The Yukon Progressive Conservative Party was founded in April 1978. Long time Yukon legislator Hilda Watson was elected the party's first leader defeating Yukon MP Erik Nielsen by one vote. Watson had been a member of the territorial Legislative Council since 1970, and became the first woman in Canadian history to lead a political party into a general election. However, she was unable to win a seat in the 1978 election, and consequently resigned. Chris Pearson became leader of the party as well as the government.