A funny approach to leadership

Darrell Pasloski is easiest to characterize by what he's not. He's not freewheeling. He sticks to the script, which he keeps in a plastic binder.

Yukon Party Leader Darrell Pasloski. Strengths: not Fentie. Weaknesses: issues.

Darrell Pasloski is easiest to characterize by what he’s not.

He’s not freewheeling. He sticks to the script, which he keeps in a plastic binder that’s ever-present at debates and news conferences.

He’s not a blowhard or a badass. He’s bland.

In short, he’s not Dennis Fentie. And that’s precisely why he’s the Yukon Party’s leader this election.

The governing party’s brain trust knows voters typically want to kick the bums out by the end of a second term. So Fentie had to go.

Fentie, tarnished by the ATCO energy-privatization scandal, was dirty. Pasloski, an unelected pharmacist who unsuccessfully ran as a Conservative candidate two federal elections ago, is clean.

That’s not to say he’s ran an honest, forthright election campaign – simply that he hasn’t been around long enough to pick up the whiff of scandal.

RELATED:Read all of our election coverage.

Some of Pasloski’s claims this election are demonstrably false. He often asserts the opposition parties claim the territory cannot have both pristine wilderness and a strong economy.

They’ve never said anything of the sort. When the Yukon News called Pasloski on this during a Wednesday news conference, he simply returned to his script as if nothing had happened.

Similarly, Pasloski asserts acting to preserve the Peel Watershed would bankrupt the territory.

As proof, he points to Chevron’s massive Crest iron deposit along the Snake River.

But the Crest deposit doesn’t have proven reserves or a modern feasibility study. Both are needed for a company to make a strong case for being paid foregone profits.

The company hasn’t explored its deposit since the 1960s either, and it’s unlikely the company would be compensated for work done that long ago.

Yet Pasloski grimly predicts protecting the Peel would result in tax hikes for all, service cuts for the needy and children going hungry.

Pasloski has also flat-out contradicted himself on the Peel plan.

First he claimed it would be “irresponsible” to take a position on matter.

Later, he announced that, to prevent financial ruin, he’d strike a new deal, which would somehow succeed where five years of planning has failed, and would please miners and conservationists alike.

Pasloski frequently admonishes the opposition with the line, “That’s not leadership.” But, given all of the aforementioned gaffs, he’s not leading by example.

The Yukon Party’s platform, like Pasloski himself, is best described in reverse.

It’s not about issues. That’s why they haven’t been particularly strong on them.

A booming economy is often a boon to politicians at election-time. The Yukon Party’s betting that’s the case now.

It has dusted-off its audacious claim its largely responsible for the current mining boom (and not, say, global metal prices).

And it is assuming it has it all about right. Campaign promises have offered tweaks, rather than novel reforms.

Bold new ideas are out. Like the party’s rejection of protecting the Peel Watershed, Pasloski has also ignored a government-commissioned plan to help Whitehorse’s hardcore alcoholics.

Dr. Bruce Beaton has recommended the territory build a new downtown sobering centre to allow seriously-intoxicated residents to dry out under medical supervision.

The Yukon Party is building a new drunk tank at the jail instead – a location that Beaton insists sends the wrong message to alcoholics who could kick the bottle, with the right support.

Beaton’s plan may cost too much, said Pasloski. Beaton disputes this, noting that the Yukon Party’s plan to build a new detoxification centre could easily be extended to include a sobering facility.

That would allow staff to be pooled – something that cannot be done when nurses are up at the jail.

Pasloski spurned Beaton’s plan without ever speaking to the doctor. That’s despite the fact that they’re golfing buddies, and the report was released nearly nine months ago.

And Pasloski similarly snubbed an invitation to meet with Yukon’s chiefs this election.

Pasloski’s flashiest announcement is that he’d work to turn Yukon College into a university. But, without any timeline or spending commitments, that promise doesn’t mean much.

To address Whitehorse’s housing pinch, Pasloski would open-up a new neighbourhood in Mountainview, to be built by private developers rather than the city.

And, unlike the Liberals and NDP, the Yukon Party wouldn’t prevent the city from developing McIntyre Creek, an area conservationists describe as an important wildlife corridor.

Pasloski is championing natural gas as a “medium-term” fix to the territory’s energy pinch. There’s a wealth of it way up in Eagle Plains, which Northern Cross hopes to exploit and sell to mines.

But these plans are still in their early days, and it’s far from clear whether this gas could hit the market as soon as Pasloski hopes.

There’s one more thing Pasloski is not. That’s easy to reach.

He’s made far fewer public appearances than his opponents this campaign. And he was the only leader to decline an interview for this series of profiles.

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com.

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

Just Posted

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

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

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