Yukon Party sworn in as new official Opposition

The Yukon has a new official Opposition. The six-member Yukon Party caucus was sworn in on Tuesday in the legislative assembly before a crowd of Yukon Party faithful, including a few former MLAs.

The Yukon has a new official Opposition.

The six-member Yukon Party caucus was sworn in on Tuesday in the legislative assembly before a crowd of Yukon Party faithful, including a few former MLAs.

The ceremony was presided over by Commissioner Doug Phillips, himself a former Progressive Conservative MLA, who cautioned the incoming Opposition members to stay close to their families over the next five years.

“As you move forward in the next years, the public scrutiny will be close and unrelenting,” he said. “Be fair and open, honest and truthful.”

After the ceremony, interim leader Stacey Hassard said it was a “great day.”

“I’m really glad that it went well and we had a lot of supporters out here today.”

But there was a note of defiance in his comments, too. He pointed out that the Liberals won a number of ridings with such small margins that a few dozen votes cast differently could have produced a Yukon Party minority government instead of a Liberal majority.

“The reality is the election was very close and we have six very strong MLAs,” he said. “And you know, I think we’ve started rebuilding already and when the Liberals call the next election, it’ll be back to the Yukon Party.”

Asked if it was bittersweet to see a number of his former colleagues watching from the gallery — including former MLAs Doug Graham and Currie Dixon and former chief of staff Michael Hale — Hassard said he didn’t look at them during the ceremony.

“I didn’t want to cry.”

The Yukon Party caucus has only one rookie MLA in Geraldine Van Bibber, who represents Porter Creek North. She said she found the ceremony nerve-racking.

“I’m excited. Nervous,” she said. “This is a new role for me, and being the rookie on the team, it’s going to be interesting and challenging.”

Outgoing premier Darrell Pasloski didn’t make an appearance.

The Yukon Party has also released its shadow cabinet appointments, which will see some of the MLAs acting as critics of the departments they once oversaw.

Brad Cathers, outgoing justice minister, will act as critic for justice and finance. Outgoing environment minister Wade Istchenko will be critic for environment and the housing, liquor, energy and development corporations.

Scott Kent will be critic for community services, economic development, and energy, mines and resources, while Hassard will take on highways and public works and the executive council office.

Watson Lake MLA Patti McLeod will be critic for health and social services and the women’s directorate, while Van Bibber will handle education, aboriginal relations, and tourism and culture.

The two remaining members of the NDP caucus, Leader Liz Hanson and Takhini-Kopper King MLA Kate White, were sworn in as the third party last Friday.

“Yukon’s new government must put its words into actions that help all Yukoners,” Hanson said in a statement. “Kate and I are excited to hold them to their word and to keep advancing issues that matter to Yukoners.”

The NDP is highlighting a focus on affordable housing, minimum wage, and the need to modernize resource legislation to advance reconciliation with First Nations.

The Liberal government and cabinet will be sworn in at the main administration building in Whitehorse on Saturday, Dec. 3. Premier-designate Sandy Silver will take his oaths in Dawson City on Thursday, Dec. 1.

It’s unlikely the incoming Liberal government will announce a legislative session before January. Legislature clerk Floyd McCormick said it’s possible the Liberals could hold a shortened sitting early in the new year, with the approval of the other parties. He said the Yukon Party government held a 12-day session after it was elected in 2006 and a nine-day session after the 2011 election. A normal sitting lasts for a minimum of 20 days.

Contact Maura Forrest at maura.forrest@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

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

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

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

Most Read