Open letter to Brad Cathers, minister of Energy, Mines and Resources:
Your performance in the Yukon legislative assembly during question period last week would have been funny if it had been a This Hour Has 22 Minutes segment. But it was neither a comedy segment nor was it funny. It was sad and, I fear, a discouraging preview of how your government intends to conduct itself.
To be sure, the actor factor is present on both sides of the house during question period when the television cameras are turned on and reporters are monitoring the proceedings.
But your carefully scripted, repetitive non-responses to genuine questions about the Peel River watershed, and your insistence on speaking for other ministers to whom specific questions were directed, made a mockery of the democratic principle that legislative sittings are meant to be a forum for frank and sincere discussion of government policies and actions.
Legislative sittings are the public’s opportunity, primarily through the opposition ranks, to question the government and hold it accountable. It’s too bad the Yukon Party government uses them as opportunities to demonstrate their contempt for democracy.
I thought you showed some promise when you called former Yukon Party premier Dennis Fentie to account for his autocratic style of leadership. Has it turned out to be a case of the pot calling the kettle black?
You are aware, Mr. Cathers, that 60 per cent of Yukoners voted against your party. But in our ridiculous and outdated first-past-the-post electoral system, you nevertheless managed to form a majority government.
I believe that among the 40 per cent who did vote for the Yukon Party were people who hoped that a mostly new cast of characters would bring invigorating change to Yukon politics. If last Thursday is any indication, it looks like a case of new faces, same old ways.
I remind you that it is your honour and your job to govern for 100 per cent of the people, not just the 40 per cent who voted for you and certainly not just for the percentage of that 40 per cent who share your views on the Peel.
They say we get the government we deserve. I sincerely hope that every Yukoner takes that to heart the next time we go to the polls. Don’t be surprised if they do.