For many years the Yukon Party insisted that the upturn in our economy was due to its great management of our territory. This was particularly true of the management of Yukon’s mining industry. The Yukon Party was very good at taking credit during good times. However, they have been unwilling to accept any blame for the current economic slowdown we are in. A report this week from Statistics Canada shows that our economic growth has stalled under this government. For the second year in a row our economy actually shrank. In 2014 it shrunk by 1.2%. By most economists definition we are now in a recession. When I asked this week if the Premier accepted responsibility for the fact our economy has gotten smaller two years in a row under his governments watch he refused to do so.
Yukoners will recall it wasn’t that long ago the Yukon Party, in one of its economic forecasts, was promising 8.8% economic growth for 2014. According to Stats Canada the real number is -1.2% growth in 2014. The government was off by 10%, but as we know from a former Minister of Economic Development – the numbers don’t matter.
On the other hand, the GDP increased in BC, NWT and Nunuvut in 2014. In Northwest Territories, GDP grew 6.8% and mining was up 21%. In Nunavut, GDP grew 6.2% in 2014 while mining increased 9.9%. In British Columbia, GDP rose 2.6%. Copper, nickel, lead and zinc ore mining rose 27%, mainly because of a new mine. Our neighbours all saw economic growth last year and improvements in the mining sector. They are dealing with the same world mineral prices.
It is very disappointing to watch the government duck responsibility for having the worst economic performance of any jurisdiction in the country over the last 24 months. In 2013 the government forecast 8.8% economic growth for 2014, but has instead delivered 2 straight years of economic contraction.
The prospects for 2015 look no better with uncertainty hanging over our mining sector thanks to this government’s ongoing court battles with Yukon First Nations. The next time a Yukon Party MLA tells you they are the party you can trust to manage the economy ask them about the latest GDP numbers.
Leader, Yukon Liberal Party
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