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WHITEHORSE – It is now clear to Yukoners the Liberal government’s inflation measures have been largely ineffective in limiting the impacts of rising costs compared to other jurisdictions. Numbers from the Yukon Bureau of Statistics (YBS) show Yukoners are dealing with the highest cost of living jump in the country.
According to January figures from the YBS, the Consumer Price Index for Whitehorse is up 7.9 per cent year-over-year. This is a full two percentage points higher than the Canadian average, and almost a full one per cent above the second-highest jurisdiction.
As well, Yukoners are dealing with a massive spike in fuel costs. In January, year-over-year, regular gas was up 8.5 per cent, diesel was up 36 per cent, and furnace oil shot up a whopping 44.3 per cent. The Yukon Party Official Opposition first suggested suspending the territorial fuel tax last spring, however, the Liberals scoffed at the idea. According to the YBS, provinces that did scale back their fuel tax – Alberta, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador – saw lower inflation than the national average.
“Yukoners are continuing to get squeezed where it hurts the most – in the pocketbook,” said Community Services Critic Patti McLeod. “The Yukon Party Official Opposition suggested several measures and the Liberals’ responded by offering minimal rebates and refusing to take substantive action such as cutting the territorial fuel tax. We continue to hear from Yukoners about the high cost-of-living, and we call on the government to take measures that will ease the cost of living burden.”
Besides halting the collection of the territorial fuel tax on a temporary basis, the Yukon Party Official Opposition has proposed a number of other measures that can fit into the territory’s budget. These include:
- Suspending collection of the carbon tax on home heating fuel as per a motion passed in the Legislative Assembly last fall;
- Doubling the amount of the Pioneer Utility Grant;
- Increasing the amount claimed through the Home Owners Grant to a maximum of $1,000 for those eligible seniors and elders until inflation is over;
- Scaling back the insurance tax to pre-2020 levels or scrapping it altogether; and
- Improving permitting to address the firewood supply so market prices adjust downward.