Landslide Liz gives NDP another seat

REVISED VERSION'First we take Whitehorse Centre, then we take the Yukon," says Liz Hanson. The newly elected NDP leader was spoofing the Leonard Cohen lyrics, "First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.

Revised from December 14 story.

‘First we take Whitehorse Centre, then we take the Yukon,” says Liz Hanson.

The newly elected NDP leader was spoofing the Leonard Cohen lyrics, “First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.”

Hanson’s confidence was boosted by a sweeping victory in Monday’s byelection.

It earned her the nickname “Landslide Liz.”

The NDP pulled 52 per cent of the vote.

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It came as a relief to the NDP supporters gathered at the High Country Inn.

“Man, do we need this,” said NDPer Brenda Barnes, as the numbers rolled in.

Former federal NDP leader Audrey McLaughlin was thrilled.

“I’m always worried,” she said.

“I go in with pessimism.”

Now, “we have another woman in the legislature. And Liz knows the issues so well, I think she’ll be such a wonderful contributor.”

The NDP garnered 356 votes.

The Liberals came in with 181 and the Yukon Party was just behind with 150.

During her campaign, Hanson always took the high road, said co-campaign manager Jennifer Mauro.

Even after Liberal candidate Kirk Cameron’s girlfriend accused Hanson of having blood on her hands because of a decision she made as regional director of Indian and Northern Affairs more than seven years ago, Hanson refused to play dirty, said Mauro.

Hanson sent an e-mail to her team telling them to let it go.

“Liz amazed us with her integrity,” said Mauro.

“She just moved forward.”

And Hanson doesn’t plan on stopping.

Take some time with family and friends over Christmas, Hanson told 100 supporters who came to celebrate the victory.

“Because, come January 2011, we are going to be going.”

Hanson is planning to travel from Watson Lake to Old Crow and hit all points in between.

“The NDP is on the rise,” she said, accepting red roses and a loaf of organic Alpine Bakery bread from supporters.

Hanson didn’t know how much of a lead she had until the numbers came in.

Her team kept her in the dark.

“The canvassers didn’t tell me,” she said.

And going “door to door,” it was hard to tell.

It was the longest job interview she’s ever had, said Hanson, citing the 18 months from when she became party leader until she was finally elected.

“A weight has lifted off me,” she said.

“And been put right back on.”

Hanson has demonstrated she’s electable.

Now, she has to “build the trust of people throughout the Yukon and revitalize the NDP.”

Canadians elect NDP governments when economies start to falter, said Tytus Hardy.

The late NDP leader Todd Hardy’s son was there because it was “family duty.”

When things are easy, people don’t question government, said Hardy.

But in the late ‘80s, when Yukon mines started shutting down, the NDP rose to power, he said.

The NDP looks at hard issues, said supporter Kevin Barr, who drove about 20 voters to the polls on Monday.

“I’ve run with the NDP from the beginning because of its social consciousness and its ability to balance strong economic growth with environmentalism.”

Over a year ago, the NDP only had 25 members, said Hanson’s husband Doug Mowat.

“Now it’s up to roughly 180.”

The NDP needed this, said past party president Boyd Pyper, passing a hat to pay for the party.

“I’m chuffed.

“The Yukon government is not listening to the people and the other opposition party is not necessarily in touch – we need a party that will listen to the people.”

Contact Genesee Keevil at

gkeevil@yukon-news.com

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