Whitehorse Daily Star

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Yukon Party MLA Brad Cathers

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Photo by Whitehorse Star

Premier Sandy Silver

Cathers’ comment to premier riles Liberals

An off-mic comment from Yukon Party MLA Brad Cathers suggesting Premier Sandy Silver should “go back to Antigonish” led to a fiery discourse between elected representatives in the legislature Tuesday.

By Gabrielle Plonka on November 27, 2019

An off-mic comment from Yukon Party MLA Brad Cathers suggesting Premier Sandy Silver should “go back to Antigonish” led to a fiery discourse between elected representatives in the legislature Tuesday.

Cathers – who grew up in the Lake Laberge area – reportedly made the comment as Silver was addressing the house during question period.

When Silver was later called upon again to answer a question on carbon tax rebates, he slammed Cathers for the comment.

“I’m still reeling from the member opposite yelling off-mic that I should ‘go back where I came from,’” Silver told his fellow MLAs.

“We have heard little in terms of comprehensive plans from the Yukon Party, just criticism after criticism after criticism, followed today by the member for Lake Laberge basically saying if you weren’t born and raised here, you should go home.”

Silver was born in Antigonish, N.S., but has resided in the Yukon since 1998.

Following question period, Liberal ministers Ranj Pillai, Richard Mostyn and Pauline Frost gathered in the administration building lobby where Cathers was being interviewed by media. Pillai and Mostyn challenged Cathers on his behaviour.

“The member opposite saying, ‘go home’, that was phenomenal today,” Pillai said.

Mostyn confirmed the comments, and Frost called the commentary “not acceptable in the time and in this age.”

She added the behaviour “will not be tolerated.”

The Liberal caucus doubled down in its condemnation of Cathers’ comment in a Tweet Tuesday afternoon.

“…The member from Lake Laberge told our Premier to go back to his home province,” read the tweet, posted by the Yukon Liberal Caucus’ public account.

“We believe Yukon is stronger when everyone is welcome and when everyone feels like they belong.”

Stacey Hassard, the Yukon Party’s interim leader, questioned the Liberals’ indignation, as off-mic chirping is not uncommon during question period and comments are often made on both sides of the floor.

“It gets heated in the legislature, and we know when we take on these jobs in politics, you better have a set of thick skin in the closet that you put on every morning,” Hassard told the Star.

“This certainly isn’t the worst thing that’s ever been said in the legislature. I think it’s a little immature for the Liberals to try and make a story out of this.”

As the fall session concludes this afternoon, Hassard suggested the party is “trying to deflect from the disaster that they’re having” in this sitting.

“The premier, today, had to back down on his electoral reform stuff (see story, p. 4), he had to pull his own motion when he couldn’t get it in order, he was obviously having a bad day,” Hassard said.

Comments (40)

Up 0 Down 0

Obi on Dec 4, 2019 at 6:00 am

Just sayin,-

“Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I’m beginning to believe that it bears a very close resemblance of the first”

Up 1 Down 0

Wilf Carter on Dec 3, 2019 at 3:54 pm

I am from outside of Antigonish and lots of other Yukoners. They are great people. Maybe you need to move to north pole and stay there. Stop the crap. Some people we are all from some where. Grow up.

Up 7 Down 2

Atom on Dec 3, 2019 at 12:30 pm

Please, let's refrain from the lowest form in references to another's mom. Thanks

Up 15 Down 9

woodcutter on Dec 3, 2019 at 10:37 am

I remember Brad Cathers at the family homestead. He got to ride on his families fame, as dog mushers, and get elected at a very early age, kind of like the conservative leader that lost to our current prime minister.

His profession is also politician and to a great extent has never had a real occupation. He's not a shop owner, a tradesman or a professional, in fact he's never done a proper job in decades. Careful Brad, perhaps next election the voters will send you back to where you came from.

Up 10 Down 15

Just Sayin' on Dec 2, 2019 at 3:40 pm

Maybe Sandy and Brad's Mommies could get together and come up with a solution. We know neither party is competent enough to resolve issues in house, across the floor and or of the Territory.

Up 21 Down 20

David on Dec 2, 2019 at 12:25 pm

The yukon party is a joke. They haven't changed much from their high school bully days...

Up 17 Down 26

Too much on Dec 1, 2019 at 8:42 pm

This publication would appear to have a 70% conservative readership and 30% those other folks who have too much compassion for others and are too sensitive to bullies. Thank goodness this percentage wasn't represented in the polls in October. It was actually the other way around Liberal, NDP and Green "bleeding hearts" far outnumber this mentality of populism and xenophobia . Phew!

Up 25 Down 17

drum on Nov 30, 2019 at 10:19 pm

Brad - good for you. The Liberals have very thin skins but they seem to love to attack everyone else when it suits them in the Yukon . Liberals in the Government in the Yukon - grow up - you would never survive in the House of Parliament in Ottawa - that can be brutal every day. You would shrivel and go home to your safe haven.

Up 32 Down 15

Obi on Nov 30, 2019 at 6:18 am

Boy! You’re in trouble now Brad. Sandy’s gone to tell his mom!

Up 31 Down 12

Capitan on Nov 29, 2019 at 7:01 pm

Three Liberals had to assemble in the foyer to discuss this remark? Including Pauline Frost, with the multiple portfolios? My goodness. I guess that outrage neuron needs to constantly exercised, though, to stay in shape.

Up 19 Down 11

Yukon Justice on Nov 29, 2019 at 6:32 pm

We should all go back to Antigonish, hardly anyone lives there.

Up 21 Down 25

Lynx on Nov 29, 2019 at 5:42 pm

You are obviously lying about listening to the House since what goes on is the complete opposite of what you are saying. The Yukon Party is the worst behaved party by far, and by the way, the media took it upon themselves to write the story about what happened in the house. Nice try to make it look like they "ran to the media". Oh and when you get angry do you just blurt out xenophobic BS? Most people I know will curse and swear but not resort to that type of nastiness. You definitely won't hear the other two parties resort to this even in anger.

Up 25 Down 31

Moose on Nov 29, 2019 at 5:32 pm

This attitude is common for the Yukon Party. Just look at the first contender in their leadership race Currie Dixon. In his press release one of the main points he stresses is that he is a "born and raised Yukoner" as if that somehow makes him better than anyone who moved here from the outside. Such a backwards way of thinking, but sadly not surprising from the Old Boys club.

Up 30 Down 23

CJ on Nov 29, 2019 at 1:51 pm

Has anyone listened to what goes on in the house? I have been a lot and I can tell you - no one ridicules more than the current government. I don't think anyone on the opposition side has ever gone running out to the press to cry about some of the nasty things said to them. And the third party is pretty bad also. For one comment made by one pissed off guy from usually the most well-behaved party in the room is quite convenient, considering the Liberals started this by crying about that comment. I wish the Yukon Party would start listing all the gross things they have heard from the other side. Because some of us have heard them.

Up 18 Down 8

Groucho d'North on Nov 29, 2019 at 1:45 pm

@Patti Eyre
Just a chirp from the sidelines?
You have the floor, please enlighten us to why the double standard for social faux pas is justifiable from your perspective.
I am keen to understand how this new game is played.

Up 14 Down 12

Juniper Jackson on Nov 29, 2019 at 11:19 am

Groucho d'North: So well said. You covered a lot of ground, but described the inequality in our society to a T. Great post.

Up 9 Down 19

Patti Eyre on Nov 29, 2019 at 10:29 am

Oh groucho you are so naive, please do grow up.

Up 25 Down 23

jc on Nov 28, 2019 at 5:43 pm

Former student: I have been a Yukoner since 1975. Silvers is still a Cheechako. And often acts like one.

Up 20 Down 32

William Bromell on Nov 28, 2019 at 5:39 pm

The difference between Trudeau’s penchant for dressing up (blackface), Don Cherry’s Coach’s Corner comments and Mr. Cathers’ comments is this...
All the above instances are rife with privilege and entitlement which inherently ostracizes minorities, who are the majority.
Trudeau when called out for his offenses set a great example of being an adult. Plain and simple, he immediately owned his actions by sincerely and unconditionally apologizing for his ignorant actions. He did not gaslight the public, instead he took responsibility. Taking responsibility is what we would ask of our own children. In this instance Trudeau was a true role model.
Cherry and Cathers not so subconscious remarks were extremely ignorant, divisive and xenophobic. This is a problem as both have a pulpit where they represent Canadians and Yukoners. No person is perfect and although we should hold public icons and officials to a high standard, they are just like you and I, human beings. Cherry and Cathers could have owned their actions and taken responsibility by unconditionally apologizing. Instead they both decided to act like Children and gaslight their audiences. Cathers and his partiy’s response to his actions is not what I would model for my children.
I would ask these adult children to get some counseling to deal with their anger.
They claim to be leaders, they ask for our vote with Bannon/Trump like populist tactics. That behaviour is not okay. It does not allow the facts to get in the way of their beliefs and further fans the flames of divisive ignorance. I expect more of our Yukon politicians. Grow up Yukon Party.

Up 33 Down 17

Groucho d'North on Nov 28, 2019 at 4:50 pm

@Bobbie B
To my recollection I have never assumed an alternate ethnic identity for Halloween or any other occasion, I do recall my favourite character for trick or treating was that of a pirate, a profession taken by many ethnicities and nationalities - so make-up was not required.
But to your point regarding our Prime Minister and his apologising for pretending to be Jamaican or another race of colour, Is it really as simple as saying I’m sorry and you will be vindicated of your politically incorrect activities and statements? By your statements I guess that would hold true for fondling a female reporter’s butt after quaffing a few beers too? Does it go so far to include more egregious violations like impaired driving, assault or perhaps the top ten violations in the Criminal Code? "Gee your honor, I’m sorry…can I go now?"
I appreciate you are attempting to justify Mr. Trudeau’s poor judgements of the past but again I’ll raise the double standard situation again. He violates one or more of these new behaviour rules for our modern society and gets a pass just by apologising, where as numerous others - not of a similar political stripe - are demonised for doing the same. This will not result in a happy and all-inclusive society. All must live and abide by the same rules for social conduct with no exceptions because you are rich or the King of the progressives in Canada. I say one nation with one set of laws and approved behaviour for all of us, which also means the same punishments for the same violations for all of us too.

Up 32 Down 20

BB on Nov 28, 2019 at 4:45 pm

Hey Stacy Hassard, maybe Brad, you, and everyone else who thinks the legislature is a play pen for flinging mud around should stop acting like a bunch of 8 year old goofs in the sand box when you show up for work in the morning. The immaturity and unprofessionalism, the name calling, guffaws, pointedly ignoring 'the enemy' across the aisle is juvenile and stupid.

'Put on your suit of thick skin if you wanna hang 'round these parts...' Grow the H up, Stacy.

Up 39 Down 19

Yukoner71 on Nov 28, 2019 at 1:13 pm

Anyone who’s on here criticizing Brad Cathers and used to drive around with a ‘Pasloski For Pharmacist’ bumper sticker on their vehicle can bow out of this particular conversation right now. There’s a word for people like that, hypocrite.

Up 42 Down 22

Juniper Jackson on Nov 28, 2019 at 12:56 pm

So..Silver is “I’m still reeling" - If you 'reel' that easy Silver, maybe Brad had a good suggestion for you.. "reeling' can't be good for your health.

Up 37 Down 14

Eric Blair on Nov 28, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Too often these disputes are reported without establishing the context for the vitriol being used. So I read the Hansard for the day to better understand the passions of the moment and what inspired these comments. Turns out during Question Period Mr. Cathers was asking questions to Mr. Silver about the Carbon Tax and how it continues to be a work in progress with many remaining unanswered questions about how rebates would flow and when. Clearly Mr. Silver did not have the answers and did not wish to speak on behalf of the federal Liberals who created the tax and how it functions. So the debate decayed and off-hand comments were made as they frequently are during Question Period. I suspect the Yukon Liberals are growing weary of being criticised for their role as the tax-bag men for the feds. Much ado about nothing. So out in the foyer in front of the local media the Liberals rallied around their leader and demonstrated how sensitive and progressive they are.

Up 54 Down 26

Allan Stanley on Nov 28, 2019 at 11:42 am

Brad Cathers - yet another career politician that has never had a real job and is well beyond his "best before date".

Up 51 Down 18

Henry Wensleydale on Nov 28, 2019 at 9:37 am

I wonder how many times Blathering Brad Cathers told Saskatchewan native
Darrell Pasloski to go back to Saskatoon.

Up 46 Down 17

Atom on Nov 28, 2019 at 8:53 am

Yes Mr. Cathers, if only you could go back to when your Party doled out favours to the cronies.
Your LaBarge heritage is showing, but the grey isn't.

Up 43 Down 5

I don't disagree, but on Nov 28, 2019 at 6:15 am

while our MLA's are sniping at one another, rushing to be the first to comment to the media on whatever the latest grievance is, etc etc ... well, stuff is not getting done. We're too small a place for this personal insult nonsense, and many of us know our MLA's personally or casually. They need to just stop (and I am a Yukon Party supporter, but they are the worst).

Up 37 Down 44

Dave on Nov 28, 2019 at 5:11 am

Silver ‘Went out west’ as Nova Scotians generically say and never came back. Anything past Toronto is simply known as ‘out west’ to them as they don’t seem to be able to tell the difference between west, north, or Pacific regions. If the positions were reversed and someone ‘from away’ went to N.S. there’s no way people there would vote for an ‘outsider’ for anything let alone premier. Silver should thank his lucky stars people here aren’t close minded like they are back in N.S. Lifelong Yukoner Cathers apparently struck a nerve and good on him to keep NS schoolteacher Silver on his toes and grounded in reality. Once Johnny come lately Silver has finished having the privilege of serving as premier he’ll be back to teaching grade school again, maybe back home in Nova Scotia who knows?

Up 28 Down 35

Bobby B. on Nov 28, 2019 at 4:07 am

Dear Groucho did you not ever play at Cowboys and Indians or dress up for Halloween as an Arab or some other ethnic group? The blackface thing is so stale and hypocritical but after the election results it's something that the defeated side cannot seem to get by and is all they have to hang on to. Trudeau has admitted his mistakes and apologized unreservedly for them have you?

Up 40 Down 31

Guncache on Nov 27, 2019 at 11:13 pm

Many years ago when I was a kid we were taught, Sticks and Stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me. Apparently Sandy never learned this.

Up 37 Down 32

Lynx on Nov 27, 2019 at 8:06 pm

This isn't surprising. It's no secret that this is what the Yukon Party thinks. They will typically say the right thing in public, tell people what they want to hear but every now and then they slip up and you hear the truth. This is one of those times. If you weren't born and raised in Yukon, you are 'lesser' and your opinion carries less weight according to them. It's the Old Boys club mentality. God I'm glad they aren't in power anymore.

Up 21 Down 31

Miles Epanhauser on Nov 27, 2019 at 7:38 pm

A frosty response to Cathers go back to Nova Scotia quip and he was pilloried.
Silver is right for calling this offensive behaviour out because it presents legislature hazards.

Up 34 Down 28

Too much on Nov 27, 2019 at 6:29 pm

Oh wow! And who is the immature one? I could see this coming a mile away. The conservatives want to take the Yukon back. That's the dialogue. And the gentleman running for MP..stated he was 3rd generation Yukoner, but he's not, he's from Alberta.
All this aside, the type of behaviour coming from the MLA under question is childish and inappropriate no matter if it's chattering off side or on the record. I'm glad it's on the record now. He has no more right to make decisions for Yukoners than people from "outside". You have done a great job Mr. Cathers of making me feel like an outsider also. Way to be inclusive! Your attitude is immature.
Do you know who this territory ACTUALLY belongs to? Your party has done such a poor job of being respectful to the Yukon FNs that it's pathetic to read your words about "outsiders". You are also an "outsider" . Good luck with that attitude moving forward. People aren't too sensitive. People are responding to bullying ..for once! We are modelling good behaviour for our children. And what are you doing ?

Up 38 Down 16

Former student. on Nov 27, 2019 at 6:25 pm

Mr. Silver has been a Yukoner since 1996. That’s a fact.

Up 40 Down 34

jc on Nov 27, 2019 at 5:18 pm

Liberals offended again. Funny the Liberal PM can wear black and brown face while doing monkey movements and still get elected PM, while patriotic conservatives like Don Cherry gets fired for rebuking immigrants for not assimilating into Canadian life and traditions. Canada has turned into a pretty screwed up nation.

Up 35 Down 33

jc on Nov 27, 2019 at 5:09 pm

Silver will go back to where he came from after he screws up our part of the world like so many others before him.

Up 77 Down 33

Groucho d'North on Nov 27, 2019 at 4:14 pm

I wonder why everybody's skin is getting so thin lately? It seems that the national pastime is to go in search of things to be offended by and the pettier the issue - the better. Perhaps it is a way to get some level of attention because somebody said something that made you feel offended. Have we all fallen into this politically-correct vortex whereby if one person feels aggrieved, all their like-minded pals jump on the bandwagon and condem that person who made the offending statement? Sticks and stones boys and girls, sticks and stones, but words are now a method of terrorism for the weak minded. So how does the Prime Minister wear blackface and not be socially excommunicated? Why are there two sets of rules at play here?

Up 89 Down 24

Oh for heaven's sake on Nov 27, 2019 at 4:14 pm

Yes, maybe the reaction is a bit overblow - But instead of having to grow 'thick skin', maybe some of these MLA's should stop acting like class clowns, keep stupid comments to themselves, and stop the 'Off-mic chirping' as quoted in the article.

Up 70 Down 26

Whilem on Nov 27, 2019 at 2:45 pm

Yah, Hazard is real mature with his legislative responses. I seem to remember him ignoring media requests for an interview regarding sole sourcing a contract for over 1 million dollars to Total North Communications and then when the media did have him on the phone he slammed the phone down on them while being asked about procurement procedures. It's all in Hansard, remember Stacey.

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