Election 2006: Riding profile

 n COPPERBELT Soccer moms who love Starbucks co-exist with squatters and abject rural poverty in the electoral district of Copperbelt.

 n COPPERBELT

Soccer moms who love Starbucks co-exist with squatters and abject rural poverty in the electoral district of Copperbelt.

The Yukon riding with the most residents has a multiple-personality disorder, with Squatters Row, Hillcrest, Logan, Wolf Creek, MacRae and Copper Ridge all within its boundaries.

Important issues to Copperbelt residents are polarized along the riding’s income, class and moral divisions.

Environmental and social program concerns are important in lefty areas like Hillcrest and Lobird — the area was a former NDP stronghold while it was the riding of Whitehorse West.

Right-of-centre issues such as economic development are more important in newer suburban areas like Granger, Logan and Copper Ridge.

Two issues that tend to cut through the class and moral differences are a promised, but unbuilt school in Copper Ridge and a long-proposed extension of Hamilton Boulevard to Robert Service Way.

Copperbelt is a tough riding in which to arrive on doorsteps as politician, said David Sloan, a former Education minister under Piers McDonald’s NDP government who was an MLA in the riding’s former iteration, Whitehorse West.

“It forces you, as a candidate, to be far more appreciative of the kind of diversity of people who are voting there,” said Sloan in an interview in 2005.

“You can’t go in and espouse a traditional party line, because the community is much more diverse.”

Candidates:

Arthur Mitchell, Liberal Party, former realtor, lives in Copperbelt, incumbent.

Russ Hobbis, Yukon Party, landscape company owner, lives in Copperbelt, first time running for territorial office.

No NDP or independent candidates as of press time.

How Copperbelt voted in 2002 . . .

YP Haakon Arntzen: 374

LIB Arthur Mitchell: 312

NDP Lillian Grubach-Hambrook: 263

. . . and again in November 2005 byelection:

LIB Arthur Mitchell: 459

NDP Maureen Stephens: 285

YP Cynthia Kearns: 181

Percentage of voters who voted in 2002 . . .

74

. . . and again in November 2005 byelection:

58

Did you know?

Haakon Arntzen, Copperbelt’s former MLA, resigned from the legislature in 2005 after being convicted on several charges of indecent assault, which he later appealed successfully. Arntzen will soon face a new trial. Premier Dennis Fentie never publicly asked for Arntzen’s resignation from the house.

(TQ)

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