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Yukon Party

From Academic Kids

The Yukon Party is a conservative political party in the Yukon Territory of Canada.

It was founded in 1978 as the Yukon Territorial Progressive Conservative Party, and was elected as the territory's first party-based government in 1979 under the leadership of Chris Pearson.

The Progressive Conservative party was founded in 1978 with Hilda Watson as its first leader. Watson had been a member of the terriorial legislature since 1970. However, when she was unable to win a seat in the 1978 election, she resigned and Chris Pearson became leader of the party as well as the government.

The Progressive Conservatives were defeated in 1985 by the Yukon New Democratic Party led by Tony Penikett. With Brian Mulroney's federal Progressive Conservative government's increasing unpopularity, the Yukon Progressive Conservatives decided to sever their relations with the federal Tory party, and renamed themselves the "Yukon Party" prior to the 1992 general election.

After seven years in power, the NDP was defeated in 1992 and the Yukon Party's John Ostashek became Premier of Yukon. His government became very unpopular by increasing taxes and cutting services. Ostashek was voted out of office in 1996 after only one term. The Yukon Party won only three seats, falling to third place for the first time behind the Yukon Liberal Party.

The party's fortunes continued to decline at the 2000 general election. The Yukon Party was reduced to a single seat in the legislature as the right wing vote moved to the Yukon Liberal Party, putting it in power for the first time in the territory's history.

Liberal Premier Pat Duncan's government was plagued with internal dissent, however, and despite having won an outright majority of seats in the general election, defections and resignations reduced the Liberals to a minority government within two years. Premier Duncan called a snap election for November 4, 2002, in an effort to regain her majority, but the early election call backfired badly.

The Yukon Party had elected Dennis Fentie, a rural Member of the Yukon Legislative Assembly (MLA), who had defected from the Yukon NDP, as its new leader in June 2002 and despite being caught by surprise by the election call the party was able to storm to a majority government with 12 seats compared to 5 for the NDP. The Liberals were reduced to a single seat. Fentie became the first Yukon Premier from a rural riding.

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