Nils Clarke, the executive director of the Yukon Legal Services Society, is seeking the Liberal nomination in Riverdale North in the upcoming territorial election.
“If elected, I commit to being a hardworking, thoughtful steward of the public purse who will work every day to maintain the trust that has been provided to me,” Clarke said Friday morning.
He announced his bid in the backyard of his Riverdale home.
Clarke said his decision to enter politics was “a no-brainer,” given his involvement in the community.
Clarke and his wife have lived in Riverdale for 24 years. He has served on the board of the Teen Parent Access to Education Society for more than 20 years, as well as the boards of the MacBride Museum and the Yukon Literacy Coalition, formerly Yukon Learn.
He is also a member of Whitehorse Elementary School Council, and has coached his two sons’ hockey and soccer teams. For 22 years, he’s worked as a legal-aid lawyer.
“I remain strongly committed … to work tirelessly, creatively and innovatively in improving all social outcomes for First Nations children and adults across the territory,” Clarke said.
“I’ve always been committed to social justice, and over the years, I’ve represented thousands of people across the territory, so I’m certainly familiar with positive determinants of health and programs that work and programs that are less likely to succeed.”
Clarke said he believes the current Yukon Party government is “a little long in the tooth and tired.”
He criticized the government’s turnover in deputy ministers and assistant deputy ministers over the last few years.
“Hundreds of thousands of dollars in severance have become a few million dollars in quick order,” Clarke said.
That money could have been directed to children-at-risk programs, or non-profit organizations such as Bringing Youth Towards Equality, Challenge Disability Resource Group or the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Society Yukon, he said.
Clarke said he is also interested in exploring renewable energy such as micro hydro, geothermal and solar as alternatives to the territory relying on fossil fuels from Outside.
“I think that that could be turned into a significant Yukon economic development opportunity.”
Clarke has been a member of the Liberal Party since 1984.
“In my view, (Liberal Leader) Sandy (Silver) has put together a great, talented and diverse team, which I look forward to joining soon,” he said. “We have much work to do, but I’m confident that I’m up for the challenge.”
Riverdale North is currently held by Yukon Party MLA Scott Kent, who has said he is moving away from Riverdale and will be seeking re-election in Copperbelt South.
So far, Clarke is the only person seeking the Liberal nomination in the riding. Mark Beese is the Yukon Party’s candidate and Rod Snow is running for the NDP.
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