The Yukon Liberal Party took another blow this week when the financial effects of having only one MLA materialized.
The caucus budget shrank by $40,000 when Darius Elias, the six-year member for Vuntut Gwitchin, left the party earlier this month.
That money is intended to fund research, explained Jason Cunning, the party’s chief of staff.
The new shortfall means one of the Liberals’ most significant people, who has been behind the scenes for about two decades, has to be let go.
“Jude (Layzell) has been the first person you meet when you walk through the doors of the Liberal office for 20 years,” said Cunning. “She knows a ton of people, she knows a ton of history in terms of what’s gone on in this building and in the legislature and in the territory – she’s lived here forever. She answers the phone, she writes a lot of letters, she writes all the tributes for MLAs, she filed everything, she remembers what ribbon everybody’s wearing on this day and what tribute it’s going to be and whose birthday it is and what’s coming next. I mean, she’s an encyclopedia. Liberal MLAs have relied on her for a long time, so she’ll certainly be missed. But it’s just the economics right now.
“We don’t have enough money to pay her, so, her job will end … immediately, basically.”
But Layzell’s not gone completely, Cunning added.
“That knowledge isn’t going away,” he said. “I am sure Jude will continue to be involved in the party, but it’s definitely a loss of horsepower in this office, so of course it will be felt.”
The party may also be able to offer a part-time position during the legislature’s sittings, as it has in the past, Cunning added.
The Liberals’ sole representative in the legislature, Sandy Silver, the MLA for Klondike, has assumed the role of interim leader following Elias’ decision to sit as an independent.