Whitehorse: Liberal Leader Sandy Silver stood in the house today to question what action the Yukon Government was taking to keep Bill C-583, Yukon MP Ryan Leef’s private members’ bill on FASD, alive in the House of Commons.

“This spring our legislature passed a unanimous motion supporting a private members bill put forward by the Yukon’s own Member of Parliament,” said Silver “Bill C-583 seeks to amend the Criminal Code to add a definition of “fetal alcohol spectrum disorder” (FASD) and to establish a procedure for assessing individuals who are involved in the criminal justice system and who it is suspected suffer from FASD. It requires the court to consider, as a mitigating factor in sentencing, a determination that the accused suffers from FASD. Last week the federal Conservatives decided they didn’t support the bill and asked the member to pull it. For some reason he agreed.”

When asked whether the Yukon Government was going to take action to try to save the FASD bill, the Minister for Health and Social Services simply stated it was a federal matter. The same sentiment was not expressed when the Cathers/Pasloski government tabled its motion to support the federal Conservative government’s campaign against ISIL.

“It was very disappointing to see what happened in Ottawa. Our Member of Parliament introduced a good piece of legislation; one that all parties in this Assembly unanimously supported,” said Silver. “It would have been a huge step forward for those who suffer from FASD and who end up in our justice system.  Unfortunately that bill is now dead and our MP didn’t even put up a fight.  The powers that be in the federal Conservative government decided for some reason they didn’t want the bill to pass and now it will not.”

Justice Minister Mike Nixon refused to say if he had contacted his federal colleague to express his opposition to this short-sighted decision.  Bill C-583 will be voted out of the House of Commons tonight.  


For additional information contact:
Brad Weston, 393-6430