Yukon Premier Sandy Silver with his Liberal Party caucus. As the government prepares to return to the Legislative Assembly next week, it still has promises to keep. (Claudiane Samson/Radio-Canada) Nancy Thomson Raised in Ross River, Yukon, Nancy Thomson is a graduate of Ryerson University’s journalism program. Her first job with CBC Yukon was in 1980, when she spun vinyl on Saturday afternoons. She rejoined CBC Yukon in 1993, and focuses on First Nations issues and politics. You can reach her at email@example.com.
Yukon Premier Sandy Silver and his Liberal government have been at the helm for just about a year and a half — so they’re about a quarter of the way through their five year mandate.
So how have they performed so far? Have they delivered on key election promises, or demonstrated a skill at governing?
Remember that it’s an entire slate of rookies on the government bench, including Silver, who is arguably still cutting his leadership teeth. Health care
As an election candidate in 2016, Liberal MLA Tracy-Anne McPhee said her party would "create better hospital infrastructure … ensuring that all Yukon hospitals have enough beds, equipment, services and qualified staff."
Official Opposition House Leader, Yukon Party MLA Scott Kent, says this constitutes a big Liberal fail. Yukon Party MLA Scott Kent is disappointed by what the government’s done so far to deal with a hospital bed shortage. (CBC) "Fast forward to Nov. 15 , and [Health Minister Pauline] Frost says — and I quote, ‘we’re not going to spend money that we do not have, to create new positions, new beds and new facilities, because the resources are not there.’ So, it’s a total flip-flop on what their promise was last year," Kent said.
Kent says he’s disappointed that the Liberals’ promise appears to be nothing more than "vague talking points" that don’t do anything concrete to address the bed shortage.
NDP House Leader Kate White agrees: the Liberals have performed poorly in health care, especially when it comes to hospitals. ‘Unless you’re echoing what they’re asking, your opinion isn’t valid,’ said NDP MLA Kate White. (Claudiane Samson/Radio-Canada) White says sometimes it boils down to rigid policies that don’t make sense, using the example of a senior who requires a motorized wheelchair. The government will only cover a manual wheelchair, which the senior in question can’t operate.
White says because the government refused to pay for a $5,000 wheelchair, the senior had to be hospitalized — at a cost of $2,000 dollars a day, while also using a bed that’s supposed to be used for acute care patients.
"The cheapest health care for seniors is to keep them well; the second cheapest health care for seniors is home care," White said.
White is also unimpressed with the Liberal promise of inclusivity, and the party’s campaign mantra, "Be Heard."
"Unless you’re echoing what they’re asking, your opinion isn’t valid," she said. "You’re not really likely to be heard if you’ve got a dissenting opinion." The Liberals’ 2016 platform highlighted a theme of the party’s campaign message: ‘Be Heard.’ (CBC) Promises on procurement
The Liberals promised they would "tender projects for seasonally dependent Yukon Government-funded construction projects no later than March each year," in acknowledgement of the fact that government work constitutes the lion’s share of yearly projects.
That hasn’t happened. In 2017, contracts were tendered by fits and starts.
Kent says that’s another obvious failing.
"We saw in the spring, Public Works Minister [Richard] Mostyn put an asterisk beside that promise, revised it to say that they’d do it by March first of the next fiscal year — March 2018," Kent said."They seem to be hedging their bets and moving […]
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