Premier Darrell Pasloski did not attend a meeting of provincial and territorial finance ministers this week to discuss the future of the Canada Pension Plan.
Ontario and Prince Edward Island are leading a charge to increase CPP contributions to ensure that middle-income Canadians are able to retire comfortably in decades to come.
Finance ministers from those provinces have said there was some consensus among officials at the meetings in Meech Lake, Quebec, that reform is necessary, but that federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty shut down the conversation.
Pasloski declined an interview request, but Elaine Schiman, cabinet spokesperson, answered some questions on his behalf.
“The premier and ministers always need to balance any need for trips away from Yukon with the work that need to be done here,” said Schiman.
Pasloski missed four days of the legislative sitting last week because he was in South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s funeral.
David Hrycan, deputy minister of finance, attended the finance ministers’ meeting on Yukon’s behalf, said Schiman.
In the legislature this week, Pasloski explained that his government is not interested in any changes to the pension plan at this time that will reduce the take-home pay of Yukoners.
“A lot of people will say that this is really another tax by a different name,” said Pasloski.
Opposition NDP Leader Liz Hanson said that increasing CPP contributions will not hurt the economy, as Pasloski and Flaherty say it will.
“The federal Finance Department’s own research shows that Canada Pension Plan expansion will bring long-term economic benefits to our economy by putting income in retirees’ pockets. Expanding the CPP could be done through modest and affordable increased contributions and would be phased to allow workers and businesses time to adjust,” said Hanson.