Harper to dine in Whitehorse next week

In what’s likely the worst kept secret in Whitehorse, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is coming to town next week.

In what’s likely the worst kept secret in Whitehorse, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is coming to town next week.

But that’s not official … not yet, at least.

“I can’t deny that we do plan a trip in the North,” said a press officer at the Prime Minister’s Office, who asked to remain unnamed, in an interview Wednesday morning.

He refused to divulge any information about the purpose of Harper’s planned visit.

But some details have been sent to Yukon politicians.

Yukon MLAs were invited to dine with Harper through phone calls from the executive council office last week.

Only when they responded with a confirmation they would attend were they given the where and when of the event, said Ken Bolton, NDP press officer, on Wednesday

“The honourable Dennis Fentie, premier of Yukon, cordially invites you to a dinner on Wednesday August 16th, 2006, in honour of the visit of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada,” reads an invitation sent to MLAs who confirmed they would attend.

Harper will dine with MLAs and Yukon dignitaries at the High Country Inn in Whitehorse next Wednesday.

Cocktails start at six … but not officially. (TQ)

Voicemail speeds up,

slows down, goes bonkers

A strange man who sounded like a FBI informant speaking through a voice modulator was answering phone calls in the Yukon on Monday.

Chipmunks were heard leaving voicemail messages, too.

And two separate calls to Northwestel’s spokeswoman, Anne Kennedy, yielded two very different voices identifying themselves as Kennedy’s.

No, the world isn’t ending.

Instead, all the strange sounds on voicemail these days are a result of a territory-wide glitch afflicting Northwestel’s voice messaging system, said Kennedy.

“We don’t know exactly what the problem is, but they’re looking into it,” said Kennedy, in an interview Tuesday.

“I first experienced it at 5:30 p.m. (Monday) calling my husband. I said ‘that isn’t him.’ I thought I dialed the wrong number.”

The glitch appears to put voicemail greetings in slow motion and voicemail message recordings into fast forward.

It also appears to be intermittent, said Kennedy.

“If you dial and you get a funny message, hang up, try the call again, and chances are it will be fine.”

The problem appeared late Monday afternoon. By Tuesday morning, it had yet to be fixed.

The company has received about 150 calls about the glitch, Kennedy said.

All of Northwestel’s voicemail services in the Yukon are routed through a computer in its Whitehorse exchange, she said.

The computer’s manufacturer, Octel, has been contacted and should offer a fix in short time, she added.

Until then, about all that Yukon callers can do is laugh at the wacky voices answering phones and leaving messages. (TQ)