Yukon shortlisted for Code of Silence

Yukon's government is a runner-up to receive the Code of Silence Award. Each year the Canadian Association of Journalists gives the tongue-in-cheek prize to a secretive public body.

Yukon’s government is a runner-up to receive the Code of Silence Award.

Each year the Canadian Association of Journalists gives the tongue-in-cheek prize to a secretive public body.

It’s the first time Yukon has made the shortlist.

The territorial government is nominated for its refusal to disclose the pay and perks received by deputy ministers.

Such disclosures are routinely made by almost every provincial government. But here, such information is “private.”

Yukon’s Access to Information Commission is currently conducting an inquiry into the matter.

Yukon’s up against some stiff competition for the Code of Silence.

Other runners-up include Prime Minister Steven Harper and his government. Harper won the prize last year for what the CAJ calls a “remarkably secretive communications apparatus.”

The federal government is accused of muzzling civil servants and cabinet ministers, and of blackballing reporters who ask tough questions.

In the past year it’s also begun to block the access of journalists to government experts. In their place, publicity wizards spin off canned e-mails.

Another nominee is the RCMP, for secrecy surrounding Taser use following the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski. The force has refused to release documents related to Taser safety, forcing journalists to fight lengthy access-to-information battles.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is also nominated. It took the agency nine months to produce inspection records from the Maple Leaf plant at the centre of last year’s listeria outbreak, which killed 22 Canadians and triggered hundreds, if not thousands, of illnesses.

Communication records with the company have yet to be released.

Other nominees are:

* Fort Erie’s Economic Development and Tourism Corporation, which spends $750,000 in taxpayers’ money with no open meetings or transparency;

* Canada’s human rights commissions, which, among other things, dragged Maclean’s magazine into a quasi-judicial hearing for printing an article deemed to be offensive to Muslims. These commissions expect defendants to pay out of pocket for legal costs while the accusers have their cases paid for by the state, even when the charges are absurd;

* Alberta’s Ministry of Children and Youth Services, for failing to release quarterly reports by the province’s Child and Youth Advocate, which include recommendations on how to improve the struggling child welfare system;

* Human Resources and Skills Development Canada for charging the Toronto Star $6,500 for information the agency collects to determine whether a company may hire foreign workers. In the end, the released information had all company names blacked out.

The Code of Silence will be awarded at CAJ’s annual meeting in Vancouver on Saturday.

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com.

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

Just Posted

In a Feb. 17 statement, the City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology used for emergency response. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Three words could make all the difference in an emergency

City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology

Jesse Whelen, Blood Ties Four Directions harm reduction councillor, demonstrates how the organization tests for fentanyl in drugs in Whitehorse on May 12, 2020. The Yukon Coroner’s Service has confirmed three drug overdose deaths and one probable overdose death since mid-January. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three overdose deaths caused by “varying levels of cocaine and fentanyl,” coroner says

Heather Jones says overdoses continue to take lives at an “alarming rate”

Wyatt's World for Feb. 24, 2021.
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Approximately 30 Yukoners protest for justice outside the Whitehorse courthouse on Feb. 22, while a preliminary assault hearing takes place inside. The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, based in Watson Lake, put out a call to action over the weekend. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Courthouse rally denounces violence against Indigenous women

The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society put out a call to action

Then Old Crow MLA Darius Elias speak’s in the community centre in Old Crow in 2016. Elias died in Whitehorse on Feb. 17. (Maura Forrest/Yukon News file)
Condolences shared for former Vuntut Gwitchin MLA Darius Elias

Elias is remembered as a proud parent, hockey fan and politican

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

The Yukon government and the Yukon First Nations Chamber of Commerce have signed a letter of understanding under the territory’s new procurement policy. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
First Nation business registry planned under new procurement system

Letter of understanding signals plans to develop registry, boost procurement opportunities

US Consul General Brent Hardt during a wreath-laying ceremony at Peace Arch State Park in September 2020. Hardt said the two federal governments have been working closely on the issue of appropriate border measures during the pandemic. (John Kageorge photo)
New U.S. consul general says countries working closely on COVID-19 border

“I mean, the goal, obviously, is for both countries to get ahead of this pandemic.”

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Start of spring sitting announced

The Yukon legislature is set to resume for the spring sitting on… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

(Submitted)
History Hunter: Kwanlin Dün — a book of history, hardship and hope

Dǎ Kwǎndur Ghày Ghàkwadîndur: Our Story in Our Words is published by… Continue reading

(File photo)
RCMP arrest Saskatchewan murder suspect

Yukon RCMP have arrested a man suspected of attempted murder from outside… Continue reading

Most Read