Kristina Calhoun is representing the Yukon Green Party in Riverdale North for the second time during this year’s territorial election.
Calhoun was one of the party’s two co-leaders after its inception in 2010 and stayed on as leader until this fall, when she stepped down and was replaced by interim leader Frank de Jong.
She said she made the decision so she could spend more time in her own riding.
“I felt like last time around I enjoyed the experience, but I really felt that I didn’t get any real time in my riding with riding-specific issues,” she said.
Calhoun said she’s most concerned about climate change and economic diversification.
“I know that a really high majority of people I’m speaking to at the door, the environment and climate change and reconciling economic development with the environment is big for them,” she said.
The Yukon Greens support a $30-per-tonne carbon tax that would increase by $10 per tonne each year. They also want to introduce a “Buy Green Yukon” campaign and a clean air tax credit to support environmentally friendly local businesses.
Calhoun also spoke about the need for seniors’ housing, particularly for those who don’t have a low enough income to qualify for affordable housing but who can’t afford condos, either.
“So they’re saying ‘Where do we go?’” she said. “‘We can’t qualify to get into seniors’ or low-income housing, but there’s nothing available for transitional homes for seniors.’”
The Green Party is also calling for electoral reform, and wants the existing first-past-the-post voting system to be replaced with some form of proportional representation.
“How many false majority Yukon Party governments have we had throughout the decades as long as there’s been more than two parties running?” Calhoun said. “As long as the Yukon NDP and Liberals have been running, they’ve been splitting the vote and producing false majority Yukon Party governments.”
The Yukon Party platform includes a commitment to change the Elections Act such that any change in the way Yukoners vote would have to go to a referendum.
The Green Party has just five candidates in this year’s election, meaning it cannot form government. But Calhoun said she hopes that the other parties will take note of some of the Green Party’s policies and adopt them as their own.
“We’re not going to get all defensive and say ‘That was our idea.’ We’re putting these ideas out there because we need the ideas to actually happen,” Calhoun said. “A win for the Green Party would be: adopt some of our planks, adopt some of our policies and change the voting system.”
Although she’s no longer the party leader, Calhoun remains the most visible Green Party candidate, in large part because de Jong is working as a teacher in Faro and has been unable to spend much time in Whitehorse.
She has been the only Green candidate to participate in election debates, representing her party at two forums focused on the economy and the environment.
During the 2011 election, Calhoun won 3.5 per cent of the vote in Riverdale North with 35 ballots.
This time around, she’s running against the Yukon Party’s Mark Beese, the Liberals’ Nils Clarke and the NDP’s Rod Snow. The riding is currently held by Yukon Party MLA Scott Kent, who is now seeking re-election in Copperbelt South.
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