The adage, “Politics makes for strange bedfellows,” was never more apt than in this case.
I find myself compelled to write in response to Smiley Ford’s recent letter regarding Willard Phelps and his attempts to begin a nonpartisan political party (Yukon News, Nov.16).
Willard Phelps and I share very little in terms of political philosophy or approach, but I feel that Ford’s personal attack really goes to the heart of why the public is often disillusioned with our political process.
Like it or not, Phelps has raised some legitimate concerns with government policies and direction, yet
Ford’s only response is fear and invective.
Ford seems to be preaching that financial and social Armageddon awaits us if the current political status quo changes. Even more absurd is Ford’s colonialist admonition that we’d all better behave ourselves or Father Harper in Ottawa will get annoyed and cut off our allowance.
Rather than shoot the messenger, what Ford needs to ask himself is what motivates conservative stalwarts like Phelps and Brad Cathers to put themselves in opposition to the present government.
I had the opportunity to attend the meeting held by Phelps on Wednesday. What surprised me was the political and social diversity of those in attendance, and the clear frustrations expressed about the current state of politics in the territory.
As quixotic as I suspect Phelps’“nonpartisan” political movement may prove to be, it does nonetheless reflect a growing unease in the minds of many in the public on important issues such as the future of Yukon Energy Corp. and the Peel planning process.
These are issues that will have a multi-generational impact on this territory and, as such, deserve legitimate and civil debate, not merely vitriol.
To paraphrase President Barack Obama, we can disagree without being disagreeable.