Legislature sitting kicks off with key motions

Legislature sitting kicks off with key motions The Government of Yukon this week put forth a number of motions in the Legislative Assembly that set out its plans to further develop a clean power future for Yukon, increase transparency in ministerial tra

The Government of Yukon this week put forth a number of motions in the Legislative Assembly that set out its plans to further develop a clean power future for Yukon, increase transparency in ministerial travel expenses and offer Yukoners additional legal protections.

On clean power, the government motion directs the Yukon Development Corporation to commence the research and planning for a new hydropower dam.

The motion signals the government’s intent to develop a successful clean power future for Yukon in which the government will take a broad view of electrical policy and will further utilize newer technologies and renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass.

The government will also further update and develop a policy framework for electricity that emphasizes efficiency and conservation.

In addition, alternative cleaner and more affordable power sources will be developed to reduce the use of diesel in communities not connected to the hydro system.

It’s clear a continuing and abundant supply of clean and affordable power is an important factor in sustainable economic development in Yukon. However, protection of the environment is important as well and the government will ensure that its clean power plan is balanced with environmental responsibility.

Another government motion directs that going forward, and for the first time in Yukon, ministerial travel expenses will be publicized online. This unprecedented move is a responsible measure that demonstrates leadership in the areas of transparency and accountability.

Included in this week’s measures was a motion that calls for amendments to the Yukon Fatal Accidents Act that would enable family members of deceased children to pursue actions for bereavement damages. Currently, the legislation permits families to recover only out of pocket expenses. The legislation, if amended, would allow families to seek damages for grief and loss of companionship.

The government this week also tabled the 2012/13 public accounts which show an annual surplus of $119 million and an accumulated surplus of $1.5 billion.

The surplus is Yukon’s tenth in the past 11 years and is a clear reflection of our financial strength. Being in a surplus situation allows the government the flexibility to respond to emerging priorities and unforeseen future needs.

The sound financial position of the Yukon government has been noted by global credit rating service Standard & Poor’s which this week affirmed Yukon’s credit rating as AA for the fourth year in a row.

The rating confirms that Yukon has achieved a track record of strong economic performance and that we’re on course for continued growth. Strengths highlighted in the ratings report include Yukon’s low debt levels, strong budgetary performance and good financial management.

The motions put forward this week and our government’s proposed legislative agenda will further deliver on commitments we made to Yukoners. And with the Legislative Assembly now back in session, we fully intend to move forward on issues that are important to Yukon families, our economy and our future.

Darrell Pasloski

Yukon Premier