This is the very first in a series of profiles of Yukon’s 5 federal election candidates. Another will be published every day, in alphabetical order by the candidate’s name.
All candidates were asked similar questions. Answers have been edited for clarity and length.
Jonas Smith was so close to becoming Yukon’s MP back in 2019. Smith, then a Conservative, finished less than a percentage point behind incumbent Liberal Larry Bagnell. Till very recently, it seemed like Yukon voters were in for a rematch.
Then things changed. Bagnell announced he is not running again. The Conservatives dumped Smith over his statements about vaccine mandates, though those statements sounded more like those of Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole.
However, Smith decided to remain in the running. He is in the race as an independent.
What about your background makes you an ideal candidate in this election?
Well, I’m the third generation in my family to call Yukon home. I have two small children. I’ve been active in Yukon politic for more than 10 years now. I was president of the Yukon Party in 2011 when the Yukon Party won its third historic majority government.
I have been involved with the Conservative Party for a better part of that same 10-year period. I was a member of the Conservative Party’s National Council, where I represented the Yukon.
So I would like to imagine that I brought not just the political experience and that I brought that to the table, but I have also put in the time over these last couple of years talking to Yukon people in each community across the region to find out what’s important to them and what they want out of an administration in Ottawa.
Why did you want to run in this election?
Once again, because I came so close last time around and due to the fact that the result was a minority government, it was anticipated there would be another election within two years. So I kept in touch with everyone. I kept my ear to the ground. I kept on travelling around the territory as much as I could, you know, given the COVID situation.
And I’ve got thousands of people that continued to support me and encourage me to continue pursuing this. And that’s also why I’m in the race as an independent now, because those same thousands of people, it’s less important to them whatever party I’m representing. What matters is that I’m the one who’s representing them.
If you win, what’s the first issue you want to tackle?
The thing that is most important is safety reopening our economy, making sure that healthy persons can get their livelihoods back, that we can reconnect families that have been separated over the last 18 months or so. So I believe that affects everything, but it comes down to other secondary matters.
The number one priority for me is health-care and particularly mental health. We have seen a lot of people’s health suffer over the last 18 months. Even beyond the pandemic, just through either untreated or undiagnosed illnesses and again, especially with mental health.
If you could transport magically to any concert any time, who would you see and where?
I’m a big Black Sabbath fan, so I would love to go back to about 1970 when they released both their debut album, as well as their Paranoid album, which I think is their prime period.
Profiles of Yukon’s other federal candidates will be published through the week, in random order:
Thursday: Lenore Morris, Green
Friday: Brendan Hanley, Liberals
Monday: Lisa Vollans-Leduc, NDP
Tuesday: Barb Dunlop, Conservatives