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WHITEHORSE – In advance of Friday’s hearing of the Public Accounts Committee, Yukon Party Finance critic Brad Cathers highlighted troublesome information that paints a concerning picture of the territory’s finances stemming from the 2022-2023 Public Accounts. The delayed document was required by law to be tabled by October 31st, but the Liberals and the finance minister broke the Financial Administration Act by tabling it almost a month late.
The report shows the Yukon Government’s net financial assets have reached a new low due to Liberal spending:
“At March 31, 2023 the Government’s financial assets exceeded its liabilities, resulting in net financial assets of $10.7 million. This important indicator shows that the Government has minimal financial assets on hand to finance future operations.” Pg. 18.
This is a decrease of $88.1 million in net financial assets from 2021-2022.
It also provides more evidence of the Liberals’ chronic underfunding of the Yukon Hospital Corporation, as hospital expenses were millions of dollars higher than revenue yet again. Hospital expenses were $114 million, and revenue was only $112 million. In the last three years, annual hospital expenses have exceeded revenues by as much as $4 million.
In the signed letter accompanying the audit, the Office of Auditor General of Canada also noted that the corporation also used money provided for capital projects to fund operations:
"During the year, Yukon Hospital Corporation used $7,300,000 for operational purposes even though it was supplied by the Government solely for the purpose of a capital project. " Pg. 287.
Given this information from the Auditor General’s office, Yukoners are justifiably suspicious about Premier Pillai’s secrecy and continued refusal to release the review of the hospital corporation’s finances done by Ernst and Young Orenda Corporation under a $300,000 sole-source contract he approved against the advice of officials.
“From the growing crisis in the health care system, cuts to hospital services including making women wait for cancer screening for 35 months, reductions in health services in rural Yukon, and now the Auditor General’s review of public accounts, the Liberals are clearly mismanaging the territory,” said Cathers. “Yukoners deserve better than a government which is out of ideas, and implementing NDP policies to stay in power. Despite federal transfer payments increasing substantially, the Liberal-NDP coalition is spending irresponsibly while neglecting our health care system and is now putting both the long-term finances of the territory and our health care system at risk.”
Yukoners can hear more about the state of the territory’s finances, as the Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts will hold a public hearing starting at 1 p.m. Friday, November 24, in the legislative chambers. The hearing will be broadcast on radio and the internet.