Cannor’s accountability problem

Cannor is refusing to comment on a conflict of interest in a $213,000 grant to a local construction company.

Cannor is refusing to comment on a conflict of interest in a $213,000 grant to a local construction company.

The federal agency’s regional office in Whitehorse is not answering phone calls, instead it is diverting the response to Ottawa.

The top spokesperson for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, also known as Cannor, wouldn’t even entertain questions regarding the conflict of interest.

“I have no further comment,” said Wanda Thompson, the director of communication for the agency, by phone.

Ever since it was revealed that Dana Naye Ventures, a local bank and business advisory service, administered $213,000 of Cannor’s money to a company it holds a stake in, Cannor has ducked accountability.

In a letter to the editor sent to the News last week, Cannor tip-toed around questions on whether the agency has criteria for conflicts of interest.

Thompson resent the letter to the editor after a message was left with the regional office Thursday.

“I heard your voice mail and my response doesn’t change,” said Thompson.

She would not say where the letter addresses conflicts of interest.

“I think it’s self-explanatory in our letter,” she said.

Asked to explain what she meant by self-explanatory, Thompson refused.

“I feel that we’ve responded adequately and fully to your questions,” she said.

She was then asked why Cannor won’t answer questions about a conflict of interest.

Thompson didn’t say a word for nearly 10 seconds.

“I feel we’ve answered your questions and I’ve just resent you an e-mail with the responses,” she said.

How are citizens supposed to trust how the money is being dealt out? she was asked.

Thompson didn’t say anything for another five seconds.

“I don’t have any further comment. Thanks for calling,” she said.

Contact James Munson at jamesm@yukon-news.com