Statement from Finance, and Health and Social Services Critic Brad Cathers on Changes to the Senior Public Service

“We thank the outgoing Deputy Minister of Finance Scott Thompson and outgoing Deputy Minister of Executive Council Office Stephen Mills for their years of service to the public. My Yukon Party Caucus colleagues and I wish them both well in retirement.

“However, these changes raise serious questions about the relationship between the bureaucracy and the new Liberal leader. The announcement of the unexpected departure of the two senior deputy ministers who work directly with the premier in just one week raises questions about the incoming premier’s reputation with civil servants and may indicate a lack of confidence by senior officials in Mr. Pillai.

“In addition, shuffling the Deputy Minister of Health so soon after his appointment to that role raises concern about the ongoing frequent turnover in senior management at that department. Over one-fifth of Yukoners do not have a family doctor and wait times for surgeries and specialist appointments continue to be beyond acceptable standards.  This week saw another example of Yukoners falling through the cracks of the health care system, as a family felt compelled to resort to talking to media to try to get support for their child.

“That the Deputy Minister of Health was tasked with making major changes to the system including overseeing establishment of a new health authority raises concerns about management of that project, and whether senior management changes in that department will result in important files being neglected. Yukoners want assurances that the Yukon’s health services will not be negatively affected.

“This sort of turmoil at the senior level of government leadership causes upheaval, and uncertainty within the public service. These moves also continue the incoming premier’s track record of saying one thing, and then doing another. In this instance, he is failing to follow through on his commitment of stability that he promised when announcing he was running for the leadership of the Liberal Party.”


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