Pat Duncan

Pat Duncan (born April 8, 1960) is a Canadian politician from Yukon. Duncan served as leader of the Yukon Liberal Party from 1998 to 2005 and as the sixth Premier of Yukon from 2000 until 2002. Duncan was the first Liberal premier of the Yukon and the first female premier in the Yukon, the second woman in Canadian history to win the premiership of a province or territory through a general election, the first to do so by defeating an incumbent premier, and the first to do so by defeating a male opponent.

Pat Duncan
Senator from Yukon
Assumed office
December 12, 2018
Nominated byJustin Trudeau
Appointed byJulie Payette
Preceded byDaniel Lang
6th Premier of Yukon
In office
May 6, 2000  November 30, 2002
CommissionerJudy Gingell
Jack Cable
Preceded byPiers McDonald
Succeeded byDennis Fentie
Leader of Official Opposition of Yukon
In office
Preceded byJohn Ostashek
Succeeded byTrevor Harding (New Democratic)
MLA for Porter Creek South
In office
September 30, 1996  October 10, 2006
Preceded byAlan Nordling (Independent Alliance)
Succeeded byDon Inverarity (Liberal)
Personal details
Born (1960-04-08) April 8, 1960
Edmonton, Alberta
Political partyIndependent
Other political
Yukon Liberal Party
Spouse(s)Daryl Berube
ResidenceWhitehorse, Yukon

Duncan was appointed to the Senate of Canada on December 12, 2018.[1]

Life before politics

Duncan was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1960, and moved with her family to Whitehorse, Yukon in 1964. She graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Arts in political science.[2]

Professional background

Prior to entering politics, Duncan was a small business owner. She also served as executive director of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce. In the mid-1980s, Duncan served as a special assistant to Progressive Conservative Deputy Prime Minister Erik Nielsen. Duncan remained in this position until Nielsen's retirement in 1987.[3]

Yukon politics

Duncan was first elected to the Yukon Legislative Assembly in the 1996 general election. Duncan was elected as a Liberal to represent the Porter Creek South riding, a riding located in Whitehorse. In the 1996 general election, Piers McDonald (New Democratic Party) won a majority government. Duncan was one of three Liberals elected. Liberal leader at the time, Ken Taylor, was unsuccessful in winning his Mount Lorne riding.

In 1998, Duncan was elected leader of the Yukon Liberal Party. From 1998-2000, Duncan served as the Leader of the Official Opposition in the legislature. In the 2000 general election Duncan led the Yukon Liberal Party to a majority government, defeating New Democratic incumbent Piers McDonald.[4][5] The Liberals were elected in 10 ridings and received 42.7% of the popular vote. Early in 2002, the Liberal majority was reduced to a minority after the defection of three Liberal MLAs, Mike McLarnon, Don Roberts and Wayne Jim.[6] The catalyst for the defections was reported to be Duncan's allegedly heavy-handed and secretive leadership style.[7]

On October 4, 2002, only two years into Duncan's five-year term, she called a general election for November 4, 2002.[8] The rationale for the election was to achieve certainty in the legislature, however many Yukoners were angered at the quick election.[7] The Yukon Liberals were reduced to only one seat after the election - Duncan's own riding of Porter Creek South. Yukon Party leader Dennis Fentie, a former NDP MLA, lead his new party to victory. The Liberals were reduced to third party status with Duncan as the sole Liberal MLA.[9]

At the 2005 Yukon Liberal Party leadership convention, Duncan was defeated by Arthur Mitchell by a margin of 357 votes to 303.[10] Citing health concerns, she did not seek re-election in the 2006 general election.[11]

Electoral record

Yukon general election, 2002

Porter Creek South[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
  Liberal Pat Duncan 408 51.7% -12.5%
Yukon PartyLynn Ogden30138.1%+13.3%
  NDP Paul Warner 80 10.1% -0.7%
Total 789 100.0%

Yukon general election, 2000

Porter Creek South[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
  Liberal Pat Duncan 607 64.2% +21.3%
Yukon PartyLarry Carlyle23524.8%-14.3%
  NDP Mark Dupuis 103 10.8% -7.0%
Total 945 100.0%

Yukon general election, 1996

Porter Creek South[14]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
  Liberal Pat Duncan 435 42.9% +15.0%
Yukon PartyAlan Nordling39739.1%+39.1%
  NDP Mark Dupuis 181 17.8% -7.8%
Total 1013 100.0%


  1. "Trudeau names four new senators, filling every seat in the Senate". The Globe and Mail, December 12, 2018.
  2. "Yukon Premier Pat Duncan". The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011.
  3. Gurston Dacks, "Patricia Duncan". The Canadian Encyclopedia, June 6, 2006.
  4. "Duncan's smile could have lit up city". Whitehorse Daily Star. April 18, 2000. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  5. "Liberals win majority government". CBC News. April 18, 2000. Retrieved 2015-04-07.
  6. "Yukon government close to toppling after resignations". Petroleum News. April 3, 2002. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  7. "Liberals crushed as Yukon Party wins stunning upset". CBC News. November 4, 2002. Archived from the original on October 21, 2015. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  8. "Duncan calls Nov. 4 election in Yukon". The Globe and Mail. October 5, 2002. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  9. "Yukon's tally". The Globe and Mail. November 7, 2002. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  10. "Yukon's Pat Duncan loses Grit leadership". The Globe and Mail. June 5, 2005. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  11. "Former premier won't seek re-election". Yukon News. August 10, 2006. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  12. Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of the Yukon on the 2002 General Election Elections Yukon (March 3, 2003).
  13. Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of the Yukon on the 2000 General Election Elections Yukon (June 27, 2000).
  14. Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of the Yukon on the Yukon General Election Held September 30, 1996 Elections Yukon (January 20, 1997).
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