Yukoners deserve better treatment from premier

Yukoners deserve better treatment from premier The August 12 morning news reported on a press conference called by Premier Dennis Fentie to "set the record straight" on the Yukon Energy Corp. debacle that was disturbing in many ways. After weeks of silen

The August 12 morning news reported on a press conference called by Premier Dennis Fentie to “set the record straight” on the Yukon Energy Corp. debacle that was disturbing in many ways.

After weeks of silence from the premier on the important issue of whether, how, when and under what authority talks on privatization of YEC were conducted, the premier used the forum of the press conference to continue his verbal assault on the opposition, the media and, by extension, Yukon citizens who have asked questions about the way this important issue has been handled.

The bully-boy behaviour exhibited by Fentie would not be accepted in a schoolyard. We teach our children to treat each other with respect and a sense of fair play; Yukoners expect no less of the holder of the highest office in the legislature.

Although many legitimate questions surround the YEC dealings, the real issue is the erosion of accountability to the legislature and to citizens.

A press conference to not address these issues may have been an attempt to provide a smoke screen for other issues that Yukoners have a right to know more about Ð especially those involving decisions affecting the economic and environmental sustainability of Yukon.

The Yukon Party has chosen to carry out important public policy initiatives outside the legitimate scrutiny of our elected legislature; each member of the Yukon legislature is elected to represent Yukoners. The leader of the Yukon Party has no legitimate role operating outside the authority granted to him by the people of Yukon. Nor has he the right to treat with disdain those who dare to question him.

As a final comment, it is no less disturbing to see the manipulation of the role of the public service by the Yukon Party government. Left unanswered by the premier was the question: Under whose authority and with what cabinet direction did senior public servants engage in exploratory discussions with ATCO?

Yukon has a skilled and professional public service; to suggest, as Fentie appears to be doing, that the public service would take it upon itself to engage in these activities without express political direction is an insult to all those who serve us as public servants. In doing so, Fentie has broken yet another basic tenet of parliamentary democracy: ministerial responsibility.

Yukoners deserve better than this.

Elizabeth Hanson

Yukon New Democratic Party leadership candidate

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