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Yukon Party MLA Brad Cathers,

Special warrants to keep the money flowing

After calling a territorial election last Friday, the Yukon’s Liberal government requested special approval on two orders-in-council to keep the territory running for the next two months.

By Whitehorse Star on March 16, 2021

After calling a territorial election last Friday, the Yukon’s Liberal government requested special approval on two orders-in-council to keep the territory running for the next two months.

The orders are formally known as special warrants. They are issued by the commissioner of the Yukon to approve out-of-the-ordinary spending measures for governments that do not require the approval of the legislature.

“Two special warrants were issued on March 12 as orders-in-council under the Financial Administration Act,” Eric Clements, the director of communications for the Department of Finance, stated Monday in an email.

“This funding ensures that the Government of Yukon continues to have spending authority for operational purposes.”

The Special Warrant (No. 1), 2020-21 includes up to $39.38 million in funding from the consolidated revenue fund. It’s largely based on the funding outlined in the 2020-21 Supplementary Estimates No. 2, which were not passed prior to the issuance of the writ.

This special warrant will cover operational funding until the end of the current fiscal year on March 31.

The Special Warrant (No. 1), 2021-22 includes up to $401 million in funding from the consolidated revenue fund. It’s largely based on the funding outlined in the 2021-22 Interim Supply Bill, which was not passed prior to the issuance of the writ.

“This special warrant will cover operational funding for the first two months of the upcoming fiscal year,” Clement said.

In effect, the government now has a considerable amount of spending power for the duration of the election campaign without legislative oversight.

The Yukon Party isn’t happy with that situation.

“Liberal Leader Sandy Silver spent his last day in government once again breaking his promises to the public,” the party stated in a news release.

“Minutes after making a snap election call, Silver issued $440 million in special warrants – the largest in Yukon history.

“In 2016, Silver called the use of special warrants undemocratic and stated that governments who use them disrespect democracy,” the YukonParty release added.

The party offered a link to an opinion piece Silver penned while in opposition.

“Yukoners have become accustomed to the Liberals saying one thing to get elected, and then breaking their promises when in power,” said MLA Brad Cathers, the Yukon Party candidate for Lake Laberge.

“Unfortunately, this is par for the course for a government that has repeatedly broken their word to Yukoners.

“After months of the Liberals undermining democracy by refusing to allow the legislature to sit, and now them calling a snap election during a pandemic and a state of emergency, it is clear that their priority is their own partisan interests,” added Cathers.

“Yukoners deserve better, and the Yukon Party looks forward to providing a positive alternative to lead us out of the pandemic and into a prosperous future. The key thing is what the premier has said about the use of special warrants in the past.”

The warrants include $39.3 million in extra spending before the end of March.

In an interview with the Star Monday, Cathers said that’s an indication the finances of the government were in much worse shape than the Liberals care to admit.

“That paints a substantially different picture from when the budget was introduced,” he said.

“The Liberal government could have debated this spending in the legislative assembly and brought their interim supply spending bill for a vote. Instead, they casually brushed aside democracy,” added Cathers.

Sunny Patch, a communications spokesperson with the Liberal party, said the special warrants’ use was nothing out of the ordinary.

“Special warrants are common in the Yukon, particularly around elections,” Patch said.

“All three parties have funded government operations during elections using warrants in the last 20 years; the NDP in 2000, YP in 2011, and this one in 2021.”

Patch is ordinarily part of the cabinet staff. She has taken a leave of absence from her position to assist the Liberal party in the election.

Comments (10)

Up 0 Down 0

Rolf on Mar 23, 2021 at 1:35 am

The difference being here the warrants will be accountable, unlike during the Fentie regime that the photographed individual was culpable.

Up 6 Down 0

Andy on Mar 22, 2021 at 11:41 am

@ Mike
Maybe take Civics 101 and retort with an educated comment next time. Warrants are SOP in front of an election. They are done by all parties. Try to keep up.

Up 17 Down 7

Groucho d'North on Mar 18, 2021 at 9:34 am

The accountability arrrives April 12th. Any guesses what it will be?

Up 19 Down 13

Lake Laberge Travel Claims on Mar 17, 2021 at 9:49 pm

Speaking of Mr.Cathers,
Maybe someone should ask him why he claimed almost $25,000 last year for gas and lunch money for his commute from Laberge to Whitehorse last year. That was for 223 trips apparently. There is no way he had to make that many trips into town so he was obviously making the drive in so he could make money. How many other people in Lake Laberge travel back and forth for work every day but don't get their food and gas paid for?! Plus, that amount of money could probably feed a family of 4 for god's sake!

I could be off here, but from what I can tell, he has claimed about $209,000 for gas and food since first being elected many years ago. Does Currie Dixon think its ok for Brad's gravy train to keep chugging along using tax payers money? Maybe someone should ask him.

Anyways, don't take my word for all this, check it out yourself here: https://yukonassembly.ca/sites/default/files/inline-files/sp-34-3-33-TravelReport2019-20.pdf

Up 22 Down 7

Matthew on Mar 17, 2021 at 6:52 am

Best saying ever:
"When the government lies to you it's called politics, when you lie to the government it's called jail"

Up 24 Down 11

bob on Mar 17, 2021 at 5:13 am

440 million.....under 50k population...umm I'm not an economic major but this is nuts...who pays for this and how can this territory survive these troubling economic times ahead going so far in debt...if you care about your future or your kids we must stand against this.

Up 27 Down 13

Mike on Mar 16, 2021 at 8:52 pm

Special warrants. What a load of crap! The liberals just need a couple more million to line their pockets with before they are ousted out of office. How gullible does this Government think we are? Thieves on the grandest scale.

Up 27 Down 14

Guncache on Mar 16, 2021 at 8:07 pm

When the liberals get the axe, it will take years to clean up their mess and build a cash surplus.

Up 47 Down 20

So Done! on Mar 16, 2021 at 4:27 pm

There should be warrants for the arrest of the current government FFS!

Up 47 Down 12

Hypocrties on Mar 16, 2021 at 4:18 pm

Hypocrites. All of them. Typical government and politics. How do we make it end and make politicians/government accountable?

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