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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Provincial similarities : a party-systems analysis of representative government in the Yukon Territory Haase, Arion Alexander


In 2023 provincial party systems in Canada are finally starting to gain the attention that they deserve in Canadian political research. The Northwest Territories and Nunavut's consensus-based political systems have also gained recent attention, yet research on the Yukon Territory's political party system has seemingly not motivated the same attention. This paper makes the case that the Yukon party system's history is far more noteworthy than many would suspect, and the combination of being a Canadian Territory attempting to gain additional authority through devolution, yet having political parties either in alliance or in contest with their federal counterparts has had very influential effects on political polarization and electoral competitiveness in the Yukon. This paper begins its observations by providing a fairly detailed history of the Yukon political party system using newspaper articles, party platforms, and a few secondary sources to illuminate the roles of key political party agents and their interaction with major political issues from 1978-2023. The paper then uses Jared Wesley and Clare Buckley's 2021 typological framework for provincial party systems to classify the Yukon as a party system with centripetal ideological conflict as well as highly competitive elections. Further analysis is conducted on the roles of independent candidates, floor-crossers, political financing, party ideology, riding-based trends, and some of the interactions between Yukon's First Nations and the party system. The paper concludes that the Yukon party system appears to be very competitive when compared to its provincial counterparts, but with a dominant streak towards centripetal ideological conflict that many of the other highly competitive provincial systems aside from New Brunswick do not share. The causative mechanisms for this centripetal ideological conflict remain vaguely defined due to the paper's scope, although the analysis section suggests that political financing, non-ideological candidates, and the interests of the white settler majority have all been contributory factors which require more research.

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