letter to the editor392

Consider the farmer We must respond to recent media coverage of our land applications at Shallow Bay.

Consider the farmer

We must respond to recent media coverage of our land applications at Shallow Bay.

Most of the media is giving mainly one viewpoint.

We must respond since misleading, inaccurate and damaging statements continue to appear.

The most recent news implies that we are receiving special treatment, that we have friends in government.

This long process has included many people from community and government alike — including the Ta’an Kwach’an Council.

Throughout we have remained respectful and offered an open, positive relationship.

Does being open and earnest to work with various boards and government officials mean we have special friends in government?

No. We have not received preferential treatment and patiently worked through a long and arduous process.

It distresses us that after respecting the process and working strictly within the confines of government policy we still get all this negative press.

We note, as well, that the present government guidelines were established under previous governments, including the NDP and Liberals.

Our application went though the Agricultural Land Review Committee, then through the opportunity for public consultation and, finally, the Land Application Review Committee.

LARC recommended that TKC and the department of Agriculture meet to address concerns. We understand that TKC did not respond.

We made phone calls and e-mailed TKC to initiate discussions.

Finally, we received a lengthy e-mail from TKC in May 2005 stating that “there is no need for a meeting” and that TKC “is not interested in agricultural development in that area.”

Stalled again in this lengthy process, we contacted our MLA, which is the right of every citizen, to express our concerns.

Finally, the government made a decision on the information at hand.

TKC land claims had been ratified before we initiated our applications and, at that time, we could not find any condition on our existing grazing leases stating that they were subject to TKC settlement.

We simply exercised our entitlement as Yukoners and applied for our grazing leases to be changed to agricultural under existing policy. We neither sought nor were given special favours.

A government policy in 1991, we believe under the NDP, allowed for existing grazing leaseholders with arable land the right to apply for title to the land for agricultural purposes.

To streamline the process, we waited until the land claims in the area had been ratified.

The grazing leases are Crown land, not settlement land, and we understand the government has the power to manage Crown land.

In managing Crown lands, people in government have broken no rules on our behalf.

Agriculture and a healthy environment can co-exist. Our applications provide for setbacks on Shallow Bay considerably larger than those in over provinces of Canada, certainly larger than those already on Shallow Bay.

Our water licence regulates water quality and protects the environment.

We are committed to environmentally sustainable and responsible farming practices.

Farming is an honourable enterprise.

Without it, food for ourselves and fodder for our animals could not be grown.

We are painted by the hostility to our venture into farming and particularly by the reluctance of those opposed to our venture to talk with us directly.

Especially, we wish we could have an open and understanding discussion with the Ta’an Kwach’an about our use of this land.

We recognize that, though it is not in their settlement land, it is still within their traditional land. We very much respect that.

Finally, we would like to clarify our connection to the land.

Our grazing leases have been in the family for at least 30 years.

The late Belle and Curly Desrosiers ran their outfitting business from this area starting in the late 1940s and formally secured the grazing leases in the 1970s.

Together we have invested much hard labour, most of our life savings and much of our hopes for the future in the Shallow Bay land, which has come to us from Belle Desrosiers.

Family connection to this land goes back some 60 years.

Could we please be treated with respect and dignity as we build on that legacy?

Karla DesRosiers and Len Walchuk

Lake LaBerge

Hardworking Larry

Unlike Ontario or Quebec or even British Columbia, Yukoners only get one member of Parliament.

That’s one person to represent every one of us. To do that, you need to be tireless, dedicated and totally devoted to this territory and its people.

Over the last five years, Larry Bagnell has demonstrated that he is all those things. And most importantly, he is a strong representative for all Yukoners, regardless of political affiliation.

With a single voice in Ottawa, it is critical that the Yukon have an experienced and effective representative to bring our concerns and our voice to Ottawa.

Looking at the options available to us locally, there is only one candidate that can give Yukon the representation it deserves — Larry Bagnell.

Timothy Cant

Whitehorse

Conservatives would respect US

There are two issues that really bother me in this election campaign.

It upsets me that both the Liberal and NDP platforms intend to fund only institutional daycare with no regard or incentive for one parent to stay home and care for their pre-school children.

Their policy makes the act of raising your own children the worst financial choice for parents.

Only the Conservative government gives a choice to ALL parents for daycare or caring for your children at home.

The Liberals communicate by using anti-American rhetoric and cheap shots aimed at the US during its election campaign.

I think we all know the NDP hate anything American all year long. This is disrespectful, immature and unfortunately it influences many Canadians and has eroded our relationship with the US to a dangerous level.

You don’t go very far in US/Canadian negotiations or open closed borders coming to the table with that attitude.

This is hurting many individuals and businesses that work respectfully with Americans.

In the Yukon, we need to maintain a good relationship with our Alaskan neighbour, where we enjoy economic trade, generous fishing privileges and cash from a constant summer stream of American tourists heading for Alaska.

Only the Conservative government will negotiate issues with the US fairly. They will look for the best deal for Canadians without resorting to distasteful anti-US self serving tactics.

Shirley Ford

Whitehorse

Conservatives play politics with children

As we get closer to Monday’s federal election, I am amazed at how the Conservative Party is using a “divide and conquer” strategy based on our children’s future.

They have taken our children and made it into an us-against-them scenario.

Every Canadian parent wants the best for their child. An early learning and child-care system, if developed as per Bloc, NDP or Liberal platforms will support all parents — this is not a working parent versus a student versus a stay-at-home parent.

A national system will provide care when you need it and in the form you need it.

The Conservative statement of parents knowing what is best for their children is an undisputed fact.

The fact the Conservatives are failing to recognize is that for many parents — especially those in rural, remote and northern communities — they is often no care for us in the regulated or unregulated sector to purchase.

So, when the Conservative government cancels the development of the national child-care system, urban services will be reduced and rural, remote and northern Canadians will lose yet again.

Our children will continue to do without quality early learning and care options, and parents will be without a source of support to do the most important job of their lives — raise their children.

Think about your choices, your priorities and what you want for your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and your friends and neighbours’ children.

Vote, and vote for our future.

Jane Wilson

Longbow Lake, Ontario

Bagnell earned her vote

Next week, I’m voting for Larry Bagnell.

He has been a tireless advocate for the Filipino community during his time as a member of Parliament.

For example, he has always been there to help with immigration matters over the last few years.

Larry has also helped out every year at our booth on Canada Day, selling food for the entire day. 

I have also seen him many times at Yukon College attending public events.

Larry has become an essential part of our community, even becoming a member of our society last year. He is attending birthday parties and anniversaries.

On January 23rd he gets my vote.

Yvonne Tan Clarke

Whitehorse

Liberals off on marriage

Open letter to Larry Bagnell,

About a year ago, you kindly agreed to meet with me and hear my concerns about the impending Liberal legislation to change the historical definition of marriage.

I sincerely appreciated the conversation, though I was deeply disappointed by your support of same-sex marriage, explaining as you did that to vote against the bill would necessitate your resignation as a parliamentary secretary.

One of the concerns I raised during our long conversation was my conviction that, by reducing marriage to a union between two individuals without reference to gender, Canada would also open the door to ever more radical redefinitions of marriage.

Why, I asked, would there be any reason to limit the number of partners to two?

What would prevent the same Charter arguments made against the traditional understanding of marriage as between a man and a woman also being applied against the traditional restriction of marriage as being between two individuals?

What would prevent the same Charter arguments being used to support, for example, polygamy?

Apparently the Martin government was also thinking about this possibility, commissioning as it did a study into the probable outcome of a Charter challenge against the current prohibition of polygamy under Canadian law.

The results of the study, recently released, suggest that the law against polygamy might not be allowable under the Charter.

The authors of the study suggest that polygamy should be legalized in Canada.

As I recall our conversation in your office, you expressed incredulity that I could imagine polygamy being sanctioned in Canada, assuring me that polygamy was absolutely not an option that your government would ever consider.

However, your words about polygamy were (and are) of small comfort to me, recalling as I do Anne McLellan’s promise in 1999 as the then-minister of Justice that the Liberal government had “no intention of changing the definition of marriage or of legislating same sex marriages.”

Given the about-face that your government made on the issue of same-sex marriage, and your own willingness to vote against the traditional definition of marriage, I can see no reason why I should have any confidence in assurances from you or from the Liberal Party that the Canadian definition of marriage will not, in due course, come to include polygamy.

Indeed, I am hard pressed to see how the Liberal Party could justify any restrictions to the definition of marriage.

Historically understood as a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman, Canadian law now decrees that marriage is simply a commitment between two people.

But why only two?

So some constitutional experts are now suggesting that polygamy is a viable legal option — one man and some number of women.

But surely there is no reason why one woman might have more than one husband?

And indeed, in light of the recent court decisions about the ‘rights’ of so-called ‘swingers,’ why not ‘group marriage’ in which a few individuals commit to a few other individuals (gender in any case being now irrelevant to the question of marriage)?

You have already indicated your support of same-sex marriage.

Having loosed the institution of marriage from its historical moorings, it is impossible for me to imagine any basis by which you or the Liberal Party could stand up against polygamy or, indeed, against any novel form of ‘marriage’ as might be proposed.

So, my question at the end of all this, Mr. Bagnell, is to ask how I can be confident, and why I should trust you or the Liberal Party to resist the eroding definition of marriage in our political landscape, or expect you or the Liberal Party to stand up for anything like traditional community values and convictions about marriage held by myself and a great many of your constituents.

Barrett W. Horne

Whitehorse

Set things right

As president of the Yukon Federation of Labour, I have watched as the leaders of all political parties have vied for our votes during the past six weeks.

I have watched the debates, numerous town halls and the never-ending search to reach the electorate by any means possible.

This election is not about posturing, not about the person but more importantly what the members who are elected will do with the vote you have entrusted them with.

We are only too familiar what does occur with members who run for office, promise one thing, however do the complete opposite and do not listen to the citizens when it comes time for votes on various issues in Parliament or simply choose not to show up for that vote.

Being a member of Parliament is a privilege, and the person who is elected needs to be reminded of this, not only on election day but also during their tenure as our MP.

This election and who is elected will have a profound impact on working men and women across this country. It will have a great impact for us living here in the North.

The voters of this great territory need to keep in mind who can best represent their interests in Ottawa and who will ensure that the misgivings of recent events in Ottawa will not reoccur.

We have seen the vast corruption of the current government with Gomery and other issues, and we have seen the Conservative Party advise all Canadians that an attack on human rights is OK for our country and that tax cuts for corporations is a good thing while working men and women continue to struggle in Canada.

Yukon voters must ensure that they look beyond the person at what party that person belongs to and the values of the party and what the record of the party is.

We can no longer afford the past misgivings of the current government nor what the future would hold for all Canadians with a conservative government or what previous Conservative governments have done.

Simply put, we need to ensure that when you vote, we will have an MP who can help set the direction of the country in a positive and proactive way while listening to the stakeholders, the citizens of this great country and be part of the party who provides solutions on the many issues which will face us in the future.

Yukon voters have a choice for the better on election day.

Issues we must consider are what party will bring forward the issues that affect all of us and what they will do to ensure those very issues are front and centre.

The time is long past for talk, working men and women need action on critical issues, which will enhance their quality of life.

I believe that issues such as health care, pensions, education and training, pay equity, workers rights and protecting jobs with decent wages are critical for us to consider when we cast our vote.

It is time to send a clear message to Ottawa; it is time for all Yukoners to stand up against the mismanagement of our money and to elect a member of Parliament who will uphold the values of working men and women of the territory.

It is time we elect a member of a party who does not represent an attack on human rights.

If we keep this in mind on January 23, we have but only one choice for a better Canada and a better Yukon, it is time to set things right.

Alex F Furlong, president, Yukon Federation of Labour

Nasty spirited NDP

When Pam Boyde was defeated by Larry Bagnell in 2004, she ran under the slogan “A Positive Choice for Yukon.”

Two years later, her campaign seems to have forgotten that slogan.

I have been surprised and disappointed by her negative campaign this time around, and so have many other people I have spoken with lately.

The NDP usually campaigns on support for social programs and standing up for the underdog.

There was been none of that from the NDP locally, and that is too bad.

The NDP’s personal attacks on Bagnell have been particularly distasteful.

This is a guy who has spent the last five years of his life doing everything he can for the Yukon.

He deserves better than the mean-spirited insults that have been coming from the local NDP campaign.

David Webber

Whitehorse

Green challenge

 

We are faced today with an enormous challenge. Human beings fill the Earth, yet, our tradition is to grow more.

We must change direction and pursue a new goal, a steady-state relationship with our planet.

The future depends on our choices today.

Since long ago, the more people there were and the more powerful our technologies, the better off we were.

This age-old pattern changed in the last century when we started to confront the limits of our planet.

Today, the greatest problems facing the human family result from the enormous impacts we are having on the Earth.

Continuing to grow is making matters worse, yet, since expansion was so positive for so long, growth has become the underlying goal of our culture and institutions.

The Green Party has emerged to give citizens an opportunity to vote for a new goal.

As a species, we are at the awkward adolescent stage where we have reached a mature size and strength, yet we hesitate to accept the accompanying responsibilities.

Hope can be found in that, as individuals, our rapid growth came to an end and the vast majority of us accepted responsibility for our strength.

At the same time, even as our material growth subsided, vast opportunities opened up in how effectively we could use the minds and bodies we had grown.

Similarly a sustainable society will enjoy boundless frontiers of culture and ingenuity while living within the Earth’s carrying capacity.

Today we face the greatest challenge a civilization can face.

We have to look at our underlying goals and choose between continuing to grow, as we always have, and redirecting our economy toward a steady, mature state.

It is a question of direction.

If we choose the new goal, there will be work for all, much excitement and renewed hope.

This is a call to adventure, challenge, creativity and historic achievement.

If future generations have the leisure to look back over human history, they will recognize those alive today as the ones who guided the human family to maturity.

A vote for the Green Party is a vote for sustainability.

 

Mike Nickerson, co-ordinator, Question of Direction program, Lanark, ON

A broken record

Larry Bagnell’s decision to vote against Bill C-215, an act to toughen penalties for those convicted of using firearms in the commission of a crime, and the Liberal proposal to ban handguns is confusing and rather contradictory.

Interestingly, bill C-215 passed by a vote of 149 to 148 with the support of 34 Liberals.

And if, as Bagnell says, his voting history is a matter of public record, why is drawing the public’s attention to that record considered running a negative campaign? Other than the fact that it may cause him some embarrassment.

Douglas Rody

Whitehorse

Hardworking Larry

Unlike Ontario or Quebec or even British Columbia, Yukoners only get one member of Parliament.

That’s one person to represent every one of us. To do that, you need to be tireless, dedicated and totally devoted to this territory and its people.

Over the last five years, Larry Bagnell has demonstrated that he is all those things. And most importantly, he is a strong representative for all Yukoners, regardless of political affiliation.

With a single voice in Ottawa, it is critical that the Yukon have an experienced and effective representative to bring our concerns and our voice to Ottawa.

Looking at the options available to us locally, there is only one candidate that can give Yukon the representation it deserves — Larry Bagnell.

Timothy Cant

Whitehorse

Conservatives

would respect US

There are two issues that really bother me in this election campaign.

It upsets me that both the Liberal and NDP platforms intend to fund only institutional daycare with no regard or incentive for one parent to stay home and care for their pre-school children.

Their policy makes the act of raising your own children the worst financial choice for parents.

Only the Conservative government gives a choice to ALL parents for daycare or caring for your children at home.

The Liberals communicate by using anti-American rhetoric and cheap shots aimed at the US during its election campaign.

I think we all know the NDP hate anything American all year long. This is disrespectful, immature and unfortunately it influences many Canadians and has eroded our relationship with the US to a dangerous level.

You don’t go very far in US/Canadian negotiations or open closed borders coming to the table with that attitude.

This is hurting many individuals and businesses that work respectfully with Americans.

In the Yukon, we need to maintain a good relationship with our Alaskan neighbour, where we enjoy economic trade, generous fishing privileges and cash from a constant summer stream of American tourists heading for Alaska.

Only the Conservative government will negotiate issues with the US fairly. They will look for the best deal for Canadians without resorting to distasteful anti-US self serving tactics.

Shirley Ford

Whitehorse

Green challenge

 

We are faced today with an enormous challenge. Human beings fill the Earth, yet, our tradition is to grow more.

We must change direction and pursue a new goal, a steady-state relationship with our planet.

The future depends on our choices today.

Since long ago, the more people there were and the more powerful our technologies, the better off we were.

This age-old pattern changed in the last century when we started to confront the limits of our planet.

Today, the greatest problems facing the human family result from the enormous impacts we are having on the Earth.

Continuing to grow is making matters worse, yet, since expansion was so positive for so long, growth has become the underlying goal of our culture and institutions.

The Green Party has emerged to give citizens an opportunity to vote for a new goal.

As a species, we are at the awkward adolescent stage where we have reached a mature size and strength, yet we hesitate to accept the accompanying responsibilities.

Hope can be found in that, as individuals, our rapid growth came to an end and the vast majority of us accepted responsibility for our strength.

At the same time, even as our material growth subsided, vast opportunities opened up in how effectively we could use the minds and bodies we had grown.

Similarly a sustainable society will enjoy boundless frontiers of culture and ingenuity while living within the Earth’s carrying capacity.

Today we face the greatest challenge a civilization can face.

We have to look at our underlying goals and choose between continuing to grow, as we always have, and redirecting our economy toward a steady, mature state.

It is a question of direction.

If we choose the new goal, there will be work for all, much excitement and renewed hope.

This is a call to adventure, challenge, creativity and historic achievement.

If future generations have the leisure to look back over human history, they will recognize those alive today as the ones who guided the human family to maturity.

A vote for the Green Party is a vote for sustainability.

 

Mike Nickerson, co-ordinator, Question of Direction program, Lanark, ON

Bagnell earned her vote

Next week, I’m voting for Larry Bagnell.

He has been a tireless advocate for the Filipino community during his time as a member of Parliament.

For example, he has always been there to help with immigration matters over the last few years.

Larry has also helped out every year at our booth on Canada Day, selling food for the entire day. 

I have also seen him many times at Yukon College attending public events.

Larry has become an essential part of our community, even becoming a member of our society last year. He is attending birthday parties and anniversaries.

On January 23rd he gets my vote.

Yvonne Tan Clarke

Whitehorse

Set things right

As president of the Yukon Federation of Labour, I have watched as the leaders of all political parties have vied for our votes during the past six weeks.

I have watched the debates, numerous town halls and the never-ending search to reach the electorate by any means possible.

This election is not about posturing, not about the person but more importantly what the members who are elected will do with the vote you have entrusted them with.

We are only too familiar what does occur with members who run for office, promise one thing, however do the complete opposite and do not listen to the citizens when it comes time for votes on various issues in Parliament or simply choose not to show up for that vote.

Being a member of Parliament is a privilege, and the person who is elected needs to be reminded of this, not only on election day but also during their tenure as our MP.

This election and who is elected will have a profound impact on working men and women across this country. It will have a great impact for us living here in the North.

The voters of this great territory need to keep in mind who can best represent their interests in Ottawa and who will ensure that the misgivings of recent events in Ottawa will not reoccur.

We have seen the vast corruption of the current government with Gomery and other issues, and we have seen the Conservative Party advise all Canadians that an attack on human rights is OK for our country and that tax cuts for corporations is a good thing while working men and women continue to struggle in Canada.

Yukon voters must ensure that they look beyond the person at what party that person belongs to and the values of the party and what the record of the party is.

We can no longer afford the past misgivings of the current government nor what the future would hold for all Canadians with a conservative government or what previous Conservative governments have done.

Simply put, we need to ensure that when you vote, we will have an MP who can help set the direction of the country in a positive and proactive way while listening to the stakeholders, the citizens of this great country and be part of the party who provides solutions on the many issues which will face us in the future.

Yukon voters have a choice for the better on election day.

Issues we must consider are what party will bring forward the issues that affect all of us and what they will do to ensure those very issues are front and centre.

The time is long past for talk, working men and women need action on critical issues, which will enhance their quality of life.

I believe that issues such as health care, pensions, education and training, pay equity, workers rights and protecting jobs with decent wages are critical for us to consider when we cast our vote.

It is time to send a clear message to Ottawa; it is time for all Yukoners to stand up against the mismanagement of our money and to elect a member of Parliament who will uphold the values of working men and women of the territory.

It is time we elect a member of a party who does not represent an attack on human rights.

If we keep this in mind on January 23, we have but only one choice for a better Canada and a better Yukon, it is time to set things right.

Alex F Furlong, president, Yukon Federation of Labour

Nasty spirited NDP

When Pam Boyde was defeated by Larry Bagnell in 2004, she ran under the slogan “A Positive Choice for Yukon.”

Two years later, her campaign seems to have forgotten that slogan.

I have been surprised and disappointed by her negative campaign this time around, and so have many other people I have spoken with lately.

The NDP usually campaigns on support for social programs and standing up for the underdog.

There was been none of that from the NDP locally, and that is too bad.

The NDP’s personal attacks on Bagnell have been particularly distasteful.

This is a guy who has spent the last five years of his life doing everything he can for the Yukon.

He deserves better than the mean-spirited insults that have been coming from the local NDP campaign.

David Webber

Whitehorse

A broken record

Larry Bagnell’s decision to vote against Bill C-215, an act to toughen penalties for those convicted of using firearms in the commission of a crime, and the Liberal proposal to ban handguns is confusing and rather contradictory.

Interestingly, bill C-215 passed by a vote of 149 to 148 with the support of 34 Liberals.

And if, as Bagnell says, his voting history is a matter of public record, why is drawing the public’s attention to that record considered running a negative campaign? Other than the fact that it may cause him some embarrassment.

Douglas Rody

Whitehorse

Liberals off on marriage

Open letter to Larry Bagnell,

About a year ago, you kindly agreed to meet with me and hear my concerns about the impending Liberal legislation to change the historical definition of marriage.

I sincerely appreciated the conversation, though I was deeply disappointed by your support of same-sex marriage, explaining as you did that to vote against the bill would necessitate your resignation as a parliamentary secretary.

One of the concerns I raised during our long conversation was my conviction that, by reducing marriage to a union between two individuals without reference to gender, Canada would also open the door to ever more radical redefinitions of marriage.

Why, I asked, would there be any reason to limit the number of partners to two?

What would prevent the same Charter arguments made against the traditional understanding of marriage as between a man and a woman also being applied against the traditional restriction of marriage as being between two individuals?

What would prevent the same Charter arguments being used to support, for example, polygamy?

Apparently the Martin government was also thinking about this possibility, commissioning as it did a study into the probable outcome of a Charter challenge against the current prohibition of polygamy under Canadian law.

The results of the study, recently released, suggest that the law against polygamy might not be allowable under the Charter.

The authors of the study suggest that polygamy should be legalized in Canada.

As I recall our conversation in your office, you expressed incredulity that I could imagine polygamy being sanctioned in Canada, assuring me that polygamy was absolutely not an option that your government would ever consider.

However, your words about polygamy were (and are) of small comfort to me, recalling as I do Anne McLellan’s promise in 1999 as the then-minister of Justice that the Liberal government had “no intention of changing the definition of marriage or of legislating same sex marriages.”

Given the about-face that your government made on the issue of same-sex marriage, and your own willingness to vote against the traditional definition of marriage, I can see no reason why I should have any confidence in assurances from you or from the Liberal Party that the Canadian definition of marriage will not, in due course, come to include polygamy.

Indeed, I am hard pressed to see how the Liberal Party could justify any restrictions to the definition of marriage.

Historically understood as a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman, Canadian law now decrees that marriage is simply a commitment between two people.

But why only two?

So some constitutional experts are now suggesting that polygamy is a viable legal option — one man and some number of women.

But surely there is no reason why one woman might have more than one husband?

And indeed, in light of the recent court decisions about the ‘rights’ of so-called ‘swingers,’ why not ‘group marriage’ in which a few individuals commit to a few other individuals (gender in any case being now irrelevant to the question of marriage)?

You have already indicated your support of same-sex marriage.

Having loosed the institution of marriage from its historical moorings, it is impossible for me to imagine any basis by which you or the Liberal Party could stand up against polygamy or, indeed, against any novel form of ‘marriage’ as might be proposed.

So, my question at the end of all this, Mr. Bagnell, is to ask how I can be confident, and why I should trust you or the Liberal Party to resist the eroding definition of marriage in our political landscape, or expect you or the Liberal Party to stand up for anything like traditional community values and convictions about marriage held by myself and a great many of your constituents.

Barrett W. Horne

Whitehorse