Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon threw down a gauntlet of sorts on Thursday, saying it's time for Liberal Leader Sandy Silver to end a "vacuum of leadership" by forming a government, recalling the assembly and tabling a budget — preferably by the end of the month.
"Where has the premier been since the election? Missing in action. Silent. Absent," Dixon said.
Last week's territorial election ended in an even split of seats in Legislative Assembly, between the Liberals and the Yukon Party. Both now have eight, while the NDP won the remaining three.
The new MLAs were all sworn in this week.
Dixon acknowledged on election night that the Liberals, as the incumbent party, would have the first opportunity to form the next government and Silver issued a statement earlier this week saying he intended to do just that.
So get on with, Dixon said on Thursday.
"Stop creating uncertainty," he said.
"Businesses have contacted us on a daily basis looking for contracts to be signed, we've heard from public servants looking for direction, looking for who is going to form the government. We've heard from even the chief medical officer of health who has said he has new recommendations that he wants to make to a government but because they're in caretaker mode, he cannot."
In his statement on Monday, Silver said he would speak to Dixon and NDP Leader Kate White "in the coming days" about his plans to form government and gain the confidence of the Legislative Assembly. Without a majority of seats, Silver's Liberals are at the mercy of the other parties in any confidence vote.
Dixon said early Thursday afternoon that he had not yet heard from Silver, and that and he suspected that Silver was not interested in his support.
"Since the election, the Yukon Party has not heard a word from Sandy Silver. By not even reaching out to the Yukon Party, it's clear to me that his preference is to form a left-wing coalition with the NDP," Dixon said.
"If that's the path they want to go down, then fine. But get on with it."
Dixon said later on Thursday afternoon that Silver had since tried calling him, but the two had not yet spoken.
'I'm open to it,' says NDP leader
Speaking to CBC on Tuesday, Kate White was coy about working with either Silver or Dixon.
"I'm not going to have any kind of speculation in the media … I don't think that would be helpful for the conversations that need to happen," she said.
"I'll tell you that I'm open to it. I'll tell you that, you know, I've been guided by my values up to this point, and I will be guided by those values as I go forward."
White said the election results, which reduced Silver's Liberals from a majority to a minority, send a clear message.
"Yukoners told us that that they weren't happy, and they said that they wanted all political parties to collaborate. So that's what I'm working on."
Dixon acknowledged on Thursday that he'd had "numerous" conversations with the NDP, but demurred when asked about working with that party to challenge the Liberals.
"We're wiling to work with anybody," he said.
"Ultimately what we want to see is a government formed, because to date, nobody knows what's going on."