‘In the end, it was all about love’

Hundreds of Yukoners crammed into the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre on Sunday to bid farewell to Todd Hardy, MLA for Whitehorse Centre, who succumbed last week to his four-year fight with leukemia at the age of 53.

Hundreds of Yukoners crammed into the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre on Sunday to bid farewell to Todd Hardy, MLA for Whitehorse Centre, who succumbed last week to his four-year fight with leukemia at the age of 53.

As a karate instructor, hockey coach, carpenter and New Democratic Party politician, Hardy touched many lives, as was evident by the crowd that filled the room, the hallways and spilled outside. Vehicles lined up down the block.

It was an uncommon service for an uncommon man.

At it, Hardy’s daughter Janelle performed an interpretive dance to Elizabeth Bishop’s poem One Art.

Before, she offered a wry explanation: her father was “always pulling the dying-man card” and had requested she perform the piece – the last he was to see at the Yukon Arts Centre – once more at his parting gathering.

That Hardy lasted as long as he did – doctors gave him several weeks to live in February – amazed many and amused himself.

When he defied all expectations and took his seat in the legislature this spring, he would later chuckle other MLAs reacted “as if he had risen from the dead,” said friend Heather MacFadgen.

Hardy credited the support he received from friends and family, said Rod Snow, another close friend.

“He said he could do the hard work of dying because he was surrounded by good people. In the end, it was all about love.”

Hardy was an unlikely breed: part firebrand socialist, part tranquil Buddhist. His spiritual beliefs bled into his political ones: on the legislature floor he would frequently appeal to his fellow MLAs to rise above partisan politics to work together for the common good.

To the NDP’s Steve Cardiff, who knew Hardy for more than 20 years, this was no different than the counselling Hardy would offer kids in a hockey scrap.

“We all need to learn from each other a better way of working together. I think that was the lesson Todd was trying to teach.”

Hardy could be uncompromising, and the NDP’s ranks shrank under his leadership. Liberal Leader Arthur Mitchell recalls sitting down with Hardy once. “He pounded the table and said: ‘I want it to be clear: I’m not a social democrat, I’m a democratic socialist.’ He saw a big distinction there.

“But I don’t think anyone ever doubted his sincerity or the integrity of his purpose,” said Mitchell. “He had passion and compassion. You put the two together and it’s pretty powerful.”

And Hardy had the ear of the man who mattered under this majority government.

Premier Dennis Fentie, who once shared the NDP’s backbenches with Hardy, continued to have an amiable relationship with Hardy after forming government.

“My memories of Todd are all fond ones,” said Fentie. “He never allowed politics to taint personal, human relations.”

This relationship likely helped Hardy win government support of NDP initiatives. Yukon’s Smoke-Free Places Act, the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act and ongoing discussions to reform how territorial legislators do business are all initiatives that bear his fingerprints.

Hardy’s casket was built by his sons. He left the building in it, carried by his friends and family, as the crowd sang Amazing Grace. He was later cremated.

Contact John Thompson at


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

Just Posted

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

Most Read