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NEWS BULLETIN

April 03, 2002 --- Vol. 8, No. 32April 2002

Yukon government close to toppling after resignations

Yukon Premier Pat Duncan, the most outspoken Canadian supporter of an Alaska Highway gas pipeline, is on the brink of losing control of the territorial government.

Three members of Duncan's Liberal caucus in the legislature have resigned, accusing the premier of not listening to caucus members. Their departure leaves the Liberals with a minority government, holding eight seats, against five New Democrats, the three new independent members and one member of the Yukon party.

Don Roberts said he left because Duncan and her advisers made a lot of decisions, leaving the caucus to operate as a rubber stamp.

Mike McLarnon said Duncan took most of her direction from unelected Liberal party members, staff and the federal government.

Wayne Jim, the third to leave the government ranks, said of Duncan: "It was her way or no way."

Both Jim and Duncan were fired from cabinet in early January, but said their action in jumping ship was not a case of revenge.

"If we wanted to sabotage this government, we would have had access to 1,000 ways to do it," McLarnon said.

Duncan said the allegations were "news to us," saying those who resigned had presented a list of "bullying demands." She did not indicate how the government will handle its loss of a majority.

The usual response from minority governments is to seek a coalition with one of the other parties, or call a election to seek a renewed mandate.


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