an ethics quiz

In what might be the biggest fizzbang in Yukon politics, Dennis Fentie recently said he was responsible for the ATCO debacle.

In what might be the biggest fizzbang in Yukon politics, Dennis Fentie recently said he was responsible for the ATCO debacle.

Now, since Fentie was leading the discussions and withheld all information from then-Yukon Energy minister Jim Kenyon, cabinet and the Crown corporation board, it’s hard to imagine who else might be responsible. Besides God.

But Fentie’s mea culpa is kinda murky.

It’s couched in qualifiers, so you can be excused if you’re a tad puzzled about what, exactly, he’s taking responsibility for.

But that also opens opportunities for public education on ethics and morality.

So here’s a quick quiz. See how you do ….

Today, we know the government entered into talks to privatize ATCO, and Fentie, alone, was directing the discussions.

But a few weeks ago he brazenly told the public that privatization was never, ever on the table.

So what did Fentie do wrong?

a) Try to deceive the public.

b) Miscommunicate.

c) Adapt political strategies from Survivor.

The answer, according to Fentie, is b) “The communication on this was mishandled and I have no problem taking responsibility for that.”

If you put a check next to miscommunicate, good work. You might have the makings of a premier.

Alright, next question…

Fentie kept the ATCO talks secret from then-Energy minister Brad Cathers and his other cabinet colleagues, including Kenyon, the minister directly responsible for Yukon Energy.

So what did Fentie do wrong?

a) Undermine his colleagues’ authority.

b) Corrupt the Westminster parliamentary system.

c) Destroy cabinet morale.

d) Nothing. It might not have happened. But if it did…

e) a, b and c

The answer, according to Fentie, is d): “If that’s the case, I accept responsibility.”

OK so far? Here’s the next question.

Fentie encouraged Cathers to stick to the line that privatization was never on the table, even though it was.

So what did Fentie do wrong?

a) Nothing.

b) Encouraged a colleague, perhaps under threat of discipline, to deceive the public to ensure benefit to a private corporation.

c) Underestimate Cather’s integrity.

d) Attempt to deceive the public.

e) b, c and d.

f) None of the above.

The answer is f): Fentie never addressed this issue.

Ethics can be a fun topic, eh? Ready for the next one? Here goes.

As a result of Fentie’s secret dealings, Cathers quit caucus, costing the Yukon Party a member, and an important seat.

So what did Fentie do wrong?

a) Bungle his leadership duties.

b) Fail his constituents.

c) Make an inexplicable mistake.

d) Seriously damage a political organization.

e) Cost the government its majority.

The answer to this question is, of course, c): Fentie said, “It was a mistake. There’s no reasoning behind mistakes.”

Next…

As a result of his actions, Fentie alienated the Yukon Energy Board, forcing the resignations of four members at a time when the utility is building Mayo B, one of the largest hydro projects in its history – a project that is still short money and that must be built before a strict federal deadline expires.

So what did Fentie do wrong?

a) Nothing, the board had its opinions. We have ours. We don’t need them.

b) Undermine a board that is supposed to operate the utility at arm’s length from government.

c) Cripple the functioning of a utility at a critical time.

The answer is, apparently, a: At the time of the resignations, Fentie dismissed the board’s allegations as “opinions” and immediately appointed a new chair. He hasn’t said anything further.

Alright, almost done.

The public was never consulted, in any way, with the sale of the Crown-owned utility’s assets, yet Fentie, alone, opened negotiations that would have brought about a such a sale.

So what did Fentie do wrong?

a) Nothing, it is the premier’s prerogative, alone, to determine what’s best for the territory.

b) Nothing, private industry always operates utilities better than the government.

c) Almost open the territory to higher power rates.

d) Almost lose the territory dozens of local jobs.

e) Possibly erode the territorial government’s ability to set energy priorities.

f) Almost sold off the territory’s most important public infrastructure for a fraction of its value.

g) a and b.

The answer is g: Fentie has signalled he will continue with the privatization option. “It doesn’t change the issue,” said Fentie. “The issue is, how do we address on an ongoing basis the delivery of affordable, reliable energy to the Yukon?”

So there you have it. A brief quiz on ethics and politics.

If you scored four, or more, kudos. You probably have what it takes to govern the territory. (Richard Mostyn)

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

Just Posted

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

Submitted
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

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

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