Piers McDonald

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Piers McDonald
5th Premier of the Yukon
In office
October 19, 1996 – May 6, 2000
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien
Commissioner Judy Gingell
Preceded by John Ostashek (Yukon Party)
Succeeded by Pat Duncan (Liberal)
MLA for Mayo
In office
June 7, 1982 – October 19, 1992
Preceded by Peter Hanson
Succeeded by riding dissolved
MLA for McIntyre-Takhini
In office
October 19, 1992 – April 17, 2000
Preceded by first member
Succeeded by Wayne Jim
Leader of the Yukon New Democratic Party
In office
1995 – April 27, 2000
Preceded by Tony Penikett
Succeeded by Trevor Harding
Personal details
Born (1955-08-04) August 4, 1955 (age 60)
Kingston, Ontario
Political party New Democratic Party
Residence Whitehorse, Yukon

Piers McDonald, OC (born August 4, 1955) is a Yukon politician and trade unionist.

Born in Kingston, Ontario, McDonald, a miner by profession,[1] was vice-president of the Yukon Federation of Labour from 1981 to 1982. He won election to the Yukon Legislative Assembly on behalf of the NDP in 1982 and became Minister of Education and Minister of Community and Transport when Tony Penikett led the NDP to power in 1985. In 1989, McDonald became Minister of Finance and served in that position until 1991 when he again became Minister of Education until the NDP's defeat in the 1992 election.

McDonald succeeded Penikett as NDP leader and leader of the opposition in 1995 and led the NDP back to power in the 1996 election winning 11 of the territory's 17 seats but in 2000 his government was defeated and McDonald narrowly lost his seat in the legislature. While his government left a $60 million budget surplus and earned a good reputation for promoting social programs and protecting the environment, it had suffered from a decline in the territory's economy due to a fall in world metal prices and the closure of several mines. This became a major campaign issue along with the resulting mass exodus of people from the Yukon with 10% of the population leaving between 1996 and 2000. After his electoral defeat, McDonald announced his resignation as party leader on April 27, 2000.[1]

In 2003, he supported Bill Blaikie's campaign to become leader of the federal New Democratic Party. In 2008, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.[2]

McDonald chaired the Canada Winter Games Whitehorse 2007 committee.[3]

In September 2008, McDonald was appointed to the Board of Directors of Northwestel, the communications company providing service to the Yukon, Northwest and Nunavut Territories.[4]

In June 2011, Queen`s University presented McDonald with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws,[5] in recognition of McDonald's work in education, aboriginal land claims and devolution during his political career in Yukon. He is also credited for spearheading construction of Yukon College's Whitehorse campus, the Yukon Arts Centre, the South Klondike Highway, and schools in Dawson City, Old Crow and Watson Lake.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Long time NDP Leader packs it in.". CBC.ca. April 27, 2000. Retrieved December 3, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Governor General Announces New Appointments to the Order of Canada". 
  3. ^ "Bitter cold marks opening of Canada Winter Games". CBC.ca. February 23, 2007. Retrieved December 3, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Northwestel Appoints Piers McDonald ...". Northwestel Inc. September 11, 2008. Retrieved 3 December 2009. 
  5. ^ Denise, Heather (2011-05-25). "Chief Justice & Local Marathon Swimmer Among Queen’s Honorary Degree Recipients". Kingston Herald. 
  6. ^ "Former Yukon leader McDonald receives doctorate". CBC. June 6, 2011.