NDP celebrates its victories

The Yukon NDP celebrated the gains its made over the last year at its annual convention at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre in Whitehorse on the weekend.

The Yukon NDP celebrated the gains it’s made over the last year at its annual convention at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre in Whitehorse on the weekend.

The party is now the Official Opposition and holds six seats in the legislature. One year ago, it was relegated to third-party status and held just two seats.

Membership has similarly swollen to 730 now from 320 one year ago.

During last fall’s territorial election, the NDP was the only party to see its share of the popular vote grow, Leader Liz Hanson told a crowd of approximately 50 party loyalists at the convention.

“More and more Yukoners turned to the Yukon NDP as a viable choice and the best hope of defeating the tired, old politics of the Yukon Party,” she said. “We said we’re running for government. We meant it. And we came very close.”

Government members have accused Hanson of being unhelpful during the current legislative sitting. Not so, she replied.

“Being a constructive opposition doesn’t mean being silent when the government shows how out of touch and wrongheaded it is. It doesn’t mean cowering to the Yukon Party’s bullying tactics, or backing down when the premier or government ministers cry wolf.

“We’ll continue to stand up for what’s right, for the best interests of all Yukoners, even if the government doesn’t want to hear it. That’s what we were elected to do.”

As accomplishments, Hanson touted how the government had agreed to raise the minimum wage, make the ombudsman a permanent position and ban oil and gas development in the Whitehorse Trough for the next five years.

Hanson issued a warning to Premier Darrell Pasloski.

“Mr. Premier, we’re putting you on notice. We’re going to keep at it. We’re going to call your government on its games, diversions and bullying tactics.

“We’ll continue good ideas, and there have been some. We have positive, constructive ideas of our own. We’ll continue to oppose your government’s bad ideas with every tool at our disposal. And we’ll continue to build a progressive movement to replace you, one Yukoner at a time.”

The territory’s housing shortage is “the single greatest failing” of the government, said Hanson. She condemned the Yukon Party’s decision to sit on $13 million in federal housing money, which remains unspent.

“It’s simply unconscionable for the government to pad its bottom line with these federal housing dollars when the need for housing solutions is so great,” said Hanson.

The territory needs a public inquiry into the January deaths of five Porter Creek residents of carbon monoxide poisoning, she said.

She faulted the territory for not heeding the advice provided in a string of reports that called for the government to regulate the oil-burning trade and called the deaths a “preventable” tragedy.

“The solutions are simple,” said Hanson. “They’ve been known for years.”

Hanson also bashed the mining sector as a “fly-in, fly-out economy” and called for mining companies to pay more royalties. She promised “economic success … without destroying the environment.”

She promised to continue to fight against allowing hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, being allowed in the territory. The controversial practice has been blamed for polluting groundwater elsewhere.

And she called on the government to adopt the land use plan to protect four-fifths of the Peel River watershed. The Yukon Party instead wants a more “balanced” approach that allows roads and mining.

Hanson also urged the territory to adopt a “passionate, progressive approach” to help addicts, rather than using “punitive” measures.

She called on the territory to focus on “patient-centred” health care.

Contact John Thompson at johnt@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Premier Sandy Silver during a live update on the COVID-19 situation at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 27. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Total Yukon COVID case count increased to 42 cases

Premier urges patience after national meeting on vaccine roll-out

Benjamin Poudou, Mount MacIntyre’s ski club manager, poses for a photo in the club’s ski rental area on Nov. 16. The club has sold around 1,850 passes already this year, compared to 1067 passes on Oct. 31 last year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Early season ski pass sales up as Yukoners prepare for pandemic winter

Season passe sales at Mount McIntyre for cross-country skiing are up by around 60 per cent this year

The City of Whitehorse will be spending $655,000 to upgrade the waste heat recovery system at the Canada Games Centre. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New waste heat recovery system coming to the CGC

Council approves $655,000 project

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate education advocates and volunteers help to sort and distribute Christmas hamper grocery boxes outside Elijah Smith Elementary School on Feb. 23. (Rebecca Bradford Andrew/Submitted)
First Nation Education Directorate begins Christmas hamper program

Pick-ups for hampers are scheduled at local schools

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read