Apparently, Yukon elections can be bought.
At least Craig Tuton believes they can.
“We’ll spend whatever it takes to win,” Tuton, the Yukon Party campaign chair, said recently.
We have come to expect nothing less from Tuton.
After all, he’s the guy who once publicly predicted during a campaign, that his party would win just four seats.
It won one.
Now, he’s confident and candid about the party buying its way back into power.
This week, the Yukon Party’s ad campaign — which is already substantial — will begin to ramp up.
Yukoners better prepare for the media barrage.
Publicly, all three parties are sticking to the $70,000 campaign financing number, but don’t believe everything you hear.
The NDP is simply putting on a brave face. It will, in the end, spend far less than that — it has fallen to fringe status and doesn’t boast the mainstream financial support it once did.
The better-financed Liberals will probably hit close to the $70,000 mark.
The Yukon Party will far exceed it.
Roughspun accounting of its four-colour signs, its Snakes on a Plane media campaign, poster board doorstep handouts and other sundries, the party is spending money like a drunk on a binge.
And that’s just two weeks into the campaign.
The best is yet to come.
Watch for a full-bore radio blitz as the Yukon Party has a lock on almost every primetime commercial radio spot between now and the election.
Whether it bought the time, or had it donated by the Hougen Group of Companies, a longtime supporter of the Yukon Party, won’t be known until the campaign financing disclosures are filed after the election.
What is known is that the Yukon Party is making no secret of the fact it hopes to buy this election.
So, it will mimic its successful 2002 campaign through a hardcore media blitz in the last two weeks of the election.
Strategists hope to lift the Yukon Party above the confusion of the municipal elections and Thanksgiving preparations.
But people should be wary about the party’s attempts to buy a second mandate.
Where is the money coming from?
From outfitters to bar owners, Whitehorse retailers to farmers and mining companies, the company has plenty of IOUs left unfilled.
These days, membership in the Yukon Party has its privileges, and sinking a few thousand into party coffers might help seal a sweetheart deal.
So special interests are donating. And, as Tuton explained, the Yukon Party is spending “whatever it takes to win.”
So, what’s a vote worth?
The territory will find out after the election.
We suspect it will be a lot, but far less than the cost of filling the Yukon Party’s outstanding promises. (RM)