House of disrepute

Some Yukon Party government MLAs have stooped to a new low!

Some Yukon Party government MLAs have stooped to a new low!

As a citizen witness to the legislative process I attend most days when the House sits. On Wednesday, Dec. 3, I and two other citizens were the unfortunate witnesses to very disrespectful, disruptive behavior by most of the Yukon Party MLAs.

The NDP’s Jim Tredger was presenting his motion to condemn the federal minister of aboriginal affairs for his planned amendments to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act that are opposed by Yukon First Nations.

Only a short time before, we had witnessed a tribute to Alex Van Bibber, who was recognized as an integral part of the very fabric of the spirit of Yukon.

Now these same MLAs were turning our legislature into a gong show; bullying, turning their backs to Mr. Tredger, huddling at Currie Dixon’s desk to converse, laugh and write notes.

We lost it. We stood and clapped once Mr. Tredger finished speaking, and I then turned and spoke to the MLAs stressing their behaviour was disrespectful and appalling.

Of course neither is this acceptable behaviour. Attendance in the gallery is to be silent and respectful; it was just one too many times school-yard behaviour and the wasteful use of privilege and tax payer’s dollars has prevailed. Our collective show of disdain had no political overtone but rather one of disgust. We quietly left the gallery.

I have a great deal of respect for some of the MLAs on the governing side of the house. Maybe it is time to redirect tax dollars wasted in this type of behaviour and adopt video streaming for the entire session, to show the public how our tax dollars are working for us.

A further display of the small-mindedness of these errant MLAs and the Speaker of the House was affirmed by the removal of my supports.

For three consecutive sittings I have had the respect and leniency to have a foot stool and bolster with me while I sit in the House. I have some disability and these tools are a support for my challenges. I have been permitted, up until this moment, to leave my supports when I take a break from sitting in the gallery.

However, this privilege has now been withdrawn. The day after my outburst and our clapping I returned to the gallery to find my supports had been removed. I was advised that in future I would be required to remove these supports every time I leave the gallery.

I can only surmise this is a direct retaliation – a school-yard mentality of getting even for chastising these errant MLAs the day before.

How ironic. This is the same group of politicians who stood in the House during this particular week and paid tribute to inclusion of disability. I encourage all citizens to come and witness your representatives hard at work … or not.

Davina Harker


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