Premier Pasloski must discipline environment minister Istchenko for consuming alcohol in an all-terrain vehicle

The Yukon NDP is calling on Premier Darrell Pasloski to remove Kluane MLA Wade Istchenko from cabinet following his admission of alcohol consumption while at the wheel of an off-road vehicle last week. Minister Istchenko’s apology follows a Yukon NDP question regarding the circulation on social media of two photos showing the minister holding a can of beer while sitting in the driver’s seat of an ATV.

“Alcohol abuse is a serious issue. In Yukon, there must be no doubt that all Yukoners are held accountable,” said Yukon NDP leader Liz Hanson. “The Premier needs to take immediate disciplinary action to ensure that Yukoners know that the rules apply to everyone. Minister Istchenko must be relieved of his cabinet portfolio.”

The Yukon Government clearly opposes mixing alcohol and all-terrain vehicles. On its All-Terrain Vehicle Safety page, the Department of Highways and Public Works councils Yukoners: “Do not drive while impaired in anyway [sic], an ATV is still a vehicle and should be treated as such.”

As a former Minister for Highways and Public Works and current Minister for the Environment, Istchenko’s actions raise important questions about his ability to set an example for Yukoners. As recently as October 30, 2014, Minister Istchenko drew on his experience as a “trained ORV instructor” to tell Yukoners that he “cannot stress enough the importance of a rider’s personal responsibility, though, in ensuring safe driving habits” and that he “would encourage responsible riding behaviour and courtesy for your neighbours, other trail riders and for every ORV and snowmobile operator within our vast territory.” Minister Istchenko’s glaring lack of leadership sets a poor example for Yukoners who have a shared responsibility to know and respect the rules associated with outdoor activity like travel by off-road vehicle.

“Inaction by Premier Pasloski would be further proof that when it comes to the Yukon Party, there is one set of rules for Yukoners and another for their friends,” added Hanson. “I look forward to the Premier’s swift action in dealing with his environment minister’s irresponsible behaviour.”