Currie Dixon gives his acceptance speech after winning the Yukon Party leader election on May 23. The Yukon Party said changes need to be made to the Civil Emergency Measures Act to prevent territorial governments from acting without transparency. (Submitted)

Yukon Party calls for more oversight in use of Civil Emergency Measures Act

Premier said the opposition will get their say when the legislature resumes in October

The Yukon Party said changes need to be made to the Civil Emergency Measures Act to prevent territorial governments from acting without transparency.

In a statement released Sept. 2, the opposition says it plans to amend the act to require oversight by the legislative assembly, even during an emergency.

Their primary concerns are the extension of the state of emergency by 90 days on June 12, the territorial debt limit being raised to $800 million and the back to school plan, all of which was done without recalling the legislature.

“The Civil Emergency Measures Act was designed to respond quickly to emergencies like floods and fires and those types of acute emergencies. But in the case of an extended emergency, like the one we’re in, I think it’s entirely appropriate that the Yukon Legislative Assembly play a role in providing oversight and accountability for the Yukon government,” Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon said.

“This will be a part of our election platform going into the next election, whenever it may be,” he said.

In March the government passed the 2020-21 budget before shutting down the spring session early due to COVID-19 concerns. On June 12 the Liberal government extended the state of emergency for 90 days. The legislature is scheduled to resume Oct. 1.

A number of provinces and territories have recalled their legislature for emergency sittings in order to pass new COVID-19 laws, including Ontario and British Columbia.

At a press conference on Sept. 2 Premier Sandy Silver said the government had been “busy dealing with the pandemic” and he hadn’t seen the proposal from the opposition.

Silver said the legislature will return on Oct. 1 and he is “very interested in what the opposition has to say, suggestions and critiques.”

“I’m looking forward to that opportunity. Private member’s days on Wednesdays are a great opportunity for the opposition to have their say to put forth motions and other things. Nothing is stopping them right now from sending in emails or letters as well,” Silver said.

Silver said the Liberal government has offered the opposition briefings and discussions.

Dixon said none of those avenues replace the legislature, and the lack of oversight from that official institution is “undemocratic.”

While Dixon said while many decisions made by the Liberal government during the pandemic have been necessary, some have also been controversial. Seven people filed a petition to the Yukon Supreme Court in June arguing that the territorial government’s COVID-19 border control and health orders, as well as the act under which they were made, are unconstitutional and should be struck down.

“We’re into six months now [of the pandemic] and the legislature hasn’t sat at all. So Yukoners haven’t had the ability through their democratically elected representatives to ask questions and raise issues,” he said.

An election for the next territorial government must take place before November 14, 2021.

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com

Yukon legislative assembly

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

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, electionsyukon.ca has an address-to-riding tool

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon addressing media at a press conference on April 8. The territorial election is on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party platform

A closer look at the party leader and promises on the campaign trail

Yukon NDP leader Kate White, surrounded by socially distanced candidates, announces her platform in Whitehorse on March 29. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Kate White and the Yukon NDP Platform

A detailed look at the NDP platform and Kate White’s leadership campaign this election

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read