Conservatives drop Yukon candidate, citing opposition to 'public health guidelines'

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Yukon's Conservative candidate Jonas Smith speaks after election results came in on Oct. 21, 2019. Smith said the Conservative Party of Canada is barring him from running again. (Chris Windeyer/CBC - image credit)
Yukon's Conservative candidate Jonas Smith speaks after election results came in on Oct. 21, 2019. Smith said the Conservative Party of Canada is barring him from running again. (Chris Windeyer/CBC - image credit)

The Conservative Party of Canada is barring Jonas Smith from running as its Yukon candidate in the upcoming federal election.

In an email, the party says Smith "is no longer our candidate after several discussions about his unwillingness to support public health guidelines."

A statement from Smith's campaign office goes a step further, saying that "the reason behind the disallowing of Smith's candidacy is his opposition to calls for implementation of mandated workplace vaccinations and vaccine passport requirements in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic."

Smith said the move will be "devastating" for the party's base in Yukon.

The news comes after the Liberals named Brendan Hanley as their candidate. Hanley announced on Tuesday that he is taking leave from his job as the territory's chief medical officer while campaigning.

Smith named as candidate only one month ago

The federal Conservatives only recently announced Smith's candidacy.

Smith narrowly lost to outgoing Liberal MP Larry Bagnell in 2019, who is set to retire after more than two decades in federal politics.

Smith told CBC News he decided to run again based on what he said was a strong showing of support for him during the last election.

He also railed against the Liberal government, claiming they mishandled spending during the pandemic and sent the national debt skyward.

He said that he wanted to focus on ramping up renewable energy capacity, housing and mental health supports.

'I'm just a regular, everyday Yukoner'

Smith is the former president of the Klondike Placer Miners' Association. He also served as president of the territorial Yukon Party and has worked in the premier's office. He's also worked as a server and musician.

"I'm just a regular, everyday Yukoner," Smith said during the lead-up to the last election.

"I like to think that I'm in touch with the realities of what a lot of people are going through."

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