Yukon politicos brace for election trigger

Darrell Pasloski has doubts about taking a second shot at federal politics. The Whitehorse business owner – who ran as Conservative candidate in last year’s election – is unsure about whether he wants to do it again.

Darrell Pasloski has doubts about taking a second shot at federal politics.

The Whitehorse business owner – who ran as Conservative candidate in last year’s election – is unsure about whether he wants to do it again.

“What I’m saying is life goes on and there’s a lot of things that happen in people’s lives,” said Pasloski.

“So I think we have to cross those bridges when we get to them.”

Pasloski isn’t ruling out another kick at the can. But his other life priorities are making his choice difficult.

“I’ve got a family and four kids,” he said. “I’ve got work stuff, I’ve got obligations to the business and a commitment to my staff and pharmacists.”

To complicate matters, Pasloski became the Conservative riding association’s president in January.

He’d have to resign the post if he decided to run.

“As president, I have to make sure we’re ready for an election,” he said. “If that comes quicker than we anticipate, then I’ll make that announcement whether I will seek the nomination.”

Pasloski has held meetings with the riding association to discuss election preparedness.

He hasn’t told the party’s Yukon executive whether he’ll run or not, he said, despite rumours that the party’s been shopping around for a new candidate.

“As situations arise, we meet quite frequently,” said Pasloski.

Ottawa has been engulfed in a flurry of election speculation since early September, after the federal Liberal party emerged from its summer caucus meeting declaring its intention to stop supporting the government.

The Conservatives survived a confidence-binding vote on a ways-and-means motion two weeks ago with help from the New Democratic Party.

Then on Thursday – a day before Pasloski spoke about his indecision – the government again faced dissolution and survived with the New Democrats abstaining.

Canadians don’t want an election, said Pasloski, because they cost too much.

“With four elections in five years, that’s between $1.2 billion and $1.5 billion spent on elections,” he said.

The Yukon’s member of Parliament, Larry Bagnell is prepared for an election too, he said.

“We’re in a minority government, so I’ve been pretty well ready since the day of the last election,” said Bagnell.

Stephen Harper’s government faced a serious hurdle last November when all three opposition parties in the House of Commons created a coalition to replace a government. Harper prorogued parliament before a coalition

could be formalized.

And then this June, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff threatened to call an election over Employment Insurance reform, but backed off.

“Minority governments last 18 months on average,” said Bagnell. “But by some strange configuration of a bill that the opposition parties could not possibly support, an election could be triggered.

“So I’m sort of on permanent readiness.”

Bagnell has had some “brief chats” with his party functionaries here in the Yukon, he said.

The Liberals finished writing a platform in June, but it won’t be released until an election is called, said Bagnell.

The Green Party, which finished ahead of the New Democrats in the Yukon last October, will back John Streicker for a second time.

The climate change expert is in the party’s national shadow cabinet and has been closely involved in preparation for a national campaign.

“We’ve been ramping up all summer,” said Streicker.

He was confirmed as the next candidate last winter, he said.

The Green Party has increased its membership by half, jumping from 100 members to 150, he said.

The Greens also have a new platform. But, like the Liberals, they will hold it until an election is called.

They’ve already met their fundraising goals, said Streicker, and have since doubled them.

The party will also be holding a mock election on October 19, the fixed election date that Harper’s government turned into law after the 2006 election.

“It’s going to be called the election that never was,” said Streicker.

A call to the territorial New Democrats was not returned.

Contact James Munson at jamesm@yukon-news.com

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