I am getting pretty good at getting kicked out of political parties.
Recently, Don Roberts and I were told the United Citizens Group would no longer need our services on the organizing committee for the founding convention in June. I will leave it to Roberts and Willard Phelps to share their versions of this meeting, but I am relieved and empowered.
I was asked to leave because I had the audacity to state I thought an elected cabinet was a good idea. I still believe it, and I still intend to present this proposal in the form of a constitutional amendment at the party’s founding convention.
My intention is to build the party membership and the power of the grassroots.
The proposal I was booted for is intended to limit the power of the party leader should the party win an election. It replaces a traditional top-down approach to a more party-driven process of policymaking and makes the leadership more accountable.
The proposed amendment would see a post-election convention held by the party should they win an election.
The delegates would be selected from existing executive and constituency associations, but supplemented by others selected by winning candidates. These delegates would then vote on the makeup of the cabinet. This could be rejected by the leader, but only to force a revote.
Why do this? The purpose is twofold. The first reason is it encourages big-tent politics. There are many politically active people in the territory who do not join the traditional three parties because they feel they will not be heard, or be pushed aside for political expedience. Let’s take, for example, the people who are considering a First Nations party. From the people I have talked to about this concept, they are proposing it because traditional parties tend to marginalize First Nation MLAs.
They feel the frustrations and needs of Yukon first peoples cannot be validly represented by the current parties.
The alternative would be a First Nations party. The political map suggests that there are easily five or six ridings that have majority FN populations. If a party could harness this, it would have a direct voice in the legislature. It would have two flaws: it could be divisive and it would be a voice from the opposition side of the floor, which actually may lessen Yukon First Nation influence in government.
Now if a party was created that allowed FNs to elect their successful candidates to cabinet and to have a direct voice in policy, it could create a whole new dynamic in Yukon politics. The same can be applied to people looking for a more environmentally friendly government or a more conservative government. The only requirement would be to get involved, work and win.
The second reason this would be good is it limits the power of the premier and makes the leader more accountable. An elected cabinet is a much more transparent process than the current model. It also removes some of the disciplinary power that creates such autocrats out of such nice people. The concentration of power in the hands of the premier is a result of the total control they have over their cabinet. This power creates toadies for cabinet ministers and creates an atmosphere of acquiescence in the cabinet room rather than a fair discussion taking account all interests.
It was after my meeting with Phelps that I felt compelled to bring these amendments forward to the United Citizens founding convention. After seeing Phelps adopt the position and attitude he took, I feel stronger than ever we need to bring forward a democratic check and balance to the Yukon.
I am asking any Yukoner who thinks the same thing to show up at the Yukon Inn on June 5th, buy a membership and vote for a real difference.
Please contact me directly at email@example.com for more information.