Tracy McPhee seeks Liberal nod in Riverdale South

A former Yukon ombudsman and privacy commissioner is looking to move into politics. Tracy McPhee announced yesterday she will seek the Liberal nomination in Riverdale South.

A former Yukon ombudsman and privacy commissioner is looking to move into politics.

Tracy McPhee announced yesterday she will seek the Liberal nomination in Riverdale South.

McPhee was the Yukon’s ombudsman and privacy commissioner for five years until her term ended in 2012.

She is currently the executive director of the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre and a lawyer.

“I’ve spent my career dedicated to fairness, equality, collaboration and respect for all members of the community,” she said.

“I’m ready to bring those values to politics here in the territory.”

McPhee has lived in the Yukon for nearly 24 years and currently lives in the Riverdale South riding.

“I believe that women need a greater voice in politics. I believe the Yukon Liberals are building a team that can form a government that will change things here in the territory and take a different approach,” she said.

McPhee has volunteered with the Canadian Bar Association, Yukon Law Society, the Federation of Law Societies, McBride Museum, Whitehorse Food Bank, F.H. Collins School Council and the Maddison Chair in Northern Justice.

The Riverdale South riding is currently held by NDP MLA Jan Stick. Stick won her seat in 2011 with 39 per cent of the votes.

“I think Jan has been a good MLA but I think what my bid here will do is form a piece of the Yukon Liberal team which I think is the big picture for the territory.”

When it comes to the Yukon’s access to information laws, McPhee said the default position of government should be to release information unless there is a specific reason – laid out in the law – not to.

“I have publicly before said that the government’s approach in the past has been the opposite of that, which is to say don’t disclose unless you absolutely have to,” she said.

“Those are two different equations, you get two different answers at the end of each of those equations and clearly my view is that the act says disclose unless (there’s a reason not to).”

McPhee said she hasn’t seen a great deal of change in that mentality since she left her post, but acknowledges that she hasn’t been working on access to information issues lately.

When McPhee’s term as ombudsman and privacy commissioner was not renewed in 2012, the government gave no reason for putting the job up for competition.

At the time NDP leader Liz Hanson suggested McPhee may have been too good at her job.

“If the incumbent, Ms. McPhee, has made some people uncomfortable, by her support for whistleblower legislation and making government more open and accountable, isn’t that exactly what you want?” Hanson said at the time.

There are two candidates hoping to represent the Yukon Party in the Riverdale South riding. Yukon government press secretary Dan Macdonald and local business owner Wayne Cousins are both seeking the nomination.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

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