Meet Yukon's candidates: NDP's Justin Lemphers focuses on affordability, environment
First-time candidate looks to reverse his party's fortunes in Yukon, and claim a seat in Parliament
This is the second in a series of profiles of Yukon's five federal election candidates. Another will be published each day this week, in alphabetical order by the candidate's name.
All candidates were asked the same questions. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
If the past few elections are any guide, Yukon NDP candidate Justin Lemphers is facing an uphill battle.
It's been 22 years since Yukoners last sent a New Democrat to Ottawa, and the last three federal elections have seen the party's Yukon candidates finish third or fourth in the vote tally.
This is Lemphers's first federal campaign. He grew up at Shallow Bay in the Lake Laberge area and has been president of the Yukon Federation of Labour, founded and ran an LGBTQ2+ community group, and has been involved with the Boys and Girls Club of Yukon.
"I went through the school system here, I have raised my family here, and this is a place that I call my chosen home," he said.
Why are you running for the NDP?
"I looked at all the parties that had a position in this election, several years ago, actually, I started looking at all the parties. And I started thinking about who I was as an individual, what my life experiences were, and where they best aligned.
"It didn't take me long to realize that the NDP has the values, has the ethics, that I consider are central to who I am as a person — and that was the place that I found to be my home."
What are the main issues for you in this election?
"We're hearing a lot on the doorsteps, and whenever we go talk to people — climate change. Affordability. Housing. The state of the environment. Reconciliation, in what it means to Yukoners. Infrastructure, like our dependency on telecommunications — how stable our cellphone and internet networks are. And just what it costs to live up here in the North."
Briefly, why should people vote for you?
"I have spent my life invested in issues that I care about, and that the people around me care about. And I am dedicated to volunteering to making a difference in my community, and doing the best I can for the people around me, especially those who struggle.
So, when we look around and we see people that are not included in society — those that are shunned or don't have a place to feel safe in — my goal is to make sure that everyone feels safe and welcome in Yukon."
What would your go-to karaoke song be?
"Fishin' in the Dark, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band."
Profiles of Yukon's other federal candidates will be published through the week, in alphabetical order:
Wednesday: Lenore Morris (Green)
Thursday: Jonas Smith (Conservative)
Friday: Joseph Zelezny (People's Party)
Written by Paul Tukker with files from Kaila Jefferd-Moore