MLAs hope their rookie status will be a strength

Four new faces displayed a mix of terror and accomplishment as the 32nd Yukon legislature opened Thursday.

Four new faces displayed a mix of terror and accomplishment as the 32nd Yukon legislature opened Thursday.

As they prepare to replace seasoned veterans, few of the Yukon’s new MLAs appeared wobbly on their feet.

In fact, all hope the inexperience plays in their favour.

“I’d like to think I have an open mind, fresh eyes and, hopefully, some vision,” said Don Inverarity, the newly minted Liberal MLA for Porter Creek South.

Inverarity is filling the seat once occupied by former Liberal leader Pat Duncan.

Inverarity will push legislative reform over the next five years.

“I think we have to start working together more than what’s happened in the past years.”

Another new face is Steve Nordick, the Yukon Party’s Klondike MLA.

“There’s tonnes of benefits of being new, and I’ve got lots of wisdom of people beside me to help me out,” said Nordick, who replaces political heavyweight Peter Jenkins.

Nordick will play a much smaller role than Jenkins did in Fentie’s administration.

The new MLA for Vuntut Gwitchin mingled with the outgoing MLAs in the legislature’s cafeteria following Fentie’s throne speech.

The Liberal Party’s Darius Elias beat New Democrat Lorraine Peter to take the seat in the recent election.

Elias hopes his lack of experience can be an asset.

“I have a lot of young energy and fire in my belly,” he said. “I’m going in with an open mind to get things done and ask poignant questions when they need to be asked, but be respectful.

“At the end of the day, Yukoners have elected everyone here. You have to respect that.”

Elias is a details person and is keen to “delve into the specifics on how to achieve things,” he added.

With the departure of Peters and Duncan, only two women now serve in Yukon’s legislature — the newly-appointed Justice Minister Marian Horne, and Tourism and Culture Minister Elaine Taylor.

The high-water mark for women in territorial politics stands at five; that was during Duncan’s government.

But Horne doesn’t feel added pressure to represent women’s issues as a result of the shrinking female presence, she said.

“I feel the men have also represented the women quite well,” she said.

However, being female gives Horne a different approach to politics, she said.

“It’s a new perspective, especially being female,” she said. “There’s more balance.

“It’s known that men have a one-set mind and women are the other. It puts a balance there.

“The woman sees one side and the man see the other. And it just balances out the government.”