Downward trend, and it’s not the economy

There’s a disturbing trend surfacing in the legislature, Speaker Ted Staffen said this week. MLAs are using a parliamentary tradition usually…

There’s a disturbing trend surfacing in the legislature, Speaker Ted Staffen said this week.

MLAs are using a parliamentary tradition usually reserved for important matters of public policy to personally attack each other, he said.

Staffen chastised MLAs Wednesday for the general bitter atmosphere of the spring session.

His harsh words were prompted by a controversial notice of motion introduced by Yukon Party MLA Steve Nordick.

He demanded NDP MLA John Edzerza renounce statements suggesting a First Nation veto over government legislation.

If Edzerza refuses, he should resign his seat, said Nordick’s motion.

“I never heard one First Nation government say that they want to have veto power over the Yukon government and totally annihilate any kind of initiative that they might bring forward,” said Edzerza.

“Mind you, it would be a good idea.”

Staffen ruled Nordick’s motion out of order.

If the motion were moved, MLAs would have debated Edzerza’s expulsion.

“This is a concern because the House does have the power, by resolution, to declare a member’s seat vacant,” said Staffen.

“As such, the mere suggestion by motion that a member should resign should not be made lightly.”

Legislative assemblies have been reluctant to use this power because it’s a serious decision to remove an elected representative, he added.

“To suggest that a member resign for statements made in this House falls below the historic standard used in Canada,” said Staffen.

“(This motion) is the latest example of an unwelcome pattern that the chair has observed during this sitting.

“These notices of motion have added to the personalization of proceedings in this House.” (JW)

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