WHITEHORSE – The Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories will resume sitting on May 26th to allow elected representatives to provide democratic oversight of their government’s response to COVID-19.
“The priority for the resumption of the sitting is to adopt the final 2020/21 budget, introduce and consider legislation necessary to respond to the crisis and hold the government to account for its response to COVID-19 to date and other non-pandemic issues of importance.”
- Legislative Assembly of Northwest Territories (https://www.ntassembly.ca/documents-proceedings/news-releases/legislative-assembly-resume-sitting)
Meanwhile, the Yukon Liberal government is refusing to reconvene the Legislative Assembly to allow for democratic oversight of their response to COVID-19. Premier Silver even went as far to state that the Liberal government is “not in a situation where we need legislative oversight for any of the actions that we’ve done so far.” Legislatures and Parliaments across Canada have already met, continue to meet, or have set plans to meet to provide accountability and allow for democratic oversight of their governments’ pandemic response.
“The Premier and the Liberals need to respect our democracy and recall the Legislative Assembly to allow for oversight of their actions,” said Stacey Hassard, Leader of the Official Opposition. “If legislatures across Canada, including the Northwest Territories, can find a way to safely meet to allow for democracy to continue, then the Yukon can do the same. Democracy is not just something you can ignore because it’s an inconvenience.”
The Premier has previously refused to recall the legislature using the excuse that the response to this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic is no different than Yukon’s annual response to wildfires. This despite the fact that Premier Silver himself referred to this as “a national health crisis unlike anything we’ve ever seen before” during an April 28th press conference.
To be clear, in Yukon’s annual response to wildfires there is no instance of Yukon having to shut down our borders, schools, daycares, hospitals, and economy while also bringing in massive new spending measures and the government giving itself unprecedented powers to ignore its own laws.