Competitive swimming and politicking are almost the same, said Conservative candidate Darrell Pasloski’s daughter Bronwyn.
“It’s just I’m in the water and he’s on the land — and there are fewer competitors for him.”
It’s been a great fight, said Pasloski, thanking a crowd of about 40 supporters at the Gold Rush Inn on Tuesday night.
Although Liberal MP Larry Bagnell won the Yukon riding, with more than 45 per cent of the vote, Pasloski gave the incumbent a good run, earning almost 33 per cent.
“I don’t think Larry slept as well the last few nights as he did during the last election,” said Pasloski campaign worker Craig Tuton.
“Darrell worked hard,” he added. “Since Thursday I don’t know how many phone calls he made, but he was calling people 14 hours a day.
“Now I know why his kids are successful swimmers, because they’ve got that drive.”
Pasloski made it to every community in the territory, except Old Crow.
“I would have gone to Old Crow with a few cases of beer, then you’d get all the votes you want — that’s what (Conservative MP Erik) Nielsen used to do” said Pasloski supporter Erich Stoll.
“But today you can’t take beer to Old Crow,” he added.
Stoll tags himself a realist.
“I think Harper’s doing a good job because, jeez, we’re not going broke, are we?” he said.
“I like business and the economy, so I think the Conservatives are better,” said David Cerezo.
The 17-year-old Venezuelan exchange student has been in the territory a month, and is interested in politics.
His exchange family is Conservative, he said.
Longtime Conservative Don Cox was also a young man when he decided to join the party.
“I met Diefenbaker when I was 20,” he said.
Over the years, the party has changed, but Cox doesn’t “disagree with anything Harper stands for.
“Although, I have some misgivings about how Harper sells the Conservative movement to the country,” added Cox, referencing Harper’s refusal to talk to the media.
“He’s making sure the things that have gone wrong for others won’t go wrong for him.”
Cox, who ran as the federal Conservative candidate in the territory in 2000, was impressed with Pasloski’s showing.
“It’s close right now,” he said, watching the election results roll in earlier in the evening.
“And when you consider Larry is a household word — Larry Bagnell’s on people’s tongues as much as ‘morning’ and ‘evening.’
“But Larry’s been in public life for almost all of his adult life, and he’s not been able to shine like he should have.”
Carol and Richard Corbet both supported Bagnell in the last election, but decided to vote Conservative this time around.
“Darrell changed me over,” said Carol.
“I like his experience and his financial know-how.”
For Richard it was a matter of principle.
“I told Larry, if he voted for Kyoto he’d lose my vote, and he did and he did,” he said.
When the Destruction Bay results were announced the room filled with cheers — Darrell 12, Larry 5, and Green and NDP 3 each.
“Everyone in D-Bay voted,” said someone with a laugh.
“Some voted twice,” said another.
There was a huge undecided vote in the territory this time around, because of the state of the economy and concerns over the rising cost of living, said Tuton.
“Lots of people who voted Liberal last time switched their votes because they were scared of the cost of living.”
By 9 p.m. Bagnell had pulled ahead and Pasloski joined his supporters.
“It’s been a great experience,” he said.
“Since I put my name in the hat two and a half years ago I have met so many Yukoners — on their doorsteps, in their kitchens and on the street — and I am truly much richer for it and I have a much greater understanding of the territory.”
Pasloski wasn’t sure if he’d run again.
“I am going to have fun tonight, deal with the stack of bills on my desk tomorrow, get a little sleep and then move forward,” he said.
“I’ll look at how things went and what people have to say.”
Pasloski’s focus was to talk to people and meet and help as many Yukoners as he could, he said.
It wasn’t new.
“This is what I’ve done my whole life,” he said.
“I’ve been a pharmacist for 26 years.
“And I’ll always be the pharmacist, it’s a big part of what I’ve always done and a big part of who I am.”
Pasloski is the best candidate the Conservatives have had since Nielsen, said Yukon Party MLA Ted Staffen.
“He’s a good community man and he worked particularly hard.
“I’d like to see him run again.”
And with another minority government this could happen in a couple years, added Staffen.
“Conservative blue is on the rise in the Yukon,” said Pasloski.