Mental health, economic slowdown Silver’s spring focus

WHITEHORSE – Unanimous support for a motion calling for a mental health strategy was one of the highlights of the spring sitting for Liberal leader Sandy Silver.

“Yukon is one of two jurisdictions in Canada without a mental health strategy. I brought forward the motion this sitting, because I know how important mental health issues are to Yukoners,” said Silver. “I highlighted the many issues that Yukoners have been bringing forward to me, and what our health care professionals are facing in rural Yukon. We need a strategy to be able to properly identify these and ensure that adequate resources are allocated.”

Silver also argued in favour of rural continuing care facilities that would keep seniors in their home communities.

“We are seeing a one size fits all approach from this government with its current plan for a 300 bed warehouse in Whistle Bend,” he said.  “I know elders in rural Yukon would prefer to stay closer to home and their families.”

Yukon’s slowing economy was also a focus for much of the spring sitting for the Liberal leader. Statistics Canada confirmed that the Yukon Party has led us into a made-in-Yukon recession.

“The year began with the closure of the Wolverine Mine, continued with reports confirming we were the worst performing economy in Canada over the last twenty four months and for good measure the Fraser Institute and the Yukon Mineral Advisory Board both criticized the Yukon Party for failing to act on issues that are under its control,” said Silver.

Unfortunately the divide between the government and First Nations continues to have a negative impact on our economy, said Silver.

“The slowdown in mining has been made worse by this government’s unwillingness to work with First Nation governments and its’ ‘see no evil’ approach to the permitting problems of mining projects,” said Silver.  “The dispute over the Peel watershed has already landed the government in court and the battle over S-6 is on the horizon.  Both of these issues bring uncertainly and highlight the lack of trust between the two levels of government.”

The Yukon Party has not been content to fight with just one other level of government and has expanded its confrontational approach to the City of Whitehorse.

“This government has proven time and again that it cannot get along with anyone who disagrees with it or even raises question about decisions it makes,” Silver said.  “The Premier’s call for a new municipal government highlighted the arrogance of the Yukon Party and demonstrated its’ my way or the highway approach.”

As Silver predicted, prior to the tabling of the budget, the Yukon Party has set out to buy the hearts and minds of Yukoners with their own money.

“What we are seeing is with an election approaching the Yukon Party is ready to begin building more new projects than local contractors can handle,” said Silver. “A look at the long term plan shows a huge spike in capital spending that drops off dramatically after the next election.  What the territory needs is a consistent project building schedule that ensures local contractors receive the lion’s share of the work, and keeps dollars in Yukon. Mining is boom and bust, government spending shouldn’t be.”

Silver also raised questions about the major cost overruns at the new LNG facility, the failure of the government to move forward on a promise to pave the Dawson runway, the future of a second fibre optic line, Shakwak funding and our energy future.

Silver voted against the Yukon Party budget because he has no confidence in its leadership nor the direction the government is heading.


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