House Speaker Patti McLeod seeks re election in Watson Lake

Watson Lake MLA Patti McLeod is hoping to serve another term with the Yukon Party after this year’s territorial election.

Watson Lake MLA Patti McLeod is hoping to serve another term with the Yukon Party after this year’s territorial election.

McLeod said she decided to seek re-election because she’s passionate about representing her community, where she’s lived for more than 35 years.

“My focus has always been to represent the needs and desires of the people of the Watson Lake riding,” she said.

Since being elected in 2011, McLeod has had a lower profile than many of the other Yukon Party MLAs, as she has never held a cabinet portfolio.

Instead, she was chair of the committee of the whole – the assembly of all MLAs that considers new bills before they’re passed.

In May 2016, McLeod was abruptly named Speaker of the Yukon Legislative Assembly after former Speaker David Laxton resigned over an allegation of sexual harassment.

McLeod said the new position was “quite unexpected,” but the transition wasn’t difficult.

“Being chair of the committee of the whole is really a training position, I guess, for being Speaker,” she said.

During her term in office, McLeod also chaired the all-party select committee on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which was created in 2013. In January 2015, the committee released 21 recommendations regarding thecontroversial technology, including that First Nation consent should be required for any fracking development.

However, the group could not agree on some basic questions, including whether the technology should be allowed in the Yukon at all.

When the government’s draft strategy for hydraulic fracturing was accidentally released to the media two months later, the opposition parties were quick to accuse the Yukon Party of having made up its mind to promotefracking even before the select committee was convened.

But McLeod rejects that idea. “At the end of the day, the committee as a whole came up with 21 different recommendations for government, which government has decided to accept,” she said. “So I guess I don’t agree withthat statement that has been made that we went in with a preconceived notion.”

Within her riding, McLeod said she’s worked hard to improve health care in Watson Lake.

“It’s quite a challenge to attract doctors to rural communities throughout the country,” she said. “And I think we’ve been quite successful.”

In April, Ernie Jamieson announced he’s seeking the Liberal nomination in Watson Lake. The NDP has yet to announce a potential candidate for the riding.

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

Just Posted

In a Feb. 17 statement, the City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology used for emergency response. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Three words could make all the difference in an emergency

City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology

Jesse Whelen, Blood Ties Four Directions harm reduction councillor, demonstrates how the organization tests for fentanyl in drugs in Whitehorse on May 12, 2020. The Yukon Coroner’s Service has confirmed three drug overdose deaths and one probable overdose death since mid-January. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three overdose deaths caused by “varying levels of cocaine and fentanyl,” coroner says

Heather Jones says overdoses continue to take lives at an “alarming rate”

Wyatt's World for Feb. 24, 2021.
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Approximately 30 Yukoners protest for justice outside the Whitehorse courthouse on Feb. 22, while a preliminary assault hearing takes place inside. The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, based in Watson Lake, put out a call to action over the weekend. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Courthouse rally denounces violence against Indigenous women

The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society put out a call to action

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

The Yukon government and the Yukon First Nations Chamber of Commerce have signed a letter of understanding under the territory’s new procurement policy. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
First Nation business registry planned under new procurement system

Letter of understanding signals plans to develop registry, boost procurement opportunities

US Consul General Brent Hardt during a wreath-laying ceremony at Peace Arch State Park in September 2020. Hardt said the two federal governments have been working closely on the issue of appropriate border measures during the pandemic. (John Kageorge photo)
New U.S. consul general says countries working closely on COVID-19 border

“I mean, the goal, obviously, is for both countries to get ahead of this pandemic.”

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Start of spring sitting announced

The Yukon legislature is set to resume for the spring sitting on… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Most Read