Whitehorse — Yukon residents will head to polls on Monday for Canada’s fourth election during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the legislature broke up, the Liberal Party was the majority, followed by the Yukon Party and the New Democratic Party.
Liberal leader Sandy Silver, first elected in 2011, led the party to victory in a surprising election in 2016, leading the party’s second-largest majority government from the only elected representative.
“People wanted change,” he said in a recent interview about victory. “In the first year we were feeding from a fire hose … at that time I was the only legislative member of my team.”
Silver pointed out the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent territorial budget, which estimated GDP to increase by 7.9% in 2021, as a reason voters should choose to maintain party power.
“It’s not time to change course,” he said. “We are in a good place. We have balanced our budget. It is not time to retrain a bunch of (legislative assembly members).”
The Liberal Party’s victory put an end to the 14-year rule of the Yukon Party and entrusted the party to the official opposition.
Former Parliamentarian Curry Dixon has shown a return to politics for a person who was elected the party’s new leader in 2019 and was once one of Canada’s youngest ministers.
“The current government has said the right thing,” he said. “But when we realize that the Euconers want more, we’re taking action. We want to take action for change.”
If elected, Mr Dixon said the party would take steps such as canceling cuts in territorial business bailout programs, freezing electricity prices for two years, and strengthening tourism funding in the first 100 days after taking office.
Territorial spending and debt increased while the Liberal Party was in power, and the Yukon Party is worried about repayment of that debt, Dixon said.
Dixon also criticized the decision to hold an election because the territory is functioning through the deployment of vaccination.
“We think it was driven by self-interest,” he said.
Silver disputed its characterization.
“Did you intend to call for this election? No,” he said. “We have called on the opposition to vote since August. The second question in the legislative assembly was,” When are you going to call for elections? ” ‘”
As a result of elections during a pandemic across Canada, the majority government of the political parties in power went to vote.
Yukon Territory’s third party, New Democrats, and its leader, Kate White, advertise themselves as a progressive alternative to the two major political parties.
White has been leading the NDP since 2019 and has been elected to the national team since 2011.
“The goal of the election is a fundamental shift,” she said. “The pandemic did a really good job of highlighting where these gaps exist … this is an opportunity to look forward to the future we want.”
Mr White said the NDP government would freeze rents and improve access to health care.
The NDP previously led the territory for the twelve years from 1985 to 2000, but has not been able to do so since the turn of the century.
However, Mr White said the party is focusing on the victory of the majority government.