John Streicker, minister of community services, speaks to media in Whitehorse on April 2. The Yukon government has plans to assess the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> and the Liberals have insisted that their representative be Streicker, who has been in charge of the ministerial orders and other powers granted under the act. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

John Streicker, minister of community services, speaks to media in Whitehorse on April 2. The Yukon government has plans to assess the Civil Emergency Measures Act and the Liberals have insisted that their representative be Streicker, who has been in charge of the ministerial orders and other powers granted under the act. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Committee plans to examine the Civil Emergency Measures Act

The composition of the committee, and the use of the act, has been a hot topic during the fall sitting

The Yukon government has plans to assess the Civil Emergency Measures Act and suggest reforms — but who will be in charge of the review was hotly debated on Dec. 8.

All the parties are in agreement that the current act, introduced in 1966 and last updated in 1985, is now outdated. The government has proposed striking a three-person special committee to look at the act in detail and suggest changes, but the composition of that study group has been hotly debated during the fall sitting.

The Liberals have presented their plan to form a three-member committee, with one MLA from the Yukon Party, one from the NDP and one from the Liberal government.

The Liberals have insisted that their representative be Community Services Minister John Streicker, who has been in charge of the ministerial orders and other powers granted under the act.

Part of the analysis would likely be the use of the act in the past nine months during the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee would sit over the summer and have the power to call witnesses and review records.

The opposition insists that having Streicker as chair of the committee would be akin to allowing him to “write his own report card” in the words of MLA Stacey Hassard.

As the majority in the House, the Liberals didn’t need the support of opposition members in order to pass the current motion and form the committee. But on Dec. 8 MLA Brad Cathers said not listening to their demands would “tarnish the committee’s credibility.”

“If the Liberals reconsider their position and agree to have one of the Liberal private members on the committee of the minister of community services, we will happily support the passage of this motion. If they refuse, we continue to have concerns,” he said.

“We are certainly getting a strong sense that the government is not actually interested in working with the Official Opposition or the Third Party and that they simply want the appearance of working together, but on terms that they themselves have dictated,” he said.

NDP leader Kate White proposed bringing Streicker in as a witness and having the Liberals represented by a non-minister.

White raised a concern that the busy schedule of Streicker would slow down the work. She also raised the point that there was a risk of an election being called before the committee could conclude in August 2021.

Streicker suggested the committee could figure out a way to preserve the work in case of an election.

Premier Sandy Silver has insisted that as the minister most familiar with the law, Streicker is the best choice. In an email gaff made public on Dec. 8, Streicker himself inadvertently sent out evidence to back up that claim.

“The other thing I ask that you emphasize is about me on the committee,” he wrote in an email intended only for Liberal cabinet members on Dec. 8.

“Explain why we as a party feel I would be the better choice,” he wrote in the email, accompanied by research about ministers sitting on previous committees that involve their portfolios.

Streicker inadvertently sent the email to a wider email list, including the Yukon Party chief of staff and the Speaker of the House Nils Clarke.

Accused of involving the Speaker in partisan politics, Streicker apologized and tabled the email in order to make it public.

On Dec. 8 the Yukon Party attempted to amend the motion to form the committee, removing Streicker’s name from the motion. The amendment was voted down by the Liberal majority and the unaltered Motion No. 212 was agreed to.

The committee will be required to report back before Aug. 31, 2021.

“On our part of the legislative assembly, we believe it’s very fair to have one member from each of the parties. The Yukon NDP can pick their member, the Yukon Party can pick their member, but I guess the Yukon Party doesn’t allow us to have representation that we think is extremely important on there, especially when you have an individual who has forensic knowledge not only of the act itself, but how it has been used in the last nine months,” Silver said.

Correction: This article was modified Dec. 21 to indicate the Act was introduced in 1966, rather than 1992, which was the date when the legislation was consolidated under devolution.

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com

Yukon governmentYukon legislative assembly

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

Just Posted

City of Whitehorse city council meeting in Whitehorse on Oct. 5, 2020. An updated council procedures bylaw was proposed at Whitehorse city council’s Jan. 18 meeting that would see a few changes to council meetings and how council handles certain matters like civil emergencies. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Whitehorse procedures bylaw comes forward

New measures proposed for how council could deal with emergencies

A Yukon survey querying transportation between communities has already seen hundreds of participants and is the latest review highlighting the territory’s gap in accessibility. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Multiple reports, survey decry lack of transportation between Yukon communities

A Community Travel survey is the latest in a slew of initiatives pointing to poor accessibility

Mobile vaccine team Team Balto practises vaccine clinic set-up and teardown at Vanier Catholic Secondary School. Mobile vaccine teams are heading out this week to the communities in order to begin Moderna vaccinations. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Mobile vaccine teams begin community vaccinations

“It’s an all-of-government approach”

The now empty lot at 410 Cook Street in Whitehorse on Jan. 19. As developers move forward with plans for a housing development that would feature 16 micro-units, they are asking city council for a zoning change that would reduce the number of required parking spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Developer asks for zoning change

Would reduce the number of required parking spaces

The Liard First Nation is preparing to enter negotiations for self-governance with the territorial and federal governments. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)
Liard First Nation preparing to enter self-governance negotiations with Yukon, federal governments

Chief Stephen Charlie seeking an agreement separate from “dead end” UFA

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Mayor Dan Curtis listens to a councillor on the phone during a city council meeting in Whitehorse on April 14, 2020. Curtis announced Jan. 14 that he intends to seek nomination to be the Yukon Liberal candidate for Whitehorse Centre in the 2021 territorial election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse mayor seeking nomination for territorial election

Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis is preparing for a run in the upcoming… Continue reading

Gerard Redinger was charged under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> with failing to self-isolate and failing to transit through the Yukon in under 24 hours. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Man ticketed $1,150 at Wolf Creek campground for failing to self-isolate

Gerard Redinger signed a 24-hour transit declaration, ticketed 13 days later

Yukon Energy, Solvest Inc. and Chu Níikwän Development Corporation are calling on the city for a meeting to look at possibilities for separate tax rates or incentives for renewable energy projects. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tax changes sought for Whitehorse energy projects

Delegates call for separate property tax category for renewable energy projects

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

Most Read