Former Teslin chief Carl Sidney seeks Liberal nomination in Pelly Nisutlin

Carl Sidney, former chief of the Teslin Tlingit Council, is seeking the Liberal nomination for Pelly-Nisutlin.

Carl Sidney, former chief of the Teslin Tlingit Council, is seeking the Liberal nomination for Pelly-Nisutlin.

The former chief hopes that if he’s nominated, his 2016 campaign will be more successful than his last one.

In 2011 Sidney only received 73 votes, behind the NDP candidate who received 178 votes, and Yukon Party MLA Stacey Hassard, who got 275 votes.

“I’ve learned,” Sidney told the News on Thursday.

“I have to knock on doors and be in people’s faces,” he said.

Sidney said community members approached him to run.

He served as a Teslin Tlingit Council councillor for seven years and as chief for four. He was also a member of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board.

He said he wants to represent all the communities in the riding, which includes Teslin, Ross River, and Faro.

All past Pelly-Nisutlin MLAs have come from Teslin.

Sidney is also from Teslin.

“I intend on spending a lot of time in Ross River and Faro because they’ve been neglected so much in the past,” he said. “I feel like they have a lot to offer to the Yukon.”

Sidney said he has a good connection with Ross River, where some of his relatives live.

The Yukon government hasn’t treated Ross River residents well, he said.

“I feel very concerned about how they’ve been treated regarding the suspension bridge,” he said.

The Ross River suspension bridge was slated for demolition in 2014 because it was deemed unsafe.

But protests from local residents made the government change its plans. Last November the government said it is counting on federal cash to fix the bridge.

If elected, Sidney said he will hold monthly meetings in the communities.

Hassard, he said, hasn’t spent much time in the community during his tenure.

“He doesn’t show up in the community except when it’s election (season),” he said. “It’s very important you have monthly meetings, not just go up there and have a barbecue.”

Relations with Yukon First Nations and the economy are two of Sidney’s priorities.

“Throughout my experience as chief, I’ve experienced many litigation cases that impacted the present economy,” he said, referring to ongoing litigations between Yukon First Nations and the Yukon government, including the dispute over the Peel watershed.

“I feel the Liberal Party and its members can do a better job rebuilding our economy in the Yukon.”

Sidney said a Liberal government would work with Yukon First Nations that don’t have self-government agreements, which includes the Ross River Dena Council, the Liard First Nation and the White River First Nation.

Sidney said Yukon needs a more transparent government.

“The current government is not being fully engaged with Yukoners in regards to the economy, the environment,” he said.

Education, he added, is another key priority, especially in the communities.

“Children are not receiving (the) education (they need) to be able to have entrance into Yukon College. They find out their shortfall at the last minute.”

Sidney will be facing off against Blair Hogan for the Liberal nomination.

Hogan is a member of the Teslin Tlingit First Nation Executive Council.

Hassard has announced he will be seeking re-election. The NDP’s candidate for the riding is Ken Hodgins.

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

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