From left to right: Party leaders Kate White, Sandy Silver and Currie Dixon in the CBC studio in Whitehorse on April 8. (Chris Windeyer/CBC)

From left to right: Party leaders Kate White, Sandy Silver and Currie Dixon in the CBC studio in Whitehorse on April 8. (Chris Windeyer/CBC)

Parties promote pandemic records, housing plans and addiction strategies in leaders’ debate

The CBC All Leaders debate was moderated by Dave White

The CBC leaders’ debate held April 8 offered a last chance for each of the party leaders to promote their vision to Yukon voters.

CBC host Dave White moderated the relatively friendly debate between NDP Leader Kate White, Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon and Liberal Leader Sandy Silver. The debate was aired during the AirPlay show from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. A recording of the debate is available online.

Pandemic response

The first 30 minutes of the debate focused on the pandemic response. Silver leaned hard on the government’s success in bringing more-than-per-capita vaccines to the territories.

When that supply was slowed down unexpectedly, Silver said “they fought even harder” to secure them.

“I know that people are looking for certainty. Nobody wants to be done with COVID more than myself,” he said. “But again, nobody has a crystal ball.”

Currie Dixon said Yukoners “could be forgiven” for some frustration with the current situation. He said there has been “mixed messaging” and criticized quick decisions on issues such as students returning to school and an election call.

“We want to sit down immediately with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and chart out a path forward,” he said.

Both Dixon and White said they support the vaccine effort and would work with the Chief Medical Officer of Health if they formed a government.

Silver challenged both other leaders to reject protests against masks and restrictions. Dixon said he is “a huge proponent of people getting vaccinated” and said that those who are unsure about vaccination should reach out to health professionals.

“COVID-19 fatigue is a real thing,” White said. “Absolutely I don’t support anti-mask and anti-vaccine protests. Because really, it’s not about the individual. It’s about us as a collective.”

Addictions and wellness

Dixon said the pandemic has exacerbated mental wellness and addiction issues in the territory. He suggested supports need to be expanded and the federal government, territorial government and First Nations governments could partner to create an on-the-land treatment centre.

“Agree, more needs to be done, and we look forward to tackling it,” he said.

Silver committed to a wet shelter and safe supply program to help support people in the territory with addictions.

“This is impacting so many Yukoners and so safe supply will save lives,” Silver said. “This has been tried, tested and true as far as the medical community and yes I agree with Dr. Hanley’s view on that.”

White questioned why the Liberals haven’t implemented safe supply in the last four years.

“I’ve been asking about it, with many others, for many years,” she said. “Addiction is a health issue, it’s not a justice issue. To have this commitment here now is good, but we’ve lost more than 30 people. It feels like it’s too late. It’s such a loss.”


Housing has been a major election topic across the territory. During the debate, candidates faced questions about what they would do to make housing more affordable and to make land lotteries fairer.

White said her party has proposed bold new ideas to combat housing affordability, including a cap on annual rent increases, the establishment of a housing authority that would keep some housing stock below-market prices and supporting more private rental developments.

“It has not become more affordable in the last 10 years,” she said.

The Yukon Party is proposing a closer relationship with municipal governments to develop a variety of types of land. Dixon said there could also be more support to encourage first-time homebuyers, settlement land construction and rent support programs.

“From our perspective, the issue is a lack of available land. It’s driving up pricing for new builds and for existing houses as well,” Dixon said.

Silver said the Liberal government made progress with a large land lottery during the past government, a land trust and said the party has plans to bring 1,000 new lots online over the next five years.

“It’s a booming economy, people want to live here and we need to have housing for everybody,” Silver said.

The leaders were also asked other questions including loss of services in Keno City, liquor licensing, mining royalties and music festival funding. The debate ended with each of the party leaders being asked what they liked in each other’s platforms.

Contact Haley Ritchie at

Election 2021

Just Posted

A motorcycle with driver pulled over on the right side of the North Klondike Highway whose speed was locked in at 171 kilometres per hour. (Courtesy/Yukon RCMP)
Patrols of Yukon highways find poorly-secured loads, intoxicated drivers

The ongoing patrols which police call ‘Operation Cooridor’ is mainly focused on commercial vehicles.

Awaken Festival organizers Meredith Pritchard, Colin Wolf, Martin Nishikawa inside the Old Firehall in Whitehorse on May 11. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Performing arts fest plans to awaken artistic talent in Whitehorse and the rural North

‘A value of ours is to make theatre as accessible as possible.’

April Mikkelsen tosses a disc during a ladies only disc golf tournament at Solstice DiscGolfPark on May 8. John Tonin/Yukon News
Yukon sees its first-ever women’s disc golf tournament

The Professional Disc Golf Assocation had a global women’s event last weekend. In the Yukon, a women’s only tournament was held for the first time ever.

Dave Blottner, executive director at the Whitehorse Food Bank, said the food bank upped its services because of the pandemic. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Food Bank sees Yukoners’ generosity firsthand

“Businesses didn’t know if they could stay open but they were calling us to make sure we were able to stay open.”

Air North president Joe Sparling said the relaxing of self-isolation rules will be good for the business, but he still expects a slow summer. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News)
Air North president expects a slow summer

Air North president Joe Sparling suspects it will be a long time before things return to pre-pandemic times

A prescribed burn is seen from the lookout at Range Road and Whistle Bend Way in Whitehorse May 12. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Editorial: Are you ready for a forest fire?

Citizens for a Firesmart Whitehorse have listed some steps for Yukoners to boost safety and awareness

Caribou pass through the Dempster Highway area in their annual migration. A recent decision by the privacy commissioner has recommended the release of some caribou collar re-location data. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News)
Privacy commissioner recommends release of caribou location data

Department of Environment says consultation with its partners needed before it will consider release

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Family pleased youth will be able to get Pfizer vaccine

Angela Drainville, mother of two, is anxious for a rollout plan to come forward

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Most Read