Posted by: Tony Carson | 6 November, 2009

The Yukon parties on

So the Yukon Territory may get another political party. Why not?

In a huff, Yukon conservatives have already split themselves away from the national Conservative Party, which itself split away from the former and traditional Conservative Party.

Elected members in the Yukon routinely switch parties — the current Premier, for instance, left the socialist NDP Party for the conservative Yukon party, the ideological leap of an Olympian.

Now a former conservative Premier, who recently resigned from a public board accusing the current conservative premier of secret deal-making, wants to set up yet another variation of conservatism, this time “to create a new non-partisan party that will unite people rather than divide them.”

Rather than divide them. Curiously ironic. Conservatives, the default belief system in the territory, have been so chopped and changed a divide would be a blessing. No. Yukon conservatives have re-made themselves so often it’s a wonder it is still tethered to a comprehensible ideology.

And what is a non-partisan party? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Isn’t a party, by definition, partisan?

And another curiosity. This proposed new party announcement is coming at a time when this question is being bandied about: do we want political parties at all?

Up until ’77 the Yukon had a system like the current Northwest Territories system: candidates run and get elected as individuals who, in caucus, elect a government leader who forms a ‘government’ — kind of like ‘a non-partisan party that will unite people rather than divide them.’

One of the chief merits of this approach in a small population is that cabinet ministers are selected from the whole of the government caucus, not from just within one of the three or four party caucuses which tends to spread talent embarrassingly thin.

If government is theatre the Yukon approach can often look like the theatre of the absurd.


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