Ranj Pillai was sworn in as the Yukon’s 10th premier on Jan. 14 alongside six Liberal ministers.
The swearing-in ceremony brought about 150 spectators to the Jim Smith Building in Whitehorse.
Following an opening prayer by Shirley Adamson and prayer song by the Kaska Dena drummers, Pillai and his ministers swore an oath to Administrator of the Yukon Adeline Webber.
Pillai’s first address as premier centered gratitude.
“To think back to all that has led to this moment is, frankly, overwhelming,” Pillai said.
“Today is for all the people that had all the odds stacked against them, but succeeded out of sheer determination.”
After thanking his family, lifelong friends and campaign managers, Pillai pledged to continue with the mandate set in 2021.
The new premier said he is aware of ongoing issues in the territory, including affordability, access to health care, housing and climate change. He noted that the Yukon is one of the fastest-growing regions in Canada, and claimed that the territory is in a strong economic position.
Pillai also reflected on the last two years of governance, addressing cabinet members in the audience and thanking Tracy-Anne McPhee, in particular, for her “personal sacrifices and leadership” as Health and Justice ministers during the pandemic.
“You know there have been some incredibly hard days,” he said.
Pillai’s speech was followed by a Filipino cultural performance by Marivic Castroverde and a benediction from Father Leo Llames.
Ministers maintain cabinet roles
As the ministers were sworn back into cabinet, most of them kept the portfolios assigned after the 2021 election.
Pillai remains the Minister of Economic Development and minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corp. He is no longer the minister of Tourism and Culture, passing that position to John Streicker.
Stepping down from the premier’s chair, Sandy Silver remains the minister of Finance. He is taking the Yukon Liquor Corp. and Yukon Lottery Commission from Pillai’s file.
Silver was also previously the minister responsible for the Public Service Commission. That file has also moved to John Streicker.
Jeanie McLean has been promoted to deputy premier. She is still the minister of Education and responsible for the Women’s Directorate.
Mayo-Tatchun’s Jeremy Harper is still the Speaker of the House, making him the only Liberal MLA without a ministerial position.
Pillai won the Liberal leadership race uncontested and was acclaimed as premier on Jan. 8.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated the Public Service Commission file had moved from Silver to Streicker, rather than from Streicker to Silver. The News regrets this error.
Contact Gabrielle Plonka at email@example.com