Van Kessel joins Yukon NDP slate with Porter Creek North berth

Food security advocate and local business manager Francis van Kessel has been nominated to run for the Yukon NDP in Porter Creek North, becoming the 13th candidate to join the party’s team ahead of this fall’s territorial election.

Van Kessel is running for the Yukon NDP because she believes that access to food is an important, but often overlooked, aspect of poverty reduction. The Whitehorse Food Bank and soup kitchen volunteer made headlines when, as general manager of the Days Inn Whitehorse, she needed to plant the flower boxes in front of her 2nd Avenue business.

“When I was trying to figure out how to fill my boxes, I spoke with my mother Isabelle. The first thing she said was ‘why are you planting flowers, they can’t feed people,’” said van Kessel, a fifth generation Yukoner whose family hails from the Teslin Tlingit First Nation. “Right there, I realized I could make change. I filled my planter boxes with potato seeds that sprouted beautiful green plants – and that yielded a handy crop for the food bank.”

Van Kessel sees the Yukon government as an ideal forum to continue working to make her community more prosperous. She believes that, like the choice she made to use her business’ flower boxes for a greater public good, the government make better choices to support Yukoners who need a hand. Van Kessel’s support for good, accessible food extends to her belief that Yukon’s land and its water must be preserved for future generations.

An avid berry picker and subsistence hunter, van Kessel is worried that the introduction of fracking to Yukon will cause irreversible damage to its environment. She stands behind the Yukon NDP approach: the Yukon government needs to ensure that the territory’s development and energy needs are balanced with the environment’s wellbeing in mind.

“The Yukon NDP wants us to think about ways we can move beyond fossil fuels. Diesel fuel isn’t the only way to power remote communities in 2016,” added van Kessel, who is closely watching community renewable energy projects in places like Old Crow and Mount Lorne. “The Yukon government should be playing a leadership role in preparing Yukon for a future where we protect the environment while strengthening our energy security.”

“The Yukon NDP stand up for what’s right, and I can’t wait to be a part of a Yukon NDP government.”