Yukon Party MLA Brad Cathers has announced that he plans to seek re-election in Lake Laberge during this year’s territorial election.
Cathers has been MLA for Lake Laberge since 2002. He is currently the territory’s justice minister, as well as the minister responsible for Yukon Energy and the Yukon Development Corporation. He is also the government house leader.
Since being elected for a third term in 2011, he has spent time as the minister of Energy, Mines and Resources and of Community Services. He has also been the minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation, the Yukon Liquor Corporation and the Yukon Lottery Commission.
Cathers said his achievements since being elected include creating the domestic water well program, developing public trails and a playground at the Gunnar Nilsson and Mickey Lammers research forest north of Whitehorse, purchasing new fire trucks for the Hootalinqua and Ibex Valley fire departments, and opening a new 911 call centre.
He also helped develop the territory’s microgeneration program, which allows homeowners to sell renewable energy back into the grid.
In 2013, Cathers also committed to match donations to the Friends of Mount Sima Society to help preserve the ski hill.
“That made an important difference in keeping that infrastructure … open at a point in time when it was at risk of being shut down,” he said.
But Cathers’ third term hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Last year, he was shuffled from Community Services to Justice after Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis said he couldn’t work with him. In October 2014, city council voted unanimously to ask Premier Darrell Pasloski to remove Cathers from Community Services.
He was replaced by Copperbelt North MLA Currie Dixon, and was demoted from government house leader to deputy house leader in January 2015. He was promoted again to house leader last month, after former Speaker David Laxton left the party.
But Cathers says the City’s refusal to work with him was purely political.
“I think most of my constituents and most Yukoners have noticed how many of the councillors who are on that current council are either currently running for the Liberal Party or have been Liberal Party candidates,” he said. “It’s everything to do with territorial politics and nothing to do with municipal politics.”
Curtis himself ran for the Yukon Liberals in 2011 in Riverdale South. Former city councillors John Streicker and Mike Gladish are currently running for the Liberals, as is Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu.
Cathers said he’s had good relationships with “everyone who’s interested in having a good relationship with the Yukon government,” and the City of Whitehorse was the only municipality he had challenges with as Community Services minister.
But he added that every portfolio is a learning experience.
“If you can’t in retrospect look at areas where you’d do things slightly differently,” he said, “then you’re not giving yourself the hard look in the mirror that everyone in every line of work and most especially those in elected office should be doing.”
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