Justin Lemphers, photographed in Whitehorse on Jan. 24, announced he is seeking the Yukon federal NDP nomination. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Labour rights worker Justin Lemphers seeks Yukon federal NDP nomination

‘I firmly believe in the concept of nothing for us without us’

The first person has come forward announcing his plans to seek the NDP nomination in the next federal election

Justin Lemphers, 43, a labour rights worker, is stepping up to the plate.

“I’ve been considering getting involved at a higher level for some time,” he told the News during an interview. “I firmly believe in the concept of nothing for us without us.”

There’s “at least one other” individual that will go against Lemphers for the nomination, according to a press release from the federal NDP’s local association

NDP members are to vote for the best candidate by Mar. 28, roughly six months before the federal election this fall.

Lemphers said he wants Yukoners to know he’s an active participant in his community.

“I have represented on social issues. When there needs to be action or change, I have no problem stepping forward. I also don’t assume I need to be the face of that action,” he said.

He said that when it comes to Indigenous issues, their voices are first and foremost.

Lemphers said he’s also an ally of the LGBTQ community, though only if they consider him as such, he clarified.

He’s worked on labour issues for about a dozen years at both the territorial and national level, Lemphers said.

Files he’s been a part of include working on wage inequality and poverty reduction measures.

Lemphers currently works at the Yukon Federation of Labour, an elected role.

He joined the NDP roughly two years ago, he said. He’s been a member of federal and territorial riding associations and on the board.

Right now, he said he’s hosting conversations with Yukoners to gauge what’s most important to them, asking questions concerning affordability and quality of life in the territory.

“Letting people know that I have the experience necessary to do the job, and also that I’m used to working under conditions where they may not be ideal,” he said, referring to the NDP, which has underdog status in Canada.

“I see that as a challenge, but not insurmountable.”

On the Ottawa Liberals, he called it “an interesting few years.

“I’m really disappointed with their recent decision to legislate Canada Post workers back to work,” he said. “I really struggle with how this Liberal government thinks that they’ve done it in a way that doesn’t violate the rights that have been upheld through the courts and won through bargaining processes.”

Lemphers also noted that electoral reform has since fallen by the wayside.

“There’s a lot of potential for improvement there,” he said.

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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