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No by-election slated for city if the mayor is elected to legislature

Deputy mayors would continue to serve in role until municipal election
A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse during the city’s last civic election in October 2018. If the city’s mayor is elected to the territorial legislature next month, a seat on council would remain vacant until after the next city election in October 2021. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Should Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis be elected in the territorial election, his seat on Whitehorse city council would remain empty until a new council is elected this fall.

With the mayor running in the April 12 territorial election, he has stepped back from his city duties during the election period with Coun. Jan Stick now serving as deputy mayor.

Should the mayor be elected to the territorial government, no by-election would be held, given that municipal elections will be coming in October.

As stated in the territory’s Municipal Act: “If a vacancy occurs after February 1st in the last year of the term of a member of council, the council may hold the vacancy open until the next general election, but this subsection ceases to apply if council is unable to maintain a quorum.”

Quorum requires that at four members of council be present for meetings.

City spokesperson Myles Dolphin said that if the mayor is elected to the legislature, the deputy mayors appointed for the remaining months of office would assume mayoral responsibilities.

Council members are each assigned two-month stints as deputy mayor. Stick’s time as deputy mayor runs until the end of April with Coun. Laura Cabott to then be in the role from May 1 to June 30. Coun. Samson Hartland is on the roster from July 1 to Aug. 31, with Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu to serve from Sept. 1 to the end of October or earlier if the new council is sworn into office before that. Coun. Steve Roddick was on-tap as deputy mayor in January and February.

The situation could leave council with an even number of members, at six, until the end of their term. That opens the possibility for more tie votes to happen on council, which could resulted in defeated motions, as any tie vote on council results in the matter being defeated.

At council’s March 22 meeting, a 3-3 vote resulted in a zoning amendment being defeated to reduce parking on a proposed affordable housing development downtown.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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