FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 2, 2021
WHITEHORSE – The Liberal minority government’s 2021 Fall Sitting of the Yukon Legislative Assembly can be summed up in one word: disastrous.
The Liberals' failure to answer opposition questions surrounding the Hidden Valley sexual abuse scandal dominated the sitting. This resulted in the majority of the Legislative Assembly passing a motion calling for the Deputy Premier to resign from cabinet. It quickly became clear that the Liberal government is on life support as they barely survived a confidence motion and embarrassingly saw their marquee piece of legislation get scuttled due to a failure to consult municipalities.
The Liberal government desperately attempted to change the channel on the Hidden Valley scandal in mid-October by announcing a hastily thought-out vaccine mandate for government employees, contractors, and NGOs that led to communication failures and more questions from Yukoners. The announcement came mere weeks after the Premier claimed there was no need for such a mandate in the Yukon. The government also fumbled the mandate’s implementation. Originally identified in the mandate, allied health care providers were not included until just hours before the new rules took effect. It took a last-minute emergency Cabinet meeting to fulfill this obligation.
The Liberals also bungled their signature piece of legislation that would create the Better Building Program – a building retrofit program that would see municipalities administer loans for energy retrofits. This program would help Yukoners and Yukon businesses fight climate change and should have been a slam-dunk for this government with unanimous support. However, the Minister of Community Services and the Liberal government alienated municipalities to the extent that multiple mayors and councils requested a delay on the legislation to address questions and concerns. At the last minute, the Liberals admitted their failures and agreed to shelve the legislation until the spring so the Liberals could go do their homework.
“This Liberal government is increasingly looking desperate as it flails and lacks direction,” said Leader of the Official Opposition Currie Dixon. “The House has lost confidence in the Deputy Premier, and the government just barely survived a confidence motion. Their own incompetence derailed their defining piece of legislation and they spent the sitting trying to explain away their mishandling of key files such as the doctor and teacher shortage.”
The Yukon Party Official Opposition also sought clarity and solutions from the government on a staggering list of other issues that are affecting Yukoners. These include the shortages of doctors, teachers, firewood, housing, and midwives, the closing of rural solid waste transfer stations, troubles with the Grove Street program at Jack Hulland Elementary, issues with Ross River School, and significant cost overruns with major infrastructure projects.
“The fact the Ministers were unable to answer basic questions, and were often left reading from scripts unrelated to the actual subject demonstrates a disrespect for the legitimate questions and concerns of Yukoners,” added Dixon. “This failure of leadership and disrespect for Yukoners starts at the top with the Premier.”
After bringing the issues of constituents and all Yukoners to the floor of the Legislative Assembly for the past 31 days, Yukon Party MLAs will head back to their ridings and speak with Yukoners about the sitting and listen to their feedback and concerns.