This week in the Legislative Assembly MLAs discussed a Bill designed to increase LGBTQ2+ inclusion, children in the government’s care, and Yukon’s tourism marketing campaign, Yukon Now.
Bill no. 17, the Gender Diversity and Related Amendments Act, went through second reading this week. The Bill marks the latest step in our Liberal Caucus’ efforts to support the inclusiveness and equality of LGBTQ2S+ Yukoners. The Bill promotes gender diversity on government boards and committees, and extends the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. The Bill reflects our Liberal Caucus’ commitment to LGBTQ2S+ non-discrimination.
“Legislative changes are one of the strongest signals that we can send that our government is committed to increasing the inclusion and equality of LGBTQ2S+ Yukoners in our community.
Legislative changes are one of the strongest signals that we can send that our government is committed to increasing the inclusion and equality of LGBTQ2S+ Yukoners in our community.” – Mountainview MLA Jeanie Dendys
Learn more about the Bill here.
Children in Care
Discussion continued this week about children in the government’s care following the announcement that Yukon’s Child and Youth Advocate will conduct an independent review of the Transitional Support Services program. Concerns about children in care were also raised in the media by anonymous government sources, which led to discussion of the protection of whistleblowers in the public service.
Ensuring the health and safety of all Yukon children is a top priority of our Liberal Caucus. We are pleased that the Child and Youth Advocate is conducting an independent review with the full cooperation of government. We have full confidence in the Advocate’s office to conduct a review of Transitional Support Services and we look forward to the results and recommendations.
“We know that perhaps youth have not been listened to historically. I know and I can assure members of the public and this Legislative Assembly that we are listening. I am listening to the youth, I care about the youth, and I care about our policies around group homes, around residential care facilities.
We want to hear what has been going on, and we want to make significant changes.” – Old Crow MLA Pauline Frost
Our Liberal Caucus wants to thank the employees for coming forward with their concerns about children in care. We believe it’s important that anyone who observes wrongdoing in government feels comfortable coming forward, and we encourage people to do so. We believe employees should feel confident about raising concerns and find it unfortunate that the trust has eroded over the past years. It takes time to rebuild trust, but our Liberal Caucus is committed to rebuilding trust and establishing a culture of openness in the public service.
“I want to personally thank employees for coming forward with their concerns about child welfare. It takes courage to come forward to the media or to others in authority, so I want to thank them. I want them to know we take these issues very seriously.
I know it takes a lot of courage to come forward with your concerns. I am telling people they can do so with impunity; they can talk to their supervisor or talk to their deputy.” – Whitehorse West MLA Richard Mostyn
Mountainview MLA Jeanie Dendys delivered a Ministerial Statement this week announcing a significant funding commitment to Yukon Now – Yukon’s tourism marketing initiative – and highlighting record tourism statistics for 2017. Yukon Now is a marketing campaign that focuses primarily on Canadian consumers to help increase awareness of Yukon as a year-round travel destination. The campaign continues to be successful, as Yukon saw record-breaking visitation numbers in 2017 across several key areas.
“We are committed to maintaining the budget for this critical program by increasing our annual investment to $1.8 million as of this year. This was a campaign commitment and we are pleased to be delivering on it.” – Mountainview MLA Jeanie Dendys
Learn more about Yukon’s record-breaking tourism numbers here.
This week Liberal MLAs acknowledged significant initiatives and exceptional Yukoners in the Legislative Assembly this week.
Old Crow MLA Pauline Frost paid tribute to Nutrition Month, which is celebrated every year in March.
MLA Frost also paid tribute to Biodiversity Awareness Month, which is celebrated each April in Yukon with the opening of the Swan Haven Interpretive Centre.
Mayo-Tatchun MLA Don Hutton paid tribute to Patrick Van Bibber, a well-known and widely respected Yukoner.
Porter Creek South MLA Ranj Pillai paid tribute to Gavin McKenna, a local youth hockey player.
Mountainview MLA Jeanie Dendys paid tribute to National Aboriginal Languages Day, noting the 8 First Nations languages spoken in Yukon: Gwich’in, Hän, Kaska, Northern Tutchone, Southern Tutchone, Tagish, Tlingit and Upper Tanana.