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WHITEHORSE – The Yukon Party Official Opposition is highlighting Yukoners’ priorities for Yukon’s Liberal Premier in advance of the Summer Meeting of Canada’s Premiers. Yukoners continue to be challenged by the rising cost of living, and Yukon municipalities remain concerned about the looming gap in infrastructure funding, as well as climate change adaptation funding. On Monday, July 10, he will join his counterparts from across the country and be able to push for these Yukon issues at the 2023 multi-day meeting in Winnipeg.
Yukoners have been grappling with the highest inflation rate in the country for the sixth month in a row. According to the Yukon Bureau of Statistics, the 4.7 per cent rate for Whitehorse in May is over a point higher than the national average. Yukoners are telling us this has put the squeeze on their pocketbook and limited their spending power. Families are being forced to make tough decisions when it comes to budgeting for their households.
In response to inflation pressures, Atlantic premiers and Saskatchewan’s premier have asked for more consultation on the federal government’s incoming Clean Fuel Standard. The independent Parliamentary Budget Officer says the new standard ‘will increase the price of gasoline and diesel in 2030—the year in which the CFR reach full stringency—by up to 17 cents per litre and 16 cents per litre, respectively.’ As the leader of a rural and northern jurisdiction affected by fuel price costs, the Yukon Party is urging Yukon’s premier to join with these premiers and call to delay and revisit the new standard.
Municipal infrastructure funding remains a challenge across the country. The premier can ensure Yukon partners with other jurisdictions on an appropriate successor fund to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP). The premier hinted during the spring sitting that the Yukon might be able to access unused ICIP funding from other jurisdictions. He should ensure this would not damage relationships with the provinces.
The premier should also secure consensus from across the country that the federal government needs to invest further in climate change adaptation funding. The recent landslides along Robert Service Way in Whitehorse, and flooding in many Yukon communities the past few summers have highlighted the necessity of mitigation work. Canada’s Premiers should add this to the list of priorities for discussion.
“This meeting of Canada’s Premiers is a great opportunity for the Yukon’s premier to raise Yukoners’ concerns about the rising cost of living and projects that can mitigate the impacts of climate change, as well as clarify future federal infrastructure funding,” said Leader Currie Dixon. “We are hopeful that the Premier will adopt these new ideas to combat inflation and the cost of living, especially while his Yukon Liberal government policies continue to leave Yukoners facing the highest rate of inflation in the country.”