Kate White, the leader of the Yukon NDP, says she’s not ready to pull the plug on the governing Liberals over the latest report on the Hidden Valley School sexual abuse scandal.
White told the Star Tuesday afternoon she definitely has concerns about the report released last week by the Yukon Ombudsman’s office.
However, it’s not enough to affect her commitment to the Confidence and Supply Agreement the NDP is using to keep the Liberals in power.
While there is little new in the report, White said, it did leave her concerned and with questions she intends to press the government on next month when the legislature reconvenes.
“What will be really telling is the next report with recommendations from the Ombudsman,” she said.
“The current report highlights a lot of mistakes made by the Liberals in their handling of the situation,” she continued. “That isn’t new.”
White did zero in on the comments the report made on the failure of the government to use a communications plan that had been drawn up prior to the incident at the school.
White said she wants to clarify whether that plan or anything similar is now in place to be used in the future in the case of something similar happening.
“I want some reassurances that this won’t happen again,” she said, “and that there’s a plan in place to follow.”
The Ombudsman’s investigation found that the government’s failure to communicate with parents at the school was “unfair, depriving parents of the opportunity to take timely action to help their children.”
The report by Ombudsman Jason Pedlar is fairly scathing.
In the document, he wrote, “The department did not share information about the allegations until it was made public in July 2021 by a CBC News story about a related lawsuit.
“By that time, the matter had proceeded through the court system, resulting in a guilty plea to a criminal charge of sexual interference.”
Cabinet ministers were not made aware of the situation until it was reported in the media, the report notes.
In 2020, former executive assistant William Auclair-Bellemare, 35, had pleaded guilty to sexual interference involving a child at the school and had later served a jail sentence.