The premier is defending his government’s handing of its proposed Public Airports Act despite mounting criticism from industry groups and airlines.
“I am proud of the work that this team has done on this file,” Sandy Silver said Oct. 19 after some prodding from the Yukon Party that suggested Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn be replaced on the file.
The premier had mostly left it up to Mostyn to answer weeks worth of questions from the Yukon Party in the legislative assembly. Complaints about the act have ranged from concerns over the possibility of implementing fees to more blanket worries about the act being rushed through without enough consultation.
In defending his minister, a clearly agitated Silver tried to turn to parking fees, which were increased while the Yukon Party was in government as a way of dealing with cars that were being left abandoned at the Whitehorse airport.
“Mr. Speaker, you remember parking in the airport when prices went up at the airport. Do you remember being consulted? Do the people of the Vuntut Gwitchin, who have major shares in Air North, remember being consulted on these taxes at the airport from the other government when the Yukon Party was in charges of airports?
“No. Anybody on this list that we’ve been hearing a barrage of questions about from the Yukon Party was not consulted before. Do you know why? It was because there wasn’t the legislation.”
This week the Yukon Party tabled a letter to Mostyn from the Watson Lake Chamber of Commerce. In it, president Cheryl O’Brien said the chamber is worried about the possibility of new fees and invites Mostyn to a Chamber meeting.
Mostyn has said repeatedly that the Liberals won’t be creating an airport improvement fee even though the act would allow for one. The government has promised more consultations when the regulations to go along with the act are created.
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