Magun runs for chief amid labour dispute

Based on the platforms of the candidates running to be chief, the Liard First Nation is a sorely divided community. Candidates all have their own views on how best to heal what are becoming historic rifts among the Kaska people.

Based on the platforms of the candidates running to be chief, the Liard First Nation is a sorely divided community.

Candidates all have their own views on how best to heal what are becoming historic rifts among the Kaska people.

One of Susan Magun’s ideas is to form youth and elder councils.

“The reason why I’m running is because our community is so divided. I would like to see our community reunited,” Magun said.

“The divide is coming from within our own government. Within the last, say, 10 years, it’s gotten worse,” she said.

Magun wants to give more of a voice back to the community so the government isn’t left to operate in a bubble as she says it has been.

“The government has been running on its own without community involvement. I want to include everyone in our government because right now it’s not happening,” she said.

Magun is a long-time member of that government. She has 22 years of experience in the First Nation’s finance department, and spent part of that time as the director of finance.

She also said she wants to see more job opportunities for young people in Watson Lake, and a more efficient development corporation.

Earlier this fall the First Nation made the controversial move of handing control for its social assistance programming back to the federal Department of Aboriginal Affairs. Current Chief Liard McMillan said the federal government wasn’t providing enough money to run the program effectively, and that LFN citizens were suffering because of it.

Aboriginal Affairs hired a contractor to hand out social assistance cheques and manage the program in the community on an interim basis.

After the recent spat, Magun said she wants to see control over the program brought back under the LFN’s responsibilities.

Her major goal, however, is to heal divides between the community and government.

“We were once strong, and we have lost our voice in the government. There’s nowhere where people can go to air their concerns. When they do, they get threatened (with lawsuits),” she said.

But Magun has her own ongoing legal battle with the government that she wants to lead.

In September 2010, Magun was fired for “job abandonment” after taking two and a half months of sick leave.

According to a letter sent by her lawyer to the LFN seeking an out-of-court settlement, Magun gave her boss a doctor’s note in June of that year and asked to begin claiming her short-term disability benefits. She was supposed to return to work Sept. 15 but she was fired a week before. According to her lawyer, Magun wasn’t paid her benefits while she was sick.

Her lawyer’s letter claims $156,660.00 in damages, unpaid vacation time and unpaid sick leave.

But the Liard First Nation did an internal review and said that Magun had overpaid herself by almost $9,000 in her last two years in the finance department, where she was responsible for paying all LFN employees, including herself.

When the federal government investigated, it determined that Magun had been paid for all of the time and benefits she was trying to claim.

Now Magun is taking the case before the Canadian Labour Board, with a hearing expected in the New Year.

After consulting with her lawyer, Magun said she couldn’t comment on whether that case could constitute a conflict of interest if she were elected as chief.

Contact Jesse Winter at

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

Just Posted

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Sandy Silver announces the territorial election in Whitehorse. Silver is seeking a second term as premier and third term as Klondike MLA. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Getting to know Sandy Silver and the Yukon Liberal platform

Yukon Liberal Leader Sandy Silver is vying for a second term as… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley issued a public exposure warning on April 9. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
COVID-19 exposure notice issued for Air Canada flight

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley issued a… Continue reading

Wyatt's World

Wyatt’s World for April 9, 2021.… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks to media in Whitehorse on October 30, 2020. Hanley is now encouraging Yukon to continue following health regulations, noting it could still be some time before changes to restrictions are made. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
No active COVID cases in Yukon

Hanley highlights concerns over variants, encourages vaccinations

Most Read