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New candidate joins federal Liberal race

Gurdeep Pandher insists he's not a politician. But, as the latest Yukoner to get the green light to run for the Liberal slot at the next federal election, he's in the running to become one.

Gurdeep Pandher insists he’s not a politician. But, as the latest Yukoner to get the green light to run for the Liberal slot at the next federal election, he’s in the running to become one.

The 36-year-old came to the Yukon as a tourist in 2011 and fell in love with the area. He has been living here for the last two years.

Pandher said he’s running to bring innovation and creativity to politics. His career path and history is certainly a creative one.

He works as an IT professional for the Yukon government, and he’s the publisher and editor of the Yukon Times online newspaper. He’s also a dancer and has published his own novel about a NASA astronaut who died in the Columbia space shuttle disaster.

Pandher says he wants to use his experiences to reach out to people who might not necessarily be involved in the political process.

“I will be honest. I will be meeting with people. I want to work with Yukoners across all party lines,” he said yesterday.

Pandher was born and raised in India. He moved to Canada in 2006 and lived in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta before moving to the Yukon.

With a masters in public administration as well as two diplomas in journalism and multimedia, and web-design and graphics, Pandher said he’s learned the value of a good education.

Many of his key platform issues touch on education.

He said he would like to start online video tutorials specifically targeting Yukoners and the kind of work that is needed in the territory.

“Training really is the key to success,” he said.

That same focus on training would also be used towards helping small business owners find and keep skilled employees.

As he describes it, Pandher is looking to start a new job-training program where small business owners can enroll their new employees for training.

He said he personally knows both small business owners and Yukoners looking for work.

“The problem is training. Training related to specific jobs,” he said.

In his work as an IT professional, Pandher said he knows how important the Internet is in a modern society.

If elected, he said he would work with the federal and territorial government as well as Internet service providers to bring more competition to the Yukon Internet market.

In his spare time, Pandher has taught Bhangra dance classes in Whitehorse. As a dancer he said he is “deeply saddened by cuts to arts and cultural activities in Canada. I really want to work to stop that.”

The same goes for stopping cuts to the CBC, he said.

“The CBC has been part of cultural growth in the Yukon and has a proven track record of independent media,” he said.

So far there are four names in the running to get the Yukon Liberals’ federal nomination.

Pandher’s name will appear on the ballot on Oct. 4, along with former Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, engineer and entrepreneur Ben Sanders, and the owner of Yukon Travel and CEO of Mainsteele Developments, Tamara Goeppel.

Contact Ashley Joannou at