Yukon candidate dropped by Conservatives will run as an independent

·3 min read
Jonas Smith when he ran for the Conservative Party of Canada in 2019. Smith is now running as an independent after the federal Conservatives dropped him as a candidate last week. (Kaila Jefferd-Moore - image credit)
Jonas Smith when he ran for the Conservative Party of Canada in 2019. Smith is now running as an independent after the federal Conservatives dropped him as a candidate last week. (Kaila Jefferd-Moore - image credit)

Jonas Smith plans to run as an independent candidate after being turfed by the Conservative Party of Canada less than one week ago.

"It was largely due in response to the overwhelming encouragement I got from people across the political spectrum," he told CBC News. "I think running as an independent actually provides me with an opportunity to connect with voters who feel disaffected for a variety of reasons. Beyond that, I think most importantly I can honestly appeal to the people that are just fed up with party politics in general."

The federal Conservatives dropped Smith on Aug. 12 over his views on public health guidelines.

A statement issued by Smith's campaign office states the reason he was barred from running again for the party is because he spoke against mandatory workplace vaccinations and vaccine passport requirements.

In a statement issued Aug. 15, Conservative Party Leader Erin O'Toole said he also opposed vaccine mandates, preferring a policy in which unvaccinated people are tested before getting on a bus, train, plane or ship and that unvaccinated federal public servants be tested daily for COVID-19, rather than required to get the vaccine.

Smith elaborated on his views Tuesday following a period of radio silence last week. It appears that rapid testing is where Smith and the federal Conservatives don't align.

Smith said that rapid testing results in a "two-tiered society."

"What it comes down to is I believe that Canadians' confidential medical information is between them and the medical practitioner," he said. "You know, it's not something that you should have to talk about before the hostess at the restaurant will see you or you're allowed to go to a baseball game.

"At the end of the day, I support vaccination."

Smith said he does not believe his views to be unusual, and that the decision from party brass landed as an emotional cocktail of surprise, shock and anger.

"It was a lot to process all at once."

The writ dropped on Sunday after Governor General Mary Simon assented to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's request to dissolve Parliament. Canadians head to the polls on Sept. 20.

What does Smith's platform look like?

Smith's platform looks much the same as they did when he was a Conservative candidate, he said.

Smith wants to focus on ramping up renewable energy capacity, housing and mental health supports.

"I think that we really need to find a way to safely reopen our economy," he said.

Smith has previously railed against the Liberal government, claiming it mishandled spending during the pandemic.

Smith is the former president of the Klondike Placer Miners' Association. He's 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.

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

Smith will face off against Brendan Hanley, who recently announced his Liberal Party bid. The NDP has put forward a candidate, as well — Lisa Vollans-Leduc, billed as a labour and human rights activist.

As of publication time, the Conservatives had yet to name a replacement.

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