Health minister Pauline Frost, who is also the minister of housing and of environment, was defended by Yukon Premier Sandy Silver during legislative assembly on April 19 amid a call by the opposition to have her workload reduced. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Yukon health minister under fire for handling of group home controversy

Silver calls opposition questions raised in public ‘parlour tricks’

Yukon Premier Sandy Silver is defending his health minister amid a call by the opposition to have her workload reduced.

Along with being the minister of health and social services, Pauline Frost also holds the environment and housing portfolios.

She has spent much of the sitting fielding questions on the treatment of children in government care and the territory’s plans for social and affordable housing.

“It’s clear the minister is struggling to keep up with the workload. Unfortunately, this is not new. For the last year and a half, the minister has struggled to answer simple questions and tends to contradict herself,” Yukon Party MLA Patti McLeod said.

“Will the Premier show some leadership, help the minister out and lighten her load by bringing in a different member of his caucus to take over one or more of her departments?”

McLeod said Frost “can’t give straight answers” when it comes to what the government is doing to address growing seniors and social housing needs.

“When we ask the minister of health and social services if her department is doing an internal review into allegations of abuse within group homes, we get a different answer, depending on which day we ask.”

Frost did not reply to the questions but Silver came to her defence. He said she has been doing an “amazing” job. She has reduced the number of Indigenous children in care and opened four new mental health “hubs” across the territory, he said.

“The one thing that I would really like to see this minister do is try to balance out her life a little bit, because she just works too much,” he said.

Silver also took questions from the media following question period. Frost was not made available by cabinet officials.

The premier reiterated his support for his minister and said he had no plans to shuffle his cabinet or reduce Frost’s workload.

“If I thought things were falling off the table sure, but I don’t think that.”

He called the opposition’s suggestion “claptrappery” and “parlour tricks.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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