LFN deputy chief seeks electoral promotion

Another candidate has joined the race to be chief of the Liard First Nation.

Another candidate has joined the race to be chief of the Liard First Nation.

Current deputy chief Jim Wolftail said if he’s elected, he will push for a self-government agreement for his First Nation, but he wants to negotiate it outside the Umbrella Final Agreement framework.

“We’re having a really, really hard time economically, even with industry. There has to be some sort of agreement in place for us to be working together. We can’t keep fighting, we can’t keep going through the courts and we’re definitely not going through land claims,” Wolftail said.

He pointed to the recent dispute between the First Nation and the federal government over social assistance programming as a good example of why a self-government agreement is needed.

But he’s reluctant to go through the Umbrella Final Agreement framework – as the other self-governing Yukon First Nations have done – because he doesn’t think its working for them.

“What good is it doing them? We constantly hear of them going through the same old battles. The government’s not living up to it,” he said.

He also wants to see a pre-treatment and aftercare centre developed to help citizens begin to heal from the substance abuse challenges that many in the community face.

Wolftail was born in Watson Lake and said he plans to be buried there. He has seen the struggles with addictions and wants to do something about it, he said.

“The priority has been business and development and a good job has been done there, but we must now divert much more time and resources directly to social and community needs,” Wolftail said.

The other important plank in Wolftail’s platform is increasing accountability, which he says he would do by holding more meetings and including Kaska elders in more community conversations.

Accountability seems to be the strongest buzzword in Watson Lake these days.

An ongoing dispute between current chief Liard McMillan and the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society looks like a cloud that could remain over the chief’s chair even after McMillan leaves. McMillan and LAWS executive director Ann Maje Raider have been trading jabs in the media, each accusing the other of unaccountable financial practices.

Now, chief candidate George Morgan is wading into the fray with questions about how the current elections committee was formed.

“It’s our policy, our custom that we have an election for the election committee, usually in the summer time before the election,” Morgan said.

“This never happened this year. The story that we’re being told by the LFN office is that the election committee was appointed in August of 2012,” he said.

The elections committee was formed a year and three months ago, confirmed McMillan, but he couldn’t explain what the rationale for the early formation was.

“Why not?” he asked, adding that the LFN elections rules say an election committee must be formed at least six months before an election, but there’s no rule preventing it from being formed earlier.

McMillan said this election committee was formed according to the rules at the 2012 general assembly. The First Nation hasn’t had its 2013 general assembly because it still hasn’t produced its audited financial statements.

But Morgan asserts that no committee was formed in 2012 – at least not according to the rules – and he doesn’t know who is on it this year. The election committee spokeswoman, Laurie Allen, said the committee will release the names of its members and all the nominated candidates today, but that release was not available by press time.

“We’re getting different stories out of the LFN election office. I’m concerned about the fairness and transparency about the election process,” said Morgan. “I would like to see the individuals supposedly on the committee to be identified to the community. We still officially don’t know.”

According to McMillan, Morgan’s own father is on the committee.

While Morgan was hesitant to discuss his father even by name, he said he hasn’t seen any official paper listing the names of the committee or the candidates for chief.

“I can’t confirm or deny that. Don’t let them pull you into a red herring issue here. We need to know who they are, because they need to be held accountable,” Morgan said.

“That individual was not in Watson Lake at the time of the last general assembly, so how could he accept a nomination? All I’m hearing are rumours coming out of that office,” he said.

Contact Jesse Winter at


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

Just Posted

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Eric Schroff, executive director with the Yukon Fish and Game Association, poses for a portrait on Feb. 20. Schroff says he is puzzled as to why the Yukon government is cutting back on funding for the association. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)
YG cuts Yukon Fish and Game Association funding, tried to vet outgoing communications

Yukon Fish and Game Association says 25 per cent government funding cut will impact operations


Wyatt’s World for Nov. 27, 2020

Premier Sandy Silver during a live update on the COVID-19 situation at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 27. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Total Yukon COVID case count increased to 42 cases

Premier urges patience after national meeting on vaccine roll-out

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Most Read