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Convention planned for Liberal leadership

The Yukon Liberal Party has set a date for its leadership convention. The party will elect its official leader on March 1.

The Yukon Liberal Party has set a date for its leadership convention.

The party will elect its official leader on March 1.

“The new leader will have plenty of time to assemble a team of candidates and to lay out the party’s agenda for the next election, whenever it is called,” said party president Devin Bailey. “Given the recent historical dates of the spring sitting, I expect a permanent leader will be in place before the legislature begins in mid-March.”

The legislature’s lone Liberal, MLA Sandy Silver, currently leads the party on an interim basis.

Representing the Klondike, Silver was one of only two Liberals elected during the last territorial election in October 2011.

He became interim leader when Vuntut Gwitchin MLA Darius Elias left to sit as an independent in August 2012. Elias would go on to join the Yukon Party in July 2013.

Silver said his party has been spending its time building its membership and creating a party that is open and welcoming.

“For the last two years we’ve been doing a good job creating a strong core of people,” he said.

Bailey estimates there were 150 members in the party as of the end of 2013. Party membership has doubled since September, Silver said.

Silver said the party is attracting members who would not normally be interested in politics.

“They put their foot in the water and then start realizing that their ideas are being taken seriously,” he said.

There is an appeal to getting involved with a party in the early stages of development, he said.

“This is the party that doesn’t owe anyone anything.”

Silver said he has spoken to a number of people who have expressed interest in running for the Liberals in the next election. Having a leader in place is important before any of those decisions can be firmed up, he said.

Last year, Silver announced his desire to drop the interim from his title and run for the leadership.

“If the membership wants me, I am willing and able,” he said yesterday.

On Dec. 4 party members voted to hold the leadership vote. Officials with the party have been working on the rules for the convention since then.

To be eligible to run for leader, candidates need to submit a nomination form by Feb. 8 at 11 a.m. To vote at the convention, new members must sign up for a party membership by Feb. 22.

Time and location for the convention will be announced later.

Contact Ashley Joannou at