The Conservative Party of Canada has named a Yukon candidate amid speculation that a fall election could be on the horizon.
Returning candidate Jonas Smith announced July 13 that he will run in the next federal election as the Conservative Party of Canada candidate.
“Today’s announcement makes things official. But the reality is I will continue doing what I’ve been doing since pretty much the spring of 2018,” he said.
Smith made his announcement amid predictions that an election could be called this fall. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has denied that his party is in election mode, but cross-country travel and favourable polling have continued to raise speculation.
Canada’s next federal election isn’t supposed to be held until October 2023, but the minority Liberal government could request an election at any time.
Smith said he had been considering another run since the results of the 2019 election, when he was beaten by just 153 votes by Liberal incumbent Larry Bagnell.
“I like to think that this time around, I don’t have to start from scratch, that people who have lived here for more than two years know who I am already, know about my commitments to the role,” he said. “Voters are looking for a change in government.”
With the exception of a loss in 2011, when he lost his seat for four years to Conservative Ryan Leef, Bagnell has held the riding since 2000.
He narrowly beat Smith in the last election, winning by less than one per cent.
Bagnell currently serves as Liberal MP in the House of Commons, and has not yet announced whether or not he would run if an election was called. However, he did not give a farewell speech on June 16, when a number of departing MPs who will not run for election said goodbye before the summer break.
Candidate Justin Lemphers ran for the federal NDP in 2019 and came in third. The party said they do not currently have a candidate ready to run in the Yukon riding.
Dan Bader, president of the NDP’s electoral district association, said the party is currently “undertaking an extensive candidate search process to recruit diverse nomination candidates from all walks of life.”
“In trying to recruit candidates from groups that are often underrepresented in federal politics, our process is frequently slower than that of the Liberals and Conservatives,” he said.
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