Indian-origin Ranj Pillai to become 10th premier of Yukon territory in Canada

Ranj Pillai | Photo: Twitter

Toronto: Indian-origin Cabinet minister Ranj Pillai will on January 14 take oath as the tenth premier of Canada's territory of Yukon, becoming the second politician of Indian heritage to head a region in the country, according to a media report on Tuesday.

Pillai, whose roots can be traced from Kerala, was on January 8 unanimously chosen as the leader of Yukon Liberal Party, the party said in a statement on its website. Pillai was the only candidate in the running when nominations closed on January 7, Yukon News reported.

“I am honoured and humbled to be acclaimed as the leader of the Yukon Liberal Party. We have so much to be proud of and I'm very excited for what the future of the Yukon holds,” Pillai tweeted on Tuesday.

The Yukon government's executive council office said Pillai and his Cabinet will be sworn in on the coming Saturday afternoon in a public ceremony in the foyer of the Jim Smith Building.

He will become just the second premier in Canadian history of Indian heritage, following Ujjal Dosanjh who held that post in the province of British Columbia between 2000 and 2001.

There are 10 provinces and three territories in Canada.

Pillai said in a statement issued by his campaign after the announcement that he was "committed to working hard, seeking common ground, acting strategically, and to fiercely defending the interests of the Yukon".

"I look forward to serving all Yukoners as our dedicated team continues to make this territory one of the best places to call home,” he said.

The leader also thanked outgoing Premier Sandy Silver for his “leadership and dedication”.

Premier Silver -- the longest-serving current premier in the country who has been party leader since 2012 and led the party to victory in two elections -- announced on September 9 last year that he would step down from the helm after the party found a new leader to take over the premiership.

The current MLA for Porter Creek South, Pillai was first elected to the Yukon Legislative Assembly in the 2016 territorial election.


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