WHITEHORSE – The Official Opposition is disappointed to see the Yukon Liberal government refuse to support an opposition proposal to create an All Party Select Committee to examine the potential and serious economic impacts COVID-19 could have on the territory, and how to properly respond to them.
In recent weeks, it has been made clear to Canadians and Yukoners that COVID-19 is already having a substantial impact on our economy. Supply chains are being disrupted, commodity prices are dropping, and global markets in stocks, bonds, and oil are plummeting. As these situations continue to evolve, it is only expected to get worse. The committee that was proposed today suggested that MLAs of all party stripes work collaboratively to take prompt action to prevent or reduce the effects of any further economic downturn.
The Bank of Canada has made robust changes to their overnight rates to mitigate the financial impact of low commodity prices and a sinking dollar, G7 Finance Ministers have met and agreed to take coordinated action, and the federal government has announced that their upcoming budget will have measures to protect the Canadian economy from any fallout.
In contrast, the Government of Yukon tabled its 2020-21 budget last week which made no mention of COVID-19 nor does it have spending earmarked to address the growing crisis. Further, this year’s budget does not provide any analysis or consideration of the impacts the virus may have on our tourism sector, even though Canada has already announced that they anticipate tourism will be hit the hardest.
Specifically relevant to Yukon is today’s recommendation from Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer that all Canadians completely avoid cruise ship travel. Yukon’s ties to Holland America points to lasting negative effects from this on the territory’s upcoming tourism season. The tourism industry is a significant contributor to our economy, so we need to consider what other impacts the virus may have on our tourism sector.
Forming this all-party committee would have resulted in MLAs working together constructively in a multi-partisan manner to address the potential impacts this virus will have on the territory. It is disappointing that the Liberal government is not interested in working with the opposition parties to accomplish that.