Yukon Premier Sandy Silver talks to media on March 5, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Yukon Premier Sandy Silver talks to media on March 5, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Yukon Party-commissioned poll finds popularity slipping for premier

The party commissioned Leger to ask about Premier Sandy Silver and Deputy Premier Tracy-Anne McPhee.

A recent poll commissioned by the Yukon Party suggests approval ratings for the premier are slipping.

The party commissioned the poll from Leger.

“Political parties do, from time to time, poll, commission polls to hear people’s views on a variety of issues,” said Brad Cathers, Yukon Party MLA for Lake Laberge.

“Among the questions that the Yukon Party had asked by Leger in a recent poll was regarding the popularity of parties, the popularity of the premier, and what Yukoners views were on whether the Deputy Premier, Tracy-Anne McPhee should resign from cabinets over the Hidden Valley school scandal,” he said.

Respondents were asked whether they had a favourable view or unfavourable view of Premier Sandy Silver. In July 2020 a poll found 62 per cent of those contacted felt favourably, but that stat has dropped to 49 per cent in January 2022.

The number of people who had an unfavourable view of the Premier in July 2020 was just 24 per cent, but that number has risen sharply since March 2021 and is now at 40 per cent.

The answers have been weighted based on gender and location inside or outside Whitehorse.

The results are based on 500 English-language interviews conducted by calling home phones and cell phones from Jan. 13 to 19, with a 4.3 per cent error margin.

On average, the calls took around six minutes to complete and the Premier’s popularity wasn’t the only data being collected.

Leger also asked respondents who they would vote for if an election was held that day, and for undecided which of the parties they were leaning towards supporting.

The results showed the Yukon Party in the lead at 37 per cent, the Yukon NDP second with 32 per cent support and the Liberal Party third with 28 per cent. Three per cent of callers chose “other” while one per cent chose the newly-formed Yukon Freedom Party.

“There are a number of things that people are upset about, but [Hidden Valley] is certainly one of the things that is upsetting a lot of people and causing them to lose faith in the Premier and the government,” said Cathers.

The Liberal government opted not to comment on the results of the poll.

“We will not be commenting on a Yukon Party-commissioned poll,” said cabinet communications advisor Renée Francoeur. “Our focus as a government remains on protecting the health and safety of Yukoners through the COVID-19 pandemic and the substance use health emergency.”

The survey also asked respondents their feelings about Deputy Premier Tracy-Anne McPhee. The Yukon Party has asked the Liberal minister to resign from her cabinet role due to the handling of the Hidden Valley sexual abuse incident.

Respondents were asked if they agreed that McPhee should step down “since it became known last fall that she did not inform parents about sexual abuse at Hidden Valley school when she was Minister of Education.”

Around 46 per cent of people said they strongly agree that McPhee should resign, while 18 per cent said they somewhat agree. In comparison 10 per cent of people said they strongly disagree and 16 per cent said they somewhat disagree.

Another 10 per cent of respondents said they didn’t know.

“That is a pretty strong and, I think, unprecedented wave of public opinion in favour of a minister resigning from cabinet over an ethical scandal,” said Cathers.

In a recent report released after an investigation into the department’s handling of the Hidden Valley case, lawyer Amanda Rogers found that briefing notes did reach McPhee to inform her of the lawsuit, but not the decision not to contact parents.

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

Yukon legislative assembly