2019 Fall Sitting Ends, Not with a Bang, but with a Whimper

Over the last three days of the 2019 Fall Sitting of the Yukon Legislative Assembly, the Yukon NDP Caucus worked across party lines in an effort to see the creation of a Select Committee on Electoral Reform established with all party support. Unfortunately, that effort was derailed due to disagreements between the Liberal and Yukon Party Caucuses.

“We appreciate that the Premier and the Yukon Liberal Party came to the table to work with us towards our original vision of having a Select Committee of the Legislative Assembly to consider options for electoral reform,” said NDP Leader Kate White. “Unfortunately it was too little too late and Yukoners who want to have input on creating a fairer and more representative democracy will have to wait at least another year.”

During the debate on the last day of the sitting, MLA Liz Hanson tabled a motion to create a Select Committee on Electoral Reform.

“The motion that Liz tabled yesterday afternoon was as close as we got to a final product, and we wanted Yukoners to know that we are serious about and committed to electoral reform,” said White, “The other parties have indicated that they are open to a Select Committee on Electoral Reform and we want Yukon Citizens to know we will be pushing to see one established early in the next Legislative Sitting.”

Throughout the fall sitting, the Yukon NDP Caucus pushed the Government of Yukon to take meaningful action on a range of longstanding issues including poverty reduction, increasing the available stock of affordable housing, regulations that enable midwifery, and interventions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“What we have found is that this Government will say all the right things when it comes to issues that are affecting Yukoners, but they don’t always follow through.” said White. “Take the Sexual Assault Response Team, which was announced in 2017 and promised for 2018, it still doesn’t exist. In the same vein most Yukoners likely think that Midwifery, the ATIPP Act Amendments, the Securities Act, the Societies Act Amendments, the Lobbyist Act, the Condominium Act and the Coroners Act are all in place, but because this Government hasn’t passed the regulations needed to give effect to them they are not in force. All these issues need to be followed-up on if they’re going to make a difference in Yukoners lives.”

The fall sitting also saw the release of the Our Clean Future draft clean energy strategy.

“The draft plan is a good step forward, but we think that it could be more ambitious. Because the plan doesn’t address emissions from the mining sector in the same way as it does the rest of the economy, the plan doesn’t consider the whole impact Yukon is having on the environment.” Said White, “The government is currently seeking input on the draft plan and we will be providing our feedback early in the new year.”