Independent candidate Coach Jan Prieditis, from left, Liberal incumbent Jeanie McLean, NDP candidate Michelle Friesen, and Yukon Party candidate Ray Sydney. (Submitted photos)

Independent candidate Coach Jan Prieditis, from left, Liberal incumbent Jeanie McLean, NDP candidate Michelle Friesen, and Yukon Party candidate Ray Sydney. (Submitted photos)

Getting to know the candidates in Mountainview

The riding of Mountainview is home to four Whitehorse neighborhoods including McIntyre, Granger, Hillcrest and Valleyview.

As a Whitehorse riding, it is also on the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta’an Kwäch’än Council.

Elijah Smith Elementary School, the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport and its nearby lands are part of the riding with the airport grounds marking the eastern boundary just past the airport. The top of Two Mile Hill marks the boundary to the north with the western boundary largely defined by Hamilton Boulevard, though the riding extends past the roadway and into McIntyre in one section. The southern boundary is just past Hayes Place in the Granger subdivision.

In 2016, Liberal Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys) won the riding with 439 votes, six ahead of NDP candidate Shauna Stikeman’s 433 and 40 ahead of incumbent and then-premier Darrell Pasloski, who quickly resigned as Yukon Party leader after his loss. McLean is seeking re-election.

The riding was created in 2009 from portions of the former ridings of McIntyre-Takhini and Copperbelt with Pasloski being the first MLA to serve there beginning in 2011.

There are four candidates running in this riding. They are profiled in alphabetical order.

Coach Jan Prieditis – Independent candidate

The lone independent candidate to run in the territorial election is Coach Jan Prieditis.

“I don’t fit in a party banner,” he said, noting his interest is in working towards the best interests of the territory regardless of party lines.

A four-year resident of the Yukon and the Mountainview riding, Prieditis is well-known for his work as the squash coach at the Better Bodies facility in Marwell.

It’s his coaching experience that has helped him gain the skills Prieditis says he would bring to the legislature.

Prior to arriving in the Yukon, Prieditis’ career took him around the world working as a coach and in running multi-sport camps for kids.

It was through that work he learned the importance of the two principles that guide his life and his decision to run for office — to serve and respect for the greater good.

As he explained, the question he would ask himself with every political decision is: “Does this course of action serve the good of the whole and does it respect all people and resources impacted equally and unconditionally regardless of presentation.”

Taking his message to voters in Mountainview, Prieditis said the high cost of housing, addictions, and community safety top the list of concerns among voters. Determining how to take action on each issue will require a deeper look at the causes and in looking at solutions asking the question that would guide his decisions, he suggested.

Jeanie McLean (Dendys) – Yukon Liberal Party

Jeanie McLean says there are many reasons she is seeking a second term under the Liberal banner, but they all come down to a deep commitment for the well-being of the Yukon and her riding of Mountainview.

McLean wants to continue her work as the territory moves out of the pandemic.

Serving as the riding’s MLA and in ministerial roles on cabinet (Minister of Tourism and Culture, and Minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate, and the Yukon Compensation Health and Safety Board) since 2016 has been more than an honour for the former director of justice for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation.

“Honour is not enough to say what it’s meant to me,” she said.

Issues she’s hearing about in Mountainview echo those her colleagues are hearing about across the Yukon.

“Of course housing is a huge issue,” she said.

Among the Liberal plans to address housing is a land bank for housing lots, support for a new community land trust as well as a housing first project in Watson Lake.

Community safety and well-being also continue to be an issue for Mountainview residents, she said, highlighting traffic control, wildlife interactions and crime among the more specific concerns.

To that end, McLean has worked to start a community safety wellness committee, which includes representation from the RCMP, Elijah Smith Elementary School council, and it’s anticipated a representative from Whitehorse city council may become part of the group as well.

McLean said the committee will look at ways to collaborate on safety and wellness initiatives with a possibility of drawing on the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s community safety initiatives.

“This is a large piece of work,” McLean said, noting her hope to continue work with the committee as Mountainview’s MLA.

Likewise, she’s also anxious to get back to the legislature and continue a long list of initiatives that were underway in her ministerial portfolios.

Michelle Friesen – Yukon New Democratic Party

It was a surprise to Michelle Friesen when NDP leader Kate White asked if she was interested in running under the party banner in the territorial election, but after talking with White and others Friesen realized it was an obvious next step for her.

“I want to help people,” she said.

Friesen has volunteered with a variety of organizations over the years, most recently founding ShredHERs, a women’s mountain biking program that aims to support mental health and wellness for women.

Wanting to continue her efforts to help the Yukon population, she said she’s pleased to be running for the NDP in Mountainview.

Friesen no longer lives in the riding, given the limited options to buy a home there when she and her partner were purchasing, but she lives nearby in Copper Ridge and regularly makes use of the trails and services in Mountainview along with keeping in touch with those in the community.

Speaking with riding constituents, she identified housing, road safety (particularly those impacted by the work to expand the Alaska Highway near Hillcrest) and community safety as the major issues facing Mountainview.

She pointed to the NDP plan that would see collaboration with other governments to deal with the housing crisis as well as rent caps and other measures to help address the costs of housing.

Friesen also highlighted a need for more infrastructure to be put in place on initiatives like the highway improvements that would make green commuting safer.

Ray Sydney- Yukon Party

A three-term councillor with the Kwanlin Dün First Nation, who has also worked for the First Nation’s justice department and family and children services in various capacities over the years, Ray Sydney said he decided to run for territorial office to continue his efforts for those he already serves as a councilor as well as broadening that to the entire Mountainview riding.

“I still wish to serve,” he said.

If elected to the legislature, Sydney said he will resign his position on Kwanlin Dün council and a by-election would be held for that seat.

Describing Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon as the right person to lead the territory out of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sydney pointed to the party’s plan to support businesses as the economy reopens along with established benchmarks and timelines on the reopening.

Along with supports to private industry, Sydney noted many in the riding want to see a freeze on power rates, as the Yukon Party is proposing, to make it more affordable for residents.

Sydney also highlighted the territory’s review of the Child and Family Services Act, noting he would like to do more work to bring new legislation to fruition. Sydney sat on the review committee for the review of the act, touring communities in the territory and would like to continue to be involved with the work.

A long-time supporter of the Yukon Party, Sydney said he’s been pleased with the way the party has worked with his First Nation in the past.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Election 2021

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