Mike Ivens runs for the Greens in Porter Creek North

Mike Ivens has thrown his hat in the ring for the Green Party in Porter Creek North for a second time.

Mike Ivens has thrown his hat in the ring for the Green Party in Porter Creek North for a second time.

Ivens formed the Yukon Green Party alongside Kristina Calhoun in 2010. The two were the only Green Party candidates in the 2011 election.

Ivens said electoral reform is a major issue for him during this campaign.

“I don’t think any government has legitimacy unless it’s got 50 per cent of all the votes cast, not just the biggest pile,” he said.

Ivens favours a ranked ballot system, where voters rank the candidates in their riding instead of just picking one. If no candidate receives more than half the votes, the ballots cast for the candidate who received the fewest votes are redistributed to the candidates ranked second on those ballots, until one candidate receives more than 50 per cent of the vote.

He said that system could reduce the need for strategic voting, because voters aren’t just picking one person.

“One of the sad things about the way the electoral system is now is that people feel they have to vote a certain way to vote against something, instead of to vote for something,” he said.

He also believes in the need for a carbon tax in the Yukon, arguing that a carbon price is a market-based policy that lets the private sector figure out how best to reduce carbon emissions, instead of having the government impose regulations.

“I don’t see why the right side of the economic spectrum isn’t embracing (market-based solutions),” he said.

The Yukon Greens cannot form government, but Ivens said even electing one Green MLA to the legislative assembly would make a difference.

“Even if we get outvoted at every vote, at least we get to say the Greens would do this, or a greener solution is that,” he said. “We’re not here to win power. We’re here to get the Green consciousness going.”

He said the Greens also want to see parties working together in the legislature.

“If everybody’s fighting for power, you have to make the other guy the enemy,” he said. “If everybody’s fighting for results, you just have to look for allies.”

Ivens said he would also like to see the Yukon do away with daylight saving time and embrace the legalization of marijuana.

“It’s an opportunity to start looking at the safe use of drugs as a medical problem, rather than a criminal problem,” he said. “Law and order wins votes, but by dang it, it doesn’t make society any better.”

Ivens has been retired for 10 years, and previously worked for the Yukon government’s management board secretariat.

“It’s a branch of finance that basically provides advice to the cabinet decision-makers on how to spend the public’s money,” he said. “So that gave me pretty good insight into how government runs and how to get things done and where money can come from if you need money.”

But he added that he’s been out of government for long enough that “any axes I’ve had to grind have long since been ground away.”

Ivens has lived in the Yukon since the early 1970s, and is very active in the theatre community.

“Just about most of the theatre companies in town I’ve worked for in one role or another,” he said.

Ivens won 69 votes in Porter Creek North in 2011, totalling 8.6 per cent of the vote.

This year, he’s facing off against Francis van Kessel for the NDP, Eileen Melnychuk for the Liberals and Geraldine Van Bibber for the Yukon Party. The riding is currently held by Yukon Party MLA Doug Graham, who is now seeking re-election in Whitehorse Centre.

Contact Maura Forrest at maura.forrest@yukon-news.com

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