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Prime Minister in Whitehorse; no tuba players please

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The Prime Minister is coming to town on Friday and I am sorely disappointed.

I was hoping for a couple more days notice so I could teach myself to play the tuba. Then I could follow him around playing the Darth Vader theme from Star Wars. It would be good for a laugh. And one thing most people in power cannot abide is being laughed at. But alas, there was not enough notice.

On Monday it was leaked that the Yukon branch of the Conservative Party was inviting loyal followers to register for a function where the Prime Minister would be present. 

Oh, what the heck, I probably should not do this but you can register as well. 

Now the Conservative Party organizers no doubt have a list of who their existing loyal followers in the Yukon are. So no matter who registers, only those loyalists will be accepted for the function. It is no use putting down your name and other particulars if you want to attend to ask awkward questions because if you are not already a hardcore known Conservative you are not getting in.

If past practice for Federal Conservative events in the Yukon holds true, signing up on the website is only the beginning of the ordeal of hearing a boring speech and perhaps being served rubber chicken. Once you have registered and been deemed worthy of hearing the Prime Minister, you'll be emailed information on where to meet to catch the buses. (That is correct -- buses.)

You will then be taken to a location undisclosed to the general public. It is usually a large house or farm owned by one of the good ol' Yukon boys who back the Conservatives. Think of it as a boreal hacienda. At the event there will be tents, a stage and enough security that even the Rangers (the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve in the North) will feel outnumbered. This way access can be tightly controlled and all those pesky tuba players kept out. 

Now, all of this is wrong.

If an incumbent Prime Minister comes to town, even during an election, he or she should be prepared to face the electorate. There will be unpleasant questions asked -- both on local and not-so-local issues.

A hot local topic is Bill S-6, which saw the Conservatives ram through changes to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act. Some of those changes were not welcomed by First Nations or the environmental community. The environmental assessment process in the Yukon is a result of the modern-day Umbrella Final Agreement and 11 treaties signed between Yukon First Nations and the federal government. Bill S-6 is seen as going against the spirit and intent of the Umbrella Final Agreement. The changes are seen as an affront to Yukon First Nations and all Yukoners. 

A not-so-local issue I would love to ask the Prime Minister is: Why is Canada taking so few refugees from Syria? We have all seen the horrific pictures of people fleeing overland through the Balkans or by boat over the Mediterranean. Europe is taking hundreds of thousands of refugees. Canada has committed to only taking 10,000 refugees by 2017. Given the scale of the disaster, why has Canada not committed and acted upon taking more?

These are the sort of questions the Prime Minister should be asked.

If he actually met with people other than Party sycophants, he would have to attempt to answer them. 

And the answers offered might not satisfy the crowd, but at least there would be some idea of where the leader of the incumbent party stands on a particular issue. But instead he will be ushered to a private event and allowed to tell everyone what a good job he and the Conservatives are doing. 

A politician so determined to isolate himself from the majority of the electorate is not worthy of the position of Prime Minister. How can one govern without knowing what people who disagree with you are saying? If surrounded only by supporters and yes men, the only voice you will hear is your own and in a democracy, that is extremely dangerous.

One should be open to listening to opposing viewpoints. It will either reinforce your existing position thus proving you were right all along or a differing opinion could change yours for the better.

But given what we know the Prime Minister will be cocooned for his entire visit to Whitehorse, Yukon. 

I will, however, let the Prime Minister have this one little bit of relief. If he does choose to isolate himself while he is here in the Yukon he will not get to hear my tuba playing.

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