Dawson City’s Sandy Silver wants to challenge MLA Steve Nordick in the next territorial election under the Liberal banner.
The 40-year-old bachelor has taught high-school math in Dawson for 12 years. He’s new to politics.
And his nomination as the Liberal candidate is not yet assured. He still needs to help build a riding association.
But he has the support of the Liberal Party, which expects to face an autumn territorial election and has begun to announce candidates in preparation for the race.
Silver says he’s reluctant to offer his own slant on Dawson controversies, “because my opinions are not necessarily what I’m going to run on. I’ll be running on the opinions of the people in the party in town here.”
But ask him about the Dome dispute, which pits subdivision residents against a placer miner who plans to dig up their neighbourhood road and adjacent lots with heavy equipment in search of gold, and Silver describes the government’s position – that the mine and an expanded subdivision can coexist – as “horse manure.”
Silver lives on the Dome. And he’s dismayed by the government’s explanation that, by turning down the recommendations of socio-economic impact assessors, they will have more “negotiation flexibility” with miners.
“You could have negotiated with this guy long ago and it wouldn’t of been an issue,” he said.
He doesn’t fault the mine’s proponent, whom he says is “a good guy and all he’s trying to do is feed his family.”
Instead, it’s a failure of government to deal with the question of approximately 50 active claims within Dawson’s boundaries.
It remains unclear where Nordick stands on the matter. “Our MLA has been silent,” said Silver. “He hasn’t said boo about this.”
The heavy-handed manner in which the Yukon Party announces new infrastructure work has managed to alienate Dawsonites who would otherwise support the projects, said Silver.
The new sewage treatment plant, the paving of Front Street and plans to build a new hospital have all been dogged by controversy.
In all these cases, “there’s no consultation until it’s too late to do anything,” said Silver.
“If the townspeople themselves were properly informed, I don’t think these things would become huge elephants in the room later on.”
Silver is a native of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Asked how he wound up in the Klondike, he answers, “a two-four of beer.”
It was 1996 and he was fresh out of teachers’ college. He and his friends showed up at a party with all they could afford: “poverty packs” of six beers.
There he met someone who had just completed his first year of teaching in the Yukon.
“We said, where did you get that two-four? And he said, ‘In the Yukon, come on up.’”
Silver hopes to have a riding meeting held by late May and to have a candidate selected by mid-June.
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