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Jenkins calls it quits

Peter Jenkins has retired from politics.He will not run in the upcoming territorial election, Jenkins told The News this week.

Peter Jenkins has retired from politics.

He will not run in the upcoming territorial election, Jenkins told The News this week.

The former deputy premier and Health minister, who was once Dawson City’s mayor, is calling it quits after about 25 years of public service, he said.

He’s looking after his investments, he added.

The Yukon government is humming along, powered by a large infusion of federal cash, said Jenkins.

That federal generosity is driving the economy, he noted.

And, while that’s good news for Whitehorse business, where almost all the money is being spent, rural communities have been ignored, he said.

And they are hurting.

Roads, like the Top of the World and the Dempster highways, are falling into disrepair because of the territorial government’s neglect, he said, focusing on his Klondike riding.

And the overheated economy, combined with a lot shortage, has a downside for Whitehorse residents as well, he warned.

Property values have shot up, and that’s going to cost people a lot more when they go to pay their municipal taxes, he said, adding the cost of running the Canada Winter Games facilities is going to hit residents in the coming year, or so.

“So the problem is compounded.”

Jenkins single-handedly kept the Yukon Party afloat while it was in opposition.

He lost the party leadership to Dennis Fentie, who walked the floor to the Yukon Party from the NDP, in 2002.

In a leadership contest against Jenkins and Darcy Tkachuk, Fentie received 237 votes, precisely what he needed under the Yukon Party’s 50-per-cent-plus-one rule. At the time, the party had 472 dues-paying members.

Oddly, on the night of the vote, Jenkins had told party officials he was in Calgary for his daughter’s convocation. In fact, he was in Dawson City eating steak at the Commissioner’s Ball.

He told reporters he had flown home from Calgary early because he had a toothache.

After the Yukon Party won the election, Fentie appointed him to cabinet and named him deputy premier.

But roughly $250,000 in long-outstanding government loans caused a political crisis for the party throughout the first three years of its mandate.

Fentie handed the loan file to a private firm, which started collection proceedings against Jenkins.

In November, Jenkins left, or was forced out of cabinet over the issue and sat as an independent.