Yukon Liberals, Yukon NDP agree to extend confidence and supply agreement
The 2 parties renewed the agreement the day after previous agreement expired
The Yukon NDP has renewed its support for the minority Liberal government until 2025.
On Tuesday, the two parties announced they have extended the confidence and supply agreement (CASA) that they signed in April 2021.
While it did not establish a formal coalition government, that agreement saw the opposition NDP lend its support to the minority Liberals in exchange for advancing several of the third party's policy objectives. That deal was effective through Jan. 31.
In a joint statement, the parties said the new agreement will remain in place until the 2025-26 budget is passed "and such time as a general election is called."
The new agreement will bear the signature of Ranj Pillai, the Yukon's newly-selected Liberal leader and premier. Speaking at a news conference in Whitehorse, Pillai said the responsibility to chart the territory's future "overwhelms any partisan notions." He later added that Yukoners have been asking its politicians to reach across the aisle.
"People at the end of the day, when you go to their door, are going, 'Can you folks just work together for us?'" Pillai said.
"That doesn't happen a lot. It certainly hasn't happened a lot in the last number of decades. But it's happened in the last two years and it's happening now. And I think we're both proud of that."
As an extension of the previous CASA, measures like the rent cap on residential tenancies will continue.
"This isn't the entire deal. These are just some of the highlights. Like the rest of the country, our territory is facing many challenges and this is why we've negotiated this deal to make life better for Yukoners," said Kate White, Yukon NDP leader.
The commitments of the new agreement as laid out by White are as follows.
- Open a new walk-in clinic in Whitehorse.
- Investments for new healthcare workers.
- Helping families with the cost of fertility treatments and surrogacy.
- Support Yukon First Nations to create land-based healing initiatives.
- Increase the number of bed nights for detox.
- Open a managed alcohol program.
- More money to recruit and retain new educators.
- Plan to have more educational assistants and learning assistance teachers starting this fall.
- Reduce barriers for kids who need Individualized Education Plans.
- Hire wellness counsellors for every school.
- Increase the Yukon Child Benefit.
- Increase social assistance rates by $100 per month until a full review is done.
- Ensure more affordable housing for seniors.
- Work with the City of Whitehorse to make public transit free.
- Ban no-cause evictions.
- Review the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.
Seek consent from Yukon First Nations chiefs to start discussions on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- Increase funding for renewable energy infrastructure by $5 million per year.
- Collaborate on a strategy to protect salmon in Yukon rivers.
- Work with partners to provide low-cost transportation between communities.
- Create more Yukon Government jobs in rural communities.
- Work with the four communities affected by closure of waste transfer stations.
With files from Mike Rudyk