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RIDING PROFILE | Klondike — Jay Farr, Sandy Silver, Brad Whitelaw

2011 marked the first time that a Liberal was elected in Klondike. Incumbent Sandy Silver, the sole Liberal in the last legislative assembly, now hopes to hold his seat and lead a government.

Conflict between First Nations, miners polarize voters in Liberal leader's riding

The Klondike riding includes Dawson City. (Chris Windeyer/CBC)

About the Klondike riding

The Klondike riding, which includes Dawson City, is home to multi-generational families of placer miners, some of whom arrived in the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898.

With his election to office in 2011, Sandy Silver became the first Liberal to represent the riding. Before that, it had been held by both the NDP and Yukon Party since the inception of party politics in 1978.

The riding sits on the traditional territory of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation, which has strenuously resisted the Yukon Party government's handling of the land use planning for the Peel Watershed (a suit against the government is waiting to be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada.)

Interests of current placer mining claim holders, weighed against Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in sovereignty, is a contentious issue here. Besides sizeable (and numerous) placer claims, the Klondike riding contains massive gold deposits in the Henderson Range, which are in the early stages of development by international companies. 

Incumbent Silver is the leader of the Yukon Liberal Party, so like other ridings held by party leaders, this one will be closely watched on election night.

How did they vote in 2011?

Electors on list:  1,319
Voter turnout: 82 per cent

  • Liberal (Sandy Silver)  48.9 per cent
  • Yukon Party (Steve Nordick) 37.2 per cent
  • NDP (Jorn Meier) 13.6 per cent

The CBC contacted all candidates to ask why they were the best person to elect in this riding, and how would they improve it.

Jay Farr — NDP 

Jay Farr is the former deputy chief of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation, and first-time candidate in a territorial election. Last year, he was elected to Dawson City town council.

"As a born-and-raised Dawsonite, Dawson City councillor and former deputy chief of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation, our community's success is very close to my heart. Whether I'm in a boardroom or on the ice reffing a hockey game, I am dedicated to strengthening our community. I am also an avid trapper, one of the ways I keep a deep connection to the land.
 
"As Klondike's MLA, I will work hard to see more affordable and student housing, including specific targets for unit construction as part of a Yukon-wide affordable housing strategy. I will also make sure we have modern, successor mining legislation, which the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in government has long been calling for. Tomorrow's projects can't be governed by yesterday's rules.
 
"I am proud to stand with the only political party that has unequivocally supported the Final Recommended Peel Watershed Land Use Plan from day one and will ban fracking."
 

Sandy Silver — Liberal

Sandy Silver, a former high school math teacher in Dawson City, was elected MLA in 2011. He became leader of the Yukon Liberal Party by default, after the only other Liberal MLA elected in 2011, Darius Elias, was nudged out of caucus.  

"After serving the Klondike in opposition, I am in a unique position to lead progress on many issues. The Liberals have a real chance to form the government this time around. We have built a team of outstanding people who believe in and support democracy. We support the Land Use Planning process. We support evidence-based policy-making. And we support broad economic development that is environmentally responsible and beneficial to Yukoners.

"All of this is relevant in the Klondike, where I've been working with Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in, with the municipality, health services, the school and non-profit organizations. Avoiding the adversarial approach of the current government, we are poised to make real and lasting change, including a mental health strategy, removal of Bill S-6, solving our future energy needs and addressing climate change.

"There is much important work to be done, and we are ready to hit the ground running."

Brad Whitelaw — Yukon Party

Brad Whitelaw is a tourism operator in Dawson City and owns an outfitting concession. He also owns a local hotel. This is his first time running for a seat in the territorial legislature. ​

"I moved to the Klondike in my early 20s, bringing with me a strong work ethic and love of the outdoors. When I reflect on the time that I've been here I feel that I fit into the fabric of this community that I now call home. Opportunities lay out in front of us all, there for the taking, but not without commitment, and support from the people around us. With this I have raised a family in Dawson City and the outlying area. I've created a career by building local businesses that have thrived and grown with our community, addressing the wants and needs of the locals and visitors alike.

"I embrace the extremes of our environment, understand our economic challenges, and recognize the needs for recreation, education, and health care to create a balanced vibrant Klondike community. I would like to see housing and rental opportunities increase in our community. I would also like to work toward improving recreational facilities.

"Decisions that are made need to anticipate future economic growth while ensuring our history and current economic drivers are secure."

The CBC will profile all candidates, by riding, in the lead-up to voting day, Nov. 7.