Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

SEEKING A SECOND TERM – Liberal Leader Sandy Silver campaigns with candidate Staci McIntosh March 30 in the Brookside area.

Silver: ‘This has been the honour of my life’

Ed. note: on this and the next two pages, reporter Tim Giilck analyzes the efforts of the leaders of the three parties contesting Monday’s territorial election.

By Tim Giilck on April 9, 2021

Ed. note: on this and the next two pages, reporter Tim Giilck analyzes the efforts of the leaders of the three parties contesting Monday’s territorial election. See pages 18 to 22 for a variety of letters and columns on the campaigns.

Sandy Silver says his mission to serve the Yukon isn’t finished yet.

Silver, the leader of the Yukon Liberal Party and incumbent premier, took part in a wide-ranging interview with the Star on Tuesday afternoon.

The conversation covered the gamut from why he thinks he and his party should be re-elected to discussing what motivates him.

“I’m a community volunteer at heart,” he said.

Silver, while not born in the Yukon, is a longtime resident of Dawson City. He was a teacher there for a number of years before moving into the political arena. The town and region have clearly carved a treasured spot in his heart that’s obvious when you speak to him.

It comes as a bit of a surprise to hear that, since Silver’s public persona is fairly reserved, detached or possibly even a bit aloof.

At times, Silver is a bit more affable, but he certainly isn’t as ebullient as political rival Kate White of the NDP.

He might even suffer a little in affability sweepstakes to Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon, but it wouldn’t be a good idea to underestimate him and the loyalty he commands amongst his fans.

On Tuesday, he was plainly in a pleasant mood, but as always with Silver, there was the potential for a flash of irritation. He’s not quite as even-tempered as he seems, but that can be a helpful trait in politics.

The party is vying to become the first Liberal administration to win back-to-back elections, which makes this campaign a potentially historic occasion.

“This has been the honour of my life to be premier and to serve the Klondike,” Silver said. “It’s been a long road to get here, but I want to keep this momentum going.”

Silver began his territorial political career in 2011 when he and the late Darius Elias were the sole representatives of the party in the legislature.

Elias eventually bolted for independence and the Yukon Party, leaving Silver as the sole surviving Liberal representative.

He’s been largely responsible for rebuilding the party and leading it to a fresh bout of success 16 years after the first-ever Yukon Liberal administration was elected.

As with the rival NDP, the Liberals have historically been a political side-note to the dominant Yukon Party.

Traditionally, Yukoners have been staunchly conservative overall, something the other parties in this election should be wary of.

Silver said the strategy for this campaign has been a simple one... and it’s been fairly obvious to the public.

“We’re running on our track record,” he said. “That’s the way it should be.”

If you’re a political animal, one of the fascinating things in this election campaign has been a case of role reversal between the Yukon Liberals and the Yukon Party.

The established Liberals are acting in a very similar way to a Conservative Party, looking to the past and talking up the way things have been moreso than providing a forward-thinking vision.

The Yukon Party, by contrast, seems as if Dixon is dragging it toward the centre of the political spectrum. Even its campaign slogan, “Action for a Change”, is strikingly different than normal.

That was the one question that Silver bristled over, and prompted further discussion until he appeared to understand the point better.

“I completely disagree with that,” he said with a touch of irritation as soon as the question was asked.

He said his perception of politics is perhaps a bit different than normal. He’s not a political scientist, he said, and his focus is intensely local.

Silver, somewhat predictably, preferred to look at the strange change of affairs between the parties as the Yukon Party drifting deliberately to the centre more so than the Liberals shuffling right.

He was insistent on describing himself as a political moderate in all ways.

“We’re the picture of a moderate party,” he insisted. “We commit to listening to both left and right ... the complete argument.

“I’m not beholden to one side or another. I’m a moderate who likes to appeal to a broader range of Yukoners. It’s a tough thing to be a moderate, but that’s what I am.”

Silver said if he wins, he and the party are ready to pick up where they left off before the election was called.

That includes the record-breaking capital projects budget. The Liberals have largely been campaigning on its merits, and have issued only a few new promises.

Silver said last week he was prepared to re-introduce the budget and get back to work on April 13.

That’s a clear advantage he can offer over either the NDP or Yukon Party, he noted. The Liberals won’t need a transition, while the rival parties would.

Silver said when the Liberals began their term in office in 2016, it took approximately a month for the political handoff to be made. He expected it would take some time for the NDP or Yukon Party to set up shop.

He also estimated it might take as much as a year before a brand-new government would begin to feel comfortable being in power.

That’s speaking from his experience, Silver said.

He alleged the Yukon Party was reluctant to leave the government offices, and left a fiscal mess behind.

He was surprised to be told that’s a regular complaint amongst incoming administrations, and would likely happen again if the Liberals lose.

“I don’t know about other governments,” he said. “I have a very local perspective.”

Silver, who is well-known for having a bit of a political poker face, was coy on what his plans would be if the Liberals aren’t re-elected.

He’s the longest-serving current leader of the parties, and it’s quite possible, even likely, that he might face pressure to resign after a loss.

“We’re not thinking about that,” he said firmly. “We’re not thinking about losing.”

Even if that does happen, Silver said he wouldn’t disappear from the scene.

He would not say if he would fight to stay on as leader, but added, “I’m not going anywhere.”

Comments (28)

Up 8 Down 3

john on Apr 14, 2021 at 2:28 pm

" The honour of your life" ?? you called an unnecessary election right in the middle of third wave because you thought that just because Yukon is blessed with vaccine ( thanks to indigenous groups), you could ride that wave and get another majority government at whatever cost (for generations to pay back) and, the outcome is a dysfunctional government who will not be able to operate and will likely result in a fall election anyway. Good work.

Up 9 Down 4

YukonMax on Apr 13, 2021 at 7:04 am

.04 cents...yep!
Silver is offering me .04 cents raise an hr, flat for the next 3 years contract.
No C.P.I. adjustment.
So yes, the economy is doing just fine.

Up 5 Down 4

bonanzajoe on Apr 12, 2021 at 8:35 pm

Appreciative Citizen: Bwahahahahahha. Thanks for the laugh dude. I needed that. The Libby rules have been getting me down lately. Thanks again. And still rolling on the floor.

Up 10 Down 4

bonanzajoe on Apr 12, 2021 at 8:32 pm

Observer. Good luck to you and your children to the 5th generation in trying to pay down the Federal Libs and Yukon Libs debt and deficit. You must be a government worker. But how about your descendants?

Up 4 Down 12

Atom on Apr 12, 2021 at 6:56 pm

Bah. Cons are just the same group that got turfed in the last election. Folks got sick of their arrogance.
The world is in a mess and Canadas economy reflects it. Debt. But houses are going for just shy of a million here in the Yukon I don't see folks panicking about being in debt.
Cons supporters are Desperate. Say all sorts of things that aren't true just hoping folks are gullible enough to buy it.

Up 13 Down 23

Appreciative Citizen on Apr 12, 2021 at 3:33 pm

And Sandy you have been stellar in your leadership roles since 2011. The Yukon is a better place for having had you as a community leader during your time here.

Up 40 Down 22

Wilf Carter on Apr 11, 2021 at 12:29 pm

Cost out each party pledges and Liberals will have Yukoners standard of living going down by over 40% just to pay for our debt. For example; there are people who are trying to buy a house but don't have the income to qualify for a mortgage payment of $1,000 a month but have to pay $2,000 plus a month to rent the same house. Right now families are paying out up to or more 50% of their take home pay just for living. Let's keep going says Sandy. Way to go.

Up 24 Down 65

Observer on Apr 11, 2021 at 11:26 am

Yukoners we all know there is only one good vote and that is a vote for Sandy Silver and the Liberal Party. They have done a good job during trying times and take all Yukoners into consideration when making decisions. We do not want to go back to the days where only one group was considered when decisions had to be made, that was a terrible Yukon.

Up 19 Down 26

Stew on Apr 11, 2021 at 6:48 am

These comment sections are entertaining lately.... and people are forever telling first nations how to govern. What a farce.

Up 33 Down 17

iBrian on Apr 11, 2021 at 6:18 am

@Ej
Your obviously doing liberal math. How do you count $25 Billion Surplus to a $2.2 Trillion dollar deficit... oh wait, your thinking the Yukon is a stand alone state.
All good, I have to get to work, you know cause millions of people are counting on people like me to support them.

Up 44 Down 26

Mike on Apr 10, 2021 at 6:50 pm

April 12 2021 VOTE CONSERVATIVE because liberal would be the end of the Yukon.

Up 42 Down 18

Mike on Apr 10, 2021 at 6:44 pm

@EJ - what kind of liberal crap are you trying to feed me? The 2nd best economy in Canada? You're a blatant liar. The only jobs the liberals have created are government jobs. No local resident is being paid inflated wages to afford this inflated housing market and when things are inflated they deflate and that's the problem. You blame the Yukon Party for our debt, let's cross reference the numbers champ. Silver spent more in 3 years than the Yukon Party spent in 10. Save your liberal dialog for someone whose not paying attention like the liberal party doctoring books and inflating stats - this does not make a robust economy.

Up 11 Down 10

Groucho d'North on Apr 10, 2021 at 4:41 pm

@ Juniper,
The lengthy list of supposed achievements by the Trudeau Liberals can be found here on Snopes - the site dedicated to truth in Journalism.
https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/howie-mandel-justin-trudeau/

Up 15 Down 11

Oberver on Apr 10, 2021 at 4:25 pm

Klondiker, there were a few small things you missed in your observation, still had to get good grades in high school, graduate, get accepted into University, graduate university, have the you know what to leave home to find a decent job.
Now onto the second part your observation is reminding me of dozens if not hundreds of folks that have come to the Yukon and prospered, business persons, gold miners etc. They then have children who don't have to go nowhere and inherit the assets from their parents. How is that different then your observation on Mr. Silver, some would say those people have had it ever easier.
There is the old saying, don't throw stones if you live in a glass house.

Up 50 Down 29

Wilf Carter on Apr 10, 2021 at 1:22 pm

Why is Yukon liberals trying to buy off Yukoners with our own money and just tell 78% of us to get a life that they think they control and we accept without questions. The liberals treat Yukoners like fools.

Up 26 Down 47

EJ on Apr 10, 2021 at 12:57 pm

@Mike You are concerned with the state of the economy? Surely you realize that we have the best (or maybe 2nd best) economy in the country and even had growth through covid right? I think you are aware but just have nothing else to go on, so you lie in order to get people to vote for the Yukon Party Old Boys club.

@ibrian Three quarters of our current debt came from the Yukon Party, so how come you are only angry about the quarter given to us by the Liberals? and during covid at that!

@Adam Smith Dr.Hanley was appointed to his current position many years before the Liberals came to power. It was Currie and the other Ministers who decided to appoint him during their last term. So why do you think they will not listen to him and actually get rid of him instead? Maybe you just didn't know the history of how Dr.Hanley came to be where he is. So you're welcome for that little nugget of info.

Up 28 Down 26

Mick on Apr 10, 2021 at 11:37 am

@bonaza Joe
He’s not wearing a mask because he is outside and socially distancing you dullard.

Up 51 Down 29

Juniper Jackson on Apr 10, 2021 at 11:22 am

An honor for Silver? A horror for me. The Federal Liberals are a nightmare, with the most recent being Trudeau putting together Legislation to prevent people talking/saying anything that might be hurtful against a politician. https://thepostmillennial.com/trudeau-liberals-pushing-for-internet-law-that-targets-hurtful-words-against-politicians
That law will effectively shut down any criticism of the government. Because they will interpret ALL comment that doesn't support them as, "hurtful". That means, Trudeau picked up 5 ethics guilty charges. If i call him a criminal, and should resign, I can be fined and even sent to jail. As the Liberal moves to consolidate their dictatorship, who is there to stop them? Just the voter. Someone posted a wonderful Liberal timeline, it was 3 pages, but worth the read. Some items I had to look up, and was shocked to find they were also true. I am afraid too many people will vote with their greed and not their heads. I admit, it's pretty tempting. But, even a sheep will run to take food from the hand that is going to slaughter them tomorrow.

Up 46 Down 28

Klondike Man on Apr 10, 2021 at 11:19 am

I’ll bet it was the honour of his life. Who knew that you can apply online for a schoolteachers job on the other side of the country from where you live and then through blind luck somehow default into the Premiers office once you moved there. What a wonderful territory!

Up 26 Down 55

HatchetMinions on Apr 10, 2021 at 9:10 am

So boring to read the same drivel over, and over again from the YP Boyz.

Biggest debt hmmmm....what about the rein of terror under the Drug company previously.
Why don’t we hold the next platform speech in a back alley instead of a bar, Frack Boy!
Just wondering if Brad is going to be audited for his expense reports?

Up 27 Down 21

adam smith on Apr 10, 2021 at 12:27 am

National post article shared by Liberal spokesman Mike Pemberton on facebook today: https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/in-canadas-north-a-successful-vaccine-push-has-put-end-of-covid-pandemic-within-sight?fbclid=IwAR0A_3g1Ek6OlGULVmDFRCmpXnDKOX4eAiPT6xs2DF-NQL5tDFDPIlKL-wc

Hanley telling the rest of Canada what he is prepared to do.. I think he has to go.
Libs know this, the other 39k of us are asking for a plan.

If he is that arrogant that he is willing to allow this comment to be published BEFORE the election, he needs to go.
This is a shameless partisan action at the last moment.

Up 49 Down 22

Cameron on Apr 9, 2021 at 8:28 pm

If your “running on your track record” I would start packing your boxes. Your track record is lies, corruption and massive debt. Ministers; Frost, Mostyn and McPhee who lead the pack when it comes to lying and incompetence. The denying of information to the Privacy Commissioner and wasting tax dollars fighting it in Court. Don’t get me started on how many incompetent people they have protected and promoted. The YG government has never been in worst shape and it only took these jokers four years to make this mess. That is some track record.

Up 46 Down 27

iBrian on Apr 9, 2021 at 7:27 pm

Didn’t vote for him.
Thanks for putting us so far into debt. Way to go! Your flame is being extinguished. We’re voting you off the island.

Up 30 Down 53

Past YP member on Apr 9, 2021 at 7:00 pm

I have lived in the Yukon for some time now. I have seen all the leaders since we have had so called responsible government. I can say without a doubt that Mr. Silver is head and shoulders above the rest of the leaders we have had and is truely there for the right reasons.
Four more years here we come!!

Up 43 Down 27

Mike on Apr 9, 2021 at 6:58 pm

This party is solely responsible for the state of this pathetic economy and has never accepted responsibility for anything and should be remembered as the worst thing to happen to the Yukon Territory.

Up 86 Down 43

bonanzajoe on Apr 9, 2021 at 5:11 pm

So, Silver, if re-elected will pick up where the Libs left off. They left off leaving the Yukon and next several generations with the largest debt and deficit in its history. And that's where he will pick up. I hope the younger generation has some sense to not vote for the Libs or the NDP in this election. As the NDP would increase the debt and deficit 10 fold. Because all they know how to do is spend. They haven't learned to live according to their means.

Up 73 Down 39

bonanzajoe on Apr 9, 2021 at 5:07 pm

And why is he not wearing a mask? We, the citizens are under an order by him, to wear a mask or be fined by the police. And, not trying to be critical, but I believe thats the first time I have ever seen a smile on his face.

Up 79 Down 45

JSM on Apr 9, 2021 at 4:20 pm

I am sure it has been! Subjecting your constituents to tyranny is every politicians dream isn't it? On your report card you get an A+ for big government policies and striking fear in your populace. I never thought I would see the day that the Yukon, the last bastion of freedom, would fall to the same socialism I escaped in the past. Yet here we are! I tell you what, the slippery sandy smooth talker has done a great job in convincing the masses of something that lots of people have come out and said can't kill you. Sad to see the great Yukon fall to such a lowly place.

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