WHITEHORSE – It seems the Premier is wrong about the value of an accurate population count.
In February, Official Opposition Finance critic Brad Cathers called on Premier Silver to challenge the 2016 census numbers because an accurate count affects how much Yukon receives in transfers from the federal government. At the time the Premier dismissed the issue claiming that the census is not used to calculate Yukon's federal grant, because it always undercounts the territory's population.
Now the Premier’s own government is running ads that directly contradict his own words. The government advertising, which is looking for Yukon residents who were not counted in the 2016 Census, states that an accurate population count helps identify how much money Canada transfers to Yukon to maintain programs and services such as healthcare and education.
“We’re glad that the Premier has now realized that he was wrong, but it’s unfortunate he failed to take the time to get briefed on this important issue earlier this year instead of delaying action,” stated Cathers. “The Premier delayed action on this file by four months and as a result, the Bureau of Statistics call for public response is happening during the summer months when many Yukoners are on vacation and it will be more difficult to get full participation in the survey.”
As the Yukon Party indicated in February, if the 2016 Census undercount is left unchallenged, Yukon could lose out on millions of dollars of federal funding that could be spent on priorities such as health care and infrastructure.
“There is a clear trend where the Premier reflexively dismisses any concerns raised by the Official Opposition or the Third Party. We hope that the Premier can remove his partisan blinders, and work with us on the needs and priorities of Yukoners,” added Cathers.
The Official Opposition will continue to push the government to ensure all Yukoners are counted, so Yukon will receive the federal funding needed to provide for essential services.