Open letter to Yukoners

Open letter to Yukoners All Yukoners feel a great sense of pride when one of our own gets recognition on the national stage. Shawn Ryan's prestigious award for being named Canadian Prospector of the Year in Toronto is indeed a cause for celebration. Yuko

All Yukoners feel a great sense of pride when one of our own gets recognition on the national stage. Shawn Ryan’s prestigious award for being named Canadian Prospector of the Year in Toronto is indeed a cause for celebration.

Yukoners can also share in Mr. Ryan’s personal achievements because we have collectively invested a great deal in the success of the mining industry. Mr. Ryan, and many other “grassroots” prospectors, have benefited from our Yukon Mineral Incentives Plan, and Mr. Ryan made sure to express thanks for the support he received from YMIP in the local media.

Through incentive programs like YMIP - created in 1987 by a Yukon New Democratic Party government – our party has long demonstrated its support of the industry. Through YMIP, and other measures, the Yukon people are co-investors in this industry. We own the resources, we permit their exploitation, we finance and build infrastructure necessary for the success of the industry (e.g. roads, bridges, energy, etc.), we pay the wages of water testers, mining recorders and inspectors, and we compile the geological survey data.

Let’s not forget the generations of Yukoners who worked on land claims, self-government agreements and devolution, and through their efforts created the resource certainty that the mining industry needs.

The Yukon New Democratic Party is the only party to talk publicly about the need to take a co-operative and collaborative approach to developing our nonrenewable resources in a responsible manner that provides maximum returns to their true owners Ð the people of this territory.

We have consistently questioned whether, under our current royalty regime, we are getting a fair deal for our mineral wealth.

And we’ve come under attack for it by the Yukon Party and the Liberals, who are content to see most of our resource wealth flow to Outside shareholders.

Under our current rules, the reality is that the total revenues our government expects to get from oil-and-gas revenue and land-and-mineral leases and royalties will be less than the government will bring in from campground permits.

The royalty for placer gold that goes to the public is 37.5 cents an ounce Ð because the value of gold set by government is pegged at $15 an ounce. The price of gold today, as we all know, is over $1,400 an ounce.

Recently, the Yukon and Liberal parties awoke to the fact we should at the very least start seeking to amend the Yukon Northern Affairs program devolution agreement with Ottawa, which caps the maximum amount the territorial and First Nations governments get on resource revenues at $3 million a year. All the rest goes to Ottawa. But that’s as far as they are willing to go.

We think what’s fair for Yukoners around retaining more of our resource wealth means more than just the premier going to Ottawa cap in hand Ð after all, we’ve never reached the $3-million cap.

The Yukon New Democratic Party thinks it’s time Yukoners were involved in discussions on how we can benefit to a greater degree from our resource wealth, and how we can get more in terms of employment and training opportunities for Yukoners Ð particularly in rural Yukon where high levels of unemployment persist.

By all means, let’s talk about modernizing the devolution deal with Ottawa, but there are many more things we can and should do to ensure Yukoners derive maximum benefits from these precious but finite resources.

Mining is a nonsustainable activity. It depletes the mineral wealth of a jurisdiction and therefore depletes the wealth available to future generations. And there is a growing consensus among Yukoners that our actions today should reflect an awareness that we not take from the future.

My party believes it’s time to convene a summit bringing together industry, all levels of government and the general public to begin this important debate. When Yukoners work together, we accomplish incredible things. Let’s begin the discussion with all Yukoners at the table on what’s a fair deal for our resource wealth.

Liz Hanson

Yukon NDP leader

MLA, Whitehorse Centre

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (yfned.ca)
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Most Read