The good news that the select committee studying hydraulic fracturing has listened to Yukoners who wanted a public dialogue on this issue and will visit most Yukon communities is tempered by the timing of the visits announced to date.
The first hearings are scheduled for Monday, June 23 in Watson Lake and run through until Thursday, June 26 when they conclude in Dawson. The remaining hearings, including Whitehorse, have not been scheduled yet, but it seems likely that the committee will be making haste to finish them during July or August so they can complete their report for the Yukon legislature. Therein lies the rub.
Given Yukoners’ propensity to take advantage of the relatively short Yukon summer to spend time outdoors, to leave town, to take holidays and to pay scant attention to political events, it is more than conceivable that these hearings examining hydraulic fracturing will not receive the participation and attention they so clearly need.
Doesn’t common sense, along with an honest desire to consult with Yukoners and a sense of fair play, dictate that these public hearings, or at least those that are still unscheduled, be held after the summer break when schools are back in session, Yukoners have returned from holiday and attention is focussed again on important territorial issues?