How does Premier Pasloski sound?

Darrell Pasloski insists he doesn't want to be premier.

Darrell Pasloski insists he doesn’t want to be premier.

But the Whitehorse pharmacist and federal Conservative candidate admits to meeting with Brad Cathers, Yukon’s energy minister, for coffee at Tim Horton’s earlier this month, and that the future leadership of the Yukon Party was one subject of discussion.

“We get together and talk about a lot of different things when we need to, as friends,” said Pasloski.

“Brad’s just a friend. I’ve known Brad for a long time. We talk about everything from hunting to …,” he said, trailing off, when asked why he was talking about his prospects as premier.

“I have no ambitions of that at all. Last time I heard, the Yukon Party already had a leader,” he said.

Cathers did not return calls to the News. But if he were shopping for a new party leader, it would be a remarkable turn of events.

Dennis Fentie has exercised firm control over the party since he became leader in 2002 and ushered in seven years of majority government rule.

But the public has grown increasingly dissatisfied over Fentie’s rough-and-tumble style in the past six months, as Fentie faced allegations of meddling with the Peel Watershed land-use plan and plotting to privatize Yukon Energy.

Support for Fentie dropped from 47 to 33 per cent from spring to summer, according to a June opinion poll released by DataPath systems.

This plunge occurred at an unlikely time – when Yukoners’ faith in the economy was rebounding.

Remarkable, too, would be Cathers’ role in any plot to remove Fentie. In the legislature, Cathers often plays the part of the class bully’s little buddy. As the premier heaps scorn on members of the opposition, Cathers can often be seen smirking or whispering wisecracks to Fentie, whom he sits besides.

But it’s become clear not all is well within the Yukon Party – not since four of its own appointees resigned in June from the board of Yukon Energy to protest what they allege to be Fentie’s plans to sell off the assets of the Crown corporation to Alberta-based ATCO.

This fiasco led to the unlikely scenario of a former Conservative premier, Willard Phelps, publicly denouncing Fentie as an arrogant bully who runs a “tin-pot dictatorship.”

Phelps is no longer close to the Yukon Party, but he says he’s recently received many phone calls of support from “an awful lot of disaffected people who used to be party supporters.”

Take Don Roberts. While never a card-carrying member of the party, in past elections he banged on doors to support Yukon Party candidates such as Archie Lang, Elaine Taylor and Glenn Hart.

“I won’t again,” he vowed at a public meeting at the Yukon Inn in Whitehorse last night, as Fentie’s annual community tour kicked off.

Roberts demanded answers from Fentie about the ATCO deal. Fentie replied the sale of Yukon Energy assets is “not what this is about at all.”

What is the purpose of ongoing talks with ATCO, then? Fentie never said. He instead stuck with generalities, such as to say deals with the company would result in affordable and reliable electricity for Yukoners.

Fentie also warned that as demand for electricity grows, the territory will become increasingly reliant on burning diesel, and that this cost would result in more pricey power bills. Deals with ATCO could avoid this, he said.

One private power producer, Yukon Electrical Company, has operated in the territory for many years, noted Fentie.

“Well, let’s buy it,” Roberts replied.

Fentie insisted that “the lens of time will bear this out.”

That’s of little assurance to Roberts.

“The truth is not being told,” he said.

He fears privatization will lead to higher power rates. To make his point, he waved a recent edition of the Edmonton Journal, which had a headline that blared, “Power bill may give you a shock.”

ATCO provides much of Alberta’s electricity, he said.

Roberts also took a swipe at the cabinet ministers who accompanied Fentie. (Cathers was not present.) He appealed for them to stand up to the premier.

“I see a lot of nodding heads. That tells me you don’t have minds of your own,” he said.

Roberts was once a cabinet minister under Pat Duncan’s Liberals, but after he was demoted to the backbenches he and three other disgruntled MLAs quit the caucus and sat in opposition, eventually bringing down her government.

Roberts came to support the Yukon Party’s candidates because he believed its members stood up for open, accountable and transparent government.

“I don’t see that anymore,” he said.

In the Northwest Territories, Premier Floyd Roland received similar solicitations from ATCO. His government made a public announcement about ATCO’s bid and put together a committee of bureaucrats to analyze the offer.

“What did they do here? They hid it,” said Roberts.

And it’s not just electricity that ATCO wants, warned Roberts. Documents show Fentie encouraged the company to become involved in providing the territory’s water, sewage and housing.

Roberts was the only person to harshly criticize Fentie at the meeting. But public scoldings are not the chosen method of most Yukoners who wish to punish their leaders, Roberts warned.

“Yukoners may not come to public meetings. But at the ballot box they let you know very quickly.”

Contact John Thompson at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted online. (Black Press file)
Yukon youth being extorted online

Yukon youth being extorted online Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports… Continue reading

Fines for contravening the fire ban start at $1,150 and could go as high as $100,000. File photo
Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. (Black Press file)
Yukon campgrounds to open early

Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. The early opening… Continue reading

A Housing First building on Fifth Avenue and Wood Street will be taken over by the Council of Yukon First Nations and John Howard Society later this month. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
CYFN, John Howard Society take over downtown Housing First residence

The organizations have pledged culturally appropriate service for its many Indigenous residents

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. Politicians return for the spring sitting of the assembly March 4. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Analysis: What to expect in spring sitting of the legislature

They’re back on March 4, but election speculation is looming large


Wyatt’s World for March 3, 2021.

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Most Read