Just two weeks ago, after being soundly defeated in the run for Yukon regional chief at the Assembly of First Nations, Ed Shultz assured Yukon First Nations citizens that he would not run in the next territorial election.
By Thursday he had changed his mind.
Just outside Whitehorse’s Canada Games Centre, amid the roar of backhoes landscaping its front entrance, Shultz announced his intention to seek the Liberal nomination in McIntyre-Takhini.
“What encouraged me to run is conversations with my family and with Arthur (Mitchell) and people on the street who have been stopping me and saying, ‘Ed you can contribute, please don’t walk away from public life right now.’
“I’m quite resilient and I’m quite determined and I don’t have any problem running against someone who has been a minister or in any other post,” said Shultz.
“I’m very pleased he has reconsidered his momentary hesitation and decided to put his name forward,” said Mitchell, the Yukon’s Liberal leader, who stood beside Shultz during the announcement.
Shultz, a citizen of the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation, and of Northern Tutchone heritage, now lives in Mount Lorne with his wife and four children.
But he used to live in the McIntyre-Takhini riding.
“This area’s very familiar to me. As a little boy I used to snare rabbits here with my mother; my kids went to school here.”
And he enjoyed support from people in this riding while serving as a city councillor in the early 1990s, he said.
While Shultz mentioned education reform, developing a drug strategy and improving health care as his top concerns, diversifying the territory’s economy remains high on his agenda.
“We’re still riding the raw commodity wave; we get strengthened base-metal prices and that’s great until it crashes and we all start crying.
“We want to build on the raw commodity market and expand it a bit more so we can ride out those weak points.”
Schultz held the chair as Council of Yukon First Nations grand chief from 2000 to 2005, when he resigned to make a failed bid for the Yukon Liberal Party leadership.
He’s also a former international chair of the Arctic Athabaskan Council and a technician with the Yukon land claims and self-government agreements.
So what makes Shultz think he’ll be elected?
“What makes you think I won’t?” he quipped at the news conference.
So far, Shultz is uncontested for the Liberal nomination, and the party has yet to set a date for the vote.
Former Yukon Party minister John Edzerza and Rachael Lewis will vie for the NDP nomination in McIntyre-Takhini.
The Yukon Party hasn’t announced anyone seeking its nomination in the riding yet.
However, Pelly-Nisutlin MLA Dean Hassard announced his intention to run for re-election on Friday — in another riding.
Hassard will seek the Yukon Party nomination for Porter Creek South, where MLA Pat Duncan recently announced she won’t be running.
Hassard recently moved from Teslin to take up permanent residence in Whitehorse.
He became the fourth person this week to announce an intention to seek candidacy for the fall territorial election.
Seventeen-year Lake Laberge resident Nina Sutherland announced her intention to seek the NDP nomination in the Lake Laberge riding on Wednesday.
Sutherland will challenge Yukon Party incumbent Brad Cathers and Liberal candidate Jon Breen if she wins the NDP nomination.
On Thursday, longtime Yukon resident James McCullough announced his intention to seek the NDP nomination in Riverdale North, where he will challenge incumbent Ted Staffen.
The Liberals do not have an announced candidate for Riverdale North yet.
But last week the Liberals nominated former Canadian Forces peacekeeper David Laxton to challenge incumbent minister Archie Lang in Porter Creek Centre.
Lang was acclaimed to run for a second term for the Yukon Party.
The NDP have yet to announce a candidate in Porter Creek Centre or Porter Creek South.