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STEEPED IN POLITICAL OBSERVATIONS – Barbara Dunlop says she has been interested in politics for most of her life.

Dunlop relishes the challenge; vows to listen

Barbara Dunlop may be facing an uphill battle to become the Yukon’s next MP, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

By Tim Giilck on September 17, 2021

Barbara Dunlop may be facing an uphill battle to become the Yukon’s next MP, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Dunlop is the Conservative Party of Canada candidate. She’s taken over for Jonas J. Smith, who found himself at odds with the party last month over mandatory vaccines.

After Smith was unceremoniously turfed, Dunlop was parachuted in a few days later to take his place.

That put her at an immediate disadvantage, as did Smith’s decision to run as an independent candidate, which seems likely to split the conservative vote in the territory.

Dunlop said she’s not seeing much evidence of that affecting the campaign.

“Talking at the door and to people in the community, our team is hearing staunch and loyal support for the Conservative Party,” she said.

“We’re also hearing from people interested in being represented by me as a moderate, pragmatic member of Parliament. 

“People seem to understand how difficult it is for an independent candidate to win the race. They also understand the severe limitations of being an independent MP—virtually no opportunities in question period, no committee assignments, and no allies.”

Conversely, “a Conservative Party MP representing Yukon would sit in caucus and have a seat at the table,” she said.

“Whether the party forms government or is in opposition, a Conservative Party MP would be in a position to gather support and put Yukon issues on the national agenda.”

Dunlop said her decision to run is far from a whim.

“I’ve been interested in politics most of my life, with conservative leanings as far back as I can remember,” Dunlop said.

“During elections, I’d listen to the local candidates, learn about the issues, and talk about the campaign with my friends. Then, on election night, I’d pop the popcorn, tune in the television, and find out what the people were thinking. 

“We need to govern ourselves somehow,” she continued. “A civil debate on issues and policy perspectives, followed by one person, one vote, seemed to me like the ultimate in fairness—where the defeated bow out gracefully, and the winners represent everyone to the best of their ability until they face the electorate again. I’m excited to be participating this time.”

Dunlop decided to step into the void left by Smith after some careful reflection.

“I’ve considered running for political office in the past, admired candidates of all stripes who stepped up to offer representation to constituents. But while working in the public service, raising two children, and building my writing career, the timing was never quite right,” the author said. 

“It became clear the Conservative Party needed a candidate very quickly, and I was at a point in my life where I could change direction. A few friends and party members knew I had considered running in the past and approached me about putting my name forward.

“I found I couldn’t tolerate the idea of leaving Yukoners without the option to vote for one of our two major political parties—the Conservatives.”

The writing career Dunlop referred to is her string of more than 50 romance novels, most issued by the Harlequin publishing house.

The sideline has garnered some awards, and has been both a lucrative and rewarding side career from the time she’s spent working for the Yukon government.

“I’ve lived in the Yukon for 32 years, both in Whitehorse and outside the city in rural residential,” she said.

“I’ve raised two children and been a volunteer in the arts community and in the education system. I’ve worked in the private sector. And I’ve managed my own writing business, working with publishers in Toronto, New York City and Los Angeles.”

As a director in the Department of Economic Development, she added, she supported local businesses and industry organizations to advance the territory’s economy.

“As Yukon’s Film and Sound Commissioner, I promoted Yukon to international film companies—our spectacular wilderness location, of course, but also our film crew, local goods and services.  

That’s given Dunlop an array of experience to draw from.

“I headed the branch that negotiated inter-provincial and international trade agreements, giving me experience at coming up to speed on a wide variety of Yukon issues, framing them, presenting them to Ottawa, and gaining concessions and considerations specific to Yukon,” she said. 

“I am confident that the range and depth of my understanding of Yukon life and my experience advocating for our territory will enable me to effectively represent Yukoners in Ottawa.”

If Dunlop wins the seat, she said, “There is a lot for Yukon to work with in the Conservative Party platform: Canada’s Recovery Plan, but I’ve only scratched the surface in learning about the specific needs and aspirations of Yukoners. 

“The housing crisis is top of mind for many, as is an economic recovery following the pandemic especially for the hardest-hit sectors and including needed infrastructure like broadband,” the candidate said.

“Reconciliation with First Nations along with mental health and addictions challenges have also been identified by many people. And people in the resource sector are looking for a more streamlined assessment process.

“Ideas are a starting point, but execution is vital. I would push for federal involvement, policies, or resources to help implement successful Yukon projects. 

“I will listen. I will learn. And I will advocate for my fellow Yukoners to help them achieve their goals and improve our quality of life.”

So far, Dunlop said, she’s not thinking of the future beyond the election.

“That’s not something I’ve been thinking about,” she said.

“Launching my candidacy and the campaign has taken all my concentration. I’ve been busy meeting with Yukoners and focusing on becoming the next member of Parliament for Yukon, because that’s what I’m planning to do.”

Comments (14)

Up 6 Down 6

woodcutter on Sep 20, 2021 at 4:16 pm

I voted for 4 more years of continuous prosperity, against my self interest.
If I had voted for the CONS, who are trying to sound liberal, I would expect the economy to tank, cause the CONS have a special knack to kill progress. The liberals will keep us working, and unfortunately the cost to build my next home will be much greater.

Self sacrifice for the greater good. It's what every self respecting Canadian should do.

Up 14 Down 6

Insight on Sep 19, 2021 at 9:16 pm

Pms brings me here. Vote for this woman. Ultimately, this country is completely screwed with the never ending nonsense. Everyone is offended, everyone is afraid, everyone is divided. The divisions of this country since 2015 feels irreparable. People do something to overturn the nonsense that seems to have no end.

Up 18 Down 15

Tator Salad on Sep 19, 2021 at 4:06 pm

If these comments are an indication of Monday night, Hanley will win given the vote splitting occurring between Barb and Jonas.

Up 28 Down 10

Groucho d'North on Sep 19, 2021 at 9:22 am

For this election I have a protest vote. I can spend that vote on Jonas telling the Conservative party I disagree with how they determined the MP candidate for the Yukon all on their own. OR I can spend my protest vote to displace the out of control Trudeau Liberals by voting for Barb. Which do I want more? Which will yield the best results? Sorry Jonas.

Up 10 Down 31

My Opinion on Sep 18, 2021 at 7:51 pm

@spoiling
Don't spoil your ballot send a real message and vote for Jonas. They will get to see how badly they screwed up punting him. They would have had this hands down. Besides Jonas is a good guy.

Up 16 Down 25

Philip on Sep 18, 2021 at 1:32 pm

To Yukoner 32 and North of 60. If Conservatives did as you two suggested than we’d just be acting like Liberals wouldn’t we? The ‘I don’t care how bad the party or leader is acting it’s my party so I’ll hold my nose and vote for it’ approach. As a usual Conservative supporter I sincerely hope the Yukon Conservative candidate does not get elected on Monday. Maybe the party will learn its lesson and not meddle next time around as at this point they still don’t seem to get it.

Up 31 Down 25

Yukoner32 on Sep 17, 2021 at 11:00 pm

Darrel Pasloski has come out in support of Barb and the conservative party. Why won't Currie?? Our only chance at beating the Liberals is through Barb and the CPC.

All of you people supporting Jonas are just throwing temper tantrums at the party for turfing the anti-vax candidate. You are throwing away your votes. Plus let's be honest, when Jonas disappears by the next election, you will all be back to voting conservative again. So how about you stop with your little protest and simply vote conservative this time when we have a good chance of winning?

If we lose, this is on all of you anti-vax Jonas supporters.

Up 22 Down 21

Disappointed Concervative on Sep 17, 2021 at 10:26 pm

The smart move would have been for the CPC to have NOT put another candidate forward. The CPC is entirely at fault for, firstly, failing to recognize that Jonas Smith was the shoe-in for them despite the fact that they weren't happy with him having principles that weren't perfectly aligned with O'Toole's, and secondly, potentially splitting the vote by introducing a 'yes man' replacement candidate. No truly blue blooded Conservative will appreciate the CPC turfing our candidate simply because he wasn't willing to set aside his principles and be steamrolled by a leader who is beginning to look more and more like Trudeau every day...

Up 21 Down 19

Wilf Carter on Sep 17, 2021 at 6:45 pm

Let me give you a first hand experience of Barb Dunlop as a former person who worked with her in real time.
She has one year at UBC and did not have the experience or training for directors position.
Of the candidates on the pages of this paper she would be the worse for Yukon by far.
She loves to take credit for other peoples work but could not deliver when it came to moving into action needed to take place.
There was group who wanted to develop and build a prefab housing plant in Yukon but she killed it. It would have reduced the cost of housing by 12 to 15%. Along with that there would have been up to 280 new skilled jobs.
Then we had new forest act written and was killed so no specialized forest industry could develop in Yukon. Your Yukon government only spent $280,000 killing this project.
Then a tourism plan was done which was killed by her and another senior manager.

Up 33 Down 20

Paul Wray on Sep 17, 2021 at 6:43 pm

As much as I like and respect Jonas, a vote for him will be a vote for Trudeau. Liberals love this vote splitting. I can not imagine fours more years of sock boy.

Up 41 Down 12

North_of_60 on Sep 17, 2021 at 6:23 pm

Spoiling ballots is a childish gesture. Far better to use your vote to support the candidate who has the best chance of defeating DrH. That's what really matters.

Up 29 Down 16

marylaker on Sep 17, 2021 at 5:01 pm

She has a lot of good credentials and is a normal, sensible, intelligent human being. Jonas has some skeletons in his closet, and very little declared work experience. I'll be voting PC for the first time in a long time.

Up 37 Down 40

Spoiling My Ballot on Sep 17, 2021 at 4:51 pm

I never in my life thought I would do this, but after the Conservative Party shenanigans concerning Mr. Smith I will be spoiling my ballot. I can not in good conscience vote for a party who went against the will of Yukoners and the person they had selected to run for MP. I feel like the Conservative party at the national level very condescendingly pulled the rug out from under people’s feet.

Up 35 Down 40

JSM on Sep 17, 2021 at 3:32 pm

Just not sure it was worth turfing such a strong candidate such as Smith for Dunlop.... Nothing I have particularly against her but in comparison to Smith I think he holds my values as a conservative a little bit closer. Sorry Barb, maybe next time.

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