In addition to continued discussion of the 2018-19 Budget, this week Ministers informed the Legislative Assembly about a new Justice initiative and the start of long awaited remediation work in the Marwell area of Whitehorse. Yukon also has a new Commissioner who visited the Legislative Assembly.
New Commissioner of Yukon
The Legislative Assembly was introduced to Angélique Bernard, who was sworn in as Yukon’s 26th Commissioner on March 12 following her appointment by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Our Liberal Caucus offers congratulations and a warm welcome to Commissioner Bernard.
Budget discussion continued this week with a lot of misinformation from the Yukon Party about a lack of detail and missing information. With the inclusion of the Fiscal and Economic Outlook and the Five-Year Capital Plan, this year’s budget is more detailed than previous years. We’ve provided Yukoners with a full and complete budget with all of the usual information. Many pages of supplementary information and statistics previously included in printed copies of the budget have been removed, but they are readily available online (here). Our Liberal Caucus worked hard on the 2018-19 Budget, which shows financial restraint and puts Yukon’s finances back on a sustainable path. We are proud to be making investments that will help grown Yukon’s economy.
Learn more about the 2018-19 Budget here.
Community Wellness Court
This week Riverdale South MLA Tracy-Anne McPhee announced that Yukon’s Community Wellness Court will receive permanent annual funding of $459,000 starting next month. The court provides sentencing alternatives for offenders with mental health, addictions and cognitive impairments such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Providing permanent funding supports our Liberal Caucus’ pursuit of alternative therapeutic approaches for individuals with disabilities, mental health and addictions problems.
“This permanent funding is well-deserved. A 2014 evaluation of the court found that it was meeting its primary objectives of reducing recidivism and improving public safety. Many individuals who have participated in the court have made significant progress in addressing the underlying factors that contributed to their involvement in the criminal justice system.” – Riverdale South MLA Tracy-Anne McPhee
Learn more about the Community Wellness Court here.
Marwell Tar Pit Remediation
Old Crow MLA Pauline Frost was happy to inform Yukoners that remediation work on the Marwell Tar Pit site will begin this year. The 2018-19 Budget includes $4.6 million to clean up the site, which was contaminated by an oil refinery built in the area during the Second World War.
“Our government is committed to working with partners, including the federal government and First Nation governments, to clean up our land.” – Old Crow MLA Pauline Frost
Learn more about the Marwell Tar Pit Remediation here.
This week MLAs debated three motions brought forward by Opposition parties concerning daylight savings time, medical travel and a diverse fibre optic route. Following debate, our Liberal Caucus was pleased to see all three motions receive unanimous consent. We will continue to work together with our colleagues in the Legislative Assembly to address issues of importance to Yukoners.
Daylight Savings Time
Porter Creek Centre MLA Paolo Gallina amended a motion brought forward by the Yukon Party regarding daylight savings time in Yukon. Our Liberal Caucus understands that many Yukoners have views on the merit of daylight savings time. We also recognize the need to consider the implications of such a change within the broader context of Canada and beyond in light of the interconnections between Yukon and other jurisdictions.
The amended motion calls on the Yukon government to investigate the possible elimination of daylight savings time in Yukon.
“Any decisions on changing Yukon’s current practice of following daylight saving would impact all Yukoners in all walks of life. It is important that the government understand these impacts, if and when it considers such a change.
I believe such an investigation is a prudent first step for the government to take in light of the complicated issues that this possibly gives rise to.” – Porter Creek Centre MLA Paolo Gallina
Old Crow MLA Pauline Frost spoke to a motion brought forward by the Yukon Party calling on the government to review Yukon’s medical travel program. Our Liberal Caucus was happy to support the review as part of the broader review of Health and Social Services that we announced with this year’s budget – one of the recommendations of the Yukon Financial Advisory Panel.
“We are reviewing medical travel as part of the comprehensive review of Health and Social Services. Our decision to support this motion is because we do support this very important program.” – Old Crow MLA Pauline Frost
Diverse Fibre Optic Route
Porter Creek South MLA Ranj Pillai amended an NDP motion calling on the government to announce the route for a diverse fibre optic line for Yukon. MLA Pillai informed the Legislative Assembly about the status of the diverse fibre optic project.
“The next step in the process, which we are currently undertaking, is to conclude with Canada the details on the federal investment that will, in combination with our own resources, bring this project to life.” – Porter Creek South MLA Ranj Pillai
Our Liberal Caucus is proud to deliver on our campaign commitment to advance the fibre optic project. It supports our efforts to strengthen and grow our local knowledge economy as a way of diversifying Yukon’s economy.
“The completion of this project will ensure fibre optic redundancy in Yukon, which means that any break along the line will not disrupt the territory’s telecommunications traffic. This project will provide diversity and security of service and offer economic opportunities for all Yukoners.” – Porter Creek South MLA Ranj Pillai
Our Liberal Caucus is very excited about the diverse fibre optic project and we look forward to sharing more details in the coming weeks.
This week Liberal MLAs acknowledged several local individuals, businesses, athletes and organizations.
Mount Lorne-Southern Lakes MLA John Streicker paid tribute to Allison Anderson, the new Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology Associate chair at Yukon College.
MLA Striecker also paid tribute to Yukon Spirits’ Two Brewers, which was awarded microdistillery of the year at the 2018 Canadian Whisky Awards.
Additionally, MLA Striecker paid tribute to the organizers and participants in the 2018 Arctic Winter Games, which begin next week in the Northwest Territories.
Porter Creek South MLA Ranj Pillai paid tribute to the late Al Archer, a highly respected Yukon geologist who, with Bob Cathro, opened Archer, Cathro & Associates Limited in Whitehorse in 1965.
Mountainview MLA Jeanie Dendys paid tribute to the 41st Annual Kilrich Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, presented for the first time by Victoria Gold.