Elizabeth May criticizes Conservative strategy

The contrast couldn't have been more striking. Friday, Stephen Harper addressed reporters and Conservative Party loyalists at a posh conference room at the Gold Rush Hotel.

The contrast couldn’t have been more striking.

Friday, Stephen Harper addressed reporters and Conservative Party loyalists at a posh conference room at the Gold Rush Hotel. At the other end of town, Elizabeth May spoke from the makeshift Green Party headquarters, a converted wooden garage with a black wood stove smoldering away in the corner.

Stopping in Whitehorse to promote her new book, May took the opportunity to unveil her party’s own Arctic strategy and respond to Harper’s $71-million Mayo B announcement.

“It’s a bit of a coincidence that the leader of the Green Party is here on the same day as that other leader,” said May to a small handful of reporters.

“And don’t think you’re not allowed to ask questions,” she added with a smile.

Having returned from a meeting with the Council of Yukon First Nations, May was brimming with stories of how First Nation land treaties have been broken.

“It’s really important to know that modern day treaties aren’t being implemented,” she said.

“Post-residential schools, the rhetoric has improved but not the performance.”

She noted Harper’s recently announced Arctic strategy doesn’t take into account the needs of First Nation people, which contrasts with her approach.

“Harper’s strategy is more focused on resource exploitation and military presence,” she said, adding aboriginal people need more say. One way of doing that is by bolstering their presence on the Arctic Council, an international body comprised of all nations bordering the North.

Canada is not serving aboriginal people well, she said.

How is that, “so much money can be gobbled by lawyers and there not be a better quality of life for people on the ground?” said May, criticizing the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs and suggesting it must do better.

And, finally, any Arctic strategy must also address climate change, she said.

As for the Mayo B hydro project, May scoffed at the suggestion Harper would label its federal funding as an “environmental announcement.”

“Can you say it’s an environmental project just because it’s not damaging to the environment?” she said.

You could do a lot more than just put in four megawatts of power with $160 million, added May.

Using money to employ local people to retrofit buildings in Whitehorse to be more energy efficient is one alternative, said May.

“And whether (Yukon Energy Corporation) is to be privatized means there’s a whole lot of questions for citizens to press for more answers on,” she said.

Later, May addressed more than 100 people who packed themselves into the Old Fire Hall to hear her speak.

There’s a crisis in Canadian democracy, said May, citing low voter turnout, poisoned House of Commons committees and the “organized abuse” of politicians during Question Period.

“The politicians actually started barking (like dogs) one day in the House,” she said.

Using a mixture of personal anecdote and humour, May drew on 20 years of experience to paint a picture of a federal system filled with “spin doctors” and “political partisanship.”

With a federal election looming, May unveiled her plans to run as a candidate in the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding.

Last year, May ran with little success against Conservative Party incumbent Peter MacKay in her home riding of Central Nova.

“There’s no safe seats for the Green Party, so now I’ve had to become the dreaded parachute candidate,” she said.

The current voting system encourages strategic voting and does not fairly represent what people’s political preferences are, said May.

At the event were Liberal MP Larry Bagnell, Yukon Liberal Leader Arthur Mitchell and territorial NDP leadership candidate Elizabeth Hanson as well as Yukon Green Party Leader John Streicker, who introduced May.

“I’m thrilled to see you at a Green Party event … if only Stephen Harper were here it would be a hat trick,” May said to much laughter.

Contact Vivian Belik at vivianb@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

adsf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 26, 2021

Ken Anderson’s Sun and Moon model sculpture sits in the snow as he carves away at the real life sculpture behind Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre for the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous festival in Whitehorse on Feb. 21, 2018. Yukon Rendezvous weekend kicks off today with a series of outdoor, virtual and staged events. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Rendezvous snowpad, live music and fireworks this weekend

A round-up of events taking place for the 2021 Rendezvous weekend

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. The proposed Atlin Hydro Expansion project is moving closer to development with a number of milestones reached by the Tlingit Homeland Energy Limited Partnership and Yukon Energy over the last several months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Atlin hydro project progresses

Officials reflect on milestones reached

Whitehorse musher Hans Gatt crosses the 2021 Yukon Journey finish line in first place at approximately 10:35 a.m. on Feb. 26. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Whitehorse musher Hans Gatt crosses the 2021 Yukon Journey finish line in first place at approximately 10:35 a.m. on Feb. 26. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Hans Gatt wins inaugural 2021 Yukon Journey

The Yukon Journey, a 255-mile race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse, kicked off on Feb. 24

In a Feb. 17 statement, the City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology used for emergency response. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Three words could make all the difference in an emergency

City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

The Yukon government and the Yukon First Nations Chamber of Commerce have signed a letter of understanding under the territory’s new procurement policy. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
First Nation business registry planned under new procurement system

Letter of understanding signals plans to develop registry, boost procurement opportunities

US Consul General Brent Hardt during a wreath-laying ceremony at Peace Arch State Park in September 2020. Hardt said the two federal governments have been working closely on the issue of appropriate border measures during the pandemic. (John Kageorge photo)
New U.S. consul general says countries working closely on COVID-19 border

“I mean, the goal, obviously, is for both countries to get ahead of this pandemic.”

Most Read