Yukon Liberal Ranj Pillai acclaimed party leader, will replace Premier Sandy Silver

THE CANADIAN PRESS

WHITEHORSE – The Yukon Liberals have a new leader who will officially be sworn in as the territory’s 10th premier this weekend.

Ranj Pillai, a member of Yukon’s legislature since 2016, was acclaimed Sunday as the new Liberal leader, and will soon become the territory’s 10th premier, replacing Premier Sandy Silver, who is stepping down.

A public swearing-in ceremony for premier-designate Pillai and his cabinet is scheduled for Saturday in Whitehorse.

Pillai said on social media that he met Monday with Yukon Commissioner Angelique Bernard, stating his intention to serve as Yukon premier.

“I am honoured and humbled to be acclaimed as the leader of the Yukon Liberal Party,” Pillai says in a statement. “We have so much to be proud of and I’m very excited for what the future of the Yukon holds. I am committed to working hard, seeking common ground, acting strategically and to fiercely defending the interests of the Yukon.”

Pillai inherits a minority government that functions through a confidence and supply agreement with the Yukon New Democrats, after the Yukon Liberals and Yukon Party each took eight seats in the 2021 election.

Silver announced in September he was stepping down as premier and did not intend to run in the territory’s general election in 2025.

Pillai, a deputy premier who has held numerous cabinet posts, is an experienced politician who has served in Yukon’s municipal, Indigenous, business and volunteer sectors.

“He brings to the table a lot of experience, plus he’s been working as a minister for six years now,” Silver said in an interview.

He said Pillai is detail-oriented, always approachable and open to new ideas.

“It’s uncanny how he networks,” said Silver. “He’s very, very good at that.”

The outgoing premier also mentioned that both he and Pillai have East Coast roots, having grown up in Nova Scotia and crossing paths as university students before meeting again as politicians in Yukon.

Pillai thanked Silver for his leadership and says he looks forward to working with him “for the remainder of our term.”