Linda Benoit, who served as the party treasurer, official agent and president during a 16-year period, announced on Jan. 14 that she is also running for leader of the Yukon Party. (Submitted)

Longtime party supporter vies for Yukon Party leadership

Linda Benoit said she brings a different perspective than other candidates

Another Yukon Party faithful is jockeying for leadership.

Linda Benoit, who served as the party’s treasurer, official agent and president during a 16-year period, announced she’s running on Jan. 14.

“For me, this sort of feels like a natural next step,” she told the News. “I care about the future of the Yukon and I want to give back.”

Benoit, 38, is up against Currie Dixon and MLA Brad Cathers, both of whom announced last year that they’re after the helm of the party.

Cathers wants to prioritize health care, among other things; Dixon, a former cabinet minister elected in 2011, told the News he wants to overhaul the party, making it more progressive and inclusive.

Benoit said she brings a different perspective, adding that she’s spent more time in the private sector than them.

“I’ve run my own business for many years,” she said, referring to her IT-administrative company. “I think that perhaps being female and not having been in politics on the front lines for a long time I might be able to bring a more diverse crowd to the table with me.

“I’d really like to focus on making sure our private sector is strong, on affordability and the housing crisis we continue having. The next on my list is infrastructure projects in communities — making sure they’re getting started and completed on time.”

Benoit was born and raised in Faro. This made her develop a “soft spot” for the mining sector, she said, which is currently in a vulnerable position.

“I’m concerned about how we can continue to support the mining industry in the territory with the realities of climate change,” she said.

“I think there’s a lot of uncertainty. There seems to be a lot of permit holdups, permits in the air. There’s certainly more room to have First Nations involved in what goes on in the mining sector here.”

Benoit took some shots at the governing Liberals, saying that concrete plans are missing in action.

“We’re still having people have a hard time finding family doctors, and they seem to be very reactive instead of proactive and I would like to see that change,” she said.

Benoit was party president for three terms until 2017. She’s currently a non-voting board member. She’s the chief administrative officer of Teichroeb Construction and Management. Among other things, Benoit was Conservative candidate Jonas Smith’s campaign manager during the federal election last year.

“My plan is to get out and talk to as many Yukoners as I can and hear their ideas and sell as many memberships as I can,” she said.

The Yukon Party will be choosing its new leader on May 23.

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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