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Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee and Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon

Vaccinations announcement a diversion from school scandal: Dixon

After an attack during Monday’s question period by Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon, Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee tried to defend the decision to require all Yukon government employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 30.

By Tim Giilck on October 19, 2021

After an attack during Monday’s question period by Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon, Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee tried to defend the decision to require all Yukon government employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 30.

The plan was announced late last Friday morning, with few details as to how it would work or defined consequences for failure to comply.

It also provoked criticism by the Yukon Employees’ Union over a lack of consultation, and consternation on the part of the Yukon Teachers Association, which said the announcement came as a complete surprise.

Dixon suggested the new policy and the lack of details that accompanied it represent the government’s attempt to deflect attention away from other matters – such as the Hidden Valley School sex abuse scandal that has dominated the fall sitting thus far.

A combative McPhee said outside the chamber, “I want to say that I think it’s completely outrageous for Currie Dixon to have insinuated that the public health measures that were announced Friday is motivated by anything other than the health and safety of Yukoners. It’s a new low.”

Talking to reporters after question period, McPhee addressed why the announcement couldn’t have waited until a more concrete plan was in place and questions could be answered.

“Our practice has been for the last 18 months – since the beginning of COVID-19 – that when recommendations are made by the chief medical officer of health that are going to be implemented by government that we let Yukoners know what they are.

“We do that every time we have them so we could know what was happening,” McPhee said.

“We’ve worked out details in the past (as we went along),” McPhee added. “When the recommendations come, we make those public so they can understand these options are being recommended by the chief medical officer of health and that we are working on implementing them.

“We have acknowledged that there are many logistical details to work out as we move toward November 30,” the minister added.

“Of course, our government is committed to undertaking that work with our partners. The chief medical officer of health makes recommendations and the government, in accepting those recommendations, proceeds to operationalize them.”

The planned measures, she said, “will increase vaccine rates while ensuring that we can continue to protect all Yukoners from the spread of COVID-19 because the vaccine remains our best protection against all forms of COVID-19.”

When she was pressed further on what would happen to non-compliant public sector workers, McPhee said, “That’s a tough question.

“I know in some jurisdictions some people have been immediately let go,” she noted.

“In other cases, there’s been a period of time offered for accommodation, or they have used vacation time. Nov. 30 is enough time for people to get both vaccinations.”

McPhee told reporters she has estimates that approximately 80 per cent of public employees are vaccinated, so the potential number of people the new policy will affect is likely to be low.

“And that’s part of the work being done with the Public Service Commission, with the unions, with individuals. We are concerned about losing some workers for sure, and we want to work with them and figure out what the issues are around vaccination.”

McPhee said she had no immediate timeline on when those consultations will be complete and more definite answers can be offered.

As for anyone who’s still reluctant to be vaccinated, McPhee said she wanted them to know that vaccines represent the best chance of keeping themselves, their loved ones and the community safe.

“It they are concerned, please contact a medical professional and try to discuss those hesitancies. These vaccines have been given to millions, and they are safe.”

Dixon said he personally isn’t a believer in mandatory vaccines, nor does his party support it.

“I think that vaccinations are the best path forward for the Yukon. I think that the vaccines are safe and effective,” he said.

“I just just personally feel that forcing people or mandating people is not the best path forward.

“They (the government) made this hasty, ill-thought-out announcement without any details, without a concrete plan. They made this rushed-out announcement with no details as a politically-motivated decision.”

NDP Leader Kate White said “it’s all about keeping people safe, and we need to lead by example. The Yukon government is the largest employer in the territory.”

Comments (27)

Up 5 Down 5

Jim on Oct 25, 2021 at 4:13 pm

Relax people. We can already see that the Liberals are walking back on their tough talk on vaccine mandates. I guess it takes the mystery out of whether it was a diversion for the sexual assault scandal.

Up 17 Down 7

Joe on Oct 25, 2021 at 10:08 am

Please call an election. Kate how can you stand by and watch all this go on? Yukon has one of the highest vaccination rate yet you’re allowing this obtuse minority government to create discord amongst family and friends. This forced coercion, disrespect and discrimination against a minority who have the rights to choose does nothing but long term damage to relationships. One only has to look back in brief history to see the damages caused when minorities are discriminated against. I thought Yukoners were different.

Up 8 Down 34

TheHammer on Oct 22, 2021 at 4:06 pm

Facetious comment by Mr. Dixon given the rise in Covid infections. The opposite of everything is true. Who is politicizing the pandemic, Dixon or McPhee? Anyone seeking clarity is a newcomer to the Yukon, a land shrouded in mystery and a history of genocide.

Up 21 Down 5

Groucho d'North on Oct 22, 2021 at 3:27 pm

Trying to change the channel are they? But to what? Letters from the west highway communities indicate there is a similar level of angst over the government's proposals - read decree - on solid waste management. More COVID regulations and the possibility of more mask rules being applied will not bring joy or the warm happy feelings this administration is probably seeking. It appears the Libs are striking out in much of their work lately.
Change the Channel? Perhaps turn all the crap off and go outside and play to restore a more positive view of the Yukon. Lord knows we need something positive for a change.

Up 28 Down 11

Outback beyond on Oct 21, 2021 at 10:26 am

Please let there be some light at the end of the tunnel, and McPhee has refused vaccination and will be fired November 30th.
Incidentally - do all liberal party staffers and politicians have to prove vaccination?

Up 18 Down 24

Let me tell you a story on Oct 20, 2021 at 8:43 pm

I read the comments, it use to be moderately amusing but then they have taken a turn. The anti vax use to be just nervousness about mRNA technology, it was an unknown treatment in the beginning. Understandable, I was hesitant as well. The reality is people are dying, it’s real. The annual flu has almost killed me 3 times in my life, and I not even midlife as of yet.

The rhetoric has now spun out of control… global genocide? World Domination? Great Reset? Forced Sterilization??? Loss of Freedom?

It brings me back to my childhood when my father joined a religious cult and feverishly preached to us the apocalypse was coming - everyone was going to die. He declared only the saved would live and we would fly to the promised land on a great eagle. Your probably thinking wtf and maybe laugh. But he was dead serious and we were terrified kids for 12 years.
I'm not seeing much difference between his religious cult and the off the wall sentiments of the anti vax.

So think about what your doing, who you are putting your faith in, and you are damaging the kids minds and also the weakest adult minds. The effects are life long. Be rational, the hysteria is concerning.

Up 38 Down 13

The dreadpirate roberts. on Oct 20, 2021 at 8:21 pm

Nope.......Tracy-Anne, the new low that I've seen lately was a couple of folks who publicly advertised their willingness to use threats and segregation against a section of the public who doesn't agree with their ideas. It happened just last friday. I couldn't believe it. I thought that was pretty low. Currie is a shining star in comparison.

Up 26 Down 8

joe on Oct 20, 2021 at 4:42 pm

@ Denis, denis, denis...what a loser. Paid liberal troll.

Up 21 Down 18

Get vaxxed on Oct 20, 2021 at 4:34 pm

Had the Yukon voted for Jonas to be our MP he wouldn’t be able to fly to Ottawa or even enter the House of Commons unless fully vaxxed.

Imagine that!

Up 23 Down 65

Denis on Oct 20, 2021 at 11:02 am

Currie; Currie; Currie - What a loser!!!! I/we will not be supporting you again.
Shud engage brain before mouth!!!

Up 34 Down 9

Al on Oct 20, 2021 at 10:27 am

Hm, I am quite astonished when reading your dissertation that you put “evidence” above responsibility to the very people we're charged with protecting. It shows a total disregard for the children under your watch. When it came to choice you, by your own admission, placed judicial interests over protection. I find that very disturbing. It is clearly evident that you either were in a clear conflict of interest between your roles or that you simply placed personal interests over and above all else.

If you did find yourself in conflict with roles you had a choice – that choice was quite simple. You either had to recuse yourself from one of the roles or step aside completely from the role that was conflicting your primary obligation. It is obvious what route you chose.

Your motives are not laudable when you consider the potential and real harm you created to these young children. Your choice was not in the best interest of anyone but yourself. Again, by your own admission you have kept saying that your legal interests were more paramount (I paraphrased your comments). That is truly sad. If you did discuss these issues with the Premier, he was ultimately responsible to remove you from these conflicts immediately. In that he did not (or was never made aware of your position) places him just a culpable as you.

You really have no where to turn on this. You are now in full damage control and now attempting to justify what is really an indefensible set of actions (or non-actions).

Up 51 Down 23

Rob on Oct 20, 2021 at 9:06 am

I totally agree with Currie. Liberals cheap out with announcement timed to deflect attention from ongoing education issue. Everyone sees right through it. As far as mandates for vaccines go, it's seen as a political play to wedge people against people and create division. Most people in Yukon support vaccines and have shown that by having one of the highest rates in the country. There is no need to disrespect and discriminate against those who choose, for whatever reason, not to vax at this time. History has taught us that minorities are not always wrong and that we should respect those with different opinions.
Please don't start ranting about vax vs unvax for spreading covid, we know short term results show reduced severity and that new reports come out daily.
Kate do the right thing and end the foolish liberals pension plan coalition.

Up 37 Down 22

Salt on Oct 20, 2021 at 6:45 am

@Bud
In another 6 months it will be obvious that the story that vaccines are effective is a lie. Like how the lab leak theory went from unspeakable conspiracy to quiet acceptance. Mandates are the goal and it is harder to establish when it is obviously ineffective preventing infection and transmission.

Up 46 Down 14

Al on Oct 19, 2021 at 10:20 pm

I am sorry Ms McPhee, you have lost your credibility and trust in the public eye. What you did at HVS is an absolute disgrace. Your total disregard for children who may have been victimized and your stalwart refusal to even let parents know speaks volumes as to your lack of integrity, honesty and compassion. Don't you dare talk about you being outraged. It holds no flame compared to the fire storm you have single-handedly created.

You speak of this announcement, that was hastily put together, (most shoddily I might add), that you are everything you have proven not to be. I don't trust you, I believe your interests do not lie with the Yukon people and frankly, in my opinion, you are not fit to be an MLA - never mind a Minister. It is people like you that gives politics a bad name.

You should do the honourable thing and resign your seat. You won't, why? Because you truly emit the aura of someone who is above the 'crowd'.
In summation, to quote a famous judge from New York City - "Madam, I wouldn't believe you if your tongue came notarized."

Up 32 Down 27

John on Oct 19, 2021 at 8:47 pm

Great to see Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party take a stand against vaccine mandates. Siding with Jonas Smith is the way to go! You can be sure that all of us who stood with Jonas, will now stand with you in the next territorial election! Thank you sir.

Up 19 Down 15

So stupid on Oct 19, 2021 at 8:41 pm

You are mandated to be fully vaccinated to be a government employee (I hope this also applies to the career EI and SA collectors as they’re technically government workers…they’re getting paid by the government after all).

Those not double vaccinated cannot go to non-essential services anymore but non-government, non-essential workers aren’t mandated to be vaccinated. So…who cares is people are not vaccinated who want to enjoy a meal out and support local?!
And, no, I’m NOT suggesting we enforce those workers to get vaccinated because there goes all local businesses.

Up 24 Down 18

Josey Wales on Oct 19, 2021 at 8:11 pm

Yup absolutely a weapon of mass distraction.
I guess it was only non cultural elites that were allegedly molested?
Huh Josey?
Given how casual team SS is taking this, suggests to me their concern for “regular non cultural elite” is not the same as their darlings.
Tracy is a typical liberal, gives not a rats ass about anything but their darlings, power, and more power.
Absolutely nothing will come from hidden valley...f/a I say.
Top cop will still have his job, maybe a quiet transfer as per RCMP policy.
Every team SS blowhole will also carry on as per.
Look around this territory and our country, absolutely a effin mess, by design I suggest too.

Go ahead you Liberals, light ol Josey up with your sanctimonious tsunami of virtue and complete bulls*it.

Up 27 Down 17

Mike on Oct 19, 2021 at 7:52 pm

You cannot and do not possess the power to order or mandate a vaccine that has proven ineffective towards this virus. This is a liberal power grab that isn't legal and needs to be challenged. Nobody can say you must put this in your body even though you will get sick you will catch it and you can die. This government has lied to the people about the success of the vaccine and the danger to young people or people who have developed natural immunity to it.
There is ZERO science to conclude this ludicrous mandate set out by the liberals and will be found as a direct violation of your right to choose. This is still a free country and we still have our rights and freedoms. Trudeau and Silver are both nuts thinking this is the answer. Why not state the facts because all the medical staff being let go are talking facts about the vaccinated and non vaccinated and the numbers being fed to us are bogus. They keep saying the unvaccinated, well go check out ICU and ask how many are vaccinated.

Up 23 Down 20

Unvaxxed in tha house on Oct 19, 2021 at 5:52 pm

Bahahaha - all you sheeple who can't think for themselves don't even realize that when the booster shots come out and you don't take it, you'll also be labeled an unvaccinated person. This is the new normal sheep, get used to. Take advice from the Whitehorse star's Latin phrase, which translated means "Don't let the bastards grind you down".

Up 22 Down 47

Unreal on Oct 19, 2021 at 5:23 pm

Cryin’ Currie is going full blown conspiracy theorist. Hahaha. What a hick.

Sandy Silver must be pretty good to get the entire planet in on this. Imagine the decades of planning to create a fake ‘plandemic’ and get microchips into everyone so that the Yukon Libs could throw up a smoke screen in front of a criminal investigation.

Dixon is an absolute embarrassment to the Yukon and politicians.
Ease up on the horse paste Currie

Up 34 Down 23

Penny Steel on Oct 19, 2021 at 5:01 pm

Our Government should be well aware that Vaccines CAN'T be made mandatory in Canada because it is in direct violation of our Constitution and Section 7 of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Vaccinated or Not, please do not consent to these Vax Passports, or Mandatory Vaccines if you wish Canada to remain Glorious and Free.

Up 18 Down 9

Put this in perspective on Oct 19, 2021 at 4:34 pm

I have yet to see a protest for victims of sexual violence. So - put that in your pipes and smoke it, yet these people worried about vax protest for themselves.

Up 76 Down 48

Bud McGee on Oct 19, 2021 at 4:02 pm

I believe what will convince vaccine hesitant folks to take the jab is the one thing governments appear to not want to give people and that is the passage of time. Most people I speak with that are on the fence have told me they wanted to wait "one whole winter to see what happens". That would be an additional six months. What's the big deal about another six months?

Up 73 Down 74

Wow Dixon--you want it both ways....... on Oct 19, 2021 at 3:44 pm

"Dixon said he personally isn’t a believer in mandatory masking, nor does his party support it." If this is so, and he's in favour of vaccines, then you can't have it both ways, by saying the Libs are doing something wrong by mandating vaccines. And I'm a YTG worker who was not allowed to stay at home and 'work' from home. So I'm all in favour of mandatory vaccines. Might force some people to actually be at work, answer questions, do their jobs, and be accountable to the public.
So many government agencies were shut down for far too long, didn't offer appropriate service to the public, and I was baffled. I am at work everyday. In order to have proper childcare (daycares and schools), proper senior care in care homes, and to keep this virus from going crazy again, vaccinate! I can't believe that I heard that only 60% of care workers in seniors homes are vaccinated. Get it done people! My parent is in a home and relies on you and he's had his vaccines--if you don't, he's in his 90's and he dies from your reluctance.
And for you anti vaxer conspiracists --it's not the flu. It's equivalent in damage to small pox or mumps and I'm sure you wouldn't mistake those two for the flu or a cold. Religious zealots--God will not send you to hell if you have the vaccine. You might die a preventable death if you don't have it though. A guy I grew up with here is gone, mid 50's, all because of stubborn stupidity. Hope it was worth it to be an anti vaxer...but I bet if he had his time back he would have made different choices.

Up 91 Down 34

Rick S on Oct 19, 2021 at 3:16 pm

So Kate White and the NDP stand on the side of crushing workers. Got it.

Up 62 Down 87

KC on Oct 19, 2021 at 3:02 pm

Let me get this straight. Currie Dixon thinks that the government is doing something almost every other government in the country is doing because it wants to deflect attention?

Well. There you have it. The stupidest thing Currie Dixon ever said. I like you Currie but seriously do better.

Up 100 Down 41

JSM on Oct 19, 2021 at 3:00 pm

This is 100% obvious and clearly a cover up happening right before our eyes and people are more happy that Skagway is reopenning as opposed to being concerned for the kids. It is a tremendous failure on society for not protecting the youth better but a nail in the coffin for the Liberal government who are clearly trying to cover Tracy's mistakes.

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