Contractor's dispute with Yukon goes to court
The Yukon Supreme Court will hear a contract fight between a Whitehorse contractor and the Yukon government over a multimillion-dollar construction job.
Territorial government officials told CBC News that they were advised on Wednesday night to prepare for a June 17 court hearing in connection with the dispute with Norcope Construction.
The dispute has been in public view since Wednesday, when Norcope owner Doug Gonder parked half a dozen rock trucks, earth movers and other heavy equipment outside the government's main office building.
Gonder said his company recently won a $15.9-million government contract to work on the city's new Whistlebend residential subdivision, but about $2 million worth of additional earth-moving work was quietly handed to another contractor without any negotiation.
The territorial government denies Gonder's allegation, but requests for an official explanation on Thursday were denied.
Opposition leader wants investigation
Community Services Minister Archie Lang said he cannot comment on the matter because it is now before the courts.
But Liberal Opposition Leader Arthur Mitchell said the territorial government should be transparent and give Yukoners an explanation.
"There are jobs at stake here, it's millions of dollars of taxpayers' money, and the government needs to do more than just putting forward a spokesperson," Mitchell said.
"It's clear that Mr. Gonder and Norcope feel that they weren't treated fairly. If the government has an explanation, Mr. Lang or the premier should come out and publicly explain it."
Mitchell has written a letter to interim federal Auditor General John Wiersema, asking for an investigation into the matter.
Mitchell cited a 2007 auditor general's report that called on the Yukon government to improve the "efficiency and economy of project planning, implementation and contracting."
"Today's protest joins a long list of complaints about the government's handling of public funds and demonstrates a growing loss of public confidence that the government can follow its own rules when awarding contracts," Mitchell wrote in the letter.