Eileen Melnychuk seeks Liberal nod in Porter Creek North

Born-and-raised Yukoner Eileen Melnychuk wants to be the Liberal candidate in Porter Creek North for the upcoming territorial election.

Born-and-raised Yukoner Eileen Melnychuk wants to be the Liberal candidate in Porter Creek North for the upcoming territorial election.

Melnychuk said she’s been working with the federal Liberals for about three years, including on Liberal MP Larry Bagnell’s 2015 election campaign, and she believes in the Liberal platform.

“I just feel that right now this is a good fit for me. And I think that it’s going to be a really exciting election for all Yukoners,” she said. “I think it’s going to be the most exciting election in my life.”

Melnychuk said she’s especially interested in affordable housing, and she’d like to have a roundtable discussion with Yukoners, the government and NGOs to discuss the issue.

“We tend to think that (Porter Creek) is a pretty affluent neighbourhood,” she said. “But the biggest issue I’ve heard at the door repeatedly is housing.”

She referred specifically to the Casa Loma trailer park in Porter Creek, which evicted its tenants when it shut down at the end of July, leaving some residents with nowhere to go.

“I think what we need to do is not look at the short term of where do we put these people … but look at the long term and not have situations like this come up again,” she said.

Melnychuk said she’s also interested in working collaboratively with First Nation governments, and she wants to improve training and education for youth and older people. She said she’s spoken with people who’ve worked in mining for 20 years, but who are now out of a job because of the mining downturn.

“Employment and training opportunities are really important,” she said.

She said she sees the Yukon Liberal Party as being especially collaborative, and several people she respects are now Liberal candidates, including Pauline Frost in Old Crow.

Melnychuk sought the Yukon Party nomination in 2011 in Takhini-Kopper King, and lost to Samson Hartland. But this time around, she said, she’s excited about the Liberal candidates and called this “an election of change.”

She still lives in Takhini-Kopper King, where Jeane Lassen is the Liberal candidate. She said she’d move to Porter Creek North if she were elected.

Melnychuk was raised in Watson Lake. She later left the Yukon, but returned about 10 years ago.

She has been a long-time board member of the Northern Cultural Expressions Society and has volunteered with the Yukon Hospital Foundation and Yukon Cares, the group that brought a Syrian refugee family to Whitehorse earlier this year.

Porter Creek North is currently held by Yukon Party MLA Doug Graham, who has announced he will not seek re-election.

Geraldine Van Bibber is the Yukon Party’s candidate for the riding. Francis van Kessel is seeking the NDP nomination.

Melnychuk is competing against Mike Tribes for the Liberal nomination.

Contact Maura Forrest at

maura.forrest@yukon-news.com

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