In a strange twist of karma, the Peel Watershed could tip this election in favour of the Yukon Party.
With Liberal Leader Arthur Mitchell and New Democrat Leader Liz Hanson both firmly in support of the final recommended land-use plan, the pro-Peel support is split and weakened.
So is the progressive vote – those who want more social housing, help for chronic inebriates and a more open, responsive political system.
Both the Liberals and the NDP support these things, giving people two safe harbours to park their vote.
Darrell Pasloski’s Yukon Party, clearly against the Peel plan and far less sympathetic to the social agenda, stands to benefit from this split.
So those people wanting change are in a pickle.
And that’s why, just four days before the vote, the environmentally and socially conscientious voters are twitchy.
To assist, we’ve compiled a cheat sheet pulled from strategic voting lists circulating the territory, informal polls, chats with politicos and the latest DataPath poll, which was compiled between October 2 and 6.
It isn’t scientific – the territory is too small and whimsical to predict anything with certainty.
But it represents our best guess about how the various ridings are leaning in this election.
We’ll present it in a minute.
Before that, know for the past five years we’ve often looked around in incredulity at what we’ve seen going on in this territory. We’ve loved delving into most of this stuff – goofy decisions and erratic leadership always make for compelling journalism.
We’re not going to lie to you … it’s been fun.
But, as citizens of this grand, beautiful and frightfully wealthy territory, we often wish it hadn’t been quite so … exciting.
And so, we find ourselves on the cusp of Election Day.
The governing Yukon Party seeks a third term. The NDP and the Liberals seek to unseat them.
Now it’s your turn.
Voters have two clear choices: Pasloski’s Yukon Party, or Mitchell’s Liberals and Hanson’s New Democrats.
OK, that’s three – math was never our strong suit.
The Yukon Party has positioned itself as the hardass. If you like the way the territory has been run the last few years, then it’s your team.
But there are plenty of folks who see the last nine years as the territory’s lost years.
They demand better.
So, if you have a social conscience, if you want the Beaton/Allen report on chronic inebriates followed, the Peel Watershed report respected, the Northern City Supportive Housing Coalition project built and better financial management, then you’ve got a difficult choice to make.
Do you vote Liberal or NDP? That’s your choice.
And, frankly, if you choose poorly, you may as well just vote for the Yukon Party.
Most Yukon voters know this.
They saw what happened in the last federal election, where votes cast for the Green Party and NDP – parties that had little chance of a win – helped defeat the well-respected Liberal incumbent Larry Bagnell.
Afterwards, many people said, “I thought Bagnell had it in the bag, so I thought I’d vote for X.”
A similar situation exists in this election.
Informal and formal polls have the left-leaning electorate in flux.
And sometimes the choice on the left is really murky, making it a crap shoot. In those ridings, you simply have to listen to your gut.
But in most ridings the battle lines are clear – sometimes Liberal, sometimes NDP.
In Copperbelt North, for instance, the race is between Liberal Leader Arthur Mitchell and the Yukon Party’s Currie Dixon. A vote for Skeeter Miller-Wright, the longshot NDP candidate, boosts Dixon’s chances.
In Copperbelt South, all indications show a race between New Democrat Lois Moorcroft and Yukon Party candidate Valerie Boxall. A vote for Liberal Colleen Wirth would help support Boxall.
Same in Mountainview, where the race is between Liberal Dave Sloan and Yukon Party Leader Darrell Pasloski. There, a vote for New Democrat Stephen Dunbar-Edge helps Pasloski.
And in Whitehorse West, Yukon Party incumbent Elaine Taylor is in a dogfight with Liberal Cully Robinson. She could lose, unless New Democrat Louis Gagnon siphons enough leftist votes to hand her the win.
And on it goes.
In Takhini Kopper-King it’s evolved into a battle between New Democrat Kate White and the Yukon Party’s Samson Hartland.
In Porter Creek South, the fight has morphed into a tight contest between the Yukon Party’s Mike Nixon and the incumbent MLA Don Inverarity.
In Porter Creek North, the Yukon Party’s Doug Graham is in a cage match with New Democrat Mike Tribes.
And in Porter Creek Centre, Liberal Kerry Huff is in a tough battle with the Yukon Party’s Dave Laxton.
In Riverdale, the fights for the two ridings are the closest in the city – razor close.
In Riverdale North, Yukon Party candidate Scott Kent has the edge as Green Party Leader Kristina Calhoun threatens to pull enough votes from the left to deep-six a run from the other left-leaning contenders Liberal Christie Richardson and New Democrat Peter Lesniak.
But in Riverdale South, Yukon Party incumbent Glenn Hart is being challenged by New Democrat Jan Stick and Liberal Dan Curtis – in that riding, you have to go with your gut, reading where the momentum has shifted following the debates.
The rural ridings, the outliers, are far harder to read.
But in Watson Lake, New Democrat Liard McMillan seems to be in a tough battle with the Yukon Party’s Patti McLeod.
In Mayo-Tatchun, longtime Liberal incumbent Eric Fairclough is in a fight with the Yukon Party’s Elaine Wyatt.
And in the Klondike, Liberal Sandy Silver is scrabbling to take the Yukon Party’s Steve Nordick.
In Pelly-Nisutlin, every indication is that the Yukon Party’s Stacey Hassard is in a tough fight with the New Democrat’s Carol Geddes.
In Kluane, the NDP’s Eric Stinson is challenging the Yukon Party’s Wade Istchenko.
In Mount Lorne-Southern Lakes, the Yukon Party’s Deborah Fulmer is in a hard-fought battle with the New Democrat’s Kevin Barr.
Vuntut Gwitchin is already a two-way race between Liberal incumbent Darius Elias and the Yukon Party’s Gary Njootli.
And that leaves Whitehorse Centre, where New Democrat Leader Liz Hanson is almost sure to win against the Yukon Party’s Marian Horne.
And Lake Laberge, where Brad Cathers is thought to have a lock on the riding, despite a challenge from New Democrat Frank Turner.
These picks are far from scientific, of course. Use them, or not, as you see fit.
And hang onto your seats, because it’s going to be an exciting finale.