Candidate sees larger social role for city

Julie Menard wants to be a Whitehorse city councillor. It's the first time the 35-year-old has ever run in an election. "I see the opportunity here," she said.

Julie Menard wants to be a Whitehorse city councillor.

It’s the first time the 35-year-old has ever run in an election.

“I see the opportunity here,” she said. “I see that there’s a lot going on in the city and I see people speaking up and getting more involved.

“You have to start somewhere and I feel it’s the right time for me to step in because I think I have some good ideas to contribute.”

While she may not have any experience in electoral politics, Menard has always been politically active.

“I’ve been in social justice most of my working years,” said Menard.

She’s worked as the co-ordinator for Les EssentiElles, the Yukon’s francophone women’s group, she’s the former executive director of the Food Bank Society of Whitehorse and has been involved with the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition for a number of years.

Currently, she’s employed as the social marketing director of the Women’s Directorate for the Yukon government.

Council should be taking a larger role in solving the city’s social issues, said Menard.

“I believe the city can be a little more aggressive and open their mandate to be part of a housing plan,” she said. “I do believe the city can be a key partner with the territorial government or First Nation governments to work on an alternative housing project.”

Originally from Cornwall, Ontario, Menard grew up speaking French.

“I spoke more French in Cornwall than when I was studying in Montreal,” she said.

With her francophone roots and education in anthropology and intercultural co-operation, Menard has a sensitivity for other cultures, something she hopes to bring to council.

“I’ve been here 11 years and I see more and more diversity,” said Menard. “I can tell you, every two years this place changes.

“It’s not the same and it’s great, but we have to make sure that we have a proper plan to welcome those people.”

She’d also like to see the city do more to promote biking within the municipality.

“The city is really small but really vast,” said Menard. “We shouldn’t forget about all the people around who like to bike from Porter Creek.”

Making biking safer in the city by improving and maintaining infrastructure and educating both cyclists and motorists is another thing she’d like to see the city take on.

“I love Whitehorse,” she said. “I’ve been living here a long time and I would like to see our city be a place where everyone likes to be in and be happy and proud of.”

But that’s going to take some work, something that Menard said she is well-prepared for.

“I’m a hard worker and I’m ready to take some risks and stand by my words,” she said. “I think people should not be scared to vote for a young woman.

“Just because I’m young doesn’t mean you don’t have good ideas and are ready to work for them.”

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