Why Are YOU Voting This Year?

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In the 2011 Federal Election, only about 61% of Canadians went to the polls. Stephen Harper & his Conservatives were able to claim a majority victory and form Government with only 41% of the vote, which translates to about 25% of the population of Canada. That’s not a real majority in any sense of the word. If an election is decided by those who choose to show up, it’s equally true that the outcome can be decided by those who choose to stay home.

Choosing not to vote does impact election outcomes; in fact it’s often the same as casting a ballot for a party you don’t support. Taking the time to educate yourself may feel like a hassle but voting is a right that many have struggled to gain. Whether or not you believe your vote matters on the national scene it surely matters in the Territory.  Ryan Leef was sent to Ottawa on the strength of 131 votes. Those 131  votes made a huge difference.  In our small Yukon riding even a very few individuals can have a profound impact on the outcome of an election.

In October of 2015 we urge you to vote. Who gets your vote is up to you; we hope you ask tough questions and consider the good of working people and families, of the environment and the social fabric that we hold dear as Canadians. We also hope you take the time to review the platforms of the candidates and their parties.  41% of Canadians should not carry the future of this country. It’s up to all of us to join in and move Canada forward.

Look for YEU at the Fireweed Community Market Thursday afternoons in August; we will have our voter registration kiosk set up. Not sure if you’re on the eligible voter’s list for the 2015 election? Please stop by and check. More than 50% of those who stopped by on July 30th discovered (to their shock) that they were NOT registered, despite having voted in many previous federal elections. It’s worth checking out. If you won’t be at market, make sure you visit www.elections.ca and check for yourself.  Enumerators are NOT coming door to door this election to make sure you’re on the list… it’s up to YOU!

Download the poster and print it out for yourself. Why are YOU voting?need-change

“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
Abraham Lincoln

Trans Rights in Yukon; One Small Victory at a Time

Kat-Traplin-Lois-Moorcroft-Chase-Blodgett2-May-13-2015-RGBYukon’s PSAC Pride Committee rep, MLA Lois Moorcroft and trans Rights activist Chase Blodgett at the Yukon Legislative Assembly following the passing of a motion forwarding Trans Rights in the Yukon Human Rights Act.


May 14th 2015 marked a positive step toward a more equitable Yukon.  Lois Moorcroft, MLA for Copperbelt South presented a motion to change the Yukon’s Human Rights Act to include language specifically protecting the rights of Yukon trans people. Her motions read:

THAT this House urges the Government of Yukon to review, and introduce amendments to, the Human Rights Act, before the end of its current mandate, to protect the human rights of trans people by adding “gender identity” and “gender expression” under section 7 of the Act as a prohibited ground for discrimination. 525. Ms. Moorcroft (Motion No. 994)

THAT this House urges the Government of Yukon to review its legislation, programs and services and introduce required amendments or policy changes in order to ensure the human rights of trans people are fully protected.

To most progressives, that seems straight forward. Simple. A no-brainer, even.  Yukon Party MLA Brad Cathers,  Minister of Justice countered that all Yukon people are protected under Article 7 of the Yukon Human Rights Act which lists” sexual orientation” as prohibited grounds for discrimination.  Ms. Moorcroft put forward the argument that sexual orientation is a different thing entirely from whether or not one feels their gender identity aligns with the gender designated to them at birth.

The motion was debated, spun around, debated again, argued for and argued against. In the end as an olive branch and with a nod to the large gallery of concerned members of our community, Mr. Cathers proposed amending to the motion to add the words CONSIDER INTRODUCING AMENDMENTS and THE NEXT TIME THE ACT IS REVIEWED.

Not surprisingly, Ms. Moorcroft (and the gallery) felt the government’s offer to CONSIDER changing the legislation at some theoretical distant future date was not in keeping with the spirit of the motion.  The proposed amendment provided no certainty, no sense of urgency and no genuine commitment to change.

The floor of the Legislative Assembly became quite animated, with MLA’s and Ministers leaving the room and returning, conferring in the hallway with pages ferrying notes back and forth across the floor.

When all was said and done, and thanks in no small part to the contributions of Klondike MLA Sandy Silver, there was unanimous agreement to pass the motion without the word CONSIDER included.  The work will now be to ensure the Yukon Party maintains its commitment and prioritizes a review of the Yukon’s Human Rights Act sooner than later.

As passed:


Motion 792

THAT this House urges the Yukon government to advance equal rights for transsexual, transgender and gender-variant people by:

(1) introducing amendments to explicitly include “gender identity” and “gender expression” under section 7 of the Yukon Human Rights Act as a prohibited ground for discrimination the next time the act is reviewed;

(2) supporting full equality and respect for trans people accessing Yukon government jobs, programs and services; and

(3) using public education to fight intolerance, discrimination and violence against trans people.

The motion received the unanimous support of all MLA’s in a recorded vote.



PSAC and YEU Activists were present in the gallery along with other community members. YEU delegates to the PSAC National Convention in Quebec City in early May were particularly interested, as a series of resolutions addressing the rights of transgender people were brought to the floor, and all were passed with overwhelming support.  Unions have always walked alongside those who work to change the status quo. We are proud to be a part of the journey.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead, 1901-1978