October 1-5 in the Legislative Assembly
Our first week back in the Legislature was a productive one. The public service worked incredibly hard to prepare a number of progressive and modern legislative changes. This week our government set the tone for a busy sitting with the tabling of a number of Bills.
Premier Sandy Silver tabled the 2018/19 First Supplementary Estimates which included a less than one percent increase in additional spending over the 2018-19 Main Estimates. This historically low variance is another example of how this government has improved fiscal forecasting for Yukoners.
In our campaign platform, this government committed to ensuring that Yukon government legislation [LGBTQ2S+] meet rules and social standards for non-discrimination and the inclusion of LGBTQ2S+ Yukoners. This week the Minister responsible for Women’s Directorate Jeanie Dendys tabled the Equality of Spouses Statute Law Amendment Act as part of that commitment.
The proposed Act amends several existing Acts to make them inclusive of same-sex partners. It also repeals the Married Women’s Property Act to replace terms like “husband” and “wife” with “spouse”. This is the first bill we have repealed and we feel very strongly that this bill is an important step towards making Yukon fair and equal for everyone.
We are fulfilling our commitment to balancing economic growth with long-term environmental sustainability by tabling the Act to Amend the Forest Resources Act and the Territorial Lands (Yukon) Act. These proposed amendments stem from the unauthorized construction of a 17-kilometre access road near McGregor Creek, north of Carmacks. New provisions proposed in the Act enable a court to issue a remediation order to a party found guilty of an offence. It also proposes to increases maximum penalties, clarifies definitions, and ensures the French version matches the English. We are confident that these proposed amendments will contribute to increased protection and better management of our lands and forests.
In the News
Fiscal management dominated Opposition questions in Question Period early in the week. Premier Silver was clear that we are managing finances differently than the previous government, that spent $1.50 for every new dollar it brought in. Following the recommendations of the Yukon Financial Advisory Panel, our government is looking for ways to be more efficient and effective. With effective management, good communication, proper planning and increased transparency we are findings ways to reduce spending.
Members of the hunting community attended Question Period as Minister for the Environment Pauline Frost answered questions regarding hunting permits this season. Standing in the House, she acknowledged that the issue has been a difficult one for both Yukon hunters as well as her, and her Department. She once again reiterated that Yukon hunting laws and regulations have not changed this season and that the laws of general application apply. When asked about plans for the independent audit for Yukon’s permit hunt authorization system, Minister Frost spoke passionately about the independent third-party review she has ordered of the system that “will result in a more robust, transparent permit hunt authorization process moving forward.”
It was a strong start to the fall sitting. We are looking forward to the coming weeks and more respectful and productive debates in the Legislative Assembly.