The NDP Opposition wants more legislative oversight on capital project spending.
The Yukon Party thinks it has been doing a pretty good job as things stand.
The Opposition brought forward a motion last week asking the government to increase regulatory controls to ensure capital projects are only undertaken when there is a demonstrated need, and delivered on time and on budget. It also asked for mechanisms for managing risk and allowing for greater transparency and public accountability.
NDP leader Liz Hanson pointed to a recent auditor general’s report that chastised the government for its handling of new hospitals being built at Watson Lake and Dawson City.
She also mentioned the F.H. Collins reconstruction project, which went back to the drawing board after millions had been spent on planning, when bids for the construction were higher than anticipated.
Close to a dozen projects that “raised serious concerns” were mentioned.
Public Works Minister Wade Istchenko, in his response, spoke to the achievements of the Yukon Party over the years.
The management of capital projects continues to improve through various government initiatives, he said.
He mentioned, for example, the government’s work to modernize the processes for contracting out work.
Accordingly, Istchenko proposed an amendment to the motion. Instead of committing to “increase” legislative oversight on capital spending, the government would “continue to improve” it.
The NDP was not pleased with the change.
“The reality is that this amendment is an insult,” said Hanson. “It shows that the Yukon Party government simply doesn’t get it. … ‘Things are just fine,’ they say. ‘Things are just fine.’ Well, day to day, time over time, the evidence is proving that wrong.”
The amendment passed with majority Yukon Party support.
The legislature adjourned before the amended motion could be voted upon.