Premier Dennis Fentie has recalled the legislature for March 30.
That’s too late.
The territory’s budget expires on March 31, and after that it has no authority to spend money.
There is, of course, a fix.
Fentie issued a special warrant for a whopping $257 million.
The money is, essentially, doled out by decree and is not reviewed by anyone outside the government.
It is a power that is supposed to be used sparingly, in an emergency.
Fentie has used it three times in the last three years.
There is little reason for this.
Recalling the legislature a week or two earlier would give politicians a chance to pass an interim supply bill, which would carry the operation of government until the full-blown budget was passed.
That’s the way it should work.
But, instead, Fentie just releases the money by decree.
Asked about it, Fentie adopts a no-harm, no-foul philosophy and shrugs it off.
And, truth told, the whole thing seems a little procedural.
Except that procedures are in place to ensure that everything is done above board.
And, when the territory doles out $257 million, people outside government — specifically opposition politicians — should review where it’s going.
As it stands, it will be weeks before the opposition figures out where the cash has gone.
Every week, the government spends about $16 million, so a lot of money can be spent by the time the opposition gets a handle on things in the house.
Almost all of it will be spent appropriately by the territory’s professional civil service.
But with the territorial government polling somewhere between 11 per cent and 25 per cent approval on its ethics, people have a right to demand broader oversight of its spending.
That starts with recalling the legislature earlier to give opposition politicians a chance to review and approve an interim supply bill. (RM)
Once again, the Yukon News editorial staff has been nominated for several writing and photography awards at the Ma Murray Community Newspaper Awards.
In photography, the extraordinary News shooters have picked up two of three nominations in three categories.
Both Mike Thomas and Ian Stewart have been nominated in the Black And White Feature Photography category.
Stewart and Thomas have also been nominated for the Hub International TOS Limited Sports Photo Award.
And Stewart and photographer Derek Crowe have been nominated for the Spot News Photo Award: Colour Or Black And White.
Stewart has also been nominated for the Horizon Publications Sports Writing Award for his piece about how cyclist Zach Bell and other elite amateur athletes lack federal funding support.
Reporter Genesee Keevil has been nominated for the Ducks Unlimited Canada Outdoor Writing Award for her story about grizzly enthusiast Phil Timpani.
And editor Richard Mostyn has been nominated for the Alan & Adelaide Black Editorial Award for his piece challenging the merits of a hospital fundraiser.
The awards are staged by the Community Newspaper Association of British Columbia and Yukon.
The association represents 105 newspapers throughout BC and Yukon with circulations ranging from 1,000 copies a week to more than 100,000.
According to the association’s website, this year “many judges expressed having an extremely difficult time choosing winners for this year’s awards. Comments such as, ‘What an impressive talent pool!’ and ‘It is truly a comforting thought to know that our industry is in such good hands,’ were the norm.”
The winners will be announced on April 22 at Vancouver’s River Rock Casino Resort. (RM)