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Brad Cathers and Kate White

Parties assess critical Auditor General’s report

The Auditor General of Canada has released a highly critical report of the Yukon government’s response to the impacts of climate change and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the past 11 years.

By Taylor Blewett on December 6, 2017

The Auditor General of Canada has released a highly critical report of the Yukon government’s response to the impacts of climate change and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the past 11 years.

Now, the Yukon Liberal government is left to remedy the commitments, actions and reporting on climate change that the four-person audit team found insufficient.

The departments involved in the audit were Environment, Energy, Mines and Resources (EMR), Community Services and Highways and Public Works.

Environment Minister Pauline Frost issued a statement Tuesday affirming the government’s support for the four recommendations made by the Auditor General’s Office.

These recommendations suggest the Yukon government:

• Conduct a risk assessment across the territory to help the government prioritize its climate change commitments;

• Develop those commitments to include timelines, costs and intended levels of greenhouse gas emission reductions;

• Publicly and consistently report on progress and expenditures associated with meeting all commitments; and

• Carry out “concrete” and “timely” actions to address the impacts of climate change

“The government supports the recommendations, and work is underway to address them,” Frost said.

This work includes a new Yukon strategy for climate change, energy and green economy with commitments and goals supported by “clear milestones, completion dates and associated costs,” she said.

Public consultation on the strategy is expected to occur in 2018 for its projected release in 2019, according to Frost, though final dates will be determined with partners on the strategy.

The government is already establishing partnerships with First Nations and municipalities, she said.

Brad Cathers, the Yukon Party’s EMR critic, expressed disappointment with this response from the government.

“We’ve heard a lot of nice-sounding platitudes, but we’ve seen very little in terms of specific commitments or specific actions,” he told the Star Tuesday.

Cathers also pointed out that the government will be approaching the end of its mandate by 2019.

“To hear that they’re planning to come up with a plan in a couple of years, maybe, is not really a sign of great leadership on the part of the government.”

The audit examined the government’s climate change policy from July 2006 to July 2017, a period of Yukon Party leadership save for the last eight months after the Liberals were sworn in last Dec. 3.

Cathers, an MLA for all of those 11 years and a former EMR minister, said he doesn’t “entirely agree” with the audit’s condemnation of insufficient government action on climate change and greenhouse gas reduction.

“There are a lot of initiatives that weren’t captured by the scope of the audit,” he said.

He cited the Yukon Party’s work to enhance renewable energy, micro-generation, and energy efficiency rebate programs.

These were elements of the government’s Energy Strategy – a policy that wasn’t evaluated in the audit.

It focused on the 2006 Yukon Climate Change Strategy, the 2009 Climate Change Action Plan, and two progress reports in 2012 and 2015.

“In retrospect, we probably should have done a better job of formally connecting the energy strategy to the Climate Change Action Plan,” Cathers said.

He also noted that the Office of the Auditor General does have to work within a specific scope of assessment.

NDP Environment critic Kate White said she felt “a little bit validated” by the audit’s results.

“When we were in the official Opposition, we were asking questions to the Yukon Party,” she said

“Often, it was, ‘How are you going to measure this? What’s your goal?’ And there was always this moving target.”

However, White explained, this is now the Liberal government’s responsibility.

She called the 2019 climate change, energy and green economy strategy “a bit lame.”

“Not to say that having a new report doesn’t make sense,” White said.

“But ... you’ve got to address what the issues are right now, and right now things aren’t being prioritized. Things aren’t being measured.

“It’s hard to be accountable if you don’t actually have a goal.”

Comments (11)

Up 0 Down 0

Karl on Dec 12, 2017 at 8:04 pm

If every last person in the Yukon packed up their s**t, closed every house, shutdown every business and left - essentially leaving behind a humanless wasteland, the net difference to climate change would be 0 to quite a few decimal places. What problem is the AG trying to address?

Up 4 Down 0

Has any one tried contacting the auditor general office in Canada on Dec 7, 2017 at 2:32 pm

They will not contact you back.

Up 6 Down 0

tax slave on Dec 7, 2017 at 1:52 pm

SHAME on the liars and cheaters robbing us blind. End the extortion racket.
Stop wasting money and get a real job and produce something that others want. Focus on stopping real pollution, not reducing the amount of plant food in the air. The subsidies for unproductive fools will soon come to an end. What are these fools gonna come up with next, taxing every breath and fart? bugger off!

Up 4 Down 0

Jean on Dec 7, 2017 at 1:24 pm

you are right on with your statements. Nailed.
As someone who has studied plant life in engineering we don't have the data on the facts.
Politicians are like lemming and do what they are told but do not question the facts in reality.
Wilf Carter

Up 7 Down 0

Groucho d'North on Dec 7, 2017 at 11:20 am

If you have been paying attention to global media you will have seen an increasing number of articles revealing that the global warming alarmists have been cooking the books (altering their research) to indicate things are much worse than they really are in terms of a warming planet. This morning there is a story up stating that sea level monitoring has been fudged to produce results that indicate water levels are rising when in fact they are not. http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/12/06/tidalgate-climate-alarmists-caught-faking-sea-level-rise/
I would hope that our government also considers what is real and what is part of the smoke screen created to support the Global Warming agenda our federal government has embraced to justify a revenue-generating carbon tax. Facts be damned if it means more money in government coffers. I'd be happy if we could just get back to sharing the truth rather than an elaborate scheme to fleece the public out of more money.

Up 3 Down 5

Politico on Dec 6, 2017 at 10:07 pm

Eleven years of YP inaction and now, predictably, they ask what the current government is going to do. Typical of Brad, don't do anything for years, then blame someone else for his inaction.

Up 8 Down 1

jc on Dec 6, 2017 at 9:40 pm

Just what is the Yukon doing to cause climate change for goodness sake. Notice these Liberal politicians won't tell us. We live in the cleanest part of the world. They make me sick. All they want is an excuse to raise our taxes. Enjoy the next two years libs.

Up 7 Down 0

Auditor genera is a numbers person who does not understand the subject on Dec 6, 2017 at 4:55 pm

or what matters in the Yukon. The decisions are based on what she sees, but in fact does not make good business in reality on paper.
We are not Toronto, we are the Yukon.
First, how much Co'2 give off in all Yukon Communities?
Second, How much Co'2 does the Yukon give off from living here?
Third, How much Co'2 is naturally given off in the Yukon?
Fourth, How much does our vegetation remove Co'2's from the Yukon?
Fifth, We all know that over 60% of our Co'2s come from transportation. What can be done about that?
Auditor general did not see 90% of our energy is produced by hydro!
Over 60% of traffic going through the Yukon goes to Alaska.
That means 35% or more of our Co'2 are not created by Yukoners.
Charge a toll or carbon tax to people going to Alaska. It is only fair and reasonable.
The auditor general's report has failed to understand the Yukon climate change issue.
Governments seem, to take auditor general reports as fact and must do what they say.
Set priorities on transportation and targets and mile stones.
Change heating in homes to electric heat.
There is one major one for the Yukon and I am keeping that one to myself.
I have seen the auditor's reports so off side in the past and cost tax payers foolish amounts of money.
I will write the auditor general a letter explaining the facts in the Yukon as it stands.
Wilf Carter
This is just poor auditing work!

Up 6 Down 0

ProScience Greenie on Dec 6, 2017 at 4:14 pm

I'm not at all a Denier and very concerned so have to ask how many tons of carbon did this report cost. Same with the recommendations and with the whole Climate Change Action Plan?

Bloated, inefficient and graft-ridden governments not only waste taxpayers money, they put out way too much C02 and other GHGs. Clean that up and we'll see more real action on AGW from our government.

Wasted money = wasted energy = unwanted GHGs pumped into the atmosphere.

Up 7 Down 0

jean on Dec 6, 2017 at 3:56 pm

The Yukon government should focus all of it's 'climate change' resources on adapting to the ever changing climate, and waste none of them on reducing CO2 emissions.

All of the human caused CO2 emissions add only 4.6 parts per million per year to the 405 parts per million in the atmosphere naturally. There is absolutely no scientific evidence that the CO2 emitted by all human activities has any measurable effect on the ever changing climate. The only effect from increasing CO2 is to make the planet greener.

The recent changes in climate in the Yukon and around the world have happened many times before since the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago. None of these changes are alarming, either in rate of change or magnitude of change.

Two New Studies Destroy Climate Crisis, Greenhouse Gas & Carbon Claims.
The greenhouse gas theory and the litany of fake science claims about carbon dioxide climate forcing are refuted in the peer-reviewed hard-science literature.
The authors, who are experts trained in higher-level physics and chemistry, painstakingly apply a fresh eye to the convoluted and often contradictory assertions made by ill-trained researchers in the infant science of climate studies. It was discovered that due to deficiencies in understanding of the tougher concepts of thermodynamics, the poorly-trained generalists within the tight-knit climate community had overly relied on 19th century half-baked and simplistic interpretations.

Up 7 Down 0

Juniper Jackson on Dec 6, 2017 at 3:48 pm

OMG this is terrible...we better shut down all of our smelters, all of our factories and move all of the communities closer to Whitehorse to cut down on the commute times, and nail those farms with cows..everyone knows about cows now....

Trudeau likely wrote this report.. like the Yukon totally leaves a size 14 footprint.(NOT). This however would provide the basis to jack those taxes and, Silver..sigh.. would have to soulfully, regretfully, inform Yukoner's that the Auditor General said.. don't give that money back to anyone.. The Auditor General is on Trudeau's payroll... (so is Mary Dawson..just sayin')

I am not saying there is not climate change..but what I am saying is that the way the Liberal government tackles the issue is more about a money grab than it is about the environment.

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