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Yukon.

On December 17th, the 2009 Fall Sitting of the First Session of the 32nd Legislative Assembly adjourned. The 28-day sitting had convened on October 29th. The Sitting concluded with Assent being given in the Chamber by the Commissioner of Yukon, Geraldine Van Bibber.

In the Fall Sitting, a total of 9 bills (all Government bills) were granted Assent by Commissioner Van Bibber:

* Bill No. 16, Fourth Appropriation Act, 2008-09

* Bill No. 17, Second Appropriation Act, 2009-10

* Bill No. 73, Act to Amend the Registered Nurses Profession Act

* Bill No. 75, Second Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 2009

* Bill No. 76, Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act

* Bill No. 77, Act to Amend the Public Health and Safety Act

* Bill No. 78, Act to Amend the Elections Act

* Bill No. 79, Act to Amend the Medical Profession Act

* Bill No. 80, Act to Amend the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Health Act

Party Standings

During the Fall of 2009, the Yukon Party Government was temporarily in a minority position. On August 28, 2009, Brad Cathers, Member for Lake Laberge, resigned from Cabinet and left the Yukon Party caucus to sit as an Independent member, effectively placing the Government in a minority situation (the 18 member House comprised: 9 Yukon Party MLAs, 5 Liberal Party MLAs, 2 NDP MLAs, and 2 Independents, including Mr. Cathers). Mr. Cathers, who had been Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, and the Government House Leader, indicated that he had a disagreement with the Premier, but hoped to rejoin caucus under different leadership.

On October 22, 2009, one week before the 2009 Fall Sitting began, John Edzerza, Member for McIntyre-Takhini, joined the Yukon Party caucus as a backbencher, restoring the Government's majority status. Mr. Edzerza, who had been elected in the October 2006 general election as an NDP member, left that caucus to sit as an Independent member on January 26, 2009. Mr. Edzerza had first been elected to the Legislative Assembly under the Yukon Party banner in the November 2002 general election, and had then resigned as a Minister and left that caucus to sit as an Independent, in August 2006.

Current standings in the Yukon Legislative Assembly are 10 Yukon Party MLAs, 5 Liberals, 2 New Democrats and 1 Independent member.

Leadership Change--Yukon NDP

On September 26, 2009, Elizabeth Hansen, President of the Yukon NDP, was acclaimed as the new Leader of the Yukon NDP, during the Party's convention in Whitehorse that weekend. Ms. Hansen does not have a seat in the House, but observed proceedings from the Gallery during the 2009 Fall Sitting. On February 5, 2009, Todd Hardy (Whitehorse Centre), Leader of the Third Party, publicly announced his intention to step down as Leader of the NDP, to focus his efforts on fighting leukemia and regaining his health. Mr. Hardy retained his seat, and remains Leader of the Third Party in the House. Mr. Hardy was first elected to Yukon's Legislative Assembly in 1996. After losing his seat in the 2000 election, he was reelected in 2002 (the same year he won the NDP leadership), and again in 2006. Mr. Hardy and Steve Cardiff (Mount Lorne) comprise the NDP Caucus in the Yukon Legislative Assembly.

Select Committees

The 2009 Fall Sitting saw the establishment of three new Select Committees. Following the adoption by the House during Private Members' Business on November 4, 2009 of Mr. Hardy's Motion #852, as amended, a Select Committee on Bill #108, Legislative Renewal Act, was established. Bill #108, introduced by Mr. Hardy, had received first reading during the 2007 Fall Sitting. The membership of the Committee has not been struck at the time of writing, but, per the terms of the motion, will include a representative of each of the three Parties in the House. The Committee is due to report its findings and recommendations to the House no later than the 2011 Fall Sitting of the Legislative Assembly.

On November 18, 2009, during Private Members' Business, two more Select Committees were established. First, the House adopted Mr. Cardiff's Motion #850, establishing a Select Committee on the Landlord and Tenant Act. The membership of this all-Party Committee has since been struck, Archie Lang (Porter Creek Centre, Yukon Party), Chair; Mr. Cardiff, Vice-Chair; and Darius Elias (Vuntut Gwitchin, Liberal Party), and the Committee has met. The Committee is due to report to the House no later than the 2010 Spring Sitting of the Legislative Assembly.

Next, the Assembly adopted Steve Nordick's (Klondike, Yukon Party) Motion #834, establishing a Select Committee on the Safe Operation and Use of Off Road Vehicles. The membership of the Committee has not been struck at the time of writing, but, per the terms of the motion, will include a representative of each of the 3 Parties, as well as the Independent Member, Mr. Cathers. The Committee is due to report to report its findings and recommendations in the 2010 Fall Sitting of the Legislative Assembly.

Cabinet Shuffle

Following a Cabinet shuffle on February 4, 2010, ministerial portfolios are as follows:

* Premier Dennis Fentie: Executive Council Office, Finance, Yukon Development Corporation, Yukon Energy Corporation

* Elaine Taylor: Deputy Premier, Tourism and Culture, Public Service Commission, House Leader

* Marian C. Home: Justice, Women's Directorate

* Archie Lang: Highways and Public Works, Community Services

* Glenn Hart: Health and Social Services, Yukon Hospital Corporation, Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board, French Language Services Directorate

* Jim Kenyon: Economic Development, Yukon Housing Corporation, Yukon Liquor Corporation, Yukon Lotteries' Corporation

* Patrick Rouble: Education, Energy, Mines and Resources

* John Edzerza: Environment

The news release announcing the cabinet shuffle also indicates that Mr. Nordick--a private member who is the Legislative Assembly's Deputy Speaker and Chair of the Committee of the Whole--becomes Cabinet Commissioner for Community Services, Highways and Public Works.

Report of the Auditor General

On February 9th, the Auditor General of Canada, Sheila Fraser, was in Whitehorse to release a report entitled Yukon Housing Corporation. That morning, Ms. Fraser provided a briefing on the report to MLAs in the legislative Chamber. Later that week (on February 11th), the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (whose Chair is Arthur Mitchell, Copperbelt, Leader of the Liberal Party) held a public hearing in the Chamber to consider Auditor General's Report. Officials from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada were present to advise the Committee. Over the course of the day, the Committee questioned witnesses from the Yukon Housing Corporation, the Department of Health and Social Services, and the Public Service Commission with respect to the findings in Ms. Fraser's Report. The first witness called--Rudy Couture, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Yukon Housing Corporation--is also the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Yukon Legislative Assembly. The Public Accounts Committee will prepare a report on the Auditor General's Report and the related public hearing held by the Committee. The report will be tabled in the 2010 Spring Sitting.

Linda Kolody

Deputy Clerk
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Title Annotation:New Democratic Party (Yukon Territory)
Author:Kolody, Linda
Publication:Canadian Parliamentary Review
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Mar 22, 2010
Words:1151
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