Here is a quick snapshot of what happened in the Legislative Assembly this week!
Early COVID-19 Response
Opposition parties voted against the 2019-20 4th Appropriation Act, a supplementary spending Bill focused on the government’s early response to COVID-19. While both opposition parties claimed that they were willing to put politics aside last spring when the pandemic began, we were disappointed to see them vote against this funding to respond to the needs of Yukoners.
Putting People First
On Monday, October 19, two representatives of the independent health review panel appeared virtually as witnesses to answer questions from MLA’s about their report. Their report, which lays out a bold new vision for delivering health and social services in the territory, was released this past spring. You can read the report here: https://yukon.ca/en/putting-people-first
Our Liberal Caucus strongly supports these changes to health care delivery in our territory, and are proud of the bold steps that Minister Frost and her team at the Department of Health and Social Services are taking.
Work is already underway in implementing these important changes – for example improvements to the medical travel program were announced this month. Medical travel will become easier and more affordable for Yukoners as the multi-day travel subsidy will double from $75 per day to $150 per day starting on the first day. The number of cities that covered under the program is also increasing, meaning Yukoners will have more flexibility in determining the best place to receive treatment.
We are also very excited about the work that is underway to implement universal affordable early learning and childcare. We recognize that now, more than ever, we need to support Yukon parents.
You can read more about the panel’s appearance here: https://yukonassembly.ca/sites/default/files/hansard/34-3-048.pdf
Small Business Week Tribute
Small business week is being recognized across Canada from October 18-24th. Minister Pillai, Minister of Economic Development, gave a tribute in honour of our amazing business community. You can watch Minister Pillai’s tribute here: https://fb.watch/1hNCS5zWTA/
This year has been one that nobody predicted, and Yukon business owners have shown incredible resiliency and innovation in the face of a global pandemic. We have seen businesses pivot to online retail and apps, and some have changed their businesses models entirely to address the current uncertainty. In the face of all that, our business community has shown true grit and strength, and because of this, Yukon’s economy is one of only two across Canada expected to see growth this year.
The feedback and input we received from the business community in the early days, and through the pandemic, have been critical in creating business support programs that are realistic and meet the needs of our business community. We are so grateful for Yukon’s small business community, and thanks to their strength, we know we will get through this together.
Support for Mi’kmaq fisheries
On Wednesday October 21, all members of the Legislative Assembly supported a motion that stated the following:
“THAT this house urges the Government of Yukon to support Mi’kmaq fisheries by:
- Denouncing the violence against Mi’kmaq people and the RCMP’s failure to protect Mi’kmaq communities; and
- Calling on the Government of Canada to work with the Sipekne’katik First nation to implement a moderate livelihood fishery”
Our caucus condemns the violence against Mi’kmaq people who are exercising their rights to fish lobster. We encourage all levels of government to recognize and protect First Nations rights. The path forward is one of respect and cooperation that we need to walk together.
School Council honoraria increased
On Tuesday, October 20th, Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee gave a Ministerial Statement about some exciting changes for school councils. For the first time since 1991, the honouraria given to school council members has been increased.
School councils are a vital part of the school ecosystem – giving parents and community members a voice on many important aspects of school life. This rate increase is long overdue and reflects the important contribution that school boards make to the broader community.