Open Letter to Premier Pasloski re special warrant:
On May 30th, I wrote to congratulate you on becoming the new leader of the Yukon Party and encouraged you to be more open and accountable to Yukoners than your predecessor, Dennis Fentie, had been over the last nine years.
To demonstrate your willingness to bring more transparency to government, we had asked that you:
• Provide an update of the territory’s financial status, updated estimates for this fiscal year, the status of the savings account and the total amount that the territory has borrowed to this point, including borrowing through its Crown corporations, within 10 business days.
• Release the four contracts, and the products of these contracts that were signed by EMR in the summer of 2009 regarding energy rationalization and that have been requested repeatedly over the last two years.
• Recall the legislative assembly for a special session in June to debate how to properly allocate the $17.5 million from the Northern Housing Fund so that it can be put to use immediately to provide some relief from our housing shortage.
Our requests, made on behalf of Yukoners, have been ignored thus far. It has been almost two months since the Yukon Party elected you as its leader and over a month since you were sworn in as premier. Yet, you have done little to indicate a Yukon Party government under your leadership is any more open and accountable than a Yukon Party government under Fentie.
Last week it was revealed you issued a special warrant for $46 million, $7 million of which was for projects not yet approved by the legislative assembly.
You could have accepted the Liberal caucus’ invitation to reconvene the legislature at the end of June to have these funds approved, but instead you decided to stick with Yukon Party policy: making deals behind closed doors to avoid scrutiny. The fact you would rather work behind the scenes than with the members of the legislative assembly shows the same arrogance and blatant disregard for the democratic process that Fentie had. It shows a complete lack of respect for the members of the legislative assembly and a lack of respect for the people that we represent.
Pasloski, while it’s clear that you would like to distance yourself from the past scandals that this Yukon Party government has been involved with (as is evident from the vigorous housecleaning that you have been undertaking), your recent actions have confirmed that this government hasn’t changed - it is still more concerned with the interests of the Yukon Party than it is with the interests of all Yukoners.
Without the consent of the legislative assembly, you have absolutely no public mandate to be spending taxpayer dollars. The Yukon Party elected you as its leader, but you have yet to earn a seat in the legislative assembly from the Yukon public. While the Yukon Party currently holds a majority and would most likely approve the expenses you are bringing forward if called back to the legislative assembly, the issue here is a matter of principle. For a person who speaks so often of collaboration with other groups, your actions thus far reveal you to be a “my-way-or-the-highway” type person – just like a certain former premier.
I am also appalled by the timing of these unauthorized projects that you have approved.
By law, a territorial election must be called within the next three months - you want these projects to be financed using taxpayer money but without taxpayer consent.
Let’s be clear: would you be fast-tracking these projects if a territorial election weren’t imminent?
This Yukon Party government has had plenty of time to initiate projects, but it chose to wait until the eleventh hour. In effect, you are using taxpayer money to make more announcements in order to promote the Yukon Party in advance of the upcoming election. This is morally, fiscally and democratically wrong.
My colleagues and I and many Yukoners are disappointed by your actions.
I hope that you will recognize that the members of the Yukon legislative assembly and the Yukoners we represent deserve more respect than that which you have shown to date.
Arthur Mitchell, leader of the Official Opposition