Ian Stewart/Yukon News fileThen Premier Dennis Fentie during the first day of the Yukon Legislative Assembly’s spring sitting on Feb. 3, 2011. Ian Stewart/Yukon News file Former premier Dennis Fentie during the first day of the Yukon Legislative Assembly’s spring sitting on Feb. 3, 2011. Fentie, the Yukon’s seventh premier has died, officials confirmed

Former Yukon premier Dennis Fentie has died

Fentie, the territory’s seventh premier, was 68

Former Yukon premier Dennis Fentie has died.

Flags are being flown half-mast in Whitehorse, city officials said on social media.

Fentie served as the territory’s seventh premier for nearly a decade from 2002 to 2011 under the Yukon Party banner as the MLA for Watson Lake.

Yukon Party interim leader Stacey Hassard remembered the former premier in a statement, recalling his “tenacious spirit” and his work to fight for his constituents and all Yukoners, no matter what the issue.

“Dennis was first sworn in as premier in November 2002 and during his time in office he made it a priority to rebuild Yukon’s economy while strengthening the territory’s position in the federation.

“Over his nine years as Premier he was instrumental in negotiating a better health care funding agreement between the territories and Canada as well as for getting improvements to the territorial formula financing arrangements. Thanks to the hard work of Dennis, Yukon has made huge progress in implementing devolution and growing up as a territory.

“While placing a focus on growing the economy, Dennis wanted Yukon to utilize its prosperity by supporting a strong health care system while also promoting safer communities. Thanks to these efforts, Yukoners now have access to modern hospitals in the communities of Dawson City and Watson Lake,” Hassard said before extending condolences to Fentie’s family.

Fenties’s political career began in 1996 when he was elected under the NDP as the MLA for Watson Lake. He was re-elected in 2000 and would cross the floor to the Yukon Party in May 2002 just a month before he was selected as party leader.

The Yukon Party would then go on to win the election that year, taking 12 of the 18 seats in the legislature.

His majority government was reduced to a minority in 2006 with the resignations of Copperbelt MLA Haakon Arntzen and MacIntyre-Takhini MLA John Edzerza, who left to sit as an independent. Klondike MLA Peter Jenkins also left after refusing to pay back a government loan. 

Fentie’s Yukon Party had its majority status back after the 2006 general election.

Fentie’s political career ended in 2011 when in April he announced he was stepping down as premier and would not seek re-election.

Darrell Pasloski took over the party leadership and would serve as premier from 2011 to 2016.

Prior to his political career, Fentie worked a number of industries around Watson Lake ranging from logging to trucking and more, including being the owner and former manager of Francis River Construction.

Originally from Edmonton, Fentie moved to Watson Lake in the 1960s.

Yukon Party officials said a statement is expected after they have spoken with Fentie’s family.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

UPDATED: Porter Creek highway shooting now attempted murder investigation

Police believe incident was “targeted and related to the illicit drug trade and organized crime”

Inuvik mayor pens letter of concern about Dempster conditions

Conditions near Eagle Plains have been “terrible” the past two summers, she says

Yukon skiers embrace experience at Winter Youth Olympic Games

Derek Deuling and Sasha Masson skied for Team Canada at the 2020 Lausanne Winter Youth Olympic Games

‘It was terribly traumatic to lose a patient,’ nurse says during Blackjack inquest

The inquest is now happening at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre

Whitehorse council and staff consider low-income transit fares

The discussion leaves anti-poverty coalition members feeling optimistic

Today’s mailbox: Biomass, fire

Letters to the editor published Jan. 24

EDITORIAL: The health department needs a time-out

The information and privacy commissioner deserves to be treated better

Yukon Rivermen face tough tests on the road

The team is in the middle of its busiest stretch of the season — 10 league games in three weeks

Yukon skiers battle both rain and heavy snowfall at 2020 Haywood Western Canada Cup

“They also realize that you have to be ready for anything — extreme cold or extreme warm.”

City news, briefly

Some of the discussions from Whitehorse city council on Jan 20

Driving with Jens: Both motorists and pedestrians have responsibilities when sharing the road

Roadways are a shared-use public resource. They are meant to be shared… Continue reading

Today’s mailbox: Biomass

Letters to the editor published Jan. 17

Most Read