Bagnell’s in. Will Streicker take him out?

So Larry Bagnell wants his old job back as MP of the Yukon. The big question seems to be, will John Streicker let him have it?

So Larry Bagnell wants his old job back as MP of the Yukon. The big question seems to be, will John Streicker let him have it?

Like it or not, during the 2011 federal election, Streicker, as the Green Party candidate, peeled away enough centre-left votes to cost Bagnell the election. And there’s no reason why it couldn’t happen again when the writ is dropped next, as it must be by the autumn of 2015.

Streicker and his supporters will dispute this interpretation, of course. They will note that voters should be free to vote for whoever they believe is the best candidate, with the best ideas. Why should federal elections necessarily be dominated by the established parties? Isn’t diversity of thought a good thing when it comes to the race that determines who represents us in Parliament?

Is it Streicker’s fault that he’s a good enough candidate that large numbers of Yukoners voted for him? And didn’t Bagnell, whose popularity was built upon his tireless defense of constituents’ interests during his tenure, seem, well… tired during the last election campaign?

Of course these are all valid points. But none of it escapes the fact that, under our current voting regime, the candidate with the most votes takes it all. And the odds of these rules changing before the next election are absolutely nil, regardless of how shouty the electoral reform lobby gets, because our governing party has no interest in taking up their proposals.

That leaves voters with the burden of considering the strategy behind how they cast their ballot. Today, it’s a problem for those on the left of the political spectrum, but of course it wasn’t that long ago when a fragmented right-wing faced the same problem. You can grouse about the inequity about it all, but at the end of the day, the only recourse is to consider the consequences of how you cast your ballot.

Some Greens may maintain that their party transcends the typical left-right divide with its environmental focus, and so you can’t assume that their votes were necessarily nabbed from Bagnell. And it’s true that you can find the occasional Green with conservative tendencies. But c’mon. If you were to poll a room full of the crunchy progressives that constitute the Green Party base and ask which man they would prefer as MP, Bagnell or Leef, there’s no question they would pick the former, hands-down.

At this point, Dippers will be wondering why – ahem – their party hasn’t received any credit for splitting the vote. Well, OK: the narrow victory of Leef is their fault, too. But their candidate in the last election, Kevin Barr, didn’t fare as well as Streicker, and as he’s currently parked in an MLA’s seat in our legislature, it seems less likely he will take a crack at the next federal election. To the best of our knowledge, there is no future Audrey McLaughlin waiting in the wings, but you never know.

Since winning office, Leef hasn’t had an easy ride. He’s faced protests over local cuts to Parks Canada and Revenue Canada, and he’s had to defend some of the dumber policies of his government, from the omnibus budget bills larded with unrelated measures that never underwent proper debate, to the latest tomfoolery over changing election rules.

But he gets to remind voters that the Conservatives are the ones currently airlifting more than $1 billion in federal transfers to the territory each year, which is no small thing. And Leef can take credit for at least one thoughtful proposal, in the bill he’s tabled that would help recognize fetal alcohol spectrum disorder within the justice system. It may be totally at odds with the Conservatives’ tough-on-crime schtick, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile.

It would also be a mistake to underestimate the Conservatives’ formidable election machine. They probably know how to get the vote out better than anybody.

And, after all, isn’t underestimation what many Streicker supporters did in the last election, by casting a ballot to express a certain idealism, without expecting that the result would effectively be a vote for Leef?

Who knows. Streicker may well decide to keep his powder dry and stick to city politics, in which he is presently a councillor. Even so, vote-splitting could still be a big determining factor of who becomes our next MP. It’s worth thinking about now.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announce the first COVID-19 related death in a press conference announcement Friday morning. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
UPDATED: Yukon announces first COVID-19-related death

The person was an older Watson Lake resident with underlying health conditions, officials said

Wyatt's World for Oct. 30.
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Oct. 30

Health Minister Pauline Frost insists no one who shows up at the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter for dinner will go without a meal, despite no drop-in dinner service being offered starting on Nov. 1. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Non-profits concerned as Whitehorse Emergency Shelter ends drop-in dinner service

Minister Pauline Frost insists everyone who needs one ‘will be provided with a meal.’

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29. Affordability challenges is being described as being among the most pressing issues facing housing markets throughout the north in a report released Oct. 29 by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Home, rent prices increasing in Whitehorse, northern housing report says

Affordability continues to be a major challenge, report says

Premier Sandy Silver talks to media in Whitehorse on March 19. According to the premier, who is also the finance minister, the Yukon government ran a $2.6 million deficit in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, instead of the surplus it had originally predicted. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government ran a $2.6 million deficit in 2019-2020

Deficit attributed to lower-than-expected revenue, higher expenses on health and social side

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and management roundtable discussion Sept. 26, 2019. During an Oct. 29 meeting, Constable highlighted a number of potential changes to the City of Whitehorse procedures bylaw. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Work on City of Whitehorse procedures bylaw continues

Officials will look at procedures for other municipalities

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley at a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Aug. 26. Hanley said the source of the outbreak in Watson Lake may not ever be found, but contact tracing in the community continues. (Alistair Maitland Photography)
New Whitehorse COVID-19 case is unrelated to Watson Lake cluster, officials say

Chief medical officer of health says avoid indoor Halloween parties, monitor for symptoms

Joel Krahn/Yukon News file Whitehorse City Hall.
Whitehorse city council, briefly

Updates on matters before city council on Oct. 26

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
GoFundMe for Whitehorse boy hit by car on Range Road raises more than $62k in a day

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council passed first reading on a bylaw for the designation change at its Oct. 26 meeting, prompting an upcoming public hearing on Nov. 23 ahead of second reading on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Local contractors will be given an advantage on a contract for the design and construction services that will see a new reception building at Robert Service Campground decided city councillors during the Oct. 26 council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local firms will get advantage on contract for new Robert Service Campground building

Yukon-based companies competing for contract for new reception building will receive 20 extra points

Fallen trees due to strong winds are seen leaning on to power lines which caused some power outages around the territory on Oct. 26. (Courtesy of ATCO)
Wind knocks out power around the Yukon

High winds on Oct. 26 knocked out power to Faro, parts of Whitehorse and beyond

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

Most Read