Currie Dixon, Kate White and Sandy Silver participated in an all-leaders debate on April 1, which was streamed on Zoom and Facebook live. (Facebook)

Currie Dixon, Kate White and Sandy Silver participated in an all-leaders debate on April 1, which was streamed on Zoom and Facebook live. (Facebook)

Party leaders debate priorities at First Nations candidates forum

Sandy Silver, Currie Dixon and Kate White were present at the debate on April 1

Housing, energy, education and justice were points of discussion at the all-leaders forum on Yukon First Nations issues on April 1.

Sandy Silver, Currie Dixon and Kate White represented the Liberal Party, Yukon Party and New Democratic Party, respectively. The debate was hosted by the Council of Yukon First Nations and streamed live.

Liberal leader Sandy Silver pledges addiction, housing support

Silver said the Liberal Party’s three greatest priorities are mental wellness and addictions, reconciliation and housing.

Silver pledged $70 million for mental wellness and addiction support services. He also promised a wet shelter program, on-the-land treatment centre and safe drug supply.

“This is very innovative, and these programs are going to significantly reduce the deaths that are related to the opioid crisis,” Silver said.

Regarding energy, Silver said his party has doubled the Yukon’s renewable energy generation in the last five years. The Liberals’ 10-year renewable energy plan will explore hydraulic energy and upgrades to the transmission system. He slammed the Yukon Party’s promise to freeze power rates, saying that “if you freeze rates now, someone’s going to have to pay for it later.”

Addressing housing, Silver said his party is committed to releasing 1,000 lots and 800 units across the Yukon in partnership with private business.

When asked to address the overrepresentation of First Nations people in the criminal justice system, Silver said aftercare is essential to stop the cycle of reincarceration. He promised funding toward treatment centres, but said partnerships with First Nations are more important than government funding.

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon highlights education and affordability

When asked to list his priorities, Dixon also highlighted partnerships with First Nation governments, as well as education and affordability for young families.

Success rates among Indigenous youth in the education system is a particular point of concern within education, Dixon said. The leader suggested that an Indigenous academy and more First Nations self-determination in the education system could boost learning outcomes. Different solutions will be required for each community, he added.

Regarding energy, Dixon promised to freeze power rates for two years and limit dramatic spikes in cost. He also promised the construction of a new energy generation facility, rather than renting diesel generators, and retrofitting programs for homeowners to advance renewable electricity use.

Dixon said his party will combat the housing crisis by working with First Nations governments to develop settlement land and encourage private sector development. He also promised a reintroduction of the first-time home buyer program, and a new first-time land-buyer program.

Addressing the overrepresentation of First Nations in the justice system, Dixon linked the issue to addictions and mental wellness.

“I think we need to view those issues as health issues and not just justice issues, and really take a holistic approach to them,” Dixon said.

New Democratic Party leader Kate White promises rent caps and energy investments

White highlighted housing, health, climate and the environment as her party’s three priorities.

The leader pledged a cap on rent increases as well as partnerships with First Nations and development corporations to build additional housing.

She said her party is committed to eradicating homelessness. She also suggested that a housing authority would help homes recirculate the market at modest prices.

White said her party is committed to protecting at least 25 per cent of Yukon’s land and water by 2025, with an increase of 30 per cent by 2030.

Regarding energy, White said the Yukon government should look at energy infrastructure as an investment similar to highways, buildings and programming, with funding that would lighten costs for Yukoners.

When asked about overrepresentation of First Nations people in the criminal justice system, White said larger issues of poverty and addiction need to be addressed. Without support, people who are released on conditions often wind up incarcerated again, she said.

“When we ask someone with an alcohol addiction not to drink, but without giving them any supports or safe housing to go to after, the challenge is you fall back into the same patterns,” White said.

The debate is available in its entirety on the event’s Facebook page.

Contact Gabrielle Plonka at gabrielle.plonka@yukon-news.com

Election 2021

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

Just Posted

Dawson the dog sits next to the Chariot Patrick Jackson has loaded and rigged up to walk the Dempster Highway from where it begins, off the North Klondike Highway, to the Arctic Circle. (Submitted)
Walking the Dempster

Patrick Jackson gets set for 405-kilometre journey

Liberal leader Sandy Silver speaks outside his campaign headquarters in Dawson City following early poll results on April 12. (Robin Sharp/Yukon News)
BREAKING: Minority government results will wait on tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin

The Yukon Party and the Liberal Party currently have secured the same amount of seats

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Exposure notice issued for April 3 Air North flight

Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has issued another… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read