Follow the money

Follow the money When I logged on to the Elections Yukon website to find out how to cast a proxy vote, I was intrigued by a tab on the home page that read, "campaign financing." Eventually, I found myself reading the financial reports of the last Yukon e

When I logged on to the Elections Yukon website to find out how to cast a proxy vote, I was intrigued by a tab on the home page that read, “campaign financing.” Eventually, I found myself reading the financial reports of the last Yukon election in 2006.

The information in that report, there for everyone to read, is shocking.

I have to ask – why are companies based in Saskatoon making financial contributions to an election campaign in the Klondike? Are they really that outraged down in Saskatoon about the need to fix the roof on the Dawson rec centre?

And why is a business in Kamloops standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Porter Creek South residents? Are they really sitting in their BC boardroom, so livid about our housing crisis they just had to do something?

Reading on, you find massive and multiple contributions from Lethbridge, Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Seattle - all from companies falling over themselves to help determine the Yukon’s political direction and our future.

Are these companies really losing sleep about the state of our education system or the affordability of daycare?

Do they really give two hoots about the Yukon’s wolf-management plan, or the precise location of the Whitehorse detox centre?

Maybe these southern shareholders are all avid hikers, shaking with fury over unregulated ATV use in Kluane. But I doubt it. My hunch is, like all well-run companies, they are thinking about their bottom line, which they are entitled to. One thing they are certainly not thinking about is you or me.

Oh, and don’t be surprised to learn which political party all these donations are flowing to. And also, don’t be surprised to see that there is another party in the Yukon that reports hundreds of small donations, all from individual Yukoners: neighbours, colleagues, friends. Contributions from people who actually live, work and raise families here. Contributions from people with vested, rather than invested, interests in the future of our territory.

This isn’t an us-versus-them moment. It is simply a call to pause and ask what is really driving the political parties before us. Is it an unmitigated focus on building a better Yukon for all Yukoners? Because, if it isn’t, then I have to wonder, why are they involved in politics in the first place?

Ian Freeman

Teslin

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