Hardy champions council, Fentie dubs it obsolete

The Yukon government should revive the Council on the Economy and Environment, says NDP Leader Todd Hardy.

The Yukon government should revive the Council on the Economy and Environment, says NDP Leader Todd Hardy.

The double threat of worldwide economic turmoil and climate change would be well-addressed by the now-defunct organization, said Hardy.

The council, formed under the NDP in 1989, brought together representatives from business, labour, First Nations, environmental and community groups.

It produced reports and held public meetings on matters such as sustainable business practices and environmental concerns.

In better times, the council was “very active,” said Hardy in an interview.

The council has fallen into neglect in recent years, he said. The government has appointed no new members. The council is currently unable to meet a quorum. And the government has not given the council any work to do, he said.

The council has not produced an annual report, as it is legally required to do, since 2004.

He accused Premier Dennis Fentie of letting the council lapse for “ideological” motives.

If revived, the council could help the government steer its way through the present economic turmoil, said Hardy.

Had it been active, it may have been able to prevent the government from investing in asset-backed commercial paper, he added.

It’s the government’s job to manage the economy, said Fentie, rejecting Hardy’s suggestion in the house on Thursday.

The future of several organizations, including the council, is currently under review by the government, he said.

The council is “decades old,” and may be obsolete, said Fentie.

He dismissed the suggestion the council would help guide government through economic uncertainty.

The government already has a plan to deal with the economic downturn, and a plan to deal with climate change, said Fentie.

“The government has lots of advice,” he said. “It’s time for the government to act.”