Political fight in Watson Lake goes to court

A close political ally of Premier Dennis Fentie is suing a former speaker of the Yukon legislative assembly for defamation.

A close political ally of Premier Dennis Fentie is suing a former speaker of the Yukon legislative assembly for defamation.

Pat Irvin, a board member at the Yukon Development and Yukon Energy corporations and a former president of the Watson Lake Chamber of Commerce, is alleging Don Taylor publicly defamed him with comments based on hearsay.

Taylor was the speaker of the legislature from 1974 to 1985 and runs a blog on political issues in Watson Lake. He labels himself a Citizen’s Advocate, usually taking shots at Fentie and his associates, like Irvin.

In a e-mail sent to 22 different people on January 13, Taylor alleged Irvin was involved in unsavory behaviour based on rumours circulating around Watson Lake.

The e-mail’s recipients include Liberal Leader Arthur Mitchell, Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, the Yukon News and the Whitehorse Star.

Irvin, who has previously been a campaign manager for Fentie and runs a grocery store in Watson Lake, alleges in his statement of claim that Taylor admitted the comments were unsubstantiated but has refused to apologize.

Taylor has several days to file a statement of defence before the defamation case proceeds. (James Munson)