1996: Hank Moorlag appointed Yukon’s first ombudsman, beginning a fight for an effective Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act that was never delivered; the call is now being echoed by Moorlag’s successor Tracy-Anne McPhee.
1999: Local cable provider WHTV installs surveillance cameras on Main Street Whitehorse — the street can be viewed 24 hours a day via webcam or on cable channel 116.
2002: Legislation to protect whistleblowers promised by Yukon Party government (yet to be implemented).
2003: Yukon Premier Dennis Fentie repeals a policy passed in 1994 by predecessor John Ostashek that reads “The public has the right to information held in government records except in specific and limited cases necessary for the effective operation of government in the public interest.”
June, 2004: Canada Customs gives its border guards batons, pepper spray and expanded powers of search and seizure for criminal code violations, to criticism from the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.
June, 2004: RCMP discontinues regular media briefings and the release of their blotter, and switch from analog to digital communications, blocking out scrutineers. A similar move in Australia prompts a public inquiry.
November, 2004: The safeguarding of Yukoners’ medical files contracted to a US company, leaving them vulnerable to search and seizure under America’s Patriot Act.
November, 2004: Premier Dennis Fentie chastised for yelling at CBC reporter Nancy Thomson, with support from constituents who advise Thomson and other media to “stop hiding behind freedom of speech.”
February, 2005: A car factory-installed black box aids in the conviction of Carcross RCMP Constable Jeffry Monkman for careless driving in the death of Heather Benson. Dealerships are evasive about what data the black boxes collect; many motorists are unaware they are now standard in all foreign and domestic cars.
April, 2006: Yukon Health and Social Services responds to a leak alerting the public to a tuberculosis outbreak. Health officials refuse to tell where the 10 new cases reside; emergency response personnel learn of the outbreak via the media.
Summer, 2006: Local airlines integrate random searches of checked luggage on domestic flights into routine practice at Whitehorse airport.
July, 2006: The departure of the Washington Post from Canada marks the last of the major American media to maintain a presence in Canada. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe and the Christian Science Monitor left earlier.
November, 2006: Government of Yukon passes Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods legislation in response to vigilantism and fear of the growing drug problem in Whitehorse. The legislation grants investigators and the territory powers libertarians deem “breathtaking” and “Draconian,” and allows tenants suspected of illegal drug activity to be evicted without charge or trial.
April, 2007: Asian suspects exonerated of charges in the largest grow-operation in Yukon history after a territorial judge finds Mounties entrapped suspects and violated Mandarin-speaking arrestees’ right to legal counsel.
April, 2007: Private members bill Smoke-free Places introduced by NDP leader Todd Hardy bans smoking on open patios and in private vehicles carrying children. The bill has passed second reading unanimously.
August, 2007: Northwest Territories government withdraws SCAN, after complaints from the BCCLA and the territorial Human Rights Commission.
September, 2007: Whitehorse passes SCAN-companion controlled substances bylaw, allowing for the charging of landlords for the damage caused by growing or making drugs in their rental units.
September, 2007: Adbusters publishes The Death of Canadian Journalism.
October, 2007: Drug-sniffer dog installed at Porter Creek Secondary School to shake down students and their lockers. Its most vocal opponent complains only of an allergy to dogs.
March, 2008: Governing Yukon Party bans media from its annual general meeting. Liberals and NDP confirm they have no such policy. BM