Wed., May 5, 2021
WHITEHORSE – Yukon First Nations, the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN) and Assembly of First Nations Yukon Region (AFN Yukon) are calling for stricter consequences for veteran Yukon Party MLAs that engaged in inappropriate texts that were made public earlier this week.
Yukon First Nations have expressed deep concern over the misogynistic nature of the comments in the publicly disclosed texts that serve to demean both men and women in leadership. Yukon First Nations are condemning the behaviour of veteran Yukon Party MLA’s Stacey Hassard and Wade Istchenko and assert that the measures proposed by Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon don’t go far enough to reprimand the MLAs involved in such deplorable, abhorrent and unacceptable behaviour.
Today is the National Day of Awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) in Canada. All Yukon Leaders supported the Yukon’s MMIWG2S+ Strategy that aims to address violence against Indigenous women, girls and Two Spirit+ people. Yukon First Nations assert that the disparaging texts made by the veteran Yukon Party MLAs stand in direct conflict with these commitments that Yukon Leaders signed on to address in solidarity. Conversely, the comments are demonstrative of the toxic bias that propagates the systemic oppression and higher rates of violence that First Nations people experience and that Yukon’s MMIWG2S+ Strategy seeks to address.
Although Mr. Hassard and Mr. Istchenko have issued written statements and the Yukon Party has condemned their comments, the removal of the MLAs from standing committees and critic roles in the shadow cabinet while still receiving full pay does nothing to penalize the MLAs.
Yukon First Nations are calling upon Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon to take stronger action to address issues of systemic violence, specifically:
- The suspension of Mr. Hassard and Mr. Istchenko for all or part of Session 35 of the Legislative Assembly without pay and allocated to Yukon-based organizations that work to combat systemic oppression.
- That all members of the Yukon Party commit to anti-bullying training.
- That Mr. Dixon support that standard of acceptable behaviour that is expected of Yukon government employees outlined in the Respectful Workplace Policy and supported training is made to apply elected officials.
These comments are unacceptable and reflect poorly on the Yukon Party and could be perceived as indicative of the decorum of the Legislative Assembly and evidence of a lack of respect amongst MLAs. This must be addressed through firm and appropriate action. We expect respectful behaviour from our elected officials and an apology does not suffice in addressing this behaviour and the biases that fuel it. – CYFN Grand Chief Peter Johnston
Like many of you, I was very upset to read the inappropriate and disturbing comments put forward by elected members of the Yukon Legislative Assembly. This casts a troubling look into how these elected representatives view their colleagues, and women. Yukon families and young people require us to lead with integrity, accountability and respect. What these elected officials have shown us is that this type of behaviour is acceptable and excusable. In this time and era, it is not. – AFN Yukon Regional Chief Kluane Adamek
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