Kenyon’s down, Nordick’s up

Jim Kenyon has left cabinet. Perennial backbencher Steve Nordick assumed Kenyon’s portfolios on May 4, making him responsible for the Department of Economic Development and the liquor, lottery and housing corporations.

Jim Kenyon has left cabinet.

Perennial backbencher Steve Nordick assumed Kenyon’s portfolios on May 4, making him responsible for the Department of Economic Development and the liquor, lottery and housing corporations.

Kenyon couldn’t be reached for comment this morning. But Emily Younker with cabinet communications said he had “stepped aside from his ministerial portfolios to avoid conflict during the leadership race. It’s pretty standard procedure.”

Kenyon is one of three men vying to be the next leader of the Yukon Party. Premier Dennis Fentie isn’t one of them.

While all contenders have made veiled digs at Fentie’s high-handed leadership style, Kenyon has been the most critical.

The 64-year-old was responsible for Yukon Energy while Fentie was hatching plans to sell-off the utility’s assets to Alberta-based ATCO. Kenyon long remained silent about his role in the controversy, until the leadership race kicked off last month.

Kenyon has since asserted that Fentie left him in the dark about the privatization plans, and, in doing so, overstepped his authority under the Westminster system of government.

Kenyon has also expressed skepticism about the claim that ATCO’s bid was unsolicited, as Fentie maintains.

Kenyon stayed on with Fentie, he said during a past interview, because he feared that his departure would trigger an election and put the Liberals in power, which, he said, would have been disastrous to the economy.

Like all candidates, Kenyon has promised to let ministers do their jobs without meddling, if he becomes premier.

Rod Taylor, former head of the Tourism Association of the Yukon, also wants to lead the Yukon Party. So does Darrell Pasloski, who stood as the Conservative candidate during the 2008 federal election.

Yukon Party members vote on May 28.

Contact John Thompson at johnt@yukon-news.com.