Whitehorse Daily Star

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GOODBYE AND GOOD LUCK – Stacey Hassard, the outgoing Yukon Party interim leader, speaks during Saturday night’s live-streamed leadership election event in Whitehorse. Currie Dixon has now assumed the role, though Hassard remains as the MLA for Pelly-Nisutlin.

Co-runners congratulate Dixon as Hassard surrenders the helm

Brad Cathers and Linda Benoit have been defeated by Currie Dixon in their effort to win the Yukon Party leadership race.

By Gabrielle Plonka on May 25, 2020

Brad Cathers and Linda Benoit have been defeated by Currie Dixon in their effort to win the Yukon Party leadership race.

“Congratulations to my friend Currie Dixon on his election as the new leader, and to my friend Linda Benoit on her campaign,” Cathers said in a statement.

“Thank you to everyone who supported me in the Yukon Party leadership election! Together, we came just 35 votes short of the 50-per-cent mark in the final round.”

The 42-year-old Lake Laberge MLA was unavailable to the Star for an interview before press time this afternoon.

Cathers was narrowly defeated, with 682 votes in the final round of the ballot, just 70 votes fewer than Dixon’s winning 752.

“I am honoured by your support for me, and my vision for the Yukon,” Cathers said in his statement.

“I look forward to working with Currie and Linda as part of a strong Yukon Party team.”

MLAs Scott Kent and Wade Istchenko endorsed Dixon for the leadership. The remaining Yukon Party MLAs did not publicly state a choice.

Dixon did not win a majority in the first round of the election ballot, so the final numbers came from the members’ second choices.

The final numbers were tallied based on the second choice of voters who listed Benoit as their first choice.

This was the first time a Yukon Party election has been decided by second-choice votes, Cathers said.

Benoit, 38, was similarly unavailable for an interview this morning.

In a statement posted Saturday night, she offered congratulations to Dixon.

“He will make a great Yukon Party leader, and I’m happy to put my support behind him as we work together to ensure a Yukon Party victory in the next election,” Benoit said.

“Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me over the past months; I couldn’t have come this far without you.”

Stacey Hassard has acted as interim leader of the Yukon Party since 2016. He was the longest-running interim leader of any political party when he passed the torch to Dixon on Saturday.

Dixon told the Star this morning that he found Hassard to be an exemplar of leadership.

“Stacey has done an incredible job of holding the Liberal government to account; it’s certainly a lot more than he thought he was committing to back in 2016,” Dixon said.

“I’ve certainly learned a lot from him, and I’m going to be working with him closely going forward with the Yukon Party caucus.”

In his end of interim speech on Saturday, Hassard said he is looking forward to spending time with family after his time at the Yukon Party’s helm.

“Today marks a sad and a happy day for me,” Hassard said.

“I have truly enjoyed my time as interim leader for this fantastic team in the Yukon Party.”

Hassard said he is encouraged to see the high voter turnout and engagement in this leadership election. More than 60 per cent of the party’s membership took to the polls in the first weekend of voting, he said.

He said membership numbers have risen by more than 700 per cent in the last year.

“We now have a record number of members for any leadership contest in Yukon history,” Hassard said.

“Donations are pouring in, and people are already contacting the party to ask how they can run … People are excited; you can feel the excitement.”

Comments (8)

Up 5 Down 2

Thanks Stacey on May 30, 2020 at 10:39 pm

I think Stacey was the best thing to happen to that party, and I wish he could have stayed leader. I sure like him. He’s a humble, helpful and all around nice guy. Brad will continue on as one of the best MLAs ever. He is currently mine. And I’m only thankful he didn’t win the vote because this way he can continue putting all his energy into his riding. That being said, I think Currie as leader was the best choice for the party and he will be great. He was a good minister and is well-liked. I’m sure he will learn a lot from Stacey, in that humble and kind are good traits. Don’t let it go to your head, and you will do great. Can’t wait for the next election, because I am tired of these “Transparent” Libs.

Up 16 Down 4

DMZ on May 27, 2020 at 10:00 pm

I hope Currie Dixon has matured since he was in the Legislature. His sexist, mean remarks to Liz Hanson are something I will never forget, especially disturbing in one as young as he was at the time.

I like Stacey Hassard a lot, I don't get the negativity. He is civil to the NDP and he rose to the occasion of opposition leader. I think he gets a bad rap for being critical of the government over the last few months. Sandy Silver's treatment of the Legislature and the Opposition has been atrocious and it needs to be called out. I think Hassard has been pretty constructive in the face of that.

Up 12 Down 15

Yukoner75 on May 27, 2020 at 6:20 pm

Right wing conservative governments are all a bunch of dangerous relics. Sure Curry is still wet behind the ears and not even close to 40 years old - but he still carries the same mentality as all the rest. Just look at how right wing governments are faring against the virus around the world: USA, Brazil, UK, Italy... all huge death tolls as a result of their backwards anti-science views.

Up 8 Down 5

justsayin' on May 27, 2020 at 11:11 am

@Patti Eyre

Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Up 11 Down 14

Allan Stanley on May 26, 2020 at 10:51 am

HUH ?
Hassard is running "victory laps" ?
My new perfect definition of "doesn't have a clue"

Up 31 Down 27

Wilbur on May 25, 2020 at 4:51 pm

Let's all congratulate one another for doing nothing. "You were great"!, "Well I couldn't match your stellar performance". No, "I think we are both outstanding in our fields".
These guys forget we are very familiar with their non-accomplishments.
I believe this is called a mutual admiration society instead of a political party.

Up 22 Down 32

Patti Eyre on May 25, 2020 at 3:58 pm

Have another swig of that hand sanitizer Sanctimonious Staci!

Up 25 Down 26

Ginger Johnson on May 25, 2020 at 3:09 pm

Benoit should not be surprised that she finished DEAD LAST with 10% of the vote.

She chose the guy who ran Pasloski's disastrous re-election campaign to be HER
campaign manager.

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