Chemical engineer Stu Clark wants to be the NDP’s candidate in Whitehorse West for the upcoming territorial election.
Renewable energy development, local food production and recycling are among Clark’s top priorities.
He believes the Yukon should build more wind turbines, particularly to supply electricity in the winter when there’s a hydro power shortfall. He said the winter months tend to be the windiest time of the year.
“So it just seems like low-hanging fruit to move ahead and recapture the dream that Dr. (Doug) Craig and John Maissan and a few people envisioned back in the early 2000s when they put that wind turbine up on Haeckel Hill,” he said.
Much of Yukon’s carbon footprint comes from home heating and transportation, not from electricity. But Clark said more Yukoners could heat their homes with electricity, using technology like electric thermal storage units, which store heat in metal or ceramic plates and release it slowly throughout the day.
He also said behavioural changes could help reduce emissions from transportation. “We don’t really always have to be driving really big vehicles,” he said. “They have their place, and they’re useful for certain things. But an awful lot of them get used for just everything.”
Clark said that surplus hydroelectricity in the summer should be made available to farmers at low cost to encourage local food production. He also said the Yukon government should ensure that the restaurant in the government administration building buy food locally.
“I’d be surprised if two per cent of our total food is coming from local sources,” he said. “But the potential to move that to 10 per cent I think is really there with available farmland.”
Clark also believes the Yukon should require manufacturers to fund recycling programs for their products, instead of trying to create a mandatory curbside recycling program funded by taxpayers, as the City of Whitehorse tried and failed to do earlier this year.
That model, called extended producer responsibility, exists in many places across the country. Extra fees are attached to the sale of many different products to cover the cost of their disposal.
Clark was involved in designing that type of program in Manitoba, where he lived before moving to the Yukon four years ago.
A chemical engineer by training, he has also worked in food security with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and the Mennonite Central Committee in Manitoba.
Clark is now retired, and began to volunteer for the NDP in March, after seeing “a lot of good ideas” from the sitting NDP MLAs. He said the party asked him to run for office after he began to volunteer.
He is also the former chair of the Yukon Development Education Centre and is an active member of the Whitehorse United Church.
If he captures the nomination in Whitehorse West, Clark will be up against the Yukon Party’s Elaine Taylor, who has held the seat since 2002 and won in 2011 with over 58 per cent of the vote.
Liberal candidate Richard Mostyn, though a newcomer to politics, has been campaigning since February.
Clark said he knows he’s facing a challenge.
“I am definitely a dark horse,” he said. “What I hope I’m not is a sacrificial lamb, but I might also be a sacrificial lamb.
“And you know, either way, I’m prepared to try to raise the issues, persuade the people of Whitehorse West that some of these ideas that we’ve been talking about are ideas that we need now in the Yukon, and we’ll see what happens.”
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