Yukon NDP selects Barr as federal candidate

Yukon's New Democrats have chosen Whitehorse-area musician Kevin Barr as their candidate in the federal election campaign, which is already underway this week.
Kevin Barr becomes the NDP's federal candidate in Yukon. 2:22

Yukon's New Democrats have chosen Whitehorse-area community worker Kevin Barr as their candidate in the federal election campaign, which is already underway this week.

Barr garnered 72 votes from NDP members at a nomination meeting Wednesday night, while Yukon Federation of Labour president Alex Furlong won 41 votes. One ballot was rejected.

Barr, a musician and community worker from Crag Lake, will now take on Liberal incumbent Larry Bagnell, Conservative candidate Ryan Leef and Green Party candidate John Streicker in the weeks leading up to the May 2 vote.

"If they want change, there'll be change. And it may not be me — it may be Larry, it may be John or it may be Ryan," Barr told CBC News. "That's not going to stop me also from serving people."

Barr has helped many troubled and down-and-out people over the years, said Ben Gribben, a Whitehorse carver who credited the new NDP candidate with helping out the Sundog Carvers group.

'Pretty big heart'

"He doesn't like to admit it sometimes, because he's a little bit too humble of a guy, but he has a pretty big heart," Gribben said.

Barr said he will not change his down-to-earth style during the federal campaign, in which he plans to tell people what he believes in and let them decide who they want to vote for.

"I don't know what the outcome's going to be, and I'm not so concerned — just like this, tonight, I didn't know really what was going to happen and my concern … was that I step up to the plate," he said.

Furlong said even though he does not have the NDP nomination, he believes Wednesday night's meeting went well.

"I'm disappointed but, you know, that's what democracy's about," Furlong said. "The NDP had the only contested nomination, and you can see by the turnout certainly tonight that it was good for the party."

Green candidate wants respectful Parliament

Meanwhile, Streicker launched his campaign earlier on Wednesday, telling supporters in Whitehorse that one of his goals is to improve the quality of representation in Parliament.

"Our own prime minister referred to Parliament as dysfunctional," he said.

"I don't understand how we continue to embrace a system which would put forward a type of politic that wouldn't be more respectful [and] more constructive, working instead of for partisan power, but rather for people."

Streicker said he would like to see voter turnout in Yukon rise to 75 per cent in this election, compared to 65 per cent in the last vote.

Other parties have agreed they should work together on that issue, especially in terms of increasing the number of young voters, he said.