Fentie should let his fingers do the walking

Yukon Energy recently blew $50,000 on an Outside consultant to hire four prominent Yukoners to its board. Corporation staffers could have just used a phonebook, said Liberal energy critic Gary McRobb on Monday.

Yukon Energy recently blew $50,000 on an Outside consultant to hire four prominent Yukoners to its board.

Corporation staffers could have just used a phonebook, said Liberal energy critic Gary McRobb on Monday.

The three-month process, headed by a Vancouver headhunting firm, rustled up former premier Piers McDonald, Carcross First Nation executive director Justin Ferbey, mining and environmental consultant Diane Lister and Northwestel executive Jason Bilsky – all Yukon residents.

“The government already has a staff member on the payroll who recruits many, many board members across the Yukon,” said McRobb on Monday. “But a decision was made – no doubt in the corner office – to spend $50,000 to hire an Outside consultant. Why was this expense necessary when there is already a staff person employed to do this work?”

Fentie, who was pilloried last year for political interfering in the public utility in a secret privatization attempt, accused McRobb of trying to get him to interfere again.

“The member for Kluane has a very clear example before him of transparency, of accountability, of doing things appropriately,” said Fentie, contrasting the appointments with last year’s scandal.

So McRobb tried to table the phonebook.

“This could save us a fortune, Mr. Speaker,” he said. “Will this premier be hiring Outside consultants to find other board appointments, or will he save us a bundle and use the phonebook?”

But Ted Staffen, the legislature’s speaker, stopped a page from tabling the directory.

“Before the honourable premier answers – no props please,” said Staffen. “This is considered a prop. Everybody has a phone book.”

Fentie then criticized McRobb for daring to question the spending and the decision to outsource board appointments.

“I am astounded – shocked – at the display by the member for Kluane,” he said, citing the independence of the power corporation and Yukon Development.

Fentie’s office did not return a request to clarify his comments.

Contact James Munson at

jamesm@yukon-news.com.