Gerrard Fleming would prefer to not dwell on why the Yukon Party dumped him as its candidate for Mount Lorne-Southern Lakes this week.
But an Ontario Supreme Court judgment, handed down in 2003, provides the details.
While managing a sales team for a large photocopier company, Fleming was accused of addressing his female subordinates with sexually charged profanities and was subsequently fired.
He fought the dismissal in court, but lost.
In his defence, Fleming said the use of ribald humour in the workplace predated him, and that it was understood he was “kidding around.”
In a 28-page decision, the judge dismissed this explanation as incredible, noting Fleming’s actions clearly contravened the company’s harassment policy. The judge also noted Fleming had been responsible for teaching employees about the harassment policy.
The judge took six pages to lay out Fleming’s transgressions, and the record is filled with sexual innuendo and rude talk that’s not fit to print. (Those still curious to read the full ruling for themselves can do so at http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/doc/2003/2003canlii2435/2003canlii2435.pdf .)
Yukon Party bigwigs worried questions surrounding Fleming’s past may harm the party’s standing in the looming territorial election. So they dropped him as a candidate on Tuesday evening.
Following his firing as a candidate, Fleming issued a statement that explained he was let go because of accusations that he uttered unspecified “inappropriate language.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Deborah Fulmer was named as the party’s new candidate for the riding. She ran against Fleming for the nomination.
She’s completing an environmental management degree at Royal Roads University and has worked for the Yukon government for more than a decade. Fulmer volunteers for Marsh Lake’s planning process and the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society of the Yukon.
The Liberals are running Ted Adel in the riding. Kevin Barr is carrying the NDP flag.
Fleming, a 58-year-old salesman with Northwestel and chair of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce, issued a statement after his dismissal, thanking those “who know and support me … for listening to my dreams and hopes for the Yukon.”
Greens unveil second candidate
Mike Ivens will stand for the Yukon Green Party in Porter Creek North.
The 61-year-old is a retired civil servant. He was formerly co-chair of the Green Party, before stepping aside to allow Kristina Calhoun to serve as leader.
Ivens acknowledges he has a tough fight ahead of him. He’ll be vying against the Yukon Party’s Doug Graham, a popular city councillor and past territorial cabinet minister.
Mike Tribes is carrying the NDP flag in the riding. Dawn Beauchemin wants to represent the Liberals.
While the majority of Green supporters nationally lean to the left, Ivens insists their fledgling party enjoys its share of conservatives. Compared to the NDP, Yukon Greens are less hostile towards market-oriented policies, and more wary of big spending commitments, said Ivens.
And the Greens alone have their eyes set towards the goal of long-term environmental sustainability, rather than fixed on the next election, he said.
Ivens hopes to scoop up disaffected voters who share his idealism. “I think a lot of people right now feel disengaged,” he said.
With Ivens running, and Calhoun seeking a seat in Riverdale North, the Greens have enough candidates to retain their party status. They initially had high hopes to run many more candidates, but it now looks as if this may be it.
Ivens doesn’t expect any other candidates to step forward before the writ is dropped, although he’s hopeful another supporter will decide to run.
NDP firms up lineup
Two more NDP candidates won contested nominations.
Jean-Francois Des Lauriers is the NDP’s candidate for Porter Creek Centre. Until recently, he was the long-serving regional boss of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.
Des Lauriers won the nomination on Wednesday against Cam Kos, a civil servant. Des Lauriers had previously sought the nomination for Takhini-Kopper King, but he was beat out by Kate White.
In Porter Creek Centre, Des Lauriers will be up against the Yukon Party’s David Laxton and the Liberals’ Kerry Huff.
Des Lauriers, 56, lives in the riding. He sees the availability and cost of childcare as a big issue. He also wants to see more support for Yukon’s aging population.
And he worries about Whitehorse’s sky-high housing prices, which are making it difficult for young Yukoners to return home after seeking an education Outside.
Peter Lesniak is the NDP’s candidate in Riverdale North.
He’s currently the party’s chief of staff. Previously, Lesniak, 62, served as the longtime editor of the Yukon News and as a communications adviser for the Council of Yukon First Nations.
He’s involved in the campaign to protect the Peel Watershed, and he’s helped organize the Yukon Writers’ Festival.
In his nomination speech, Lesniak touted that he had spent more time in the Peel Watershed “than all the candidates combined” and claimed that he “helped invent the Peel … as an election issue.”
Well, he “helped” achieve that much, he clarified in an interview with a chuckle. He’s visited the Peel many times since 2001.
He accuses the Liberals of opportunism for also supporting the plan to protect four-fifths of the vast swath of northeast Yukon.
Lesniak won the nomination race on Tuesday against David Blottner, executive director of the Whitehorse Boys and Girls Club.
Lesniak represented the NDP in Riverdale South in the 2006 territorial election. He placed third.
This time around he’s up against the Yukon Party’s Scott Kent, who previously served as a Liberal cabinet minister, and the Liberals’ Christie Richardson, a mortgage broker.
The NDP now has candidates or would-be contenders in every riding except Mayo-Tatchun and Vuntut Gwitchin.
The territorial election is expected to be called today. Visit www.yukon-news.com for updates.
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