Elaine Taylor became the fourth Yukon Party minister to formally seek re-election Tuesday at a Whitehorse West nomination meeting that she won uncontested.
Taylor, the minister of Tourism and Culture, joined ministers Archie Lang, Brad Cathers and Glenn Hart in the Yukon Party’s bid for a second term.
“It’s been a real privilege to be able to serve in cabinet,” said Taylor, who previously reserved her decision to seek re-election as her family dealt with an illness.
“I made my decision (to seek re-election) in discussion and consultation with my family members, and my family is very supportive of my decision,” she said Tuesday.
“In nearly four years, I’ve had the opportunity to learn a great deal.”
Lang, Cathers and Hart were all recently acclaimed to represent the Yukon Party in their ridings for the impending territorial election that must be called by early November. So was Speaker Ted Staffen.
All parties are nominating candidates and looking for campaign space, sure signs of shifting into election mode.
“We have not attracted candidates to all the ridings yet, and that’s a work in progress,” said Yukon Party president Dan Macdonald.
“It’s more the process of having the right people, as opposed to making sure we have someone in every riding right now.
“We want to get qualified, quality candidates.”
Justice minister John Edzerza, widely anticipated to quit the Yukon Party and seek re-election under the NDP banner, hasn’t made any decisions, yet.
But on Tuesday NDP hopeful Rachel Lewis announced her intention to seek the party nomination in Edzerza’s riding, McIntyre-Takhini.
“This riding will face increasing pressures as Whitehorse grows,” Lewis said in a release.
McIntyre-Takhini residents are concerned about land, she said.
“With a number of its subdivisions near the primary access points to the downtown, residents have real concerns with how development is handled.”
The Southern Lakes is currently the only one of Yukon’s 18 ridings with three nominated candidates.
Southern Lakes MLA Patrick Rouble is seeking the Yukon Party nomination tonight at the Marsh Lake Recreation Centre, which was built under the Yukon Party’s watch.
“Initiatives such as developing the waterfront in Carcross, the construction of the Marsh Lake Community Centre, along with increased funding and resources for fire protection and community safety have demonstrated how this government has been addressing the needs of constituents in different areas of the beautiful Southern Lakes,” Rouble said in a release.
Tagish resident Ethel Tizya, a veteran Justice worker and First Nations advocate, won the Yukon Liberal Party nomination for Southern Lakes in July.
“One of my priorities … would be to improve programming at the corrections centre and to move ahead with construction of a new facility,” Tizya said in a release.
“This is a good example of how the current government has put political priorities ahead of what is good for people.”
Kevin Barr, who lives near Crag Lake, will run for the NDP.
“I like to help the underdog and challenge things that need to be changed to make things better for everyone,” Barr, who is the executive director of the Committee on Abuse in Residential Schools Society, told 26 attendees of the NDP nomination meeting at the Tagish Community Centre in July.
“I get kind of discouraged when people say that nothing will ever happen, because if that’s how they feel, nothing ever will happen.”
During the 2002 election, most Southern Lakes votes were found in the Marsh Lake subdivisions.
The only other Yukon riding with three announced candidates is Riverdale South.
Liberal nominee Phil Treusch will challenge Hart, the Community Services minister. Former Yukon News editor Peter Lesniak has announced his intention to seek the NDP nomination on August 24.
The Liberals have also nominated Jon Breen to run against Cathers in Lake Laberge and Dale Cheeseman will carry the party’s banner in Porter Creek North against Economic Development minister Jim Kenyon, who has recently experienced health difficulties and has not yet announced his intentions.
Eric Fairclough and Gary McRobb, both 10-year MLAs newly anointed as Liberals after their expulsions from the NDP, will hold nomination meetings even though they’ll be acclaimed, said Liberal leader Arthur Mitchell.
“Eric and Gary will be running, and I’ll be running,” said Mitchell.
“Pat (Duncan) still has to make her final decision.”
The Liberals have a full slate of candidates waiting in the wings, he added.
“Some people can’t formally announce until the writ is dropped.”
However, former Council of Yukon First Nations grand chief Ed Schultz, who ran for the Liberal leadership last year, will not be seeking territorial office.
“I am not interested in running in the next territorial election,” Schultz said in Mayo last week.
Jim Bowers will challenge McRobb for the Yukon Party in Kluane.
“(McRobb) hasn’t done too badly, but crossing the floor didn’t really sit right with a whole bunch of people,” said Bowers, a retired Yukon Electrical Company employee.
“The next step for me is to get to know what’s happening, get a little experience in this thing.”
The NDP has yet to nominate candidates in Kluane and Mayo-Tatchun, two ridings they lost when McRobb and Fairclough were expelled from caucus.
Mount Lorne MLA Steve Cardiff and Vuntut Gwitchin MLA Lorraine Peter were both nominated again for the NDP.
Old Crow resident Darius Elias will seek the Liberal nomination to run against Peter.
NDP hopeful Jorn Meier is the only nominated candidate for the Klondike.
Independent Klondike MLA Peter Jenkins, who was expelled from Yukon Party caucus in November 2005, hasn’t said yet if he will seek a fourth term.
And Pelly-Nisutlin MLA Dean Hassard has not yet stated his intentions.
None of the party leaders have been nominated yet. Leaders typically wait until closer to election time, after their teams have been nominated, to gain momentum for the 30-day election period.