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Tony Penikett

From Academic Kids

Anthony (Tony) David John Penikett (born 1945) is an academic and former politician. An activist with the New Democratic Party of Canada, Penikett became a member of the party's federal council in 1973 and served as executive assistant to Ed Broadbent in the mid-1970s. He was President of the federal NDP from 1981 to 1985.

Penikett was first elected to the Yukon legislature in 1978. As leader of the Yukon New Democratic Party he went from being the sole New Democrat MLA in the legislature in 1981 to leading the party to power in 1985 winning a minority government and becoming Premier of the territory, the first government leader in the territory to take that title. Penikett fought the federal government for a better deal for the territory in Canadian confederation and for control over the region's natural resources. Penikett's government also made progress in the issue of native aboriginal land claims and developed an economic development strategy for the Yukon in consultation with citizens.

Penikett's government opposed the Meech Lake Accord believing it would make it impossible for the Yukon to ever become a province.

The NDP won a majority government in the 1987 election but, after seven years in power was defeated in 1992 by the conservative Yukon Party.

In 1995, Penikett resigned as leader of the Yukon NDP and was succeeded by Piers McDonald. There was an attempt that year to draft Penikett as leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada but he declined to run. In 2003, he was also rumoured as a candidate to lead the BC New Democratic Party but did not run.

After leaving politics, Penikett moved south to British Columbia where he is a senior fellow on native treaty issues at Simon Fraser University and has also worked at the Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation and for West Coast Environmental Law. In 1997, he was appointed by the then NDP government in BC to lead contract negotiations with the province's public sector unions.

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Preceded by:
Willard Phelps
1985

Yukon Premier
1985-1992

Succeeded by:
John Ostashek
1992-1996

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