The Yukon Legislative Assembly is becoming more gender inclusive in the way members are addressed.
The 17 MLAs present for the Nov. 1 vote all voted in favour of a motion following the fourth report of the standing committee on rules, elections and privileges regarding gendered forms of address.
Emily Tredger, Yukon NDP MLA for Whitehorse Centre, told the legislature she is really happy about having alternatives.
“To me, this is really a question of who we want to be in this Assembly, who is welcome here and who will be accommodated here,” she said.
“The answer is that it should be everybody — that should be all Yukoners feel that they are welcome here. Regardless of their gender, regardless of anything else about them, everyone should be welcomed and accommodated in this House.”
Tredger said that she struggled to settle on her identifiers.
“Speaking for myself, as a brand-new MLA walking into this role for the first time, I had to choose if I was going to be Madam Deputy Chair,” she said.
“That felt like a pretty weird title to take on for me. It didn’t fit; it didn’t feel good; but I didn’t know what else to do.”
Presiding officers, including the speaker, deputy speaker, chair of committee of the whole and deputy chair of committee of the whole, as well as acting speakers and chairs, will tell the assembly how they should be addressed. That could mean non-gendered versions of traditional forms of address such as “Mr. Speaker” and “Madame Chair.”
The chair will identify members by “MLA” plus their last names or by electoral district.
The regular practice of the speaker and other members identifying members by their electoral district or ministerial portfolio does not include gender-specific terms.
The clerk will call members by their first and last names, as well as “Honourable” when applicable.
Use of “Mr.” and “Ms.” will be removed, where appropriate, from the standard styles in official documents and records of the assembly. The changes will take effect after the next territorial election.
Contact Dana Hatherly at firstname.lastname@example.org