Whitehorse: Despite all parties publicly calling for efficient, respectful behaviour in the Legislative Assembly, the spring legislative Sitting was still hindered by partisan squabbling, procrastinating grandstanding, and a failure to fully attend to the 2012-2013 Yukon Government budget.

“As of this morning, the Assembly has duly considered and passed only 30% of the budget, and the rest will be forced through this afternoon,” said Darius Elias, Interim Liberal Leader.  “That’s because 6 of the 12 government departments and none of the 3 corporations were finished in this House, and now we’re out of time.”

“It’s hard to claim to be fiscally accountable when, after a 30-day Sitting, we have failed to complete even half of the budget,” added Sandy Silver, MLA for Klondike.  “Despite promises to keep on task, partisanship and stall tactics have eaten up hours and days that would have better spent on legislative business.  That means about $830 million in expenditures will be authorized without full review.”

Debate has been started but not finished for Community Services, Energy, Mines & Resources, Health & Social Services, Highways & Public Works, and the Women’s Directorare.  The Public Service Commission, Yukon Development Corporation, Yukon Housing Corporation, and the Yukon Liquor Corporation have received no oversight at all.

The Liberal Caucus had yielded its opportunity to bring forward a second motion for debate on May 9th in order to grant more time for the budget.  Instead, the Justice Minister prevented this by filibustering for over 2 hours and thereby running out the clock.

This lack of oversight Extends to a number of key issues in the territory.

“We’re concerned about meeting deadlines on major infrastructure projects,” said Silver.  “The Dawson City wastewater treatment plant is behind schedule and will be delivered with run-up operations and maintenace costs.  Residents are still in the dark about programming at the new hospital, and we haven’t heard convincing plans about how staff will be recruited and retained.”

Elias is concerned by the lack of accountability for government activities in major departments, such as Education and Housing.

“Yukon schools continue to deliver poor attendance and graduation outcomes.  The housing strategy collapsed when the flagship Lot #262 project failed.  The home market is crippled by the lack of lots, especially ones that Yukon families can afford,” said Elias.  “The public expects checks and balances on government powers, and they expect accountability when the government fails to deliver on its promises.”

For additional information contact: 

Shay Kokiw 667-8942