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'This kind of behaviour isn't allowed': White River First Nation calls for MLA to step down

The White River First Nation is calling for the resignation of Kluane MLA Wade Istchenko after offensive texts he sent in a group chat emerged.

First Nation says it will no longer work with him after crude texts emerged

The White River First Nation is calling for the resignation of Yukon Party Kluane MLA Wade Istchenko after offensive texts he sent in a group chat were released on Sunday. (Government of Yukon)

The White River First Nation is calling for the resignation of Kluane MLA Wade Istchenko after offensive texts he sent in a group chat emerged.

In an open letter to Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon released Monday evening, the First Nation says it is no longer willing to work with Istchenko. 

This comes after text messages sent by Istchenko and fellow Yukon Party MLA Stacey Hassard, among others, were made public Sunday night.

The texts made crude comments about all three party leaders, including references to their genitalia.

The White River traditional territory falls within Istchenko's Kluane riding. 

The First Nation said in the letter that it expects a higher standard of professionalism from the MLA that is supposed to represent the interests and voices of people in the riding.

"This is the type of lateral violence that hurts our communities and territory," the letter states.

The letter is signed by the First Nation Chief and council including Chief Bessie Chasse.

Chasse told CBC that they want to be strong advocates against lateral violence — peer-to-peer psychological or physical violence. 

"We don't agree with the lateral violence and we are encouraging Currie Dixon to reach out to the First Nation and have a conversation with our Chief and council and the community on how we're going to moving forward."

"If you're an MLA we would expect a higher level of professionalism," said Chasse.

On Monday, Dixon said as a result of these messages, neither of the MLAs will be allowed to sit on any legislative committees, or be given critic roles when the party establishes their shadow cabinet.

The First Nation says that action doesn't go far enough to address the issue. 

"We need to make a strong point that any attitudes or behaviour like this should have higher consequences. Because at the end of the day they're MLAs for the Yukon."

"I think we should be sending out the strong message saying that this kind of behaviour isn't allowed," said Chasse.

She also said having him resign would create a safe and encouraging environment for women to get involved in politics.

"Women are already underrepresented in politics and behaviour like this may or may not discourage other women … to even want to participate," she said.

The note asks that Dixon contact them if he wants to discuss the topic with them.

with files from Leonard Linklater

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