October 16-19 Highlights: cannabis, reconciliation and PTSD debated
This week in the Legislative Assembly saw government motions put forward on cannabis and reconciliation, as well as the second reading of a Bill concerning PTSD in the workplace.
Question period once again saw many questions asked by the official opposition on the Public Airports Act. Learn the facts on this proposed legislation.
A motion in support of reconciliation
On Wednesday Don Hutton, MLA for Mayo-Tatchun, moved the motion:
THAT this House endorses reconciliation among indigenous and non-indigenous people as fundamental to redressing the legacy of residential schools and other historic wrongs and as crucial to building a stronger Yukon in which the world views of First Nation and non-First Nation people of the territory are understood, respected and valued.
The motion received unanimous support in the House.
“Yukon First Nations enrich the social and cultural fabric of the territory. Revitalizing, maintaining and celebrating First Nation knowledge, languages and culture are key to a modern Yukon.” – Don Hutton
“What is reconciliation? Reconciliation is more than listening; it is more than acknowledgement; it’s more than art hanging on a wall. Mr. Speaker, reconciliation is about mutual understanding, mutual respect, and seeing each other. It’s about changing how we do things, how we say things, and how we show leadership. It’s about working together to create a stronger future for our children. It’s about listening; it’s about collaboration and cooperation.” – MLA Pauline Frost
“At its heart, the Umbrella Final Agreement is about trust and respect between governments, which is needed to find common ground. Our Liberal government is committed to a renewed government-to-government relationship with First Nation people of Yukon built on cooperation, partnership and respect. We believe in this approach, based on respecting the Umbrella Final Agreement and the final and self-government agreements that flow from it. It is essential to moving toward a modern Yukon.” – MLA Ranj Pillai
Cannabis legalization debated
MLA for Mayo-Tatchun Don Hutton moved another motion:
THAT this House urges the Government of Yukon to work with the Government of Canada to legalize cannabis use in Yukon by the summer of 2018.
“Criminalizing cannabis in Canada has not worked as a deterrent, and every year, $1.2 billion is spent to enforce an approach that has not worked. Another problem with the criminalization of cannabis is that these laws have disproportionately targeted marginalized populations across Canada, and we see that problem here in the Yukon as well.” – MLA Don Hutton
The member for Lake Laberge moved to amend the motion by deleting “by the summer of July 2018”. MLA for Riverdale South and Minister of Justice Tracy-Anne McPhee pointed out that ignoring the federal government’s timeline would be detrimental to Yukoners.
“The timeline has been imposed by the federal government. It is not a timeline that can be ignored. In my view, we would ignore the federal government’s timeline — being the summer of 2018, July — at our peril and we would ignore it at Yukoners’ peril.” – MLA Tracy-Anne McPhee
The motion passed with support from the Yukon NDP and the Yukon Party MLA for Copperbelt South.
The House debates a Bill addressing PTSD
On Thursday, members of the Legislative Assembly participated in an emotional debate on Bill 8 which addresses amendments to both the Workers’ Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Act. This bill has two parts:
- Part 1 proposes amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act to provide the promised PTSD presumption for emergency response workers.
Why this is important
The changes proposed will ensure that if an emergency response worker is diagnosed with PTSD, they will not need to verify that the injury is work-related, as that would be presumed. It’s time to work to reduce the stigma around PTSD, and encourage workers who may be struggling to seek the help they need.
- Part 2 proposes amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to permit the creation of regulations aimed at preventing psychological injuries, including PTSD.
Why this is important
The Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board heard from the public that more emphasis should be placed on preventing psychological injury in the workplace. This bill will ensure that the prevention of physical and psychological injuries are given equal emphasis in the workplace.
Learn more about this Bill.
“Together, these proposed amendments represent an effective two-pronged approach that combines the critical component of injury prevention with support for injured workers.” – MLA for Mountainview and Minister responsible for the Yukon Workers Compensation Health and Safety Board, Jeanie Dendys