As Brendan Hanley transitions to his new role as MP-elect, he says he aims to unite Yukoners

·3 min read
Liberal candidate Brendan Hanley, victorious on federal election night, Sept. 20, 2021. (Jackie Hong/CBC - image credit)
Liberal candidate Brendan Hanley, victorious on federal election night, Sept. 20, 2021. (Jackie Hong/CBC - image credit)

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon's former chief medical officer of health, is in for a career change as a Member of Parliament after he won with 33 per cent of the vote in Monday's federal election.

Hanley told CBC's Elyn Jones, host of Yukon Morning, that he's feeling "exhilarated."

"Certainly relieved, after, you know, a really, really intense campaign, and just still kind of absorbing the results and where I am right now."

He said the last five weeks have kept him busy with his campaign schedule.

"It was a very intense day by day schedule, and suddenly, it's over. And now it's kind of looking at the scoreboard and what happened and what Yukoners have to say," he said.

"It became a bit of a fixation, on watching those numbers."

Hanley said accessibility is an important trait for an MP and that he'll strive to be accessible, similar to how Yukon's outgoing MP Larry Bagnell was.

"I'm there for Yukoners, for the people, of course," he said. "I have to learn a lot in the next couple of weeks. I am in that transition phase."

Having never been in the role of MP, he'll go through an onboarding program. He's also planning to spend a few days in Ottawa next week, where he said he'll be learning the ropes.

"I think it's just about learning the role, and learning the expectations of the MP role in Ottawa. And, then figuring out the constituency role at the same time," he said, adding he'll be setting up office as well.

Wayne Vallevand/CBC
Wayne Vallevand/CBC

Building on relationship with First Nation leaders

Though getting 33 per cent of the vote means many Yukoners did not mark an 'X' next to Hanley's name on their ballots, he said he plans to use his experience as a doctor to form a sense of togetherness among residents.

"I do think that one of my roles is to just help unite us again and bring us together and recognize that not everyone at the door feels the same way about everything," Hanley said.

"I'm sure I will hear from many — I should hear from many as to where people think the priorities should be going and if there's something that they feel is not getting the attention it deserves," he said. "I really look forward to hearing from people. And as I say, right now, it's just getting my head around the whole role and getting prepared to be an effective MP."

Hanley said there is some groundwork already in place when it comes to building a relationship with First Nation leaders in the Yukon.

"I've had several messages coming in from some of the chiefs, and I do feel, again, this is an opportunity for me to, to build on partnerships I've previously established, especially again, through the pandemic, when we were really so close, including with [the Council of Yukon First Nations] and the Assembly of First Nations," Hanley said.

"That's going to be a crucial part of the role is forging partnerships and close relationships with First Nations leaders."

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