Premier Sandy Silver speaks to media on Sept. 30. Silver submitted a motion Nov. 24 calling for members from each party to be part of the electoral reform committee, but the motion was withdrawn the next day. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Premier appears to support changes to the electoral reform process

A recently withdrawn motion called for politicians to be part of a select committee

Premier Sandy Silver appears to support the idea of an updated electoral reform process now involving all political parties.

A motion submitted on Nov. 24 calls for members from each party to be part of a select committee. Three Liberal MLAs, two from the official opposition and one from the third party would have reported back to the legislative assembly in June with their findings.

The motion was withdrawn a day later, however.

Clerk Dan Cable wouldn’t comment on the issue, noting that Silver made the call to withdraw.

In a written statement, cabinet communications director Sunny Patch said the clerk’s office determined the motion was out of order.

“This is the latest fumble in the government’s bungled electoral reform process,” said Brad Cathers, Yukon Party MLA. “They’ve got three years in government and they can’t even get a simple motion right.

“We’re willing to work with them on this. It’s the government that’s refused to work collaboratively on this process,” he said, adding that Silver has failed to meet with members of the official opposition.

Kate White, leader of the NDP, said a lot of work has been happening “behind the scenes.” Amendments were made to Silver’s motion that she will move, “so we look forward to a select committee on electoral reform,” she said.

It might be debated on Nov. 27, White said.

Asked whether a revised motion will be introduced, Patch said, “… that is still a conversation that we are having. We’re committed to having a conversation with Yukoners about electoral reform and will continue working on this issue.”

The Liberals named a three-member electoral reform commission in July made up of members of the public. Since then the government has faced criticism about the process.

The chair of the commission has resigned.

Both the NDP and Yukon Party have put forward, with slight nuances, that all parties should be involved in the electoral reform process. Forming a select committee is the brainchild of the third party.

Former clerk Floyd McCormick sent a letter to the Members’ Services Board in October criticizing the Liberals work so far on the issue, noting that the process, contrary to what Silver has said, isn’t independent because the Liberals are controlling it.

McCormick said the government should revamp the commission, picking either a select committee comprised of MLAs or make it truly independent, akin to the electoral boundaries commission, which is rooted in legislation.

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

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