Carbon tax and First Nations relations: Parties lay out agendas for Yukon election

The legislative assembly was officially dissolved on Friday. Yukoners will go to the polls on Nov. 7.

Legislature officially dissolved on Friday, Yukoners go to polls on Nov. 7

Yukon Party leader Darrell Pasloski called the territorial election on Friday morning, at the Bigway Foods in Whitehorse. (Dave Croft/CBC)

Darrell Pasloski is touting his government's "prudent fiscal management" and promising no tax increases, as he seeks a fourth consecutive mandate for his Yukon Party. 

​Pasloski has announced that Yukoners will go to the polls on Nov. 7. He spoke to Yukon's commissioner Friday morning, to officially dissolve the legislature and begin the official campaign period.  

The right-of-centre Yukon Party has been in power since 2002. This will be Pasloski's second election as leader. 

Looking to dislodge the Yukon Party from the seat of power are Liz Hanson's opposition NDP, and Sandy Silver's Liberal Party. 

Frank de Jong's Green Party is also a player, but with candidates in only five ridings, the Greens have no hope of forming government. 

Carbon tax, First Nations relations 

Pasloski announced the election date on Friday, while surrounded by bananas and apples in the produce section of a Whitehorse grocery store. The location was meant to emphasize his party's commitment to "keeping life affordable" for voters.

NDP leader Liz Hanson in Whitehorse Friday morning. She says her party will 'honour and respect the government-to-government relationship with Yukon First Nations.' (Philippe Morin/CBC)

The Yukon Party has sought to make a carbon tax a central issue in the election — repeatedly saying it would fight any such tax, while the opposition would embrace it.

"The Liberals and the NDP... have said they will implement a carbon tax even though it will increase the cost of living," Pasloski said in a statement.

"We will continue to fight a carbon tax as it will harm the economy and make life more difficult for families in the North."

The NDP — the official opposition before the election call — says the Yukon Party is "trying to scare us by saying we can't maintain jobs and protect our environment." 

In a statement on Friday, leader Liz Hanson emphasized her party's commitment to address climate change and "see Yukon be a global leader in renewable energy."

The NDP is also promising a "feminist government" that will work harder on reconciliation with First Nations.

'We are the change the Yukon needs,' said Yukon Liberal leader Sandy Silver on Friday. (Nancy Thomson/CBC)
"Yukon's First Nations are at the core of the Yukon NDP's vision," the party said in a statement on Friday.

The Yukon Party has been accused by both opposition parties of fostering an antagonistic relationship with First Nations. 

Liberal leader Sandy Silver, speaking in Whitehorse on Friday morning, also promised a "reset of the relationship with all governments, particularly First Nations governments."

He accused the Yukon Party of overseeing a "stressful period of partisanship," and pledged to be more inclusive if his party forms government.

"We are the change the Yukon needs," Silver said.

Nomination meetings have already been held in most of the territory's 19 ridings, so the list of candidates is largely set.

The Yukon Party and Liberals have full slates of nominated candidates, while the NDP has yet to name a candidate in the Vuntut Gwitchin riding.

The nomination period officially closes on the tenth day of the election period. 

There are 19 seats to fill in the Yukon legislative assembly. Before the election call, there were 11 Yukon Party MLAs, 6 NDP members, one Liberal and one Independant. (CBC)

With files from Nancy Thomson, Dave Croft, Vic Istchenko


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