Government Grilled Over Priorities and Lack of Answers
On Monday, the Yukon Teachers’ Association (YTA) raised concerns regarding the Minister of Education’s plans to cut the amount of Educational Assistants in schools. When asked about this issue by MLA Geraldine Van Bibber in Question Period, the Liberals refused to commit that there will not be a reduction in the amount of Educational Assistants next school year.
Additionally, the Liberals announced that their government is cutting funding to a program that provided $100 per student for necessary school supplies. This was a very popular program, especially in rural Yukon, and was cut without any notification or consultation with families, and without a review of its effectiveness.
Later in the week, given the context that the North American Free Trade Agreement is about to be renegotiated and the federal government is seeking input from provinces and territories, the Premier was asked by the Official Opposition what position his government will be taking in the negotiations. Surprisingly the Premier refused to answer – indicating he either doesn’t know or doesn’t want to be open with Yukoners. Indeed, Yukoners have every right to know what position the government is going to take in major trade negotiations.
The Premier was also asked if, in one of his many meetings with the federal Liberals, he has been standing up for Yukoners and lobbying on their behalf. Specifically, he was asked if he has pressed the federal Liberals to live up to their promise to re-open the Canada Revenue Agency office in Whitehorse. Instead of providing a clear answer the Premier was dismissive and left no indication that he has been standing up for Yukon.
MLA Wade Istchenko raised the concerns of his constituents over the course of the week, asking questions about wildlife population management and permit hunting, as well as the state of the Destruction Bay Marina. Residents and users of the Marina have been writing to the Liberals since January regarding the state of the area and boat launch. When asked whether they would complete the work needed to repair the marina, the government once again deflected the question and did not commit to fix it.
Over their first half year of governing, the Liberal government has continuously refused to answer questions or share information, demonstrating that they feel no obligation to be open and accountable with Yukoners.
The Official Opposition will continue to push the government on their priorities and hold them accountable for the decisions they make.