Premier Dennis Fentie has appointed a Yukon Utilities’ Board chair without consulting the appropriate legislative committee.
“The issue is about democracy,” said Don Inverarity, the Liberal MLA for Porter Creek South and a member of the standing committee on major appointments to boards and committees.
“(The committee) shouldn’t be arbitrarily abandoned,” said Inverarity.
Last month, Fentie simply told the leaders of the Liberal and New Democratic parties that Bruce McLennan, a former deputy minister at the Yukon’s finance department, would be the board’s new chair. The appointment was rushed to expedite hearings on the Mayo dam’s expansion project.
But there was plenty of time to have the committee chair, Yukon Party MLA Elaine Taylor, call the members together, said Inverarity.
Wendy Shanks resigned as chair in December, a year early.
“There was lots of time for appointing people who might have been interested in this in December and January,” said Inverarity.
“The committee just isn’t important to (the government.)”
The committee, which usually sits outside of normal legislature sittings, would have reviewed McLennan’s resume and compared it to other possible candidates, he said.
McLennan no longer lives in the Yukon.
“If you’re looking at our utility rates, it would be nice if (the board chair) could share the pain,” said Inverarity.
The government has a pattern of circumventing the appointment process, he said.
Fentie didn’t let the committee vet his appointments to the Yukon Development Corporation’s board last fall.
He also reappointed Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board chair Craig Tuton without asking the committee two years ago.
“Every time he does this, it chips away at our government,” said Inverarity.
Four appointments to the Yukon Energy Corporation’s board are expected in the spring.
Any appointment to major boards and committees are required to go through the legislative committee, according to the Yukon legislature’s standing orders.