Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Dan Davidson

KLONDIKE SCENES – Kyla McArthur, the Liberals’ Klondike campaign manager, stands with Liberal Leader Sandy Silver in Dawson City early Monday evening.

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Photo by Dan Davidson

The group gathered outside Liberal headquarters early in the evening, with the numbers and the faces changing as the hours passed.

Parties will work together, Silver vows

There was an ebb and flow of citizens outside Sandy Silver’s campaign headquarters on Second Avenue on election night.

By Dan Davidson on April 14, 2021

DAWSON CITY – There was an ebb and flow of citizens outside Sandy Silver’s campaign headquarters on Second Avenue on election night.

Earlier in the evening, there were about eight folks outside, partaking of the hot drinks and assorted goodies at what was billed as a street barbecue, while another half-dozen poll workers were in the storefront headquarters. The crowd varied in size between 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. and topped out at about two dozen.

Liberal campaign organizer Kyla McArthur had explained there wasn’t enough room in the former store to allow for social distancing, and a clever little poster outside reminded people to try to be “one Sandy Silver” apart. People were permitted to go inside to warm up from time to time.

Most people outdoors didn’t seem to be worried about the distancing, but nearly everyone wore a mask whether inside or out.

As it happened, it wasn’t really chilly outside until around 10 p.m., but the coldest people were probably the pair from the CBC, waiting for signals from Whitehorse to add to the evening’s live results telecast.

People kept a close eye on the TV screens as the numbers kept see-sawing up and down, with first the Yukon Party leading, then the Liberals, and then the two evening out at eight confirmed seats apiece.

It became clear early on that the Vuntut Gwitchin riding, the first to be complete, would provide the Liberals with a problem, and perhaps the Yukon Party with an opportunity (see story, p. 2).

Dan Cable, the clerk of the Yukon Legislative Assembly, noted that even if the NDP wins in Vuntut Gwitchin, Silver still has the first shot at forming the next government.

“If there’s no clear winner ... the offer is made to the incumbent party first ... (to) form a government,’’ Cable pointed out.

On election night in Dawson, the seat results on the TV screens showed nine for the Liberals and eight for the Yukon Party at the end of the evening’s coverage, as it was customary to lead with the incumbent until things definitely changed.

Silver spent most of the evening outside, mingling with the crowd and stepping inside to phone members of his team as they either won or lost in their ridings.

Several cabinet ministers fought hard battles, and the Liberal leader showed relief when Liberals Richard Mostyn, Ranj Pillai, Nils Clarke and John Streicker pulled ahead after trailing for a while. Silver learned of his own success just before 10 p.m.

“I’m feeling good by the win here,” he told the CBC crew.

“I want to say to both Chris (Clarke, of the NDP) and Charlie (Dagostin, of the Yukon Party) that it was a great campaign from both of them. It’s nice to have civility on the ridings.

“I’m feeling a little bit bad for some amazing Liberal candidates that didn’t get their seats – some amazing folks that put their names forward. That’s wearing on me a bit right now, but I’m happy for the win here in Klondike.”

Silver was especially pleased by Jeremy Harper’s win in Mayo Tatchun, the riding which former Liberal backbencher Don Hutton had walked away from shortly before the writ was dropped.

“He (Harper) might be, on the territorial level, a newcomer, but he is a leader in his community … in the bush, and with young people in recreation.”

Speaking to the Star a bit later, the former Dawson school teacher said, “It feels good. It’s always great to get the confidence of the Klondike riding.

“This is my third time going around. It’s been tough on a lot of people, the year that has been.

“People are really fragile, and when you’re knocking on people’s doors and you’re probably the first non-family person to be knocking on that door in a whole year, it’s been tough. I am grateful for the seat, for sure.”

Silver detected “a level of civility, both here, and in the leaders’ debates, both here with Charlie and Chris, and down south with Kate (White) and Currie (Dixon); that was good. I hope that bodes well for being able to see that transcend into the legislature.”

In his brief speech at about 10:45 p.m., Silver acknowledged that the tie in Vuntut Gwitchin made it awkward to say anything definitive.

At that point, the CBC had already predicted a minority government, which is how things will have to resolve, regardless of the outcome in Old Crow.

“I’m very honoured to have the opportunity to continue and I will serve, as I always have, with the Klondike at the base of my decisions and in my heart,” Silver said.

“It’s been an interesting result, and until we know the result of Old Crow, it’s a hard speech to be making, really, so I’m going to keep it pretty brief right now.

“I want to thank the NDP leader, Kate White; she ran an energetic campaign, and I congratulate her for getting her riding. Also, Currie Dixon of the Yukon Party; thank you for working well over the last 30 days.

“What I heard, from Watson Lake all the way to Old Crow, there was a level of civility amongst the candidates this time around, and that bodes very well for democracy.

“To the people of Yukon, thank you for voting, and I look forward to what we can achieve together. Now, more than ever, Yukoners have told us that we need to work together – and we will.”

He concluded by thanking all the volunteers here and throughout the territory, saying they were the backbone without which democracy would not happen.

“It’s tough running as the premier,” he said. You get pulled out of your riding quite a bit.

“I’m heading into my 10th year as an elected official and I think this is the most rewarding, humbling experience that anybody could ever do.”

Silver took 47 per cent of the popular vote with 526 ballots, compared to 364 for Dagostin and 224 for Clarke.

With a parting shout to the crowd that somehow brought to mind the bellow of the drummer from the Muppet Show, this sometime-drummer at Gerties yelled out, “All right! Go home now!”

Comments (23)

Up 0 Down 0

Guncache on Apr 20, 2021 at 10:21 pm

Yukoner61, the candidate elect before Cathers had a smaller expense bill because she didn't travel to town each day. She lived in downtown Whitehorse.

Up 4 Down 5

Atom on Apr 20, 2021 at 8:58 am

Geez, is it safe to walk the streets. Riots imminent?
Elections are like playoff hockey, lotta nonsensical yelling and screaming and then you live with the results.
Like, there are some serious fans of team hate and conspiracy on here.
Timeout please,

Up 5 Down 2

Faust Is Bellowing - Say hello to my little friend, as Hanley waves back. on Apr 19, 2021 at 12:41 pm

You must be one of those YEU reprobates there Danny... Who cares how the system works. We know that systems are easily broken, manipulated, or otherwise illusory-facades for the maintenance of power - Look at how wonderfully the YEU works to cover the abuses of YG.

What is wrong with people today? Rhetorically questioning. FFS!

Up 6 Down 5

TheHammer on Apr 18, 2021 at 3:48 pm

You might want to think about building a Replica of the OK Corral. After the showdown it could become a tourist attraction: The Shoot Out between the outlaw cut throat Bobcat Dixon, Bat Pinko Silver and Calamity Kate. It could be a winner.

Up 19 Down 2

Groucho d'North on Apr 16, 2021 at 3:16 pm

"Parties will work together," Silver vows.
I wonder what that will look like when debating the new budget?

Up 23 Down 17

Yukoner61 on Apr 15, 2021 at 9:16 pm

I just want to know what is in the water around Lake Laberge? Brad Cathers has been opposing LGBTQ rights in the legislature for some time now which is bad enough. But it has also come to light that he has been hosing the taxpayers for his commute into Whitehorse (plus expensing his food) for many years. He charged an incredible $25,000 last year alone! What the heck is wrong with the people out there that they keep electing this guy?! I think they should all have to share his food and gas bill so that the rest of us don't have to.

Oh and for comparison, the person who represented Lake Laberge before Cathers, charged a grand total of $880 her final year. So why does Mr. Cathers need $24,100 more? Is Currie Dixon just going to turn a blind eye to it all?


Up 24 Down 9

We Are So F#%¥ed on Apr 15, 2021 at 6:43 pm

Hello Dan - What a load of arrogant rubbish for you to make assumptions about what people understand. It seems perfectly reasonable, perhaps even “reasonabler” to assume that people are really pissed off about the Liberals and their destruction of the Territory by way of political fiat disguised as a “pandemic”. People have lost hope and are terrified of the Red Scourge...

Up 17 Down 22

Dan Davidson on Apr 15, 2021 at 4:16 pm

Apparently some people don't understand how the system works. It's seats, not voter numbers (because some ridings have smaller numbers), that determine the win, and if there's a tie, the incumbent gets the first try at governing, same as what happened with John Ostashek's Yukon Party way back when. John had to partner with some disaffected YPers who had run as Independents in order to survive.

Up 23 Down 17

hopeless on Apr 15, 2021 at 12:12 pm

Yukon, the more and more socialist driven province, crime, drugs, chaos on the rise, thanks to liberal failure politics.... i wonder what fools support this lawlessness? Hard working, responsible individuals, who once built western society are no longer welcomed. What a mess, what a total mess. But wait, the waking up process will come and it will be hard! When those running and paying the functioning, western society, will stop doing so... good luck, to all of you socialists, communists, marxist fools....hope you then are able to survive?

Up 29 Down 19

lol on Apr 15, 2021 at 9:27 am

Lol at how hard Sandy had to emphasize the COVID rules after coming out against gatherings the week before (and his party supporting a 150-person gathering 2 weeks before that...).

Whether you supported the anti-restrictions protest or not, I think the Liberals' anti-democracy attack on it beforehand swung some voters.

Up 30 Down 18

Just an observation Sandy... on Apr 15, 2021 at 9:03 am

Neither of the other parties want to “work” with the Liberals, Sandy. You are bullies. You pretend you want to work with others and then bully them. No one likes a bully. The YP and NDP are better off together.

Up 11 Down 7

Wilf Carter on Apr 15, 2021 at 8:01 am

Yukoners are only strong when we are come together as one and work to support each other. Good politics is when governments support this.
At a time of economic uncertainty we should not go into debt or try to do new venturous things but stick to the basics or fundamentals like health care, education, safety, social help for the disadvantage, seniors for example, growing our private sector so we in Yukon can increase local sourced revenues, build up trust funds in housing and land development, encourage and require private investment in Yukon, training Yukoners for Yukon jobs, etc.

Up 23 Down 20

Mike on Apr 15, 2021 at 6:21 am

Yukon Party gets more votes, Liberals get first crack at forming a government. What a joke. One good thing that will come out of this hopefully is that Currie and his team will hold the liberals to task. No more elaborate spending, no more back door vote buying deals and let's see what it takes to get some guys back to work and businesses opened back up.

Up 13 Down 18

Vern Schlimbesser on Apr 14, 2021 at 7:04 pm

Some are happy, some are not, that makes this a typical democratic process.
I hope Pauline is OK.

Up 24 Down 22

Will it sink in on Apr 14, 2021 at 5:33 pm

Over 65% of Yukoners don't want you there. You tied in the election. But you failed for four years.

Up 18 Down 20

bonanzajoe on Apr 14, 2021 at 5:10 pm

Lets get it straight, the NDP got the least seats but they got a majority government. They will demand everything from the libs and the libs will give it to them to stay in power. Thats whats happening in Ottawa. As long as the NDP get what they want, JT will give it to them to stay PM. Their political ideology is the same anyway - Marxist/Leninists Communist. Thank JT's father Pierre for that.

Up 72 Down 55

Peter on Apr 14, 2021 at 4:19 pm

It is very clear, at least to me that Sandy Silver should step down. Yukon voters showed at the polls they are not happy with Sandy Silver and the Liberals. They had their chance.
This time has come to leave Sandy Silver and your Liberal Party into the Yukon sunset!

Up 51 Down 75

Sheepchaser on Apr 14, 2021 at 4:02 pm

The thing we had to prevent was a Yukon Party majority. At any cost. Thankfully, it worked out.
See y’all next time!

Up 30 Down 37

JustSayin' on Apr 14, 2021 at 3:30 pm

It is amazing to see how close Mr. Silver was to losing the good old boys in his crew. The special parasites which have changed the government to a survey engagement state where no consultation is required with any of the Yukon peoples. Mostyn and Striker could have gone, they should have gone as should have Tracy, I cannot answer a questions McPhee. However, this is the democratic process. Mr. Silver, where is your praise for the re-elected FN Female in your cabinet and the other visible minorities? As for Mr. Harper are you actually going to make him a minister or is he just your Token?

You speak of civility, but there is no civility in politics and if White or Dixon are civil with you and some of your potential new policies, I will ensure to chastise them also.

Up 28 Down 55

JSM on Apr 14, 2021 at 3:15 pm

Stolen Election! More voters for the yucon party than for the liberals but they get to wield the power? Seems suspect to me, even more so considering how much lying they have done. Interesting for sure!

Up 71 Down 42

You're a disappointment on Apr 14, 2021 at 3:05 pm

Your party, you, and your policies are such a failure. I flat out dislike everything you've done to The Yukon and what the Liberals have done to Canada.

Up 40 Down 34

We Are So F#%¥ed on Apr 14, 2021 at 2:26 pm

Right... Because the Silver Liberal’s were all about working with the parties prior to this election - SMH! FFS! More Liberal shite for the long-term with the NDP lapdogs of privilege... About to do some serious yapping! That should have the Yukon crapping... Forgive them God/Goddess for the electorate knows not what it does and now, what it has done!

Up 46 Down 36

Juniper Jackson on Apr 14, 2021 at 2:12 pm

Liberals don't work with anyone. They make back room deals, pay out 'hush' money, buy votes. Kate White is not going to be a push over.

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