WHITEHORSE – After being pressed by the Official Opposition for two weeks, and with a growing list of Yukoners coming out against the Public Airports Act, the Liberals have acknowledged they failed on the consultation process.
The Official Opposition first started asking the government to sit down with industry and consult them on the Airports Act on October 10th. Thanks to the efforts of the Official Opposition it appears the government has finally sat down with industry – something that should have been done before the Act was tabled.
Throughout the two weeks of questioning, it became apparent that the Liberals did little to no consultations on the bill. Further, the Minister of Highways and Public Works came under scrutiny as he made several false claims regarding who and how he consulted stakeholder groups. This resulted in the Liberals admitting they misrepresented consultations when they were forced to pull a government press release off their website to remove any mention of consultations altogether.
On October 16, the Official Opposition suggested that the government amend Part 6 Section 17(1) of the Airports Act from saying the Minister “may” establish an advisory committee to “shall” create an advisory committee. This change would ensure the government actually creates the committee. We are pleased that the Liberals are following this Yukon Party recommendation.
Additionally, last week the Liberals attempted to use their majority to ram the Airports Act through the House. The Official Opposition was able to stop this through an amendment that would have sent the Airports Act to a select committee to conduct proper consultation. By doing, this the Official Opposition gave Yukoners more time to mobilize and voice their concerns to the government before it was too late.
More Consultation Required
There remains a number of groups that have not been consulted on the Act. This includes the communities, chambers of commerce, the tourism industry, outfitters, and general public.
The Yukon Party will continue to advocate that all Yukoners be consulted on the Airports Act.