Whitehorse Daily Star

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Pictured above: LAURA CABOTT

Lawyer takes political pedigree a step further

After spending years behind the scenes of political campaigns, Laura Cabott is ready to take centre stage this year.

By Palak Mangat on August 3, 2018

After spending years behind the scenes of political campaigns, Laura Cabott is ready to take centre stage this year.

A long-time Whitehorse resident, she announced her candidacy for councillor yesterday, and told the Star Thursday afternoon that the timing is just right.

“I’ve always had an interest in politics,” said the 55-year-old lawyer, who once served as a campaign manager for former mayor Kathy Watson.

“But it’s been mostly kind of behind the scenes and helping people get elected.”

About a year or so ago, though, that changed.

“So many of these issues kept coming up, I thought I’d like to participate as a councillor.”

Among the most pressing concerns Cabott has heard about were transit improvements and a shortage of housing opportunities in the Yukon as a whole.

That problem, she said, could only escalate if the territory grows in population – as it’s expected to.

“We’re a capital city, but also a very small city,” she said, though that may change in the coming years.

Being smaller makes it easier to be “very much connected to all levels of government.”

In terms of transportation, Cabott would advocate for more of a collaborative approach.

“There’s no reason why we can’t be working with other levels of government to address those needs.”

Pointing to the $150-million Whistle Bend continuing care facility that is set to open this October, Cabott said she is grateful for the work that has been done.

Last month, however, it became publicly known that Department of Health and Social Services staff are being asked to open up their homes to incoming workers at the facility.

Cabott said that’s something that could have been avoided by ensuring more land had been available from the get-go.

“We shouldn’t have fallen into that situation,” she said.

Being a relatively smaller city means it could be easier to develop some of those relationships among land owners, developers and governments, she believes.

Working with YG and First Nations, which own land, can mean more quickly developed housing, she added.

Politics isn’t unchartered territory for Cabott: she comes from a long line of family members who’ve set their sights on public service, becoming involved as early as a teen.

With a mother who ran in municipal races in B.C., served on school boards and even ran for a federal seat once, Cabott thanks her for sparking that interest.

Her sister, Lesley, worked as a planner with the City of Whitehorse several years ago. She has now shifted to working with Stantec, after running in the 2006 territorial election for the Liberals in Riverdale North.

Laura Cabott was born and grew up in Maple Ridge, B.C., and headed east to the University of Alberta.

After getting a Bachelors and then a law degree, she moved to Whitehorse in 1992.

She later opened up the law firm Cabott and Cabott with her brother in 2003, and has worked closely with residential school survivors during her time as a lawyer.

She also owned a backpacking and hiking company at one point, which makes her sympathetic to some of the business community’s concerns.

“Small business are really the anchor for a community or neighbourhood,” she said.

Parking space is just one concern she’s heard, she added, along with accessibility, which can always be improved.

As for preparation, Cabott explained she and her team will be engaging with residents, some of whom she already meets during her time on the board of the Whitehorse Food Bank.

“So far, I’ve been meeting people and I get really fired up,” she laughed. “It’s fun.”

With her sights set on council, Cabott assured votersw she would bring a long-term approach to chambers.

“We need to have a vision of where we would like to be,” whether it be 10, 15 or 20 years.

“The city has given me so much in so many ways.”

This year’s election will be held Oct. 18.

See election commentary, letter.

Comments (19)

Up 3 Down 1

Scott Etches on Aug 27, 2018 at 5:10 pm

Council Candidate Cabott, I would like to say thank you for putting your name forward to represent our community. A lifestyle changer.

In regards to meeting the housing needs of new residents I would ask you to consider that it is time for Whitehorse to grow up and not out. The sky is the limit on the densification of housing options over existing infrastructure. Preferable to asking the taxpayer to flip the bill on services to make more car/parking dependent neighborhoods. Creating a residential area critical mass will also enable business successes and transit frequency. Spreading out lacks synergy.

Up 1 Down 1

Ilove Parks on Aug 10, 2018 at 8:41 pm

Good luck and I hope you are successful.

Do not read these comments for many are way out there and it's discouraging.

Up 2 Down 3

BB on Aug 9, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Doug Ryder, I actually gave you a thumbs up because you are correct in my experience with a high degree of aggressive narcissism generally found in lawyers. Including Laura.

And intelligence is indeed of questionable value past a certain point, in politics. It can also be misused. We do tend to be discriminatory against people who have lower IQ's, and to have undeserved faith in people with higher IQ's.

Well, vote for whomever you believe are the best candidates to represent the citizens of Whitehorse while directing the bureaucracy!

Up 5 Down 6

Chris on Aug 8, 2018 at 9:43 pm

Thank you, Ms. Cabot, for putting yourself forward as an option for voters to consider. While I have supported and campaigned for a different political party at the territorial level, I will certainly give serious consideration to voting for you.

Up 10 Down 2

Lost In the Yukon on Aug 8, 2018 at 6:29 pm

I will vote for the candidate that recognizes the City is becoming unliveable for seniors on fixed incomes and promises to: 1. Not raise property taxes and utilities; 2. Create a budget that results in the City living within its means; 3. Not impose sustainability measures that impose hardships and/or compete with the private sector; and, 4. Introduces a recall Bylaw.

Up 8 Down 8

Doug Ryder on Aug 7, 2018 at 6:40 pm

@ BB - What evidence do you have that she is smarter and more qualified than most of the other “offerings”? Is this a general belief based on your assumptions about the intelligence of lawyers or do you have access to comparative measures of the candidates intelligence? While some lawyers may have intelligence it is not an absolute that all lawyers do. There are some very daft lawyers out there.

@ CJ - Lawyers are essentially corporatist polities. They tend to be systems manipulators for the benefit of one party or another. They tend towards disintegration rather than working for the collective good. There are high levels of aggressive narcissism within the lawyerly ranks.

Laura Cabott may not have any of these traits to the degree that there is a functional impairment but they are some of the least desirable traits that our politicians should possess. This is why lawyers should generally not be involved in politics.

This was the mistake with the election of Pierre Elliot Trudeau - Canada forever divided by the lawyer who would be/was king! In 1982 he turned the screw...

Up 11 Down 15

BB on Aug 7, 2018 at 12:26 am

Smarter and more qualified than most of the offerings, that is for sure. She could serve the city well. Definitely a loyal soldier for the Liberal party and I hope that doesn't get in the way of putting the city and the people first. So sick of people getting into politics to leverage their own power rather than to do what's right. I'm hoping she'll fall on the side of 'do what's right'. I'd like to see her in there, give her a chance.

Up 7 Down 18

kevinator on Aug 6, 2018 at 10:45 pm

You mean to tell me that you have to have the approval of the garbage gallery in order to run for council?
Congratulations on running Laura Cabott and I hope you do well. We need a good mix of financially responsible people on council.
I hope you are aware that buildings in Whitehorse that last 150 years in other cities only last 50 years in the Yukon.

Up 10 Down 17

CJ on Aug 6, 2018 at 3:56 pm

@Doug Ryder, I think a lawyer should be most welcome on Whitehorse City Council. The city's bylaws are often poorly conceived and frequently over-reach. A lawyer might be a little quicker off the mark recognizing potential human rights and privacy issues, as well as a host of other problems with city legislation, than has been the case so far.

Up 16 Down 25

BnR on Aug 6, 2018 at 8:18 am

Nile, I don't give a damn what the persons political stripes are; if they are a good candidate, I'll vote for them. Your narrative is as sad, old and worn out.

Up 21 Down 13

ProScience Greenie on Aug 5, 2018 at 6:34 pm

Meh. Just another hack that wants to turn Whitehorse into a cheap clone of some Outside city with feel good fluff policies all on increased taxes resulting in an even greater divide between haves and have-nots.

Need greed and ego free candidates that want a pleasant small town that grows at a slow and wise pace. Candidates that want to represent not govern.

Also need recall legislation badly.

Up 9 Down 28

Sid and Marg Tjepkema on Aug 5, 2018 at 2:09 pm

Good luck Laura in the upcoming election.You would make a great councillor.

Up 33 Down 12

Doug Ryder on Aug 5, 2018 at 6:34 am

Another lawyer in politics... Now that should be against the law as it is against the public interest!

Up 6 Down 23

Wilf Carter on Aug 4, 2018 at 2:37 pm

Great you are running and good luck.

Up 16 Down 32

Harriet and Jake Enns on Aug 4, 2018 at 5:13 am

Way to go Laura. All the best as you begin this new chapter in your life. Thinking of you.

Up 39 Down 5

Jeff r on Aug 3, 2018 at 11:15 pm

Wait... her platform is housing, and how the city should have done more to prevent the whistlebend continuing care facility staff not having a place to live. Ok someone really needs to tell these lame duck candidates what difference is between YTG and their responsibilities ( housing and staff accomadation) and a municipalities responsibility. This isn’t Vancouver, and the city doesn’t get a billion dollar cheque from the gov like YTG does. Though they are expected to support almost as many people as YTG does. But hey, let’s blame the perpetually underfunded and often blamed (by YTG sycophants) COW. I’ve worked in both, this territory is so messed up it needs to get off the crack of federal transfer payments and wake up to reality. At least the city is closer to that than YTG

Up 34 Down 20

AL on Aug 3, 2018 at 10:08 pm

Yup Nile you are right.
Another Liberal hack makings it's way to the trough. They are like a migraine - hard to shake and just as useless. Liberals remind me of termites - eat up all the free wood and leave nothing but their crap and crumbly sawdust behind.

With any luck she won't win a seat.

Up 15 Down 25

Hugh Mungus on Aug 3, 2018 at 5:53 pm

@ Nile
What was she charged with under the law? Oh, right. Nothing.
Sour grapes old man. Sour grapes.

Up 50 Down 24

Nile on Aug 3, 2018 at 4:07 pm

Oh yay. More Liberals. Just a reminder for everyone. She was running the Liberal campaign in the last election. The one where they broke a bunch of laws downtown. Curtis must be furious that his clan is turning on him.

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