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NDP election platform promises to 'build a better Yukon'

The Yukon New Democrats' election platform promises to do politics differently. It also pledges a new relationship with First Nations, millions of dollars for a Green Energy Investment Fund, and lower taxes for Yukon's poorest.

Party promises new style government, environmental protection, First Nation reconciliation

Yukon NDP leader Liz Hanson presents her party's 2016 election platform in Whitehorse on Friday. (Vic Istchenko/CBC)

The Yukon New Democrats unveiled a sweeping election platform on Friday in Whitehorse, promising a different style of government, protection for the environment, and a new relationship with Yukon First Nations.

The NDP will offer "a government that believes in social justice and the well-being of all Yukoners, not just a chosen few," leader Liz Hanson told reporters gathered at the Yukon Arts Centre.

The NDP was the last of the three major parties to unveil its full election platform this week, though many NDP promises have already been announced during the campaign, including $50 million over five years to help jump start a renewable energy sector in the Yukon.

After five years in opposition, advocating for change, Hanson says the New Democrats are ready to implement their ideas.

'A new Yukon,' Hanson promises

"It's time," proclaims the cover of the 30-page election platform, which includes other promises such as:

  • modernizing Yukon mining legislation, to address conflicts which have plagued the industry; 
  • a ban on fracking.
  • electoral reform, promising to replace the first-past-the-post voting system, based on consultation with Yukoners
  • Yukon minimum wage will rise to at least $15 per hour over their first mandate
  • Aboriginal Day will be a statutory holiday
  • free first year tuition at Yukon College for Yukoners

Hanson says her government would protect the Peel Watershed by assigning new "Peel-friendly" lawyers to the Supreme Court of Canada appeal hearing set for February.

'It's time,' proclaims the 30-page NDP election platform. (CBC)

A long term priority, she says, is creating "a new Yukon", akin to the vision of Elijah Smith in his 1973 Yukon land claim document, "Together today for our children tomorrow."

"If we can achieve that sense of reconciliation in the next five years, that will be an amazing achievement," said Hanson.

The NDP leader says her platform promises are all affordable, including a plan to lower income taxes for Yukon's poorest, and raising taxes for those who can afford it.

Additional funding, she suggests, will come from a carbon tax, proceeds of which will be shared with Yukoners in need.

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