Fall legislative sitting draws to a close

The last fall sitting of the legislative assembly before the next territorial election wrapped up this week.

The last fall sitting of the legislative assembly before the next territorial election wrapped up this week.

It was a sitting that was fairly light on legislation, but fairly heavy on partisan bickering, as all three parties gear up for a 2016 election.

An election must be held by next October at the latest.

Premier Darrell Pasloski said he was especially happy about amendments to the Land Titles Act that were passed this fall. Those amendments allow Yukon First Nations to register settlement land without losing aboriginal title. The move was the first of its kind in Canada.

“That was very important to (the First Nations’) long-term prosperity,” Pasloski said in an interview with the News.

The assembly also unanimously passed amendments to the Oil and Gas Act. However, that only happened after three Yukon First Nations wrote to the government, saying they hadn’t been consulted about a change that would have allowed the government to indefinitely extend oil-and-gas licences. That amendment was later modified.

The assembly also passed amendments to the Municipal Act, the Elections Act, the Education Act and the Travel for Medical Treatment Act.

The Yukon Party’s relationship with First Nations featured prominently in this sitting, with the NDP and Liberals frequently challenging the government on its “divisive approach” to working with First Nations on issues like the Peel watershed land use plan and Bill S-6, federal legislation that introduced controversial amendments to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act.

But the Yukon Party has recently supported a NDP motion to consult with Yukoners about declaring National Aboriginal Day a statutory holiday. It has also committed to work with First Nations to implement recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Looking back on the sitting, both NDP and Liberal MLAs criticized the government’s record on consulting with Yukoners.

Health critic Jan Stick referred to the planned 150-bed continuing care facility in Whistle Bend, which the NDP says Yukoners don’t want.

“This fall, the real difference between the Yukon Party government and the Yukon NDP Official Opposition was that we are going out and listening to Yukoners,” she said in a news release.

Liberal Leader Sandy Silver criticized the government’s decision to hold community meetings, but to invite guests instead of opening them to the public.

So far, Pasloski has held meetings in Whitehorse, Haines Junction, Watson Lake and Dawson City.

Both Opposition parties have also challenged the government on its economic record throughout the sitting.

“When your GDP is projected to shrink for a third straight year I would argue there is a lot of work left to be done,” Silver said in a release.

Pasloski maintains that the struggling economy is the result of slumping commodity prices, which are “beyond the control” of the government.

The Yukon Party seemed to go on the offensive more often during the latter part of the sitting, possibly a sign that the government is gearing up for next year’s election.

On several occasions during question period, the Yukon Party accused the Opposition of criticizing the government without presenting any viable solutions of their own.

“We hear criticism with all of our plans,” Pasloski told the News. “But there’s never an alternative. There’s never a plan. They just don’t like what we’re doing.”

To that, Stick responded that “it’s not in question period… for us to come up with solutions.

“We’re asking questions of the government. We’re holding this government to account.”

And for his part, Silver’s response was simple.

“We’ve got a great plan. Is it time for us to show that plan? Well, then, drop the writ.”

Contact Maura Forrest at


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

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announce the first COVID-19 related death in a press conference announcement Friday morning. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
UPDATED: Yukon announces first COVID-19-related death

The person was an older Watson Lake resident with underlying health conditions, officials said

Wyatt's World for Oct. 30.

Wyatt’s World for Oct. 30

Health Minister Pauline Frost insists no one who shows up at the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter for dinner will go without a meal, despite no drop-in dinner service being offered starting on Nov. 1. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Non-profits concerned as Whitehorse Emergency Shelter ends drop-in dinner service

Minister Pauline Frost insists everyone who needs one ‘will be provided with a meal.’

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29. Affordability challenges is being described as being among the most pressing issues facing housing markets throughout the north in a report released Oct. 29 by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Home, rent prices increasing in Whitehorse, northern housing report says

Affordability continues to be a major challenge, report says

Premier Sandy Silver talks to media in Whitehorse on March 19. According to the premier, who is also the finance minister, the Yukon government ran a $2.6 million deficit in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, instead of the surplus it had originally predicted. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government ran a $2.6 million deficit in 2019-2020

Deficit attributed to lower-than-expected revenue, higher expenses on health and social side

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and management roundtable discussion Sept. 26, 2019. During an Oct. 29 meeting, Constable highlighted a number of potential changes to the City of Whitehorse procedures bylaw. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Work on City of Whitehorse procedures bylaw continues

Officials will look at procedures for other municipalities

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley at a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Aug. 26. Hanley said the source of the outbreak in Watson Lake may not ever be found, but contact tracing in the community continues. (Alistair Maitland Photography)
New Whitehorse COVID-19 case is unrelated to Watson Lake cluster, officials say

Chief medical officer of health says avoid indoor Halloween parties, monitor for symptoms

Joel Krahn/Yukon News file Whitehorse City Hall.
Whitehorse city council, briefly

Updates on matters before city council on Oct. 26

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
GoFundMe for Whitehorse boy hit by car on Range Road raises more than $62k in a day

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council passed first reading on a bylaw for the designation change at its Oct. 26 meeting, prompting an upcoming public hearing on Nov. 23 ahead of second reading on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Local contractors will be given an advantage on a contract for the design and construction services that will see a new reception building at Robert Service Campground decided city councillors during the Oct. 26 council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local firms will get advantage on contract for new Robert Service Campground building

Yukon-based companies competing for contract for new reception building will receive 20 extra points

Fallen trees due to strong winds are seen leaning on to power lines which caused some power outages around the territory on Oct. 26. (Courtesy of ATCO)
Wind knocks out power around the Yukon

High winds on Oct. 26 knocked out power to Faro, parts of Whitehorse and beyond

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

Most Read