Yukon Liberals promise 'balanced approach,' transparency in government

Yukon Liberal leader Sandy Silver says his party's election platform is 'about realism.' The Liberals have laid out 130 commitments they'll work on if they form government.

Liberal platform makes 130 commitments, from paving Dawson City's runway to fixed election dates

Yukon Liberal leader Sandy Silver presented his party's platform in Whitehorse on Tuesday. He says the Liberal plan is 'about realism, not grandiose promises that are made at the 11th hour, to win an election.' (CBC)

Yukon Liberal leader Sandy Silver presented his party's full election platform on Tuesday and also took a swipe at his opponents, accusing the Yukon Party and NDP of preying on Yukoners' fears to win votes. 

He claimed his party alone was running a positive campaign.

"In this election, fear has been an unwelcome theme," he said. 

"The Yukon Party has tried to incite fear on carbon pricing, and the New Democrats have tried to incite fear about fracking."

The Yukon Party has presented itself as the only party to firmly oppose a carbon tax in Yukon, while the NDP has presented itself as the only party to firmly oppose fracking.

Silver — whose party is the first to release its full campaign platform, so far — counters by saying the Liberal plan is "about realism, not grandiose promises that are made at the 11th hour, to win an election."

130 commitments   

The Liberal platform, presented on Tuesday in a glossy booklet titled "Be Heard," promises an "open and transparent" government, and a "balanced approach."

It spells out 130 commitments, some of them specific funding promises (such as allocating up to $30 million per year for energy retrofits), and other more vague promises to "examine," "support" or "consider" such-and-such. 

The Liberal platform is detailed in a glossy pamphlet titled 'Be Heard.' (CBC)

The platform is organized into five key priorities: jobs and sustainability; working with First Nations; community development; health and wellness; government transparency and accountability.

"We've identified the areas we want to move forward in," Silver said, as he presented the plan. 

Some economic promises include: 

  • eliminating the small business tax
  • examining options for tax credits and incentives for local food producers
  • increasing the tourism marketing fund
  • paving the Dawson City runway

The Liberals also say they will place an immediate moratorium on fracking in Yukon, and work with the federal government to "ensure that all funds collected in Yukon through a federal carbon pricing mechanism will be returned to Yukon" in the form of rebates.

First Nations relations

With respect to First Nations, the Liberal platform promises a "renewed government-to-government relationship." According to the plan, a Liberal premier and cabinet would meet with First Nations chiefs within 30 days of forming government, to "establish initial priorities."

The platform also commits to:

  • working with First Nations to repeal Bill S-6 (federal legislation that would have amended the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act);
  • establishing National Aboriginal Day as a statutory holiday in Yukon;
  • implementing a training program for Yukon Government employees on the legacy of residential schools

Liberal candidate Mathieya Alatini (Kluane) — former chief of the Kluane First Nation — says the Liberals will demonstrate a different approach to politics.

"[It's] really talking about the collaborative approach to government, instead of the divisive, confrontational, litigious government that we've had," she said.

The Liberal platform document includes this pie chart, illustrating the party's priorities if it forms government. (Yukon Liberal Party)

Lobbyist registry, fixed election dates

The Liberals have also laid out a few promises aimed at demonstrating a more "transparent" government.

The party says it will create a publicly disclosed lobbyist registry, legislate fixed election dates, and strike a non-partisan commission on electoral reform.

Other commitments in the platform include: 

  • expanding the existing campground infrastructure
  • supporting and funding regulated midwifery
  • researching, developing and implementing a Yukon Early Childhood Strategy
  • reviewing teacher hiring practices
  • keeping Whistle Bend extended care facility at 150 beds
  • developing programs to assist victims of violent crime and sexual assault in Yukon
  • amending the Yukon Workers' Compensation Act to include presumptive provisions for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in first responders

"We're basing our decisions on needs assessments; we're basing our decisions upon research," Silver said.

"What we want to get away from is, we've seen the Yukon Party government make commitments that they can't actually accomplish, and we've seen that time and time again." 

Neither the Yukon Party nor the NDP have said when they would present their full election platforms.

With files from Cheryl Kawaja


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