NDP should show respect

NDP should show respect Open letter to NDP Leader Liz Hanson: The role of opposition leader cannot be an easy one, particularly not in a majority government setting. Yet I still must ask you a favour: please stop referring to yourself and your party as t

Open letter to NDP Leader Liz Hanson:

The role of opposition leader cannot be an easy one, particularly not in a majority government setting.

Yet I still must ask you a favour: please stop referring to yourself and your party as the true voices of the Yukon people. By presenting your party as the true government (which is what I infer from your continued claim to represent public wishes despite having lost the election), you disrespect those Yukoners who did not vote for the NDP. And that, I am afraid, was a majority of us.

To be sure, I have nothing against you personally. Consider this a friendly critique, as my intention is not to aggravate you but perhaps to give you pause to consider that you may best serve the public acting in the capacity of Official Opposition that was assigned to you, rather than continuing to charade as the pseudo-government and offer nothing but hackneyed criticism of every step the elected government takes.

Currently, I feel rather let down by the Official Opposition, as the criticisms it levies at the government are not thoughtful but rather predictable. At every turn, either the government is “bungling” something, “disrespecting” someone, or “creating uncertainty.”

Earlier this year I recall reading a release about the Yukon Party showing disrespect to NGOs. To that I counter that the NDP shows constant disrespect to the Yukon Party. Given that it is the Yukon Party, not NGOs, that have a mandate given by a majority of Yukon people, disrespecting the chosen representatives of the public seems to me to be the more egregious of the two transgressions.

Having taken second prize in the election does not grant the NDP, nor any opposition party for that matter, a carte blanche to do nothing but criticize the government for political gain. Opposition members must still serve the public to the best of their abilities, with more regard for the public good than their own party’s.

I have watched Question Period and have been rather disappointed with the lack of respect you show to not only the elected government but to the decorum of the legislative assembly. Huffing and puffing and tossing papers in contempt does not seem to me a suitable behaviour for a public servant. In the capacity of Official Opposition leader, you still have a duty to represent me just as you represent all Yukoners. Do not forget that.

In its purest conception, the opposition is to provide sober second thought to government policy and action. In other words, the opposition’s job is to poke holes in policy from different perspectives in order to ensure (and this is the crucial part) that the end policy or action is in the best interest of Yukoners, not in the best interest of the NDP.

After all, what is in the best interest of the NDP is not necessarily in the best interest of Yukoners. You were not elected, and it is time to accept that and serve Yukoners in the capacity you have been assigned to the best of your ability.

I hope you will give my comments due consideration and perhaps move towards a more constructive approach in opposition. I recognize that it is no easy task to serve as an elected official, particularly in an opposition role, and I appreciate the work you do. I wish you the best of luck throughout the remainder of this legislative session.

Bernd Schmidt


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