Whitehorse mayoral candidates support more transparency in government

Candidates vying for the job of Whitehorse mayor were asked whether access to information laws should apply to the city government, and also whether they support a 'sunshine list' for city employees.

Candidates were asked whether Whitehorse should be subject to access to information laws

Building with City Hall sign.
Whitehorse city hall. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

Whitehorse's mayoral candidates say they support the idea of the city conforming to requirements under the territory's Access to Information and Privacy Protection (ATIPP) Act.

Currently, the act does not require municipalities to adhere to ATIPP requirements and that won't change even as the territorial government amends the act.

The minister responsible for ATIPP, Richard Mostyn, says it will be up to municipalities to decide whether or not they want to adhere to the legislation. He said the Association of Yukon Communities did not want to be included. 

The CBC asked Whitehorse's mayoral candidates if they would voluntarily opt into Yukon's ATIPP legislation, should they be elected. The candidates were also asked if they support a "sunshine list" for the city, which would list salaries of civil servants.

Four candidates — Wilf Carter, Dan Curtis, Rick Karp and Colin LaForme — responded. Kelly Suits could not be reached.

'They keep things secret,' Carter says

Wilf Carter believes "governments hide too much," especially the city of Whitehorse.

'Give our people the information they want to know,' says Wilf Carter (Jackie McKay/CBC)

"They keep things secret, especially things that are not so good. Give our people the information they want to know. I totally agree. It's time the people of Whitehorse know what's going on in our community," he said. 

Carter paused when asked about a sunshine list for municipal employees.

"It's a great question. I never even thought about this. This is something totally new. But you know what? I'm in favour. I'm definitely in favour."

Incumbent Dan Curtis defends the city's current approach to privacy and transparency. 

'I do believe we're the most transparent government, period,' says Dan Curtis. (Jackie McKay/CBC)

"I do believe we're the most transparent government, period. I mean, there's nothing you can't receive by walking up and asking for it in a respectful fashion," he said. 

But Curtis also says he's "not opposed" to ATIPP.

"I think it's an inevitability, I think it's something that's going to happen right across Canada. We want to make sure we're doing everything right, ensuring that the citizens, that they're going to be protected."

Curtis also says municipalities would need financial support from the territorial government to fulfill ATIPP expectations.

And when it comes to a sunshine list, Curtis is all for it.

A no-brainer, says Karp

Candidate Rick Karp says the issue is a no-brainer. 

'I think it's important that the city follow ATIPP, yes,' says Rick Karp. (Jackie McKay/CBC)

"It's important to have the security among the residents of Whitehorse that they can find out when [and] how decisions are being made, and particular information. I think it's important that the city follow ATIPP, yes."

Karp says if city council is subject to ATIPP laws, "it lends credence to openness, to transparency, and to making objective and clear decisions."

He's also fully in favour of a sunshine list.

"If you're going to work for the public sector in Whitehorse at this municipal level, then you've got to be aware that this, hopefully, new mayor and council will be determined to have complete transparency."

Candidate Colin Laforme says access to information is part of a functioning democracy. 

"I would definitely be for ATIPP. Transparency is a large part of my platform," LaForme said.

'Transparency is a large part of my platform,' says Colin LaForme. (Jackie McKay/CBC)

"It holds governments accountable for what they do and where they spend their money — and the more transparency, the better when it comes to government."

He says that also applies to the idea of sunshine list.

"It holds people accountable for what they get paid for, and what they do. They do that in basically every other part of the country," he said.

Municipal elections will be held in Whitehorse, Carmacks, Faro, Teslin, Haines Junction and Watson Lake on Thursday.


Raised in Ross River, Yukon, Nancy Thomson is a graduate of Ryerson University's journalism program. Her first job with CBC Yukon was in 1980, when she spun vinyl on Saturday afternoons. She rejoined CBC Yukon in 1993, and focuses on First Nations issues and politics. You can reach her at