Death of a bill

The Yukon Party demonstrated how to kill a bill in one long, easy step: talk it to death. A Liberal bill that would have amended the Co-operation in…

The Yukon Party demonstrated how to kill a bill in one long, easy step: talk it to death.

A Liberal bill that would have amended the Co-operation in Governance Act to include a provision to table public reports on government consultations with First Nations failed to pass second reading on Wednesday.

The bill’s debate was adjourned at the end of the day, which evaded a vote and effectively killed any chance it has to become law.

The bill would have forced the government to follow consultation protocols laid out in previous agreements, say Liberals.

For nearly an hour and a half, acting premier Elaine Taylor gave a history of First Nations relations in the Yukon, gave numerous examples of where the government followed consultation policy and presented an extended lecture on the times the government side of the house co-operated with opposition parties.

“Minister after minister stood on the floor and refused to support these changes,” said Mitchell after the debate was adjourned.

“At the end of the day they talked the bill out, refusing to allow it to come to a vote.”

During the debate, Mitchell likened the annual reports he proposed be tabled to financial statements from the government.

“We don’t come in here and say, ‘You spent so much on this or that’ and then have the government say, ‘No, we did not,’ resulting in a yes-you-did, no-we-didn’t argument,” he said.

“We look at the audited records of the government of Yukon and we let the facts speak for themselves. Reports of government add clarity and avoid needless and sometimes pointless argument.”

It’s odd the Liberals would unilaterally table a bill on consultation, said Education Minister Patrick Rouble.

“By them demanding that the government unilaterally decide to release something — well, the government cannot do that without the involvement and agreement of its partner,” he said.

“To ask the government to do something without involving its partner is insulting to the partner, if I can put it as bluntly as that.”

Several First Nation chiefs and grand chief Andy Carvill have expressed support for the bill, said Mitchell. (JW)

Shocking words

There has never been a death attributed to Tasering, said Justice Minister Marion Horne in response to questions about the territory’s position on use of the stun gun.

Tell that to the family of Robert Dziekanski, the Pole who died after being Tasered by police at the Vancouver airport.

“It’s a fact that no death has been attributed to a Taser gun,” said Horne in question period Wednesday.

Horne was responding to Liberal MLA Eric Fairclough’s question about what communication the territory has had with RCMP regarding the use of Tasers in the Yukon.

“The use of Tasers by various police forces appears to be becoming more prevalent,” said Fairclough.

“The use of such devices was supposed to be an alternative to the use of firearms, and less likely to result in a fatality.”

Sixteen people have died from stun-gun-related incidents, he added.

CBC reported the same number.

In 2005, the death of a Chicago man was believed to be the first reported death caused by a Taser.

While he supports the use of Tasers, public safety should also be taken into account when deciding a policy on Taser use, said Fairclough.

He cited a report from the Justice department, which said Taser use should be restricted to the protection of an individual or officer.

The government has “full confidence … in their due diligence with the Tasers,” said Horne.

“I do not discuss this in detail with the RCMP. I leave this up to their discretion and their expertise. (JW)