Conflict common, says Kenyon

Yukon Liquor Act, which will impact hotel owners, Minister Jim Kenyon ran them by two cabinet colleagues  who owned hotels.

Yukon Liquor Act, which will impact hotel owners, Minister Jim Kenyon ran them by two cabinet colleagues  who owned hotels.

He also ran the changes by past Yukon Party campaign manager Craig Tuton, who owns the Casa Loma.

“Criticism was levied that we were dragging our feet because of Archie (Lang) and Peter (Jenkins) owning hotels,” said Kenyon in an interview with CHON FM last week.

So, when he took over the portfolio in 2004, Kenyon approached Lang and Jenkins.

“I asked them,” he said.

“And I asked Craig Tuton and I asked others in town, ‘Is there any objection?’ and not one person objected — it had nothing to do with owning the hotels,” he said.

The proposed changes, which include the elimination of hotel room requirements for bars, were first suggested in 2001.

Last summer, Lang sold his three hotels in Watson Lake.

Jenkins, who owns the Eldorado Hotel in Dawson, is no longer in government.

The proposed changes were introduced in the legislature last week.

During question period on March 27th, Kenyon again admitted he’d discussed the changes with Lang and Jenkins.

“I spoke at length with both of them, and both had no objections to continuing the review,” he said.

Kenyon should never have talked with Lang and Jenkins — both are stakeholders affected by changes to the law, said the opposition.

“If consulting stakeholders is a conflict of interest, we’re in trouble,” said Kenyon in an interview.

“We didn’t go out and do a proper consultation,” he added.

“This was more casual.

“Just because someone is involved in government on that, you can’t just say we’re not going to talk to them.”

Is discussing it a conflict? Kenyon was asked.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “We’re too small a jurisdiction, everybody has a conflict at some point in time.”

On Tuesday, Premier Dennis Fentie wrote to conflicts commissioner David Jones to investigate whether Kenyon’s in a conflict.

It did not ask whether Lang and Jenkins were.

So, the Liberals wrote Jones on Thursday

“Given Kenyon’s statements, it is obvious that Lang participated in discussions that would have an impact on his private interest,” it states.

It does smell, said NDP Leader Todd Hardy.