Throne speech offers few thrills

Thursday's throne speech offered no surprises, being a rehash of the Yukon Party's election platform. Liz Hanson, leader of the NDP Opposition, found it disappointing.

Thursday’s throne speech offered no surprises, being a rehash of the Yukon Party’s election platform.

Liz Hanson, leader of the NDP Opposition, found it disappointing. “Their platform was pretty thin gruel,” she told reporters afterwards. “I was expecting a visionary statement.”

Notably absent from the speech was any reference to the Peel Watershed –

a vast swath of wilderness that both opposition parties, as well as First Nations and conservationists, want protected.

Darius Elias, interim leader of the Liberals, called the speech “as exciting as an open-net goal.” But he lauded the government’s promise to build a youth shelter and develop a water strategy.

Elias expressed surprise at the Yukon Party’s long-term plans to build a big, new hydroelectric project. “It was not something the Yukon Party committed to in the recent election campaign,” Elias said in a release.

Not so. Premier Darrell Pasloski did announce this during the campaign. But it was easily missed, as it forms just a small part of the government’s energy strategy.

In the short term, Pasloski is banking on the private sector helping to relieve the territory’s power pinch, once his government completes its independent power production policy.

Medium-term, the premier is bullish on the potential to pump natural gas from Eagle Plains. Geothermal, wind, solar and biomass are also being explored.

The government plans to begin addressing Whitehorse’s housing shortage by having private developers build affordable rental units at a vacant lot on the corner of Mountainview Drive and Range Road.

It will either build a new homeless shelter, or expand the Salvation Army’s existing facility, and beef-up services offered to recovering alcoholics and drug addicts.

The government seems to be “capital-city-centred,” said Elias. Both he and Sandy Silver, the new Liberal MLA for the Klondike, have a laundry list of items they’d like to see in their communities.

Old Crow needs a new water well and recreation centre. And its residents remain unhappy with the federal government’s replacement to the Food Mail program, said Elias.

Dawson City needs a new recreation centre and new college residences, said Silver.

The sitting will last nine days, wrapping up on Thursday, December 15. No major pieces of legislation are expected to be tabled. But the sitting will provide the legislature’s many rookie MLAs a warm-up round before more serious matters arise in the spring.

David Laxton, MLA for Porter Creek Centre and the legislature’s newly-picked Speaker, urged members to keep it clean.

“While putting much effort into crafting clever questions designed to embarrass, and evading answers to that same end, may seem like the smart thing to do, putting effort into eliciting reasonable and useful information on both sides is perhaps the courageous thing to do.”

All parties have promised to work to improve decorum in the house, and Thursday ended on a chummy note, with MLAs from both sides of the legislature shaking hands.

But the battling hasn’t yet begun. Thursday’s sitting started later than usual, so question period wasn’t held.

Hanson expressed hope that decorum will be kept for “a long time.” Elias wasn’t so optimistic.

“Two days,” was his guess at how long the ceasefire will last.

Contact John Thompson at

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

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

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

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Most Read