Jonas Smith announcing Sept. 6 that he’s seeking the Yukon Conservative nomination in the 2019 federal election. As of Sept. 20, Smith had officially secured the Conservative Party of Canada nomination for a seat during the federal election next year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Jonas Smith secures Conservative Party nomination for federal election

Smith says “it’s time for a change.”

Jonas Smith officially secured the Conservative Party of Canada nomination to run for the sole Yukon seat during the next federal election.

“I would submit, respectfully, that it’s time for a change,” he told the News on Sept. 25. “I’ve been hearing from a lot of people they’re ready for a new perspective and someone who’s going to not only put in the miles but actually deliver on things that are important to Yukoners.”

Yukon Liberal MP Larry Bagnell did not return requests for comment.

Smith, 44, was uncontested.

He chalked this up, in part, to his prior experience in the “political machine” and knowing the movers and shakers in the territory.

“I was the only one to submit the application, but there were certainly others interested,” he said. “The more I talked to people the more people bounced it back to me and said ‘Well, you know Jonas, why don’t you think about running.’

“To be honest, I had not thought about it until relatively recently.”

Smith, a former bass player for a punk band, announced he was running for the nomination on Sept. 6. The period to apply expired two weeks later, on Sept. 20.

Smith served as campaign manager to former premier Darrell Pasloski during the 2011 territorial election. After Pasloski’s win, he worked as his executive assistant. Eventually, he took on the role of deputy chief of staff before moving into a position as executive director of the Klondike Placer Miners Association in 2016.

Currently, he is also the Yukon representative on the Conservative Party’s national council, a position he’s held for the last 2.5 years.

While still too early to unfurl a Conservative Party platform (the next federal election is slated for next October), Smith said ideas specific to the Yukon have started to be deliberated.

He said he’s focused on providing opportunities to Yukoners, in line with the ones available to his grandparents in the 1940s, then, later, his own parents.

“I think Yukon has a lot of potential, but, presently, the public sector is the number one employer,” he said. “I would like my children to have a lot more opportunity in the private sector. (The) government needs to set the stage for the private sector to provide economic prosperity to generate jobs, to generate tax revenue, so we can all enjoy the considerable standard of life here in the Yukon.”

With files from Amy Kenny

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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