Shrinking Yukon economy puts lie to gov't line, says Liberal leader

Yukon Liberal leader Sandy Silver says despite government assurances to the opposite, Yukon's economy is shrinking, and private sector jobs are disappearing.

Liberal leader challenges government's 'growing Yukon's economy' slogan

Premier Darrell Pasloski said in the legislature that Yukon's civil service should 'fear' a Liberal government in the territory. (Claudiane Samson/Radio-Canada)

The leader of the Yukon Liberal Party wants Premier Darrell Pasloski to account for a shrinking private sector in the territory, saying the trend runs counter to the government's stated goals.

In the legislature Wednesday, Sandy Silver said that under the Yukon Party's watch, some 600 jobs in the private sector have disappeared in the territory, while at the same time, the number of public sector jobs has grown.

He also said that the territory's economy has shrunk over the last three years.  

"The government's own economic forecast says that our economy has been in decline for three years in a row, and that makes it the worst performing jurisdiction in all of Canada," Silver said.

Silver pointed to a phrase in Yukon Party literature: "in bold letters, there's a quote from the premier — 'government needs to support the economy, not become the economy.'"

Silver said he agreed with the sentiment, but said "just the opposite is happening in today's Yukon", with private sector jobs disappearing, and the public sector growing by about 500 jobs.

"The public sector now employs 45.5 per cent of working people in the Yukon, that's up 43 per cent [from] just a year ago. Why has this government failed to grow the private sector?" Silver asked.

Pasloski defended the public sector, and warned that civil servants should "fear" the Liberals. He suggested the Liberals would cut public sector jobs if they assume office.

"Will it be teachers, will it be nurses, will it be people who look after our roads, our education assistants?" Pasloski asked.