CBC puts Fentie to work

Premier Dennis Fentie will appear on the CBC television show Make the Politician Work on Sunday. The show's producers sent Fentie to Minto mine for three days in November.

Premier Dennis Fentie will appear on the CBC television show Make the Politician Work on Sunday.

The show’s producers sent Fentie to Minto mine for three days in November. During that time, he hand-shovelled mine tailings, operated drills, set off explosives and helped with a practice rescue.

It was all a flashback for Fentie, who spent many years working around minesites as a trucker and construction worker.

“I spent some time at the end of the mud stick because it meant making a living and putting food on the table,” he said in an interview. “You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.”

Fentie’s big concern during the filming? Messing up.

“I didn’t want to create a scenario that compromised the safety of others within the operation, because it’s been a long time since I’ve been around any of this stuff.”

He didn’t need to worry: the mine managers kept a close eye on him. And safety standards have improved greatly since Fentie started working as a labourer in the late 1960s.

So have environmental checks. Back then, “there was no such thing as air tickets,” said Fentie. “Water sampling? What?

“Mining in the Yukon today is much more surgical, cleaner, and environmentally sensitive,” he said.

Fentie also claims that he scored the winning goal of a ball hockey game with mine workers. To see whether that made the show’s final cut, you’ll need to tune in.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Contact John Thompson at


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