Legislature wraps up for Christmas

The Yukon Legislative Assembly has closed another sitting. Thursday was the final day until proceedings resume in the spring.

The Yukon Legislative Assembly has closed another sitting.

Thursday was the final day until proceedings resume in the spring.

The NDP Opposition spent much of the sitting questioning the government about two people who died after being treated at the Watson Lake Hospital.

The coroner found that Teresa Ann Scheunert, 47, died of a mixed drug toxicity resulting from medications prescribed to her at the hospital for back pain.

An independent patient safety review ordered by the Yukon Hospital Corporation contradicts that finding, arguing instead that she died of an irregular heartbeat associated with sleep apnea.

Mary Johnny, 60, died from a small bowel obstruction after her condition was misdiagnosed as “alcoholism,” according to the coroner’s report.

The coroner found that the doctor ignored signs pointing to the bowel obstruction and failed to document decision-making.

In the legislature, Health Minister Doug Graham ignored pleas from the Opposition NDP to call a public inquiry in the deaths.

Under public and media pressure, the coroner called an inquest into the two deaths, set for March 2014.

Jurors for the inquest will determine the facts of the deaths and may make recommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future. The inquest does not have the same broad mandate of a public inquiry.

Another hot topic this sitting was the changes to the mining acts related to the Ross River Dena Council court decision.

The Yukon Court of Appeal ordered the government a year ago to ensure that First Nation’s rights are properly accommodated when it comes to staking and Class 1 exploration on its traditional territory.

The Yukon government says it can meet the requirements by the December 27 deadline through amendments to the mining legislation and the associated regulations. It may also withdraw some areas of Ross River territory from staking.

The amendments to the Quartz Mining Act and the Placer Mining Act were passed Thursday, after opposition members complained that the government was avoiding debate on the subject.

Regulations have yet to be finalized, although the government insists the deadline will be met. There’s no word on how consultations with Ross River Dena Council are progressing.

Interim Liberal Leader Sandy Silver asked why amendments go beyond what was required to meet the court declaration to give the government more active management tools.

Silver also brought forward a motion on co-operation that got so heated that it had Speaker David Laxton calling actions of the members “at an all-time low.”

The motion, which called for the government to work with First Nations to set a date for a Yukon Forum, an official meeting on intergovernmental co-operation, eventually passed unanimously.

The government also passed a bill that will allow for the protection of sensitive environments by off-road vehicles, although the mechanisms for this to actually happen have yet to be determined.

And a health information privacy act was passed that will lay the groundwork for an electronic health system across the territory.

That piece of legislation is long and complex, and opposition members complained that they had only been given a one-hour briefing on the 105-page act on the morning that it was debated.

With work yet to be done on mining regulations, and the Peel watershed land use plan, Mines Minister Scott Kent confirmed that both he and Environment Minister Currie Dixon will be working over the holidays.

The government must release a plan for the Peel watershed by the end of the year or extend the interim staking ban. The ministers could not confirm if a plan will be ready before the new year.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

The City of Whitehorse’s projected deficit could be $100,000 more than originally predicted earlier this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City deficit could be just over $640,000 this year

Third quarter financial reports presented to council

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks during a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Oct. 30. Masks became mandatory in the Yukon for anyone five years old and older as of Dec. 1 while in public spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
As mask law comes into effect, premier says $500 fines will be last resort

The territory currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Ranj Pillai, minister of economic development, during a press conference on April 1.
Government rejects ATAC mining road proposal north of Keno City

Concerns from the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun were cited as the main reason for the decision

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Dec. 2, 2020

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited internet options beginning Dec. 1. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet for some available Dec. 1

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited… Continue reading

Submitted/Yukon News file
Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to the unsolved homicide of Allan Donald Waugh, 69, who was found deceased in his house on May 30, 2014.
Yukon RCMP investigating unsolved Allan Waugh homicide

Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to an unsolved… Continue reading

A jogger runs along Millenium Trail as the sun rises over the trees around 11 a.m. in Whitehorse on Dec. 12, 2018. The City of Whitehorse could soon have a new trail plan in place to serve as a guide in managing the more than 233 kilometres of trails the city manages. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2020 trail plan comes forward

Policies and bylaws would look at e-mobility devices

Snow-making machines are pushed and pulled uphill at Mount Sima in 2015. The ski hill will be converting snow-making to electric power with more than $5 million in funding from the territorial and federal governments. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mount Sima funded to cut diesel reliance

Mount Sima ski hill is converting its snowmaking to electric power with… Continue reading

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read