NDP make royalties a matter of trust

The money made from mining the territory's resources is not staying in the Yukon, said NDP leader Liz Hanson. "Yukon is blessed with natural resource wealth, it is time for Yukoners to get a fair share," she said.

The money made from mining the territory’s resources is not staying in the Yukon, said NDP leader Liz Hanson.

“Yukon is blessed with natural resource wealth, it is time for Yukoners to get a fair share,” she said. “Mining companies reap the rewards and all that’s left for future generations are holes in the ground.”

Hanson, and her party, are proposing the “Yukon Resource Legacy Fund.”

Like a savings account, or trust fund, money made from the territory’s non-renewable resources would be put in this fund for future uses.

The NDP’s ideology on prudent spending and the Yukon’s New Democrat’s track record should not be ignored when Yukoners go to the polls, said Hanson.

Not only did previous NDP governments welcome mining and help establish the mines currently working today, but the Piers McDonald government left behind a $60-million budget surplus in 2000.

RELATED:Read all of our election coverage.

But before any government can start something like this trust fund, the territory needs to start making money off of the industries – from placer mining to oil and gas, said Hanson.

Gold is currently selling for about $1,784 an ounce. For Yukon’s placer gold, the territory is collecting less than 40 cents per ounce, thanks to a 0.02 per cent royalty rate that hasn’t chanced since 1906. Mongolia, sandwiched between Russia and China, has a 7.5 per cent royalty rate on placer gold, according to a global review of royalty rates by The World Bank.

But the big money is in hardrock mining.

The royalty rate for hardrock mining in the territory is based on the mine’s earnings, so as the company makes more, the royalty rate increases. A change in May 2010 capped the rate at 12 per cent.

According to a June report from Natural Resources Canada, the Yukon’s royalty rate is average, compared to other Canadian jurisdictions.

And Hanson won’t provide any numbers on a new royalty regime. If elected, she will consult with the industry and economists to decide what is “reasonable.”

And whatever the change, it will not scare away mining, said Hanson.

“Industry will want to be a part of this,” she said. “They realize that in the Yukon, with the settlement of land claims and through the establishment of regulatory regimes like YESAA – which were all negotiated under previous New Democratic governments – that we have made an environment that is conducive to effective business.”

And despite a list of ideas from education to emergencies, Hanson did not say what will happen with the money collected in the trust.

That, including any possible preference given to First Nations because of their special claim to the territory’s land and resources, has to be decided by Yukoners, she said.

Fixing EMS is an emergency

Yukoners need to have more confidence in their emergency services, which is to say they need to have more confidence in the people who manage them, said NDP Leader Liz Hanson.

An audit of the territory’s Emergency Medical Services released last month showed a government branch nearly $500,000 over budget.

Hanson has a couple of ideas why.

“You start with the political decision about how you organize,” she said, pointing out EMS’ exclusion from the new public safety building at the top of Two-Mile Hill.

Plus, Emergency Medical Services is now under the Department of Community Services, not Health and Social Services, which has jurisdiction over hospitals and other medical facilities, she added.

“There may be some rationale, but it doesn’t make sense to me,” she said. “It starts with actually having informed ministers who monitor carefully what’s going on within their responsibility. Clearly the audit is showing that there isn’t that ministerial accountability. There isn’t that ministerial oversight as to what’s going on under their watch.”

By having EMS in another department, transportation costs, like those for medevacs and rural ambulances, is not included in the overall budget for health care in the territory, she said.

And even without those numbers, the federal auditor general reported in February the Department of Health and Social Services has been overspending, by millions, for years.

“We don’t have a full picture, as legislators, of what the true costs are for the full scope of health care in this territory, so we don’t have it as taxpayers either,” said Hanson.

If elected, the New Democrats would begin a critical review of the current system, and how to do it better.

“Definitely within a year,” she said. “These are huge costs.

“Right now, we’ve seen situations where EMS has been forced to make decisions, for budgetary constraint reasons, that may or may not have negative consequences for the health and safety of citizens. We want to avoid that. And the only way you can avoid that is to know what you’re paying for, and why.

“If that means that they’re under one roof, that may be the case. It may be more money, or it may be money spent more effectively.”

Hanson also promises to create a tax credit incentive for EMS volunteers, in hopes of bolstering confidence in emergency services in the territory’s rural communities.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at


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

Just Posted

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

The Yukon Department of Education building in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. Advocates are calling on the Department of Education to reverse their redefinition of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that led to 138 students losing the program this year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Advocates call redefinition of IEPs “hugely concerning,” call for reversal

At least 138 students were moved off the learning plans this year

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21, 2020. Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 to help recover from losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Details released on relief funding for tourism and culture non-profits

Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive… Continue reading

Most Read