BodyHow can 11 people…?
I had a look at the bios of the Yukon Party members the other day, at http://www.legassembly.gov.yk.ca/mlas/945.html. They are a nicely representative cross-section of Yukoners. Some have been here for a little while, some were born here. The majority of them live in or around Whitehorse and some of them have never lived anywhere else in the Yukon. Some are former Yukon government employees, others small-business operators. Some are long-time Yukon Party employees or volunteers, others have been associated with other parties in the past. Some have had minor legal scrapes, most haven’t.
In short, a pretty normal bunch of citizens except for, I believe, a higher percentage of community volunteer work than you might find in a randomly selected handful of citizens. A nice, respectable collection of people.
Here’s my problem: 60 per cent of the voters in the Yukon voted for other people, but because Canada is one of only three Western democracies still using the old first-past-the-post electoral system, the Yukon Party wound up with a majority of the seats in the Yukon legislature.
And now these 11 people appear to have chosen to ignore the expressed wishes of a considerable majority of the citizens they were elected to serve. The exact numbers escape me, but it breaks down something like this:
* 60 per cent of the Yukon’s voters cast their ballot for parties that supported the Peel planning commission’s recommendations for land use in the Peel River basin.
* 75 per cent of the people polled (and it was twice the number of people necessary for a valid poll) supported the first, more stringent, set of recommendations that came from the planning commission.
* 80 per cent of the people who attended the public consultations in the communities closest to the area in question supported the first set of recommendations as a minimum measure of protection.
As others have pointed out, the planning commission’s recommendations were arrived at after years of consultation with all the interested parties, with the notable exception of the Yukon Party. Over a period of years, everyone else came to the meetings – First Nations, miners, prospectors, the other political parties, exploration company representatives, outfitters, conservationists, protectionists, plus all those who sent in uncounted written and web-based submissions.
In the end, at a cost of well over $1 million, the commission produced a balanced recommendation: 55 per cent protection, 25 per cent possible development and 20 per cent development.
How is it that these 11 pretty-average people can use our tax dollars to run full-page ads aimed, apparently, at convincing Yukoners that the Yukon Party government is being completely reasonable and rational in jumping in at this point with a radically different program?
That’s what puzzles me.