Legislative sitting a sign that Yukoners are hopeful for change in 2016

The Yukon NDP Official Opposition caucus has raised issues on behalf of Yukoners that show a widespread desire for change in Yukon as the territory heads into an election year.

The caucus won a major victory for First Nations culture and reconciliation with the unanimous passage of Mount Lorne—Southern Lakes MLA Kevin Barr’s motion to make National Aboriginal Day Yukon’s newest statutory holiday. The idea has been well received by First Nations political leadership, Yukon businesses and members of the Yukon public, who added their names to a 500-signature petition backing Barr’s motion.

Yukon NDP leader Liz Hanson’s effective and open-minded leadership was on display as she represented Yukon well, both in the legislature and to the world. Hanson travelled to Paris as part of Yukon’s COP21 delegation, where her blog provided an on-the-ground perspective of the negotiations and conference sessions, and then she visited Germany as a guest of the government for a post-conference renewable energy infrastructure tour.

And while the government has spared no expense to defend decisions made around the cabinet table, often without consulting Yukoners beforehand, the Yukon NDP caucus organized public town halls and reached out to stakeholders to bring their opinions into the legislature. Two public events on the government’s 300-bed, two-phase Whistle Bend continuing care complex and COP21 brought together hundreds of Yukoners who openly shared their opinions and hopes. A Yukon Party government cabinet minister even attended the Yukon NDP’s continuing care town hall, where he spoke frankly about the facility and its controversial location.

“This fall, the real difference between the Yukon Party government and the Yukon NDP Official Opposition was that we are going out and listening to Yukoners,” said Riverdale South MLA Jan Stick, who moderated the Yukon NDP’s continuing care town hall. “Yukoners know what their priorities are, and they are telling us they want a government that listens.”

The government was forced to backtrack on a number of projects that would not have served the public interest, like offering season-long campground rentals to motor home owners and a stubborn refusal to work with the union representing Yukon’s community nurses to improve their working conditions.

As Yukoners ring in the New Year, the Yukon NDP Official Opposition remains committed to holding the government accountable for ongoing challenges. Copperbelt South MLA Lois Moorcroft will continue to question the government’s failure to listen to its own contractor, who warned of issues with the Whitehorse International Airport apron that would lead to exorbitant repair costs. Takhini—Kopper King MLA Kate White continues to advocate for housing security in one of Canada’s most inaccessible housing markets, and Mayo—Tatchun MLA Jim Tredger serves as a tireless advocate for renewable energy solutions and a stronger Yukon economy that works for everyone.

“We hope that 2016 brings Yukon tidings of love, hope and optimism,” added Stick. “There are opportunities ahead to move closer to a fairer and a more sustainable Yukon.”