Greens want whistleblower protection

"Currently, civil servants are being cowed into silence over "mismanagement, abuses of power and failures by departments and Crown corporations to abide by legal obligations."

The Yukon Green Party wants to see whistleblowing protection in the territory.

Currently, civil servants are being cowed into silence over “mismanagement, abuses of power and failures by departments and Crown corporations to abide by legal obligations,” according to a Green Party news release.

Whistleblowing legislation would protect such workers from reprisal.

It’s not a new idea. The Yukon Party, NDP and Liberals have all made similar promises at some point.

A select committee was formed in the spring of 2007 to study the matter, but it hasn’t met since last year. The Liberals have accused the Yukon Party’s Ted Staffen, who chairs the committee, of foot-dragging.

The Greens are also calling for greater transparency in financial reporting. They’d like to see the territory’s internal auditors report to the legislature, rather than to cabinet, so that the public gets a quicker look at their reports.

The Greens are also proposing the creation of “an independent Yukon Auditor General’s Office” to further bolster scrutiny of government spending.

And the Greens would like to see lobbyist legislation, which would require lobbyists to be enrolled in a public registry.

Independent seeks Watson Lake seat

Patricia Gilhooly wants to be MLA for Watson Lake.

She’s running as an Independent, with a pared-down campaign that she’s funding entirely herself.

“I’m not soliciting donations, and I’m not accepting them,” she said. “I can be independent that way, truly.”

You won’t find any campaign signs for her in the highway town.

“A lot of people I’ve spoken to have said signs today are irrelevant. What they want is a face-to-face conversation with someone who’s willing to listen. So most of my time is going to be spent listening.”

Since moving to town three years ago, the 60-year-old has worked part-time in the town’s restaurants and Petro-Canada station.

She volunteers with the Liard Valley Literary Society and the Liard Basin Task Force, which raises money for early childhood programs.

Previously, Gilhooly has worked as a newspaper reporter and editor, managed a chamber of commerce in a small town and sat on a planning advisory committee in Nova Scotia.

Gilhooly asserts that Watson Lake’s outgoing MLA, Dennis Fentie, has done a poor job communicating with the town council and other local organizations.

“We haven’t been represented very well here in the past couple of years,” she said.

The town’s been promised upgraded sewer and water pipes, but that work hasn’t moved forward as swiftly as it ought to have, said Gilhooly.

Her first order of business, if elected, would be to hold a series of community meetings to discuss the town’s problems, “to get some consensus, and I’ll do my best to do what the community wants.”

Gilhooly calls herself “slightly left-of-centre.” In the past, she’s voted for the NDP, Greens and Liberals.

She’s concerned the Yukon’s political parties have focused on Whitehorse, to the detriment of the communities.

Watson Lake is currently “fragmented,” said Gilhooly. “I’d like to take five years of my time to pull it back together and move Watson Lake ahead. We have a lot of work to do here, and I’m willing to do it.”

The Yukon Party is running Patti McLeod in the riding. She’s a former town councillor who’s worked with the chamber of commerce and the local daycare.

Thomas Slager, a teacher, is representing the Liberals. And Liard McMillan, chief of the Liard First Nation, is carrying the NDP flag.

Phelps’ party laid to rest

The United Citizens Party is finished.

Elections Yukon revoked the fledgling party’s official status on Monday, when nominations for the territory’s general election closed.

The party hadn’t endorsed a candidate. It would have needed at least two to stay in good standing.

So ends the dream of creating a new, big-tent political party that would rise above partisan sniping and work toward the public good.

Those were the hopes of Willard Phelps and his supporters when the party was formed last year.

But a puddle of spilled cola ended all of that in May of last year, when Phelps, a former leader of Yukon’s Progressive Conservative Party, slipped and injured himself while shopping at Whitehorse’s Superstore.

The party quickly lost steam afterwards. It didn’t help that its chief reason for being – to topple Premier Dennis Fentie, whom Phelps denounced as a “tinpot dictator”- fizzled after Fentie resigned, to be replaced by Darrell Pasloski this spring.