Porter Creek North riding candidates for the territorial election in alphabetical order from left, Francis van Kessel (Wat.si) for the NDP, Geraldine Van Bibber for the Yukon Party and Staci McIntosh for the Liberals. (Submitted photos)

Porter Creek North riding candidates for the territorial election in alphabetical order from left, Francis van Kessel (Wat.si) for the NDP, Geraldine Van Bibber for the Yukon Party and Staci McIntosh for the Liberals. (Submitted photos)

Getting to know the candidates in Porter Creek North

New and familiar names are facing off in a Yukon Party stronghold

Part of the Porter Creek trio, the riding northwest of downtown Whitehorse includes Porter Creek, Crestview and Kulan. The area includes diverse types of housing that accommodate both young people and seniors.

Aside from the 2000 general election, in which Don Roberts took the riding with a large lead for the Liberals, Porter Creek North has consistently voted blue for the past 30 years. In the previous election the riding had a voter turnout of 65 per cent.

Three candidates are running in Porter Creek North this year, they are profiled alphabetically below.

Francis van Kessel (Wat.si) – Yukon New Democratic Party

Francis Van Kessel said important topics so far in this year’s campaign include healthcare and economic recovery.

In Porter Creek North she said she is also concerned about a local upgrade to the Alaska Highway and feels the current government has not consulted or communicated enough with people in the neighbourhood.

“That’s what I’ve been hearing at the door,” she said. “Why are we spending millions of dollars on a highway upgrade, when there’s people that need to be fed? And we need affordable housing, for purchase or for rent? But instead, we’re spending it on a highway?”

After working on a farm, Van Kessel said she’s also concerned about supporting farmers and building food security.

Van Kessel, who also has the name Wat.si, is a Teslin Tlingit citizen who grew up in the Yukon.

She ran in the 2016 election for Porter Creek North and came third with 15 per cent of the votes cast. She said she decided to run again because despite the loss, her first run for office changed her life.

“I was not successful, but the whole election changed my perspective on life. I realized that I need to make more of a difference in people’s lives, like everyday lives. It really opened my eyes on how many gaps there are in the system that I didn’t know,” she said.

Following her campaign, Van Kessel began working at Inclusion Yukon. She is also board representative for Yukon Registered Nurses Association, Paradise Music Festival and the Yukon NDP.

“We’re humans, we’re people. We live in the north. Let’s build community together.”

Geraldine Van Bibber – Yukon Party

Incumbent candidate Geraldine Van Bibber won the last election with 44 percent of the votes. Reflecting on her first four years, Van Bibber said she is seeking four more years because she enjoys being “in the heart of it.”

“I’m passionate about helping Yukoners. I’ve given to the community and to Yukon for as long as I can remember. It’s just in me. I love to be with people. I love being engaged,” she said.

Van Bibber is a former Commissioner of the Yukon Territory, member of the Gwichʼin First Nation, a recipient of the Order of Canada and a long-time resident of Porter Creek.

She said this year the constituents in her riding are concerned with core issues like housing, education, the economy and seniors issues in addition to how the territory will recover from the pandemic.

Van Bibber said she has heard concerns about interruptions to education and a recent lawsuit filed by the teacher’s union. She also said more and more people are concerned about being priced out of the housing market.

“People need affordable housing. If you are trying to get into the market, I sure wouldn’t want to be in a young person’s shoes right now. And even renting is costly,” she said, adding that the issue affects both people entering the market and seniors who are now paying their bills on a fixed income.

“I’ve run into about three already that are concerned, saying, ‘What am I going to do if electricity keeps going up? And property taxes keep going up? Can I do it by myself?’” she said.

Staci McIntosh – Yukon Liberal Party

As the owner of a business that was hit hardest by the pandemic, Staci McIntosh said the quick action of the Liberal government in protecting her livelihood inspired her to run for office.

“We are in a great place in the Yukon, because of the Liberal Party, as far as I’m concerned,” she said.

“That really resonated with me. I’ve worked with people for my whole career and it’s just another way for me to work with people. That’s why I decided [to run] because I do have a voice, I feel I’ve got a lot to say and I think I could be a strong voice for people of Porter Creek North,” she said.

“I think what makes a strong government is people from all different sectors. I mean if we all work together for a greater good I think that’s the point. I’d like to see all kinds of people come together and make a strong government for an amazing territory, I really feel strongly about that,” she said.

McIntosh is the co-owner of Head to Toe salon in downtown Whitehorse. When the pandemic started, her business was closed for nine weeks. Now that vaccines are out, she said many people are concerned with economic recovery.

She said she also believes environmental issues, relationships with First Nations and mental health care concerns are a priority.

“This has been hard for a lot of people. So those are issues out the door I’m hearing and those are ones close to my heart,” she said.

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com

Election 2021

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dawson the dog sits next to the Chariot Patrick Jackson has loaded and rigged up to walk the Dempster Highway from where it begins, off the North Klondike Highway, to the Arctic Circle. (Submitted)
Walking the Dempster

Patrick Jackson gets set for 405-kilometre journey

Liberal leader Sandy Silver speaks outside his campaign headquarters in Dawson City following early poll results on April 12. (Robin Sharp/Yukon News)
BREAKING: Minority government results will wait on tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin

The Yukon Party and the Liberal Party currently have secured the same amount of seats

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Exposure notice issued for April 3 Air North flight

Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has issued another… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read