Yukon has a $1 billion-plus annual budget.
A lot of Yukon Party candidates, the majority of your MLAs and the top civil servants are now running for you and/or positioning for their share of the money and power.
Some candidates are edgy because the Yukon Party didn’t support the Peel protected area plan. Darrell Pasloski can’t get on board now because he just might be trapped by his own party’s cronies. Pasloski and the Old Crony Club are between a rock and a very hard place.
The rock: In spite of efforts by Pasloski’s team to deny, delay or dodge the issue, the Peel is the No. 1 issue of this election. It will not go away. Why? Because the Peel River park is already a done deal. It’s on all the maps. Once a protected area is removed from staking, marked on the government maps and those maps are released to the public, that area must become a park. It’s a done deal.
The hard place: The election is on October 11. The final decision on the Peel plan is in November. Pasloski and his new candidates only found out recently about the done deal. He’s on record as maybe, could be, might just be for mining. Admitting the Peel park is a lock before the election may just make Pasloski famous. He might go down in Yukon history as the premier who never was. No power, no money and no third YP mandate.
What to do?: The options are nearly all bad for Pasloski and the Yukon Party. If Pasloski announces the park now, he and the party will lose credibility and the election. Better to buy time and deny, delay and dodge. If Pasloski wins a minority government in October, then announces the park in November, the government will likely fall to a non-confidence vote. Not as bad as option one, could be a golden handshake in it. If Pasloski and the Yukon Party win a third majority Fentie-style mandate – well then, no problem.
How do I know?: I did what Pasloski did not! I had a meeting with Grand Chief Ruth Massie on September 20. After introductions and polite chitchat, we got down to a serious discussion on matters of past, present and future importance for all the Yukon’s people. Massie was not just candid about the First Nations position on the Peel, but many other issues as well. Suffice it to say, I had no problem agreeing with her position on all matters we discussed. Massie (I hope we’re friends now) opened my eyes wide on the Peel plan, strategy, appropriation, mess or whatever your take on this issue is.
Ottawa promised the Yukon First Nations the Peel park.
That’s why none of the various First Nation governments put a land claim in the area during the land claim selection process. Since the Yukon was only recently given sole responsibility for the combined administration of some federal, all territorial government departments and oversight on all municipal governments and departments (devolution) and the combined employees, most of the Yukon’s six-figure-income-per-year administrators may just have been too busy to read their own emails, memos, newspapers, or the Yukon land claims umbrella final agreement.
When Yukon fell in with the protected area strategy people - the Yukon-to-Yellowstone crowd, the Stop Global Warming protesters, eco-tourism-and-tourism-is-the-only-viable-industry-for-the-environment lobbyists, etc. - they also mapped out the First Nation traditional territories.
With this, they included cross-border claims and special management zones. With the commission solidly slanted in favour of the First Nations and all of the above, a new big park (got to do it anyway) would keep everybody happy.
Mining and exploration were in the toilet at the time and with the world economic crisis deepening in 2008, an American election coming up, etc, etc. In 2008, there was no problem that couldn’t wait till after the election in 2011.
The final decision on the planning commission recommendations was delayed to until November’s deadline, when the Yukon, under then-premier Fentie, was caught with its pants down by the current gold rush in 2010.
The Yukon Party put the environmental, tourism, etc. lobbyists on the back burner, caught the mining boom express to the gold and the end of the rainbow.
They couldn’t sell the power company, but there was a lot of valuable ground to be mined. Could there have been lots of favours for the power brokers to collect? At the last minute, the old cronies parachuted out of government.
Pasloski, his supporters, and candidates are now twisting in the wind.
Someone had to lose.
It’s the politics of cronyism, the Pasloski blues.
The Yukon may just elect a democratic government yet.
How about those Yukon Liberals?
Arthur Mitchell is an experienced leader who doesn’t want Pat Duncan, Scott Kent or any of the old cronies or toadies back. Mitchell has spent many years in opposition learning to compromise.
The Liberals are talking the right stuff when they promote middle-of-the-road policy politics (accountability would be nice). How about those Yukon NDP? Perpetually outraged Liz Hanson is a dynamo. If I lived in the downtown core, I would be stumping for her. Hanson doesn’t need any help in her riding as the outcome is a foregone conclusion.
Can she form the next government? Well, to be honest I don’t think so. No offence, Hanson, you’re a great politician and a strong leader, but your No-Development Party policies make me want to cower in a corner like a frightened puppy.
I’m a right-wing redneck, I will not be a left-wing socialist, but I’ll meet anyone halfway once.
Good luck, Yukon. We need all the help we can get.