Phelps slips, party waits

A weekend injury suffered by party founder Willard Phelps has put the United Citizens Group inaugural convention on hold. Phelps, who has led the nascent political party since last November, slipped on a liquid while buying hamburger buns.

A weekend injury suffered by party founder Willard Phelps has put the United Citizens Group inaugural convention on hold.

Phelps, who has led the nascent political party since last November, slipped on a liquid while buying hamburger buns for his grandkids at a grocery store in Whitehorse on Saturday morning.

“I looked over and waved at somebody and the next thing I know, I was on the ground,” said Phelps from his hospital bed in Whitehorse.

“It was just like ice.”

He underwent surgery Sunday for a broken leg and was expected to return home Tuesday. He’ll be on crutches for the next six weeks, he said.

The United Citizens Group planned to hold it’s founding conference next Saturday, but will postpone it until Phelps recovers.

“We want to make sure he’s up for the convention – that he’s in shape for it,” said Rick Steele, the group’s interim spokesperson.

It hasn’t been decided if Phelps will attend in crutches, he said.

“We’re playing it by ear right now.”

Phelps held a meet-and-greet last November to test the waters for a new political party aimed at unseating Premier Dennis Fentie.

Phelps resigned as chair of the Yukon Energy Corporation last June after Fentie tried to privatize the utility without telling the corporation’s board or his cabinet.

Monday, he was happy to hear there were some dissenting voices at the Yukon Party’s annual convention on Saturday.

“(Fentie) read the tea leaves and decided the best way to buy time was to promise a leadership review in the spring,” said Phelps.

Fentie promised to initiate a review in six months rather than undergo one now. The party approved the measure. An election must happen no later than fall 2011, when the Yukon Party’s current mandate runs out.

“Whether he’s intending to step down or not, we don’t know,” said Phelps.