The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Brendan Hanley has been named the Liberal candidate ahead of the upcoming federal election.
“In many ways, I’m still surprised myself being in front of you today,” said Hanley, during an announcement made outside the Yukon Arts Centre in Whitehorse on Aug. 10.
Hanley said he is looking for a new challenge, has strong relationships within the territory and wants to advocate for Yukoners on a national level. He said after hearing from a number of individuals interested in seeing him run, he recently approached the Liberal Party and went through the vetting process to receive the nomination.
“I thought this was an opportunity for me to continue to make a difference in a different way,” he said.
“I’m certainly new to politics, and I’m happy to acknowledge that, but I do bring some strong experience and some public recognition. I’m looking forward to hearing about Yukoners’ priorities and do my part to win the support of Yukoners,” he said.
Hanley said climate change, addictions, mental health and reconciliation were all key issues.
Hanley is a bilingual candidate who has served in his current position for 15 years. Hanley moved to the Yukon in 1995 and is a former board member of the Canadian Medical Association.
Hanley will replace outgoing MP Larry Bagnell, who announced last week he would not run for re-election. Bagnell won by less than one per cent in 2019. Bagnell was MP from 2000 to 2011, and was later re-elected in 2015.
Hanley will be taking a leave of absence effective today, with deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Catherine Elliott taking over the COVID-19 pandemic response in his absence.
“My plan will be to learn as much as I can about the needs and priorities of Yukoners, about what it’s like to be a political candidate. And to learn as much as I can from Larry’s experience and others’ experience and really to begin preparing myself [for an election].”
“I think my team, including the medical officers of health, are well-positioned. We all agree on the direction ahead and I do think they are a strong team to consider the response,” said Hanley.
Hanley said if he is unsuccessful in the election he plans to return to his position in the Yukon government.
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