We’re already a week into the four-week campaign period for the 2021 territorial election.
The three parties have been holding near-daily press conferences — most streamed online to voters — in a scramble to make the most campaign commitments in the short amount of time.
Right now, no one is suggesting austerity measures. It appears all three parties, in a post-pandemic recovery mode, are feeling spendy.
Almost all candidates have been finalized in each riding as well. Right now the only ridings missing candidates from the main parties are Vuntut Gwitchin, which doesn’t currently have someone running for the Yukon Party, and Takhini-Kopper King, which doesn’t have a Liberal candidate named yet.
In random order, here is what the three parties have talked about this week.
Early in the week party leader Kate White announced she would be redirecting corporate donations to the Whitehorse Food Bank and challenged the other parties to do the same. She said an NDP government would ban corporate and union donations.
In healthcare commitments, White announced plans to establish a seven-day-a-week counselling walk-in clinic for mental health services. She’s also announced a “Patient’s Bill of Rights” that would guarantee family doctors and nurse practitioners for every Yukoner.
Following a Liberal announcement, the NDP fired back to reiterate their promise to make prescription contraception free for everyone. The party noted that right now the Yukon covers vasectomies, but leaves the cost of birth control and IUDs up to individuals.
On March 18, White unveiled the party’s plan to generate more affordable housing. The plan is to build 250 new affordable units for rent with Yukon Housing, create affordable units for seniors and free up land for development.
The NDP has also committed to capping annual rent increases, giving mobile homeowners more security in leases, and extending support for homelessness.
On March 15, the Party announced their “Action for a Change” campaign to restart the territory as we leave the pandemic. Leader Currie Dixon promised an “open and transparent” restart, with extensions to short-term relief programs, increases to tourism funding and cuts to insurance rates.
On March 17, Scott Kent announced a new plan for infrastructure spending to help recover from the pandemic and measures to “reestablish (the Yukon) as a desirable jurisdiction to invest in.”
That plan involves a long-term tendering forecast, 10-year investment plan for infrastructure, more resources for road upgrade programs and a plan to seek access to tidewater via Alaska and B.C. neighbours.
The party has also made tech-related announcements, including a new venture capital program to encourage investments in Yukon-based small businesses and using the government’s own procurement to adopt locally produced tech solutions.
The Yukon Party also released their education plan, which includes more experiential learning programs, financial support for students affected by the pandemic and bringing Indigenous high school graduation rates up by 80 per cent in the next 10 years.
The Liberals have formed their campaign around the slogan “Let’s Keep Going.” Their pitch is that in four years, they’ve “built a foundation” and now want to follow-through with the relationships developed and plans put on the table.
On March 17 the Liberals re-announced their childcare subsidy and the commitment to bring in regulated midwifery. A new item includes a promise to subsidize prescription birth control and period products for those in need as part of the 2021 platform commitments.
The Liberals have also committed to a Bilingual Health Centre for Whitehorse, extensive healthcare coverage for transgender individuals in the territory, as well as a strategy for LGBT and two-spirit inclusiveness that includes a physical Yukon Pride Centre working with Queer Yukon.
On March 19 the Liberals committed to increasing safety in rural communities. The plan for that promise involves expanding the Sexualized Assault Response Team program to the communities and introducing community safety plans. They also want to bring in supportive community housing and better pay for remote EMS.
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