NDP health critic Jan Stick has announced her plan to run for re-election in Riverdale South in this year’s territorial election campaign.
On Tuesday, Stick made the announcement at Well-Read Books, the used bookstore she co-owns in downtown Whitehorse.
“I’m really proud of the work that myself and my colleagues have done over the last four and a half years, and I just know that we are looking forward to the election and we’re working hard to form the next government,” she said.
Stick has been the NDP’s main voice of opposition to the planned continuing care facility in Whistle Bend. She has accused the government of failing to consult with Yukoners about the facility and of not seriously considering alternatives to a single, large centre.
But on Tuesday, she conceded the 150-bed facility may be a fait accompli, even if the NDP wins the upcoming election. Last month, the government announced that construction of the facility is supposed to start in April.
“I don’t know what the implications would be … if we were to go in and halt construction and cancel contracts,” she said. “I’m sure there would be big penalties to pay. And so are there better uses of that money?”
Instead, she changed her focus to the second phase of the centre. The facility is being designed so that an additional 150 beds could be added on in the future, for a total of 300 beds. But Stick believes that can be avoided. “If we could halt with the first phase of it and look at how we could provide better services in communities, that would be something to look at.”
If she were re-elected, she said, she would also focus on affordable housing, poverty reduction and developing a mental health strategy. In a news release distributed after the announcement, Stick also criticized the government’s recent decision to defund the YuWin job board “at a time when Yukon’s economy needs to connect local employers with potential employees.”
Looking back over the last four years, Stick said she is especially proud of her work advocating on behalf of the family of Teresa Scheunert, who died in the Watson Lake hospital in 2012 after being admitted for severe back pain.
Stick was among those who called for an inquest into Scheunert’s death, which eventually occurred in 2014.
“One of the important things for me has been listening to Yukoners,” Stick said. “And trying to show or find a way for their voices to be heard.”