Dan Curtis is interviewed after the last polls close in the Whitehorse municipal election on Oct. 18. He will serve his third term as Whitehorse’s mayor. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

UPDATED: Curtis gets a third term as Whitehorse’s mayor

Council split between incumbents and new candidates

Dan Curtis isn’t much of a smoker, but if he was, he said he’d be lighting a freshly legalized joint this weekend to celebrate winning a third term as mayor of the City of Whitehorse. Instead, he’ll go for Greek at Cosmos Restaurant.

“I think I’m just going to spend a little bit of time with my wife and kind of reflect on the fact that, yeah, I got a third term in my hometown,” he told the News in council chambers, following the election Oct. 18. “I’m excited. It’s very humbling, very exciting.”

Curtis won the seat with 2,933 votes, beating second place candidate Rick Karp, who got 1,908 votes. Colin LaForme came in with 1,511. Wilf Carter had 163. Kelly Suits received 148.

Curtis, Karp and LaForme were the only three mayoral candidates at city hall to watch as the poll numbers came in on a giant screen in council chambers. The majority of council candidates were also present.

Initial numbers came in around 8:20 p.m. (polls closed at 8 p.m.) and the top six councillor candidates remained steady through the night. Whitehorse’s councillors are: Jan Stick, Steve Roddick, Laura Cabott, Samson Hartland, Jocelyn Curteanu and Dan Boyd.

Stick and Roddick, who ran on a slate together, and Cabott will be new-ish faces around the council table (Stick previously served from 2005 to 2008. She was also NDP MLA for Riverdale South).

Hartland, Curteanu and Boyd were incumbents. Two-term councillor Betty Irwin was bumped from her seat, as was Roslyn Woodcock.

“I’m really saddened that we lost a couple councillors because you get tight,” Curtis said. “You go to war together, you know? But I’ve known Steve and Jan and I don’t know Laura as well, but she brings a lot of competence as well.”

Curteanu said it was the competence of all candidates that made the election such a whirlwind for everyone this year.

“It’s been very, very tiring,” she said. “Definitely this municipal campaign was taken up a couple notches … I think part of it is because a lot of the people that are running are experienced with campaigns at the territorial, even federal level.”

Candidate Danny Macdonald, who came in with 295 fewer votes than Boyd, said it was agonizingly close, and though he was disappointed, he was comfortable with the effort he put into his campaign.

“I think my mom was texting me more disappointed than I am but that’s OK,” he said. “You kind of knew, I think, that it was going to be close, so I kind of prepared for this in my headspace. And then you just kind of hope for the best and we ran out of track. Just couldn’t get enough in some of the polls we needed.”

Roddick, who was at the Woodcutter’s Blanket at 7:50 p.m., reminding patrons that polls were still open for 10 mote minutes, said he was relieved to see his name near the top of the pile when early results came in. Still, he measured his expectations, saying that though he knew he’d done a ton of legwork during his campaign, it was tough to know whether that effort had resonated with people, especially in such a strong field of candidates.

“This has been one of the most competitive elections in a long time, from what I’ve heard, so it’s been great, all around,” he said.

Mayoral candidate Colin LaForme said he thinks the results speak volumes about the city’s desire for change.

“Part of (my) message was change for the city and the votes came in that the majority of people did want the change, so I think you know, that’s a positive message.”

He said he can see himself running again in 2021. In the meantime, he said he’s happy to be able to return to his job as a bylaw officer with the city. LaForme had taken a leave to run for mayor, but already had a night shift scheduled for Oct. 19.

Candidates began congratulating winners well before the final poll numbers came in. There was a glitch with the tabulator at Vanier Catholic School (there had been one earlier in the day as well), so the 800 ballots had to be counted manually.

It was one of a few technical difficulties during election day.

Ballots from the 2015 election were accidentally handed out at City Hall, though only one person filled it out before it was caught and rectified by staff (the voter was then given a 2018 ballot to complete).

Myles Dolphin, spokesperson for the city of Whitehorse, said that a few deputy returning officers didn’t show up at polling stations, so replacements had to be found and trained at the last minute. This had a domino effect, which meant ballots and privacy dividers weren’t set up at some locations, including the Canada Games Centre and the Yukon government administration building (though staff did erect makeshift privacy booths until the real ones arrived).

Despite this, final numbers were in by 10 p.m., only an hour later than expected.

The new mayor and council will be sworn in on Oct. 29.

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Team Togo member Katie Moen sits in a sled behind a snowmobile for the ride from the airport to Chief Zzeh Gittlit School. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Coming together: How Old Crow became one of the first communities in the world to be fully vaccinated

Team Togo and Team Balto assembled with a mission to not waste a single dose of vaccine

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. If council moves forward with bylaw changes, eating and drinking establishments could set up pop-up patios in on-street parking spaces. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Patios may be popping up in Whitehorse this summer

City considers program for downtown restaurants and bars

The Yukon Coroner's Service has confirmed the death of a skateboarder found injured on Hamilton Boulevard on May 2. Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News
Whitehorse man dies in skateboarding accident

Coroner urges the use of helmets, protective gear, while skateboarding.

The new Yukon Liberal caucus poses for a photo during the swearing-in ceremony held on May 3. (Yukon Government/Submitted)
Liberal cabinet sworn in at legislature before house resumes on May 11

Newly elected MLA Jeremy Harper has been nominated as speaker.

The Yukon Wildlife Preserve’s baby bison, born April 22, mingles with the herd on April 29. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Yukon Wildlife Preserves welcomes two bison calves

A bison calf was the first 2021 baby born at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve

A map provided by the Yukon government shows the location of unpermitted logging leading to a $2,500 fine. (Courtesy/Yukon government)
Man fined $2,500 for felling trees near Beaver Creek

The incident was investigated by natural resource officers and brought to court.

The site of the Old Crow solar project photographed on Feb. 20. The Vuntut Gwitchin solar project was planned for completion last summer, but delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it back. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Old Crow is switching to solar

The first phase of the community’s solar array is already generating power.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
One new case of COVID-19 in the Yukon

Case number 82 is the territory’s only active case

Flood and fire risk and potential were discussed April 29. Yukoners were told to be prepared in the event of either a flood or a fire. Submitted Photo/B.C. Wildfire Service
Yukoners told to be prepared for floods and wildland fire season

Floods and fire personelle spoke to the current risks of both weather events in the coming months.

From left to right, Pascale Marceau and Eva Capozzola departed for Kluane National Park on April 12. The duo is the first all-woman expedition to summit Mt. Lucania. (Michael Schmidt/Icefield Discovery)
First all-woman team summits Mt. Lucania

“You have gifted us with a magical journey that we will forever treasure.”

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

Whitehorse goings-on for the week of April 26

The Yukon Department of Education in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. The department has announced new dates for the 2021/2022 school year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Yukon school dates set for 2021/22

The schedule shows classes starting on Aug. 23, 2021 for all Whitehorse schools and in some communities.

Most Read