We can do better

We can do better Jack Layton's death has left a hole in the Canadian political landscape. As leader of the Official Opposition he was our country's first line of defence against a Bush-inspired shift of Canadian policy to the far right. I do not believe

Jack Layton’s death has left a hole in the Canadian political landscape. As leader of the Official Opposition he was our country’s first line of defence against a Bush-inspired shift of Canadian policy to the far right.

I do not believe that Canadian values are reflected in a law-and-order mandate, generous corporate benefits and cuts to the environment.

With the election of a Conservative MP last May, despite the fact that two-thirds of the Yukon vote went to the Liberal, Green and NDP candidates, the Yukon was prevented from signalling nationally that we embrace a compassionate democracy.

The upcoming territorial election provides the people of the Yukon with the opportunity to right that impression.

People need to look beyond the candidate and promises of local perks and benefits. This election is not just about the Yukon. It is bigger than that. It is about the representation of a political philosophy that is to be voiced and promoted at the national level.

The last decade has seen a move towards, what is called “executive federalism,” a system where decisions are made at a table composed of cabinet ministers from each jurisdiction. These joint federal/provincial/territorial meetings are increasingly the place of real influence.

Yukon’s representation at these meetings is one voice in 13, a far more meaningful representation than Ryan Leef’s one amongst 308 parliamentarians, or one amongst 166 Conservative MPs.

The upcoming Yukon election will determine who and what set of political values are represented at those meetings.

Though Leef’s voice may be hobbled in Parliament, Harper’s influence is not. We could be setting upon precarious times. Right now, the traditional set of checks and balances built into the Canadian parliamentary system is not operating as designed.

Consider the following:

1) Layton, the energetic leader of the Official Opposition, has died;

2) MPs from both the NDP and the Liberal party are preoccupied in their search for their respective future leaders;

3) The Prime Minster’s Office (PMO) operates with the benefit of 20 years of accumulated and concentrated power (which accelerated the move towards a less democratic Canada);

4) the Senate, created for their wisdom and experience, has become a place of partisanship and collusion with the Conservative majority (including our very own Danny Lang’s vote to defeat the Climate Change Accountability Act in 2010); and

5) Governor General David Johnston is the very man who made the recommendations to Harper regarding the shape of the public inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber affair, stymieing truth-seekers once again.

These events, each one in and of itself, would not set off alarms bells, but their convergence signals a need for public vigilance.

So look past what the Yukon Party might do for you, and look towards what a compassionate Yukon government could present in national forums Ð a clear alternative to the federal Conservatives that conveys that our values are not Harper’s values and that our concerns are not just for ourselves and our families, but that we care that our country is inclusive and shaped by compassion for others who are different or less fortunate than ourselves.

Lawrie Crawford

Whitehorse

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (yfned.ca)
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Most Read