Evidence of meeting #42 for Natural Resources in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was yukon.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

10:35 a.m.

Mayor, City of Dawson

Peter Jenkins

The geothermal industry could be very alive and well in the Yukon, but unfortunately there have been some impediments put in the way in various communities—Haines Junction and Mayo—that have major potential. In fact, Mayo uses one well, a hot well, to mix with the cold water, because the water comes out of the ground for potable water use at right around zero degrees Celsius. So you have to heat it to circulate it, but there have been impediments put in the way by the environmental side of our regulatory regimes.

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

But on the issue of R and D, is there more that could be done in terms of investing in development of geothermal?

10:35 a.m.

Mayor, City of Dawson

Peter Jenkins

There's always more that can be done, yes, but it is under way.

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Great.

In your communities as well, Mr. Kusugak and Mr. Tapatai, in terms of renewable energy.... Sorry, but I see I'm running out of time, so I'd like to go straight to my last question, which is for Mr. Tapatai.

The 5% unemployment rate is very, very low. What have been the consequences of that within the community? Has that resulted in inflation of salaries? Have you seen any consequences of that?

10:35 a.m.

Representative, Hamlet of Baker Lake

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

In terms of the very low unemployment rate in your community, what have been some of the ripple effects? Have there been any inflationary effects on the salaries? Have the salaries been bumped up because of such a low employment rate?

10:40 a.m.

Representative, Hamlet of Baker Lake

Peter Tapatai

I am not aware of that. The only thing I see, the biggest problem that I see happening, is that our territorial government.... I think some of the people who would like to work and who could work will quit, because a quarter of your salary has to go to pay for housing, for example, and it's probably easier not to work because your rent scale is so much lower.

An average salary, worked out, is $66,000 a year for a person who is working at the mine. If you take a quarter of that, the territorial government is collecting an awful lot, and it seems as though it's better to be on social assistance than to work, because the rent is probably lower. There doesn't seem to be that balance.

I don't know if that answers your question.

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

I've run out of time, but thank you for your testimony.

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Leon Benoit

Thank you, Ms. Liu. Your time is up.

The bells are starting, so we'll have to adjourn the meeting.

I would like to thank you all very much, Mayor Jenkins, Mayor Kusugak, and Councillor Tapatai. Your testimony—

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Chair, we had agreed, with unanimous consent, to have the final—

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Leon Benoit

Oh, great. I misunderstood the intent of the motion.

I have thanked you.

We will go to Mr. Calkins for three minutes or so.

June 7th, 2012 / 10:40 a.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Wetaskiwin, AB

Thank you.

Thank you to my colleagues.

I want to touch on some things briefly. I'm fascinated. When I was going to university I spent some time at Great Bear Lake as a fishing guide, so I spent some time in the Territories. I was in Coppermine, but at that point it was still the Northwest Territories; it wasn't Nunavut then. I haven't been to the Yukon yet, but I'm hoping to fix that this summer.

I truly hope that as a committee we can have a serious discussion about visiting some of these communities, because I find northern Canada to be absolutely stunning and beautiful. The best part about it, of course, is the people who live there.

Mr. Jenkins, I think you have a unique opportunity to tell us about the difference. Right now we're going through our budget bill, Bill C-38, which is going to harmonize and find the most common sense path so that we don't have duplication and get bogged down. We're putting in some definitive timelines when it comes to the government's responsibilities in permitting and the environmental assessment process.

You talked about YESAA. I want you to have an opportunity to reiterate, even though some shortcomings have been identified. How much of a benefit was it to go to that one review, that simplified, streamlined process? Have you seen any indication that there has been any degradation of the environment, or that any environmental considerations have been put at risk because of that harmonized regulatory and legislative approach?

10:40 a.m.

Mayor, City of Dawson

Peter Jenkins

On the contrary, it's been much improved. The regulatory regime that's in place currently...mining reclamation is part of the mining process. They have to get involved to a great degree in all of those, either in the placer mining business or by going back over old mines and reopening them.

Canada might want to look at the Faro mine site, where I first came to the Yukon to work back in 1969 as mechanical superintendent. That is probably a liability in the billions of dollars for Canada today. That wasn't vetted through a process that was reasonable or sane, and that was back in the sixties.

But that said, today any of the new mines going through the process, like the Viceroy mine.... It went through the whole process, and it looks as if they have done a stellar job of reclaiming the area after the price of gold dropped to $280 and they were forced to close. But they're reopening.

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Wetaskiwin, AB

That's fantastic.

Mr. Tapatai, you talked about the significant changes you've noticed anecdotally in your community when it comes to individual disposable income. Instead of only government vehicles showing up, you now talk about personal vehicles showing up—pickup trucks, new snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, and so on. Where are most of those vehicles made, and what sector do we call that in Canada?

10:45 a.m.

Representative, Hamlet of Baker Lake

Peter Tapatai

I'm not sure.