Whitehorse Daily Star

Liberals report radio silence from parties

The Yukon’s opposition parties are telling only half of the story in their bid to criticize the government, the Liberal caucus said today.

By Whitehorse Star on May 29, 2020

The Yukon’s opposition parties are telling only half of the story in their bid to criticize the government, the Liberal caucus said today.

On May 21, government house leader Tracy-Anne McPhee offered the opposition parties the chance to meet with her and Community Services Minister John Streicker, the caucus said.

The purpose was to answer any questions they had about the orders-in-council that have been passed under Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There has been no response, the Liberals said.

“The silence from the opposition parties follows their refusal to attend meetings on the 2020-21 budget that were scheduled to take place for five days starting on May 20,” the caucus said.

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that the opposition parties have no actual interest in meeting with our government, despite many public calls for such opportunities,” McPhee said.

“We offered to meet to discuss the 2020-21 budget in response to their request in March, and they refused,” she added.

“We have now offered meetings to discuss ministerial orders passed in response to COVID-19, and they have not responded.

“Our focus remains protecting the health and safety of Yukoners and supporting them through these challenging times.”

To keep them informed about the response to COVID-19, the opposition parties receive the government’s Emergency Measures Organization COVID-19 daily update.

They also receive weekly briefings from the chief medical officer of health.

Additionally, the Liberals said, they have been provided briefings on various COVID-19 response programs, including paid sick leave support, the Yukon Business Relief Program, and the COVID-19 Rent Assist program.

See Yukon Party commentary.

Comments (19)

Up 11 Down 18

Jack C. on Jun 1, 2020 at 4:16 pm

So it turns out the Liberals have been hosting the Legislature just as much as any party ever has and in fact have exceeded expectations considering the Covid19 climate.
Of note is that the criers without cause were also wrong about the last two election results to. This surprised no one.

Up 34 Down 16

JC on Jun 1, 2020 at 3:45 pm

Johnson: Prem. Silvers is just following the lead of his master JT. Both promised transparency in their election campaign, and both broke the promise. Perhaps they don't know the definition of transparency. Liberals seem to have a problem with big words.

Up 28 Down 43

Woodcutter on May 31, 2020 at 10:24 am

@groucho ... no there won't be a change in government judging from the above comments. What you're seeing is the same handful of unemployed/unemployable right wing nuts beating on the key boards. The majority of the electorate are heeding the advice of the medical professionals, are aware of the emergency powers every government in the democratic world can enact in times of strife and emergency, and frankly just shaking their head at the absurd antics of the small time politicking of the Spaz party.

Good job Liberals for keeping Yukoners safe, and thank god we don't have a Trump/Conservative/Populus party that would definitely screw this up, like the peel, like the Kootanee, like the medical travel, like......

Up 18 Down 20

Snowman on May 31, 2020 at 12:03 am

@Groucho, Yes you are right about the Standing Orders by definition. However these orders are being followed by the Liberals the same as every government before them which requires the House to convene 60 days every year (always happens in spring and fall). They are not breaking any rules or avoiding scrutiny unless you believe every other government also avoided scrutiny by not sitting in the summer?
The only argument to be made here is that they are being asked to go above and beyond by reconvening in the summer. But from the screeching of the conservatives, it makes the average person think they are somehow breaking with tradition or circumventing democracy or some other nefarious thing. So for those who want them to go above and beyond what any previous government has done, fair enough. But stop pretending there will be no oversight and scrutiny when any politically knowledgeable person knows this will come in the fall as it ALWAYS does!

Up 37 Down 4

BnR on May 30, 2020 at 5:49 pm

Man, given the situation we (and the rest of the world) are in right now, it'd be nice if our well paid politicians would actually work together for a change.
And that's at all levels.
And that's all I got to say about that.

Up 43 Down 10

BB on May 30, 2020 at 3:42 pm

Hey Tracey-Anne, Why don't you just go back to work, and space yourselves out?! (Like empty seats between people, not show up spaced out.) Go back to work! Get the Legislature operating. If the cashiers at the grocery store can do it, so can you. If the NDP and YP still don't show up, you'll have a point.

Up 36 Down 14

Dave on May 30, 2020 at 3:00 pm

What was splashed all over the Liberal campaign signs last election? Oh I remember, ‘Be Heard.’ Obviously they didn’t mean in the legislature by our elected representatives of the other parties.

Up 59 Down 19

Johnson on May 30, 2020 at 11:51 am

This is backroom liberal politicking to keep the legislature closed and their policies away from scrutiny.

The opposition parties receive the same briefing about Covid as Joe Public does everyday.
This government promised to be more transparent, but they're even worse than the Yukon Party, hiding their decisions from the public and casting blame, as always on the opposition.

They are a majority, and the rules allow them to recall the legislature at any time. So why haven't they?

Up 48 Down 10

Groucho d'North on May 30, 2020 at 10:58 am

Given the tone of some comments here, it appears that there will be a change in government ahead and some are already looking for things to complain about.
We get the governments we deserve. And many point to the people who get elected as the problem. I believe our present system of representative democratic government needs some modernization, so that the great unwashed public determines what the national agenda is rather than the ideology of a select few in power with pet projects. Our current system gives too much power to government with not enough accountability.

Up 33 Down 13

Groucho d'North on May 30, 2020 at 10:49 am

The terms and conditions for how our legislative process is to function was determined long ago as the Standing Orders, or Rules of Engagement if you prefer. The purpose of these rules is to maintain fair and balanced debate between the MLAs as they conduct the governence of we citizens... see Democracy.
While the Corona virus presents a unique operating situation for the electeds to conduct their work, the party in power should not believe they have the authority to create new conditions/rules/procedures for these discussions to happen. Nor should they believe they have the authority to alter how democracy is delivered in the Yukon. Mr. Silver and his team of Liberals are attempting to avoid scrutiny is all.
You can read the Standing Orders here: https://yukonassembly.ca/house-business/standing-orders

Up 27 Down 41

Moose on May 29, 2020 at 7:05 pm

About time the truth came out. I heard from a few people within both parties that this was the case. All of this screaming about opening up the legislature is nothing but posturing and feint outrage on behalf of the Conservatives.

Also, its worth noting that New Brunswick just opened up its legislature but had to close 2 days later because they got a few cases again.

Up 47 Down 29

North_of_60 on May 29, 2020 at 6:29 pm

The LIBs should stop playing games and reconvene the Legislature. Their dictatorial actions are irresponsible and reprehensible.

Up 49 Down 17

DMZ on May 29, 2020 at 5:56 pm

I'm really disappointed in the conduct of some of these Liberal MPs. People like Traci-Anne McPhee and Nils Clarke, they had distinguished careers that led me to expect a higher standard of how they would handle their political responsibilities. If they just fall in line, what's the point of them?

I don't find it at all hard to believe that people aren't getting emails answered from Liberal MPs, because that's been my experience before the pandemic. You'll only send a couple into an abyss before you won't bother anymore.

As for suggesting a meeting with two cabinet ministers, I'm not an expert, but it sounds a little condescending. Official Opposition and third parties are part of the Legislature, not an interest group.

Up 44 Down 18

Matthew on May 29, 2020 at 5:40 pm

Why doesn't the "transparent" liberal gov have a question and answer period from the citizens? You know, the people who elected you. We want answers too, from our own questions, not the generic ones from media..

Up 27 Down 16

The More You Know on May 29, 2020 at 5:01 pm

I’m sure Tracy supplied emails or corespondents to back up her story? No? That’s what I thought.

Up 41 Down 27

Jc on May 29, 2020 at 4:57 pm

Anything that comes out of a liberal's mouth these days - well, nuff said.

Up 28 Down 31

Astonished! on May 29, 2020 at 4:37 pm

You mean the Yukon Party has been disingenuous with public messaging. Your kidding me.

Up 27 Down 39

Gordon of Riverdale on May 29, 2020 at 4:27 pm

Not a surprise.

Sanctimonious Stacey and the rest of the surviving members of the
Pasloski Party were never interested in doing anything useful for
Yukoners during this crises.

Petty politics was their only interest.

Up 44 Down 75

One One-Lesser-Voice on May 29, 2020 at 4:04 pm

This is appalling and it makes me happy that I supported the Liberal government in the last election.

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