The devil and the damage done

The devil and the damage done Does anyone at the Association of Yukon Communities even bother reading the Yukon Municipal Act? They've thrown a resolution at Yukon municipal councils urging them to endorse an amendment to the municipal act that would al

Does anyone at the Association of Yukon Communities even bother reading the Yukon Municipal Act?

They’ve thrown a resolution at Yukon municipal councils urging them to endorse an amendment to the municipal act that would allow business owners to vote in municipal elections, no matter where they live: “super-citizen” status, if you will.

The act already allows “taxpayers” to vote on matters to do with taxes and local improvement charges, so that should somewhat pacify the main concern.

They can also vote in referendums, so, just like the local yokels, they get to vote on important matters Ð like what colour fuzzy sweaters we’d like to see the ladies on council wear to meetin’.

What is the problem exactly? Nobody knows, because while it was noted in AYC minutes that a “discussion” was had, the nature of that discussion was not disclosed. AYC had a private discussion about electoral legislation. I’m almost speechless.

It’s very sad, because AYC has special status in the municipal act to be consulted on its amendments; yet the most fundamental basics about the act seem to elude them, and they rely on Whitehorse bureaucrats to fill them in. So we can add AYC to the list of sham stewards of the municipal act, which includes the Minister of Community Services, Archie Lang, and his hapless department, none of whom appear to have troubled themselves to understand the act either. (And the opposition parties are no better.)

I can only think this stupid resolution made it to the table at all so that a few members of city councils can posture as though they give a damn about democracy and their own accountability to the real world electorate; when we all know that’s tragically far from the truth.

I wish that I, a sub-citizen, could just propose something for AYC to chew over. One of the first things I’d suggest is to remove councillors from making decisions about voting at all, such as letting departments attach invasive census questions to the enumeration exercise Ð even though Mayor Bev Buckway once again registers her alarm at just how gosh darn difficult this whole enumeration and voting thing is anyway Ð and whether new candidates should be permitted access to voters’ lists, and how many polling booths to set up.

It’s an accident waiting to happen, and that’s the nicest word I can think of right now.

Marianne Darragh

Whitehorse