Money for nothing

Even with the Yukon Party cabinet down a member, the Yukon public is paying more than $600,000 in salaries. We would like to know what, exactly, is it getting for its money? It certainly isn't getting much in the way of leadership.

Even with the Yukon Party cabinet down a member, the Yukon public is paying more than $600,000 in salaries.

We would like to know what, exactly, is it getting for its money?

It certainly isn’t getting much in the way of leadership.

In fact, Premier Dennis Fentie’s failure in this regard has now cost the Yukon Party its majority and knocked the day-to-day operations of the territorial government into chaos.

Nobody knows this better than Jenny Trapnell.

Trapnell is the intergovernmental relations officer who was dispatched at the 11th hour to sign the Whitehorse Declaration on behalf of the Yukon.

Drafted during the Northern Forum’s ninth general assembly, the declaration bears the signatures of more than two dozen dignitaries who participated in the forum, including Eva Aariak, the premier of Nunavut, leaders from Finland, South Korea, China, Japan and the premiers, governors and chairs of numerous Russian republics.

And, now, “Jenny from the Yukon,” as Trapnell was called.

Why a mid-level civil servant was tasked to sign alongside the high-ranking officials at a diplomatic function isn’t clear. She isn’t even the branch director.

This in no way is a slight against Trapnell. She did her duty. But her superiors should never have put her in that position.

Despite being scheduled to attend the Northern Forum, which must have been in planning for months, Fentie decided to leave town. Trapnell then was nominated his stand-in.

But it gets weirder.

“Premier Fentie is on his way to my community to have a meeting with me,” said Aariak at the forum.

Think about that for a minute ….

You must realize the international event was to be Fentie’s first public appearance after Cathers publicly called him a liar and quit his team.

Which is why we believe Trapnell provided the most cogent explanation for Fentie’s absence.

“I can say the premier was very … we hosted this meeting here and … I can’t say very much because I’m not in a position to do so,” she said.

On one level it’s so bizarre, it’s funny. But it’s also serious.

Consider the message it sends.

Officials from around the circumpolar North fly to Whitehorse to attend the forum and, when it comes time to sign the final declaration, which lays out ways they will work together on climate change and trade, Fentie, the host, begs off.

In their stead the officials do not get deputy premier Elaine Taylor.

They don’t get Education Minister Patrick Rouble.

They don’t get Public Service Minister Glenn Hart, Justice Minister Marian Horne or Highways Minister Archie Lang.

They don’t even get Janet Moodie, the deputy minister of the executive council office.

The ranking officials are all AWOL.

Instead, a minor official is tasked with the job.

What does that say about the importance of the declaration?

What does that say to the leaders who travelled thousands of kilometres to participate in the forum?

What does that say about how the territory is currently functioning?

Frankly, it is embarrassing.

And it raises still more questions about the competency of the current Yukon cabinet, which has been mute for months, ever since details of Fentie’s dictatorial and deceitful leadership style surfaced.

The government is so deep in damage control it can’t function.

Yet the cabinet ministers collect their paycheques. That costs the territory more than $50,000 a month.

So we ask, beyond cheque-signing events and barbecues, what services are they currently providing? (Richard Mostyn)

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

Just Posted

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Calvin Delwisch poses for a photo inside his DIY sauna at Marsh Lake on Feb. 18.
Yukoners turning up the heat with unique DIY sauna builds

Do-it-yourselfers say a sauna built with salvaged materials is a great winter project

Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Bureau of Statistics reports rising rents for Yukoners, falling revenues for businesses

The bureau has published several reports on the rental market and businesses affected by COVID-19

Council of Yukon First Nations grand chief Peter Johnston at the Yukon Forum in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. Johnston and Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn announced changes to the implementation of the Yukon First Nations Procurement Policy on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Third phase added to procurement policy implementation

Additional time added to prep for two provisions

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

Most Read