Campaign materials from the three parties. The election period for the 2021 territorial election is now halfway done. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)

Campaign materials from the three parties. The election period for the 2021 territorial election is now halfway done. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)

Housing, families and “THE Yukon”: Election promises from this week

Candidates are now locked in as we enter the halfway point of the campaign

It’s been another fast-paced week of the election campaign.

Nominations closed March 22, with the Green Party running no candidates this time. On Wednesday, an NDP candidate stepped out of the race after some distasteful social media posts from 2019 and 2013 went public. The deadline to step out of the race has now closed, so all candidates are locked in until election day.

Party press conferences did not slow down. We’re now at the half-way point. In random order, here’s what the parties were saying this week:

Liberals

The Liberals held daily announcements this week, including plans for sport, arts and housing.

Housing has been a big topic this election. The Liberal plan to address the unaffordability issue includes developing and releasing 1,000 new lots in the next five years and working with private sector partnerships to develop new land.

On March 19 the Liberals released their plan for improving healthcare, which recommitted to implementing the 72 recommendations in the Putting People First report, including offsetting the cost of fertility treatments, a bilingual health centre in Whitehorse and building a secure medical unit at Whitehorse General Hospital.

On March 25 they announced they would focus on building a new fieldhouse facility, a new gymnastics facility for the Polarettes Gymnastics Club, aim to host the Canada Winter Games in 2027 and said they would look into bringing varsity sports to Yukon University.

At an infrastructure announcement, the Liberals touted their $2.25 billion five-year capital plan, which was presented this month alongside the budget. Projects included a new school in Whistle Bend, a new recreation centre in Dawson, a new health and wellness centre in Old Crow and a number of new firehall buildings.

The Liberals have also committed to building a new Arts and Heritage Centre in Whitehorse, which would house a permanent art collection and cultural artefacts.

NDP

The NDP announced they would be supporting expectant parents and couples trying to get pregnant with more funding for fertility treatments, midwifery and a birth centre.

Over the weekend the NDP announced they would be putting “the” back in “the Yukon” as an official government policy.

On Monday, leader Kate White made an announcement from Riverside Grocery promising an “Eat Local Buy Local” rebate that would offer a yearly debate for Yukon-based businesses that buy local products.

The NDP also said they plan to help seniors and elders access in-home care and utilize paramedics more widely.

On March 24 the Yukon NDP committed to increasing the minimum wage for workers to $15.20.

In Haines Junction NDP leader Kate White promised to improve life outside of Whitehorse. Promises included a scheduled bus service across the territory, more recreation opportunities for kids, more tablets and computers in schools, better emergency services and equal pay for rural librarians.

The NDP also wants to see rural internet capped at $100 per month. White said the goal is aspirational, and the NDP is confident there are avenues to investigate when they are in government.

Many of the campaign promises aimed at improving life in rural communities hinge on “aggressive recruitment” of professionals like healthcare providers and mental health counsellors. The party also wants to extend government jobs outside of the capital.

Yukon Party

Last week the Yukon Party came out with plans for green jobs that include green building and retrofits and training for Yukoners to pursue those skills.

The party is also advocating for teachers to receive a tax credit to write-off supplies they buy for work and promised to replace the Ross River School.

The big announcement this week was their answer to the Liberal child care plan. Instead of reducing the cost of registered daycare by up to $700 a month per child, the Yukon Party plan is to provide $500 per child per month to all families with children under the age of five and $100 for children between the ages of five and 10.

Leader Currie Dixon said their plan allows families to “decide which childcare options work best for them.”

On March 25 the Yukon Party also committed to freezing power rates for two years. When asked about how the party would be able to make up for lost Yukon Energy revenue, Dixon said the government budget would compensate for the shortfall.

The Yukon Party has also committed to building a new gymnastics facility for the Polarettes Gymnastics Club.

The party also came out with a suite of “anti-red-tape” promises that include examining the “regulatory burden” on local businesses and minimizing new regulations and administration costs.

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

Election 2021

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