Harper extends health fund

The Yukon will keep receiving a special health-care fund for another two years, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced yesterday during his whirlwind tour of the North.

The Yukon will keep receiving a special health-care fund for another two years, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced yesterday during his whirlwind tour of the North.

The fund, worth nearly $8 million annually, has helped pay for a variety of programs, from palliative care to medical travel. It’s meant to top up the territories’ health expenses, in recognition of the cost of serving remote northern communities.

The announcement is a boon to Premier Darrell Pasloski. When he sought the Yukon Party’s leadership this spring, one of his first promises was to secure an extension of the health-care fund.

“This is a major priority for Yukoners,” he said. “It’s just another example of working together.”

Pasloski, a former federal Conservative candidate for the territory, has often suggested he has a cozy relationship with Harper. The PM’s trip will help him further burnish this reputation.

Pasloski was in Yellowknife yesterday to join Harper during the announcement of the health fund renewal. Later that day, he joined the prime minister aboard a Hercules military plane to fly to Whitehorse.

During their time together, Pasloski said he expected he would press the prime minister on securing more funds for affordable housing and energy upgrades.

Harper’s visit to the Yukon has been cut short by Saturday’s funeral for Jack Layton. He made no public appearances, other than a brief photo opportunity at the MacBride Museum Thursday afternoon to inspect the historic collection of hockey memorabilia – Harper is a big fan of the game.

But a meeting with federal Conservatives, scheduled this afternoon, was scrapped because of time constraints.

Today, Harper is set to visit Haines Junction to see the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations’ cultural centre and receive an aerial tour of Kluane National Park.

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com.