Elias to seek help for alcohol abuse

Yukon MLA Darius Elias says he has a problem with alcohol and is seeking help. The MLA for Old Crow was charged early Friday morning with failing to provide a breathalyzer sample after police pulled him over.

Yukon MLA Darius Elias says he has a problem with alcohol and is seeking help.

The MLA for Old Crow was charged early Friday morning with failing to provide a breathalyzer sample after police pulled him over at a check stop in Whitehorse for using a cell phone while driving. He will be in court on June 30.

At a news conference on Wednesday morning, Elias admitted to struggling with alcohol addiction and said he is seeking “professional help.” He wouldn’t specify what that means.

Reading from a prepared statement, Elias said, “First of all, to my family and friends, constituents and Yukoners, I apologize to all of you.”

Flanked by Premier Darrell Pasloski and cabinet spokeswoman Elaine Schiman, Elias said it was difficult for him to admit he has a problem, but the breathalyzer incident has opened his eyes.

“I want to send a message, to the youth especially, who have been contacting me to ask what happened. I want to say that when you make a mistake, the first step is to take responsibility for your actions,” he said minutes before walking out of the media conference without answering a single question.

Premier Pasloski said that Elias will remain part of the Yukon Party caucus while he “works through these serious personal issues.”

“He is a strong MLA for his community … this doesn’t make him immune to problems. People can and do make mistakes,” Pasloski said.

When the statements were finished, both Elias and Pasloski walked away briskly in separate directions while reporters shouted questions at their backs.

Last Thursday was the last day of the Yukon legislature’s spring sitting, but Elias missed part of that afternoon. According to reliable sources, Elias was at the Edgewater Hotel’s bar and restaurant between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. He went back to the legislature without paying his bill in time to vote on the government’s 2014 budget. After Edgewater staff let him know, he returned around 5:30 to settle up.

Elias declined to speak to this, as he has for all related matters.

The Yukon Party backbencher became interim leader of the Liberals in 2011, but left the party to sit as an Independent in August 2012 and later joined the government in July 2013.

Elias refused to address questions about his sobriety when he announced he would cross the floor. The premier similarly dodged the issue, merely saying at the time that all members of the Yukon Party caucus are expected to uphold the party’s code of ethics.

During last spring’s sitting of the legislature, Elias suggested mandating special licence plates for people convicted of drunk driving.

He urged the government to consider programs like vehicle plate impoundment, which involves visually distinct licence plates for people caught drinking and driving more than once, he said.

“Nobody wants to have a bright pink or yellow licence plate on their vehicle saying that they’ve been charged with impaired twice,” Elias said.

Contact Jesse Winter at


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

Just Posted

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, electionsyukon.ca has an address-to-riding tool

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon addressing media at a press conference on April 8. The territorial election is on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party platform

A closer look at the party leader and promises on the campaign trail

Yukon NDP leader Kate White, surrounded by socially distanced candidates, announces her platform in Whitehorse on March 29. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Kate White and the Yukon NDP Platform

A detailed look at the NDP platform and Kate White’s leadership campaign this election

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Sandy Silver announces the territorial election in Whitehorse. Silver is seeking a second term as premier and third term as Klondike MLA. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Getting to know Sandy Silver and the Yukon Liberal platform

Yukon Liberal Leader Sandy Silver is vying for a second term as… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks to media in Whitehorse on October 30, 2020. Hanley is now encouraging Yukon to continue following health regulations, noting it could still be some time before changes to restrictions are made. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
No active COVID cases in Yukon

Hanley highlights concerns over variants, encourages vaccinations

Most Read