New Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
This week the enhanced Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPP) went through second reading. The Bill proposes to reverse changes made by the previous government which restricted public access to information and reduced government transparency.
The proposed Act enhances client-focused services for Yukoners to improve access and ensures the personal information held by public bodies remains protected. The purpose of the Act is to ensure government is more transparent and accountable to the public.
In the course of the debate it was disappointing to hear the NDP suggest municipalities should be forced to adopt this Legislation. Our Liberal Caucus does not believe it’s appropriate to force other levels of government into adopting this legislation.
“Bringing in stronger access and privacy legislation is vital to maintaining our democratic ideals. As the former editor of the Yukon News, I fully understand the frustration media and members of the public have had with our outdated existing legislation. I believe government information should be available to its citizens. I also believe our citizens’ personal information should be properly safeguarded, but as a territorial government minister, I do not believe it is appropriate to strong-arm municipal and First Nation governments into adopting this legislation.”
-Minister of Highways and Public Works Richard Mostyn
Yukon’s New Innovation Hub
On October 11, Minister of Economic Development Ranj Pillai proudly attended the opening of the NorthLight Innovation Hub. Our Liberal government has championed this project from the outset, investing $1.9 million towards the creation of the first innovation hub north of 60. This new space brings together Yukon entrepreneurs, innovators and professionals to collaborate, share their knowledge and skills, and foster innovation and growth. NorthLight Innovation will support the small business community, grow our knowledge-based economy and diversify our economy. Our Liberal Caucus congratulates YuKonstruct and everyone involved in this fantastic achievement.
Minister of Education Tracy-Anne McPhee took a lot of questions this week on education issues, including school capacity concerns at Golden Horn Elementary school and the number of Education Assistants in Yukon schools. With no elementary schools built by the previous Yukon Party government throughout its 14 years in office, pressures have mounted.
A strong, growing economy continues to contribute to population growth in the territory, and this government is developing a long-term capital plan to make informed decisions on schools we need to maintain, modernize, build and replace.
Our Liberal government is committed to working with teachers, students and parents to ensure students have the supports they need to thrive in Yukon schools.
Private Members’ Motions
This week our government debated three motions in the Legislative Assembly.
Copperbelt North MLA Ted Adel brought forward Motion #91, which urges the Government of Yukon to increase the ceiling for the Yukon small-business investment tax credit from $1 million to $5 million and increase the asset limit to allow larger companies to qualify. This motion is part of our Liberal team’s commitment to supporting local businesses and diversifying Yukon’s economy. Increasing the credit allows more Yukoners to invest in local businesses and support the growth of Yukon’s economy. Modernizing the eligibility criteria will allow more Yukon businesses to take advantage of this program. We are pleased to report that Motion #91 received unanimous support from the Legislative Assembly.
Another motion put forward by Mayo-Tatchun MLA Don Hutton this week champions communities’ access to federal infrastructure funds. Motion #312 urges the Government of Canada to ensure Yukon has flexibility to work with First Nation and municipal governments to spend federal infrastructure funds in the best way to meet community and territorial needs. Flexibility will ensure governments throughout the territory can maximize the use of available federal funds to bring benefits to Yukon communities. The Yukon Party voted against this important initiative, but with the support of the New Democrats, the motion passed.
MLAs also started debate on a motion to look at the idea of selling government land for housing development. Motion #319, brought forward by Porter Creek Centre MLA Paolo Gallina, calls on the Government of Yukon to investigate the option of selling land to allow for the private development of residential building lots. Our Liberal Caucus supports working with communities and the private sector to create available developed land banks to keep lot prices affordable for Yukoners. We will continue to explore creative solutions to address housing pressures as our territory grows.