Rudeness and disrespect a real eye opener

I guess what I saw in the legislative assembly at its opening on March 15 is a sign of the times. But I have a choice to feel defeated and accept the trends, or to speak, act and insist upon behavior in elected...

I guess what I saw in the legislative assembly at its opening on March 15 is a sign of the times. But I have a choice to feel defeated and accept the trends, or to speak, act and insist upon behavior in elected officials that reflects a different approach.

What I saw was rudeness to others and disrespect of the democratic process. I was appalled to see Brad Cathers and Darrell Pasloski having a little grinning conversation while Liz Hanson was speaking. I teach children and I insist that they not talk while others are talking. It’s just common courtesy.

Later I learned that this was a minor incident compared to some past actions of Yukon Party members who have done things like read the newspaper while opposition members are speaking.

I was, again, appalled when Brad Cathers repeated the same answer over and over to the varied and valid questions asked by NDP and Liberal MLAs about the Peel River plan. His tactic seemed designed to waste valuable time and to get through question period without having to engage in a meaningful exchange.

I have to think of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, which took place in the United States in 1858. Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas spoke stirringly and eloquently before audiences for up to seven hours at each location where the debates were held. The crowds brought lunch and stayed the whole time. You bet the two men were not reading from notes but were thinking on their feet, considering the range of issues and listening carefully to the points made by their opponent.

Here’s the sign of the times that upsets me. Some present-day governments, supposedly democracies, seem to focus on flexing political muscle, spending money for only those projects deemed important by their own parties, bad mouthing members of, or statements by, the opposition, and creating misleading, vague and sometimes inaccurate public statements to give an impression of openness where none exists.

I wish there were a Philosophy of Democratic Governance course required of anyone entering politics. The course outline would consist of the following: The Art of Listening and Responding Respectfully, The Importance of Being of Service to Your Public (and not just the ones who voted for you), The Skill of Working Collaboratively and Finding Compromise, Recognition of the Bottom Line that is Below the Financial Bottom Line (a.k.a. If you don’t have a healthy environment, you don’t need to worry about the economy because you’re dead), and Governing as Working for the Common Good Without Your Own Ego Getting in the Way.

If there are members of the legislative assembly who feel they might struggle with some or all of this course, I ask them to slow down, take a step back, think philosophically, consider the wisdom of those who push against your own values and opinions, and, for heaven’s sake, behave better in the future as you do the job that Yukoners have elected you to do.

Dianne Homan


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, pictured at a press conference in October, announced three new cases of COVID-19 on Nov. 20 as well as a new public exposure notice. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New COVID-19 cases, public exposure notice announced

The new cases have all been linked to previous cases

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read