WHITEHORSE– The Yukon Party Official Opposition has written to the Federal Finance Minister requesting that the Government of Canada commit funding in its 2019 Budget to the Shakwak portion of the Alaska Highway.
Yukon’s Minister of Highways and Public Works has said that he will not be supporting keeping the road up to current standards and that large sections will soon become gravel. With no money for improvements in Yukon’s recently tabled budget, this will have negative and dangerous impacts on Yukoners and the traveling public.
“The Liberal government is giving up on Yukoners who live in communities along the Alaska Highway,” said Wade Istchenko MLA for Kluane. “They didn’t like the results from their lobbying efforts with the United States so they are taking their ball and going home. That’s not leadership, they should have made this a priority in their budget and they should be pressing the Canadian government to provide funding.”
This request to the federal government follows a letter the Yukon Party Official Opposition sent to the federal Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2017 asking that she work with the US to have funding reinstated for construction in the corridor, but it appears that those efforts were unsuccessful. Further, the Official Opposition also requested that the Premier ask Canada to include Shakwak funding as an important part of its talks with regard to the new USMCA, and those requests fell on deaf ears.
“While the Yukon Liberals have found over $19 million to spend on paving the runway in the Premier’s riding, it’s unfortunate they can’t find any money to spend on this important trade corridor,” added Stacey Hassard, Leader of the Official Opposition. “We are hopeful that the Liberals in Ottawa better understand the importance of this highway and provide long-term stable infrastructure funding to ensure northern communities have continued reliable and safe road access.”