment and the numbers would have been done then, I suspect, but I would certainly be committed to bringing that back to the Legislature or to the member opposite. At the moment, I don’t have verification, but I will certainly find that out from the department.

What w= e do have is the last full assessment. The population was estimated to be between 6,0= 00 and 7,000. As a result of hunting pressures on grizzly bears, most recently= , in cooperation with the Fish and Wildlife Management Board and the public, the Department of Environment has proceeded with a conservation management plan= .

Question re: Plastic waste

Ms. Hanson: Plastics make up a huge proportion of our waste —= waste that will never decompose. From to-go containers to over-packaging at the grocery store, our society is addicted to plastics. Britain has recently co= me out with a plan to ban single-use plastics. Following this, at this week’s gathering of the Commonwealth leaders, Britain called on all governments to ban single-use plastics.

What i= s this government doing to decrease the use of plastics in Yukon?

Hon. Mr. Streicker: Plastics are important. I’m very happy to respond to this question and to acknowledge that there is a concern here in the territory. Just last week, I believe, there was a zero-waste conference here. Both the Minister of Environment and I spoke at it and attended as much as we could. Our departm= ents were there discussing with Yukoners how to reduce our waste — so redu= ce, reuse and recycle.

On the= recycling front, plastic remains a challenge for us. We are looking for solutions, wa= ys that we can find a reuse for plastics locally, wherever possible. Just recently, we had a report from our ministerial committee on solid waste, and they have given us recommendations and I’ll be taking those to Cabinet and seek to follow up on them shortly.

I don&= #8217;t have any announcement today on plastics, but I appreciate the question from= the member opposite.

Ms. Hanson: = It’s good to hear that there’s some thinking about this going on, because = we do hear a lot from this government about waste management. We also hear from Yukoners about our landfills and transfer stations filling up, yet governme= nt is going to talk, but not act, when it comes to waste management.

There = is a concrete step that they can take to make a difference. When will this government produce, as part of their zero-waste management strategy, the inclusion of banning single-use plastics in Yukon?

Hon. Mr. Streicker: I thank the member opposite again for her suggestion.  I don’t have an answer; I ju= st said that. I will say it again.

What I= will say is that we believe solid waste is incredibly important for all of our munic= ipalities and the whole Yukon. We recognize that there is pressure. I think I have sa= id it here in the Legislature that there is even concern and frustration. We recognize that those pressures are mounting and we need to work together to find solutions as a whole territory. That’s why I’m excited tha= t we pulled together a committee made up of members of the Association of Yukon Communities, members of my own department and members of the Department of Environment. These are folks who are very well-versed on the subject of sol= id waste and they have brought forward recommendations for a strategy to us. I thank them for that work and I’m looking forward to following up on i= t.

I will= look forward to a final supplementary question.

Ms. Hanson: We keep hearing about the importance of the environment= to this minister, to this government and to Yukoners because it impacts on our tourism, our economy and our health and overall well-being. Anyone driving = our highways or just walking along our sidewalks and trails cannot help but not= ice the garbage, especially the plastics, littering our territory from one end = to the other — straws, cup lids, plastic bags and more.

Surely= , this territory of only 40,000 people can lead the country by taking the initiati= ve and banning single-use plastics. Will this government follow the lead of ot= her countries and even of other major cities in Canada and enact legislation to= ban single-use plastics? Simple question, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Mr. Streicker: I think that both times I stood, I said that I wasn’t prepared to give some announcement on it today but I am totally happy to work with the members opposite. I believe this is a serious issue.= I think that we definitely need to see improvement in our overall solid waste strategy. The more we can move from waste to waste-diversion — includ= ing recycling — the better. The more we can move from recycling to reuse,= the better. The more we can move from reuse to reduce, the better.

I than= k the member opposite for her suggestion and I’m happy to work with her. I = hope to bring forward an overall strategy that was presented to us from the Association of Yukon Communities’ members and to work together as a t= eam to get waste down.

I than= k her for raising this issue.

Question re: McDonald Lodge decommissioning

Mr. Hassard: In 2016, a contract was issued for asbestos remediation in the demolition of t= he old McDonald Lodge in Dawson City. However, as of today, the building still= has not been demolished. Can the Minister of Health and Social Services tell th= is House why the building hasn’t been torn down yet and if the site is in compliance with all safety standards associated with an abandoned building = such as fencing around the site and boarding up of doors and windows?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I appreciate having the opportunity to talk about this this afternoon. We had talked about looking at demolishing the old McDonald Lodge. We have heard f= rom the community that they’re actually interested in reusing the buildin= g, which ties into my good colleague’s statements just a minute ago. We’re working with the city to explore options to see if we might actually keep some material out of the landfill and reuse a building that h= as stood there for many years.

Mr. Hassard: The question was actually about whether the site was in compliance with safety standards. We didn’t get an answer to that one, so we will try another one.

It is = my understanding that the contractors are still owed money, as a result of the government’s decision not to proceed with tearing down this building.= Can the Minister of Highways and Public Works confirm if this is in fact the ca= se? How much is owed and when will it be paid out?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I thank the member opposite for bringing this information to my attention. I = have not heard from any contractors that they are owed any money, but it is good information. I certainly will run it back to ground and see what I can find= out from the department, if that is it. I appreciate the information and I will= get back to the member opposite with the information once I get it.

Question re: Quartz Mining Act

Mr. Cathers: Earlier this Sitting, the CBC reported they had obtained a confidential document detailing this government’s legislative agenda. I have a few questions about what was reported regarding that agenda.

The do= cument stated the government was looking at amendments to the Quartz Mining Act. Can the Premier tell us what changes he is looking at making to the Quartz Min= ing Act?

Hon. Mr. Silver: With all due respect to the member opposite, I am not going to comment on leaked documents to the media and the information that the member opposite was rea= ding on a piece of paper that doesn’t really act as an official document f= rom this government on the floor of the Legislative Assembly. It is like asking= me to speculate as to what the contents of that document are.

I will= allow my Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources to speak in the second supplementar= y, but again, I’m not going to comment on leaked documents in the Legislative Assembly.

Mr. Cathers: What that means is that the Premier is refusing to tell Yukoners whether he is looking at changes to the Quartz Mining Act and what those changes are. It is their legislation, and for a government that promised increased transparency, it = is unfortunate that they are doing the exact opposite.

The le= gislative agenda also mentioned an anonymous bill dealing with carbon tax rebates. The interesting thing noted is that the bill isn’t scheduled until next y= ear after the carbon tax scheme comes in.

Can th= e Premier tell us what changes will be included in this omnibus legislation and why t= he rebate legislation is coming forward after Yukoners are already paying more= for the carbon tax, as well as paying the GST on the carbon tax — this Liberal government’s plan for a tax on a tax?

Hon. Mr. Pillai: I think that what we have seen today is a difference in questioning — I think that is a new question for the second supplementary. If it was framed around legislation, maybe — but this is sort of — one minute we’re talking about quartz mining and then we’re talking about carbon pricing.

What w= e will do is, on the form of legislation, what we will talk about — what we can answer is the fact that we have a very clear process in place. We work with= the officials and our drafters — drafters, of course, in Justice — = and the individual who is asking me the questions should know this very well, in that he was the former Minister of Justice — so he would understand t= he process internally with how we move through the drafting process.

But, c= ertainly, there is a very disciplined step-by-step process= that we take and a very important part of that process is the public engagement = and public consultation period. So there is no legislation moving forward witho= ut a broad discussion with appropriate stakeholders. We have seen that already. = We have done great consultation and we were commended. The member opposite commended our Department of Energy, Mines and Resources as we moved through some of the changes and work done by the Agriculture branch and we’re going to continue to do that good work.

There = are no surprises here and, of course, proper preparation — we are looking at= a draft plan at this particular point. Will that change? Potentially — = but what we want to do is have a good outlook on what the rest of the mandate i= s, and certainly we will make sure we discuss this with Yukoners.

Mr. Cathers: I am surprised the Deputy Premier didn’t see the connection between items = that were all mentioned in the same document as reported by the media. Again, wh= at we see, unfortunately, is that for a government that promised increased transparency, the Premier refused to answer the question about the legislat= ion that I asked about and the Deputy Premier also refused to provide informati= on.

Anothe= r piece of legislation that — it was reported — the government is looking = at is updates to the Coroners Act.= The Minister of Justice has also mused about moving to a medical model, which w= ould be a much more expensive model for the Yukon.

Can th= e Premier tell us what changes this government is considering to the Coroners Act? While he is on his feet, perhaps he would like to answer the first two questions?

Hon. Mr. Silver:&#= 8195;I guess this is one question — when you say it is a whole-of-government approach — so we will answer this question as a whole-of-government approach.

I don&= #8217;t recall the Attorney General musing about these changes. When documents go to the media — not necessarily officially through the Legislative Assemb= ly or through the departments which they represent — whether it be the E= xecutive Council Office or others — it is really hard for us to comment on the= se documents. Was it a draft? Was it a recommendation? It is hard to answer th= at.

If the= member opposite could do his job and keep his questions, his concerns and his critiques of this government and the questions of the Yukon people based on official documentation, it would be a lot easier to answer his questions th= at are of a whole-of-government approach. Again, I think the Minister of Energ= y, Mines and Resources did a very good job of identifying our process when it comes to how we engage with the mining industry and how we move forward on everything from land use planning to class 1 notification. All year he has = been very succinct in giving people an understanding of how this government work= s. Our Attorney General has done a great job as well, talking about her initiatives.

With a scattershot question, it is really hard — especially when we are being asked to speculate on leaked documents, Mr. Speaker.

Question re: Airport advisory panel

Mr. Hassard: I will try to make this next question a little easier. Maybe we will have a little better opportunity to get an answer.

Last w= eek, during the ministerial statement, the Minister of Highways and Public Works said t= hat his government had set up the airport advisory panel. This panel will be playing an important role in developing regulations for the minister’= s Public Airports Act. Can the minis= ter confirm when the panel was set up, who was on it and when they last met?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I am happy to stand up again and talk about the Public Airports Act because for 24 years, we didn’t have one in this territory, and now we do. It is something that I am very proud to have brought into being in this territory because it was something we lacked. It was one of the accomplishments that = we made this year. There have been many others — a five-year capital pla= n; $60 million in contracts tendered by March 31; I visited just about every community in the territory except for Mayo; we have the 10 CFTA exemptions = that came out; we have revitalized the Yukon Forum; we have completed the F.H. Collins project; the Dawson airport improvements are on stream; we are improving the Whitehorse International Airport — so much work has been done.

One of= those things, Mr. Speaker, is getting the Public Airports Act passed and also, within that airports act, putting in a pi= ece of transparency that was hitherto lacking in the territ= ory, and that is the airport advisory panel.

The ac= t is coming into force, and with that, the airport advisory panel will be struck= and put into effect. With that will be a level of transparency that the territo= ry hasn’t seen when it comes to airports and all the regulations that pertain to airports. It hasn’t had that sort of transparency or overs= ight in the past, and I am very happy that this government has been able to bring that to the territory.

Mr. Hassard: Before the minister does this victory lap that he is on= , he should be reminded that he actually told us in this Legislature in his resp= onse to that ministerial statement that the advisory panel was already struck — in his words.

I will= try to keep this simple again, just like the first question. Who is on the panel? = When did they last meet? When was it set up?

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: Mr. Speaker, 24 years — no airports act. Here we = are a year into our mandate and we have an airports act. Through that airports ac= t we are going to have a level of transparency over our airports and management = over our airports that was hitherto unseen in the Yukon. I am very proud of that work. It is one of the many things that we have done this year — in t= he last 14 months — that I am very proud of. I have mentioned some of th= em today.

I coul= d go on, Mr. Speaker, and we could talk about the Nares River bridge project that has been done — value-driven contracts coming into force in the territory that provide value added for the good people of the territory. We have the Carmacks grader station being built. We are fixing the baggage-handling equipment that was left off the government’s renovations plans at the airport last year. We are doing that so that people can get their bags from= the airport in short order. We are putting in sweepers and new snow-clearing equipment at the airport to make sure that it is open all of the time. We a= re doing so much to fix our transportation systems in this territory and make = sure that people can get around better. I am really proud of the work of the Department of Highways and Public Works on that front.

As for= the airport advisory panel, there will be more information on that coming in the next little while. We will actually have the panel announced as far as who = is sitting on it and what the terms of reference are.

Mr. Hassard: That was really something. It is pretty obvious to see = why we can’t get an answer to a very simple question. I am not sure if the minister has been in power for a year, a year and a half, 14 months. We ask questions about an advisory panel and we get answers about N= ares River bridge. I don’t think there are any = 747s landing at the Nares River b= ridge.

Mr. Sp= eaker, this minister told us in this Legislature that this committee was struck. C= an the minister tell this House when the panel was set up, who is on it and wh= en they last met? It is very simple.

Hon. Mr. Mostyn: I really appreciate the opportunity to talk this aftern= oon. This government has accomplished a lot on the airports front and many other places besides. I could go on for a lot longer this afternoon, Mr. Speaker,= but I am not going to do that.

As the= member opposite has noted, we have an airports advisory panel now in legislation. = We are doing the good work of vetting candidates for that advisory panel, and = once those candidates are chosen and we put the panel — it will be tasked = with overseeing our first regulations under our new airports act.

&= nbsp;

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

Notice to call motion re Committee reports

Hon. Ms. McPhee: I give notice, pursuant to Standing Order 13(3), that the motion for concurre= nce in the Second Report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Elections and Privileges, presented to the House on April 18, 2018, shall be called as government-designated business.

&= nbsp;

Speaker: We = will now proceed to Orders of the Day.

Orders of the Day

Government Bills

Bill No. 17: Gender Diversity and Related Amendments Act — Third Reading

Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 17, standing in the name of the Hon. Ms. Dendys.

Hon. Ms. Dendys:&#= 8195;I move that Bill No. 17, entitled Gen= der Diversity and Related Amendments Act, be now read a third time and do p= ass.

Speaker: It = has been moved by the Minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate that Bi= ll No. 17, entitled Gender Diversity a= nd Related Amendments Act, be now read a third time and do pass.

&= nbsp;

Hon. Ms. Dendys: I would like to thank my colleagues in the House for th= eir thoughtful contributions to our discussion on this bill. I’m particul= arly encouraged and grateful for the impassioned comments made in support of diversity and fairness. Diversity and fairness are priorities of this government, as can be seen through the performance plan, because we support healthier and more vibrant communities.

Greater consideration of cultural, regional and gender diversity in decision-making will support improved outcomes in key areas of childcare, violence preventi= on, social assistance and the provision of care. The equality and inclusion of = the LGBTQ2S+ employees within our public service will support our ability to provide high-quality services that meet the needs of the public.

I know= all members here will agree that everyone stands to benefit when decision-makin= g is more reflective of the community being served.

&= nbsp;

The complete transcript of the day’s proce= edings will appear online within eight hours of adjournment.

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