Whitehorse Daily Star

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ENTERS THE RACE – Brad Cathers announces his bid to take the Yukon Party’s helm Thursday afternoon at the Yukon Inn.

Veteran Lake Laberge MLA wants to lead the Yukon Party

Brad Cathers, the long-time MLA representing Lake Laberge, is running for the leadership of the Yukon Party.

By Gabrielle Plonka on December 6, 2019

Brad Cathers, the long-time MLA representing Lake Laberge, is running for the leadership of the Yukon Party.

“My vision for the Yukon reflects the priorities I have heard from people across the territory,” Cathers said as he announced his bid Thursday afternoon at the Gold Rush Inn.

“What I have heard is that Yukoners value a strong, diversified economy, the peace and beauty of the wilderness, quality health care, a good education system, an effective social safety net, and infrastructure that meets the needs of our homes and communities, and I share those values.”

Cathers has represented Lake Laberge in the legislative assembly since 2002, the year the late Dennis Fentie’s Yukon Party ended Pat Duncan’s 2 1/2-year-old Liberal government.

Cathers served as minister of Health and Social Services from 2005 to 2008 and minister of Energy, Mines and Resources from 2008 to 2009.

Cathers also served as Government House Leader from 2005 to 2009.

He left the Yukon Party caucus in 2009 after it was learned that Fentie had been exploring the idea of selling off the Yukon Energy Corp. to private sector interests. Cathers returned to the caucus after Fentie left the leadership in 2011.

He told reporters Thursday he believes his longstanding experience in the house will give him a competitive edge.

“I have been at the table when great decisions were made that resulted in a positive difference in the lives of people across the Yukon – and when mistakes were made,” Cathers said. “I have learned a lot from the good decisions, and the ones that didn’t work out.”

Cathers said a major point of focus in his campaign will be reducing regulatory burdens and paperwork for Yukon businesses.

He also vowed to make health care in the territory a priority, with promised support for the Yukon Hospital Corp. and Emergency Medical Services.

He said he would work with the RCMP to target the illegal drug trade and revamp the auxiliary constable program.

If elected as Yukon Party leader, Cathers said, he would build his election platform with “grassroots input” from Yukoners.

He said he will work to implement public consultation into the race to form a Yukon Party majority government. The next election is due in 2021.

Cathers is the second candidate vying for the Yukon Party leadership.

Currie Dixon, who represented Copperbelt North as an MLA for one term, from 2011 to 2016, announced his candidacy on Nov. 21.

According to Cathers, the two candidates are pals who have spoken frankly with each other about their interest in running for the party leadership.

“Though I want the job, I am also pleased to see him running, because a leadership race is good for the Yukon Party’s health.” Cathers said.

He said he will run to keep his seat in the next election even if he doesn’t win the leadership, and is looking forward to a “clean, positive race.”

Stacey Hassard has been the interim leader since then-premier Darrell Pasloski lost his Mountainview seat in the 2016 election, which returned the Liberals to power.

Hassard has said he will not be a candidate for the leadership, which Yukon Party members will decide upon in the spring of 2020.

The Yukon Party was known as the Yukon Territorial Progressive Conservative Party until the early 1990s.

Since party politics were formally implemented in 1978, the party’s leaders have included Hilda Watson, Chris Pearson, Willard Phelps, Chris Young, John Ostashek, Fentie and Pasloski. Peter Jenkins was its sole MLA from 2000 to 2002.

Comments (35)

Up 3 Down 10

Klaus G. on Dec 12, 2019 at 3:43 am

What are these two potential party leaders stance on same sex marriage?

Up 5 Down 7

Spud on Dec 11, 2019 at 6:39 pm

Mr. Blathers as leader? Sure I guess so, actually Yukon Conservatives deserve Brad as their leader. Premier of the Yukon? Dream on.

Up 6 Down 5

MILES Canyon on Dec 11, 2019 at 6:22 pm

I would be livid with the Yukon Party if I was Brad. They should have held a leadership contest long ago but they were obviously waiting until it was convenient for Currie. They gamed it in his favor while Brad was putting in the real work in the Legislature. It's this kind of cronyism that will return should Currie win instead of Brad who has good old fashioned conservative principles.

Up 13 Down 21

drum on Dec 11, 2019 at 11:19 am

Brad is who we need.
He is all about what Yukoners need. He is tireless when it comes to representing his riding. He is always available to help when he can. That is what the Yukon needs.

Up 19 Down 6

Trotsky on Dec 10, 2019 at 8:13 pm

He couldn't lead a boy scout troop. The major player in the corruption and destruction of WCB legislation following a review that deliberately excluded The Injured Workers Alliance reps with a covert meeting. As an Independent he refused to raise the issue in the Assembly concerning altered language of the Legislation by the Chairman of the Board, a criminal offence, to place injured workers pensions into the hands of Employers into the Yukon Insurance business.

Up 12 Down 0

Get it straight on Dec 10, 2019 at 6:28 pm

@Bob Ablanalp

Watching too much Matlock old bean? Canada doesn’t have felonies, sorry, we just don’t. As far as that Premier he was convicted of trafficking heroin.

Up 15 Down 0

Wes on Dec 10, 2019 at 3:25 pm

Bob Ablanalp, first of all, folks were nominating Joe ad hoc. I can’t imagine Joe Sparling wanted or needed the attention, he’s got bigger fish to fry. Now you mention credentials. What credentials are needed to make a good politician? You brought it up, so please elaborate and be specific. Does being a teacher or a pharmacist necessarily make you unsuitable for politics?
My statement as it applies to Joe Sparling stands for any profession or background; just because you succeed at A does not necessarily mean you will succeed at B. Your examples illustrate my point very well. Mr. Pasloski ran a successful pharmacy and business here in town, and yet was not very successful politically.

Up 7 Down 6

woodcutter on Dec 10, 2019 at 2:36 pm

@ Bob Ablanalp
School teacher is an honorable profession, so is store owner and operator, there is no status in Canada that any premier in the Yukon fits as convicted felon. I think you've been watching too much American Television and forget you're in Canada.

Perhaps you're a newcomer to Canada and still have to learn our ways.

Up 7 Down 15

Bob Ablanalp on Dec 10, 2019 at 10:33 am

"Wes on Dec 9, 2019 at 4:27 pm'
The 3 most recent Yukon Premiers were a school teacher, a drug store owner and a convicted felon before entering YT politics

Joe Sparling's entry level credentials look EXCELLENT in comparison

Up 22 Down 4

Yukoner79 on Dec 10, 2019 at 8:53 am

Pretty sure Joe Sparling is where he needs to be - making Air North Great. A move to Premier would just mean he is doing both jobs at half capacity. He IS where he is needed !

Up 17 Down 4

jc on Dec 9, 2019 at 5:04 pm

Klaus G. Of course the YP allow women to run for leadership. All a female has to do is apply to run. What a ridiculous statement to make. It makes me believe that you are just trying to stir up some crapola. Got nothing better to do?

Up 34 Down 3

Wes on Dec 9, 2019 at 4:27 pm

Why do people keep writing in that they want Joe Sparling to be the premier?
The qualities needed to grow and run a successful airline are not necessarily those that would make for a good political leader and vice versa. Completely different MOs.

Up 26 Down 5

Sarah on Dec 9, 2019 at 3:41 pm

@ Klaus - what a stupid comment. "Do they not allow women to run for party leadership?" Are you kidding me? The party just announced a leadership race and somehow this is what you come up with based on the fact that the first two are guys? Obviously women are 100% welcome to throw their names in. Honestly, either one of these guys would make an awesome leader - I am leaning towards Currie because I know he's a great guy and would make a wonderful Premier. It isn't the party who decides who is "allowed" to put their names forward. There are also some incredible women in the party who I would be proud to vote for.

Up 12 Down 23

Elmer Vasko on Dec 8, 2019 at 1:11 pm

I want to vote for Joe Sparling to be the Yukon's next Premier.

Up 16 Down 18

Snowman on Dec 8, 2019 at 12:47 pm

@ Wes - The problem is that the only current alternative for Yukon Party leadership to Brad is a 33 year old Liberal. So I'll be supporting Brad unless a better candidate steps forward.

Up 31 Down 16

Wes on Dec 8, 2019 at 11:51 am

I've nothing against Brad. Know his folks, good people.
However, I'd prefer our premier to have a broader experience and education base than Mr. Cathers has. He's great as an MLA, but the top job requires something more.

Up 31 Down 22

Groucho d'North on Dec 8, 2019 at 10:47 am

Brad has been my MLA ever since Doug Livingston the only and last NDP politcian for this riding abandoned us and moved south.
Brad is dedicated to serving his constituents even when he was forced to quit his minister's portfolio to sit as an independent when he took issue with how Fentie was running things. Brad has principles and the capacity to apply them to his work representing we constituents. I think he would make a fine leader and Premier.

Up 34 Down 4

He's alright on Dec 7, 2019 at 8:21 pm

For those who may not have lived up here 10 years ago:
"Yukon Party cabinet minister Brad Cathers broke ranks with the government today, announcing his resignation from cabinet, the party caucus and as house leader.
Cathers served as the minister of Health and Social Services before being reassigned in July 2008 to Energy, Mines and Resources.

At a morning press conference, Cathers said he can no longer in good conscience serve under Premier Dennis Fentie after the premier "lied" to his caucus and then to the public, denying that there were negotiations with Calgary-based energy giant ATCO to privatize the territory's public utility.
"The premier was a lot more involved in the discussions with ATCO than he had indicated," read Cathers in his opening statement to media assembled at the Westmark Whitehorse Hotel this morning.

"And the government did in fact consider the sale of public hydro assets and privatization."
Whitehorse Star, Aug. 28, 2009.

Up 28 Down 10

He's alright on Dec 7, 2019 at 8:18 pm

What I like about Brad is he can't be trusted to tell a lie. Fentie was talking to ATCO about buying infrastructure, and all the Yukon Party lackey MLA's lined up to lie for him saying, 'No. He is not talking to them', except for Brad Cathers who said, 'Yes, of course he is talking to them and the talks are advanced. I'm not going to lie for Dennis Fentie.'

As a result, he was kicked out of the party until Fentie was gone. Says a lot about how the Yukon Party operated, doesn't it?
I think Brad is honest, transparent, and that he listens to Yukoners. He also knows what is going on with the government after many years of being elected over and over by his riding.

Up 21 Down 24

Klaus G. on Dec 7, 2019 at 4:23 pm

Do they not allow women to run for party leadership?

Up 15 Down 32

Henry Wensleydale on Dec 7, 2019 at 2:50 pm

"Moose on Dec 6, 2019 at 10:41 pm"

Personal attacks like "Go Back to Antigonish" ?

And Cathers ridiculous dye job makes him look like a reptilian used car saleman

Up 19 Down 34

Miles Epanhauser on Dec 7, 2019 at 12:52 pm

He would make a good leader.
If the Yukon Party gets in the golf course could use some more cash.

It would also be nice to roll back those modern mining regulations.

Up 16 Down 19

Bob Folster on Dec 7, 2019 at 10:37 am

SOOOOO - Cathers versus Dixon.

Competition is always good for democracy - even if it is an amusing
"tastes great"versus "less filling" version of Pasloski politics.

I'm surprised that neither of them ran in the recent Federal election.
They're both FAR superior candidates to Pasloski's former campaign manager.
Either one could easily be the current Yukon MP

Up 31 Down 14

Mr M on Dec 7, 2019 at 8:24 am

I trust Brad Cathers way more than some politicians. Some that have been re-elected.

Up 15 Down 22

Westmarked on Dec 7, 2019 at 12:40 am

Just wondering, is there an apology in our YP newsletter for his off mic comments?

Up 36 Down 10

Moose on Dec 6, 2019 at 10:41 pm

@Bob - Maybe lay off the personal attacks? Most people these days use hair dye of some sort after about 35 years old. It's definitely nothing to be ashamed about. He looks fine to me.

Up 30 Down 5

EJ on Dec 6, 2019 at 10:36 pm

We now have Conservative Brad Cathers running against Liberal Currie Dixon for the party leadership. Should be interesting to watch it play out considering how different their political ideologies are.

Up 20 Down 22

Studebaker Dunlop on Dec 6, 2019 at 7:32 pm

SO - is the Alberta Oil Company that tried to buy the Yukon riding for
"Rusty Pasloski" in the recent Federal Election going to support Cathers or Dixon ?

Guess I'll start checking the sides of city buses to find out.

Up 20 Down 15

Willard on Dec 6, 2019 at 6:52 pm

Brad said members should vote for him because he listens. Does he infer by this that Curry does not listen? It seems to be.

Up 24 Down 23

Pally on Dec 6, 2019 at 6:48 pm

@Sally, I am one of his constituents and he doesn’t spend any time talking to me or representing any of my issues! Don’t load this site with bs please.

Up 25 Down 22

jc on Dec 6, 2019 at 5:17 pm

Good man. And good potential leader for the YP.

Up 17 Down 26

Undecided on Dec 6, 2019 at 5:02 pm

I am truly open to voting for either the YP or the NDP this election. I typically don't vote for "conservatives" but certain members of the YP have impressed me (Patti, Wade), or at least not completely annoyed me. Unfortunately Brad showed lately that his definition of a 'real' community member includes only those born here and excludes me and my family. No YP candidate will get my vote if he is the leader. I guess that leaves the NDP.

Up 47 Down 16

Sally on Dec 6, 2019 at 4:16 pm

@rickduff - factual that he is a career politician, but credit where it is due, Brad takes the role extremely seriously. Talk to his constituents; he puts hours and hours into representing their interests big and small, affecting change where he can.

Not necessarily who I would like to see leading the territory, but it is a subjective opinion to say he's never had a real job. It's not about the paycheque for Mr. Cathers. He lives for legislation review and representing Lake Laberge.

Up 18 Down 50

Bob Ablanalp on Dec 6, 2019 at 3:21 pm

Did Cathers land a JUST FOR MEN hair dye endorsement contract ?

I suppose it worked for Rocket Richard back in the 70's !

Up 49 Down 39

Rick Duff on Dec 6, 2019 at 3:15 pm

"He said he will run to keep his seat in the next election even if he doesn’t win
the leadership"

Of course he will !

Cathers is a career politician that has never had a real job and will be desperate
to keep his Government pay cheque !

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