NDP vow to stay off grid

Hooking the Yukon into BC's electrical grid is a pipe dream, says NDP Leader Liz Hanson. Hanson's comments came a day after the Liberal Party promised to tie the Yukon into the North American grid if elected.

Hooking the Yukon into BC’s electrical grid is a pipe dream, says NDP Leader Liz Hanson.

Hanson’s comments came a day after the Liberal Party promised to tie the Yukon into the North American grid if elected.

Running lines south to British Columbia would be “hugely costly,” said Hanson on Wednesday morning.

Yukon Energy Corporation lacks the money to build that sort of infrastructure.

The territory would have to consider public-private partnerships, a controversial move considering the ATCO scandal two years ago.

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Holding a stack of photocopied government energy contracts, The NDP’s Frank Turner took the opportunity to criticize his Yukon Party opponent Brad Cathers.

“Despite his claims to the contrary, government documents show Brad Cathers was directly involved in the Yukon Energy privatization scheme,” he said.

The contracts show Cathers authorizing Calgary’s Confer Consulting to explore privatizing Yukon’s energy utility.

“While knocking on doors, this has been a huge issue,” said Turner.

“Brad signed off on a quarter-million dollars worth of contracts.”

Cathers asserts he has always been public about his meetings with ATCO and that he walked away from the Yukon Party two years ago because of the way then-premier Dennis Fentie handled the situation.

Rather than connect the grid, the NDP propose to invest $1.5 million into improving the reliability of Yukon Energy.

It will pay for this with money from the recently announced Yukon Legacy Resource Fund – money the NDP hopes to collect from resource extraction profits.

The NDP will also implement a Green Energy Act, said Hanson at a rainy stump speech outside Yukon Energy.

It would outline how the Yukon would move away from so-called “dirty fossil-fuels” to geothermal, solar and wind energy.

Even heavy industry would be encouraged to use renewable energy, said Hanson.

She wants the Yukon to take a lead from Ontario in implementing its Green Energy Act.

Contact Vivian Belik at vivianb@yukon-news.com