Liberals chomping at the bit

The Liberals have a lengthy to-do list. And, if elected, they've promised to start checking it off within the first 100 days. "Our priorities will include addressing the housing crisis, safeguarding our energy future...

The Liberals have a lengthy to-do list.

And, if elected, they’ve promised to start checking it off within the first 100 days.

“Our priorities will include addressing the housing crisis, safeguarding our energy future, protecting the Peel, improving our education system and ensuring Yukoners have access to quality health care,” said Liberal Leader Arthur Mitchell on Wednesday.

But the first order of business will be recalling the legislature.

That’ll happen in November under a Liberal government, he said.

RELATED:Read all of our election coverage.

And the Liberals want Yukoners to know what’s going on in the house once it’s back in session, added Mitchell.

To ensure transparency, they plan to make government documents more accessible, and start posting MLAs’ expenses online.

The Liberals are promising healthy debate in the house and consultation with the public on decisions that affect them.

“Often in the house we will be talking about something important and government will use every trick in the book to kill debate,” said Mitchell.

“We’d like it to be more issue-based. And in question period, I expect my team to answer questions.”

This open-doors policy is housekeeping.

But the meat of the Liberal platform will also become clear in the first 100 days, said Whitehorse West Liberal candidate Cully Robinson.

“We will begin moving forward on the recommended Peel plan immediately,” he said.

“And we will begin public consultations on the Yukon Energy Protection Act.”

The Liberals will also call a summit of First Nation leaders to discuss co-operation and the issues facing Yukon First Nations.

People struggling to make rent will get a tax break this year under a Liberal government, said Robinson, as the $600 renter’s refundable tax credit will apply to the 2011 tax year.

And the Liberals will begin overhauling the territory’s ancient Landlord and Tenant Act.

“We will also work with the Northern City Supportive Housing Coalition to implement their proposal” to build a 20-unit supported apartment complex downtown, to house the city’s most destitute, said Robinson.

It’s a proposal that had backing from banks, builders, realtors, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the city.

But the current government refused to act on it.

The Liberals will also start acting on Dr. Bruce Beaton’s and Chief James Allen’s 2010 report on the Yukon’s acutely intoxicated, which calls for a sobering centre complex that includes a clinic, shelter and detox in the downtown core, said Mitchell.

Taking care of the destitute is only part of the picture.

The Liberals will also take care of the economy, said Mitchell.

They will put checks and balances in place in order to make it illegal for government to dump money into risky investments, like asset-backed commercial paper.

The Fentie/Pasloski government currently has more than $36 million wrapped up in one such investment and may never see that money again, said Mitchell.

The Liberals will also “ensure public servants are able to perform their work free of political interference,” he said.

Within the first 100 days, they will establish a citizen’s commission on electoral reform, added Robinson.

And a “New Yukoner” advocate position will be created to assist new Canadians and new Yukon arrivals.

The Yukon Council of the Economy and Environment will be reinstated, said Mitchell, noting that under the current government it has withered and died.

The Liberals will also champion educational changes recommended in a 2009 auditor general report that have never been acted on, he said.

And nurse practitioners can expect more recognition, added Mitchell.

Within the first 100 days the Liberals will ensure “regulations authorizing the licensing and recognition of nurse practitioners in the Yukon are passed,” he said.

The Liberals will also amend the government’s contracting registry to ensure sole-sourced contracts are justified, and will also give the Yukon Hospital Corporation a clearer annual directive and make its reports and spending transparent.

It’s a long list.

But it’s just the beginning, said Mitchell.

“I’m proud to lead a team that is ready to hit the ground running.”

Contact Genesee Keevil at

gkeevil@yukon-news.com

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