Whitehorse Daily Star

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MEMORIES FROM 2007 – Team Yukon’s Darren White participates in the preliminary round of freestyle skiing half pipe competition during the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse.

‘This came as something of a surprise’: Hanley

Yukon MP Brendan Hanley says he was surprised by the territorial government’s sudden withdrawal of its support from the 2027 Canada Winter Games bid.

By Morris Prokop on November 18, 2022

Yukon MP Brendan Hanley says he was surprised by the territorial government’s sudden withdrawal of its support from the 2027 Canada Winter Games bid.

He also said the bid committee’s requests for scores of millions of dollars for new infrastructure would have had to be directed to other federal programs.

The Yukon government said Monday it would have had to kick in $160 million to host the Games. The total budget for the Games is approximately $185 million.

“The federal government is there and has been there for years,” Hanley told the Star Tuesday.

“If we think about it, all of the, say, affordable housing initiatives recently, the money through CMHC to Whitehorse and Rapid Housing to Watson Lake, Rapid Housing to the High Country Inn renovation and affordable housing in Dawson City.

“If we look at the transfer payment that occurs this year, estimated to be $1.2 billion, an increase in $60 million from last year, you know, there’s lots going on,” Hanley said.

“So I think it’s a little unfair to paint this as a sort of derogation of duty from the federal government.”

The federal government was “highly engaged” in the Games conversation, he added. “This (Mostyn’s bombshell announcement) came as something of a surprise.”

Hanley said he had contact with several federal ministers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the Games bid.

“The departments were working official-to-official looking to find direct and indirect funding supports.

“If I’m interpreting this right, I think what the Yukon government was asking for was certainty. Like, basically a cheque for $130 million, which is just not possible to produce on that kind of notice when it’s not even in the budget cycle,” Hanley pointed out.

“Through Sport Canada, the funding for support for the Games, $16.75 million, the maximum was committed, the rest were infrastructure questions … all of the federal possible supports for infrastructure have already been tapped out by Yukon government.

“So it’s looking at, ‘OK, what else can we look at? How can we work together on the possibilities? What are the new funding programs that might come online? You know, let’s take a look at this,’” the MP said.

“So maybe the cheque wasn’t there, to be fair on the federal government, but you know, the commitment to work to find a solution was certainly there.”

The Games would have left Whitehorse with $65 million worth of affordable housing. Hanley was asked if he would lobby his government to come up with that funding, even if no Games occur here.

“Housing is probably the single-biggest priority for the government in terms of for Yukoners,” he replied. “I hear that from the mayor, I hear that from all the First Nations … from the communities.

“I just had a call … directly from ministers who said to say that Whitehorse is included in the upcoming round of the Rapid Housing initiative, one of 41 cities around the country.

“So again, we’re there; we recognize the priority.”

The exact amount available through the various funding sources is difficult to say, Hanley added.

“I’m sure it could quite easily meet the number that you suggest when we put all those commitments and sources together.”

Hanley was asked if he believes the bid’s collapse has seriously damaged his government’s relations with its Yukon counterpart.

“I think we have a great relationship,” Hanley responded. “We have ongoing direct relationships through all sorts of levels.

“I serve in that kind of liaison relationship connecting directly with federal ministers when priority items or issues come up … the cabinet ministers here certainly have a direct line to several ministers.

“On this particular issue of Yukon government needing certainty on infrastructure to support that model for the Games, it’s a little bit of, I would say looking at this same situation from different points of view.

“… I’m kind of surprised by how rapidly the Yukon government came to that decision to pull from the bid but they have to make their decision for their own reasons.”

Will he lobby his government to reconsider its position and sweeten the pot?

“The federal government did not take a position (Monday),” the MP noted. “It was the Yukon government that made a decision, and that will be up to them to reconsider whether they want to reconsider or whether they put this away ….

“I know that the federal government is there to help and to help figure things out should that request come back but meanwhile, we’ll continue to collaborate on any of the other priorities that Yukon has identified and that Yukoners have identified.”

That pledge includes progress on energy infrastructure, including the Atlin hydro project, which needs at least $60 million in additional funding to feed power into the Yukon, housing, health care, including that territorial health investment fund and Indigenous reconciliation, he said.

Hanley wouldn’t say if he believes the federal government’s funding offer for the Games was insufficient, or if it’s unrealistic to believe the territory could or should shoulder the rest of the cost burden.

“Do you know what Niagara (Ont.) received for running the Summer Games? $12 million,” he related.

The Yukon’s requests above the $16.75 million limit available for the Games “are legacy infrastructure requests; you know, a new arena … we’re all for, I’m all for a new venue for a new multi-1,000-seat venue,” Hanley said. “That would be fantastic. Is it essential to host the Games to have that structure?

“So it’s almost like they’re two separate but related issues. One is, is there enough interest from the city and from the Yukon government to run the Games?

“Or is this about infrastructure?

And if it’s about infrastructure, then let’s look at what the infrastructure priorities are for both the city and the territory and work together on how the federal government can support that through budgetary investments.”

Was the bid committee unrealistic to ask for so much money from the federal government?

“I’m struggling,” the MP responded. “I guess where I struggled is: is it realistic to ask for that money up front?

“Like I have referred to at the beginning, basically a cheque for somewhere like $130, $140 million when you know, that would be at the very least a line item in the budget, in the federal budget, where we haven’t even gotten to the budget priorities and requests yet.”

Whether additional federal-territorial conversations would have resulted in the full funding, or alternative scenarios for running the Games, or both, “who’s to say?” Hanley asked.

“I think we would have arrived at some kind of solution that would have resulted in both enhanced infrastructure and running of the Games but what the final scenario would be, I don’t know. That’s what the conversation was about.

“ ... I’m sure there will be many ongoing conversations.

“Again, I think it was pretty clear that a decision had been made (Monday).”

The federal government is beginning to set its next budget’s priorities, he pointed out.

“I know that the premier and (federal) Finance minster have been in touch over establishing overall priorities.

“With the budget, we know that the health transfer topic is a very active discussion, as you know right now, so if you mean specifically around the Games, I’d say we’re probably at a bit of a pause,” the MP said.

“I don’t think it’s up to the feds to come back to YG. Maybe we need to move on.

“I feel and I know that the federal government is ready to continue to work together to collaborate on this or any other priority.”

Hanley was asked if Yukoners should be concerned that this week’s drama has set a template for Ottawa reducing its investments in other aspects of northern development – a concern expressed by the territory’s Yukon Party and NDP.

“I was surprised to see that coming up,” Hanley admitted. “Again, the federal government was there and ready to work this out.

“ .... And you know, really, the federal government is there to assist the Yukon Territory … we really are partners, and I think that the investments have been generous, getting increasingly generous, you know, every year, but we have to have these conversations. The overall priorities need to be established.”

In the face of many serious challenges, Hanley said, “let’s figure out mutually, you know, where to put the money towards which priorities, and that is definitely an ongoing conversation.”

Comments (25)

Up 4 Down 4

The Wheel of Misfortune! on Nov 23, 2022 at 9:25 pm

Actually there kthxbye on Nov 23, 2022 at 2:21 pm…

We all lost. However, there are a lot of people who have not clued in yet… Would you like to buy a vowel and solve the problem? It’s U… U are the problem.

Up 12 Down 1

drum on Nov 23, 2022 at 4:48 pm

Golden Age Society needs Core Funding. We are 28% of voters in the Yukon. We are struggling to keep a place open for Yukon Seniors to socialize in a safe setting. Where are the politions in the Yukon for us. We have sent letters to all of you and all we hear is thank for for all the wonderful servies you supply to seniors but it is not our department. Sounds familiar.

Up 5 Down 8

kthxbye on Nov 23, 2022 at 2:21 pm

@ joe

We just had an election.
You lost.

Up 7 Down 8

TheHammer on Nov 22, 2022 at 5:17 pm

We are facing a crunch on the verge of avalanche. We are heading down the road of the White man's void. There's a massive hole in the philosophic psyche of all bureaucrats. There is no credible plan for a sustainable future.

Up 24 Down 5

Atom on Nov 22, 2022 at 6:22 am

Not a Brendan fan.

Well Hanley came out as a Liberal mouth piece right from the get go. What we need is a scarecrow with a brain and voice of his own.

Up 1 Down 8

bonanzajoe on Nov 21, 2022 at 7:27 pm

Yeah - Larry B

Up 23 Down 6

Joe on Nov 21, 2022 at 6:46 pm

Spring election please !

Up 19 Down 16

Roy on Nov 21, 2022 at 3:10 pm

Thank you Whitehorse Star! And thank you Yukon Party! For keeping the dream of hosting the games alive and in the public eye!
That way $200 million taxpayer dollars can go to deliver $50 million worth of goods after this bloated, ill timed, tone deaf 2 week party for a select few is over.

Currie will simultaneously take credit for saving the games while criticizing the inevitable cost overruns. And his supporters will ignore the blatant hypocrisy in order to “own the Libs”.

You know for a fact that if the games had been approved that Currie and the Star would be pumping out headlines of outrage stating “What are the Liberals doing?! How can we afford this now?!”

Instead, now that it’s been killed (appropriately) we get to read headlines of “Hey what happened here? Can’t we host these games?! Think of the benefits! What a screwup”

Press thumbs down if you, like Currie, want the government to figure out a way to spend hundreds of millions of your money on a 2 week party!

Up 35 Down 7

Anie on Nov 21, 2022 at 2:36 pm

Let's see. He is a liberal. He is the only MP for the Yukon. And nobody warned him about this? Gosh, how far down the pecking order he must be within the Liberal caucus

Up 27 Down 4

John - with a J on Nov 21, 2022 at 1:49 pm

Hey JT, there’s a guy on the phone named Hedley or Henley or something, do we know this guy?

Up 27 Down 3

John - with a J on Nov 21, 2022 at 12:21 pm

Ding dong the games are dead, which old games? The useless games. Ding dong the useless games are dead!

Up 31 Down 17

Haines on Nov 21, 2022 at 8:53 am

Let’s not forget this guy is only MP thanks to the clown known as Jonas Smith for splitting the vote.

Up 49 Down 6

Groucho d'North on Nov 20, 2022 at 9:17 am

As John states below, Mr. Hanley is obviously getting media scripts from the PMO. Perhaps one day before the next election he will be invited to sit at the table with the big kids so he is really and truely part of the team and can learn about what is happening in his constituency.

Up 54 Down 7

yukong on Nov 20, 2022 at 5:12 am

“I serve in that kind of liaison relationship connecting directly with federal ministers when priority items or issues come up … the cabinet ministers here certainly have a direct line to several ministers."

Well, that didn't take long. Hanley is enamoured with and loyal to the Liberal clique. So, in other words, screw Yukoners, Hanley is a Liberal Lap Dog.

Up 58 Down 3

let it go on Nov 19, 2022 at 11:43 pm

New multi-million dollar hockey arenas are NOT the priority!

Up 57 Down 15

John on Nov 19, 2022 at 11:33 am

Pretty obvious, based on the language, some of the technical elements that these comments state come from the PMO (commonly referred to by the common folk as Trudeau's propaganda machine). No way this individual would know even a quarter of this stuff. He is parroting what he is told to say.

This whole spiel is more to calm the masses that are rising up against the Libs. Be careful folks or his royal ineptitude JT will invoke the Emergency Act and take away your bank account.

Up 60 Down 4

Douglas Robertson on Nov 19, 2022 at 11:00 am

Housing and Social Services must take priority over sports. Let the kids have fun traveling to the Games held elsewhere.

Up 44 Down 4

Wilf Carter on Nov 19, 2022 at 10:49 am

Put the money into housing and serviced land and labor market development of Yukoners.

Up 57 Down 11

Sociopaths… Everywhere, as far as the eye can, Sociopaths! on Nov 19, 2022 at 8:40 am

LOL - A liberal talking about things like budgets, priorities, and ongoing conversations. Surely, even the Liberal voters must see the irony in Hanley’s words.

Ahhhh… Those political Wayfinders… Navigating by sense of optics alone to find the rocky shores of the Blameshift Coastline. Because politics is always about image it is a lie, you literally pay these people to deceive you - You legitimize this insanity through the exercise of the vote.

So we get so-called leaders who are, strong ‘with’ bull, but smart like tractor.

Do you know where the sociopaths hide? From civil service, to surgeons, to political leadership as lawyers and CEOs or business types - Yes, because we elect these people into the political leadership we invite sociopathic tendencies into our own governance.

And if you think you know these people, think again, with your eyes wide open. Look to the Longterm consequences of their behaviours. For example, bankrupting the country to force a political change through economic collapse - FFS! They are looking at you, telling you straight to your face that this is what they are doing, and then doing it.

Wow? You have a PM who publicly asserts that he admires basic dictatorships like the one in China, and we find out that the Chinese have been operating illegally in Canada through policing their own on Canadian soil, while interfering in our elections to support the Liberals while the Liberals have been testing the will of the sheeple through mandates, lockdowns, and invocations of states of emergency based on the political will of fascistic, communist loving Liberals in a “place” that they refer to as something other than a Nation state - Canada is no more.

Seriously, WTF is wrong with you people?

Up 52 Down 10

Subpar Surprise on Nov 19, 2022 at 8:14 am

Should have stuck to doctoring. In way over his head. This is the leadership corruption gets you. Remember that the Yukon Liberal Party bypassed having any kind of leadership race and made this guy the candidate by decree. Here are the results.

Not spending his time courting real investment and business to the territory. Figuratively sitting on his hands with an open mouth just waiting for a snack from Justin. Smiling throughout.

Up 40 Down 8

Nathan Living on Nov 18, 2022 at 10:34 pm

If City Council says they can sharpen their pencils and make it work, I say show us the plan and let taxpayers decide.

Villifying the Yukon government for being responsible only shows how irresponsible others are.

Up 46 Down 9

North_of_60 on Nov 18, 2022 at 7:04 pm

“I was surprised to see that coming up,” Hanley admitted.
It appears that the LIBgov chooses to ignore their Yukon MP when making decisions about their colonial Territory. It would seem that the functions of a LIB-Yukon MP are titular and ceremonial much like the LIBgov appointed Yukon Commissioner. Make announcements, give awards, attend barbecues, shake hands, kiss babies, etc... otherwise sit-down and stfu.

Remember when the Yukon elected MPs like Eric Nielson and George Black?

Up 56 Down 10

Juniper Jackson on Nov 18, 2022 at 7:01 pm

Why is this useless dude getting paper time? I could not care less about anything he has to say about anything.

Up 44 Down 10

Guncache on Nov 18, 2022 at 6:30 pm

Trudeau jr, Hanley and the liberal cronies couldn't possibly come up with the money. That money is slated for Trudeau Jrs holidays.

Up 57 Down 10

Bingo on Nov 18, 2022 at 4:21 pm

Have we’ve ever been represented by someone as out of touch as BH.

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