The Yukon Green Party is running five candidates in the 2016 Yukon territorial election. Come voting day on November 7th it is highly unlikely any of them will have been elected to the legislature. This is a pity, because their platform has some damn good ideas in.
The Greens are the only ones to state that they would ban wet tailings dams. For those not familiar with these monstrosities, they are a way of storing mining waste. Every now and then one of them tends to fail somewhere in the world and cause rather extensive environmental damage. The Mount Polley failure in northern British Columbia is an unfortunate recent and geographically close example.
In the Yukon there is a rather distressing proposal to build one the largest wet tailings dams in the world. Called the Casino Mine, it is an environmental catastrophe just waiting to happen. To their credit, the Yukon environmental assessors are subjecting it to the most rigorous review possible. Would that the Greens be in power the mine project as currently envisioned would get nowhere.
Another intriguing idea the Greens have for this election is to implement a proportional representation system for the Yukon. This is desperately needed as the Yukon’s current first-past-the-post system has led to the usual distortions of the electorates will.
The 2011 territorial election saw the Yukon Party get just over forty per cent of the vote and 11 of the 19 seats in the Legislature. The New Democrats, with about 33 per cent of the vote, achieved six seats, the Liberals with a smidgen more than 25 per cent of the vote only received two.
The Greens in 2011 only managed two-thirds of a single percentage point of the popular vote, so even under a proportional representation system it is highly unlikely they would get any territorial legislative members at that level of support.
But what it could have meant should the system have been in place for 2011 is that for the past five years the Yukon would probably have be run by some form of coalition government of the other three parties, instead of the uncompromising rule of a bunch of right-wing resource-extraction ideologues that make up the hopefully outgoing Yukon Party government.
A third intriguing idea of the Greens is to establish a territory wide public transit system. For those not familiar with the Yukon, it basically consists of 25,000 or so people in the greater Whitehorse area and another 10,000 or so in what is termed the communities.
For those without their own vehicles (and this blogger freely admits to being one of them) traveling can be somewhat irksome. Living in downtown Whitehorse I can actually walk to the airport on any given day, and assuming I have the fiscal wherewithal, I can get on an airplane and via connecting flights through southern Canadian cities travel to almost anywhere in the world.
For me to get to Dawson City, at certain times of the year it is entirely dependent on catching a ride with friends or hitchhiking. There is no public nor private transit available. There is a bus service in the summer but it is extremely limited to non-existent in the winter.
Other Yukon communities are even more isolated by the lack of transport services. Now a Yukon wide transit system could take many forms. I personally think a variation of the Scottish post-bus might be viable.
The Yukon Greens seem somewhat resigned to not forming the next government, but they do encourage the other Yukon political parties to adopt some or even all of their ideas.
The Yukon Green 2016 platform is available on their website. For comparison purposes the concerned Yukon electorate should also check out the websites of the Yukon New Democrats, the Yukon Liberals, and the Yukon Party. There’s also an independent running in Watson Lake.
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