YDC appointments under question

The Yukon Party government appointed four new board members to the Yukon Development Corporation on Thursday. But questions have been raised about the selection process.

The Yukon Party government appointed four new board members to the Yukon Development Corporation on Thursday.

But questions have been raised about the selection process.

At the height of the ATCO scandal in June, four members of the corporate board resigned in protest of Premier Dennis Fentie’s backroom negotiations to privatize Yukon Energy.

That included corporation chair Willard Phelps.

The four new members are Energy Mines and Resources assistant deputy minister Ray Hayes, local engineer Eric Nyland, prospector Kevin Brewer and accountant Mark Pike.

Pat Irvin, a political ally of the premier who took over Phelps’ position as chair, was also officially appointed to the corporation yesterday.

Hayes replaces Irvin as chair.

Yukon Development Corporation board members also sit on the board of the Yukon Energy Corporation and have a three-year term.

Steve Cardiff, the NDP representative on the legislative Standing Committee on Appointments to Major Government Boards and Committees, has voiced his concerns.

“The nominees are qualified people, who represent business and government,” said Cardiff.

“But they don’t bring in a perspective from the environmental movement, labour organizations, or even women, for that matter.”

There was also no public advertising for the positions, he said.

“In my mind it seems to be an invitational process,” Cardiff continued.

“There were four vacancies and only four names were put forward.”

“It wasn’t a public process to solicit the candidates for these positions, and they’re important positions,” he added.

Cardiff feels that the process to replace the board members should be as transparent as possible, given the controversy that surrounded their resignations.

On June 8, half of Yukon Energy’s board of directors resigned after finding out that Fentie had misled them.

Fentie told them that the government was looking into rationalization – an asset swap that would simplify the relationship between Yukon Energy and the Yukon Electrical Company.

In fact, the government was looking at privatizing Yukon Energy, and Fentie himself discussed this with the Calgary-based corporation, ATCO.

Cardiff wanted to know why there were only four nominees for the four positions, how they were solicited, and what happened to the plan to create separate boards for the YDC and YEC.

Yesterday, he put these questions to Fentie during question period.

“The process used was the normal process,” said Fentie.

“Names came forward, expressions of interest came forward, the government conducted itself and the business it’s required and obligated to do to appoint the people to boards and committees.”

Fentie said that there were no individual invitations to apply for the position.

And when asked why the selection wasn’t more diverse, the premier pointed out that, of the existing board members, three are First Nation and one of them is a woman.

“There is very good representation of the cross-section of the Yukon public on the Yukon Development Corporation Board, as there is on many other boards,” he added.

Calls to Fentie and Elaine Taylor, chair of the appointment committee, were not returned.

Contact Chris Oke at

chriso@yukon-news.com