Keynote Speakers

Opening Ceremonies – Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre

 Premier Dennis Fentie                        

Dennis Fentie is the North’s longest serving premier, gaining office in 2002 as leader of the Yukon Party. He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly representing Watson Lake in September 1996.

Prior to his public service career, the Premier was active in various business ventures including logging, tourism, mining, trucking and fuel distribution.

Under Premier Fentie’s leadership, Yukon has gained province-like responsibilities and passed a Cooperation in Governance Act which created a forum for Yukon’s territorial and First Nation governments to work together.

His government has also worked to ensure that Yukon’s voice is heard in circumpolar forums and:

  • Actively participating in the work of the Arctic Council.
  • Hosted the Northern Premiers’ meeting this spring.
  • Along with the NWT and Nunavut premiers, met with the Canadian Permanent participants of the Arctic Council to discuss ways to develop their relationship to support and advance northerners’ interests.
  • Supported and ensured Yukon participation in the United Nations 15th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP 15) in Copenhagen as part of the Canadian delegation.
  • Hosted the 9th general assembly of the Northern Forum in Whitehorse and is currently co-chairing with Nunavut until 2011.
  • Supported and established strong relations with the Canadian International Centre of the Arctic Region, an initiative of Foreign Affairs Canada based in Oslo, Norway.
  • Facilitated and supported Yukon applications to the Arctic Research Infrastructure Fund, resulting in approximately $14 million of investment into the Yukon knowledge-based sector.
  • Participated in the steering committee and governance working group for the integrated ocean management plan for the Beaufort Sea.
  • Working with all Canadian premiers through the Council of the Federation to highlight the impact of climate change in the North and promote Northern issues including water management and sustainable health care.

Premier Fentie lives in Watson Lake with his partner Lorraine Nixon and enjoys spending time with his children and grandchildren.