Credit crisis hurting mines, opposition says

Market anxiety has hit the Yukon. The credit crisis is especially hurting mines, said Liberal leader Arthur Mitchell.

Market anxiety has hit the Yukon.

The credit crisis is especially hurting mines, said Liberal leader Arthur Mitchell.

“The drying up of the credit markets has already really impacted on mining companies’ plans for next year,” he said. “They are finding it very difficult to borrow money.”

The solution?

“One of the tools we have available to us in the Yukon is to spend government’s money on capital projects that are on the books anyway,” he said.

“These would be projects that are planned. This would keep as many Yukoners in the private sector working on government projects, on construction projects.”

Inaction and aloofness on the part of Conservative governments is ideological, said NDP leader Todd Hardy.

“You have to be honest with the people about whether your personal financial right-wing laissez-faire approach is failing, which it is failing, and failing dramatically,” said Hardy.

“I feel that the Prime Minister (Stephen Harper) has failed us in this matter, completely. And even economists (have failed us).”

We need to dispel the right-wing myth that conservative governments are better at handling the economy, he said.

Older Yukoners are already losing their investments in the volatile stock market, he said.

“They’re losing the money they put away to retire.”

Both opposition leaders are calling for high-level meetings. Hardy wants a Yukon summit, Mitchell wants a first minister’s conference.

An economic meeting to look at how much the Yukon will be affected by recent market turmoil is necessary, said Hardy.

And Premier Dennis Fentie needs to meet with his provincial counterparts to stop the bleeding, said Mitchell.

He should bring the asset-backed commercial paper file with him, said Mitchell.

“When Premier Fentie heads east to meet with the other premiers, he should be promoting the idea that Canada should be stepping in to try and free up this credit market in ABCP by purchasing some of it,” he said.

Fentie should lobby for the Bank of Canada to buy some of the plagued investments, whose value had been overrated and whose period of maturity has been extended to eight years from now, said Mitchell.

“Mr. Fentie has said all along that these are good investments that they are top-rated. So there shouldn’t be a question of their value.”

Only the Bank of Canada is able to buy ABCP until the market is back to health.

“The government of Canada can wait the years that it will take for these instruments to regain their value,” he said.

“But jurisdictions like the Yukon can’t afford it.”

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