This evening marks the first of the all party fora. This one concerns the environment, an important consideration as the land use planning study for the Peel River is a major concern in this election. However, all but one of the party leaders will appear tonight. Darrell Pasloski, the Premier, will not appear at this evening’s forum. His reason for doing so is that, given that four environmental organizations are jointly organizing the forum and that they are anti-mining, his party will be unfairly criticized.
This is rather disturbing for several reasons. First, the general concept of these fora are to allow the voters to see the various party’s platforms on a specific topic. When one leader refuses to debate a specific issue with the others, it seems to indicate that the leader in question either has a policy he or she knows will not be supported by the majority of the electorate and intends to implement it anyway or that their knowledge of the topic is so minimal that they are afraid to be shown as having little competence with the issue in question. Failing to show with good reason (note that I tend to differentiate between reasons and excuses) suggests that the party requires a leadership review before the election.
Next, I’m somewhat curious about the given reason for not appearing. The complaint that the environmental forum is organized by environmental organizations is just… odd. Who else would organize the forum, sports groups? Many environmental organizations are anti-mining, so if you are not willing to defend your party’s support of the mining industry, an industry that the Yukon Party, Liberals and NDP also support, why do you support that industry? Is it real support for mining or simply a desire to ensure that one of your largest sources of party donations does not dry up? My assumption is that, if you are not willing to defend your views on the issue, you are far more interest in campaign donations than the industry involved.
My last big worry is that, although the party leader refuses to appear, the party will be sending a “suprise” representative, according the Jonas Smith, the Yukon Party Campaign Manager. This indicates my largest concern. The Premier seems to be unwilling to face a possibly unfriendly audience, yet is more than willing to sacrifice some other member to the same fate. Sadly, the degree that this indicates positive leadership is definitely lacking.
My suggestion is that the Premier should bite the bullet and appear at tonight’s environmental forum. Defend your principles or simply demonstrate that you don’t have any seems to be the only two choices here. And, fire whatever campaign worker who advised you that this was a good choice…