A triumph of realpolitik

If nothing else, Dennis Fentie has now confirmed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he is a Weeble. What is a Weeble? Well, for now all you need to know is that this is really good news for the Yukon Party. And it is really bad news for his opponents.

If nothing else, Dennis Fentie has now confirmed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he is a Weeble.

What is a Weeble?

Well, for now all you need to know is that this is really good news for the Yukon Party. And it is really bad news for his opponents.

Especially the Yukon Liberal Party.

Here’s why.

The last six months have been the worst in Dennis Fentie’s political career.

He’s been caught, redhanded, manipulating the Peel Watershed planning process, which he vowed he wouldn’t do.

He’s been caught making decisions behind his ministers’ backs, a situation that reflects very badly on Fentie and calls into question the competency of his cabinet.

He’s been caught trying to secretly sell off the Yukon’s public utility assets to an Alberta multinational, which forced the resignations of his handpicked appointees from the Yukon Development Corp., which owns the utility.

One, Willard Phelps, himself a former government leader, called Fentie a “tin-pot dictator.”

This schism in the party ranks went right into cabinet.

His colleagues’ confidence in his leadership started to waver, and that provoked an unguarded discussion, in Tim Hortons, of possible alternatives between Darrell Pasloski, the former federal Conservative candidate (whom Fentie campaigned for), and then-Energy minister Brad Cathers.

After that conversation was reported, Cathers resigned.

He told a news conference that Fentie had lied about his Yukon Energy privatization plans, and had asked Cathers to corroborate the lie, which is something he would not do. So he resigned.

That’s extraordinary stuff. Damning. He’s angered a lot of people.

And Cathers’ departure left Fentie with a minority government, which is worse.

That’s a pile of trouble, and it was all of Fentie’s making.

You’d think that would be enough to sink the Yukon Party.

But it wasn’t.

And that’s a real problem for both Cathers and the Liberals.

It’s a disaster for Cathers because his political powerplay to draw other disgruntled colleagues away from Fentie failed. Now, he’s all alone outside his party, which remains in power, and many of his constituents aren’t happy about that.

But it’s worse for the Liberals.

Despite Fentie’s scandalous actions, Arthur Mitchell’s Liberal team is still not pulling much public support.

It’s tepid at best.

And that’s incredible. People are clearly not happy with the government, yet they are not flocking to Mitchell’s Liberals.

That doesn’t reflect well on Mitchell and his crew.

As the legislature resumed this week, the Liberals have, somehow, to position themselves as a solid alternative government. But, after several years, there’s no indication they have a clue how to do that.

Of course, a week ago this mattered a lot more.

The Liberals were planning a confidence motion.

But they underestimated Fentie’s grasp of realpolitik.

In Fentie’s world, what matters is power. And clearly, he’s willing to fight to keep it.

So, through some as-yet-to-be-revealed promise, he mollified independent John Edzerza, who quit the party years ago citing Fentie’s abusive leadership style.

With Edzerza back on the government benches, Fentie restored his majority. There’s no foreseeable way, barring another weird defection, that his government will fall.

All this is good news for the 90-pound-weakling New Democrats.

Fledgling leader Elizabeth Hanson now has a shot at bulking the party up and selling it as a credible alternative government.

But the biggest winner is Fentie.

He’s bought time to save himself and his party.

Over time, the anger will pass. People forgive and forget.

So, today, there’s no doubt Fentie is a Weeble.

And, whatever you think of them, Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down. (Richard Mostyn)

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukon RCMP are making an appeal for information in the case of Mary Ann Ollie, who was murdered in Ross River last year and whose case remains unsolved. (Black Press file)
Yukon youth being extorted online

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted on… Continue reading

Fines for contravening the fire ban start at $1,150 and could go as high as $100,000. File photo
Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. (Black Press file)
Yukon campgrounds to open early

Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. The early opening… Continue reading

Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce executive director Susan Guatto and program manager Andrei Samson outside the chamber office in downtown Whitehorse Feb. 23. (Stephanie Waddell, Yukon News)
When business models shift

Whitehorse chamber offers digital marketing workshop

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read