FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 7, 2022
“On Thursday, the Federal Liberals released their 2022-2023 budget. The Yukon was only mentioned 10 times, and two of those were simply re-announcing the Child Care agreement reached last year.
“Canadians and Yukoners needed a federal budget that was serious about addressing defense and military capabilities in the North. In light of Russian aggression and their illegal invasion of Ukraine, it is clear that the Canadian government needs to take Arctic security more seriously. We hope the importance of a fully built-out Canadian Armed Forces base in the North, preferably in the Yukon, is acknowledged in the announced comprehensive review of Canada’s defence policy.
“We were hoping to see specific mention of security investments and supports for the North and, in particular, the Yukon. Further, it is disappointing that the plan announced by the Liberals still leaves Canada far short of its NATO commitment regarding defense spending totaling at least 2 percent of GDP. The new money fails to make up for the $12 billion shifted out of the Ministry of Defence since 2015.
“We also have questions about the budget reference to supporting northern regulatory processes. While this is a nice visionary statement, what will really matter is what Canada means by support. Does this mean money to improve processes or provide clearer timelines? Or to review processes? Regardless, Canada must work with Northerners and Yukon First Nations rather than implementing any changes unilaterally.
“With Yukon facing a doctor and nursing shortage, I was pleased to see the federal government provide student loan forgiveness for health professionals in underserved rural or remote communities, including in the North. We hope this will attract new doctors and nurses to the Yukon. The success of this policy and its importance for the Yukon will be largely dependent on how the federal government defines communities.
“We were disappointed to see that out of the funding available to support Northern housing the Yukon was given short shrift. The Yukon gets half the amount of money that is going to the other two territories. This comes as Yukon reports the highest population growth rate in Canada and is an unfortunate reminder that the territory needs a strong representative as MP who will actually advocate on our behalf.
“It is also unfortunate the government missed opportunities to help small businesses get back on their feet. The budget ends all COVID recovery programs, which have helped Yukon businesses, particularly in the service, hospitality, and tourism sectors, navigate government shutdowns. As well, the budget fails to advance the 2019 budget commitment to address credit card processing fees for small businesses. Finally, businesses are also rightly concerned that billions of dollars of projected deficit spending now, and into the future, under a Liberal-NDP government foreshadow tax increases down the road. Businesses are already seeing payroll tax increases this budget.”
“The Yukon Party supports responsible resource development in the territory, so we were happy to see the announcement of the new Critical Mineral Exploration Tax Credit. This has the potential to help Yukon mining companies attract new investment to develop projects here in the territory.”
“In conclusion, there is good and bad in this budget. The lack of a serious approach to support for the military and vague or underfunded support for the Yukon once again shows that the federal government thinks of the territory as an afterthought.”