Yvonne Clarke was elected as the Yukon Party MLA for Porter Creek Centre and is the first person of Filipino descent to be elected in the Yukon.
“I feel really honoured and privileged to be elected, and I’m also honoured to be the first Filipino elected,” Clarke said. “A lot of my friends and extended family in the Filipino community are really happy, they’ve been texting and messaging me, and they’re really happy.”
Clarke won her riding with 704 votes, narrowly beating incumbent Liberal Paolo Gallina by 61 votes and NDP Shonagh McCrindle by 334 votes.
She told the News that she began door-knocking last February and the extensive face-time with constituents seemed to have paid off.
“I kind of knew that a lot of people were supporting me, so I really had a good chance of winning based on door-knocking, so I felt really good last night,” she said.
Clarke is a 30-year Yukon resident and served previously as the president of the Canadian-Filipino Society of the Yukon. Twenty-three per cent of Yukon’s immigrants are from the Philippines, according to the Yukon Bureau of Statistics’ 2016 census. Clarke said she is excited to be an active voice for the Yukon’s thriving Filipino community.
“(Representation) is really important, because many came here as Yukon nominees and now are Canadian citizens, and are really thankful for the vision of the Yukon Party,” she said, noting that the Yukon Nominee Program came into effect during the Yukon Party’s mandate.
“They work as frontline workers and now we can achieve things — anything is possible in Canada.”
Clarke said she hopes her election will inspire the next generation of Filipino youth to become involved in public service.
“If I can do it, now they think, ‘I can do that too.’ I hope that I would inspire youth to say, ‘That’s going to be my goal, I can also serve,’” Clarke said. “Hopefully that would be really positive for everyone, and I would inspire people to serve.”
Clarke said her starting mandate will focus on the concerns and desires of Porter Creek Centre constituents.
“That will be my main focus, to take their concerns and issues to the legislative assembly. For those that voted for me, and those that didn’t, I am their MLA so I’m going to be a representative for everyone.”
Contact Gabrielle Plonka at firstname.lastname@example.org