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DIVIDED VOTE CITED – Many local Conservatives agree that independent candidate Jonas Smith and Conservative Barbara Dunlop split the right-leaning vote on Monday, helping Liberal Brendan Hanley win the riding.

Vote split affected outcome, Conservatives agree

Independent candidate Jonas Smith’s ballot presence resulted in a split Yukon vote in Monday’s election,

By Morris Prokop on September 21, 2021

Revised - Independent candidate Jonas Smith’s ballot presence resulted in a split Yukon vote in Monday’s election, according to Conservative candidate Barbara Dunlop and supporters who spoke to the Star Monday night at the Edgewater Hotel.

As of this morning, Liberal candidate Brendan Hanley had amassed 6,427 votes, 1,354 ahead of Dunlop, who has 5,073. Two hundred votes remain to be counted in Ottawa.

Smith received 2,627 votes. The combined total of votes for Dunlop and Smith would have surpassed that of Hanley.

Dunlop arrived at the Edgewater Hotel event shortly after 8 p.m. Monday. The crowd gathered to listen to party leader Erin O’Toole give his televised speech, then Dunlop spoke to her supporters.

“I can’t believe how far we came in such a short time from such humble beginnings … on the first day in the campaign office, there were five of us around the table,” she recalled.

“We were starting completely from scratch. I wasn’t well-known politically, and we guessed we had a couple dozen confirmed votes,” Dunlop said.

“It’s hard to describe the expressions on our faces when we heard about the independent challenger, and as we learned that so much of the party campaign infrastructure would have to stay on the sidelines, I asked then and there if we should continue.

“I received four immediate and resounding yeses,” she said. “We knew we were doing the right thing, and we knew we were doing it for the right reasons.”

In six weeks, Dunlop added, “We have already passed 3,000 votes. We offered informed debate, and gave Yukoners a positive choice that respected the dignity of the process.

“For tonight, that achievement is absolutely worth celebrating. And we should. And then, going forward, we need to pull together as Conservatives, to support our territory, support our country … tomorrow we’ll get back to work. Wherever we can, however we can, to make Yukon a better place for each and every Yukoner, because as Conservatives, that is what we do.”

Dunlop was asked afterward if she was disappointed with the outcome.

“No. You know, this was a really exciting campaign. It obviously started very quickly, we hit the ground running, and everybody worked so hard,” she said.

“I’ve just been overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of Yukoners, and overwhelmed by the hard work of my team.

“We’re excited about the result; we’ll wait to see what the final result is (Tuesday); we’re going to respect the 2,500 outstanding mail-in votes, and see where we end up, and right now, I’m feeling really great.”

As for the vote being fissured between herself and Smith, she conceded it did have an effect.

“I think there was definitely something to the vote being split, and that’s always a consideration and a concern.

“But we ran the campaign we wanted to run. We wanted to give Yukoners a positive choice,” she said.

“We absolutely wanted to give Yukoners a chance to vote for a Conservative. It’s one of the two parties that are going to form a government in Canada. At the time, we did not know which one it would be, and the idea that Yukoners would not have an option to vote for one of those two parties, didn’t make any sense at all.

“So we were excited to get into the campaign, and whatever it took in those early days, that’s what we did.”

Dunlop didn’t commit to running again in the next election, saying she needs some time to think it over first.

“Not tonight. I think we’ll probably have to wait a couple days and have that conversation, and really wait 18 months to see what happens, because there’s no predicting what’s going to happen in politics in 18 months right now.”

Melanie Brais, the assistant campaign manager, office manager and volunteer co-ordinator for Dunlop, told the Star why she decided to support Dunlop when she had endorsed Smith in the past.

“I’m a card-carrying Conservative. I sit on the Conservative executive here as a director. I’ve worked with Barb. And I’ve worked with Jonas,” Brais said.

“So if you had two kids playing hockey in the same division, and they both make the playoffs and they’re both on different teams, who do you cheer for?

“I’m from Alberta, and I have seen time and time again how a split vote can be very destructive, and I don’t feel that a split vote is necessarily the way to go, if you’re a conservative-like-minded person.

“I know that the friendship I’ve had with Jonas for 20 years will still be there,” she added.

“Our politics no longer align, but we will still be friends.”

As for the campaign itself, Brais was pleased with how it was managed.

“I feel like we ran a very clean, non-mud-slinging campaign, and tried to appeal to people with the same type of social responsibility that Barbara feels,” she said.

“The same type of fiscal responsibility that Barbara has within the platform, which is the first time in a lot of years. And I’ve been a conservative for a lot of years, and no platform is ever perfect, but this is the first one that specifically lists things that really matter to the North … it is something we can work with, and bring better days ahead … I whole-heartedly believe that.”

Brais reiterated that a split vote does have an effect on the outcome.

“I feel that a split vote just complicates it. And not just the Jonas-Conservative thing. There’s split votes all over the place. It’s just an interesting dynamic, this election. It’s just very different.”

Brais had predicted the Yukon election would be a close one.

“It’s going to be a nail-biter. I got my nails done just in case. I think it’s going to be really close.”

Angela Drainville ran for the Yukon Party in last April’s territorial election and is a volunteer and supporter of the Dunlop campaign.

“I went and delivered some cards for Barbara and talked about her in the community and helped wherever I could in terms of offering advice, guidance,” Drainville said shortly after CTV formally declared a Liberal minority government.

“She didn’t really need it, though.”

Drainville said she wasn’t surprised by the results.

“I don’t think I’m particularly shocked by what the outcome is, and what the outcome is predicted to be, nationally and locally. I think my feeling is that I’m quite proud of the performance of the party and I’m certainly proud of the performance of our candidate here.

“I think Barb and team ran a really clean, kind and ethical campaign, and those are some of the values I really stand for … and I think that advances us as a country, and it advances us as a riding, and as Canadians.”

Drainville added, “I didn’t think this was going to be necessarily our election to take. I think this was a growth election for us, and I think we’ve managed to do that, so in that sense, I’m quite satisfied by how the party’s presented itself, both on the federal level and here locally.”

Asked to describe the general feeling at campaign headquarters, Drainville said, “I think it’s pride. We have a brand-new candidate. We have a party that is moving into 2021 sort of ethics and viewpoints.

“I think we’ve done a really good job of maintaining that ethical position.”

Drainville called her party’s efforts “a really solid campaign. Good strong policy coming out of the federal campaign, and then again locally.

“Great messaging, strong performance, nice positivity, and really doing everything that could be done to ensure that the campaign didn’t become negative.”

She was also candid when asked for a pre-results prediction on the outcome of the local race.

“Locally, I suspect we might see a Liberal victory. And I think that’s all part of the growth process of the Conservative Party, and I think it’s been a great opportunity for us to learn more about how to connect to Canadians in 2021.”

Drainville also acknowledged the divided right-wing vote factor.

“I think that everyone needs to vote with conscience, and they need to select the candidate that speaks to them most … it would be foolish of me to say I don’t think that’s had an impact, because I think that it has.

“Jonas is an extremely strong candidate, and he ran a very strong campaign as well … so of course it’s had an impact.

“Am I gonna let that determine my attitude about what that looks like for us, and all the positives that came out of it? I’m not, because I think that everyone has the right to place their vote where it best suits them. I hope that that’s always true for Canada.”

Drainville said she wholeheartedly supported Dunlop.

“I think she’s done a great job, and I’m proud of her as a candidate, and so in terms of the situation that resulted in her being in this position, I’m really grateful for having had the opportunity to have her represent the party in this riding.”

Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon said he attended Monday evening’s event “to see the results of the election, like everyone else, and like I said at the outset of the election, the Yukon Party is the territorial party, and so we haven’t taken a formal position on the election, but I’m friends with Barb, and I want to come here and support her, and wish her well on this big night for her.”

Asked if he had played a role in the Dunlop campaign, Dixon responded, “I haven’t taken any formal role in the campaign for any candidate. I did weigh in a few weeks ago on my thoughts of the candidacy of Brendan Hanley, and how I thought what he was doing was inappropriate, given his position (chief medical health officer), and the fact that he refused to resign his position ….

“It’s been no secret that I’m not a fan of Mr. (Justin) Trudeau either, so I weighed in with my thoughts on that front, but I haven’t played any formal role.”

Dixon’s views on Hanley haven’t changed.

“I still think it’s clear that he used his position to campaign. The fact that you see the word ‘doctor’ splashed all over signs all over town shows that he’s campaigning as the chief medical officer of health, and clearly that campaign began long before the election was called.”

(Hanley took a leave of absence from the job to campaign.)

As for the election itself, “You look at the results now, and it’s clear that this whole election has been a Justin Trudeau vanity project, and the results are very much the same as what they were at the beginning of this campaign,” Dixon said.

“Nothing was achieved. Justin Trudeau wasn’t able to get the majority he so strongly wanted, and the results are largely the same as what they were when the night began.”

All that’s been accomplished, Dixon said, “is the expenditure of over 600 million taxpayers’ dollars, and we got the result that we knew pretty much from the outset was going to be achieved. Trudeau didn’t get what he wanted, but Canadians got a big bill at the end of the day.”

The Liberals aren’t nearly as popular as they thought they were, both in the Yukon and federally, Dixon said.

He doesn’t think Hanley had as much of an advantage over Dunlop as one might think.

“Going into this campaign with the polls where they were, and with the relative celebrity that Dr. Hanley felt he had, I’m sure he hoped for more than what he got,” Dixon said.

“I think that Yukoners were very clear that they’re very split on this election.”

Comments (32)

Up 1 Down 1

Charlie's Aunt on Sep 27, 2021 at 6:00 pm

John is correct; some of you need to get off Jonas' back. Many voted for him because he is a person of integrity who stands by his beliefs and doesn't back peddle with the change of weather as some do. Maybe, and only maybe, had Barbara stood up as a candidate for nomination in the first place, this scenario wouldn't have happened. Some didn't like the last minute entry.
Josey is correct too, O'Toole had a lot to do with the vote.

Up 4 Down 8

John on Sep 27, 2021 at 12:05 pm

@ North_of_60 - Gilles Fortin - Dentist47

First it is quite evident you don't even know Jonas. His running was spurred on by a large number of people - why - because it was our belief he could represent us best for all the reasons that been hashed over and over. Unlike Barb he didn't rush into the decision to run as an independent but did take the time to talk to a number of folks that contacted him.

By the way guys - you ever seen a politician, or perspective one, that didn't have an ego ? If you haven't then it is likely you aren't living in the real world.

Up 15 Down 10

North_of_60 on Sep 26, 2021 at 2:22 pm

@Dentist47 is correct. Any intelligent voter knows that Smith was motivated to run as IND because of his big ego and a burning desire to "get back at" the CPC for dumping him because he openly disrespected the party leader. He lost the respect of many Yukoners and is "washed up" for Yukon politics in the future.

Up 22 Down 11

Gilles Fortin on Sep 25, 2021 at 12:36 pm

"Dentist47 on Sep 24, 2021 at 6:56 pm"

It's been obvious since the previous election that Sore Loser Smith has only been in this for himself !
BIG paycheck - easy to get life long pension.

Up 19 Down 14

Dentist47 on Sep 24, 2021 at 6:56 pm

Jonas sunk any hope of the Conservatives winning this election. Unless he is really unintelligent he, and all the people who voted for him knew that this would happen. It is almost like he wanted Hanley to get elected. He needs a good kick in the Jonass.

Up 16 Down 14

Chris Fox on Sep 23, 2021 at 1:55 pm

"Rick of the Universe on Sep 22, 2021 at 5:02 pm"
Darryl Drugstore is doing all that he can to get one of his former underlings
to give him a well paid political appointment.

Up 23 Down 7

vote split on Sep 23, 2021 at 6:06 am

So the guy who goes around all of Yukon in 2019 telling everyone only the CPC can oust turdope and don't vote for the PPC now gets a taste of his own medicine. LOL
oh it burns!

Up 26 Down 33

Cranberry on Sep 22, 2021 at 6:09 pm

Wow. Cryin’ Currie going into full on hissy fit this time.
I love it. Conservatism is dead in Canada and the Yukon. Hasta la vista baby!

Up 23 Down 15

Rick of the Universe on Sep 22, 2021 at 5:02 pm

I just bumped into the Darryl Pasloski "essay" that appeared in last Friday's
issue of this newspaper.
I found it HILARIOUS that a sitting Premier who finished LAST in his own riding when he sought reelection for the first time was telling us who to vote for.

The very definition of arrogance methinks.

Up 38 Down 14

not buying it on Sep 22, 2021 at 3:50 pm

"Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon said ... the Yukon Party is the territorial party, and so we haven’t taken a formal position on the election"
What a crock. The Yukon Party used to host Harper every summer. It all depends on who's running.

Up 25 Down 22

moe on Sep 22, 2021 at 3:38 pm

It's pretty obvious that the Conservative Party of Canada cannot rely on the Little Boys Club aka, the Yukon Party, to be their arm in the Yukon. Currie Dixon, Scott Kent, Brad Cathers and the rest of them hiding out. Same goes for what's her name who also ran for leadership, then became Jonas's campaign manager. Linda Benoit. (I briefly forgot her name.)

The Yukon needs a real CPC, and I would be extremely pleased to see it re-established by women. It was low of our local supposed conservatives to get behind an extremist who left the CPC under a cloud of mystery. I for one do not buy the story that he was given the boot for not wanting to get a vaccine. O'Toole said candidates did not need to be vaccinated. Gee, could there be any other reason that Jonas Smith might not be a candidate Erin O'Toole did not want on the party banner?

Up 21 Down 18

Gordon of Riverdale on Sep 22, 2021 at 1:40 pm

"Allan Stanley on Sep 21, 2021 at 7:50 pm"

"Darryl Pasloski's very own Prince Harry" is still looking for that big payday.
I suspect that he's already begging "Pasloski's Prince William" to let him run in the next Yukon Election.

Up 34 Down 7

Davise on Sep 22, 2021 at 12:34 pm

Not sure why the conservatives are complaining that the vote was split on the right, do they not realize that this is what happens every election on the left, but to an even greater extent?

Up 15 Down 36

Josey Wales on Sep 22, 2021 at 12:14 pm

Gee...gotta say right up front here, never read a thing in this story.
...and so here is my feedback.

100% of what happened here in THE Yukon, is on the CPC leader O’Toole.
...not a reflection on Jonas
...not a reflection on Barb
...most certainly not a reflection on the medicrat, lord Hanley himself.

Nope, the turncoat E.O. team blue wearing red silk undergarments of a unknown type...sounds like too much time spent too close to a liberal echo chamber (redundant I know)...and the tune stuck in his empty head.

The CPC learned nothing with the Sheer lunacy, they chose a Toole.
Their members, supporters just went...O??? WTFO?

Out, today’s word “out”is brought to us by the letter O & CPC.
Oh Canada, who stands on guard for me?
O’Toole? LMAOL...till guts cramp.

Given my admission of nary a word read...how did I do?

Up 23 Down 35

Juniper Jackson on Sep 22, 2021 at 11:54 am

There is no such thing as 'vote splitting'. Jeez.. someone has a magic ball that says, if Jonas didn't run, that person would vote for the Cons? A vote for Jonas was a vote someone wanted to make. Period. If Dunlop hadn't run, you think all those votes would have gone to the Greens? While I agree, voting as a block is powerful, you really need to consider enlarging the block. In the Yukon the block is the party. Get more members who will vote with the group.
Trudeau got in because the last two generations want someone else to take care of them, give them money for drugs, food, booze, an apartment. And Trudeau wants a dictatorship. They don't have much future..They are never going to own a home, and they have become so separated from society that love is a text and Teresa Tam is recommending masturbation replace 2 person sex. They will be the first generations to not live as long as their parents.
On the plus side, the government will give them enough money to die on, and that will weed out the losers. People who want to work, who are engaged in 'life', will refuse, every inch of the way, to live a government life. I'm 80. and I never thought I would see this in my lifetime. But. Here it is. The great destroyers.. drugs, alcohol and welfare. Crime will go up. Basic income won't pay for the stereo, or harder drugs, or their gaming, computers, smart phones.. those that work and have a home become the targets of those that are in government care.

Up 29 Down 13

Undeclared Politico on Sep 22, 2021 at 8:38 am

The truth is that people should be free to vote for whomever represents them best. In this case, the far-right went with Jonas, and the centre-right voted for Barb - even though she was relatively unknown. It's probably smart for the CPC to have just taken their lumps in this election and to move back to offering a really progressive conservative alternative to Canadians. That way more swing votes will move to them from the Liberals, and eventually they might be able to for government. Vote splitting has an impact all over the political spectrum, but this might just be some good strategy for the long game.

I suspect that if we knew the list of people who voted for Barb that it would just be traditional conservative voters, but also many Liberals who are unhappy with Hanley and/or Trudeau. That group likely wouldn't have voted for the far-right Smith, so either way it was unlikely that the CPC was going to take this seat this year.

Maybe next time, and that's okay because that's the way democracy is.

Up 28 Down 6

Jack on Sep 21, 2021 at 10:11 pm

@BnR, Its simply not true that all Liberal, Green and NDP supporters would vote as a single monolithic block. In the real world, some Liberal voters are not on board with radical NDP/green policy and would swing to the right and vote conservative.

Happens all the time.

Up 28 Down 20

Adam Smith on Sep 21, 2021 at 9:04 pm

Currie Dixon wears some of this defeat. His refusal to endorse the Conservative candidate as well as muzzling all of the Yukon Party MLAs undoubtedly meant more of Jonas' votes stayed with him. An endorsement from Dixon and some of his MLAs would have gone a long way. Pasloski knew what he had to do and did it, he acted decisively like he always has and endorsed Barb publicly. As for Currie I suspect the reason he would not do so is because he wants to retain the anti-vax base that Jonas accumulated, for the Yukon Party in the next election. I hope that isn't the case because it is pretty selfish to sacrifice Barb in that way. But if that isn't the case, I can't figure out for the life of me why he chose to sit this one out and force the other YP MLAs to sit it out as well.

Up 46 Down 9

Bob Nevin on Sep 21, 2021 at 7:51 pm

The election is over.

When are we going to find out the real reason that the CPC FIRED Smith ?

Up 42 Down 18

Allan Stanley on Sep 21, 2021 at 7:50 pm

SOOOO - will Self-serving Smith be running for the Max Bernier Party in the next Federal Election ?

Up 40 Down 21

Edie rue on Sep 21, 2021 at 6:57 pm

Excellent outcome, thanks Jonas. The Liberals probably funded his campaign, without him even knowing it. The funding source becomes elusive when there mounds of arrogance to latch it on to. Jonas, please go away and play in a band or serve a few drinks, and leave the political skill to the adults.

Up 29 Down 32

diane mcphee on Sep 21, 2021 at 6:38 pm

He has been groomed by the Conservative Party for years - what did they expect when they kicked him to the curb. You lost my vote. I have always voted conservative but not this time I voted for Jonas.

Up 44 Down 14

Llama on Sep 21, 2021 at 5:59 pm

Currie: "The fact that you see the word ‘doctor’ splashed all over signs all over town shows that he’s campaigning as the chief medical officer of health"...

Look, I don't agree with what Dr. Hanley did either, but if Currie went to medical school and had the option to call himself a Doctor, I'm sure he would sure as hell take it. Dr. Hanley earned that title, so he uses it. Sometimes Currie comes off as a crybaby. What's done is done, let's put Dr. Hanley's feet to the fire and make sure he represents Yukon right. Sure hope Jonas moves on and finds something else to do...

Up 32 Down 30

drum on Sep 21, 2021 at 5:41 pm

The Liberals did not even have to campaign in the Yukon - they were a shoe in. By abandoning Jonas at the last minute the Liberals ensured their win. If Jonas had been left to run as a Conservative Candidate he would have won and be in Parliament representing the Yukon strongly. Now we have a weak someone who knows nothing about politics.

Up 37 Down 24

North_of_60 on Sep 21, 2021 at 5:14 pm

Those short sighted fools who voted for Smith have sent Hanley to Ottawa. They voted IND because the CPC wasn't "conservative enough". Because they couldn't support the only Conservative with any chance of winning, their vote helped the Lieberal be our new MP. Every time the LIB govt does something you don't like, remind yourself those turncoats helped make it happen.
Conservative vote splitting all across Canada kept the LIB in power. That's not just stupid; that's a special kind of stupid.

Up 28 Down 15

Still not sure of the whole story on Sep 21, 2021 at 5:09 pm

Jonas said he was removed as Conservative candidate for not supporting vaccine passports, or mandates - yet that was exactly the same position the federal party took. Then he chose to run as an Independent. He could have simply not run, and then the Conservative candidate may have won, based on final vote counts.

Up 23 Down 14

Max Mack on Sep 21, 2021 at 5:09 pm

Did O'Toole deliberately spoil the Cons chances in the Yukon? Enquiring minds want to know. Was this an agreed-upon fix?

Up 10 Down 22

Matthew on Sep 21, 2021 at 4:48 pm

Shame, cause Jonas had it in the bag, oh well, they're on the same side with most issues anyways, the ones they're not don't affect us anyways, politics is a mere illusion of puppets and their masters.

Up 28 Down 11

Dave on Sep 21, 2021 at 4:21 pm

The Conservative party certainly doomed their shot at possibly winning this seat when they nuked their candidate Smith a month before the election. Fortunately this time around it wasn’t a make or break deal for the Conservatives on the national scene. If they had been close to the Liberals in total seat count this dumb a— stunt they pulled could have helped cost them forming a government. Hopefully next time the powers that be in the Conservative national campaign centre learn a lesson and don’t meddle in the democratic process.

Up 121 Down 33

L.Szigety on Sep 21, 2021 at 3:55 pm

It was the Conservative party that decided to kick Jonas out of the party and then run a candidate along side him. This was their election to lose and they did so swimmingly.

Up 70 Down 30

bonanzajoe on Sep 21, 2021 at 3:52 pm

When will conservatives learn.

Up 84 Down 45

BnR on Sep 21, 2021 at 3:50 pm

Vote splitting?
Ok, lets talk about vote splitting. The centre-left has had vote splitting for years with the Libs, the NDP as well as the Greens.
So Jonas took votes from Barb, that's a given, but the NDP and Greens took votes from the Libs.
Here's some numbers (with 2100 ballots left to count); 6570 voted centre right, and 10,578 voted centre-left.
I'd say Yukoners are getting the representation the majority want.

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