Yukon Party in damage control mode over botched approach to fracking and oil and gas by yukonndpcaucus.ca, November 27, 2012
WHITEHORSE—The Yukon Party government has entered full damage control mode over its botched approach to the issues of fracking and oil and gas development in the territory. Instead of taking responsibility for the conflict they have created with Yukon First Nations over the Oil and Gas Act and their flip-flop on previous refusals to discuss fracking, the government decided to sidestep the issues and point a finger at the NDP. “It’s sad to see the Yukon Party government dodging the issues and blaming the NDP instead of admitting they mishandled the fracking and oil and gas issues,” said Official Opposition Leader Liz Hanson. “We’ve heard from thousands of Yukoners who want their voices heard. We’ve been consistent in our call for a territory-wide consultation on oil and gas in general and fracking in particular. To play games with Yukoners’ calls for action by insulting opposition MLAs shows disrespect for the views of the many people who do not feel represented by the Yukon Party.”
If the government really wanted a full public consultation on fracking, Yukon Party MLAs could have supported the motion brought forward for debate last week by Official Opposition Energy, Mines and Resources Critic Jim Tredger. Instead, today’s debate was an attempt to draw attention away from the Yukon Party government’s failed approach to these important issues. “Instead of debating the budget or the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act or the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the government chose to debate something government can do without a motion,” Hanson added. “We won’t be bullied into supporting a bad process on fracking and oil and gas simply because the Yukon Party government is desperate for a good news story.” The Yukon NDP has long called for a moratorium, a full and rigorous scientific review and comprehensive public consultation on fracking before it is allowed in the territory. The NDP has also called for full public consultation on changes to the Oil and Gas Act and respect for First Nations agreements. The Yukon Party government’s watered down motion is a continuation of their ad hoc approach to planning that excludes the participation of a majority of First Nations governments and citizens, and does not include any requirement for a scientific review or territory-wide public consultation specific to fracking.