Signs for four different candidates in the 2021 territorial election placed in a snowbank in Copper Ridge. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)

Campaign trail: Promises flowing as parties hold near-daily press conferences

Signs are up and the race is on

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.

NDP

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.

Yukon Party

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.

Liberal Party

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.

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com

Election 2021

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

Just Posted

During our recent conversation, John Nicholson showed me snapshots of his time working on the Yukon riverboats 70 years ago. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: Yukon man relives the riverboat days after seven decades

John Nicholson took summer work on Yukon steamers in the 1950s

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: Another election, another anomaly

Monday’s “double-tie” election is generating some free publicity for the Yukon as Outside news agencies scramble to find someone to interview.

A cyclist rides along the Millenium Trail in downtown Whitehorse on a frigid Feb. 9. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of an e-bike bylaw that would designate how e-bike riders can use city trails. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
First two readings passed on Whitehorse e-bike bylaw

Delegate calls on city to consider age restrictions and further regulations

Whitehorse City Hall at its Steele Street entrance. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Change of plans approved for city hall

Project would see 1966 city hall demolished

A city map shows the property at 107 Range Road. The zoning is now in place for developers to proceed with plans for a Dairy Queen drive-thru. If plans proceed on schedule the new restaurant is anticipated to open in October. (Cyrstal Schick/Yukon News)
October opening eyed for Dairy Queen

Will depend on everything going according to plan

Joel Krahn/joelkran.com Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

A bulldozer levels piles of garbage at the Whitehorse landfill in January 2012. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Rural dump closures and tipping fees raise concern from small communities

The government has said the measures are a cost-cutting necessity

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: Hands of Hope, the quilt of poppies

Toilets are important Ed. note: Hands of Hope is a Whitehorse-based non-profit… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at city council matters for the week of April 12

École Whitehorse Elementary Grade 7 students Yumi Traynor and Oscar Wolosewich participated in the Civix Student Vote in Whitehorse on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Yukon Student Vote chooses Yukon Party government; NDP take popular vote

The initiative is organized by national non-profit CIVIX

Yvonne Clarke is the newly elected Yukon Party MLA for Porter Creek Centre. (Submitted/Yukon Party)
Yvonne Clarke elected as first Filipina MLA in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Clarke beat incumbent Liberal Paolo Gallina in Porter Creek Centre

Emily Tredger at NDP election night headquarters after winning the Whitehorse Centre riding. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Emily Tredger takes Whitehorse Centre for NDP

MLA-elect ready to get to work in new role

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Two new cases of COVID-19 variant identified in territory

“If variants were to get out of control in the Yukon, the impact could be serious.”

Most Read