The political honeymoon’s over

So much for raising the tone of debate in the legislature.

So much for raising the tone of debate in the legislature.

By the end of the brief, nine-day legislative sitting that wrapped up Thursday, the pretense the government and opposition parties would somehow get along, rather than squabble, had ended.

On Thursday, NDP Leader Liz Hanson accused Premier Darrell Pasloski of having “reneged on his election promise to work co-operatively with all members of the legislative assembly.”

Pasloski, in turn, accused Hanson of “trying to lead and create this atmosphere of mistrust that exists within the Yukon.”

The breaking point seemed to be an NDP motion, tabled on Wednesday, that called on the government to do more to address the territory’s housing shortage.

No problem, replied Scott Kent, minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation. But he needed to give the motion a tweak.

Altering two words, the motion then called on the Yukon Party to act on its own housing strategy rather than develop one.

The next day when Kent was asked where this strategy could be found, he pointed to the Yukon Party’s election platform.

It promises to work with the Salvation Army to expand or replace their existing homeless shelter, encourage the private sector to build affordable rental housing in Whitehorse and update the Landlord and Tenant Act.

But Jim Tredger, the NDP’s housing critic, couldn’t see how these commitments would accomplish everything his party has asked for: create measurable goals, include all Yukon communities and support families in the greatest need.

The housing corporation’s stock has grown by 40 per cent over the last five years, said Kent in the government’s defence. But that hasn’t been enough, said Tredger.

“The lack of a housing strategy under this government’s watch has brought us to this place where the price of homes has skyrocketed 100 per cent in six years, where there are no vacancies, where there is no progress on landlord and tenant issues, where there is little progress on addressing the hard-to-house and supportive housing files,” said Tredger.

The few returning incumbent MLAs were the first to fall back upon old habits.

The Liberals’ interim leader, Darius Elias, struggled with his new role as the giver of constructive criticism, having sunk to third-party status. He seemed to slip into making strident accusations.

“Here we go again,” he huffed on the sitting’s second day. “No answers to the questions.”

House Leader Brad Cathers, accustomed to sparring with the Liberals, responded to one pointed question by Elias by accusing him of having “no vision.”

Community Services Minister Elaine Taylor deployed one of her well-practised, sleep-inducing filibusters on Wednesday, droning on at great length about the government’s housing achievements.

Opposition MLAs complained several times that she was repeating herself. Speaker David Laxton conceded her comments were “becoming a bit long” and urged her to wrap up.

By the end of the sitting, questions remained unanswered and not for lack of the opposition asking.

Taylor wouldn’t say whether the cost of a contract dispute at Whistle Bend will be passed on to residents who buy lots at the new subdivision.

And Pasloski wouldn’t say how the territory will spend $16.5 million remaining from the Northern Housing Trust. Ottawa provided the money from 2008 to 2010.

Only $1 million has been earmarked to help Kaushee’s Place build housing for women fleeing violence.

Contact John Thompson at

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

Just Posted

Several people enter the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Coast High Country Inn Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Jan. 26. The Yukon government announced on Jan. 25 that residents of Whitehorse, Ibex Valley, Marsh Lake and Mount Lorne areas 65 and older can now receive their vaccines. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Vaccine appointments available in Whitehorse for residents 65+

Yukoners 65 and older living in Whitehorse are now eligible to receive… Continue reading

Diane McLeod-McKay, Yukon’s Ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner, filed a petition on Dec. 11 after her office was barred from accessing documents related to a child and family services case. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government rejects Ombudsman requests for documentation filed to Supreme Court

Diane McLeod-McKay filed a petition on Dec. 11 after requests for documents were barred

Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens, left, celebrates his first NHL goal with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of a game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 22 in Washington. (Nick Wass/AP)
Cozens notches first NHL goal in loss to Capitals

The Yukoner potted his first tally at 10:43 of the second period on Jan. 22

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

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

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Most Read