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Getting to know the candidates in Takhini-Kopper King

NDP leader Kate White’s home riding has been held for eight years
From left: NDP incumbent Kate White, Yukon Party candidate Morgan Yuill and Liberal candidate Raj Murugaiyan. (Submitted)

Takhini-Kopper King, one the Yukon’s newer ridings, has been held by NDP candidate Kate White since it was first created in 2009.

The diverse riding includes a number of mobile home parks, subdivisions and rural residences along FIsh Lake Road in addition to the Yukon University, Yukon Arts Centre and the Whitehorse jail. It includes the traditional territory of the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council and the Kwanlin Dün First Nation within the city boundaries.

The three candidates for this riding have been profiled in alphabetical order.

Kate White - Yukon New Democratic Party

White has won two previous elections in the riding and is also now party leader of the NDP. Before entering politics White was a professional baker and has also worked in mining and as a skills coach with women in the Yukon’s correctional system.

“[The job of MLA] is not as success-based as, for example, being a baker where you make food and give it to people and they’re happy. I think the important thing is that the job is really important, it’s really valuable,” she said.

“It’s been really lovely to talk to my neighbors who know me quite well to talk about how I’m trying to give them something to vote for, and not something to vote against,” she said.

White said going into this election, housing and the general cost of living is a big topic for many people. She said these are the same issues she has been advocating for in the past eight years.

“Housing and housing affordability is still a huge topic. It was in 2011, and then again, in 2016, and it still is in 2021,” White said.

“For eight years, I’ve been advocating for protection for mobile homeowners. The Yukon NDP has just committed again to capping pad increases and no evictions without cause. Because that’s how insecure the housing is here,” she said.

“Along that line, you know, it’s a really beautiful thing when your neighbours who have houses care about people who don’t have houses.”

White said other big issues of concern include the opioid crisis and increasing access to mental health services are also important.

Morgan Yuill - Yukon Party

Yuill, 20, is one of the youngest candidates running in the 2021 territorial election. Born and raised in the territory and having grown up in different parts of Whitehorse, he said he decided to run in order to represent youth.

“I saw an opportunity to represent the youth and bring the younger voice that’s so often overlooked,” he said. “And bring representation for both sports and the arts that my generation is so passionately involved in. I want to be a part of the pandemic recovery, that step forward and lead us out of this and into the bright future.”

Yuill is in training to become a pilot with Alcan Air and was part of the 551 Whitehorse Lions air cadets.

“Flying is super, super big to me. I’m doing my commercial training through Alcan. That homegrown program that they have, it’s not like any other program in Canada. It’s a great example of a local company investing right here in the Yukon. It’s really awesome to see. And the Yukon Party team, we want to support things like that,” he said.

He said his top concern going into the election is post-pandemic recovery, and that he believes the Yukon Party has “a strong vision for the recovery process” will involve “taking action” and “listening to people and to making sure that we’re heading in the right direction.”

Yuill said he also cares about the environment and protecting the beauty of the Yukon.

Raj Murugaiyan - Yukon Liberal Party

Raj Murugaiyan says as a business owner, he understands hard work. The owner of the Whitehorse Airport gift shop said he has started his day at 3 a.m. for the past decade.

“It’s all in how you work and definitely, this is a very good place. It’s given us a lot of opportunities,” he said.

Murugaiyan said he believes housing and rental issues to be a main issue going into the election. He said mental health care and patient-focused care also need to be improved in the territory. As an immigrant to Canada, he also said he has experienced firsthand the effects of discrimination and wants to improve efforts at combating racism.

He also said progress needs to be made on renewable energy.

“We need a government that will listen to everyone,” he said.

Murugaiyan owns a number of businesses in Whitehorse, and also volunteers with Yukon Cares to support new immigrant families in the area.

In the previous election, Murugaiyan tried to run in Copperbelt South, but lost the nomination to MLA Ted Abel. He said he chose to run this year in Takhini-Kopper King because the riding was vacant and he has owned a house there in the past.

“I know some of the difficulties in that area and that’s the main thing. As well as a large number of middle-class people living in that area, so let us do something for those people. That’s the main reason I’m running in that area,” he said.

Contact Haley Ritchie at