Yukon ex-MLAs vow to fight party ouster
Two former Yukon MLAs say they will fight to have their ideas incorporated into Willard Phelps's new political party, even though Phelps ejected both men from the party this month.
Former Liberal MLAs Mike McLarnon and Don Roberts wanted to participate in the emerging party, which has yet to be named. However, Phelps said earlier this month that both men were no longer welcome in the group.
Phelps, a former Yukon government leader, proposed the new political party last year, touting it as an inclusive, non-partisan alternative to the territory's three existing political parties. He is currently the party's interim leader.
The unnamed party's founding convention is slated to start June 5 in Whitehorse, and McLarnon and Roberts both said they — and their own supporters — will be there.
"Let's find out if it's a big tent. I'll be coming to the conference with my proposal as a resolution. I'm hoping that there will be many other people coming to that convention with their own ideas," Roberts told CBC News on Tuesday.
"If it's going to operate the same way that the current parties operate, then basically I think you're going to find a lot of people will have no interest in it. I know I won't."
Interim leader disagrees with ideas
In a May 7 interview, Phelps told CBC News that McLarnon did not agree with the party's principles and was fighting from within to change its constitution.
McLarnon said he proposes allowing regular MLAs to be involved in deciding who can become cabinet ministers.
"I still intend to try to recruit as many people as I can to come and support these ideas," McLarnon said.
As for Roberts, Phelps said Roberts was not welcome in the party because of his insistence on pursuing electoral reform — an issue that Phelps said is not on his agenda.
"That's when I think the rubber hit the road, as far as what Willard would allow and what he wouldn't allow," Roberts said.
"It's not 'my way or the highway,' and unfortunately I think Willard has taken on the idea that his idea — at least from what I'm seeing — is the only way."
Roberts said he hopes Phelps will listen to potential members at the convention and let them decide how the party should take shape.