Currie Dixon gives his acceptance speech after winning the Yukon Party leader election during a live streamed ceremony in Whitehorse on May 23. (Submitted/Yukon Party)

Yukon Party elects new leader

Dixon wins Yukon Party leadership

The Yukon Party has elected a new leader in Currie Dixon, who hopes to build an inclusive party platform and form the next government.

Dixon won the party’s leadership on May 23.

There were 1,514 total votes; meaning 96 per cent of eligible voting members cast a ballot. The party used ranked-choice voting and Dixon won on the second round with 752 votes. This was enough to beat Lake Lebarge MLA Brad Cathers who had 682 votes. Linda Benoit finished third with 160 votes.

The News spoke will all three candidates on May 25 about the race.

Dixon said the high turnout shows there is a lot of interest in the party as well as the leadership race.

“It’s very exiting,” Dixon said.

He credits the high numbers to the efforts each candidate put into their campaigns. He said he is friends with Cathers and Benoit and the campaign was amicable. He is excited to work with them and feels both Cathers and Benoit should have a role to play in the party moving forward.

The new leader highlighted two things he wants to take on right out of the gate.

The first is the development of the Yukon Party’s platform for the next election. He campaigned on engaging members, stakeholders and interest groups to guide where the focus should be.

He said fiscal conservatism will be part of the platform. He wants to see low taxes, balanced budgets and spending within the territory’s means.

Dixon also said he wants to see gun owners respected.

He wants to focus on the next generation of the party to become more inclusive. Part of this is developing sound and respectful relationships with the territory’s First Nations, and he plans on reaching out to First Nations government to start building these relationships.

“That’s a priority for me,” Dixon said.

He would like to see the party focus on new policy areas, suggesting early childhood education and mental health.

The second immediate priority is selecting the party’s team.

“There is a great deal of interest in the party these days and we need people to step forward and offer to be candidates, but not just that, we also need volunteers and organizers,” Dixon said.

He plans on contacting people in the coming weeks to make his team.

Dixon does not have a seat in the legislature. He feels it would be ideal to have one but is skeptical of a byelection being called if any MLA resigned. In the event of a resignation, it is the government that must call a byelection, something he doubts would happen so close to the next election.

“I think this close to an election, they are unlikely to do so,” Currie said.

Cathers said he was appreciative of the support he got. Although he was not expecting to lose, he is proud of his results. He said he wants to commend both Dixon and Benoit’s teams for their efforts.

“I look forward to be part of a strong Yukon Party team and working with Currie, as the new leader, as well as Linda on building the platform for the next election,” Cathers said.

He will continue to serve as the Lake Lebarge MLA and run in the next territorial election.

Benoit is proud to support Dixon’s leadership.

“I think he’s going to be a great leader,” Benoit said.

She is proud of the support she received and that she is the first female leadership candidate for the party.

She intends to continue to be involved with the Yukon Party and wants to run in the next election but has not chosen a riding yet.

Contact Gord Fortin at gord.fortin@yukon-news.com

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