Yukon Liberals to vote for new leader in January

The Yukon Liberal Party will elect its new leader by the end of January. The official leadership convention was announced during the annual leader's dinner in Whitehorse.

Party announced it will hold leadership convention on Jan. 28, 2023. Only 1 candidate has come forward so far

A file photo of Yukon Premier Sandy Silver speaking to reporters. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

The Yukon Liberals official leadership convention was announced over the weekend during the annual leader's dinner to honour Premier Sandy Silver at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre in Whitehorse. 

Party members will cast their vote on Jan. 28, 2023 and find a successor to Silver, who announced in September that he will not seek another mandate as premier and Liberal leader.

Silver previously said he will remain the MLA for Klondike until the next election, after which he will exit politics.

"I think that there is a lot of interest in the position of leadership at the Yukon Liberal Party," the party's spokesperson Paolo Gallina told CBC News on Saturday. "I'm encouraged to see who brings their name forward."

Gallina, however, said it was too early to speculate on the race, confirming that only one candidate so far has come forward with an official announcement. 

Yukon government Minister Ranj Pillai  was the first to voice he's running for premier on Nov. 25, only hours before the annual dinner. Pillai has held various roles within the territory's politics over the years, such as a City of Whitehorse councillor and executive director of the Champagne Aishihik First Nations.

Other candidates have yet to announce their candidacy, but they have until Jan. 7 to submit their official application. 

Gallina said the sold-out dinner — with tickets priced at $200 each, or $1,400 for a table of eight — was a chance to honour Silver, who's been party's leader since 2012. 

"Sandy was a mentor to me and still is a close confidant," Gallina said.

"I think the Yukon Liberal government has done very well under Sandy's leadership in rebuilding relationships with First Nations ... We are seeing pretty significant results, we are seeing First Nations procurement policies, a First Nations School Board being established. This is ground breaking, it's historic."