Open letter to MLA Wade Istchenko:
Thank you for the response to my Dec. 1 letter regarding my concerns with the amendments to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. It is unfortunate that you chose to ignore the first letter I sent on Nov. 12. We all could have been spared the embarrassment of me having to be kicked out of the legislature on Dec. 13 if you had given a more timely reply.
Unfortunately, I received it the day after it was passed into law in the legislature, the day after you stood in the legislature and said that you had responded to three emails you had received. Your executive assistant had forgotten to attach the file.
I stood up so I could hear you. You are my MLA and I wanted to hear what you had to say on this important issue.
I had been in the legislature daily for over two weeks hoping I’d hear some sort of debate on this issue, hoping I’d see democracy in action. Instead, I witnessed the Speaker of the house bully teenagers, I heard many “honourable ministers” not answer questions and on the one day that there could have been a debate about ATIPP, the afternoon was spent with MLAs “debating” a friendly motion about bringing J.J. Van Bibber’s excellent book into the school curriculum.
I had to reread the Hansard later that day to realize that our elected representatives had shamefully used the book of a much respected Yukon elder to run out the clock so they didn’t have to debate the idea of allowing the ATIPP amendments to be reviewed by the public.
I never could of imagined how many creative ways your fellow cabinet minister, Brad Cathers, could accuse the NDP of lying and be ignored by the Speaker, but wow, if the Opposition even suggested that the government might be stretching the truth, the Speaker would pounce.
On that last day of the legislature you repeated your stock response, in which you said, “By better defining the perimeters of the act with this amendment, cabinet confidences will be upheld and policy advisers will be able to provide the frank, non-partisan advice and recommendations needed for effective governance.”
Who might these “policy advisers” be, Wade? Federal Conservative advisors? Oil industry lobbyists? Chinese mining interests? Attila the Hun?
Yukon voters will not know who will be advising the cabinet, because the ATIPP amendments have passed and it is now law that Yukon cabinet ministers will be informed in private about public policy.
Nietzsche said, “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you”
Now the Yukon people can no longer trust their government because we don’t know who is advising it.
I stood in the legislature to hear a debate that never happened and I got booted out. The Speaker said to me, “Your presence here is no longer required.”
Damn right, Mr. Speaker. Big Oil has come to the territory and the first thing to leave is the truth.