Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

Pictured above: FRANK de JONG

Yukon Greens run record number of candidates

With five candidates on its roster, the Yukon Green Party is gearing up to for its biggest campaign yet.

By Sidney Cohen on August 31, 2016

With five candidates on its roster, the Yukon Green Party is gearing up to for its biggest campaign yet.

The party, which formed in the spring before the last election, is running three more bodies than it did in 2011.

“Our goal is to run as many candidates and as quality candidates as we can,” said Frank de Jong, the party’s interim leader.

As it stands, the Greens have de Jong running in Pelly-Nisutlin, former leader Kristina Calhoun going for the Riverdale North seat, Philippe LeBlond running in Copperbelt South, Mike Ivans in Porter Creek North and Julie-Anne Ames in Lake Laberge.

This will be the Yukon Greens’ second election, and its first election without Kristina Calhoun at its helm.

Calhoun, who has been leader since the party’s inception, resigned her post last week, citing personal reasons.

The former leader could not be reached for an interview before today’s press deadline. Mike Ivans, the Green candidate in Porter Creek North, said Calhoun, who is a stay-at-home parent, “felt she couldn’t be a candidate, leader, and mom all together.”

She will, however, stay on as the Green Party candidate in Riverdale North.

Ivans was one of two Green candidates who ran in the 2011 election (Calhoun was the other).

Neither Ivans nor Calhoun won a seat but together they picked up 104 votes, 0.7 per cent of the total ballots cast.

At a party meeting last Thursday, Ivans and de Jong both tossed their names in to replace Calhoun.

De Jong was made leader in a vote by the “dozen or so” members (according to de Jong) who were in attendance.

Ivans estimates the party currently has about 10 members.

De Jong, a teacher in Faro, ran for the Green Party of Canada in the Yukon in the last federal election.

Though he took time off to campaign in 2015, he can’t afford to do the same this time and will do his door-knocking after school hours, he said.

If elected, de Jong said, he will quit his job at Del Van Gorder School and serve as full-time MLA.

In an interview with the Star on Tuesday, de Jong had some choice words for how the Pasloski administration is handling climate change, a key issue for the Yukon Greens.

“The Earth is facing a climate change catastrophe and the Yukon Party is fiddling,” he said.

“They’re, like, AWOL on the issue, it’s terrible, it’s shocking.”

De Jong is in favour of a revenue-neutral carbon pricing scheme.

He proposes a system in which Yukoners get a cheque in the mail once a month to offset the additional amount they spend at the pumps.

“Pasloski is disingenuous because everyone knows that the idea of a carbon tax is to be revenue-neutral, but he ... plays dumb and says it’s a new tax,” said de Jong.

The interim Green leader was also critical of the Yukon’s electoral system.

The first-past-the-post system “punishes minority opinion,” he said, and puts pressure on Yukoners to vote strategically.

Under the current, first-past-the-post system, a party can win the majority of seats in the legislature without winning a majority of the total votes cast.

De Jong suggested that first-past-the-post discourages people from voting for a small party like the Greens if they fear a major party they dislike will win.

He wants to see proportional representation in the Yukon, a system in which seats are divided up in proportion to the total number of votes received by each party.

De Jong also railed against the Catholic school system, saying that taxpayers in a secular jurisdiction should not be funding a religious institution.

“It’s discriminatory to other religions (that do not get public funds for education) and it’s certainly dead wrong to fund a religion that’s sexist,” he said.

Catholicism is sexist, de Jong said, because women can’t be priests, cardinals and popes.

“(It’s) ridiculous that we’re funding such a sexist religion,” reiterated the grade school teacher, adding that, “it’s basically indoctrination of children.”

The Green Party came out against the Catholic school system in May, when the party issued a press release calling public funding of the institution “morally indefensible.”

“Catholics are fair minded and justice oriented and shouldn’t be put in a morally difficult position of receiving unfair privilege,” Calhoun said in the release.

As for whether de Jong will seek leadership of the Yukon Greens at their annual general meeting in 2017, he said, “I don’t know, there’s good chance of that, we’ll see how it goes in this campaign.”

Comments (17)

Up 2 Down 1

in response on Sep 8, 2016 at 8:59 pm

@ North of 60

That is exactly the excuse making logic I'm talking about. I agree, global GHG emission is not significantly influenced by per capita consumption. But, individual 1st world demand on industry in places like you mention (China) significantly influences GHG emissions. Think about that for a minute and try to explain otherwise.

And I hope very soon the 100 apartment dwellers you speak of will be living in net-zero apartments regulated by strict energy efficiency construction laws. Fossil fuel powered cars/trucks will be taxed, significantly. High carbon producing industry and activities will be taxed, significantly. Recycling and composting will be required by law, etc. And heck, maybe by then we will have all accepted this as rational behavior... until then, unfortunately, government intervention is the only solution.

But go ahead, keep thinking you "don't believe that humans cause climate change globalwarming" ... what do I care.

Up 1 Down 3

Clifford on Sep 7, 2016 at 5:57 am

If Ivans says there are 10 members and DeJong said 12 were at the nomination meeting then they had 2 illegals there and the nomination should be declared null and void. If DeJong wants proportional representation for seats he should also agree to proportional press coverage.
In closing does the Yukon Green party support the National green party's initiative to supply the Canadian Navy with solar powered submarines?

Up 2 Down 1

misguiding on Sep 6, 2016 at 8:01 pm

@in response - neat views, very NDP'ish... Where is the qualifying information on why our CO2 emissions are the worst per capita? I am pretty sure that the fact we mostly live north of 60 plays a big role in these figures.... heat, driving because it is cold etc... I can make data say lots of things if i do not qualify it...

I think we do quite well for where we live, lots of walkers and bikers, runners.... recreational vehicles have to meet emission standards before being welcome in Canada... That being said, I am sure we can all do a little better - your points are to radical in my opinion though...

Up 1 Down 1

in response on Sep 6, 2016 at 7:03 pm

June, i was politely asking you, no need to exaggerate. And sorry if I offended anyone. I learned my lesson; don't poke the tax bear. Everybody carry on, all is good, nothing should change EXCEPT we need to be paying less for everything or lord help us, we'll be starving and on the streets in no time.

Up 1 Down 2

north_of_60 on Sep 6, 2016 at 4:48 pm

@in response "We are the WORST per capita for CO2 emissions "

The earth doesn't care about per-capita numbers, it reacts to total pollution load.
If each of the 100 apartment dwellers on one side of your backyard pool, dumps a liter of pee in your pool and the one neighbor in the house on the other side dumps 20 liters of pee in your pool, then which neighbors are polluting the pool most. Global pollution is global, there is no 'peeing-end' in the atmosphere pool.

Everyone in the Yukon could stop using fossil fuels forever and it wouldn't change the global CO2 levels by any measurable amount. The total GHG emissions in the Yukon are less than the margin of error in estimating China's GHG contributions.

Reduce your carbon footprint if you want to, it's a personal lifestyle choice. Mine is 1/5th the N.American average, and I don't believe that humans cause climate change globalwarming.

Up 10 Down 6

June Jackson on Sep 5, 2016 at 7:56 pm

To: In Response.. well.. you are not ****ing me, feeding me, or financing me.. ergo, you do not get to tell me what i can or can't have for an opinion.

"Please stop promoting the status quo destructive lifestyle we all can't seem to let go of." Who do you think you are that you can dictate what I can or can't think? Promote? Let go of?

If you want to dictate to me, let me know which one of my bills you would like to pay..until that time, I would tell you.. make an opinion about the topic and allow everyone else to do the same without attack commentary. Just in case you hadn't noticed, the article is about Yukon Green's.. not about what June Jackson thinks...

ProScience: Well said and a decent common sense post.

Up 7 Down 7

in response on Sep 5, 2016 at 5:44 pm

@ proscience greenie

I admit I was a bit harsh, but my intentions weren't to fear-monger. I responded to both comments with as much respect as they showed (very little). And yes I have a decent public sector job, but most of my working life I've been in the private sector. But thanks for the cheap shot, that felt good.

But to reiterate my point; things ARE really good here. I wasn't commenting on things in other parts of the world. We can do more for the environment here, lead by example. I'm tired of hearing people make excuses, saying things are so bad here that we couldn't possibly pay a cent more. Sorry, most people can't because they choose to live outside their means.

I say bring on lower standards in the first world. We are the WORST per capita for CO2 emissions btw. I for one will continue to do as much as I can to reduce my impact on the environment around me. I am ready to sacrifice more.

Up 11 Down 7

ProScience Greenie on Sep 4, 2016 at 1:40 pm

in response: you must have a sweet government 'job for life' to think things are so rosy out there and not have to be worried about being overtaxed or where the money comes from to pay the rent, mortgage or put food on the table (no offence meant to the good gov workers out there that get how the real world works).

Humanity needs to wise up about our global footprint but there is no need to go all hard core lefty and chase the lowest common denominator to do so. Around the world we need to raise standards of living, education, health care, and liberties not bring down the standards of those that in the First World. No need for fear mongering and guilt trips either.

Up 13 Down 16

In response: on Sep 2, 2016 at 3:25 pm

@Josey Wales
 Read your comment again, it's YOU that is anti-everything.
@June Jackson
 It's obvious you and many others here are not ready to sacrifice income for the environment. I'd like to remind you that our children will also have children; it would be sad for them to read your near-sighted post and think you were the problem (not the solution).
You also haven't convinced me that you know anything about taxation in the Yukon either. The link you provided was written by an intern from the Fraser Institute, it has absolutely NO Yukon data... and your rant about how hard life is for the "inbetweener's" is just not true. Here's a proper link that shows Yukon employment statistics.
The stats show that things are really, really good here. The link you provided speaks more to those that think no further than their car and mortgage payments... and the "poor me" antics you use (societal/cultural shock, mothers and kids starving, etc.) only serve as an excuse. Please stop promoting the status quo destructive lifestyle we all can't seem to let go of. Those that live within their means can afford to invest in the environment. The taxes we pay now are NOTHING compared to what it will cost if we continue to ignore reality. Get real please.

Up 11 Down 8

north_of_60 on Sep 1, 2016 at 10:01 pm

I have to agree with @Werner Rhein on this. The Green Party does serve a useful purpose after all.

Up 13 Down 15

Something positive on Sep 1, 2016 at 5:47 pm

Frank is right--Catholic school systems shouldn't be funded by public dollars. Why should Catholic religion be above others? Heck, I teach in a non religious school and I'm not even supposed to talk about it.
At HF, CTC and Vanier, they have religion classes and morals that are mandatory.
Education is for all, not elitist groups. Electoral reform is needed--the comment about vote splitting is right and the conservatives and libs like to keep it that way, as they are 50-50 as opposed to having to share the governance with other party members. And as for the environment, yes, there needs to be action! YP won't do it, that's for sure. All this being said, I'm voting strategically this round. Lib to get the YP OUT!
But if we get rid of the ridiculous electoral system, I would be voting in my heart for NDP or green.

Up 14 Down 14

ProScience Greenie on Sep 1, 2016 at 4:58 pm

Greens are a great place to park a protest vote if your candidates for the big three parties are all duds. The Greens also don't have a greedy self-serving old boys and girls club like the other three do.

They are also way less anti-everything than the Yukon NDP. And surprisingly less loony.
Frank is a decent guy, smart and with no ties to the old boys and girls clubs of the other parties he could be a good all round voice if elected.

Up 30 Down 9

Alex Franklin on Sep 1, 2016 at 10:21 am

YEESH - picking fights with the Israel and the Roman Catholic Church

These are the priorities of today's GREEN Party ?

A Party I won't be wasting time voting for again

Up 17 Down 12

Werner Rhein on Aug 31, 2016 at 8:25 pm

All the Green Party will do is split votes and we may end up with the same mess we had.

Up 25 Down 12

Josey Wales on Aug 31, 2016 at 8:09 pm

Record numbers eh? Cannot say I am very shocked, as we also have record numbers of hipsters and anti-everything crews...often the same folks.
However it goes...it goes this fall.
I loathe zealots regardless of what political lordship over us they appear to represent.
We also have records amount of stupid people here too, record numbers of uninformed voters...as they are glued to mainstream news I call socialist propaganda.

Good luck Green team, enjoy the Kool-Aid folks.

Up 13 Down 8

June Jackson on Aug 31, 2016 at 7:39 pm

The old and the young care about things like the environment, climate change, the destruction of the earth.

Those inbetweener's that are struggling to feed their families, pay the mortgage, who work hard to have a nice vehicle, get their kids educated.. many simply can not afford the luxury of saying no to mining...or development or pay taxes for carbon. Every time a job is lost, someone, some family suffers. Albertan's having to walk out on their entire lives and move in with their parents. The economic shock, the societal shock is incredible.

Whats my point here? My point here is if the Green Party wants votes they are going to have to offer a larger platform than raising taxes and prattling on about "the Earth is facing a climate change catastrophe". What do i care about a climate change catastrophe if my children are living on the street or my mother doesn't have enough to eat?

Does the Green Party know anything about what we are paying in taxes? Well.. here is an eye opener for you Mr. deJong.. and for anyone else who thinks jacking the taxes is the answer to everything (hint hint CoW).


On a more personal note, there are just a whole bunch of comments from you in this article that I don't like. Actually..it looks like everything you said.

Up 30 Down 19

listen dejong on Aug 31, 2016 at 2:49 pm

Revenue neutral is typical socialist bafflegab. Blowing all the weather tax money on failed policies and inefficient technology does not make a tax revenue neutral. A tax is a tax and its coming out of our pockets period.

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