Whitehorse Daily Star

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LIBERALS’ APPROACH CALLED INSUFFICIENT – On the cost of living challenge, the territorial government is ‘offering dimes when Yukoners need dollars,’ says NDP Leader Kate White, seen speaking at Wednesday’s news conference.

NDP proposes trio of affordability measures

Grimly diagnosing “a cost of living crisis” tormenting the territory, NDP Leader Kate White has prescribed a triple-pronged program to help Yukoners confront their mounting bills.

By Jim Butler on September 30, 2022

Grimly diagnosing “a cost of living crisis” tormenting the territory, NDP Leader Kate White has prescribed a triple-pronged program to help Yukoners confront their mounting bills.

“It’s increasingly difficult to make ends meet,” White told a Wednesday news conference situated in a quiet Jim Smith Building foyer.

“ ... We have heard from young people saying it is harder and harder to get an education. We have heard from families making the difficult decision to cut out after-school activities. The stories are heartbreaking.”

The NDP has proposed what it calls three simple actions the territorial government could take to lighten inflation’s menacing burden:

Direct inflation relief – The NDP says the government should provide immediate financial relief for low- and middle-income Yukoners.

This can be done through an income-tested increase to the next quarterly Yukon Carbon Rebates of between $250 and $500, the party said.

Increase the Yukon Child Benefit and index it to inflation.

The benefit has not been adjusted since 2015 – and the cost of raising children has risen sharply since then, the third party said.

“A one-time upward adjustment from $820 to $983 per child would help struggling Yukon parents keep on top of their expenses,” the party said.

“This represents the inflation increase from 2015 to today.”

The child benefit should then be pegged to the annual rate of inflation going forward to ensure families aren’t falling further behind each year, the NDP said.

“We all understand kids are the future of our territory,” White noted.

Increase Social Assistance rates.

Those have not been reviewed since 2007 and, despite being tied to inflation, have never been enough to help people make ends meet in the territory, the NDP said.

The party is urging the government to immediately enrich social assistance rates by $300 per month to reflect the cost of living here in 2022 and to commit to a full review of the rates.

“Yukoners continue to be hit hard by the rising costs of fuel, food and housing,” the NDP said.

“As household expenses keep rising, the Liberals’ announced measures are simply not enough to help Yukoners afford the basics.”

(On Tuesday, the government announced:

  • a one-time $150 payment to social assistance recipients;

  • a one-time payment of $150 to Yukon Seniors Income Supplement recipients;

  • a one-time 10 per cent additional payment to Pioneer Utility Grant recipients;

  • a six-month extension of $500 per month to caregivers of children in out-of-home care; and

  • $100,000 to the Food Network Yukon to continue to support food security across the territory.)

“Again and again, they (the government) has let Yukoners down,” White told media representatives. She called the one-time payment plans “an insult.

“The Liberal government package has no long-term vision. Yukoners in need of financial support are insulted by this meagre offering from the Liberals,” the NDP leader said.

“People will be back where they started in a month or two. Yukoners deserve better.

“The goal of any government should be to make the lives of residents better. With a near $40-million surplus in their spring budget, the Liberals should be looking closely at how to best use this money for the benefit of Yukoners.”

The government, White said, “should not be sitting on a pile of cash, doling out nickels while so many are still struggling to get by.”

The NDP has calculated the total estimated cost of its three suggested initiatives is $7.2 million for the year – a fraction of the estimated budgetary surplus, the party pointed out.

“Yukoners have been sharing the many ways the cost of living has increased in recent years, and that their dollars don’t go as far as they used to,” White said.

“I have lived paycheque to paycheque, and I know what it’s like to count every dollar.

“Yukon Government should be doing more than helping people just get by – they should be supporting Yukoners to thrive.”

Under the direct inflation relief proposal, about 10,000 Yukoners over the age of 18 would receive a direct payment through a top-up of the Carbon Tax Credit.

For example, a single person earning less than $70,000 annually would receive a payment of $500. This would affect 3,680 people and cost a collective $1.84 million, the NDP has tabulated.

A single person earning $70,000 to $89,999 annually would get $250 to $499.

Couples earning less than $70,000 combined would receive $500, while couples taking in $70,000 to $100,000 would receive $250 to $499.

“Five hundred dollars would buy another chord of wood to keep the house warm this winter,” said White.

“ ... These programs should have been tied to inflation, but they have not been.”

The total cost of providing for all these recipients would be $4.7 million, the NDP said.

As for raising the child benefit and indexing it to inflation, the NDP said, the increase from a maximum of $820 to $983 per child represents what the rate would be today had it been indexed to inflation since 2015.

Under the current program, a Yukon family of two children and two parents earning a combined $69,000 per year would receive $312.56 in total. The proposed increase would bring that figure to $374.68.

A household of two children and two parents earning under $35,000 per year would receive $1,966, up from $1,640.

The government estimates it will spend $1.45 million on the Yukon Child Benefit this fiscal year. This boost would elevate that to $1.74 million.

As for the modified social assistance rates, a $300 monthly top-up represents an approximately 17-per-cent increase.

“This amount not only helps them keep up with current inflation but gets rates closer to where they ought to be,” the NDP said.

If implemented for October, this rise would represent an estimated budget cost of $2.2 million for the remaining six months of the fiscal year, the party said.

The Liberal government, White said, is “offering dimes when Yukoners need dollars ... what Yukoners need is leadership.

“These three initiatives can be done immediately.”

In April 2021, the NDP signed an agreement with the Liberals to keep the minority government in power in the legislature. The accord will expire in January 2023.

During Wednesday’s news conference, White was asked if she is prepared to make the party’s three anti-inflation proposals conditions for signing any extension to the agreement.

She pointed out that MLAs will reconvene in the legislature next Thursday, and that Premier Sandy Silver announced Sept. 9 he will resign from that post after the Liberals choose a new leader.

“It’s too early to say anything,” White said.

“I will honour CASA (Confidence and Supply Agreement) until the end of January, and I can’t say anything past that.”

Her party has “a dozen other ideas” to ease Yukoners’ cost of living struggles, she added.

No one has publicly announced his or her intention to pursue the Liberal leadership.

Comments (35)

Up 13 Down 2

Help at no cost on Oct 6, 2022 at 12:40 pm

If Kate really wanted to help Yukoners she could always use her power to force the Liberals to get Yukon a carbon tax exemption like the NWT did for heating fuel. This has zero cost to the government as it apparently is revenue neutral. This would help any Yukoner, private and commercially to heat their buildings this winter. But no, Kate and her couple of cronies are no better than the Liberals and would sooner bite off their left whatever that reduce the cost to heat.

Up 3 Down 2

Oya on Oct 5, 2022 at 3:08 pm

@ Yukoner 49 Thank you, I stand corrected. The timing seemed suspicious to me.

Up 3 Down 4

Groucho d'North on Oct 5, 2022 at 1:17 pm

You should focus on why some politcians get re-elected time after time to qualify for their pensions. That's the real issue all you pension critics seem to avoid.

Up 9 Down 7

Yukoner49 on Oct 4, 2022 at 9:08 pm

@Oya You are wrong about the pension. Silver had his pension locked in after his last term. Not sure about his reasons for stepping aside but it obviously isn't about money.

If you are concerned about pension money for politicians though, you should be most concerned about Scott Kent, Currie Dixon and especially Brad Cathers. Those guys all have massive pensions coming to them because they are career politicians who have been at the trough for a long long time and by the looks of things, will continue to be there for a long long time sucking taxpayers dry.

Up 6 Down 3

AdmiralA$$ on Oct 4, 2022 at 11:18 am

“Though the people support the government; the government should not support the people.”

― Grover Cleveland

Up 15 Down 2

AdmiralA$$ on Oct 4, 2022 at 7:56 am


You are not kicked to the dirt enough by our spending sooooo, we decided to spend more. Gee thanks Kate.

Maybe next election I'll vote...maybe NDP too so I can help bankrupt Canada morally and financially. You know, do my part for the moral hazard that is the NDP.

Up 9 Down 6

Clark Griswold on Oct 4, 2022 at 7:38 am

Ah yes my friend Josey Wales on Oct 2, 2022 at 8:30 am:

And on that crazy carpet… The Liberals have have improved upon Clark Griswolds’ nutri-varnish viscosity… It’s no longer a race to the bottom. ‘Cantada’ has reached terminal velocity. The end is near and the Carnival Clown show in Ottawa has removed any hope of a safety net… Unfortunately, this meteoric fall has left a trail of destruction as it races around the globe… Former allies have been scorched by the Trudeau's flaming meteor trail… Only to be left out in the cold freezing while the despots remain unscathed… The Trudeau meteor likes basic dictatorships… But here in Cantada the impact is going to be unprecedented… A global killer even…

Up 3 Down 1

Joe on Oct 3, 2022 at 9:59 pm

@ Joe

The answer is simple Joe - they can't because they like to wallow in their own swill.

Up 10 Down 5

Oya on Oct 3, 2022 at 5:01 pm

@ Question: To add to Anie's comment... the leadership selection process will result in a new Liberal leader likely near the end of January... when Silver gets his full pension. And not a day before that. This is a completely calculated move on Silver's part. Take the money and run... in January.
I guess all we can do is hope like hell that McPhee doesn't become leader. God save us all if she becomes premier. Kiss ALL your rights goodbye!

Up 12 Down 2

TheHammer on Oct 3, 2022 at 4:42 pm

The NDP might want to consider researching the 'Right to Work' grass roots social movement in the UK. First Nations need to look at their strategies for employing the unemployed membership.

Up 13 Down 1

TheHammer on Oct 3, 2022 at 4:38 pm

I support the Senior income supplement of $150 one time. SA recipients you might want to consider food vouchers rather than cash.

Up 20 Down 1

Groucho d'North on Oct 3, 2022 at 3:54 pm

Whenever politcians speak about we the public, we are all cast as fine upstanding citizens who work with our noses to the grindstone everyday and strive to do the best for our families and similar responsibilities. If that was true, our court system would not have much to do.
Many in our community are seeking the easy path to make a living. As mentioned below, the financial reward for single moms to have kids is quite generous. I know of two young women who had kids to "Pay the bills" as one of them said to me. Sit at home all day and watch TV or play video games. This is only one example of how people play the system so they don't have to work the job.
Some others fudge their income data so they qualify for YHC social housing benefits.
Some visitors to the Food Bank park their shiny new vehicles a block or two away so as not to draw attention to their displayed wealth.
Others work the black market selling drugs or items acquired from break and enters and similar enterprises.
Many people struggle to do the right things and live a legitimate life, but life is becoming more challenging each month as the cost of everything rises and a paycheque doesn't go as far as it used to, so alternate income methods are pursued.
Our quality of life is determined by how well we can work within the legal and accepted ways of living within a community, but it is becoming strained and people are doing what they can to make ends meet...even if it means testing the boundaries of the law from time to time.

Up 13 Down 1

Anie on Oct 3, 2022 at 3:03 pm

To Question - the answer to your question is that his party picks a new leader by whatever process they want, and that person becomes Premier until the next election.

Up 27 Down 4

Joe on Oct 3, 2022 at 2:40 pm

Why do we even have to hear this garbage. Kate, you and your federal counterpart are supporting a minority liberal government which has totally crushed our economy. Do the right thing and withdraw your support and call an election. Otherwise your words ring hollow as you are the problem.

Up 10 Down 18

KC on Oct 3, 2022 at 8:44 am

She lost me at "middle class" relief. Sorry folks the bad news is that the only way to deal with inflation is to take your lumps and accept that your standard of living is lesser than it was before. The middle class is just too big. Anything designed to help it is just going to feed the beast. Direct relief at the poorest among us and accept inflation for what it is.

Up 54 Down 3

My Opinion on Oct 2, 2022 at 6:56 pm

Kate you are either delusional or stupid I will let you pick one.

You saw rents to be too high, you didn't look at the cost of providing a house and the overarching inflation. No you called the owners of those houses, gougers and Slum Lords. You pushed the Liberals to legislate rent freezes. What did you think would be the outcome? Did you miss grade nine economics? The reason rent was going up was because Interest rates were going up, insurance was going up, cost of living was going up. So you got your rent freeze and what happened? People put their rentals up for sale as they couldn't afford to keep them. Now the rental units are gone and it is your fault and yours alone.

People in the system are doing way better then the working poor. 2,500 for welfare, 1000.00 per kid 4 kids puts a single mom at 6500.00 per month. Oh and don't forget the free rent. And believe it or not they can get daycare as well because as one told me she needs a break too.
What has to happen in this economic downturn is a lot of hurt unfortunately. People without a job need to get one. If you have one you will need to get a second. My wife and I had two each in the early 80's. Oh yeah we also had a 21% Mortgage. Don't tell me about living paycheque to paycheque Kate, you have no idea. You sound very entitled.

Up 50 Down 5

Juniper Jackson on Oct 2, 2022 at 1:10 pm

Here's a thought.. kick the bums off welfare and make them go to work! I know! an innovative new idea! Healthy people that can work, should work. You're going to give them more money? (I am never talking about disabled people that are paid out of the welfare budget. I will always try to take care of you.)

When did it become 'ok' for a girl to have children that I have to feed? cloth? provide extra's for through my tax dollars? When did it become ok to make welfare, living off other people, a career? The number of people begging for free stuff is incredible. Every once in a while you see, 'i'll pay for a reasonably priced..." I understand trade, I understand bargaining..i don't understand 'giveme, giveme, and giveme more". " In March 2021, unattached singles were the majority household of both cases and beneficiaries of Yukon Social Assistance, with just under 79 per cent of cases and around 56 per cent of beneficiaries. Single parents were second with 16 per cent of cases and 33 per cent of beneficiaries." Jeez, all Friday, get people to work, if for self pride, if nothing else. Help low income to advance, don't lock them into low income for ever. I will help anyone that's trying.. i have no use for people that won't even try.

Up 50 Down 7

Vlad on Oct 2, 2022 at 10:15 am

Enough already Kate and your posse of 3. You are part and parcel of the issue just like what is transpiring on the federal level. You want to prop up the government then criticize them at the same time. If we can get through these next two years hopefully people will look at the bleak financial picture and realize that there are simply two governments responsible who need a break as their shelf life is way past due.

Up 28 Down 4

Josey Wales on Oct 2, 2022 at 8:30 am

I have three suggestions too, well one but with three solutions.
Historically remove at any cost “war like measures” *some eco lemming, the three biggest problems in what is formerly known as Canada.
Team red...will get ya dead
Team blue...they love to lie to you. PP is but one (so far) in a den of snakes
Team orange...ideological fantasies that will “ crush” you

Now by default...team green is left, and way left indeed.
Also too...completely irrelevant and of no interest other than to themselves.

“I am here from the government, I am here to help” said some crat

Seems we are all on a crazy carpet on a glare ice slope...in a race to the bottom?
These political blowholes, sycophants breeding as bacteria need us, we do not need them.

Up 47 Down 14

DL on Oct 2, 2022 at 12:52 am

Kate no longer has any credibility. The NDP is directly involved in creating the current hyperinflation when they supported the Libs' covid restrictions that doomed many businesses, and vax mandates that had folks kicked out of their jobs for not complying. This severely disrupted the supply chain, which would obviously lead to hyperinflation, as warned by experts to no avail. The covid restrictions and mandates never stopped covid (despite the claims), and the Libs could not have imposed these without NDP complicity.

Now, reap what you sowed Kate. It's time to let the taxpayers off the hook. All politicians that supported those idiotic covid mandates should have their salary/pensions forwarded to a fund to support all those folks whose businesses were destroyed and those who lost their job, lost their home, lost their family, lost their dreams.

Which brings us to the many comments here that people are failing to go back to work. Personally, I don't blame anyone who lost faith in the workplace system in view of all the inane covid rules over the past two years. One of the best remedy in this case would be for the same politicians to admit that they made terrible mistakes in imposing these restrictions, and ensure this never happens again.

Up 31 Down 6

Wilf Carter on Oct 1, 2022 at 10:33 pm

Why don't NDP want to see the truth!!!???

Up 36 Down 3

Dallas on Oct 1, 2022 at 8:10 pm

Wow talk about hogs at the trough…

Up 16 Down 20

EJ on Oct 1, 2022 at 8:09 pm

@Wilf You say "Why can't liberals or NDP can't see that????".

I'm curious why you don't mention the Yukon Party? They just came out and said that the Liberals need to spend a lot more than they currently are on these giveaways. So both the Yukon Party and NDP are now saying they would spend a lot more than the Liberals yet for some reason you don't call out the Yukon Party at all.

I think it's because you consider the Yukon Party to be your team, therefore they can do no wrong, even when they go against what are normally your principles. Doesn't matter how socialist they become. Basically, you are a jellyfish with no spine.

Up 32 Down 9

Wilf Carter on Oct 1, 2022 at 11:08 am

Where the money going to come from? Cut health care, education, don't develop serviced land or housing, not fix road like Riverdale bridge. The three factors that governments policy is economics, domestic and social. Without economics we don't have domestic or social. Why can't liberals or NDP can't see that????

Up 60 Down 7

No free lunch on Oct 1, 2022 at 10:27 am

Get out of our lives and stop helping us to death.

Up 59 Down 7

martin on Oct 1, 2022 at 9:44 am

Kate must be there for herself and her MLA's pension, 'cause she's doing nothing for us workers. It mut be nice to have no-challenges from within.

Up 58 Down 2

Political nonsense on Sep 30, 2022 at 10:40 pm

Kate - let’s get people back to work! So many good paying jobs posted in Whitehorse right now and so many unproductive citizens it’s mind boggling. The increases they are talking about are almost meaningless to people.

Up 60 Down 6

bonanzajoe on Sep 30, 2022 at 7:02 pm

Again, Kate says, "what Yukoners need is leadership." Then have the guts to force an election.

Up 62 Down 4

bonanzajoe on Sep 30, 2022 at 7:00 pm

And by the way, I know a fast food restaurant that is looking for at least 27 workers as I type this. How about telling those lazy Welfare Bs to get working. There's lots of jobs in Whitehorse. Welfare isn't the answer. Work brings in taxes.

Up 48 Down 6

bonanzajoe on Sep 30, 2022 at 6:57 pm

“I have lived paycheque to paycheque, and I know what it’s like to count every dollar. Kate, your salary is over hundred thousand a year, with benefits and expenses. What in the double hockey sticks are you spending your vast wealth on?

Up 51 Down 10

bonanzajoe on Sep 30, 2022 at 6:55 pm

And tattoos aren't cheap.

Up 58 Down 6

bonanzajoe on Sep 30, 2022 at 6:52 pm

Kate says, “Again and again, they (the government) has let Yukoners down,” Then, why are you propping them up? Call an election. Oh, yeah, I forgot, it's all about the money, benefits and pension you have to look forward to. Can't kill the golden goose.

Up 39 Down 6

bonanzajoe on Sep 30, 2022 at 6:49 pm

NDP Kate says, "The party is urging the government to immediately enrich social assistance rates by $300 per month". Let's emphasize the word "enrich". Got to keep those lazy WB drone bees in the honey. The worker bees will just have to work harder to produce. it's always solving problems by handing out money with these marxists. How about she and her comrades take a pay cut. That should help balance the budget.

Up 37 Down 7

Question on Sep 30, 2022 at 4:02 pm

Sorry for my lack on knowledge on the voting system, if someone can reply to me if possible.

When Sandy Silver announced resignation, does this automatically cause a new premier election? Or does the new Liberal party leader automatically become premier, or once they choose a leader, there is an election?

Probably a dumb question but wasn’t sure.

Up 98 Down 14

Dallas on Sep 30, 2022 at 3:43 pm

Kate white…the government has let yukoners down…..Kate are you for f##king real!!!!! You and the NDP are supporting those losers you criticize. Kate it’s time you got an education and a real job.

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