Statement from the Official Opposition on COVID-19 Impact on Yukon

WHITEHORSE - We join all Yukoners in disappointment over the recent cancellation of the 2020 Arctic Winter Games, while understanding that this decision was made based on medical advice. Our hearts go out to the volunteers and organizers, but most of all the athletes.

A time like this is an opportunity for Members of the Legislative Assembly to rise above partisanship and work together to provide the public with a unified voice on both the health and economic fronts.

The Official Opposition has reached out to the government to request that opposition parties be provided regular briefings on Canada and Yukon’s health response and preparations for COVID-19. This is consistent with practice across Canadian jurisdictions and would ensure all legislators have the most up-to-date and accurate information possible.

We have seen over the past weeks that external events outside our control can have a substantial impact on our economy. This is not just in reference to one decision to cancel an event but also to the growing negative impact that COVID-19 has had and continues to have on the country’s economy.

In the last several days the Bank of Canada and the United States Federal Reserve have taken significant action to help mitigate the impacts, G7 Finance Ministers have met to develop a unified response, and the federal Canadian government has announced that their upcoming budget will have measures to protect the economy from any fallout.

The federal government has forecasted a drop of at least $550 million in tourism revenues from the Chinese market alone by June. Further, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer advised Canadians over the weekend to rethink cruise ship travel, which will likely have lasting effects 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.

Yukoners expect politicians to come together across party lines to examine all potential impacts this virus will have on our territory and to come up with recommendations on actions the government can take to mitigate any economic impact for this year.

For this reason, on March 9th the Official Opposition proposed the creation of an All Party Select Committee made up of MLAs from all three parties to examine the potential economic impacts of COVID-19 on the territory, and how to properly respond to them. Unfortunately the government opposed the creation of this committee. 

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Madison Pearson
(867) 393-7026