Kluane MLA Wade Istchenko has confessed to falsifying a document three years ago.
The Yukon Party greenhorn issued a public apology on Wednesday. “This was a lapse in judgment, and I do regret it,” he said.
Istchenko, 45, has owned a wilderness tourism outfit in Haines Junction since 2004. In 2008, when he had to recertify his first-aid training, he did so at the Whitehorse Cadet Camp.
But he later learned the course wasn’t enough to keep his licence because it didn’t include training for CPR.
So Istchenko altered his first-aid certificate, to make it look as if his course included CPR. Conservation officers caught on in the summer of 2009 and charged him with giving false information.
Istchenko was summarily convicted in March of 2010 and paid a fee of $287. Since becoming an MLA, he’s closed his business.
Why disclose now, rather than during the territorial election campaign?
“It was something I just remembered,” he said. “During the campaign, I didn’t give it a second thought.”
The Yukon Party dumped Gerard Fleming as a candidate shortly after the campaign kicked off, after it came to light that the Northwestel salesman lost a previous job in Ontario because of sexual harassment complaints.
Fleming continues to deny wrongdoing, but the Yukon Party, fearful that he would tarnish their image, sacked him.
David Laxton, the Yukon Party’s new MLA for Porter Creek Centre, spoke about a recent criminal conviction during the campaign, after he was asked about it by the Yukon News.
The 55-year-old veteran and businessman was charged with uttering threats to cause bodily harm in August of 2010, following a drunken argument at the Legion. The charge was dropped for a peace bond, which expired in March.
But Istchenko’s conviction was missed by the News during a review of candidates’ records.
Istchenko made the announcement wearing a suit, tie, and an oversized belt buckle bearing the logo of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, given to him by a soldier.
Istchenko is a Canadian Ranger.
Premier Darrell Pasloski wouldn’t say whether he would have blocked Istchenko’s candidacy, had he known of the charge. “I’m not going to comment on hypotheticals,” he said.
But Pasloski supports Istchenko now. “This is a fine, upstanding individual,” he said.
Pasloski will announce his cabinet on Saturday.
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