Opposition parties wary of MLA's switch to Yukon Party
NDP leader Liz Hanson concerned about Darius Elias’s stance on environmental issues
Opposition MLAs are concerned with Darius Elias's decision to switch to the Yukon Party.
The MLA for Vuntut Gwitchin, who had been sitting as an independent, announced the move Monday.
NDP leader Liz Hanson wondered if the decision will influence Elias's stance on key environmental issues such as fracking and the Peel River Watershed.
She said Elias has not been forthcoming with his views in the legislature.
"He's very eloquent when it comes to grandstanding on these issues, but when it comes to 'where do you stand Mr. Elias?' he's either absented himself from these votes or refused to make comments," said Hanson.
Elias has a vote on the legislative committee which is looking into hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.
Liberal MLA Sandy Silver said he’s taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to the news.
"It will be very interesting to see how Mr. Elias changes, or if he does change his view on the Peel," said Silver.
Both Hanson and Silver questioned whether the voters in Old Crow supported his decision to make the switch.
Elias said he's confident he has the support of his riding.
The Premier says the fracking committee will remain balanced
Premier Darrel Pasloski said he will re-balance the territory's committee on fracking, since Elias’ switch has tipped the balance in favour of the government on the committee.
The legislature originally voted to have a balance of government and opposition members to do that work.
Tuesday morning, Pasloski sent a memo to opposition party members saying he will right that imbalance.
Silver said the government didn't have much choice, but he said he’s happy with the result.
"Usually the answer to that was, 'well we have a balanced committee' made up of equal government and non-government participation. So clearly they were in a position where, you know, they had to act and we were very happy with the decision," said Silver.
Hanson said the move is business as usual — she said any other decision would have been undemocratic.
"He's not giving anything here. What he's done is simply restored the balance that was established by the legislative assembly. We voted to have a committee that was made up of equal representation from government and opposition," she said.