Lake Laberge is located north of Whitehorse and encompasses the subdivisions of MacPherson and Hidden Valley, as well as residents living on Takhini Hot Springs Road, Pilot Mountain, the Hamlet of Ibex Valley, and the North Klondike Highway and Lake Laberge as far as Braeburn Lodge.
The riding also includes the traditional territory of the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation, the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwach’an Council.
In the last four elections, MLA Brad Cathers has swept the results. This year Cathers is running in the riding again, against two new aspiring MLAs. The candidates have been profiled in alphabetical order.
Brad Cathers - Yukon Party
Having won his seat in four previous elections, Brad Cathers is currently the longest-serving incumbent in the Legislative Assembly. Prior to becoming an MLA he ran a wilderness tourism company.
Cathers said despite previous successes, he’s not taking the riding for granted.
“I take the attitude of never taking anything for granted and just working as hard as you can until the election is over. I’m pleased by the support that I’ve received so far,” he said. “The thing that motivates me to run is the satisfaction of being able to do things that make a difference in the lives of my constituents and other Yukoners.”
Last year Cathers ran for leadership of the Yukon Party, but placed second after Currie Dixon. Now Cathers is running under the Dixon banner, hoping to secure a fifth term as MLA for Lake Laberge.
Cathers pointed to his experience as MLA as to why voters should back him again. Accomplishments he’s proud of include 911 expansion in rural communities and the expansion of telehealth services.
In the next four years Cathers said healthcare and agricultural policy need to be government priorities. He said waitlists for many procedures are too long and there wasn’t enough consultation with farmers on changes to the agricultural strategy.
“We’ve committed to public consultation on the agriculture policy, if we’re elected. I’m also hearing about the importance of investments in health care,” he said.
“There are a number of other issues that I’m hearing from people, many of which relate to the tendency in the past several years for top-down decision making, instead of consulting with people and considering what their needs are,” he said.
Ian Angus - Yukon NDP
At doorsteps in the Lake Laberge riding, NDP candidate Ian Angus said he has found voters well-informed and ready to discuss the details of the party’s platform. He said priorities for him in the riding include improving agricultural policies and helping support youth.
“The discussions have been very fruitful. It’s nice to see that people are looking for a change,” he said.
Angus lives in the Grizzly Valley and is originally from the Delaware First Nation in Ontario and was adopted into the Kwanlin Dün First Nation. He describes himself as a “farm boy” and said agricultural issues are top of mind in the election.
“I feel like we’ve got some of the most wonderful meat, we’ve got some of the most wonderful produce, and being able to get that onto Yukon tables would be one of the biggest issues that I’ve got,” he said.
“I also do a lot of work with youth. I think that youth needs must be addressed more readily. That’s programming, it’s mental health, it’s ensuring that you have stable housing. An ounce of prevention as a pound of cure, and to be able to help youth finding their purpose again and find direction is another huge issue for me,” he said.
Angus now works as the Safety Officer for the Property Management division of the Yukon Government. He has also worked in firefighting and rescue and served in both the Canadian Armed Forces reserve and the United States Marine Corp.
“I now have the opportunity to move that forward and give back to the Yukon. You know, she’s given so much to me, it’s just the next logical step for me to give back to her,” he said.
Tracey Jacobs - Yukon Liberal Party
A former placer miner, avid outdoors person and owner of custom metal fabrications business, JJ Designs, in addition to her own hobby farm, Jacobs said she loves the lifestyle that her home in Lake Laberge offers.
“I’m very passionate about the lifestyle that we enjoy, I love our riding and the future that we’re all working towards,” she said. “You know, we have our pigs and chickens and we raise our own food. I have a big garden, and I’m really fortunate to live out here. It’s a really nice neighborhood and I really would love to be a part of advocating for them.”
She said in Lake Laberge specifically, many people are concerned about recovery from COVID-19 and agricultural policies.
“There are a lot of important issues that people are looking at in my riding, especially going to the elections. There’s a lot of concern with the quarry that’s out in our area. There are concerns with COVID, healthcare is a big thing, zoning issues and the agricultural policy,” she said.
Jacobs described herself as a hard worker and someone who doesn’t shy away from a challenge. She has two children, a grandchild and currently lives in Miner’s Ridge with her husband, who she works with as the owners of Mosquito Jet Boats.
She is also the former president of the White Out Snowmobile Racing Club and avid volunteer.
“I’m very proud of the Liberal Party and how we’ve kept our economy strong. I really want to continue that good work forward and I really don’t want to see us go backward. I think the Liberal Party has taken on some tough issues that other governments haven’t touched. And I think I’m that type of person. I like taking on challenges,” she said.
Contact Haley Ritchie at email@example.com