Respectful relations, diversification key to economic growth: Yukon opposition

While Yukon's GDP is forecast to grow in 2016 by 2.8 per cent, it's expected to plummet sharply next year. The NDP and Liberals each say they've got a cure for that.

NDP and Liberals take the Yukon Party to task for a spotty economic track record

Official opposition leader Liz Hanson says the territory's heavy reliance on mining shows the government lacks vision when it comes to economic planning. (CBC)

Yukon's opposition parties are wasting no time in reacting to the territory's uneven economic outlook, and positioning themselves as the solution. 

The semi-annual forecast was released on Monday, and while it predicts modest growth in 2016, the picture for next year is decidedly bleak. 

GDP is expected to grow by about 2.8 per cent this year, thanks to Capstone Mining's planned work at the Minto mine, but then GDP will plummet by an unsettling 5.7 per cent next year, after Capstone shuts the mine down — leaving Yukon with no working mines. 

NDP leader Liz Hanson says the territory's heavy reliance on mining reveals that the governing Yukon Party lacks vision when it comes to economic planning.

"[They] are inept at actually managing and working with citizens and with investors about how we make the economy resilient to these kinds of booms and busts," said Hanson.

"If that's what you tie your economy to, you're always going to be subject to that [uncertainty]."

Hanson said a Yukon NDP government would focus on diversification in areas such as the IT industries, clean energy, and tourism.

Liberal leader Sandy Silver says if elected, his party would have a five-year plan and spread capital spending over that time. (Dave Croft/CBC)

Yukon Liberal leader Sandy Silver says his party is much better poised than the governing Yukon Party to deliver positive economic planning.

"We do have respectful relationships with the First Nations governments, with Ottawa, we are pro-industry, we want to see a resource industry," he said.

Silver also said a Liberal government in Yukon would have a five-year plan and spread the government capital building program out over that time, instead of spending it in the last year or two before an election.

Trying times for the mineral industry

Meanwhile, industries that are closely tied to mineral exploration hope there's soon light at the end of the tunnel.

Doug Walker, president of a Whitehorse-based diamond drilling company, says the last few years have been tough. (Nancy Thomson/CBC)

Doug Walker, president of Whitehorse-based New Age Drilling, says the past few years have been trying.

"It's been totally in the gutter. In 2013, we didn't have any drilling. In '14, a little bit, in '15 a little bit," he said.

"Although this year looks better, it's still pretty slim for contracts to bid on."

Yukon's cabinet communications office denied CBC's requests for interviews with Premier Darrell Pasloski or Economic Development Minister Stacey Hassard.