Yukon Party drops David Laxton for upcoming election

The Yukon Party has officially cut its ties with former Speaker David Laxton.

The Yukon Party has officially cut its ties with former Speaker David Laxton.

The party announced on Friday afternoon that it has dropped Laxton as its candidate in Porter Creek Centre in this year’s territorial election.

Laxton resigned as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and left the Yukon Party on May 10 over an allegation of sexual harassment.

A week earlier, he had announced he would seek re-election in Porter Creek Centre.

Though Laxton sat as an Independent MLA for the last two weeks of the session, it was unclear whether he would still run for the Yukon Party in the next election.

Now, Yukon Party President Linda Hillier says that won’t happen.

“The Yukon Party’s nomination application review committee has the authority to disallow a candidate at any time,” she said in a statement. “It is the belief of the committee that Mr. Laxton should no longer continue as a Yukon Party candidate.”

The party now plans to seek a new candidate for Porter Creek Centre.

Laxton revealed on May 19 that he had resigned over an allegation of sexual harassment from someone he said was a “long-time acquaintance.”

He said the incident occurred in February, when the woman came to meet with him in his office. As they were parting ways, he said, he hugged her and kissed her on the mouth twice. He said that “became a normal thing” over the years of their friendship, and it was never romantic.

Laxton has called for a third-party investigation of the incident, and has said he’s confident his name would be cleared.

But the Yukon Party caucus isn’t likely to launch an investigation of its own accord.

“It’s not clear to me … what kind of authority they would have to conduct an investigation,” said legislature clerk Floyd McCormick.

“The legislative assembly is no longer sitting, so I don’t know what could be done, what inclination there could be for anyone to do anything.”

Cabinet spokesperson Elaine Schiman refused to answer any questions about a possible investigation. Yukon Party President Linda Hillier did not respond to requests for comment.

McCormick contrasted Laxton’s case with the resignation of Haakon Arntzen from the Yukon Party in 2004 after he was charged with sexual assault.

“In that particular case, there was a criminal charge,” he said. “What happened was the RCMP conducted the investigation, and so it really didn’t involve the legislative assembly.”

Arntzen sat as an Independent MLA until September 2005, when he was convicted.

But in this case, it’s unclear whether any formal complaint has been made against Laxton. No criminal charges have been laid against him.

It is possible a complaint has been filed with the Yukon Human Rights Commission, but such complaints are not generally made public unless they are referred to a hearing.

And that process could easily take a year or more. Jessica Thompson, the commission’s director of human rights, said all matters currently set for hearings are based on complaints originally filed in 2014.

At this point, it’s unclear whether Laxton will run for office in the next election.

Since his resignation, he has expressed interest in running for re-election. But it seems that running as an Independent MLA is the only option he has left. The NDP and the Liberals have both now confirmed they will not work with him.

Laxton did not respond to requests for comment.

This isn’t the first time the Yukon Party has dumped an election candidate over sexual harassment allegations.

In 2011, the party cut ties with Mount Lorne-Southern Lakes candidate Gerrard Fleming after discovering he’d been fired by an Ontario company for addressing female subordinates with sexually charged profanities.

Contact Maura Forrest at


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

Just Posted

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

The Yukon Department of Education building in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. Advocates are calling on the Department of Education to reverse their redefinition of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that led to 138 students losing the program this year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Advocates call redefinition of IEPs “hugely concerning,” call for reversal

At least 138 students were moved off the learning plans this year

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21, 2020. Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 to help recover from losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Details released on relief funding for tourism and culture non-profits

Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive… Continue reading

Most Read