Premier Sandy Silver during a live update on the COVID-19 situation at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 27. Silver said increasing the Yukon’s borrowing limit from $400 million to $800 million will allow the government to move forward with major capital projects, specifically sighting the climate change strategy. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Territory debt limit to increase to $800M, pending approval

Previous limit was $400 million

The federal government has increased the Yukon’s borrowing limit from $400 million to $800 million.

Premier Sandy Silver spoke with the News on June 16 regarding what this increase will mean for the territory.

The increase was announced on June 12, and is currently pending approval from the Governor General, on the advice of the Treasury Board.

Silver said this has been something his government has been talking about with federal finance minister Bill Morneau.

Of the territory’s borrowing capacity, $209 million has already been used. This dates back to both Silver’s government and the previous one formed by the Yukon Party.

Silver said this increased limit would allow the government to move forward with major capital projects, specifically sighting the climate change strategy.

“This could allow us to make major infrastructure investments to support our green energy plans, and you know you can’t build major infrastructure without debt,” Silver said.

The premier spoke on some projects being considered.

One is a new pumped storage facility near Moon Lake and another is a proposed expansion of the Altin Hydro Project, owned by the Taku River Tlingit First Nation.

“It’s a really exciting time to work with First Nations and their economic development branches/corporations and come up with some solutions that will be affordable for Yukoners but also really important as we look to expand our population on our needs,” Silver said.

He clarified that just because the territory can borrow more money, it doesn’t mean that the government will max out the limit.

He argued that his government has done a good job managing resources, pointing to balancing the budget in 2020 before the pandemic hit.

“I think we have a government here at the helm that has expertise and ability to manage the finances and plan for the future,” Silver said.

He adds that this increased capacity will not be used to offset costs related to COVID-19, as the government already has money saved for it.

“We have the means within our government to budget properly for that because we did balance our budget,” Silver said.

Brad Cathers, the Yukon Party MLA for Lake Laberge, offered a reaction to the increased borrowing limit on June 15.

Cathers said he felt the announcement was snuck through by the Yukon Liberals and called the talks between the territory and the federal government secret. He added borrowing more money will burden future generations of Yukoners with debt.

He is also concerned there was no democratic oversight of the decision.

“We believe that a decision to burden future generations with massive debt should never be made behind closed doors by the seven members of the Liberal cabinet,” Cathers said.

He was worried about the amount of money the government could now borrow, considering it previously only had access to less than $200 million.

“It’s a clear indication that they plan to borrow an unprecedented amount of money,” Cathers said.

The last increase to the borrowing capacity took place in 2012.

Contact Gord Fortin at gord.fortin@yukon-news.com

Yukon government

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes

adsf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 26, 2021

Ken Anderson’s Sun and Moon model sculpture sits in the snow as he carves away at the real life sculpture behind Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre for the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous festival in Whitehorse on Feb. 21, 2018. Yukon Rendezvous weekend kicks off today with a series of outdoor, virtual and staged events. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Rendezvous snowpad, live music and fireworks this weekend

A round-up of events taking place for the 2021 Rendezvous weekend

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. The proposed Atlin Hydro Expansion project is moving closer to development with a number of milestones reached by the Tlingit Homeland Energy Limited Partnership and Yukon Energy over the last several months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Atlin hydro project progresses

Officials reflect on milestones reached

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read