The Council of Yukon First Nations is supporting three people it appointed to Yukon Energy’s board despite the Crown corporation’s recent crisis, said Grand Chief Andy Carvill.
Paul Birckel, Barb Joe and Luke Johnson remain on the board despite the resignation of four other board members who cited Premier Dennis Fentie’s interference in the public utility without their consent.
Former chair Willard Phelps, who resigned with board directors Paul Hunter, Martin Allen and Greg Hakonson on June 8, accused Fentie of also interfering in Yukon Energy’s $160-million Mayo B project.
The three First Nation appointees could leave if they wanted to, but it’s a mutual decision between them and the leadership of the council to keep them on board, said Carvill.
“We’re optimistic that leadership will stay on there,” he said. “We really have no terms of reference for any of the appointees to any of these committees at the CYFN level.
“We’re working on terms of reference,” he said.
Phelps, Hunter, Allen and Hakonson assert Fentie was negotiating the privatization of Yukon Energy behind the board’s back at the request of the bidder, Calgary-based ATCO.
“I have no comment on that,” said Carvill.
He also wouldn’t comment on Phelps’ allegation Fentie was wooing First Nation governments to invest in the Mayo B project without any board consent.
“I do have feelings and comments about it, but what we’re doing is working with the chiefs in the area, Chief (Simon) Mervyn and Chief (Ed) Taylor, and following their lead,” he said.
The Na-Cho Nyak Dun is “not happy” with Fentie’s secret ATCO negotiations and it is taking a cautious attitude towards the premier’s plans, said Chief Simon Mervyn in Mayo on June 26.
The Na-Cho Nyak Dun signed a memorandum of understanding with the Yukon government citing its willingness to work together on the Mayo B project on the same day.
But the document doesn’t have any detailed commitments and is only part of the process, said Mervyn.
After the mass resignation from the Yukon Energy board, Fentie appointed one of the remaining board members, Pat Irvin, as chair.
Irvin is a business owner from Watson Lake.
The current board is made up only of the three First Nation appointees and Irvin.
The talks with ATCO are continuing and the Yukon government is deciding what to do next, said Fentie in an interview on June 26.
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