Another candidate enters race for mayor
Ian Stewart/Yukon News
It‚Äôs now a three-way race for mayor of Whitehorse.
Scott Howell is the latest candidate to throw his hat into the ring.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm the apolitical person that can best represent across party lines and cultural lines,‚ÄĚ said the 50-year-old divorced father of four. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm very lucky to have a multidimensional perspective on Whitehorse.
‚ÄúI understand people across every spectrum.‚ÄĚ
He wasn‚Äôt always so apolitical.
In the ‚Äô90s, Howell was president of the Yukon Party, running under their banner in two territorial elections. In the 1992 election he lost to Piers McDonald by 23 votes. He didn‚Äôt even come close in his second try in 1996.
That was a long time ago, he said. Howell is no longer a member of the Yukon Party.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt really identify with any political party anymore,‚ÄĚ said Howell.
Not to say that he‚Äôs not political. Howell graduated two years ago from the University of Lethbridge with a degree in political science.
He‚Äôs currently working on a master‚Äôs degree in intercultural and international communications with Royal Roads University in Victoria.
Not only have his studies helped him evolve politically, but spending time with students has given him a better understanding of their perspective.
‚ÄúI‚Äôve run into a lot of kids from Whitehorse that are studying on Vancouver Island or at the University of Lethbridge,‚ÄĚ said Howell.
What was most striking for him is the ‚Äúhopelessness‚ÄĚ they feel about their prospects in the Yukon, he said.
‚ÄúThey know there‚Äôs nothing here,‚ÄĚ said Howell. ‚ÄúAt the best they‚Äôll come back here to land what could be a good job and they‚Äôll live in the basement at their parents‚Äô place.
‚ÄúIf they hope to buy a place, forget it.‚ÄĚ
Because he worked as a realtor in Alberta for over a decade, housing is an issue Howell feels he understands well.
‚ÄúI understand what‚Äôs happened with the real estate market here,‚ÄĚ he said.
He‚Äôs seen it before in Alberta.
‚ÄúIn Camrose, some of the values were extreme for a while, but now you can get a condo at a reasonable price,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúHere, we haven‚Äôt hit that bubble yet but it seems awfully hollow in the middle of it.‚ÄĚ
Protecting the equity of homeowners while at the same time making it affordable for those trying to enter the market will be a challenge, he said.
Over the next few weeks he plans on putting forward some solutions to that problem.
‚ÄúThe driving force of the Yukon is that old style ethic ‚Äėputting other people first,‚Äô‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúI still live by that.‚ÄĚ
Born in Mayo, his family moved around quite a bit ‚Äď with stints in Ottawa and England ‚Äď before they finally settled in Whitehorse.
In 1998, when the territorial economy tanked, he moved his family to Lethbridge.
Alberta was never a good fit though, said Howell.
‚ÄúAfter a year in Alberta, I already started to think about coming back,‚ÄĚ he said.
When he started University in 2005, he had made up his mind about returning to the territory.
Currently, he owns and operates a contracting and consulting business in Whitehorse.
He‚Äôs only been back for 19 months but it‚Äôs been great, he said.
‚ÄúEvery day there‚Äôs been somebody that I haven‚Äôt seen in 15 or 20 years that still remembers the old glory day of hockey‚ÄĚ he said.
Howell served as president of the Whitehorse Senior Hockey League for several years, but also worked on boards, committees and fundraising initiatives, too numerous to mention.
That experience, along with his education, has given him the skills to build consensus, and engage with different levels of government and with the public, he said.
‚ÄúPeople need to come to meetings and feel that they‚Äôve been respected,‚ÄĚ said Howell. ‚ÄúThey need to leave feeling their heart has been heard.
‚ÄúConsensus building means that everybody finds positive outcomes in the solutions.‚ÄĚ
The municipal elections are scheduled for October 18.
Along with Howell, Dan Curtis, and Rick Karp are also running for mayor.
Conrad Tiedeman is the only person so far to announce plans to run for a seat on city council.
Contact Josh Kerr at