Wha …… Huh.
We must have drifted off there for a minute. Good thing nobody noticed – there are usually ramifications for sleeping on the job.
It usually makes your employer question your competency, your commitment – whether you are up to the job.
Unless you are a sitting government minister.
Like Jim Kenyon.
Kenyon crashed deep into Never Land this week during testimony from David Morrison, president of the Yukon Energy Corporation.
Now, to be charitable, Kenyon’s not the first guy to get baby head when they’re listening to a dim presentation in a stuffy boardroom or lecture hall.
But, clearly, this situation is a little different.
Morrison rarely appears before the legislature. And this was his first appearance since the revelation Premier Dennis Fentie was orchestrating a secret selloff of the Crown-owned utility to Alberta-based ATCO behind the back of his colleague, Kenyon, who was minister of Yukon Energy Corp. at the time.
Many questioned Kenyon’s competency as a minister if the utility he was supposedly running could almost be privatized without his knowledge.
But it was. Kenyon was politically cuckolded by Fentie. And when he heard about it in December 2008, embarrassed and angry, he told a roomful of onlookers, including Morrison, that he was going to quit his cabinet post.
Yet he never did. In fact, he publicly denied this event ever happened.
What convinced him to change his mind? The voting public may never know.
But Monday was the opposition’s first chance to ask Morrison for his version of that conversation – to ask whether Kenyon quit, or not. (Morrison squirmed and tried his damndest not to answer the question and, in doing so, confirmed the incident had, indeed, happened.)
Kenyon, of course, slept right through Morrison’s grilling.
You’d think a guy could stay awake for something like that.
The fact he didn’t raises serious questions about whether Kenyon is up to the job he’s being paid $119,000 a year to do.
He’s in charge of four portfolios: Economic Development, the Yukon Liquor and Housing corporations, and the Yukon Lottery Commission.
Is he capable of doing the job? Or is he sleeping through departmental briefings as well?
In explaining his nap, Kenyon suggested he’s got a disability. But he won’t say what, exactly, it is.
We await that information.
But it’s really a poor excuse. If a disability is hampering a professional’s performance, they shouldn’t be doing the job.
After all, if a pilot had frequent blackouts we wouldn’t want them in the cockpit. If a surgeon had palsy, we’d expect he’d leave the operating room. And if a minister hasn’t the ability to sit through important annual briefings awake and lucent, well ….
It also bears noting New Democrat Todd Hardy is ravaged by cancer and is currently fighting for his life.
Yet he’s still sitting in the house, representing his constituents with intelligence, courage and grace.
Never has he complained about his lot, nor used it as an excuse.
And we’ve never seen him nod off in the house during an important debate.
So, which guy would you rather have running a department?
Kenyon should really avoid the excuses and buy a supply of Red Bull.
Better yet, he should step down, just like he promised to do in December 2008.