Haley Ritchie/Yukon News file
File photo of the legislative assembly. The previous spring sitting began on March 4 but was interrupted due to the election.

Haley Ritchie/Yukon News file File photo of the legislative assembly. The previous spring sitting began on March 4 but was interrupted due to the election.

Throne speech kicks off short spring legislature sitting

The government will now need to pass the budget.

The throne speech on May 11 struck an optimistic tone about working together, filled with Liberal election promises and some NDP wins – but the clock is now ticking on getting the budget passed.

“For the first time in nearly 30 years, Yukoners have elected a minority government to lead them forward,” said Commissioner Angélique Bernard. “Yukoners have sent a clear message that we need to move forward together for the benefit of our territory.”

Her words officially opened the first session of the 35th Yukon Legislative Assembly, after Liberal MLA Jeremy Harper was elected as speaker. NDP MLA Annie Blake will serve as deputy speaker and chair of the Committee of the Whole.

The throne speech included high-level promises from the previously tabled government budget, including renewable electricity projects, the health care reform recommendations from the Putting People First report and a local tourism campaign called the “Great Yukon Summer.”

It also included new items from an agreement struck between the Liberal minority government and opposition NDP, which included more ambitious climate change targets, new mental health supports and a higher minimum wage.

The spring special sitting will take place over 11 days, ending on May 31.

Budget to pass with NDP support

In that time, the new Liberal budget will need to be tabled and passed. The NDP has already pledged to support the passing of the budget, which will be a first for her, according to leader Kate White.

“We have a minority government and we’ve had some really interesting ideas come from all sides. It’ll be a fascinating time,” she told reporters after the first sitting day.

The agreement between the two parties included ambitious deadlines, including Aug. 31 for a supervised consumption site and May 15 for a new cap on annual rent increases. White said those deadlines are not negotiable.

“We signed an agreement with fixed dates. I’m going to have to vote for budgets that I don’t 100 per cent agree on. This will be the first time as an elected person that I will be voting in favour of the budget. So that is a sacrifice,” she said.

Short sitting means crunch time for debate

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon took issue with the length of the session. He was concerned that the time is “unbelievably inadequate when it comes to the amount of scrutiny that we need to provide to that material.”

“We think that democracy requires transparency and public scrutiny and that there’s no good reason for the Liberals or the NDP, to deny public scrutiny of this budget and this material,” he said.

Dixon said while there were things in the speech his party will support – including a substance abuse treatment centre – he’s still waiting on details for policy items such as the rent cap.

Premier Sandy Silver said the government is ready to get back to work quickly.

“To be back in the legislative assembly about a month after the election shows our intent. We have been working very hard ever since. And we really do want to see the budget passed. You know, there’s a $434 million capital budget in there. Of course, there’s been some contracts out the door, but we really want to see the checks being cashed and the money flowing,” he said.

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com

Yukon legislative assembly

Just Posted

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs nine new COVID-19 cases, 54 active cases

More CEMA enforcement officers have been recruited, officials say

Yukon paleontologists Grant Zazula (left) and Elizabeth Hall (right) examine mammoth fossils in Whitehorse on June 10. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Mammoth bones discovered at Dawson mine site

“So this is just a start, hopefully, we’re going to be learning a lot.”

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker plead guilty to offences under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Couple who broke isolation rules to get vaccines in Beaver Creek fined $2,300

Crown and defence agreed on no jail time for Rod and Ekaterina Baker

X
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for June 16, 2021.… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Yukon News file)
COVID-19 outbreak surges to 50 active cases in the Yukon

Officials urge Yukoners to continue following guidelines, get vaccinated

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

For the second year running, the Yukon Quest will not have 1,000 mile race. Crystal Schick/Yukon News
The Yukon Quest will be two shorter distance events instead of a 1,000 mile race

After receiving musher feeback, the Yukon Quest Joint Board of Directors to hold two shorter distances races instead of going forward with the 1,000 mile distance

It’s been a long time since most Yukoners have seen downtown Skagway. (Andrew Seal/Yukon News file)
What Canada-U.S. border changes could mean for Alaska travel

The federal government is expected to make an announcement on Monday

A rendering of the proposed new city hall/services building and transit hub. (City of Whitehorse/submitted)
City building plans move forward

Council approves procurement going ahead

Most Read