Bankrupt business becomes political hay

Great River Journeys is bankrupt, and the Liberals' Gary McRobb wants to know whether the Yukon government will ever see any of the money it gave the failed eco-tour company.

Great River Journeys is bankrupt, and the Liberals’ Gary McRobb wants to know whether the Yukon government will ever see any of the money it gave the failed eco-tour company.

It’s a mischievous question. The territory gave the firm $630,000. But this money was doled out as grants, rather than loans. There was never any expectation for the company to repay the government.

McRobb also wants to know whether Economic Development Minister Jim Kenyon actually read the company’s business plan before singing high praise for the venture.

That’s a dig at how Kenyon had earlier disavowed having read the minutes of the housing corporation, which he is also responsible for. Kenyon said this to distance himself from another controversy.

Kenyon didn’t answer McRobb. Instead, he flung muck, and accused the Liberals of wanting to micromanage government business.

Kenyon also said, in passing, that the tourism branch gave Great River Journeys $100,000, despite the company failing to meet the conditions of the grant.

But that’s not true, said Jonathan Parker, director of communications for tourism. “It definitely did meet all our funding criteria,” he said.