Dawson businessman Brad Whitelaw first to emerge against Silver in Klondike

A Dawson City business owner and longtime resident wants to be the Yukon Party candidate for Klondike.

A Dawson City business owner and longtime resident wants to be the Yukon Party candidate for Klondike.

Brad Whitelaw, owner of the Triple J Hotel, made the announcement on Discovery Day.

If nominated, he’ll take on Liberal Leader Sandy Silver in the upcoming election.

In 2011 Silver won with 530 votes, 126 more than Yukon Party candidate Steve Nordick.

Why run now?

It’s just the right time, Whitelaw told the News Tuesday.

“I’m at this point in my life where I have a lot of past experiences,” he said. “I’m confident I can make a difference.”

Whitelaw has been in the community for 29 years. He has also been a member of the Canadian Rangers since 1991.

He says he’s always been a supporter of the Yukon Party.

“I believe (MLA) Sandy’s (Silver) done a fine job,” he said. “As things and time go on, changes are always inevitable, warranted.

“I want strong representation of all economic sectors and ventures here in the Klondike.”

On top of the hotel, Whitelaw owns the Klondike Spirit, a paddlewheeler that offers tours on the Yukon River in Dawson, and Tombstone Outfitters.

In his announcement, Whitelaw spoke of the need to “stand up for the resource sector.”

He says he wants to better represent all Klondike business owners in the Legislative Assembly.

“What I see for the future is a definite upswing,” he said about the territory’s economy.

Whitelaw says he hasn’t yet gone door to door to tell people about his candidacy, but in Dawson “words travel fast.”

“I’m getting hugs and handshakes,” he said.

At the grocery store or the post office he said he meets a lot of people surprised by his candidacy.

“(In Dawson) everybody knows each other,” he said. “They know me as a successful business owner.”

Getting into politics is simply a natural next step, Whitelaw said. At the time he bought the Triple J hotel he had never owned one.

The same was true for the Klondike Spirit. He said he turned both into successful businesses.

“It’s with that kind of determination and passion and confidence that I can take on this position and make a difference.”

Before he can talk about what the community needs and what he’ll do, Whitelaw says he needs to meet with other local party members.

“We’ll get a sense of what is important,” he said.

Provided he wins the Yukon Party nomination, he’ll be up against a party leader in Silver. But that’s not really how Whitelaw sees it.

“I don’t look at it as a defeat of somebody else,” he said. “I look forward more to win for myself.”

Silver is seeking re-election and was nominated in May. The NDP hasn’t yet announced a candidate for the riding.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

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