time to accentuate the positive

Yukoners should support Liberal Larry Bagnell. Did I say that out loud? Aw, shoot ... you know, I vowed not to do that again. It makes folks cross.

Yukoners should support Liberal Larry Bagnell.

Did I say that out loud?

Aw, shoot … you know, I vowed not to do that again.

It makes folks cross.

Apparently some people think a newspaper should be neutral — opinionless and mute on the most divisive issues facing the community.

Some believe this so strongly, they get all abusive and threatening and stuff.

They even take it out on my colleagues and family, who have absolutely nothing to do with words flowing from my fingertips.

And that can rattle a guy. It can make him flinchy.

Then, earlier this week, I got this phone call.

It came from a civil servant. She wanted to comment on the election, but was worried there would be ramifications.

She was freaked out by her managers, to the point that she thought they were monitoring her outgoing e-mails and, possibly, her phone use.

Now, justified or not, that’s a lot of fear.

Nevertheless, she drafted her letter. And she asked a friend in a less visible job to sign her name to it. She was upfront about it.

I thanked her, and told her that wasn’t going to happen. But I’d consider running her letter without her name.

And then I started thinking … about freedom of speech, and opinions and fear.

This illegal and unnecessary election has been a tough one to come to grips with.

This is a small town, and there are good people running.

New Democrat Ken Bolton, the race’s Johnny Come Lately, is a former colleague and mentor.

Green Party candidate John Streicker is an acquaintance, but in those few meetings the engineer’s made a hell of an impression.

He’s razor sharp on climate change issues (one of the biggest facing our nation and the world) and he’s principled.

His campaign team (only two parties knocked on my door this year — Green and Liberal) is comprised of people I like and respect. Some of ‘em I’ve crossed swords with, literally (I got an ugly bruise, as I remember), and others are neighbours.

Both candidates and their supporters have put hours into this election to make the nation better — socially conscious, environmentally sound and to safeguard its natural wealth, among other things.

They have conducted themselves with dignity, honour and respect.

Unfortunately, both are long shots in this election.

Bolton’s New Democrat machine is not the same one that dominated the territory for Audrey McLaughlin. It’s a shadow of its former self and, as a result, has little chance on Tuesday.

Same for the Green Party.

The Greens have a good candidate in Streicker and a compelling leader in Elizabeth May.

May’s no-nonsense, fact-checker performance during the federal leaders debate was one of its highlights, and Canada would be well served if she was in the national Parliament.

But the national Green Party is still an unknown, in its infancy. This election represents its first steps, nothing more.

And there’s a lot at stake for the nation.

There are two competing visions — one based on tolerance, respect, artistic freedom, progressive social policy and responsible economic and environmental stewardship, essentially making Canada more competitive through the promotion of energy efficiency. That’s the Liberal pitch, in a nutshell.

The other plays to fears about crime (baseless, as crime is dropping throughout Canada), military spending, trickle-down economics, and little else. This is the Conservative campaign, which has been short of details and long on US-style attack ads.

The race for the Yukon’s seat is between Bagnell and Conservative Darrell Pasloski.

One of these guys will win the seat.

Like the other guys, I know Pasloski.

He ranks among my favourite pharmacists. He’s helped take the edge off my chronic arthritis. So, believe me, this election is causing me some pain.

But a decent pharmacist isn’t necessarily a good politician.

Pasloski has debased himself with a campaign strategy based on evasion and angry and misleading mailouts.

He’s spent a lot of money on the campaign, more than $110,000 by our rough math, but we still know little about the man or his vision for the territory and the nation.

Instead, he’s spent an inordinate amount of time and money tearing down his opponents and their ideas.

As such, it has mirrored Stephen Harper’s national campaign.

Vitriol and negativity is not what the nation needs.

The Yukon deserves better. Canada deserves better.

Bagnell has eight years of experience in Ottawa.

He’s served the territory well, bringing his constituents’ concerns to Ottawa, regardless of their political affiliation.

Bagnell’s non partisan approach has been lauded by members on both sides of the house, many of whom peg him for one of the hardest-working MPs on Capital Hill.

There’s no good reason to sack him, and his record has provided lots of reasons to keep him around.

So Yukoners should endorse him on Tuesday.

Some might suggest this is meddling.

But it’s not.

It’s newspapering.

The Harper government has worked hard to silence dissent in Canada — artists, civil servants, health providers, lawyers and media have all been bullied and treated with contempt by the Conservative government.

People’s jobs have been threatened. These days, as I was reminded this week, even mid-level civil servants fear reprisal if they speak up.

Sometimes you have to stand against that.

In this election, given our electoral system, Bagnell represents that choice for Yukoners.

And if a newspaper can’t say that, who can?

Just Posted

John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file
Catherine Elliott, Yukon acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, has announced two new COVID-19 cases in the Yukon.
Two new COVID-19 cases confirmed, Porter Creek Secondary prom cancelled

Graduating students are encouraged to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms

Jim Elliot/Yukon News
Ross and Cindy Smith are finding more reason to smile as the floodwaters that almost reached their farm house were beginning to recede on June 8.
Farms on South Klondike Highway experience severe flooding

The nearest body of water is a lake almost three kilometres away


Wyatt’s World for June 11, 2021.… Continue reading

Whitehorse courthouse interior on April 6, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
CYFN launches pilot program for community impact statements

First Nations will receive support developing statements after major crimes

Israr Ahmed speaks at a vigil at the Whitehorse Mosque to honour the Muslim family killed in London, Ont. on June 10. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Yukoners gather to honour Muslim family killed in London

Like many communities across the country, Yukoners came together to honour the Muslim family murdered in London Ontario

The RCMP Critical Incident Program will be training in Watson Lake from June 14-16. Mike Thomas/Yukon News
RCMP will conduct three days of training in Watson Lake

Lakeview Apartment in Watson Lake will be used for RCMP training

John Tonin/Yukon News Squash players duke it out during Yukon Open tournament action at Better Bodies on June 5.
Four division titles earned at squash Yukon Open

The territory’s squash talent was on full display at the 2021 Yukon Open

Runners leave the start line of the 2014 Klondike Trail of ‘98 International Road Relay Skagway. The 2021 race will start at checkpoint six and remain in the Yukon only. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News)
Klondike Road Relay returns to in-person after a virtual year

A modified, in-person Klondike Road Relay will be open to Yukoners

John Tonin/Yukon News Rang Pillai speaks at the Great Yukon Summer press conference on May 27.
‘The sooner the better’: Operators react to Great Yukon Summer campaign

The Great Yukon Summer campaign was announced May 27 and begins June 4

Mayor Dan Curtis stands in front of Minister Richard Mostyn and MP Larry Bagnell during an infastructure announcement made outside Jack Hulland Elementary School in Whitehorse on June 2. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Safety improvements planned for Whitehorse school zones

Enhanced pedestrian crosses are planned to make walking to school safer

2020 Haines Junction graduates line up for a photo on May 27, 2020 as part of a celebration parade through the village. While the St. Elias Community School is able to host an outdoor grad ceremony for 2021 grads this year, it will also host a parade and group photo as it did last year. (Marty Samis/Submitted)
Ceremonies and parades all part of 2021 grad

2021 sees old traditions return with some 2020 events adopted

A rendering of the proposed new city hall/services building and transit hub. (City of Whitehorse/submitted)
New city hall could cost $24.7 million

Council will be presented with latest plans June 7

Most Read