New dipper duo

Yukon's New Democrats have rolled out two new candidates in preparation for the coming territorial election.

Yukon’s New Democrats have rolled out two new candidates in preparation for the coming territorial election.

Kevin Barr, who stood for the NDP in the past federal election, wants to represent the party in the newly-merged riding of Mount Lorne-Southern Lakes.

The 54-year-old runs a bed and breakfast. He’s also a Juno-nominated musician. And Barr’s well known for his work helping First Nation residents traumatized by residential schools.

Mount Lorne was represented by the NDP’s Steve Cardiff, who died in a car crash this summer. Southern Lakes was held by the Yukon Party’s Patrick Rouble, who’s leaving politics to attend graduate school in Calgary.

Cardiff’s death leaves “big shoes to fill,” said Barr. The MLA at one point was the NDP’s sole representative in the House, requiring him to “wear all the hats.”

As Barr bangs on doors, he’s assuring voters he’ll show the same dedication in raising their concerns.

Marsh Lake residents are worried that Yukon Energy will further raise water levels. Volunteer firefighters want better gear. And First Nations are fed up with a government that’s unresponsive to their concerns, said Barr.

This is Barr’s third run for office. He tried without luck to be elected as the NDP’s candidate in Southern Lakes in 2006.

The Yukon Party is running Gerard Fleming in the riding. Ted Adel is seeking the Liberal nomination.

Mike Tribes wants to represent the NDP in Porter Creek North.

The longtime New Democrat credits Jack Layton’s parting letter to Canadians with his entry into politics.

“It was a very inspiring letter, full of hope for the future.”

The 44-year-old information technology consultant has lived in the territory for 20 years. He’s lived in his riding for seven years.

Whitehorse’s housing shortage is one of his big concerns.

“Our kids can’t afford to buy houses anymore. And a lot of my friends in their 20s and 30s, there’s three or four of them getting together to rent a place, because they can’t do that alone. It’s a huge issue.”

He’d also like to see the government do more to help the homeless, and to enact the plan to protect the Peel Watershed.

Tribes is also concerned the Yukon isn’t cashing in on the current mining boom. “We’re giving our resources away to foreign companies. They fly their workers home and there’s no benefits to the Yukon.”

While the Yukon Party has completed its election roster, and the Liberals are nearly ready, the NDP still has many holes in its lineup.

It must still announce potential candidates for seven ridings. Only half its ridings have candidates nominated.

“But we actually have more than that,” said Leader Liz Hanson. More would-be contenders are lined up.

But, as civil servants, they’re unable to enter political campaigns until they’ve taken leaves of absence, so they’re waiting for the writ to drop, said Hanson.

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