Murray Martin dusts off old skills

Murray Martin is hoping to show Whitehorse residents that city politics is like riding a bike – you never forget how to do it.

Murray Martin is hoping to show Whitehorse residents that city politics is like riding a bike – you never forget how to do it.

At 78, Martin knows a thing or two about running for office. He spent several years as a municipal politician in Ontario before moving to the Yukon five years ago.

“I went in to politics because I felt there was a mess of corruption where I lived, in Simcoe County,” he said.

Over the course of seven years, Martin served as the deputy mayor of Oro-Medonte Township and sat on the board of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

“I took on maybe a little too much,” he said. “My whole life was taken up by politics.”

Moving to the Yukon was a chance for him to slow down. But after seeing the way Whitehorse has been run over the last few years, he’s looking to get back in to politics.

“I’m very concerned with McIntyre Creek,” he said. “I don’t believe in what they’re doing with it.”

The city is considering building a new subdivision near the creek as well as a road through the area to connect Porter Creek to the Alaska Highway.

“The planners have been pushing it for years,” said Martin, adding he doesn’t feel enough study of the area has been done.

“They haven’t studied the watershed or the sub watershed,” he said.

Martin has seen commerce override environmental concerns before, and once you lose it you can’t get it back, he said.

“You’re not going to destroy Walmart and rebuild the marsh that is sits on.” 

He also has concerns about the city’s finances.

“When I look at the financial situation of Whitehorse, taxes have to rise,” he said. “As a senior, that worries me.”

When he lived in Oro-Medonte, Martin saw continuous tax increases disenfranchise seniors there.

“Some had to sell their homes because they couldn’t afford them,” said Martin.

With property values at record highs, he’s also seen it negatively impacting young people just starting out.

“I personally know one young couple that have left because of it,” he said.

Without an affordable-housing strategy, Martin fears more people will be forced to leave.

“People’s needs have to come first,” he said. “Without people you can’t have commerce.”

There are 12 other candidates running in the byelection. They include Pat Berrel, Norm Hamilton, Mike Tribes, Harry Hrebien, Kirn Dhillon, Cam Kos, Linda Bonnefoy, Kirk Cameron, Ted Lambert, Patrick Singh, Duke Connelly and Martin Lehner.

Polls open December 1.

Contact Josh Kerr at joshk@yukon-news.com