Erin Labonte is a born-and-raised Watson Laker. She's best known for her role as a key organizer of Yukon’s branch of Cystic Fibrosis Canada, where she helped raise more money for research per capita than any other CFC community group in Western Canada.
Labonte, who works at her family’s car repair shop, is a familiar face around Watson Lake: she is a regular volunteer with the Watson Lake daycare, serves as the president of Watson Lake Minor Softball and works with the Watson Lake Fire Department to organize many community events.
When considering a jump into politics, Labonte says that she wants to build a healthier community. She was drawn to the Yukon NDP thanks to their constant advocacy for better mental health care and a stronger focus on front-line service delivery.
“Everything starts with health. Communities reach their full potential when the people who inhabit them are healthy and supported by public health care,” said Labonte. “You can't have a sustainable economy without having a healthy community. In building healthier communities, we’re priming ourselves for a stronger Yukon economy.”
For Labonte, mental health services need the resources to provide more local support instead of relying on transportation to Whitehorse for care. The constant rotation of health care professionals in and out of the community, including a shortfall of community nurses, makes it harder for Watson Lakers to build up a rapport with the people who drive the health care system. And a lack of low-income housing puts even more stress on people who are already trying to make ends meet.
“Watson Lake knows too well that we thrive when we work together to help each other through the tough times,” added Labonte. “Thanks to the economic slump and a health care system that needs to do more, we are going through tough times. With Liz Hanson and the Yukon NDP I think we can come together to build a better tomorrow.”