Whitehorse Daily Star

Taylor takes on deputy premier's role

Minister of Tourism and Culture, minister responsible for the Women's Directorate, Whitehorse West MLA, chair of several committees, and now she's deputy premier.

By Stephanie Waddell on January 24, 2008

Minister of Tourism and Culture, minister responsible for the Women's Directorate, Whitehorse West MLA, chair of several committees, and now she's deputy premier.

It was announced Wednesday that Elaine Taylor will take on the role permanently.

"I'm extremely grateful for this new opportunity," Taylor said in an interview that afternoon after Premier Dennis Fentie made the announcement.

The responsibility of filling in for Fentie had been set on a rotating schedule for members on the Yukon Party government's side of the legislature.

While it may be a new opportunity for Taylor, she's no stranger to the role.

Throughout much of the legislature's fall sitting, when Fentie was out of the territory for medical treatment, Taylor found herself in the role as deputy premier, since it was her turn when he was gone.

For several weeks, she had to answer the opposition's questions about the $36.5 million in government investments that were frozen before they were scheduled to mature last year.

At one point, her political adversaries chided her for, in their view, reading out repetitive answers provided by Department of Finance officials.

Fentie said Wednesday he opted to go with a more permanent approach to the role for a number of reasons, "not the least of which" was Taylor's performance during his absence in the fall.

As premier, it's impossible to be in two places at one time, but this will mean Taylor can fill in at some of those places where he can't be, he explained.

The more formal appointment of a deputy premier comes with those types of duties, he said.

"(It) clearly demonstrates by govnerment the integral role women are playing," Fentie said, adding that's a message he wants to get out to the Yukon public.

Taylor noted that while it was a challenge to serve as deputy premier on such short notice in the fall, it was also a privilege to take on the role.

While holding so many positions will not be without its challenges, Taylor noted that, as she's said in the past, the Yukon Party government works as a team, relying on one another, which helps meet those challenges.

"We have a very diverse team," she said.

With that support, Taylor said, she's confident she will continue to work effectively with all her titles.

Along with her MLA and ministerial responsibilities, Taylor also serves as chair of the Legislative Overview Committee, the Cabinet Committee on Legislation and the Standing Committee on Appointments to Major Government Boards and Committee.

Taylor, a married mother of one who hails from Watson Lake, was first elected in the Whitehorse West riding 2002, then re-elected in the 2006 election.

She's been a member of the cabinet since she was first elected, including a stint as Justice Minister in her first term.

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