Over the last few years, Dennis Fentie’s Yukon Party government has spent more than $1 billion annually and claimed a small surplus for each of those years.
The Yukon Party also claimed the Yukon is one of two provincial/territorial jurisdictions with no debt.
Alberta is the only province that has no debt. What the Yukon Party failed to tell Yukoners is that two of our Crown corporations have racked up massive debts while under their government.
All Crown corporations have assigned ministers that report to cabinet on their activities.
The Yukon Hospital Corporation is chaired by Craig Tuton and, under his leadership, with the approval of Health Minister Glenn Hart and the Yukon Party cabinet, borrowed close to $80 million to build two six-bed hospitals, one in Watson Lake and Dawson City, and a deluxe apartment block in Whitehorse.
A local architect chastised the Yukon Hospital Corporation in the local papers, stating the deluxe apartment block, costing $19 million, should have cost no more than $5 million.
Were some of the following questions asked before the decision was made? Was a feasibility study done with the two communities to ask them if they wanted hospitals or improved health facilities?
Was a thorough study done to ensure adequate long-term staffing for these hospitals, i.e. doctors, nurses and technical staff?
Is there adequate housing in these communities for professional staff?
Were the operation and maintenance costs studied for multi-year operations?
It is a known fact that hospital operations and maintenance costs are considerably higher because they are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If studies were done to answer some of the questions I have asked, then where are these studies and why are they hidden from the public?
With the approval of Dennis Fentie, Yukon Energy borrowed more than $100 million to build a five-megawatt extension to Mayo B.
When this decision for borrowing money was made, four Yukon Party appointees to the Energy Corp. board resigned, because Fentie and his previous Energy minister, Brad Cathers, were secretly discussing the sale of part of Yukon Energy to ATCO for $50 million.
Some of my questions to David Morrison, president of Yukon Energy, are:
• Why were Yukoners not invited to invest in their Crown corporation?
• During the past nine years of Yukon Party government, why has Yukon Energy not been more aggressive in looking for cheaper electricity alternatives?
• With limited power generation capabilities and the expanding Yukon population, and the building of housing/business complexes, why was the decision made to hook up mines and provide them with cheap electricity?
Mines are high-risk ventures because they can shut down anytime and leave us, the ratepayers, on the hook for all costs.
If mines are to be hooked up to the grid they should pay a high-risk rate so when they do shut down we the ratepayers are not left holding the financial investment.
Did we not learn anything from Faro?
Over the past nine years, the Yukon Party government, under Fentie’s leadership, has created a debt of more than $200 million.
My question to the Yukon Party: how are we going to pay this debt?
Since the election was called, Darrell Pasloski is adding to the debt by promising the following capital projects:
1. A $25-million recreation complex for Dawson City.
2. A new FH Collins High School, for more than $50 million.
3. A new ambulance complex, for more than $5 million.
4. A drug and alcohol complex, for more than $5 million.
5. A new emergency, MRI addition at Whitehorse Hospital, for up to $100 million.
6. Another huge capital expense could be the building of a French high school at $40 million.
With all these promises, Pasloski is adding to the debt of more than $200 million.
Where are we going to get the money to pay for these promises?
Each elected Yukon government since the beginning of party politics has always lived within the budget they presented to the people, except for the last nine years of this Yukon Party government.
How the Yukon Party rated No. 1 in the recent DataPath poll for building the Yukon economy is a mystery to me when they have created such a massive debt.
With the talk of another recession in Canada and the world, the Yukon will not be spared.
My big question to the Yukon Party is, if you become the next government how will you pay for these massive commitments? Will that mean cutting programs and wage freezes or rollbacks?
Your silence about the Yukon debt rings very loudly Ã we can expect shocking news after the election.
Yukoners deserve answers with honesty and transparency from the Yukon Party. If you can’t give Yukoners a clear picture of our financial situation, then we need the Canadian auditor general to give us a clear picture of where we are financially.
If my rough calculations are not close to your figures, then I challenge you to correct them before the October 11 election.
Yukoners and our future taxpayers deserve the truth.