WHITEHORSE - Premier launches campaign to promote dictatorship
Yukon Premier Sandy Silver, photographed at a media event in Whitehorse on May 1 where he announced his intention to introduce dictatorship to Yukon (Andy Howe/Canadian Press)
On Friday afternoon, Yukon Premier and Finance Minister Sandy Silver called a last-minute media event at the main government administration building in Downtown Whitehorse.
The move was in direct response to the results of a CBC investigation published on April 30.
The CBC investigation exposed the deliberate attempts by Silver and his cabinet to make decisions in secret, without any input from the public or opposition parties.
Reporters who joined the media event in-person and via telephone were instructed by staffers to "not speak unless spoken to."
Once the event got underway, Silver broke from his long-standing tradition of reading a pre-prepared speech line-by-line.
Instead he looked directly at people in the room and appeared to be sharing genuine thoughts.
The premier began by listing off what he claimed were the "many positive achievements" of well-known dictators including Joseph Stalin, Muammar Gaddaffi and Kim Jong-un.
"Not all dictators are all bad" Silver said. "It's not a sin to take inspiration from leaders who get the job done and get it done fast."
"Not all dictators are all bad." - Yukon Premier Sandy Silver
Silver then announced that Yukon was "ready for a dictatorship" and that he had been working for some time towards removing democracy.
"It's no secret that over the past four years my government has diminished the role of transparency and accountability in our democracy" Silver said.
"It would not be a giant leap, at this stage, for the Yukon to enter into a dictatorship style of governance."
Following his announcement, Silver ignored reporters' calls for questioning and left the room.
Before being ushered out of the building, reporters were handed copies of Yukon Government campaign brochures that are being distributed publicly from today.
The campaign is called 'Let us decide for you' and is aimed at convincing Yukoners that their opinions, choices and needs are not important.
An image from the Yukon Government's 'Let us decide for you' campaign brochure.
Opposition parties not surprised
Silver's critics have long-maintained that his total reliance on pre-prepared speeches in the past was a sign that the Premier was afraid of revealing his true intentions.
"We were basically already operating under a dictatorship, so this isn't a huge surprise" NDP Leader Kate White said of Silver's announcement.
"The only surprise was seeing the premier sharing his actual thinking. By not reading the lines written for him like a kindergarten student, our premier has given us a peek behind the curtain."
"By not reading lines like a kindergarten student, our premier has given us a peek behind the curtain." - NDP Leader Kate White
Interim Yukon Party Leader Stacey Hassard agreed with White and claimed his party had warned that Silver's push for dictatorship was "inevitable."
"We saw this coming a mile off" Hassard said. "When you have a premier refusing to answer any questions, ever, and a cabinet member telling Yukoners to go f**k themselves, you have to acknowledge that the party has no respect for democracy."
No respect for First Nations under dictatorship
On April 22, Minister for Highways and Public Works Richard Mostyn was caught in an email telling Whitehorse residents they could "go f**k themselves."
Mostyn was referring to his April 21 announcement that he was going ahead with a major infrastructure project on the traditional territories of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta'an Kwäch'än Council.
Mostyn made the announcement despite the fact that project is still under review by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Board Assessment Board (YESAB).
The YESAB process is designed partly to ensure that First Nations' contributions towards planned developments on their lands are respected.
By using dictator-style tactics to push ahead with the project, Mostyn made a mockery of the YESAB process and made clear his party's disrespect for Yukon First Nations.