Yukon NDP reveals platform with 'bold vision for the future'

The Yukon NDP dropped an 81-page platform that has big promises and hopes for the future of the territory.

Party outlines 129 problems the territory faces and its solutions in 81-page document

The Yukon NDP unveiled their platform on Monday on the Air North tarmac in Whitehorse. NDP leader Kate White made the announcement surrounded by candidates. (Danielle d'Entremont/CBC)

The Yukon NDP have dropped an 81-page platform that has big promises and hopes for the future of the territory.

It outlines 129 "problems" the territory faces, each partnered with a solution that the party has for addressing them.

NDP leader Kate White says the platform is built off of thousands of conversations, issues that she has heard people in the territory raise during her time as an elected official.

"This plan puts people first, and tackles some of the biggest challenges we face in the territory," White said as she unveiled the platform on the Air North tarmac Monday.

Some of the main issues the party plans to address include housing, climate change, more accessible healthcare, education supports and supporting local businesses and communities.

The plan is ambitious, with White herself describing it as a "bold vision for the future."

"What we're putting forward is a progressive idea of what the territory could look like," White said.

"Everything we put in there is really grounded in people's experiences and also people's hope for the future."

The platform is broken down into four main priorities listed here as they are titled in the document:

  1. Strengthening healthcare
  2. Improving services that matter to you
  3. An economy that works for everyone
  4. Good government

Watch NDP leader Kate White announce the party's platform here:

How will they pay for it?

The NDP says it will fund the platform by taxing the territory's top-earners, and fly-in and fly-out workers.

People who make over $250,000 in personal income annually will have their taxes raised by one per cent and fly-in/ fly-out workers who pay their taxes in other places, would be charged a two per cent tax.

White did not provide an exact number of how much tax revenue the party expects these changes to generate.

The NDP also says it would raise mining royalties, and reallocate existing funds after a review of government spending within their first year in office.

The platform says the first three priorities (strengthening healthcare, improving services, and the economy) would each get 30 per cent of the revenue generated, and the final 10 per cent would go into the fourth priority — good government.

Kate White is leader of the Yukon NDP and candidate for Takhini–Kopper King. (Danielle d'Entremont/CBC)

1. Strengthening healthcare

The NDP promises a healthcare system that provides equitable, accessible and anti-racist care. The platform says the party is committed to following through on the recommendations made by the Putting People First report.

Some of the priorities outlined in this section include caring for seniors and elders, supporting people living with disabilities and more mental health resources.

The Yukon NDP also says it will introduce a basic dental care plan, which covers essential dental work and oral hygiene for every Yukoner not currently covered.

The party promises to tackle addictions through safer consumption programs and a managed alcohol program.

The platform says their government would also prioritize gender-affirming and reproductive care by investing in services for parents-to-be and by making it easier for LGBTQIA2S+ people to access the services they need.

Highlights of this section include:

  • A new land-based addictions treatment centre funded and built by the Yukon NDP government.
  • A safer consumption program in Whitehorse, along with safe supply.
  • The creation of a birth centre in Whitehorse near the hospital, which would incorporate traditional Yukon First Nation birthing practices.
  • A LGBTQIA2S+ navigator who assists people in the community to access the services and rights they are entitled to, and is empowered to improve the system.
  • Rebate of up to $8,000 per year for fertility treatments.

2. Improving services that matter to you

This priority is broken down into key issues that the NDP wants to improve including housing, justice, education, tackling poverty, immigration and more services for youth and newcomers.

Housing is a big priority in the NDP's platform, which proposes a "safe at home plan" with the goals of preventing homelessness, increasing the supply of safe, stable and affordable homes, along with supporting people in accessing housing.

The platform also promises more accountability in the justice system, more educational resources, to make immigration easier and to provide more opportunities for young people.

Highlights of this section include:

  • A housing authority which would sell newly created units at a controlled price.
  • Freezing rent until the end of 2021 and capping increases after that.
  • Reallocation of police funding to build capacity in responding to mental health and addictions calls using professionals trained in crisis intervention.
  • Hiring 50 more learning assistance teachers and educational assistants.
  • Reinstating Individualized Education Plans for all eligible students.
  • Upholding the current universal childcare benefit introduced before the election.
  • Four full, or six part-time years of free tuition for any program at Yukon University for all Yukoners who have lived in Yukon for at least 3 years before their studies.
  • Raising the minimum wage to $15.20.

3. An economy that works for everyone

This section promises an economy that is sustainable and benefits all Yukoners, with a focus on infrastructure, transportation, rural communities, the environment and climate change.

The NDP government promises to support local businesses and agriculture, to help the tourism industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and to invest in infrastructure.

The party also promises to invest resources into communities, to ensure roads and highways in the territory are safe and sustainable and to take decisive action on climate change.

Highlights of this section include:

  • A yearly rebate tied to volume for retailers and businesses who buy Yukon-grown produce, dairy, meat and eggs.
  • Everyone who lives in an established community will have access to a reliable internet plan, capped at $100 per month.
  • A multi-year transportation and infrastructure maintenance plan which prioritizes projects based on climate change related effects.
  • A new "communities policy lens" that would require all new corporate policy proposals to be reviewed through their potential impacts on communities.
  • An outright ban on fracking and other non-renewable energy extraction.
  • A target of 45 per cent reduction over 2010 carbon dioxide emissions levels by 2030.
  • The creation of an industry roundtable to coordinate efforts at territory-wide carbon reduction.
Yukon NDP Leader Kate White announces a rebate tied to volume for all Yukon-based retailers and food service businesses who choose to buy local produce, dairy, meat and eggs outside of Riverside Grocery in Whitehorse on March 22. (Danielle d'Entremont/CBC)

4. Good government

This section promises a government that puts the needs of Yukoners first, and that works in strong collaboration with First Nations governments. 

The NDP promises electoral reform, to keep corporate donations out of politics and to create accountability throughout the territorial government.

The section outlines plans to hire veterans for Yukon government positions, to create representation for seniors and elders in government and to bring the Accessible Canada Act to the territory. 

It also commits to prioritizing land use plans and making Yukon First Nations' consent a requirement for all resource development anywhere on the traditional territory of Yukon First Nations.

The NDP promises their government would work so all Yukoners benefit from the resource development opportunities in the territory.

Highlights of this section include:

  • The introduction of a proportional voting system.
  • No business or union donations to political parties, only individuals with caps on the amount they can donate.
  • Adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • A commitment to protect at least 50 per cent of the Yukon's land and waters in partnership with First Nations and the Inuvialuit.
  • A revision of royalty rates, fee structures, permit and licensing costs for mining in the territory.
  • Officially changing all government communication, signage (through attrition) and style guide from "Yukon" back to "The Yukon."

Election day is on April 12 in the territory.

Read the entire Yukon NDP platform here:

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