Staffen outs opening date of legislature

Legislature speaker Ted Staffen wrongly announced the opening date of the legislature … accidentally.

Legislature speaker Ted Staffen wrongly announced the opening date of the legislature … accidentally.

In a letter sent to all MLAs on March 29, Staffen lists watching question period in the legislature on April 19 as an activity for a Youth Parliament event he will host.

The opening of the legislature has been the best-kept secret in the Yukon.

Late March usually sees politicians back in the house.

But this year’s different. Premier Dennis Fentie cites the Canada Winter Games as the reason for the delay.

Fentie must give at least two-weeks notice to the Speaker, who informs MLAs about the opening day.

Though Staffen appears to have skipped that step, he simply made an error and resent a letter he sent last year, said cabinet spokesperson Roxanne Vallevand.

Staffen couldn’t be reached for comment.

But Vallevand spoke with him on Monday morning.

“He said it was a mistake,” said Vallevand of the letter.

“I don’t think they’ve done their work, and I say this from four years of dealing with them,” said New Democrat leader Todd Hardy on Monday.

“They have not really been a hard working government.”

Legislation and reviews that are supposed to be completed seem to drag on for ages, he said.

“This is just an indication of fundamental laziness,” said Hardy.

And despite Staffen’s letter, the house must wait for Fentie’s notice, said newly-minted clerk of the assembly Floyd McCormick.

“It doesn’t become official until the premier announces that it’s official,” said McCormick. (TQ)


Liard councillor charged

with sexual assault

Sixty-two-year-old Alfred Thomas Chief of Watson Lake has been charged with one count of sexual assault.

Chief is currently a Liard First Nation councillor.

The alleged incident occurred on February 24 between an adult female and an adult male at the male’s residence.

The individuals knew each other and alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the incident.

Watson Lake police were notified on March 1. They pressed charges and Chief was released from custody under the following conditions:

He is to have no direct or indirect contact with the victim.

He is not to go to the victim’s residence.

He is to follow a curfew and stay home between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

He is to abstain from consumption and possession of alcohol and controlled substances.

And he is not to have unsupervised contact with females under the age of 18.

He is scheduled to appear in court again on April 16.

The Watson Lake detachment is continuing its investigation. (LC)