Potential Liberal candidate Jeane Lassen has been re-invited to speak at a Team Yukon pep rally prior to the 2016 Arctic Winter Games, after she says she was dropped from the list of speakers by the premier’s office.
Lassen, an Olympic weightlifter, will speak to Team Yukon on Thursday, before the group leaves for Nuuk, Greenland to compete in the Games.
Premier Darrell Pasloski made the announcement on Twitter on Tuesday evening. “Proud to personally invite Yukon Olympian @jeanelassen to pump up our athletes at Team Yukon Pep Rally,” he wrote.
Lassen was first dropped from the roster the same day she announced her plans to run for the Liberals in Takhini-Kopper King, a decision she believes was political.
“The implication is that I would make a political message, potentially,” she said.
Team Yukon is funded by the sport and recreation branch of the Department of Community Services. Lassen said she called Community Services Minister Currie Dixon to ask for an explanation after her speech was cancelled.
“He said it could look like they’re endorsing a political candidate,” she said.
But Dixon followed up with Lassen the next day to confirm that her name had been put back on the list of speakers. “I thank him for being supportive,” she said.
Four days later, however, Lassen discovered she’d been dropped once again, with no explanation.
“It’s really disappointing. So often we talk about sport being socially engaging,” she said on Tuesday. “I’m still a Yukoner at heart and the same person that I was before I made this announcement.”
But on Tuesday evening, after the CBC published Lassen’s story, she received a phone call from Pasloski.
“As you probably saw on Twitter, I have been re-re-invited to the pep rally,” Lassen later told the News in an email. “The premier confirmed that the decision came from his office and that it was reversed.”
Lassen’s speech, which she sent to the News, is decidedly not political. She plans to urge the athletes to create personal “highlight reels” from the Games.
“Most of the magical moments have nothing to do with the score of the game,” it reads. “The magical moments that make up our highlight reels are that play of the day where you pulled off a slick move out of nowhere… or when your competitor makes you laugh after the race and you don’t even speak the same language.
“Your highlight reel is anything and everything that matters to you, everything we feel good about.”
Dixon and the premier’s office did not respond to requests for comment.
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