Yukon too small for lobbyist registry: Premier Pasloski

Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski is rejecting opposition calls for a lobbyist registry in Yukon, saying the territory is too small to warrant one. The NDP says most other Canadian jurisdictions have such registries, so citizens know who has the ear of government.

Yukoners can talk to politicians at the grocery store, says Premier

Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski says the territory is too small to need a lobbyist registry. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Yukon's Premier says the territory doesn't need a lobbyist registry like most Canadian provinces because Yukon is too small.

Darrell Pasloski was responding to calls from the opposition territorial NDP to create a registry, which would document meetings between public officials and paid lobbyists.

"This government is not going to make it harder for people to talk to the government," Pasloski said in the legislature on Monday.

'This should not be a partisan issue,' says Yukon NDP Leader Liz Hanson. The NDP has long been pushing for a lobbyist registry. (CBC)
NDP leader Liz Hanson said it's about openness, and the public's "perceptions of ethical lassitude" on the part of the government.

"This issue should not be a partisan issue," Hanson said. "People on all sides of the political spectrum have called for rules to increase transparency."

'Go to the grocery store'

A national lobbyist registry has been in place since 1989, and accessible online since 1996. Ontario was the first province to follow suit, setting up a registry in 1999. Several other provinces followed, as well as cities such as Toronto and Ottawa. In February, Northwest Territories MLAs voted to create a registry, leaving only New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nunavut and Yukon without lobbying legislation.

Pasloski said Monday that a lobbyist registry would be confusing in Yukon, where people talking to government "wear many hats."

"I do believe this is important legislation in larger jurisdictions, where it is very, very difficult to have access to government, access to ministers," Pasloski said.

Yukoners who want to talk to public officials only need to "go to the grocery store," Pasloski said.