While Leonard Boniface has never held political office, starting at a young age, he’s been in involved with organizations and initiatives that have allowed him to represent his peers and make important presentations and decisions.
Those experiences, combined with his desire to help make Whitehorse a better place for all residents, is why he’s running in the upcoming municipal election for a councillor position.
“I think I have all the qualities to make a good leader, so I wanted to advocate more and more to help the people of Whitehorse as a representative (at) city council,” he said in an interview Sept. 27.
Boniface announced his candidacy on Sept. 24. Twenty candidates are vying for the six available councillor positions.
“I’ve done a lot for communities around the world, and I’ve been doing a lot here in the Yukon, especially in Whitehorse,” Boniface said.
As a youth in his native Tanzania, Boniface said he worked as a member of the Oxfam International Youth Parliament, where he was “representing the interests of thousands of young people to that parliament.” He’s since travelled the world and landed in the Yukon in 2010, where he’s served as president of the Teenage Life and Young Adults International Society, organized a Yukon delegation to attend the UN Youth Assembly in 2016 and puts together the annual Yukon African Music Festival, among other things.
Like several other candidates this election, Boniface said that his “number one priority,” should he be elected, is housing.
“So many people, they’re finding it hard to get a rental. It’s hard, it’s hard to get a house, to own a house. It’s hard for low-income people and those people with middle income to get a house,” he said, explaining that he wants to be “part of the solution.”
By working together with local businesses and the territorial government, Boniface said he believes that the city can “make Whitehorse one of the best places to live and with (an) affordable housing system and that makes the quality of life even more better.”
Other key points in Boniface’s platform include increasing staff at the Canada Games Centre so that more programming for children is offered year-round (thereby ensuring that “every parent in Whitehorse has access to affordable childcare”), introducing pension plans for all city workers to improve morale, working with Yukon First Nations to promote their cultures and traditions, creating a long-term plan to address homelessness, and improving traffic and transportation in the city.
Boniface said he wants to see 10 new parking areas built around Whitehorse and possibly an underground parking lot where drivers can park their vehicles, for a fee, the entire day without having to worry about plugging meters. He also wants more buses on more streets with more frequent service, longer operating hours and equipped with Wi-Fi so that citizens enjoy their experience on public transit more.
“I look forward to the Whitehorse community voting for me and trying to be a good representative on city council and get things done,” Boniface said.
The municipal election is Oct. 18.
Contact Jackie Hong at firstname.lastname@example.org