Located in the central-western part of the territory, the Klondike riding includes the community of Dawson City as well as the Dempster Highway to Eagle Plains.
The riding is in the traditional territory of the Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin First Nation and home to the Kindergarten to Grade 12 Robert Service School, a Yukon University campus and the Yukon School of Visual Arts, which offers an eight-month foundation year program towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts with affiliated art schools across the country.
The region is also home to many mining operations and other business ventures.
In 2016, the riding’s incumbent and Liberal party leader Sandy Silver took 687 votes, giving him a second term as MLA and the title of premier. That compared to 365 votes for Yukon Party candidate Brad Whitelaw and 111 for NDP candidate Jay Farr. Silver is seeking another term as the riding’s MLA and territory’s premier.
Prior to Silver winning his first term in 2011, it was held by the Yukon Party’s Steve Nordick who lost his bid for another term in the 2011 vote.
The riding has largely been held by the Yukon Party going back to 1992. In 2005, however, then-Yukon Party MLA Peter Jenkins crossed the floor to sit as an independent during his final year in office. He represented the riding for a decade beginning in 1996.
An election forum for the riding is scheduled for April 2 at 8 p.m. It can be heard live on radio at CFYT 106.9 or virtually at CFYT’s website or Facebook. Klondike residents can submit their questions ahead of the forum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three candidates are running in the Klondike riding this year, they are profiled alphabetically below.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at email@example.com
Charlie Dagostin – Yukon Party
Charlie Dagostin has long been interested in politics and wants to make a difference in his home riding of Klondike.
When he saw the opportunity to run under the Yukon Party banner he decided to seize it and begin his run to be the Klondike’s next MLA.
“I just hope I can make a positive difference,” he said.
The third-year carpentry apprentice was born and raised in Dawson (Sunnydale to be precise) but moved Outside when he got older to attend post-secondary school and play hockey. His hometown has always drawn him back though, he said.
There’s a strong sense of community that Dagostin said he hasn’t been able to find anywhere else.
He believes the Yukon Party platform would be “a good step forward” for his riding.
Housing, he noted, is a major issue in the Klondike and the Yukon Party plan would see the territory work with First Nations and municipalities on land leases, planning for development, releasing more land for private sector development and creating a first time buyer program to increase access to property.
Dagostin said he’s pleased the Yukon Party provides opportunities for candidates like himself to bring forward riding issues that come up.
Among some he’s seen in the Klondike is the need for more specialized care professionals in the community as well as a shortage of child care spaces.
Pointing to the need for specialized professionals as an example, he said many Dawson residents end up travelling to Whitehorse to get dental work done.
“It gets expensive,” he said of the impact that has on residents
And as a growing community, it seems like the demand for childcare keeps increasing.
Dagostin said he’d like to look at ways to more draw professionals to the community to fill those needs.
Chris Clarke – Yukon New Democratic Party
Chris Clarke believes it’s time for a more sustainable course forward in the territory, a course she feels would best be charted by the Yukon NDP under the leadership of Kate White.
With Clarke’s own kids now grown, she has the time, energy and desire to be part of that change, representing those in the Klondike riding.
Over the last 10 years as an MLA and now the party leader, White has shown she’s someone who listens and will work with all political stripes to serve her constituents, Clarke said.
“We really do need to work together.”
It’s in that spirit that Clarke wants to serve as the Klondike MLA.
“Klondike is a pretty special place,” she said.
While there’s a strong community in the Klondike, there are also many issues that need to be addressed.
“We have some tough choices to make,” Clarke said.
She highlighted climate change, housing (for the Klondike much of that issue is specific to lot availability), support for arts and culture (including more funding needed for the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture), as well as a deep frustration with bureaucracy and a need for more consultation by government before major decisions are made.
The NDP, Clarke said, have a clear mandate to address those and other issues in a way that provides for greater consultation in order to come up with the best solutions.
“We have a lot to learn from each other,” she said.
Clarke’s own 35-year career has seen her work in a wide variety of positions ranging from manager to researcher and more on many community projects in Dawson over the years. Those roles she said, have given her a wide array of skills that would serve her well as an MLA.
“Above all, I come with a real collaborative heart,” she said.
Sandy Silver – Yukon Liberal Party
After two terms as the Klondike’s MLA, including one also as the territory’s premier, Sandy Silver says he loves his job and wants to keep representing those in the riding.
“It’s an honour,” the former Robert Service School teacher said, describing his work in the legislature as the best job he’s had.
While he admits it’s a difficult balance to serve as both the MLA and premier, he’s ready to once again take on the challenges of both. He credited his team in Dawson for their work in helping to ensure he can balance his work as MLA with his other responsibilities in the legislature.
“We have so much to do now that the new normal is upon us,” Silver said, noting the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly challenging over the last year.
As more Yukoners are vaccinated against COVID-19 and planning for a post-pandemic world moves forward, Silver said he’s ready to spend another four years in office and that would include ensuring time in his riding.
As he described, dealing with COVID-19 as premier has kept him in Whitehorse more this year, and the first year or so of serving in both roles was a steep learning curve.
With experience to now draw on, Silver said he could free up more time to spend in his riding.
Campaigning in the Klondike this time around, Silver said housing is a big issue and the four governments in the area (city, territory, First Nation and federal) continue to work towards addressing with plans that would free up more lots in Dawson.
Mental wellness is another issue that continues to come up at the door.
“People are struggling,” Silver said, going on to highlight the Liberal plan for after-care services, recruitment of mental health workers and other measures to help address mental health.
He said the work is part of several efforts the Liberals want to continue with another term in office.
Longer profiles on the three party leaders vying to be premier will be published April 9.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org