Brendan Hanley is seen with Mike Pemberton, a Yukon Liberal Party director, at MacBride Museum shortly after the final polling stations reported a Liberal win for the Yukon MP seat. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)

Brendan Hanley is seen with Mike Pemberton, a Yukon Liberal Party director, at MacBride Museum shortly after the final polling stations reported a Liberal win for the Yukon MP seat. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)

Hanley wins Yukon seat for the Liberals

The former chief medical officer leads the polls by more than 1,000 votes before special ballots

Yukon will be sending another Liberal MP to Ottawa.

Early results posted just after 11 p.m. saw Brendan Hanley take the lead with 33 per cent of the vote and 5,674 ballots to his name.

It was a marked victory over rival Conservative candidate Barbara Dunlop, with 1,147 votes making the difference.

“In my working life, particularly as Chief Medical Officer of Health, I’ve always done my best to forge partnerships and collaborations as we find solutions to complex problems. It’s a matter of listening and finding common ground even where the ground appears thin,” said Hanley, during a speech from his election gathering at the MacBride Museum in downtown Whitehorse after an early victory call was predicted around 10 p.m.

Outgoing Liberal MP Larry Bagnell congratulates Brendan Hanley as polls project his win just after 10 p.m. on election night. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)

“As a doctor, I’m also a member of that healing profession. And I recognize that we have some wounds to heal, no matter how Yukoners feel or how they voted we have demanding issues to face that require us to work together,” he said.

In his speech Hanley praised what the minority Liberal victory will mean going forward for big policies like childcare and mental health funding.

The federal party managed to hold on to 155 seats across the country.

“The first part was getting through the campaign and doing it as well as I could. The second part is now the realization that success is likely here,” he said.

At the campaign event, former MP Larry Bagnell watched results come in along with around 80 Liberal supporters, volunteers and Yukon government cabinet ministers. Bagnell said he was relieved not to be running again.

“I’m excited I get more time with my kids,” he said. “There were great times. I think the thing I’ll miss is having the power to help people. Because that’s why I was there.”

Across the Yukon the vote was split between five candidates.

As of Monday evening, with almost all polls reported but special ballots still yet to be counted, Hanley had 33 per cent, Dunlop followed with 26.5 per cent of votes and NDP candidate Lisa Vollans-Leduc came third with 22.4 per cent of votes.

Independent Jonas Smith had 13.2 per cent of the vote and Green Party Lenore Morris had 4.9 per cent.

Barbara Dunlop adresses Conservative Party Campaign volunteers and other supporters at the Belly of the Bison restaurant on Monday, September 20. (Jim Elliot/Yukon News)

Barbara Dunlop pulls into second place

Following a campaign which took off quickly from what she called a “standing start”, Yukon MP candidate on the Conservative Party of Canada ticket Barbara Dunlop was excited about election successes and thankful for the volunteers and supporters who spurred her on through the campaign’s confusing early days.

“You know what this was a really exciting campaign, we obviously started very quickly, we hit the ground running, and everybody worked so hard. And I’ve just been overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of new partners and overwhelmed with the hard work of my team,” Dunlop said.

Dunlop stepped in to seek the MP seat for the Conservatives after the party removed Jonas Smith, previously announced as a Conservative candidate.

Smith kept up his pursuit of the MP seat and received over 2,200 votes.

“I think that there was definitely something to the vote being split and that’s definitely a consideration and a concern, but we ran the campaign we want to run we wanted to give Yukoners a positive choice.”

Dunlop noted Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole’s statements during the campaign about how the party has changed. She described herself as fiscally conservative and socially moderate and said that many of the Yukoners she talked to over the course of the campaign felt the same way.

Lisa Vollans-Leduc seen at NDP headquarters shortly after polls closed on Sept. 20. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)

Lisa Vollans-Leduc in her element on the campaign trail

While NDP candidate Lisa Vollans-Leduc did not win the Yukon’s seat, she remained upbeat throughout the evening as results came in.

“I am so proud of everything this team has done,” she said in an interview shortly after polls closed.

The NDP did not host a formal election night event in the Yukon, but staff and small number of volunteers joined Vollans-Leduc at NDP headquarters on Hawkins Street for the evening with anyone coming into the building informed of strict COVID-19 protocols in place.

Looking back over the five-week campaign period, Vollans-Leduc said there isn’t anything she’d change, again pointing to the 12 to 14 hour days the NDP team was putting in on the campaign trail.

“We did everything we could,” she said, highlighting her support of the national NDP platform and pointing out working towards reconciliation is interwoven into all aspects of the platform.

As national coverage was streamed on a computer set up in the room, volunteers and staff enjoyed steaks barbecued just outside the office along with homemade potato salad and other goodies.

At one point, cheers erupted as the national coverage showed a 16-ballot difference between Liberal candidate (and eventual winner) Brendan Hanley who had 315 and Vollans-Leduc who had 299.

Hanley would eventually pull ahead and Conservative candidate Barbara Dunlop would take second with Vollans-Leduc in third.

Vollans-Leduc didn’t rule out the possibility of running for office again in the future.

“I really felt in my element,” she said.

She went on to tell reporters that she wishes Hanley well as the territory’s next MP and noted her hope that he will remain accountable to Yukon voters.

Independent candidate Jonas Smith is seen at his campaign office shortly after the polls closed at 7 p.m. on Sept. 20. (John Tonin/Yukon News)

Jonas Smith celebrates a ‘liberating’ campaign

After polling in the Yukon closed at 7 p.m. Jonas Smith stood in his campaign office watching the results roll in from across the country.

Smith, who had thought he’d be running as the Conservative candidate didn’t have the start to the election that he’d thought. He was disallowed from running for the Conservatives and instead of taking his nam out of the running, decided to run as an independent.

The move, he said, was “liberating.”

“I have to admit that’s it has been a very liberating experiencing,” said Smith. “I would absolutely consider running again. I appreciate now why many voters have always looked for and encouraged more independent options.”

Smith who as of 11:15 p.m. Sept. 20 secured 2,283 votes or 13 per cent said the result in 2021 and that in 2019 have gained him momentum.

“I’d like to think there was a fair amount of momentum with that,” said Smith. “The nature of the independent campaign means I was accessible to a broader swath of voters that I wouldn’t have been accessible to previously.”

Smith said in a small jurisdiction like the Yukon it’s easy to get stuck in the “echo chamber” and only speak to supporters who have similar perspectives.

He thanked all the other candidates for a respectful campaign and also extended his thanks to their families and campaign teams.

Lenore Morris is at Joe’s Firewood Pizza where she’s watching the Federal results roll in with a small group of Green supporters. (John Tonin/Yukon News)

Lenore Morris lauds Yukoners’ engagement

Green Candidate Lenore Morris and a small gathering of Green supporters held an election night party at the soon-to-be-opened Joe’s Wood Fire Pizza.

Morris said she has no illusions of winning but appreciates that in the Yukon all MP candidates can voice their message.

“We have an extremely engaged populace here,” said Morris. “That’s reflected in the number of forums that were held. All the candidates got a platform to talk.

“ I think that all of us potentially can influence the subjects that are discussed.”

Morris predicted that Hanley would win the MP position in the Yukon and hopes the now-former Chief Medical Officer will continue to push the status quo on the climate change front.

“I think environmental issues and climate change are the most important,” said Morris. “There’s all kinds of issues. That one that’s so pressing, so time-sensitive and interestingly in 2019 probably was the biggest issue and it’s dropped even though it’s arguably more important than ever.”

Morris echoed what Green Party leader Annamie Paul said in her defeat speech.

“Climate change is the existential crisis of our time,” said Morris.

— With files from Haley Ritchie, Stephanie Waddell, John Tonin and Jim Elliot

Election 2021