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WHITEHORSE – On Monday, the Yukon Party Official Opposition questioned the Liberal government’s past statements about First Nations Procurement Policy following a Yukon Supreme Court judgement on March 8, 2023. A Yukon government lawyer presented arguments that contradict statements by the Liberal Minister of Highways and Public Works on the purpose of the First Nations Business Registry, defining a First Nation business under the policy.
In the Legislative Assembly on March 28, 2022, the Minister of Highways and Public Works said:
“It is also the foundation of bid value reductions. For those who may not be familiar with this term, bid value reductions are a way to rank bids to reflect the level of Yukon First Nation participation…
Businesses must be listed on the Yukon First Nation business registry in order for Yukon government to apply bid value reductions on their bids.”
That position by the Minister is contrary to the position taken by the government lawyer in the court case. The lawyer indicated that being on the registry was not necessary to take full advantage of the First Nation Procurement Policy.
In ruling, the presiding justice noted that position in his decision and wrote:
“That takes me to Yukon counsel’s position that in fact being on the Registry is not a prerequisite of qualifying under the Policy.”
“This ruling has found an inconsistency between what the Liberals have been telling Yukoners and Yukon companies, and what Yukon government lawyers are presenting in a court of law,” said Highways and Public Works Critic Stacey Hassard. “The territorial Liberals need to clarify what the real policy is, and why they have claimed that the Registry was a foundational piece of the First Nation Procurement Policy.”
Here are the Minister’s comments in the Legislative Assembly from Hansard on March 28, 2022. (pg’s 1602 and 1603)
Here is a link to the Yukon Supreme Court ruling.