Yukon business owners want the right to vote

Call it taxation without representation. Yukon business owners living outside city limits want the same opportunity to vote as municipal taxpayers. At an Association of Yukon Communities annual general meeting...

Call it taxation without representation.

Yukon business owners living outside city limits want the same opportunity to vote as municipal taxpayers.

At an Association of Yukon Communities annual general meeting in December, the business community proposed a resolution to revise the territory’s municipal voting rules.

In 2006,the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce requested the Yukon Chamber of Commerce bring the issue before the Association of Yukon Communities.

“There were concerns from these members that there were people who owned businesses in Dawson, but couldn’t vote because they lived outside city boundaries,” said Yukon Chamber president Jerome Babyn.

It’s a concern shared by the Haines Junction and Whitehorse chambers of commerce, he added.

But the issue has raised some questions among Whitehorse city councillors and administrators.

At Monday’s council meeting, administration recommended the city, which has three representatives sitting on the Association of Yukon Communities board, not vote in favour of the issue.

The issue opens up too many potential problems, said administrative director Robert Fendrick.

They include the possibility of a person having more than one vote in the same municipality or in several municipalities in which they may own businesses.

“It does open up a bigger issue than just allowing business owners to vote,” said Mayor Bev Buckway, who is also the Association of Yukon Communities president.

“What if there’s three people that own that business, do they all vote? And what if one of them lives in China?”

Ironing out all those details would be time consuming and may not be worth the energy, she said.

“Enumeration within city bounds is already difficult as it is.”

The problems could be solved, said Dawson City Chamber of Commerce president Helen Bowie.

“We recognize that there’s a concern that multiple people may be allowed to vote and we would work on that.”

In Dawson, several business owners have brought the issue up to her. Most own retail businesses in the city.

“There are definitely many business owners that live just outside of city limits and that have no say in the (democratic) process,” she said.

“They feel like they have a financial and personal commitment and they want to be able to voice their concerns in the way that our democracy has been set up to do.”

In order for the issue to go through, a majority of Yukon municipalities would have to be in favour of revising the Yukon Municipal Act.

The issue has already been dealt with by councils in Haines Junction and Mayo, both of which voted it down.

Monday, Whitehorse city council will decide where it stands.

The resolution will be discussed and voted on at an Association of Yukon Communities meeting in March.

Contact Vivian Belik at

vivianb@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

VIDEO: Whitehorse resident turns 100

Olive Patton celebrated earlier this month

Hospital cancels Whitehorse woman’s surgery 45 minutes beforehand

Patricia Nowell-Lindquist had changed into a gown and was fully prepped when she was told the news

UPDATED: Cross Country Yukon starts GoFundMe campaign for stolen pump

The theft means snowmaking is on hold until a replacement is found

Rams, Crusaders continue Super Volley winning streaks

Vanier secures first overall in boys standings

Commentary: Does Yukon need a United Way?

“The reason we ask is that we may not be sustainable”

Whitehorse FC sides impress at B.C. tournaments

Four teams, four tournaments, only one loss

Yukon soccer teams represent at Canada Soccer National Championships U15 Cup

“Everybody brought their game to a totally new level and set a (new) bar”

Yukonomist: The greying of the Yukon

It’s the kind of thing you might see in a society that suffered a major war twenty years ago

History Hunter: New book honours fallen Yukoners of World War I

The book introduces the story of Yukon’s wartime involvement and describes heroic contributions

U Kon Echelon holds weekend mountain bike racing camp in Whitehorse

“It’s incredible the changes I’m seeing from when we started in September to now”

Liberals to scope out ‘efficiencies’ in departments

The premier was asked about ostensible reductions to department budgets at question period

You and your new car warranty

There are some things that may put your new vehicle or extended warranty at risk

Most Read