Campaign trail notes: Here's what Yukon's political parties had to say in the last week
With election night around the corner, parties are racing to squeeze in their remaining campaign promises
All three major parties had policy announcements this week ahead of the Yukon territorial election on April 12. Here's a roundup of those promises:
On Wednesday, NDP Leader Kate White promised ways to address addiction and the opioid crisis, which she said is poised to deal another blow to the territory if things don't change — and fast.
The NDP pitched creating an on-the-land treatment centre and introducing safe drug supply and managed alcohol programs, among other things.
"Here's a radical idea: Let's not punish people for having this kind of healthcare problem, but actually treat them as people who need help," White said.
Earlier this week, the NDP doubled down on promises regarding affordable housing. White unveiled a retroactive rent freeze.
"What that means is that if your rent has increased since, it will be reset to what you were paying on December 31, 2020, for every future payment that you make this year," she said.
"We've been in a housing crisis for more than 10 years and it's hurting people. People need a solution now, and my team and I are going to deliver that solution."
For anyone who's been keeping daily tabs on the Liberals, much of what has come from the party in the last week has been heard before — that's because they've tended to reiterate commitments.
But that's not to say there haven't been strong words.
On Tuesday, Jeanie McLean, who's vying for the riding of Mountainview, hurled a barb at Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon over the previous government's version of the Peel Watershed land use plan. Dixon was the former environment minister at the time.
"I really need to send this caution to Yukoners that the leader of the Yukon Party was the architect of the Peel problem," she said. "Yukoners should not ever forget that."
During a forum facilitated by the Council of Yukon First Nations last week, Dixon said the Yukon Party "got it wrong," referring to the former government's plan to open most of the Peel region to development.
Where promises are concerned, Liberal candidates have reiterated their intention to fully implement the party's climate change strategy, "Our Clean Future." The strategy has been touted as a roadmap toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030. It includes 131 action items, including investments in renewable energy projects, getting more electric vehicles on the road and eventually establishing intensity-based targets for the mining sector.
Liberal candidates also stressed the importance of good relations with First Nations. The party re-announced plans to implement the made-in-Yukon MMIWG2S+ strategy and creating a First Nations school board if re-elected.
The Liberals have also reiterated pledges that include completing schools in Whistle Bend and Burwash Landing, making school zones safer and looking into developing a science program that caters to northern climates.
Recent Yukon Party commitments have touched on healthcare, community safety and ways to address violence.
Before the long weekend, the Yukon Party pledged to streamline healthcare services.
Promises include reducing wait times at the Whitehorse General Hospital by implementing a priority system and creating a publicly available "dashboard," where residents can view the stage they're at in the wait-time cue. The party also wants to look into the feasibility of creating a territorial medical director.
Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon pledged to provide "stable, predictable funding" to the Yukon Hospital Corporation. He said that funding would include an annual increase.
"A Yukon Party government will also work with the Yukon Hospital Corporation to develop a capital plan for the corporation and begin the construction of a new secure medical unit at Whitehorse general hospital and ensure the proper training and protocols are in place," he said.
"And, very importantly, we will ensure adequate support exists for staff at health care facilities to prevent staff burnout."
Other Yukon Party promises include working with First Nations to introduce the community safety program to other communities. The party also promises to ensure the RCMP is well staffed and has enough resources to serve the communities.
The Yukon Party has pledged to work with Queer Yukon to build a Pride centre and take steps to implement Yukon's MMIWG2S+ strategy.
Dixon campaigned with candidates in Haines Junction and Dawson City over the long weekend.
With files from Mike Rudyk and Danielle d'Entremont