Ken Giam grew up with a sister who had a mental disability, and the challenges she faced are the main reason why he made a last-minute decision to run for a seat on city council this week.
The owner of Premier Cabs and Grizzly Bear Taxi said if elected on Oct. 15, he would make disability issues his top priority during his term.
“I feel there isn’t enough that’s being done to help people with mental or physical disabilities,” he said.
“People still have a stigma against people with disabilities.”
Giam didn’t have any specific examples of how he wants to help disabled people in Whitehorse. But he does have the energy and passion to listen to them and find ways to help, he said.
“I know that I’m not going to be a cure-all, but I’m going to try my best to be a voice,” he added.
And when other issues come up before city council, he’ll put the same energy and passion into addressing those, too, he said.
If elected, Giam also wants to see the City of Whitehorse’s bylaw staff take sensitivity training courses. It would help them come across as friendlier people, he said.
“I’ve personally dealt with a lot of those (enforcement) officers,” he said. “And I’ve always felt, after interacting with them, that it would make Whitehorse a better place if they adopted less intrusive measures. Some are very professional but some are very intrusive.”
Giam has also worked for the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, investigating claims of discrimination against people with disabilities.
In Nunavut, he worked as a social worker in Iqaluit, Cambridge Bay and Kugluktuk for several years.
He moved to the Yukon in 2001 and did social work in Pelly Crossing and Ross River before moving to Whitehorse in 2005.
He started his taxi company two years later.
“We’re blessed and now we want to give back,” he said, referring to himself and his wife.
Twenty-two other candidates are running for six councillor positions.
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