Whitehorse activist Skeeter Wright is running for the NDP in Vuntut Gwitchin in this year’s territorial election.
The NDP previously had a Vuntut Gwitchin citizen slated to run in the Old Crow riding, but he withdrew his candidacy.
Wright said he was asked to be the candidate in October, just before the deadline to submit his papers to Elections Yukon. He had previously campaigned for the NDP nomination in Mountainview, saying he wanted to take on Yukon Party Leader Darrell Pasloski, but he lost that nomination race to local lawyer Shaunagh Stikeman.
Speaking to the News from Old Crow, Wright said fracking is the issue people seem most concerned about in the community.
“Water is extremely important, and fracking is a major concern from what I’ve heard,” he said. “They don’t want it.”
The NDP has promised to ban fracking if elected.
Wright said people have also been talking to him about the need for better health care and home care. He said many people are also interested in the NDP’s promise to make the first year of tuition free at Yukon College.
Wright said he has worked with all of Yukon’s self-governing First Nations to implement their land claims during his time in the executive council office of the Yukon government.
More recently, he has worked with the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, and as the executive director of the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation. With Little Salmon/Carmacks, he was involved in the opposition to four controversial amendments to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act in Bill S-6.
Wright has previously made headlines for a number of court cases related to development projects in the Whitehorse area.
For years, he and other McLean Lake residents protested quarry development and the operation of a cement batch plant near the lake. They took the city to court twice over the issue, and even made a bid to secede from Whitehorse in 2011.
Wright ran for the NDP in Copperbelt North in the 2011 territorial election. He came in third with 15 per cent of the vote, behind Yukon Party MLA Currie Dixon and then-Liberal leader Arthur Mitchell.
In the Vuntut Gwitchin riding, he will be campaigning against Yukon Party incumbent Darius Elias and Liberal candidate Pauline Frost. The NDP did not have a candidate in Old Crow in 2011.
Wright didn’t say whether he thinks he has a shot at winning the seat. But he said NDP values do have traction in the community.
“The one thing I do know is the issues have a shot.”
Contact Maura Forrest at email@example.com