The Porter Creek South riding encompasses the Porter Creek neighbourhood south of 12th Avenue East, west of Mountain View Drive and east of the Alaska Highway.
It contains McIntyre Creek and extensive green space bordering the mainly residential neighbourhood.
The riding has elected a Liberal seat in every election since 1996 with the exception of Mike Nixon, who won for the Yukon Party with 43 per cent of the vote in 2011. Nixon was ousted by Ranj Pillai by 52 votes in 2016.
Pat Duncan, the Yukon’s sixth premier, served as Liberal MLA for the riding from 1996 to 2002.
There are three candidates running in the 2021 election. They have been profiled in alphabetical order.
Chad Sjodin — Yukon Party
Chad Sjodin has lived in the Yukon for two decades. He has worked as an environmental officer with Parks Canada, a federal fishery officer and served on the board of the Yukon Fish and Game Association. He also has experience as an outfitter, entrepreneur and heavy equipment operator.
Now retired, Sjodin is running on a platform of economic recovery, support for businesses, housing and improved transit in Porter Creek South.
“We’re really hoping to have the private sector lead the way out of the pandemic, and working with everybody in the private sector and improving it that way,” Sjodin said.
“Another priority is definitely affordable housing, and working with partners to create and build and promote all levels of housing, including the First Nations and private businesses, of course.”
Sjodin said his extensive experience working with multiple levels of government has lended him the skills required to be a successful candidate.
“(I have) organizational skills, people skills, working in law enforcement, stressful situations, anything like that makes me a more well-rounded candidate,” Sjodin said.
The Yukon Party’s “strong leadership” inspired Sjodin to run for the party.
“Not just in our leader itself, but the incredible experience-base that comes with the Yukon Party in our very experienced MLAs, our wonderful volunteers, our office staff … their values are totally aligned with how I want to represent.”
Sjodin hopes his twenty years’ experience in the Yukon’s public and private sectors will win him a seat in the Legislative Assembly.
“My interaction within the community is going to help shape a better Yukon for the next generation, which includes my young son,” Sjodin said.
Colette Acheson — Yukon New Democratic Party
Colette Acheson is a consultant who coordinates non-profit projects and businesses in the Yukon, N.W.T. and Alberta. She served as executive director of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce and the Yukon Association for Community Living (now Inclusion Yukon) for several years.
She was previously the president of Options for Independence FASD housing and co-chair of the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition. She is currently volunteering with the steering committee for a non-profit hub concept.
Acheson is running on a platform of creating more policy flexibility, smarter business advisory services, support for local agriculture and better collaboration between non-profits and government.
While working at Inclusion Yukon, Acheson said that policy inflexibility has historically made it difficult for families to get their needs met.
“It’s not specifically about cost, or spending more money, but certainly a view of allowing services to be user-centred, instead of system-centred,” she said.
Acheson wants to see better advisory support for the mom-and-pop businesses that she calls the heart of the economy. She is also advocating for contracts between local farmers and government institutions, like hospitals and jails, to provide local food and economic stability for the agricultural sector.
She also wants to see non-profits and governments “sit on the same side of the table” and build stronger partnerships.
She told the News that Kate White’s collaborative leadership approach inspired her to run with the NDP.
“I think sometimes there are (government) decisions that are made entirely internally or with minimal consultation … but I think that government, at its heart, is meant to serve the majority of the population,” Acheson said.
“To me, that’s one of the foundational pieces of democracy, that idea of the greatest good.”
Ranj Pillai — Yukon Liberal Party
Incumbent MLA Ranj Pillai was first elected in 2016 and served as Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources. He is also the Minister of Economic Development and responsible for the Yukon Development and Energy corporations.
In the past four years Pillai also worked on the Yukon’s agriculture policy, strategy for climate change, mineral development strategy, and 10-year renewable energy plan. Pillai is hoping for re-election to continue working on those projects.
“We have been taking on some pretty big files and challenges and have done a lot of good work, and some of that work still needs to be implemented,” Pillai said.
While he has taken on some large projects over his term, Pillai said his first priority is the constituents of Porter Creek South.
“The seat that I sit in belongs to the people of Porter Creek South … and the number one priorities going into the next four years are the things the community wants to see accomplished.”
Pillai said he has worked previously on pedestrian safety and upgrading park infrastructure. Now, his main priority is to work on protecting McIntyre Creek as an urban park.
Regardless of whether he maintains a cabinet seat after this election, Pillai said he will also continue work regarding economic recovery if re-elected.
“I’m still very focused on watching our economy modernize and diversify,” Pillai said.
“We’ve had a very strong economy up until COVID, and I’ve had the opportunity to work and be directed by the private sector, to help ensure that has continued … and ensure we had the right safeguards and programs in place.”
Pillai closed with thanks to his constituents for the last four years.
“It’s been the biggest honour that I’ve ever had in my professional life,” Pillai said.
Contact Gabrielle Plonka at firstname.lastname@example.org