Glenn Hart should come out of the shadows and tell Yukoners precisely why he’s cutting $500,000 in community mental health funding.
He should explain himself.
He should answer questions.
He should lay out the government’s new direction, and why it’s going there.
Not to put too fine a point on it – that’s what a minister’s appointed to do.
It’s a tough job, convincing the population that a decision is the right one – even if it’s unpopular, penalizes society’s most vulnerable and least capable citizens, and appears foolish and niggardly.
Doing so is called leadership.
And, apparently, it’s been so long since the Yukon has seen such behaviour we’ve forgotten what it looks like.
Instead, we’ve grown accustomed to a duck-and-run cabinet made up of people with a talent for shouldering themselves into cheque-presentation events, but who are unwilling or simply incapable of explaining its hard choices.
It leaves one wondering if there’s any plan at all.
In any case, when such a “pilot program’s” funding expires – money that was trumpeted when it was launched – its dependent clients and their families start wondering what they’ll do next.
So what do they do, Hart?
They deserve an answer.
But Hart has locked himself away in the bowels of the Executive Council Office. He’s designated a flak catcher to explain the situation.
Priorities have changed, said Pat Living, Health and Social Services’ spokesperson.
How? Well, Living won’t say.
But, then, that’s not really her job.
After accepting the political benefit of the federal dole, the least Hart could do is come clean when the bottom falls out of the enterprise.
He should explain why, precisely, the territory is not picking up the slack.
After all, presumably the programs were needed when Ottawa underwrote them three years ago.
Well, as we’ve noted, Hart won’t answer his phone. Living’s doing that.
Fobbing responsibility onto her is not fair.
It’s Hart’s job.
He’s in charge. He should explain why priorities have changed, and how.