Fracking committee to host public hearing

Fracking committee to host public hearing Yukon's select committee on the risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing will host two days of public hearings at the end of this month.

Yukon’s select committee on the risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing will host two days of public hearings at the end of this month.

Eight individuals and groups have been invited to present to the committee on January 31 and February 1.

The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission, the Pembina Institute, the National Energy Board and the Fort Nelson First Nation will all make presentations to the committee.

So will EFLO Energy Inc. and Northern Cross Ltd., two companies with interests in Yukon’s oil and gas reserves.

Three experts on the potential environmental impacts of fracking will also present. Their names are Gilles Wendling, Bernhard Mayer and Rick Chalaturnyk.

Each will get a chance to present, and after that there will be an opportunity for committee members to ask questions.

Members of the public will be allowed to submit questions in writing, which will be answered if time permits.

The proceedings will take place in the legislative assembly from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. The hearings will be broadcast on 93.5 FM and will be streamed from the legislative assembly’s website. Videos and transcripts will later be made available online as well.

For more information visit www.legassembly.gov.yk.ca.

(Jacqueline Ronson)

First Nation rules out

paying for inquest lawyer

The Liard First Nation has not been asked to pay for a lawyer for the family of a woman who died after receiving care at the Watson Lake Hospital. But even if they had been asked, the band is not in a financial position to help, executive director George Morgan said in an email today.

A coroner’s inquest is planned for the summer into the deaths of Mary Johnny and Teresa Scheunert, two women who died on after attending the Watson Lake Hospital on separate occasions in 2012.

Johnny was a member of the Liard First Nation.

At a coroner’s inquest, the family of those who died can hire a lawyer to ask questions on their behalf.

Scheunert’s family has been very public about their concerns surrounding the fairness of the process.

They have not been able to find a lawyer willing to represent them and are unsure if they could cover the bills even if one is found.

Lawyers for two doctors involved, as well as the Yukon Hospital Corporation, will have standing at the inquest.

It is not clear if the Johnnys will have legal representation, but Morgan said the First Nation has not been asked to help. “Moreover, at this time, LFN is not in a position to provide legal funding,” Morgan said.

Earlier this year the First Nation laid off almost its entire staff, citing serious financial troubles.

Inquests are not criminal proceedings and are not designed to lay legal blame.

Scheunert, 47, died June 21, 2012 and Johnny, 60, died less than two months later on Aug. 9.

Johnny died of a bowel obstruction after being originally diagnosed as having alcohol withdrawal.

The coroner’s original report regarding Scheunert found that the registered nurse died of mixed drug toxicity.

A later patient safety review ordered by the hospital corporation contradicted that report and found that it was an irregular heartbeat that killed the registered nurse.

The inquest was originally scheduled for March. But chief coroner Kirsten Macdonald has since delayed it until some time in the summer.

(Ashley Joannou)