The new Yukon Liberal caucus poses for a photo during the swearing-in ceremony held on May 3. (Yukon Government/Submitted)

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.

New ministers will be doing their homework this week after the new Liberal cabinet was sworn-in and the speaker of the house was nominated on May 3.

Premier Sandy Silver will remain as the minister responsible for the executive council and the Finance Minister.

“Much has changed since the last time that I stood here for this exact same reason and moment, and in many ways, no person is the same as we were before the pandemic,” said Silver after the swearing-in ceremony.

“I look forward, again, to collaborating with all the MLAs,” he said, referencing climate change, the economy, COVID-19 recovery, education reform and relationships with First Nations as priorities going into the next session.

The first sitting of the 35th Yukon Legislative Assembly will take place on May 11 with a speech from the throne.

After the results of the election left the Liberal Party with only eight elected MLAs, each sitting member (aside from the speaker) now has multiple portfolios to manage.

Commissioner of Yukon Angélique Bernard swore in the new cabinet at the Legislature on Tuesday evening. While a few ministers will hold on to their old portfolios, many others have been switched around.

Tracy McPhee, who was previously the Education Minister, will remain as Justice Minister but also take on the duties of the Health Minister.

John Streicker, who held the position of Community Services Minister through the first year of the COVID-19, will replace Ranj Pillai as minister of Energy, Mines and Resources. He will also be responsible for the Public Service Commission and the French Language Services Directorate.

Pillai will remain Economic Development Minister. He will also be taking on the portfolios of tourism and culture, the Yukon Housing Corporation, Yukon Liquor Corporation and the Yukon Lottery Commission.

Jeanie McLean, who was previously Minister of Tourism and Culture, will now take over the education portfolio. She will remain the minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate.

Richard Mostyn was named the new Community Services Minister and will be responsible for Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board.

Former speaker Nils Clarke will not be reprising his role this term. Instead, Clarke will take over as minister of Highways and Public Works and Environment Minister.

Rookie MLA Jeremy Harper has been nominated as speaker. The speaker moderates discussions in the House and is charged with impartially enforcing the rules and conventions of the legislature. That means the Mayo-Tatchun representative won’t be voting on legislation unless he is required to as a tie-breaker.

Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon said his party is looking forward to working with the new ministers. He also expressed disappointment with the decision to move Ranj Pillai off the energy, mines and resources file.

“He was the sole member of the left-wing Liberal-NDP coalition who was pro-mining and had strong relationships with the industry,” he said.

On May 3 the government issued a second special warrant that allows the government to function and spend necessary funds until the 2021–22 budget is brought forward during the Spring Legislative sitting. The warrant will be in effect from June 1 to June 30.

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com

Yukon legislative assembly

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