The acting director of the Yukon Native Language Centre wants to be the NDP candidate in Copperbelt North during this year’s territorial election.
This will mark Andre Bourcier’s second time seeking a spot on an NDP ballot. He made a bid for the Yukon’s federal NDP nomination during the 2015 election, but lost to Melissa Atkinson.
He said he spoke with many voters during the federal election campaign who had concerns about the Yukon Party.
“They were asking why as Yukoners they could not get work on projects like the construction of the new F.H. Collins high school, why the Yukon Party was so often going to court against First Nation governments,” he said.
Bourcier focused heavily on fiscal responsibility during his announcement on Thursday.
“Darrell Pasloski cannot talk of a no-deficit budget when Crown corporations like Yukon Energy, the Yukon Hospital Corporation or Yukon Housing are raking up debts like never before,” he said. “One day, those debts will have to be paid, and we know the invoice will be sent to Yukoners.”
He said past Yukon NDP governments have a record of “strong financial management.”
He also said an NDP government would honour the final agreements with Yukon’s self-governing First Nations. He criticized the Yukon Party for being “stuck in litigation with First Nation governments over the Peel watershed land use plan … and now over mineral exploration,” referring to a recent lawsuit filed by the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation over mineral staking.
Bourcier is originally from Quebec City, but moved to the Yukon in 2001, and has lived in Copperbelt North ever since.
He said working at the Yukon Native Language Centre has helped him “understand what the conditions in the communities are and what are the aspirations of First Nations people.”
He is also the vice-chair of the Association franco-yukonnaise, and was chair of the French school board from 2006 to 2013.
During his tenure, the school board sued the Yukon government, claiming it had misallocated funds and wasn’t meeting its obligations under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects minority language rights.
On Thursday, Bourcier said the current relationship between the Yukon government and the francophone community is good, but it hasn’t always been that way.
“Over the years, it has been really up and down with the government in terms of the francophone population and the kind of services they deserve,” he said.
He said a new francophone high school, which is currently being planned on the site of the old F.H. Collins Secondary School, will help provide “equal services” to the French-speaking community.
Bourcier said it’s important that the francophone community be represented in the legislative assembly.
“I strongly believe in diversity,” he said. “We need to have people participating in government coming from all walks of life, coming from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds and having all these minorities represented in government.”
Bourcier has a PhD in linguistics from Universite Laval. He is a member of the Yukon Geographical Place Names Board, and has also sat on the board of Swim Yukon and helped organize the swimming portion of the 2009 Canada Summer Games.
Copperbelt North is currently held by Yukon Party MLA Currie Dixon, who has announced he will not seek re-election.
Lindsay Schneider and Pat McInroy are vying for the Yukon Party nomination in the riding, while Raj Murugaiyan and Ted Adel are both seeking the Liberal nod.
Contact Maura Forrest at