Whitehorse: The fall sitting of the Yukon Legislature is one the government will likely want to forget, says Liberal Leader Sandy Silver.  The Cathers/Pasloski government bounced from one crisis to another over the course of the 30 day sitting.  Botched amendments to YESAB, a major loss in the courts over the Peel watershed and calls for the resignation for Community Services Minister Brad Cathers combined to highlight a government in trouble because of its arrogant, unilateral approach to issues and other levels of government. 

“A common theme in the long list of pitfalls the government found itself in is that they were avoidable if the government could get beyond its own arrogance and try to work with others,” said the Klondike MLA.  “Particularly with regard to YESAB and the Peel it was this government’s steadfast determination to follow a unilateral path that is at the core of the disputes.”

While the government has long been at odds with Yukon First Nations, municipal governments have now found themselves subjected to the same dismissive attitude and approach.

“I began this sitting with a call for the resignation of Minister Cathers over his mishandling of the affordable housing question,” Silver said.  “That call was unanimously echoed only days later by the Mayor and Council of Whitehorse and as we wrap up the sitting there are once again questions being raised about the continued mismanagement of affordable housing dollars.” 

No sitting would be complete without more concerns surrounding the over budget and long–delayed F.H. Collins school replacement project.  Late in the sitting Yukoners learned the price tag on the new school will rise by at least $3 million with money finally going towards renovations to the tech and trades wing.

“This brings the cost to at least $54 million that includes $6 million for a scrapped design and $1 million for ‘free’ plans to a company from Alberta,” he said.  “This project continues to be the poster child for mismanaging taxpayers’ money.”

Silver put forward a motion calling for funding to advance work on possibly designating the Klondike as a UNESCO world heritage site.

“It was really the only time the government even paid any positive attention to Dawson during the sitting,” he said.  “The government instead spent most of the session refusing to address major problems with the community’s recreation centre and the $25 million dollar white elephant wastewater treatment plant.” 

The government’s repeated refusal to confirm it will meet a campaign commitment of a target of 50% solid waste diversion by 2015 was bad news for Yukoners concerned about our environment.

“It is now obvious the government is walking away from its own target on waste reduction.”

A lack of progress on a new hydroelectric dam was also on the MLA for Klondike’s fall agenda.

“After spending years looking at privatizing Yukon’s energy future the government is now at least talking about new hydro but it is obvious the heavy lifting will fall to the next government,” said Silver.  “Given this government’s efforts to chase away mining investment with its ham-fisted approach to our regulatory regime and its ongoing battles with First Nations it will likely be some time before significant new industrial demands are placed on our electrical grid anyway.”    

Silver was happy to support the passage of whistleblower legislation.

“The most important bill passed this fall is the result of hard work by an all-party committee,” he said.  “The Yukon Party was dragged kicking and screaming to support this bill after almost a decade of stalling.” 

Silver anticipates the Government of Yukon to appeal the Yukon Supreme Court decision on the Peel, after the legislature rises.


For additional information contact:
Brad Weston, 393-6430