On principal issue, minister will stand back

Over the past several weeks, opposition MLAs in the legislative assembly have asked me as minister of education to discuss the details of the recent departure of an employee at the Eliza Van Bibber School in

Over the past several weeks, opposition MLAs in the legislative assembly have asked me as minister of education to discuss the details of the recent departure of an employee at the Eliza Van Bibber School in Pelly Crossing.

They have questioned the abilities of officials in the Department of Education and stated that only by airing the details of personnel matters in a public forum could the matter be resolved. I was and remain dismayed by their approach.

In Yukon’s and Canada’s system of government, there are a number of checks and balances to ensure that the operations of the public service and the lives of public servants are not politicized.

Such checks and balances include provisions that prevent ministers from participating in personnel matters such as transfers of government employees, whether initiated by government or the employee themselves. Indeed, the political arm of government is not involved in those areas, and with good reason being as these matters may see the reputations of public servants used for political purposes.

Other such checks and balances exist in the education system, including the use of democratically elected school councils to work with their local communities on issues of concern and to forward that input to the attention of the minister, I will continue to respect the parameters of my political office by not intervening in the operations of the department.

In the case of Pelly Crossing, I as minister look forward to working with the local school council as well as the Selkirk First Nation to address areas of concern related to cultural awareness, educational opportunities and student outcomes.

Scott Kent

Minister of education