WHITEHORSE – The Official Opposition has written to the Liberal Government requesting that they extend their consultation on a new thermal generation facility and to allow for open houses in all Yukon communities to ensure all Yukoners are given the opportunity to be heard.
The Official Opposition has heard concerns from Yukoners regarding the very short and limited ability to be properly consulted on the government’s proposal. The majority of the concerns related to the short length of the consultations, the short notice for the open houses, and the fact that rural Yukon was completely left out of the open house portion of the consultation.
“During the summer Yukoners are very busy either with work or personal matters and are not necessarily checking the government website on a daily basis to see if there are any open or planned consultations on significant matters,” said Wade Istchenko, Official Opposition Critic for the Yukon Energy Corporation. “Yukoners require and deserve an adequate length of time to be notified that a consultation is taking place so that they can make the necessary plans and adjustments to their schedule which would allow them to participate.”
Notification for the open houses began on May 21st, with the first open house taking place on June 1st and the final open house taking place on June 6th. That is only a total of 13 business days from the beginning of the consultation to the conclusion of the consultation.
“We do not believe that such a short and limited consultation can be considered meaningful engagement,” added Istchenko. “In fact, we have heard from many Yukoners who were not even aware that there were open houses taking place until after they had concluded.”
Further, all four of the open houses were held in Whitehorse only.
“Any decision on Yukon’s energy future will have short and long-term impacts on all Yukoners, not just those who live in the city. In the interest of fairness, all communities deserve to have their voices, concerns, and questions heard as well,” added Istchkenko.
These impacts go beyond simply the location or source of energy, but also the budgetary impacts that a multi-million dollar investment would have on the government’s debt or deficit.
As such, the Yukon Party Official Opposition has requested that the government extend the consultations and open houses on this important topic to ensure that all Yukoners are able to be heard. The Official Opposition has also requested that the Liberals host open houses regarding this proposal in all Yukon communities to ensure all Yukoners are able to participate.