Yukon Liberals will have another contested riding nomination ahead of this year’s territorial election.
Sunny Patch, who works in communications for Northwestel, announced her plans Thursday to seek the Liberal nomination for the Riverdale North riding.
“I’ve chosen the Liberal Party because they share the values that I have in building a strong future for our territory and also supporting the growth of this territory as we move forward,” she said from the front yard of her Riverdale home.
Legal aid lawyer Nils Clarke is also running for the Liberal candidacy in the riding.
Patch came to the Yukon when she was 24 and spent three years helping to organize the 2007 Canada Winter Games.
She says she only planned to stay a few years. But, as is common in the territory, those plans changed and she’s been in the Yukon ever since.
“Instead of packing myself off to the wilds of a southern city, I’ve stayed and built that exact fabulous life here,” she said.
After the games, Patch moved on to work for the Yukon government in the economic development and energy, mines and resources departments.
“My work with the Canada Games and the Yukon government has given me an understanding of the importance of working together,” she said.
“I saw first hand how much better the results are when the approach is collaborative and inclusive.”
Patch later moved from government to working for Northwestel. There she has led the company’s mental health sponsorship program and helped organize Clara’s Big Ride.
In 2014 Olympian Clara Hughes travelled across Canada to raise awareness about mental health issues.
“Through this work I learned about Yukon’s mental health services,” Patch said.
“I heard many stories about the gaps in services and felt the frustration of people who were not finding the help that they so desperately needed.”
Patch said she doesn’t have a strategy herself for fixing the problem.
“But I think the important step we need to take is to talk to people in the organizations, people who are working in the field and learn from them what’s missing, what’s needed and what could be done better.”
The mother of three children is currently on maternity leave with her five-month-old. She said she’s also concerned about the Yukon’s education system and childcare.
“I’d like to see all of that examined to be sure that we’re offering the best we possibly can for Yukon’s children.”
No date has been set for the Liberals to pick their nominee in Riverdale North. That will likely happen next month.
The riding is currently held by Yukon Party minister Scott Kent. The NDP is running Yukon lawyer Rod Snow on the ballot.
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