Educator and community advocate Pat Berrel earns Yukon NDP ticket in Porter Creek Centre

The Yukon NDP campaign’s Porter Creek effort took on more momentum today as former Whitehorse Elementary School principal and disability rights advocate Pat Berrel was nominated to represent the party as its candidate in Porter Creek Centre. Berrel’s nomination meeting took place at Porter Creek Secondary School, which served as the backdrop for the longtime educator’s campaign launch earlier this year.

“I’m delighted that Porter Creek Centre’s New Democrats have chosen Pat Berrel to represent them in this year’s election,” said Yukon NDP Leader Liz Hanson. “Pat’s sense of passion for what’s right and belief in the community that he showed as an educator will be a tremendous asset in the Yukon Legislative Assembly.”

The future of Yukon’s land and water was a major factor behind Berrel’s entry into territorial politics. The decision whether or not to allow hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) to take place in Yukon, protection of the Peel watershed and the preservation of McIntyre Creek, which runs through Porter Creek, are both questions to which Berrel believes the NDP has good answers.

“Like many Yukoners, I want a frack-free Yukon. Liz Hanson and the Yukon NDP is the only party that has consistently and clearly opposed this dangerous and risky gas extraction method,” said Berrel. “We have a responsibility to leave clean land and water for our children to enjoy, and fracking puts that commitment in jeopardy. It’s what’s fair.”

For Berrel, consultation and cooperation are both at the core of ensuring that development and sustainability are properly balanced. Government partners like First Nation governments and municipalities deserve to be treated with respect and equality when discussing development and land use planning.

Berrel’s path to politics also includes an established track record as a community volunteer that includes work with organizations like the Yukon Association for Community Living, Challenge and the Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee. He is a vocal supporter of a Yukon-wide approach to improve accessibility and safety for people with physical challenges.

And with over 35 years as a teacher and school administrator, Berrel strongly believes in the potential of Yukon’s children. However, success in the classroom is just as important as healthy lifestyles, which was why Berrel co-founded the Food for Learning Association that helps feed students good meals at school.

“Liz Hanson and the Yukon NDP stand for the same empathy and solidarity that prompted the creation of Food for Learning,” added Berrel. “The Yukon government should be doing more to help Yukoners who are having trouble making ends meet – and I’m excited to officially join the NDP team that will put Yukoners first again.”