Yukon NDP accuses government of avoiding debate over law

Yukon New Democrats are accusing the territorial government of making changes to access to information laws, without proper debate.

Opposition MLA says amendments to access to information act should be withdrawn

Yukon's opposition New Democrats say the Yukon Party is gutting access to information laws without proper public consultation or debate in the legislature.

They accuse the government of taking advantage of a rule meant to speed up debate in the House. When the legislature adjourns next week, all legislation waiting to be passed automatically becomes law. That includes controversial changes to the access to information laws.

New Democrat MLA Jan Stick says the amendments should be withdrawn and put to the public for consultation.

"The Yukon government praises the idea of consultation when it's convenient, yet now, when people's democratic rights are under attack they refuse to give the public a say, they refuse to debate the bill."

Yukon Public Works minister Wade Istchenko says changes to access to information laws will be minor. (CBC)

Yukon Public Works Minister Wade Istchenko says the amendments to the Act are minor. He says they’re designed to improve privacy protection and prevent the early release of sensitive government information.

"It helps ensure ministers receive all the forthright advice that they require to make good decisions on behalf of all Yukoners," said Istchenko.

But Stick argues the amendments would help the government cover up sensitive information.

"The minister's use of the idea of protecting personal privacy to justify closing the door on government information is a gross distortion of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act," said Stick.

Istchenko says the changes will bring Yukon laws into line with other jurisdictions.