trouble in government

Once upon a time, Premier Dennis Fentie viewed the perceived failures of former-premier Pat Duncan with glee.

Once upon a time, Premier Dennis Fentie viewed the perceived failures of former-premier Pat Duncan with glee.

Chief among them, her failure in leadership.

Remember the defection of the three amigos: Don Roberts, Wayne Jim and Mike McLarnon?

The three rogue Liberals bolted from the government benches, reducing her majority to a minority.

So, just two years into what was once a strong mandate, her government fell. And then lost a general election to Fentie.

Naturally, he loved this.

Fast forward four years to 2006 and you’ll find Fentie in much the same position as Duncan.

Fentie is in the midst of a caucus revolt.

Recently, he lost Peter Jenkins, a cabinet anchor, in both the best and worst sense of the word.

And there are hints that others aren’t enthralled with Fentie leadership either.

Eleven days ago, Fentie called a caucus retreat in Watson Lake. There, his MLAs discussed the upcoming legislative session and started refining an election platform.

It was a near-minority affair because two, and possibly more ministers failed to attend.

Economic Development minister Jim Kenyon took a pass, citing his upcoming junket to Asia.

More serious for Fentie, Education minister John Edzerza refused to attend.

“I didn’t go,” Edzerza said last week. “I was busy.”

He was busy?

Edzerza and Fentie are at odds, or so the scuttlebutt leaking out of government offices suggests.

Part of the problem may lie with the fact that Fentie has spent millions studying the pie-in-the-sky Alaska railroad initiative, while local groups, like the outreach van and others who service the poor and the derelict, are fighting to secure penny-ante grants.

Some are also miffed that Brad Cathers was awarded the Health portfolio over Southern Lakes backbencher Patrick Rouble.

So there are several irritants.

Fentie has lost one minister. And others are beginning to reconsider their future in the party, and in politics.

So Fentie faces a caucus revolt almost as large as Duncan’s.

As he well knows, it reflects poorly on his leadership.

And fosters a belief in karma. (RM)