North·AWG 2016

Yukon Liberal hopeful dropped from pep rally roster

Jeane Lassen is disappointed that she was dropped - not once, but twice - from the roster of speakers at Arctic Winter Games pep rally for Yukon athletes.

Jeane Lassen had been invited to speak to Yukon's Arctic Winter Games athletes

Jeane Lassen of Whitehorse competes in the women's 75kg weightlifting final at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics. (Paul Chiasson/CP)

Jeane Lassen is disappointed that she was dropped — not once, but twice — from the roster of speakers at a pep rally for Yukon athletes.

Lassen was expecting to speak to young athletes on Thursday just before the territory's contingent heads off to Nuuk, Greenland, for the 2016 Arctic Winter Games.

But the day she announced she was seeking the Liberal nomination for the riding of Takhini-Kopper King, Lassen said she got a phone call from a volunteer.

"I was told once I announced, you understand it's no longer appropriate to speak," she said.

Lassen is a high profile former athlete. She was the first Yukoner to compete in a Summer Olympics when she was part of the Canadian weightlifting team at the Beijing games in 2008. She came in eighth in the 75-kilogram division,

She's spoken several times at Yukon pep rallies, including for the Canada Winter Games, the Western Canadian Games. and other Arctic Winter Games.

Speech wasn't political

Lassen said she asked about being pulled from the speaker's roster.

"I inquired why and spoke with Currie Dixon, minister of community services, and the next day he confirmed that I was back on the roster. And then a couple of days later, I was taken off again," she said.

"I'm disappointed because sport is often promoted for creating engaged citizens, and seeking to serve Yukoners is just that. It's engagement."

Lassen recalled a conversation she had with Yukon premier Darrell Pasloski in the few days after she was put back on the roster, before she was dropped again.

"As I said to the premier — and as we agreed — politics is a lot like sport, and that we're on different teams but you need people on different teams to make the process work."

Lassen said her speech, which she had already prepared, was not political. 

Calls by the CBC to minister Currie Dixon's office were not returned.


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