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WHITEHORSE – The 2022 Spring Sitting of the Yukon Legislative Assembly concluded with the NDP propping up the out-of-touch Liberals and passing a budget that was outdated before it was even introduced.
During the 32-day sitting, the Yukon Party Official Opposition highlighted opportunities to help Yukoners deal with the record-high cost of living that the Liberals overlooked in their budget. Constructive suggestions from the Yukon Party included a temporary suspension of the territorial fuel tax and insurance tax. This would have left approximately $12 million in the pockets of Yukoners to help offset the skyrocketing costs of food, fuel, housing, and everyday goods and services.
The Yukon Party put forward ideas to help seniors on fixed incomes deal with rising costs. We proposed doubling the amount of the Pioneer Utility Grant and increasing the amount claimed through the Home Owners Grant to a maximum of $1,000 for those eligible seniors and elders until the inflation crisis is over.
The Yukon Party also pressed the government on the soaring cost of housing. Since 2016, the average cost of a single-detached home in Whitehorse has soared by 54 percent forcing many Yukoners to abandon their dreams of homeownership. Yukon Party MLAs proposed solutions such as making more blocks of land available for private sector development, expediting the release of lots throughout the entire territory, and providing emergency funding to municipalities to bolster their permitting and zoning efforts.
The Yukon Party Official Opposition also introduced a bill to provide additional democratic oversight to the Government of Yukon and its use of the Civil Emergency Measures Act. While the Yukon Party suggested that an all-party committee collaborate on this initiative and conduct public consultation, the Liberals, along with their NDP partners, opposed further democratic oversight.
Finally, the Liberals also continued to ignore the health care crisis and the fact that one out of every five Yukoners is now without a family doctor. The Yukon Party offered constructive suggestions such as improving recruitment practices, the appointment of a territorial medical director, and developing a health human resource strategy.
Yukon Party MLAs will now head back to their ridings and gather input over the summer on issues important to their constituents in preparation for the fall sitting.