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Silver signals final day as premier in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Yukon Liberal Party has unveiled leadership race rules but hasn’t set a convention date
Premier Sandy Silver is seen announcing the 2021 territorial election in Whitehorse. Now the Yukon Liberal Party is laying out the rules for a leadership convention to find his replacement. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Premier Sandy Silver has signalled his time as premier in the Yukon Legislative Assembly as come to an end.

“On a personal note, this will be my last day in the assembly as the premier of the Yukon,” Silver told reporters in the cabinet office on Nov. 24, the final day of the 2022 fall sitting of the legislative assembly.

“It really, really is an exciting time for the party.”

Yukon Liberal Party members will effectively choose who will become the Yukon’s next premier.

On Sept. 9, Silver told reporters that he will be stepping down as premier and will not be seeking re-election as MLA. A Yukon Liberal Party leadership contest will determine the next premier. Silver said he will stay on as premier until a new Liberal leader is picked.

The legislative assembly re-convenes in spring 2023.

A release issued by the party on Nov. 23 indicates the timing of the leadership convention has yet to be determined. While there is a 42-day notice period, the release states the fixed date for the vote will be set in the coming weeks.

The party has released the rules for its upcoming race to determine who will lead the party and, in effect, the territory.

Leadership candidacy comes with a $7,000 price tag and also requires ten signatures from party members, according to the rules.

The nomination deadline for candidates will be 21 days after the party gives notice of the leadership convention.

The release encourages individuals curious about the convention to attend the party’s private gathering — for $200 a ticket or $1,400 for a table of eight — on Nov. 25.

Party spokesperson Paolo Gallina confirmed by email the event is not open to reporters.

Gallina said there are “hundreds” of party members. The party expects its membership base will grow “substantially” in the lead up to the leadership convention, he said.

Potential candidates can contact the party to request a candidate package.

“We expect a number of highly competent Yukoners to put their names forward for this position,” Gallina said in the release.

“We also expect a lot of Yukoners will want to have a say in who leads the Yukon Liberal Party into this next chapter. I encourage all of those interested in getting involved to contact the party and renew or purchase their membership now to ensure they will be eligible to vote at the upcoming convention.”

Silver has declared he will not be creating any new rules for cabinet ministers seeking to take over as leader of the Yukon Liberal Party, such as requiring them to step down from their portfolios.

The Yukon Party and the Yukon NDP had been calling for the parameters of the race to be set out ahead of the 2022 fall sitting of the legislature, which ended Nov. 24.

In a joint statement, both opposition parties wanted to see clear rules for cabinet ministers to ensure their positions and government resources are not being abused and used to campaign.

The rules governing the leadership race have been prepared and adopted by the party’s leadership convention steering committee.

In the published set of rules, the next leader must receive more than 50 per cent plus one of the total number of votes following any round of voting at the party’s convention.

The party will use a ranked preferential ballot in which a member votes for their first, second and so on choices for as many candidates as the member chooses on a single ballot during established voting hours or by proxy.

Eligible candidates must be a member of the party as of the candidacy application date and until the results of the race are announced, be eligible to the Yukon Legislative Assembly under the Yukon’s Elections Act and get a “green light” from the party’s steering committee. Candidates who don’t get the “green light” will have the “non-refundable” nomination fee returned to them.

Anyone found to be ineligible for any reason may be dropped or must take certain steps at the discretion of the steering committee.

Candidates will be verified within three days of submitting their nomination forms. A deficient application can be corrected within 48 hours of being notified of deficiency, with the party having slightly different stipulations in place for nomination deadline day.

Candidates cannot use party branding as part of the leadership campaign.

Anyone who is a member and complies with registration rules can vote. One week before the convention, people would need to be a member to be able to vote. Party membership costs $10 a year.

Any ballot marked “X” or other mark “sufficient to make clear the voter’s intention” will be counted as first choice.

“The leadership convention shall take place on convention day. Each candidate shall have the opportunity to deliver a speech to the leadership convention at a time and in the order determined by the steering committee. The steering committee shall set the time limit for speeches,” reads the rules.

“Anyone may attend the leadership convention, and need not be a member or an eligible voter. However, only eligible voters may vote at the leadership convention.”

Contact Dana Hatherly at

Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
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