Yukon premier Darrell Pasloski presses Trudeau on transfer payment cuts

Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski sat down with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa this week. On the agenda - infrastructure, resource development and a $23 million cut to federal transfers to Yukon.

'Definitely I was heard,' premier says after meetings with PM, finance minister

'It wasn't a selfie, but we did get a picture together,' Pasloski said of his meeting with the Prime Minister on Tuesday. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski is hopeful he was able to dissuade the federal government from following through on proposed cuts to federal transfer payments to the territory.

"Definitely I was heard," Pasloski said, after meetings this week in Ottawa with both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

"What the finance minister said is they're still working on it, and he hopes to be able to announce where they're going to go, shortly."

Officials from Finance Canada told the three northern territories in December that there would be cuts to transfer payments because of changes to the way Statistics Canada calculates what each territory gets under Territorial Formula Financing. That agreement provides the majority of operating funds for all three territories.

For Yukon, it means $23 million less next year. The N.W.T. and Nunavut will see even larger cuts — $34 million and $33.8 million next year, respectively.

"What I re-iterated was that our formula financing agreement is based on the principles of stability and predictability, and that we're in the second year of a five year agreement," Pasloski said. 

"Any such changes really should be part of a negotiation of a new agreement, as we approach the end of a five year term."

Pasloski said overall, his meeting with Trudeau this week was positive, despite their different political stripes. Pasloski once ran as a federal candidate for the Conservative Party, and he supported Yukon's Conservative candidate in the last election. 

"I think it's important as a premier to work with whoever we have," Pasloski said.

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