School bus operator Ernie Jamieson wants to run for the Liberals in Watson Lake

The owner of Takhini Transport is seeking the Liberal nomination for Watson Lake in this year's territorial election. Ernie Jamieson said he wants to improve industry in the Yukon, and create more jobs in Watson Lake.

The owner of Takhini Transport is seeking the Liberal nomination for Watson Lake in this year’s territorial election.

Ernie Jamieson said he wants to improve industry in the Yukon, and create more jobs in Watson Lake.

He pointed out that the Yukon Party has held the Watson Lake riding since 2002.

“People want to know why there’s nothing,” he said. “Why isn’t there work?”

Jamieson is particularly concerned about jobs for tradespeople. He said people trained in the trades have difficulty finding work if they want to stay in the community. His own family members have gone down south to find work, he said.

Jamieson described himself as both “pro-industry” and a conservationist.

“I truly believe in the development of your resource,” he said. “We can sell resource, but it has to be done very professionally. After the fact, it has to be a nice clean-up and left natural again.”

Although he wasn’t previously a member of the Liberal Party, Jamieson said he believes the federal Liberals are the best choice for Canada right now, because of their focus on infrastructure.

Born in Whitehorse, Jamieson has lived in Watson Lake for 55 years. He’s worked in carpentry, machine operation, trucking, mining and road construction. He now owns Takhini Transport, a bus and trucking company, with his wife, Pat.

Jamieson also served as a councillor and deputy mayor for two terms with the Municipality of Watson Lake. During that time, he worked on the renovation of the recreation centre, a Yukon Electric waste heat project and the construction of the new town office.

Jamieson was also a minor hockey coach for more than a decade.

Last summer, the Yukon government dropped Takhini Transport as the territory’s school bus company, citing safety and operational concerns.

Documents from 2014 obtained by the NDP through an access-to-information request showed the company hadn’t provided proof of RCMP checks, first-aid certificates or driver training requirements for some workers.

The company also failed to have buses serviced and repaired by a certified mechanic.

But Jamieson said that should have no bearing on his campaign.

“There’s two sides to every story,” he said. “That’s old news to me. … I’m moving on.”

Jamieson said he’s stepping into territorial politics for his hometown, which he says needs “a facelift.”

Watson Lake is currently represented by Yukon Party MLA Patti McLeod.

Contact Maura Forrest at

maura.forrest@yukon-news.com

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