Yukon Energy board members buck CYFN resignation request

Three people appointed by the Council of Yukon First Nations to sit on the Yukon Energy Corporation board will not resign despite a request from the council.

Three people appointed by the Council of Yukon First Nations to sit on the Yukon Energy Corporation board will not resign despite a request from the council.

Barb Joe, Luke Johnson and Paul Birckel have refused to step down after receiving the request last week, said Joe.

The appointees listed five main reasons for refusing, said Joe, who wouldn’t elaborate.

The request was drafted after a council meeting at Helen’s Fish Camp north of Whitehorse two weeks ago, said council Grand Chief Andy Carvill.

The three First Nations appointees – along with interim board chair Pat Irvin – have taken the helm of the publicly owned energy provider since three other board members and the former chair resigned in early June.

Greg Hakonson, Martin Allen, Paul Hunter and chair Willard Phelps resigned on June 8 because Premier Dennis Fentie politically interfered in the Crown corporation by pursuing secret negotiations with ATCO, a Calgary-based energy multinational.

Despite the lingering controversy about the ATCO talks, Fentie and other government officials have not promised they have been completely suspended.

Fentie made himself minister in charge of Yukon Energy Corporation in early July, shuffling out Jim Kenyon, and any deal would involve the co-operation of the three First Nation board members.

The controversy at Yukon Energy has been on the minds of chiefs for a while and this was the first time the council could address it, said Carvill.

“The resolution was asking the board members to consider stepping down until the board appointments had been filled by the Yukon government,” he said.

“When Willard Phelps and the other gentlemen stepped down that created a bit of a void and the chiefs felt that would be prudent for our reps to step down until this whole debacle at Yukon Energy Corporation gets resolved.”

The resolution would not have affected talks between the Yukon government and the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun aimed at garnering a First Nations investment in the Mayo B hydro project, which is situated on traditional land.

Carvill received a response from Joe, Johnson and Birckel on Monday, but he wouldn’t disclose details of their reply before consulting chiefs, he said Tuesday.

Joe, who was busy moving, would only state that the appointees refused to resign because the resolution didn’t make sense.

Contact James Munson at

jamesm@yukon-news.com.

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