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Currie Dixon, Brad Cathers and Linda Benoit

Party poised to render leadership verdict

The Yukon Party will elect its new leader after voting closes at 7 p.m. tomorrow.

By Gabrielle Plonka on May 22, 2020

The Yukon Party will elect its new leader after voting closes at 7 p.m. tomorrow.

“I have the utmost confidence in all three of the candidates, I’ve worked with all three of them, and I’m certainly happy to work with whichever one of them is fortunate enough to be successful on Saturday night,” interim leader Stacey Hassard told the Star Thursday.

The candidates election are Currie Dixon, Brad Cathers and Linda Benoit.

Dixon, 34, is a lifelong Yukoner with a masters degree in political science who currently works for a mining supply company. Dixon won his seat as an MLA in 2011, representing Copperbelt North.

Dixon served in the cabinet from 2011 to 2016 with various portfolios, including Environment, Economic Development, Community Services and the Public Service Commission.

He left politics in 2016 to work in the private sector and has served on the management team of ALX, an industrial supply company, since 2018.

Cathers has also spent most of his life in the Yukon and grew up with a self-described wilderness lifestyle. He was first elected to the assembly in 2002 and has been re-elected three times.

Cathers, 42, has previously worked as a part-owner of a wilderness tourism business.

He served in the cabinet for eight years as minister of Health and Social Services, Energy, Mines and Resources, Community Services and Justice. He has been responsible for the Yukon Energy Corp., Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board, Yukon Liquor Corp. and Yukon Lottery Commission.

Benoit, raised in Faro, has worked with the Yukon Party for 16 years, including three terms as party president.

She is a self-described team player who pledges to form a united team of candidates in the next election, expected in 2021.

Benoit, 38, currently works as the chief administrative officer for a local construction company and has owned and operated her own IT- bookkeeping business in 2008.

She also serves as vice-president of Yukon Women in Trades and Technology and as treasurer for the Youth of Today Society.

She has previously worked for Yukon Party premiers Darrell Pasloski and Dennis Fentie, who died in 2019.

Voting kicked off last Friday and has already boasted high turn-out, with 75 per cent of the Yukon Party’s membership casting a ballot by mid-week, the party has said. More than 1,600 members are eligible to vote.

Hassard told the Star the high turn-out signals that some Yukoners are eager for change.

“It’s clear Yukoners are pretty motivated and excited to see alternatives to the current government,” Hassard said.

“Our next leader will have a strong base to work with.”

Hassard gave thanks to the MLAs he has worked with during his 3 1/2- year term as party leader.

He was named interim leader after predecessor Pasloski lost his seat to Liberal Jeanie Dendys in the 2016 election – ending 14 consecutive years of Yukon Party regimes.

“It wasn’t the easiest transition into official Opposition, but really, every single MLA has stepped up to the plate to hold the Liberal government to account,” Hassard said.

“I’m continually impressed with their commitment; we’ve learned a lot as a team and they’ve taught me a great deal as well.”

Hassard said the next leader will be tasked with opposing a Liberal government he says lacks the ability to get things done.

“The current government is completely paralyzed by decision-making; they’ve accomplished very little, and many issues get bogged down with review after review,” Hassard said.

“It’s essentially paralysis by analysis.”

He criticized the Liberals’ responses to the COVID-19 crisis, which he said has resulted in the government awarding itself more powers with no oversight.

“We’ve seen the start of some concerning undemocratic tendencies,” Hassard said.

“They spend millions in public dollars without any oversight, and we’ve even seen the premier (Sandy Silver) say that his government doesn’t need legislative oversight.”

Hassard said he hopes Yukoners who voted Liberal in 2016 with the expectation that they would “be heard” – as per the party’s campaign slogan – will now pivot to the Yukon Party.

“We heard that voters in the last election want a change, and I don’t think this was the change they were envisioning,” Hassard said.

“It’s time to go back to the way things were and the way things need to be.”

He advised that the next leader remember that MLAs work for Yukoners, and to avoid getting bogged down in partisan battles.

“Our job here is to make the lives of Yukoners better, and that’s easy to forget,” Hassard said.

“I think it’s important to stay grounded.”

The interim leader said he hasn’t yet decided whether he will run to keep his Pelly-Nisutlin seat in the next election.

“You never know what your life may bring in the next year and a half,” Hassard said.

Due to the virus, there can be no mass gathering of party supporters tomorrow. The election results will be livestreamed to the party’s website on Saturday night.

Comments (19)

Up 9 Down 4

Mr M on May 26, 2020 at 11:49 am

Not one party in the Territory to vote for. They all promise, promise and promise some more and then do not deliver.

Up 11 Down 3

Patti Eyre on May 26, 2020 at 11:10 am

@ Wilf you are the king of negative talk toward the Liberals! Please have a good long look at yourself and realize you live in a glass house. As Jesus would say, forgive them, for they know not what they do!

Up 6 Down 11

Wilf Carter on May 25, 2020 at 1:59 pm

I've only lived here since 1986 and know the people who started the Yukon Party and Anton your statement is not correct me son as we say. Yukon Party was started because of all the problems in the two Federal Parties. See the facts of the party. Liberals and NDP are not really interested in governing but more in power for themselves not Yukoners as a whole, right Anton??? Actions speak for themselves, not negative talk.

Up 18 Down 15

Allan Stanley on May 25, 2020 at 9:38 am

Wilf Carter on May 24, 2020 at 6:07 am


How this Party may or may not have started is irrelevant.
It evolved into the arrogant, condescending, self-serving and
incompetent Pasloski Party.
Most of which is still around.

Up 8 Down 6

Anton on May 24, 2020 at 5:53 pm

This is one of the most enjoyable days for Yukon Party members. The day of the "long knives."

Up 18 Down 7

Yukoner45 on May 24, 2020 at 5:18 pm

@Wilf You have obviously not lived here very long if you don't know that the Yukon Party used to be the Yukon Conservative Party. They dropped conservative from their name to try and fool people back in the day.

If you have any doubts, just recall that they brought up Jason Kenney, Alberta's Conservative Premier for a fundraiser. Plus they coincidentally have all the same supporters and staff as the federal Conservative Party. Jonas Smith is currently working in their office after running for the federal conservatives, Linda Benoit who ran for the leadership was running Jonas' campaign - so as you can see they are all part of the same right wing party. But by all means, tell me why you don't think they are conservative.

Up 12 Down 12

Snowman on May 24, 2020 at 5:04 pm

So the conservatives decided to elect Mr. Dixon who was the mastermind behind the disastrous Peel Plan that led to years in the courts and who is now looking to be Premier at the ripe old age of 34? Sorry but no thanks. Hard Pass.

Up 9 Down 17

HarvardYaleAndPrincetonMan on May 24, 2020 at 8:16 am


Mining Company Brad did not win - colour me surprised !
It's now time for Hillbilly Cathers to "go back to Hooterville" and start building his log cabin.

Up 21 Down 20

Wilf Carter on May 24, 2020 at 6:07 am

Yukon Party was not started as a Conservative Party. It was a group of Yukoners who believed in politics and was started because of liberals messes mainly.

Up 14 Down 19

Wilf Carter on May 24, 2020 at 6:05 am

Congrats's to Currie D becoming the leader of the Yukon Party. Thanks to the other two candidates for running. Now is the time for Yukon Party to step up take the Yukon forward into the new future for all Yukoners. Currie is young, smart, well educated, very likable, and has experience in public and private life, communicates very well, great lesson-er, understand past and can read the future.
Yukon Party has a great team which worked hard in the past for all Yukoners. During Yukon party days Yukon grew in every area and more money went into pockets of Yukoners than in history. Now Yukoners are paying more taxes, higher food, home heating, clothing, to take a holiday, kids sports. Tax increases are going to kill investment in the Yukon business opportunities like it has done all across Canada. The future is in young hands to determine the best course of action that is best for you. Anyone thinking on running in the next Yukon election stand up and take your shot at our future.

Up 16 Down 6

Elmer Vasko on May 23, 2020 at 9:35 pm

"but really, every single MLA has stepped up to the plate to hold the Liberal government to account,” Hassard said."

Funniest thing I've read in 6 months.

Up 22 Down 5

Stacey, Stacey, Stacey on May 23, 2020 at 12:52 pm

“It’s clear Yukoners are pretty motivated and excited to see alternatives to the current government,” Hassard said.

Ummm, this is not about Yukoners. This is about the Conservative Party. I think it's clear Conservative Party members have had enough of Hassard and are pretty motivated to replace him and are probably very excited to see alternatives to the current leadership of the Conservative Party.

My guess is that Dixon will win THIS vote. Then 1.5 years to get his ducks in a row. Little word of advice: Lose the arrogance. Listen to the people (and not just the Conservative Party people!)

Up 8 Down 1

Dean LaRue on May 23, 2020 at 12:22 pm

Ginger Johnson on May 22, 2020 at 3:35 pm

HEE HEE ! Post of the week !
If Cathers wins I vote for "The Log Cabin Party"

Up 8 Down 31

Bob Ablanalp on May 22, 2020 at 9:46 pm

MEH - Cathers will win .
He has been endorsed and funded by Alberta and B.C. oil and mining interests.

Up 20 Down 19

Bud McGee on May 22, 2020 at 8:56 pm

This Liberal Government has been a dithering mess. I thought that Scott Kent was the most well spoken and intelligent of the YP MLAs. Unfortunate that he didn't run.

Up 39 Down 22

Dixon's gonna take it on May 22, 2020 at 8:09 pm

Not the biggest conservative fan, but my predication is that Currie Dixon will be elected as leader of the conservatives and...he will also be our premier next election. He needs a good cabinet to do this.

Up 31 Down 18

JC on May 22, 2020 at 7:22 pm

All the libs did was give money to the non contributors. And now, they locked down the territory. Declaring laws that weren't legislated. That's liberals folks. Like them and suffer.

Up 34 Down 44

Allan Stanley on May 22, 2020 at 3:41 pm

I sure won't be missing Sanctimonious Stacey's "How dare those Liberals do what we did when we were in power" bleating.

Up 25 Down 59

Ginger Johnson on May 22, 2020 at 3:35 pm

SOOOOOO - The remnants of the Pasloski Party are FINALLY moving on from Darryl the Petulant.
It's now time for us to give them another name that's more appropriate than the one that they give themselves.

The nominations so far are :

1) The Log Cabin Party
2) The What's in It For Me Party
3) The Alberta Mining Company Party
4) The Northern Hellfire Club

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