FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 27, 2021
WHITEHORSE – Yukoners continue to express dismay regarding sexual abuse allegations and charges coming forward against a former educational assistant at Hidden Valley School and the handling of the situation by the Department of Education, and the Minister of Education.
On September 23, the Yukon RCMP held a joint press conference with the Yukon Government about the handling of the situation beginning in 2019. The RCMP publicly apologized for a major error in their investigation, and launched an independent investigation into the detachment’s handling of this disturbing matter.
Rather than show leadership and take responsibility, the Minister of Education did not show up to the press conference to apologize, and instead sent staff.
“While the department has acknowledged their failings, the lack of leadership from the Liberal government and Ministers is apparent,” said Lake Laberge MLA Brad Cathers. “Both the current and former Minister of Education were not at the press conference to make a public apology, and take responsibility for what transpired. This shows a lack of leadership, and a failure to appreciate the seriousness of the government’s breach of trust with parents.”
Even after the meeting with Hidden Valley parents, a press conference, and an update letter issued early Friday evening, the Minister still has not answered key questions. Those questions include: when did the Minister find out, what did she do once she found out, was the former Minister aware of this when the charges were first laid, and if she was, then why did she not instruct parents be notified?
“The Liberal government was elected to be accountable and responsible for the actions of the government,” said Leader of the Official Opposition Currie Dixon. “Rather than show any semblance of leadership they continue to duck the most basic of questions, while parents are just trying to find out what happened.”
“The Minister must immediately launch an independent third party review into the actions of the Department of Education throughout this entire situation and make the findings and recommendations public.”
While the Minister did finally apologize to parents in the update letter issued late Friday, the Liberal government still must do the same as the RCMP, and launch an independent investigation into how the Department of Education – including the Minister – handled the situation over the past two years.