Currie Dixon is the new leader of the Yukon Party.
Dixon, a former cabinet minister, defeated longtime MLA Brad Cathers in a race that went to a second ballot.
“It’s an incredible opportunity and a profound responsibility,” Dixon told a handful of party faithful at a hotel in downtown Whitehorse Saturday.
“There are very high expectations of our party and very high expectations of our leader. And it is now my job and my responsibility to live up to those expectations.”
Dixon was a cabinet minister in Darrell Pasloski’s Yukon Party government from 2011 to 2016. He didn’t run again in 2016, but he did manage the party’s campaign that year. He then got a master’s degree and worked in the private sector.
Dixon pledges more inclusive party
During the campaign, Dixon promised to uphold the Yukon Party’s core values of fiscal conservatism, support for business and hunting and fishing. But he also said the party needed to reach out to new voters by developing policies in areas such as early childhood education and mental health.
“We must become ready to serve the next generation of Yukoners and understand their priorities,” Dixon said.
“We must establish sound, productive and respectful relationships with Yukon First Nations. We must look at more ways to ensure our unparalleled quality of life is not threatened, and that Yukoners and their families can be healthy and strong contributors to our economy.”
The voting results were announced in front of a small gathering of party loyalists in order to maintain physical distancing. COVID-19 disrupted the campaign in other ways, forcing the Yukon Party to cancel a leadership debate. Candidates had to campaign by phone and online, instead of in person.
The party used a ranked ballot system, where members listed their first and second choices. Dixon took 752 votes to Cathers’ 682 in the second round. In the first round, Dixon fell short of a majority, with 694 votes to Cathers’ 637. Longtime party staffer Linda Benoit finished third with 160 votes.
More than 1,500 party members cast ballots online and by phone.