Gary McRobb and Eric Fairclough did not walk the floor.
Not officially. Not really.
Sure, they started researching their options, soft-shopping their resumes, if you will. But, apparently, they told leader Todd Hardy about their intentions.
Both of them did.
In doing so, they finessed a difficult situation into a winner.
After LibCon David Emerson’s opportunistic stunt, walking the floor is, at best, a controversial move.
Nevertheless, this situation was very different.
Both McRobb and Fairclough are vacillating prior to an election. Voters will have a chance, soon, to accept or reject their decision.
Both are good constituent workers, and few believed either would lose their seat in the next election, so they’re not acting to better their situation.
This was, clearly, a disagreement about the direction of the NDP under Hardy.
There are three clear choices in the next election. Fairclough and McRobb didn’t like the newly refurbished camp they found themselves in.
So they had to leave.
And, if planned, the manipulation of the dispute was a beautiful play on McRobb and Fairclough’s part.
Monday’s letter to Kluane constituents forced Hardy to eject McRobb from the New Democratic Party.
That expulsion saved McRobb from the taint of a walk.
And once McRobb was ejected, Hardy had no choice but to treat Fairclough the same way.
Now, both Fairclough and McRobb can assert they didn’t walk, perhaps never intended to. And they can criticize Hardy for being unreasonable and hasty.
Hardy has been badly wounded in an election year.
And that puts the New Democratic Party executive in a difficult spot.
Over the next couple of weeks, it will assess its options.
Holding a leadership review is one.
But Hardy has worked hard rebuilding the party’s leftist street cred.
It is clearly an alternative to the centre-straddling Liberals and the right-leaning Yukon Party — that’s part of the reason why Fairclough and McRobb left.
Hardy has cast the party as champion of safer communities.
He has grown as Opposition leader while remaining true to the party’s principles.
Despite the difficulties of the last week, he deserves the right to take his experiment to the polls.
The Yukon needs clear choices. It currently has them.
Now, bring on the election. (RM)