Jeanie Dendys, left, minister of tourism and culture seen at legislative assembly in Whitehorse on March 7. Recently, Dendys said the Liberal Party will disclose the results of an NGO review because the party is committed to transparency. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Liberals say results of NGO review will be shared

A motion was amended that requested, in part, funding information and recommendations

The Liberal Party says it will share results of a review into non-governmental organizations.

It’s a statement at odds with what a deputy minister said earlier this month.

On April 15, deputy minister Stephen Samis said an NGO review has been done over the last year but documentation or findings will not be made public.

While the Liberals now say they will share results, they used their majority on April 24 to amend a Yukon Party motion that called for, in part, all documents showing recommendations and possible funding changes.

Requests for funding information and recommendations were voted off the page.

“It’s pretty clear that the Liberal government has something that it’s trying to hide within this documentation that has been requested in this motion for the production of papers,” Yukon Party MLA Patti McLeod said during debate.

“I can’t guess what that might be, but I’m sure that NGOs will be very interested to hear that the government is trying to do their best to not disclose information that would be of interest to NGOs.”

Speaking in defence of the amendment, John Streicker, minister of community services, said that there’s a process to follow.

“So, if there are recommendations, we allow them to come to the minister without this notion that they will be shared because they would compromise the frank and open ability of the public servants to provide those recommendations,” he said.

Streicker said the review, “all the work around NGOs,” will be shared, “just after we make sure that the NGOs themselves are okay with it or are aware of it so that we are being respectful to them.”

Yukon Party’s Brad Cathers said that parts of the amendment “gut” the intent of the motion.

“This government has talked a lot about finding efficiencies in NGOs, which we know is code for cuts. We don’t know what cuts they may be contemplating, and that is why my colleague the Member for Watson Lake proposed this motion. NGOs are asking — they are concerned about whether this Liberal government is looking at cuts to their funding,” he said.

After Jeanie Dendys, minister of tourism and culture, proposed the amendment, she said it “honours the spirit and intent of the original motion, balancing the public’s right to information and our commitment to a transparent and accountable government with the responsibility of protecting and safeguarding the trust in our stakeholders.”

Thirty-three not-for-profit organizations and two for-profit ones have been assessed as part of the review, said Dendys, noting they receive $15 million in total annually.

“As a government, we believe that it is important to exercise financial responsibility with taxpayers’ money,” she said.

“We are committed to providing the results of the review as the motion requests.”

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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