Premier Sandy Silver speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 16, 2020. Silver wouldn’t confirm on Feb. 11 whether the party was planning on calling a spring election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Premier Sandy Silver speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 16, 2020. Silver wouldn’t confirm on Feb. 11 whether the party was planning on calling a spring election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Premier won’t confirm or deny possibility of a spring election

Elections Yukon says they are prepared to run a COVID-19-safe operation

Despite plenty of pre-election activity taking place this month, Premier Sandy Silver wouldn’t confirm on Feb. 11 whether the party was planning on calling a spring election.

“I have nothing in my notes right here about a spring election. We’re concentrating right now on deliveries and vaccines,” he said, responding to a question during the weekly COVID-19 update.

Addressing a follow-up question that referred to a Yukon Party accusation that not announcing an election date was creating “uncertainty during a pandemic” Silver defended his stance.

“The opposition has been asking about an election since August. That’s interesting. It’s not like I have a date in my head that I’m withholding from anybody, it’s not that simple. There are lots of moving pieces,” he said.

“The opposition, they can continue to talk and speculate and drum up whatever they want to do as far as election speculations. We’re gonna continue to work hard here for Yukoners on the vaccine and get that figured out,” he said.

The Liberal party is required by law to call an election on or before Nov. 19, 2021. Normally ruling parties will choose strategically, picking the date when they believe public opinion is in their favour.

With many Yukoners — particularly those in seasonal industries — busy or elsewhere over the summer, it is likely the sitting government will call an election in the spring or fall. If an election is not called beforehand the government will return to the legislature in March.

All three main parties have been busy this month choosing candidates to run in each of the territory’s 19 ridings.

In the 2016 election the Liberals secured a majority with 11 seats and around 40 per cent of total votes cast, upending 14 years of the Yukon Party in power. Voter turnout was relatively high at nearly 80 per cent.

Both the NDP and the Yukon Party now have new leaders.

The Yukon’s Chief Electoral Officer Maxwell Harvey said whether the election is called in the spring or not, Elections Yukon will be prepared to operate safely in the pandemic.

The organization has removed restrictions on special ballots for the upcoming election and expects many people will take advantage of alternative voting methods in order to avoid line-ups on polling day.

The organization also began a new campaign to register voters on Dec. 7, 2020.

Harvey said they are projecting the next election will have close to 30,000 registered voters by the end of the election period. Compared to last election that means an additional 5,000 potential voters — something he noted could be an important factor in a jurisdiction as small as the Yukon.

Harvey notes that 15 of the 19 ridings in the territory were won by less than 100 votes. Twelve of those ridings were won by less than 50 votes. Vuntut Gwitchin and Mountainview were won only by seven votes.

“If you have 10,000 to 11,000 electors who didn’t vote at the last election, who will be at the next election, it will make it an interesting dynamic for everyone,” Harvey noted.

The increase in voters has a couple of contributing factors. Population growth is one — the number of people living in the Yukon has gone up since the previous election in 2016.

Harvey said it is also attributable to people who were not registered in the last election. Normally electors are registered door-to-door or at the polls when they arrive to vote. If they are missed in the door-to-door campaign and choose not to vote, they won’t be registered.

“Registering is important for a number of reasons,” he said.

Registered voters also receive a voter information card and are provided with updated information on when to go and where to go to cast a ballot.

“It’s as simple and as convenient as can be, and you can register online by doing it by mail or email,” Harvey said.

To register as a voter, Yukoners can visit electionsyukon.ca and check if they are already registered. If not, they can create a new registration. Voters on polling day must be at least 18 years of age, Canadian citizens and a resident of the Yukon for at least one year.

Registration can be completed by email or phone by providing an address, legal name and proof of government ID.

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

Elections

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fines for contravening the fire ban start at $1,150 and could go as high as $100,000. File photo
Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. (Black Press file)
Yukon campgrounds to open early

Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. The early opening… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Submitted
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read