FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 7, 2023
WHITEHORSE – The Yukon Party Official Opposition believes the time, staff, and financial resources being directed to the Yukon Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform (YCA) would be better prioritized addressing the many challenges facing Yukoners. The YCA is a product of the Liberal-NDP Confidence and Supply Agreement. (CASA)
The territorial Liberal and NDP-led idea to form and fund the committee is out of touch with the harsh reality many Yukoners are facing. While they spend countless hours pursuing changes to the Yukon’s election laws, many Yukoners cannot find a family doctor, schools are juggling a shortage of teachers and mental health support, rural Yukoners experience continued service reductions, Yukon businesses and NGOs struggle to adequately staff and fund operations, and all Yukoners face a cost-of-living crisis.
“This electoral reform project has never been a priority for us because we feel there are far more pressing challenges for Yukoners,” said Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon. “We never agreed to the process and only participated because we respected the decision made by the Legislative Assembly. We feel the entire Citizens’ Assembly concept that is being proposed is dysfunctional and will be a failure to implement in a fair manner.”
Key parts of the proposal that are unreasonable, unworkable, or unfair include:
- Membership of the YCA will consist of up to two individuals from each of the 19 electoral districts in the Yukon, randomly selected, and attempting to reflect Yukon’s diversity;
- Committee members will only be selected from the 1793 respondents who declared their willingness to participate in the YCA in the census of all Yukon residents aged 16 years and over conducted by the Yukon Bureau of Statistics from January 12 to March 5, 2023;
- Tens of thousands of Yukoners who thought this would not proceed, may now have an interest in participating, but are being excluded;
- Eligible YCA committee nominees have a self-declared self-interest in electoral reform leading to a perception of bias;
- The Yukon Legislative Assembly just recognized the inequity of current riding populations and agreed to create a new electoral boundaries commission; and,
- The project carries an estimated starting budget of over $1 million, with the expectation it will cost more.
“We will continue to vote in the best interests of Yukoners and push for improvements to their way of life,” added Dixon. “We believe the government should be putting their time and resources toward that end.”
The YCA is an outcome of the CASA agreement the territorial Liberals signed to be propped up by the NDP. In return for the support, the NDP benefits from over $270,000 of additional annual funding from cabinet to their caucus.