Dawson City councillor Jay Farr is taking on Liberal Leader Sandy Silver as the NDP’s candidate in the Klondike riding for the upcoming territorial election.
Farr said the Yukon government needs to update its mining legislation, in the wake of an application by two placer miners in Dawson to have all buildings removed from the Tr’ondek subdivision so they can get at the gold underneath. The two are likely seeking compensation for the claims they own beneath the subdivision.
“We can’t go back to the wild west days,” Farr said, echoing NDP Leader Liz Hanson.
He’s unimpressed with an idea floated recently by Silver to compensate claim holders for what they put into working on a claim, as a sort of compromise. He said this debacle smacks of the gold rush era, when the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation was kicked off its land to make way for mining. The solution is to improve Yukon’s legislation, he said.
Farr also said the Yukon government needs to get more involved with providing affordable housing in Dawson, possibly by refurbishing some of the disused buildings around town.
“There’s lots of derelict places that are sitting around,” he said. “It’s up to the Yukon government to find funding to maybe purchase those buildings and rent them out.”
He said once the nearby Coffee mine is up and running, more people will flood into Dawson, creating an even bigger housing crunch.
Farr said the Yukon Party government isn’t serving Dawson’s interests, particularly by not dealing enough with the local First Nation.
He also took issue with the Liberals’ stance on resource development, accusing Silver of not having a clear position on fracking and of refusing to take sides on the Peel watershed dispute until the Yukon Court of Appeal released its decision.
“He’s leaning which way the court system goes and he goes that way,” he said. “That’s just wrong.”
Silver said in June he would implement the recommended land-use plan for the Peel watershed if elected. He has also said his party would not issue permits for fracking.
Farr also said more needs to be done to address drug and alcohol abuse in Yukon’s small communities.
Aside from his work as a councillor with the City of Dawson, Farr has served as a Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation councillor and deputy chief. He has worked at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s for nearly 10 years, and has also been a hockey referee for 30 years.
Farr was born in Whitehorse, but has been living in Dawson for 47 years.
He said he feels he has a good chance going up against the Liberal leader, as they are both respected people in town.
Silver won the Klondike riding in 2011 with 49 per cent of the vote, and is currently the only sitting Liberal MLA. Brad Whitelaw has been acclaimed as the Yukon Party’s candidate in Dawson.
Farr announced his intention to seek the NDP nomination on Sept. 14, and was acclaimed the next day.
Elsewhere, the NDP has formally nominated Francis van Kessel as the party’s candidate in Porter Creek North. Doug Graham and Stacey Hassard have been acclaimed by the Yukon Party in Whitehorse Centre and Pelly-Nisutlin, respectively.
The NDP has yet to name anyone for the Vuntut Gwitchin riding in Old Crow. Aside from that, all three major parties at least have potential candidates in all 19 ridings in the territory.
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