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Yukon Liberals hope Trudeau win bodes well for 2016 election

Yukon Liberals are feeling optimistic these days, as they watch the federal party re-assume power in Ottawa.

Party loyalists in Yukon hope to replicate federal Liberals' massive turnaround

Liberal supporters celebrate in Whitehorse on election night last month. The Liberal win is 'resonating across the territory,' says Liberal strategist Brad Weston (right). (Nancy Thomson/CBC)

When Justin Trudeau is sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday, one group of Yukoners will be particularly excited — the beleaguered territorial Liberal party.

In recent years, Yukon Liberals have seen their party languish in third place both federally, and territorially. They're now hoping the big turnaround in Ottawa will shake things up in Whitehorse as well.

"They're looking at the next year, and they're thinking that could be an option for them," said Liberal strategist Brad Weston, referring to the upcoming Yukon election in 2016. 

Weston says Trudeau's win, and Yukon Liberal MP Larry Bagnell's triumphant return to Ottawa, are "resonating across the territory."
Liberal Larry Bagnell won a decisive victory on Oct. 19 to become the territory's MP once again. Bagnell spent the last four years on the political sidelines. (Nancy Thomson/CBC)

Party loyalists say so far there are promising signs that the so-called "red tide" could lift all Liberal boats.

Rod Taylor, who's seeking a Liberal nomination for next year's election, says many people have lately approached the party.

"They're people that want to get elected because they believe in real change and they want to be part of that," Taylor said. "That's exciting." 

Only one way to go

It would be difficult for the Yukon Liberal party to go anywhere but up. In 2011, just two Liberals were elected to the Yukon legislature, putting the party in third place. 

One of those MLAs, Darius Elias, now sits with the governing Yukon Party

Justin Trudeau met with Yukon Liberal Leader Sandy Silver during Trudeau's visit to Whitehorse in June 2013. (CBC)
The other Liberal elected in 2011 was party leader Sandy Silver, who entered politics as a neophyte from Dawson City with no apparent aspirations to be party leader, let alone premier. These days, the Klondike MLA sounds unapologetically ambitious.  

"There's some great ideas from the left, and there's some great ideas from the right," Silver said. "Why not have a government in the middle that can use leadership to move forward on great ideas?"

Yukon Liberals are holding a policy convention this weekend in Whitehorse. 

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