Have we elected politicians or moles?
Alright, it’s a glib question. But sometimes it’s OK to dive into the shallow end.
There are significant issues facing the territory, from the ownership of its power supply and the future of the Peel Watershed, to how the territory will cope with the downturn in the tourism sector and whether the government should privatize its seniors’ housing and offload its sewer and water infrastructure to Outside firms, all of which have been floated lately.
Remote highways are being upgraded, at huge expense, for apparently no reason. Explanations are nonexistent.
After CBC was told to move its transmitter station a couple of months ago, on a whim, the broadcaster was offered a three-year extension of its transmitter lease. Again, no explanation. In fact, the news is delivered through a letter to the city asking them to sign off on the decision, suggesting it hasn’t even been made yet. The CBC was caught flatfooted.
Minister Brad Cathers is not available for comment.
The Minto copper mine releases an enormous amount of tainted water into the river system in an emergency discharge. The company made a similar discharge last year and asked to make another next year.
Despite this, ministers responsible for Environment, Mines and Community Affairs are silent. It’s as if this situation, which suggests a deficiency in the mine’s design, is of little consequence to the territory at all.
Economic Development Minister Jim Kenyon has made several trips to Asia, but there has been no information about what he’s doing on these junkets.
As minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corp., Kenyon was dead silent on the issue of overdraft of the mortgage fund in his operation.
And though he’s recently been bounced as minister responsible for Yukon Energy, he provided no information on the direction of the Crown corporation, the resignation of the board or even the hugely expensive Mayo B project, which was launched on his watch. At least, that’s whose name was on the corporate masthead.
It needs to be noted, as a minister he’s collecting a salary in excess of $100,000, but there’s little evidence of work over the last year.
Of course, the same could be said of much of the cabinet of late.
Both Health Minister Glenn Hart and Fentie were called for more than 20 consecutive days about Sheldon Miller, the fellow stuck with a $20,000 medevac bill. The only comment came in Dawson City -Â we drove there expressly to talk to them (that’s what it takes these days). Both men dodged out of the interview to have photos taken with their colleagues.
There was a time when ministers in the Yukon government held news conferences about substantial issues.
They talked about the direction of government. They announced major initiatives, and they talked publicly about how they would deal with problems.
They were before the public.
Today, there is none of that. Most decisions are seemingly made and relayed straight from Fentie’s office, if they are discussed at all.
A cabinet exists, but there’s little evidence ministers are in charge of their departments.
Which brings us back to that whimsical question about whether we’ve elected moles, or people.
People are generally social critters who talk and interact with others of their kind. Politicians are often the most gregarious of the bunch.
Moles are industrious, burrowing deep and far. But they are seldom heard and almost never seen.
And you often never know what they are up to until your lawn dies. (Richard Mostyn)